February 10, 2016

USA Defeats Poland in Fed Cup World Group II

 

(February 7, 2016) The United States is now one step closer to competing in the World Group next year by sweeping Poland, 4-0, in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round at the Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, today.

 

In Sunday’s first match of the day in windy conditions, world No. 12 Venus Williams cruised past world No. 96 Magda Linette, 6-1, 6-2, in one hour and one minute to clinch the victory for the United States. Williams and Linette had never faced each other on the WTA Tour. Williams is now 19-2 in Fed Cup singles play, while Linette is 1-5. The Sloane Stephens-Paula Kania match was not played.

“This has been the most enthusiastic crowd I’ve ever played in front of, for Fed Cup, or even at home,” Williams said. “The enthusiasm, exciting. When they announced they were going to play the doubles, the crowd was so excited. You can hear them right now.

“It’s just been a pleasure to play for that.

“I love playing. I love looking forward to playing the next ties, seeing who we’re going to play when the draw comes out. I love all of that.

“I think I had a little bit of an advantage today because Sloane had a chance to play against Magda, so had a nice scouting report. I was able to really get started quickly. I think she did a little of the work beforehand for me. I kind of like had the heads-up.”

In the dead doubles rubber, CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands faced playing captain Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Paula Kania, who substituted for Alicja Rosolska. In the end, Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands won their match, 6-1, 7-5, in one hour and 15 minutes. Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands were playing together for the first time and Vandeweghe had beat Mattek-Sands in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Australian Open mixed doubles tournament last month. Vandeweghe is now 2-0 in Fed Cup doubles play, also playing in a dead doubles rubber last year with Taylor Townsend in the World Group II First Round in Argentina, while Mattek-Sands is 4-0 in doubles, last playing Fed Cup doubles in the 2010 World Group Semifinal against Russia. Jans-Ignacik is now 20-10 in Fed Cup doubles play, while Kania is 1-2.

“We just played our game,” said Mattek-Sands. “We kept playing aggressive, closing the net. That’s how we won the first set. We’re prepared for our opponents to step up and play better. Maybe have a little less pressure on them in the second and go for a few shots.

“I think it’s business as usual. We had our game plan and we stuck to it.”

“There’s ebbs and flows to every match,” said Vandeweghe. “It’s how you weather the storm for their good play and also adjusting to your own play. At times Bethanie and I were playing in sync, and at times we weren’t. This is the first time we ever played together. I think we have to take that into account as well.

“But I think we adjusted well right after the break, showing our dominance and presence again, basically dominating their serves right back.”

The U.S. is now 21-0 when leading 2-0 after the first day of play (since the World Group format was instituted in 1995), 38-6 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home, and holds an overall 145-36 record.

 

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000.

 

ORDER OF PLAY AND RESULTS

 

DAY/LOCAL TIME      MATCH             PAIRING

Saturday, 11:00 a.m.       Singles A:              Sloane Stephens (USA) def. Magda Linette (POL), 6-2, 6-4

Singles B:             Venus Williams (USA) def. Paula Kania (POL), 7-5, 6-2

Sunday, 10:00 a.m.         Singles C:             Venus Williams (USA) def. Magda Linette (POL) 6-1, 6-2

Singles D:             Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Paula Kania (POL)  not played

Doubles:               Bethanie Mattek-Sands/CoCo Vandeweghe (USA)

def. Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Paula Kania (POL) 6-1, 7-5

 

The United States advances to the World Group Playoffs, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. Poland will play in the World Group II Playoffs in April to remain in World Group II in 2017.

 

The draw for the World Group Playoffs will be held this Tuesday, February 9. The U.S. will face one of the losers of World Group I – Romania, Germany, Italy, and Russia. Below are the home-away scenarios.

– Romania (coin toss)

– Germany (home tie)

– Italy (home tie)

– Russia (away tie)

 

Share

Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens Give USA 2-0 Lead Over Poland in Fed Cup

usfedcup2

(February 6, 2016) After the first day of play, the United States leads Poland, 2-0, in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round played on outdoor hard court at the Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village.

 

The U.S. is 20-0 when leading 2-0 after the first day of play (since the World Group format was instituted in 1995). The U.S. is 37-6 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home.

 

In the first singles match of the day, Sloane Stephens, the United States’ No. 2 singles player, defeated Poland’s No. 1 player Magda Linette, 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and 13 minutes. Stephens trailed, 0-4, in the second set before making a comeback and winning the set.

“I definitely had a little fart there at the beginning of the second set, but I regrouped well and I was happy that I was able to play some solid tennis towards the end,” Stephens said.

“It happens, so all I can really take from that is that I tried my butt off and never gave up. That’s all that really counts.

“I kind of just ran out of gas. Needed some sugar. I had some caffeine and a little taste of a bar and I felt better. I got my energy back up and I was kind of bouncing around again and I felt good. So I think that definitely helped a little bit.

Stephens and Linette had met once on the WTA Tour last year in Washington D.C., where Stephens went on to win her first career WTA title. Stephens is now 2-2 in singles in Fed Cup, while Linette is 1-4.

In the second singles match, former world No. 1 Venus Williams defeated world No. 153 Paula Kania, 7-5, 6-2, in one hour and 12 minutes. Williams and Kania had previously met once on the WTA Tour in 2014 in Stanford, where Williams won 6-3, 6-2. Williams is now 18-2 in singles in Fed Cup. Kania was making her Fed Cup singles debut.

“She had some good shots; she played well; I had a few errors,” Williams said.

“I think I at 5-4 I was actually very relaxed. I think her strengths is playing from behind. I think when she was in front it wasn’t as comfortable for her.

“So just that game, I put some balls in, she missed a few, and at 5-All I probably had more experience than she did.”

“It’s never easy to play Fed Cup because you’re playing for more than yourself. I just get pumped,” said Williams. “The whole crowd is here for you and there’s no other feeling like it in tennis.”

ORDER OF PLAY AND RESULTS

 

DAY/LOCAL TIME      MATCH             PAIRING

Saturday, 11:00 a.m.       Singles A:              Sloane Stephens (USA) def. Magda Linette (POL), 6-2, 6-4

Singles B:             Venus Williams (USA) def. Paula Kania (POL), 7-5, 6-2

Sunday, 10:00 a.m.         Singles C:             Venus Williams (USA) vs. Magda Linette (POL)

Singles D:             Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Paula Kania (POL)

Doubles:               Bethanie Mattek-Sands/CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) vs Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Alicja Rosolska (POL)

 

Each country’s top singles players will meet on Sunday – Venus Williams (USA) vs. Magda Linette (POL) and Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Paula Kania (POL) – as well as a doubles match pitting CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) against Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Alicja Rosolska (POL).

 

In Sunday’s first match of the day, Williams will face off against Linette. World No. 12 Williams and world No. 96 Linette have never met on the WTA Tour. The second singles match on Sunday will feature Sloane Stephens and Paula Kania. World No. 25 Stephens and world No. 153 Kania have also never met in WTA competition.

 

Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands are scheduled to take on Rosolska and Jans-Ignacik, who is serving as Poland’s playing captain. Vandeweghe reached the mixed doubles final at this year’s Australian Open and is ranked No. 46 in the world in doubles. Mattek-Sands, ranked No. 6 in the world in doubles, won the 2015 Australian Open and French Open women’s doubles titles with Lucie Safarova and has won 17 career WTA doubles titles overall. Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands have never paired up for a doubles match before. Rosolska and Jans-Ignacik have played doubles together 16 times, the last coming in Fed Cup last year. Rosolska is ranked No. 46 in doubles and has won four WTA doubles titles, while Jans-Ignacik is ranked No. 50 in doubles and has won three WTA doubles titles.

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2017.

 

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. The U.S. holds an overall 144-36 record.

 

Share

Fed Cup Preview: USA vs Poland in Hawaii

usfedcup2

(February 5, 2016) Fed Cup is taking place in Hawaii for the first time, as Kailua-Kona hosts the United States and Poland in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round on an outdoor hard court at the Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village, February 6-7.

“I think it’s important to grow tennis in countries that don’t see it very often, in communities that don’t see it very often,” said US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez.

“It’s nice to be here playing Fed Cup for the first time and get new fans, hopefully encourage new children, new players to get involved in the game. This is one way of doing that.”

 

The United States brings a strong team to Hawaii, led by world No. 12 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and world No. 25 Sloane Stephens. CoCo Vandeweghe, who is ranked No. 46 in singles and also reached the mixed doubles final at the 2016 Australian Open, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who is ranked in the Top 10 in the world in doubles, also anchor the team.

 

In Saturday’s first singles match of the day, Sloane Stephens, the United States’ No. 2 singles player, will face off against Poland’s No. 1 player Magda Linette, ranked No. 96 in the world. Stephens and Linette have met once on the WTA Tour last year in Washington D.C., where Stephens went on to win her first career WTA title. In Washington D.C., Stephens defeated Linette, 6-2, 6-1. Stephens and Linette also met as junior players in 2008 at the Eddie Herr, which Stephens also won. Stephens is coming off her second WTA title, winning Auckland prior to the 2016 Australian Open.

” It’s the greatest honor play for your country and be on a team when every week you’re by yourself, Stephens said. “It makes it really fun. Of course, with girls you actually do like and enjoy being around makes it a good week and makes it a lot of fun.”

“I played before in Israel, in Eilat, which is also next to the sea,” Linette said. “But it’s obviously not this beautiful. I’m really enjoying. I believe my team also.

“We are very happy we can be here. We’re just enjoying and we try just to practice as good as we can on the tennis court, and then we just try to enjoy everything else out of the court. We really like it.”

The second singles match on Saturday will feature the United States’ top player Venus Williams versus world No. 153 Paula Kania. Williams and Kania have met once on the WTA Tour in 2014 in Stanford, where Williams won 6-3, 6-2.

“I enjoy being on the team,” said Williams. “I have a really good time on the team. It’s just a fun time. You don’t usually get to do this in tennis. It’s a different experience that you don’t get to have when you grow up as a tennis player, and you’re always solo from beginning to the end. It’s a moment where it’s a break from that.”

Hawaii becomes the 16th state to host Fed Cup. Hawaii hosted Davis Cup, the men’s equivalent to Fed Cup, in Kohala Coast at the Mauna Lani Racquet Club in the 1992 World Group First Round, where the U.S. team of Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras swept Argentina, 5-0. Hawaii also hosted the SportMaster Tennis Championships of Maui, a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit men’s Challenger, in mid-January in Maui and was joined by a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit women’s event that same week for the first time this year.

 

The United States holds a 3-0 record over Poland in Fed Cup. The U.S. last faced Poland in the 1990 World Group First Round in Atlanta, sweeping the tie, 3-0. The U.S., who also faced Poland in 1974 and 1980, has never lost a point in Fed Cup to Poland. This will be the United States’ first home tie since 2014 in St. Louis, as the team competed on the road against Argentina and Italy last year.

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2017.

 

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. The U.S. is 37-6 in ties played at home and holds an overall 144-36 record.

 

Weekend Line-up

USA v POLAND

Venue: Holua Tennis Center, Kailua Kona, USA (hard – outdoor)

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)

Venus Williams (USA) v Paula Kania (POL)

Venus Williams (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Paula Kania (POL)

Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Coco Vandeweghe (USA) v Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Alicja Rosolska (POL)

 

Tennis Channel To Air U.S. Versus Poland Fed Cup Tie

Share

Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens To Lead U.S. Fed Cup Team Against Poland

Venus fistpump

From the USTA: (January 27, 2016) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., – The USTA and United States Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez today announced that former world No. 1 and current world No. 10 Venus Williams, No. 26 Sloane Stephens, No. 42 CoCo Vandeweghe and world No. 3 doubles player Bethanie Mattek-Sands will represent the U.S. in the 2016 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round against Poland.

 

The best-of-five match series will be played at the Holua Tennis Center at the Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Feb. 6-7. This will be the first Fed Cup tie held in Hawaii.

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoffs, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoffs in April to remain in World Group II in 2017.

 

Poland’s Fed Cup Captain Klaudia Jans-Ignacik named No. 93 Magda Linette, No. 159 Paula Kania, and Alicja Rosolska, ranked No. 44 in the world in doubles, to face Team USA. Jans-Ignacik, who is ranked No. 40 in doubles, is also part of the four-team roster as a playing captain.

 

“We have great variety and depth on our team for Hawaii,” said Fernandez. “I am thrilled to have Venus, one of tennis’ greatest champions, competing for us. Sloane had a strong start to the season, winning Auckland for her second tour singles title, and CoCo and Bethanie are both playing really well in singles and doubles. Poland brings a skilled team and we look forward to competing. We are very excited to bring Fed Cup tennis to Hawaii for the first time and for the fans to come cheer us on.”

 

Play begins on Saturday, Feb. 6, with two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Sunday’s schedule features two “reverse singles” matches, where the No. 1 players square off and then the No. 2 players meet, followed by the doubles match. Play on Saturday begins at 11 a.m. local time (4 p.m. ET) and on Sunday at 10 a.m. local time (3 p.m. ET). Tennis Channel will present daily coverage.

 

The United States holds a 3-0 record over Poland in Fed Cup. The U.S. last faced Poland in the 1990 World Group First Round in Atlanta, sweeping the tie, 3-0. The U.S., who also faced Poland in 1974 and 1980, has never lost an individual match in Fed Cup to Poland. This will be the U.S.’s first home tie since 2014 in St. Louis, as the team competed on the road in Argentina and Italy in 2015.

 

Hawaii becomes the 16th state to host Fed Cup. Local sponsors of the event include Hawaii Tourism Authority, Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village, KTA Super Stores, and Kona Coffee & Tea.

 

World No. 10 Williams, 35, posted her first Top 10 season since 2010 last year, winning three WTA titles and reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and US Open. In 2013, she re-entered the Top 20 for the first time since revealing that she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, following the 2011 US Open. Williams holds a 21-4 overall record in Fed Cup competition, including 17-2 in singles. In 2015, she joined sister Serena on the team that defeated Argentina in Buenos Aires in the Fed Cup World Group II First Round; her second singles win clinched the tie. She was also a member of the title-winning team in 1999. Williams is a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and has won 48 career WTA singles titles. She has been ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles. In Olympic play, she has won three gold medals in doubles (with Serena) in 2000, 2008 and 2012, and she captured the singles gold medal in 2000.

 

World No. 26 Stephens, 22, is coming off a tournament title, the second of her career, at the 2016 Australian Open tune-up event in Auckland, New Zealand. She won her first WTA title in 2015 in Washington D.C. Stephens’ breakout came at the 2013 Australian Open, where she defeated Serena Williams en route to the semifinals. At 19 years, 10 months, 3 days old, Stephens was the youngest American to reach a Grand Slam singles semifinal since Williams reached the 2000 Wimbledon semifinals at 18 years, 9 months, 8 days old. Stephens also advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2013 to peak at No. 11 in the world that October. Stephens has played in three Fed Cup ties for the U.S., the last coming in 2014, and holds a 1-2 record in singles and 1-1 record in doubles. She is the daughter of the late New England Patriots running back John Stephens.

 

World No. 42 Vandeweghe, 24, advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2015 for her career-best result; she also advanced to the third round of the 2015 Australian Open to peak at No. 32 in the world in February 2015.Vandeweghe won her first WTA title in 2014 in ‘S-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, and reached her first pro final in 2012 at the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Stanford as a qualifier, losing to Serena Williams in the title match. Vandeweghe has also had success in doubles, advancing to the semifinals at the 2015 US Open and the quarterfinals at the 2016 Australian Open. She was named to the U.S. Fed Cup team for the 2010 final versus Italy and for the 2015 World Group II First Round in Argentina, where she played singles and doubles. As a junior player, Vandeweghe won the 2008 US Open girls’ singles title. Vandeweghe’s mother, Tauna, was a member of the U.S. national team in both swimming and volleyball, and her uncle is former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe.

 

World No. 63 Mattek-Sands, 30, is being named to her first Fed Cup team since 2011. In 2015, Mattek-Sands won the Australian Open and French Open women’s doubles titles (with Lucie Safarova) and the French Open mixed doubles title (with Mike Bryan). At the 2012 Australian Open, Mattek-Sands teamed with Horia Tecau to win her first Grand Slam title in mixed doubles. She is currently ranked a career-high No. 3 in the world in doubles.Mattek-Sands has been one of the U.S.’s most consistent performers over the past decade, playing in 14 US Opens and reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2008 and the French Open in 2013 for her career-best Grand Slam results. Overall, she holds 17 WTA doubles titles and five USTA Pro Circuit singles titles. In 2011, she was ranked a career-high No. 30 in the world in singles before being sidelined by a rotator cuff injury. Mattek-Sands holds a 3-0 record in Fed Cup doubles and a 2-6 record in singles. In the 2010 Fed Cup semifinal, with the U.S. trailing Russia 2-1, Mattek-Sands won the fourth singles match to force the decisive doubles rubber and then partnered with Liezel Huber to win the doubles match and clinch a spot in the final for the U.S. Mattek-Sands then went on to face Italy in the 2010 final—the United States’ last appearance in a Fed Cup final.

 

The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. The U.S. is 37-6 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home and holds an overall 144-36 record. Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 101 nations taking part in 2016. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup or www.fedcup.com. Follow the U.S. Fed Cup Team on Twitter @USFedCupTeam.

Share

Sloane Stephens Wins Auckland for Second Career WTA Title

(January 9, 2016) Sloane Stephens had to complete two wins on Saturday to claim the ASB Classic title in Auckland. The American had to complete her rain delayed semifinal earlier in the day. Stephens was leading former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 5-2 on Friday when the rains came. Saturday morning saw the Dane mount a comeback against the American, but Stephens held her off to win 6-2, 7-6(3) to advance to the final.

Two hours later, Stephens had to take on Germany’s Julia Goerges for the title. The fifth seed went on to win 7-5, 6-2 to claim her second WTA title.

“To win a tournament is amazing and I’m just really happy,” the 22-year-old Stephens said after the match. “It’s definitely been a tough week, I’ve played some really tough players and to play this morning and come back and play the final. It’s the first time I’ve done that so I was really pleased with the way I was able to hold myself together and win this afternoon.”

 

ASB CLASSIC – AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
USD 250, 000
4-9 JANUARY, 2016

Results – Saturday, Jan 9

Women’s Singles

Finals

[5] S. Stephens (USA) d J. Goerges (GER) 75 62

Semifinals

[5] S. Stephens (USA) d [3] C. Wozniacki (DEN) 62 76(3)

Women’s Doubles

Finals

E. Mertens (BEL) / A. Mestach (BEL) d D. Kovinic (MNE) / B. Strycova (CZE) 26 63 10-5

Semifinals

D. Kovinic (MNE) / B. Strycova (CZE) d M. Erakovic (NZL) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 64 64

Share

USTA Foundation to Host First Los Angeles Pro-Am Fundraiser

USTAFoundation

(November 6, 2015) – The USTA Foundation and USTA Foundation Chairman of the Board, former world No. 4 men’s singles player James Blake announced world No. 30 women’s singles player Sloane Stephens and world No. 37 women’s singles player Coco Vandeweghe will be joined by a field of tennis players and celebrities for the foundation’s first Los Angeles Pro-Am to be held on Sunday, November 8 in Brentwood.

 

The event, co-hosted by Blake and International Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver, will fund the USTA Foundation’s commitment to improving the quality of life among the nation’s youth, military heroes and individuals with disabilities through tennis and education. This is the first time the USTA Foundation will host a fundraiser on the west coast.

 

Joining Stephens and Vandeweghe are International Tennis Hall of Famer, former world No. 1 and two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin, and Justin Gimelstob, a two-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion. Also slated to participate is Katrina Adams, a former world top 10 doubles player and current Chairman, CEO and President of the United States Tennis Association. Celebrities who will participate include Academy Award-nominated actress Elisabeth Shue, Katharine McPhee and Elyes Gabel, who are both stars of CBS’ hit show “Scorpion.” and former college tennis standout and FOX “Last Man On Earth,” star Boris Kodjoe.

 

Participants from Ramp Up, a Los Angeles-based chapter of the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network, will serve as ballpersons for the tournament. The organization is one of the USTA Foundation’s premier after-school tennis and education programs.

 

The Pro-Am will be followed by a reception bringing together tennis stars, icons, enthusiasts and celebrities, all to support the work of the USTA Foundation in combining tennis and education to aid those in need. The event will include a live auction featuring exclusive, one-of-a-kind packages and experiences, including a signed racquet by Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova and tickets to the 2016 US Open and World Tennis Day at Madison Square Garden in March.

 

“I am excited to join an amazing lineup of participants with my friends Pam and Sloane for the USTA Foundation’s first Los Angeles Pro-Am,” said Blake. “It’s great to have so many people lend their time in support of our mission in positively changing lives through the combination of tennis and education. Because I know firsthand how tennis and education programs encourage many of our youth to reach their fullest potential, I’m honored to get back out on the courts and compete for a tremendous cause that will have a lasting impact on future champions.”

 

Individual player packages including private hitting sessions are available at www.ustafoundation.com/LAproam.

 

To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $19 million, benefitting thousands of children and adults through tennis, education and health programs and college scholarships, and has impacted more than 200,000 military service members, veterans and their families through its outreach programs.

Share

Serena Williams Advances Easily While Fourth Seed Nishikori Falls on Day 1 of US Open

SerenaWilliamsFaceoff6

(August 31, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Last year’s US Open men’s finalist and fourth seed Kei Nishikori lost in the first round on Monday while several women’s seeds tumbled out on the first day of Flushing Meadows.

No such drama for the No. 1 seed Serena Williams seeking the US Open to complete a calendar Grand Slam. She moved a step closer to history with an easy win over 86th ranked Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia who retired from the match trailing 6-0, 2-0. She said that she felt a sharp pain hitting a backhand during a point.

“It was definitely different and bizarre,” the 33-year-old Williams said. “But at the same time, I was still focused. I kept thinking: Just stay focused; don’t lose it. You never know what can happen.”

Williams march to completing the first Grand Slam since 1988 seems to have been made easier when a deluge of seeds from her half of the draw lost. They included: No. 3 Maria Sharapova who withdrew on Sunday with an injured right leg, No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova and No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro, No. 21 Jelena Jankovic, No. 29 Sloane Stephens (who beat Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2013) and No. 30 Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The 21-time major champion will play the Netherlands Kiki Bertens. “I think she’s playing well, Williams said. “She does a lot of things well. She has a big serve. It’s definitely something that I look forward to. See what happens.”

“I’m not a person that usually looks at the draws,” Williams said. “I just take it as it comes and as it goes.”

Kei Nishikori was the only shock on the men’s side when the fourth seed fell to France’s Benoit Paire Nishikori’s 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 despite having two match points in the fourth set tiebreak.

“It’s very sad to lose always first round, but I think he was playing good tennis,” Nishikori said. “So, I mean, I don’t think I played bad. Didn’t play great, but still, it’s never easy first match. He’s a good player.

“You know, try to think about next one, and I hope I can come back strong next year.”

“Today for me, when I come on court I know I can beat Nishikori,” Paire said. “I place twice time; I lost two time, but very tough match.

“So when I come on the court, I say, come on. You can beat Kei. He has a game — it’s not like if I play against Roger Federer. For me it’s different because he has good serve.

“Against Kei I know I can play, and for sure some volleys. For me it’s important because I know I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I say, Okay, for sure you can break him.

“So the most important thing is to feel good and to have fun. I think today that’s the most important thing.”

The man Nishikori lost to in last year’s final had few problems in his 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 win.

“I think this tournament is giving me the best chance to play the best over here,” Marin Cilic said. Even before last year, in the past years I was always playing pretty well and reached few times quarterfinals. Even in those matches had some chances. Close to making it to the semis.

“Coming this year again is definitely very special moment for me in my whole career. This experience of, you know, defending the Grand Slam title for the first time is something that I’m going to learn for sure a lot from.”

No. 1 Novak Djokovic destroyed  Brazil’s Joao Souza 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in 71 minutes.

“I couldn’t ask for a better opening of this year’s US Open,” Djokovic said.” Hopefully I can continue in that rhythm.”

Sixteenth seed Gael Monfils retired from his match with a back against Illya Marchenko while trailing 2-6, 6-4, 5-0, 30-0.

Eighth seed Rafael Nadal, playing in the Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013, beat teenager Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in second night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. “Very happy to be back,” Nadal said, “and to be through.”

“I think I played great. The first two sets I played a very high level of tennis. Seriously, then I get a little bit tired. I had some problems. I was sweating a lot. I lost little bit — you know, I don’t feel enough strong after that, no?

“I had little bit of stomach problem so I felt not perfect, physically perfect then.

“But then in the fourth I recovered little bit. I played again more aggressive. Finally was important victory for me. Happy the way that I played when I was, you know, physically good.”

RESULTS – AUGUST 31, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 60 20 retired (Left ankle injury)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (7) Ana Ivanovic 63 36 63
(Q) Anna Tatishvili (USA) d. (8) Karolina Pliskova 62 61
Denisa Allertova (CZE) d. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 61 76(5)
(12) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 61 62
(13) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Teliana Pereira (BRA) 63 63
(15) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 62 63
(17) Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. (Q) Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) 61 64
(18) Madison Keys (USA) d. Klara Koukalova (CZE) 62 64
(WC) Oceane Dodin (FRA) d. (21) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 26 75 63
(23) Venus Williams (USA) d. Monica Puig (PUR) 64 67(7) 63
(25) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Alison Riske (USA) 64 63
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (29) Sloane Stephens (USA) 64 63
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (30) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 75
(31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 64 75
(Q) Kiki Bertens (NED) d. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 36 64 62
(WC) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (Q) Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 64 63
Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Andreea Mitu (ROU) 76(4) 62
Magda Linette (POL) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 76(3) 61
Misaki Doi (JPN) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 63
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (WC) Samantha Crawford (USA) 64 62
(Q) Anett Kontaveit (EST) d. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 75 62
Madison Brengle (USA) d. Saisai Zheng 62 57 75
(LL) Daria Kasatkina (RUS) d. Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 62 46 75
Ana Konjuh (CRO) d. Tatjana Maria (GER) 64 64
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 62 62
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 61 61
Lauren Davis (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 76(3) 76(0)
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Vania King (USA) 64 64
Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) d. (WC) Sofia Kenin (USA) 63 61
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 62 75
(Q) Jessica Pegula (USA) d. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 75 63

Men’s singles

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] d. Joao Souza (BRA) 61 61 61
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. Kei Nishikori (JPN) [4] 64 36 46 76(6) 64 – saved 2 MP
Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] d. Guido Pella (ARG) 63 76(3) 76(3)
Milos Raonic (CAN) [10] d. Tim Smyczek (USA) 64 76(8) 61
David Goffin (BEL) [14] d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 64 61 62
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [17] d. Matthew Ebden (AUS) 64 62 64
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [18] d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 76(5) 61 63
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [19] d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 63 61 61
Andreas Seppi (ITA) [25] d. Tommy Paul (USA) 64 60 75
Tommy Robredo (ESP) [26] d. Michael Berrer (GER) 62 62 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) [27] d. Ryan Shane (USA) 62 61 67(6) 62
Mardy Fish (USA) d. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 67(5) 63 61 63
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. Tommy Haas (GER) 36 61 67(3) 63 61
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 63 63 30 ret.
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. John Millman (AUS) 61 36 76(3) 64
Marcel Granollers (ESP) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 62 63 61
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) d. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 62 67(3) 62 64
Marsel Ilhan (TUR) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 60 26 64 32 ret,
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 62 46 26 76(4)

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News at the US Open

 

 

Share

Kei Nishikori and Sloane Stephens Take Citi Open Singles Titles

Sloane Stephens close upKei Nishikori

(August 9, 2015) On Sunday, 2014 U.S. Open finalist, second seed Kei Nishikori rallied to stop hard-serving John Isner 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to claim his first Citi Open title. Sloane Stephens captured the women’s title in Washington, DC with a 6-1, 6-2 dismissal of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova match between unseeded players.

For the 25-year-old Japanese player, this was his 10th career title, while for the American, it was her first trophy on the WTA Tour.

“I didn’t make enough inroads on his first serve,” said three-time Washington finalist Isner of his battle against Nishikori. “If you put a decent amount of first serves in the court, he’s arguably the best in the best in the world from the baseline. It’s tough. I thought he served better in the second and third sets. He’s a great player and a great champion.”

“I’m very happy to win after losing the first set,” said Nishikori. “I came back really well so I’m very happy to win today.

“I fought through (after losing the first set for the third time this week). In the first match I was down 7-6 and came back. It’s not easy but mentally I tried to fight every time and I’m happy to win in the final today.”

Nishikori who is 43-9 on the year will move up to No. 4 in the world with the victory, matching his career high.

“I’ll try to keep going,” Nishikori said. “I’ve been playing well.”

Nishikori will move up from No. 5 to No. 4 in Monday’s rankings, equaling his career best.

In the men’s doubles final, Americans Bob and Mike Bryan won their fourth Citi Open title beating Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 6-4, 6-2 for their 108th career doubles title.

“I think this tournament is really valuable for our confidence, our momentum going into this hard-court summer,” Bob Bryan said. It was nice to get some revenge on a couple of teams we lost to over in Europe. That will help us going into these next three big tournaments and crescendos at the US Open in New York.”

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

The 22-year-old Stephens, jumped off to a 3-0 lead winning 15 of the first 21 points and never had to look back. This was the first final for the American.

“I just went out there and tried to play the best I could,” Stephens said to media.

“I think I executed my game very well today – it was just a really good day for me.”

“Nothing was given to me. I had to work for everything. It was just nice that all of the hard work and everything I’ve put into it – now I can say that I have a tournament title,”

“It’s great to win this first title – I haven’t even thought about my next goal yet.”

“Last year I was going through a learning process. I learned a lot about myself. And there’s still a lot of room to grow. Sometimes you have to go through the process. To get to this place, to get to this beautiful trophy, I had to go through a lot, but at the end of the day it was definitely worth it.”

Stephens, who was once ranked as high as No. 11 in the world, will move up from No. 35 into the top 30 when the rankings come out on Monday.

The doubles title went to the fourth seeds Belinda Bencic and Kristina Mladenovic over third seeds Lara Arruabarrena and Andreja Klepac, 7-5, 7-6(7).

 

Share

Taste of Tennis “Week” Returns

 

tasteoftennisny

NEW YORK, NY (July 27, 2015) – AYS, the creators and producers of the Taste of Tennis, announced the lineup of events leading up to this year’s US Open. From Top Chefs battling it out on the Tennis Court, to pro tennis players “serving” incredible cuisine, these exciting events offer something for all tastes! Events include the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge on August 26th, the 16th Annual Taste of Tennis Gala on August 27th and Party with The Pros on August 29th.

 

“Taste of Tennis is among the most recognizable brands in the culinary and tennis communities. Each year, our flagship event sells out. To satisfy demand, we have added the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge and Party with the Pros. Additionally, in 2016, we are excited to announce that we will launch Taste of Tennis Series in key tennis and culinary markets nationwide. It’s an extremely exciting time for us,” explains Penny Lerner, CEO of AYS.

 

Tickets for Taste of Tennis events are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.tasteoftennisnyc.com.  The complete Taste of Tennis Week schedule of events includes:

 

  • Wednesday, August 26th – Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge, 10AM-2PM (City View Racquet Club, 43-34 32nd Place, Long Island City, NY): Hosted by Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan and SNY anchor Michelle Yu. At this exciting event, professional chefs will serve up something a little out of the ordinary as they compete in a round-robin doubles tournament to determine who is the King (or Queen) of the court! Guests will witness action packed matches featuring Marc Murphy (LandMarc), Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto) and many other renowned chefs. Guests will also enjoy interactive sponsor activities, and will join the chefs for a delicious post tournament cookout sponsored by Master Purveyors.

 

  • Thursday, August 27th – Taste of Tennis Gala, 7PM-10PM (W New York- 541 Lexington Ave.): The party that started it all! To celebrate the US Open, AYS created the Taste of Tennis, a one of a kind event featuring fine food prepared by 25 of NYC’s top culinary minds, signature cocktails, interactive sponsor experiences, live music and appearances by the world’s greatest tennis players. Hosting this year’s gala will be former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, headlining Chef Marc Murphy and professional tennis stars The Bryan Brothers. Major sponsors for the 16th Taste of Tennis include Citi, Rado, Jamaica Tourist Board, Lifeway Kefir, Zepp, Master Purveyors, Inc., Mouton Cadet and Franciscan Estate Napa Valley, among others.  A portion of proceeds from this event will benefit Chef Eli Kulp, beloved chef of Philadelphia’s High Street Market who was in the process of opening a new restaurant in New York City when he was critically injured in the recent Amtrak train derailment.

 

  • Saturday, August 29th Party with the Pros, 7PM-9PM (Measure Lounge at Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue): Guests at the Party with the Pros will enjoy an evening of incredible hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef David Vandenabeele and signature cocktails while rubbing elbows with some of the top names in professional tennis. This exclusive event takes place at Measure Lounge in the luxurious Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue. Availability is extremely limited, so get your tickets now! Confirmed players include Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and John Isner.

 

Special 10% discount for Tennis Panorama News readers for Taste of Tennis and the Celebrity Chef Challenge http://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-taste-of-tennis-tickets-14888080650?aff=erellivorg  – use the code TennisPanorama for the discount.

 

Share

Belinda Bencic Wins Eastbourne for First WTA Title

Belinda Bencic photo courtesy of the LTA by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for LTA

By Ros Satar

(June 27, 2015) EASTBOURNE, England – On a bright and breezy day, it seemed fitting the moment could go to one of the WTA Rising Stars, as Belinda Bencic rode the winds of Eastbourne to claim her first WTA Singles title.

 

At first glance it looked as through former champion Agnieszka Radwanska would have all the momentum on her side. She was rounding out nicely to form, save for a worrying fade away in the Nottingham semi-final a couple of weeks ago, and she had pretty much coasted through the draw until the semi-final where she had to fight against a determined Sloane Stephens and dropped her first set of the tournament.

 

By contrast, even though players never like to admit they even cast an eye over the draw, Bencic had no idea she would be contesting the final when she first looked her draw.

 

She said, after advancing to the final after Caroline Wozniacki’s withdrawal: “I actually saw the draw and I saw like Barthel first round, which is not easy. Then Madison Keys second round. I was like, okay.”

 

The final was a nervy affair for the first two sets, with three exchanged breaks of serve towards the end of the first, Bencic having the advantage to edge the Pole for a one set lead.

 

Radwanska had spent a lot of the latter part of the first set exasperated that things were not going her way, and where she needed to be fare more inventive, she was so, stepping up the aggression for an early break. Even when a sloppy game allowed the Swiss teen back, Radwanska looked to be just slightly sharper, going for her shots more and breaking with conviction to level the match.

 

But grass is nothing if not terribly unforgiving, and Bencic did not panic, breaking the Pole twice before the first change of ends, as well as holding on to her serves with confidence that belies her young years.

 

We wondered what nerves might prevail as she stepped up to serve out for her first title. None, as it happened – serving it out to love, and more than making up for the straight sets loss to Camila Giorgi just a couple of weeks ago at ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

 

Not only that but this makes her a pretty useful prospect on grass, much like a couple of other famous Swiss players we could think of.

 

It was an emotional Radwanska who carried out her on-court interview after the 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 loss. In a somewhat turbulent year, Radwanska has suffered the embarrassment of her appointment of Martina Navratilova as a coach folding after barely a few months. The results have been average and Radwanska found herself slipping out of the Top 10 as the general hubbub around the latest crop of WTA Rising Stars has encroached on the old guard’s limelight.

 

She said: “I think I had a lot of good matches, Nottingham and here. I think that’s the main thing. I think I did the best preparation before Wimbledon, and I really played good tennis.”

 

With Radwanska in Petra Kvitova’s section of the door she can expect a Tuesday start.

 

Meanwhile there was just pure unadulterated joy in Bencic as she followed in Madison Keys’ footsteps last year and lifted her maiden tour title.

 

She described those final moments with a maturity that marks her out as one to watch at SW 19, saying: “I was very focused and really I played very free. Of course I was disappointed I didn’t close out the second set. I was also starting to get tired. It was a lot of running and, yeah, long rallies. But then I started very focused. I did the 3‑0, so after that I relaxed a little bit and could close it out very good. I think I will just realise maybe when going to bed or maybe tomorrow.”

 

She will start against Tsvetana Pironkova when Wimbledon begins on Monday 29 June.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.

Share