October 5, 2015

Serena Williams Avoids Early Exit, Rafael Nadal Cruises at French Open

(May 28, 2015) Serena Williams survived a possible upset on Thursday when she came beat German Anna-Lena Friedsam ranked 105th in the world 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the French Open.

“Probably more frustrated than relieved, but I know I’m capable of playing great tennis, just haven’t seen it yet,” Williams said.

“I feel like one thing Venus always tells me: A win is a win, and as long as you live to survive the next day, you can always improve. I know my level is literally a hundred times better than I played today, so I think I take more solace in the fact I can play better as opposed to the fact that that’s the best I could play. Then I would be in trouble.”

Next for Williams in the third round will be two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka who defeated Lucie Hradecka 6-2 6-3.
“It will be a tough match, obviously,” Williams said. “We had a really tough match in Madrid. So I do know if I play the way I did today, I probably won’t be winning my match. So I’m going to have to step it up a level. Probably just get out, start up better and be more relaxed and go from there. But it’s definitely not going to be easy, but, you know, at the end of the day it is what it is. I’m ready.”

“I think out of all the top players she’s, for whatever reason, has given me particularly some troubles. But, you know, she’s great at what she does. She fights hard and never gives up, and she’s really feisty. And I think that’s obviously why she’s been able to be a Grand Slam champion, not just on one occasion. So, I mean, yeah, those players aren’t always the easiest to play, but they also get you excited to play those matches and to be ready for that.”

“Facing somebody who is, you know, No. 1 in the world is never easy,” Azarenka said. “But I just want to try to focus, you know, on my game, on my energy, and try to play the best as possible. But there is no question you have to come up with your A game and play well.”

No drama for 9-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal who dismissed Spanish countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

“I think I played a good match against an opponent I think he didn’t play bad through a lot of very hard games, long games,” Nadal said. “The score is easier than what the match was like. Very happy, I think I did a few things very well.”

2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone saved a match point in a 3 hour 50 minute marathon against 18th-seeded and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-7 (11), 7-5, 10-8 to move into the third round. Kuznetsova served for the match four times.

Both women played the longest women’s match in Grand Slam history at the 2011 Australian Open, 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 which lasted 4 hours, 44 minutes. Schiavone won that match as well.

“She went for it,” Kusnetsova said. “She played unbelievable shot. She played the deeper ball on high bounce to my backhand. I played good angle. For one-handed backhand to play it like that down the line, she totally went for it and all credit to her. She played unbelievable point. It’s nothing I can do, you know. It’s many more other opportunities I have to think about on my serve, which I didn’t serve well. I was not too sharp today for me.”

“Today was the key that long line with backhand,” Schiavone said. “I had to, otherwise backhand against backhand she was much better than me. So I had to play over there or in or out, and I play very good long line. Long match, yeah. With Svetlana I think we can play hours and hours and hours because we know each other exactly like I said before to play. Was great for me. I don’t know. She is amazing, and every time I play against her I say, Oh, my God, now what can happen? And it’s happen a long match again.”

Another upset victim, Caroline Wozniacki, the fifth seed, fell to 72nd ranked Julia Goerges in 6-4, 7-6 (4).

“I think I don’t play the typical women’s game on clay court,” said the German. “I play a little bit more spin, a little bit higher the ball over the net than some of the other girls. Well, she gets the ball in her striking zone she doesn’t miss any ball, but if you give her different balls, then it’s tougher for her to manage to bring the ball back with good quality, what she usually does when she has it in her striking zone. You have to mix up a lot. That’s what I did in all the matches I’ve played her. It’s never a guarantee you’re going to win the match, but you have to execute well, as well, and that’s what I did mainly today very well.”

Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Jack Sock also advanced to the third round.

The 16th seeded Keys defeated Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-0, 6-3.

“Belinda is also a great player,” Keys said. “So I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I was going to have to be playing well and kind of in my best form in order to get past them. Just really happy with kind of how I managed to fight through the first one. I thought I played really well today.”
“I thought I came out and was aggressive and tried to play the best I could,” Stephens said about beating Watson 6-2, 6-4. “Obviously executed really well my shots and I stayed pretty consistent throughout, so that was good.”
Watson, who had never lost to Stephens before, was wearing tape on her arm. “I’ve had this with my arm for a week and a bit now, but it wasn’t the reason I lost today,” Watson said. “I felt fine. I had it all taped up and I took some painkillers before the match. But it was just me really. I was just pretty sluggish and slow out there. Finally after like a set and a bit I finally got into it, but at that point it was kind of a little bit too late.”

Jack Sock continues to win on American men’s least successful surface in recent times, but his favorite. The American defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in four sets to advance.

“I thought he played a really good match,” Sock said. “I’ve seen him play a few times, not a whole lot. Yeah, I thought he was kind of on top of his game today. It was a match I had to win. He wasn’t going to be given to me, by any means. I finally found my serve three hours in, which was nice. It was letting me down there for a while, but I was able to find a little bit and the rhythm there at the end.”

May 28, 2015 Results French Open

Men’s Singles – Third Round

[5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. Benjamin Becker (GER) W/O (right shoulder)

Men’s Singles – Second Round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Gilles Muller (LUX) 61 64 64
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 46 64 61
[6] Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 64 63 61
[7] David Ferrer (ESP) d. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 62 63 61
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) 76(3) 61 61
[15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 57 64 64 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. [16] John Isner (USA) 64 46 63 63
[17] David Goffin (BEL) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 63 46 75 62
Pablo Andujar (ESP) d. [22] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 61 76(5) 36 36 64
[23] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 64 64 67(1) 61
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d. [27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) 36 36 63 64 86 – saved 3 M.P.
[29] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Kyle Edmund (GBR) W/O (stomach)
Simone Bolelli (ITA) d. [31] Viktor Troicki (SRB) 62 64 63
Jack Sock (USA) d. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 67(2) 76(4) 61 76(4)
Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) d. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 61 57 76(0) 75


Women’s Singles – Second Round
(1) Serena Williams d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 57 63 63
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 67(4) 64 62
Julia Goerges (GER) d. (5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 64 76(4)
(10) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 46 64 64
Andreea Mitu (ROU) d. (12) Karolina Pliskova 26 76(5) 64
(16) Madison Keys (USA) d. Belinda Bencic (SUI) 60 63
(17) Sara Errani d. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 63 46 62
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (18) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 67(11) 75 108 (saved 1mp)
(23) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 62 60
(27) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 62 63
(30) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Ana Konjuh (CRO) 62 60
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) d. (32) Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 06 61 64
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Danka Kovinic (MNE) 63 75
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (Q) Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 36 61 62
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 62 64
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. Denisa Allertova (CZE) 63 76(2)


Andy Murray Beats Rafael Nadal to Earn Madrid Masters Title

Andy Murray with Madrid trophy

(May 10, 2015) Andy Murray defeated Rafael Nadal on clay for the first time in his career on Sunday, 6-3, 6-2 to win his second Madrid Open. Just six days ago Murray claimed his first career clay tournament in Munich.

For Murray it was his 10th Masters Series title, first on clay and 33rd overall career tennis title.

Murray is undefeated since getting married on April 11 to his long-time girlfriend Kim Sears.

After his victory, Murray signed the TV camera glass with the words “Marriage Works.”

“Obviously the tennis has gone well (since the marriage),” Murray said. “You’re happy and that helps your performances on the court.”

“Today I was just more consistent, Murray said of the match. “In the second set Rafa was starting to play better at the beginning and the middle part. But I stayed strong in that period of the match and he started to make some mistakes at the end that he wouldn’t normally make. That obviously helped me finish the match.

“I wasn’t expecting this a couple of weeks ago, so when things are unexpected, it feels nicer. I didn’t feel like I put too much pressure on myself the last couple of weeks, which is a good thing. But obviously to win a Masters 1000 on clay is a step in the right direction. It’s something I had never done before. So that’s good progress there.”

“For me it was obviously a very tough match, you know winning against Rafa on clay is extremely difficult, one of the hardest things in tennis,” Murray added. “From my side it was a very good performance. I’m sure Rafa feels he could have played much better. But from my side, I couldn’t have done much more.”

“This wasn’t the game I wanted to play, but I tried to the very end,” Nadal explained. “Still, it was a very important and positive week for me, I recovered sensations that I hadn’t felt in a long time.”

“I’ve pushed Rafa on the clay a few times,” Murray said. “This (win) obviously gives me confidence.”

“I’ve played a couple good matches [this week], especially yesterday’s match,” Nadal said. “It’s one of the best matches I have played in a long time. So I cannot leave Madrid not happy. I have to leave happy and just delete what happened today. I will just stay with the good things that happened this week, and there are a lot of them, more good than bad. I will try to recover the good feelings in Rome. I think I’ve made a step forward and I’m playing better. My game is better.”

With the loss, Nadal’s ranking will fall to No 7 as of Monday. Murray’s ranking remains at No. 3. Both men will play the Rome Masters this week.

Petra Kvitova won the women’s title on Saturday beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-2. The world No. 4 ended the 27-match unbeaten of Serena Williams on Friday.


Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova Upset in Madrid Open Semis

Serena shrugs

(May 8, 2015) Top seed Serena Williams lost her first match of 2015, falling to two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals of the Madrid Open on Friday 6-2, 6-3. Earlier in the day, defending champion Maria Sharapova was ousted by Russian countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-4.

For the Czech Kvitova, it was her first win over the 19-time major champion. “For sure I’m happy I won today,” Kvitova said in her on-court interview. “I had never beaten her, so it’s a really special moment for me.”

“I think she just played well today,” Williams said. “I mean, she went for broke on every serve, every return. I hit some second serves, 170, 175, and she just hit them for winners. I was very slow off the mark. After my serve I wasn’t moving as well as I should have. You know, I wasn’t in it.

“I wasn’t Serena today. I think that was the main thing.”

The loss ended her 27-match unbeaten streak dating back to 2014. “I’m just exhausted today,” Williams said.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

For Kuznetsova it’s the first time in seven years that she beat Sharapova. “I’m just happy to be in the final,” said Kuznetsova,

“Today she had much more pop on her ball than I did, while I felt my shots were a bit too flat,” Sharapova said. ”

On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori reached the men’s semifinals

Defending Madrid Open champion Nadal beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-4. Berdych defeated John Isner, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (1).

“It’s great news to be in the semifinals, it’s a very positive result for me,” Nadal said. “I am pleased with the way I played this afternoon, very happy.”

“Very happy about the way things have worked out. I passed a test that was really important for me.”


WTA Singles – Semifinals

[4] P. Kvitova (CZE) d [1] S. Williams (USA) 62 63
S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d [3] M. Sharapova (RUS) 62 64

WTA Doubles – Semifinals

[3] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) / K. Pliskova (CZE) 61 36 10-6
C. Dellacqua (AUS) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d [7] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) 75 36 10-7

ATP Singles – Quarter-Finals
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [5] M. Raonic (CAN) 64 75
[3] R. Nadal (ESP) d [10] G. Dimitrov (BUL) 63 64
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [7] D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 62
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) d [16] J. Isner (USA) 36 76(7) 76(1) – saved 1 M.P.

ATP Doubles – Quarter-Finals

[6] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d [3] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) 26 01 ret. (Pospisil – Ankle Sprain)
[5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d M. Cilic (CRO) / V. Troicki (SRB) 64 67(4) 13-11
R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) d J. Cabal (COL) / A. Mannarino (FRA) 63 62
[WC] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) 64 67(1) 10-4


MANOLO SANTANA Start Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – [6] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [3] R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 5:30 pm
WTA – Singles Final – [4] P. Kvitova (CZE) vs S. Kuznetsova (RUS)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [4] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)
WTA – Doubles Final – C. Dellacqua (AUS) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs [3] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)

ATP – R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs [6] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)
ATP – [5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs [WC] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)


Venus and Serena Williams Reach Miami Quarters

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 30, 2015) Venus Williams kept her record perfect against No. 4 seed Caroline Wozniacki on Monday at the Miami Open defeating the Dane 6-3, 7-6(1).

Venus, a three-time Miami winner joined her sister seven-time winner Serena in the quarterfinals. Serena bested two-time major champ Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3.

Venus and Serena could meet in the final of the tournament.

Venus did not return to Indian Wells as her sister did two weeks ago but spoke about her sister’s return.

“It was wonderful to see,” Venus said. “I definitely watched every moment, and it was great to see her and my family there. Next year will be a big year for us being an Olympic year.

“I can’t exactly say what my schedule will be, but it was wonderful to see her reception.”

“I have heard so much about how much the tournament has just improved in general in terms of the fans and the players.

“So it will be something to see for me.”

“She’s playing really well,” Serena said of her sister’s play. “She’s playing really aggressive. I have always said what Venus has gone through has really motivated me.

“I think a lot of the things happened to help me become a better player in the past few years. You know, that’s another thing. I was really motivated by her and her spirit and her fight.

“I thought that I was doing really well, that I could ‑‑ I thought since she was doing really well, I could, as well.”

Another American reaching the quarterfinals is Sloane Stephens who stopped 18-year-old Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-6 (5). Other women reaching the final eight include Carla Suarez-Navarro, Sabine Lisicki, Karolina Pliskova and Andrea Petkovic.

Four-time champion and No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat qualifier Steve Darcis 6-0, 7-5 to reach the final 16 where he will meet Alexandr Dolgopolov.

“I saw a couple of matches he played here, and he’s feeling good,” Djokovic said of his next opponent. He likes this surface. Generally likes a bit slower court with a higher bounce.

“Very quick dynamic motion on the serve and can serve very big for somebody of his height. And moves around very well around the court.

“So I know his game pretty well. I know what to expect. Hopefully I’ll be able to start as well as I did in the first two matches, but then end it in a bit different way. Keep the concentration going, you know, all the way through.”

Also advancing were No. 4 Kei Nishikori, No. 5 Milos Raonic while No. 9 Grigor Dimitrov fell to John Isner in straight sets.

More to follow.


Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens Win to Set Up Fourth Round Clash at Indian Wells

315Serenain press-001

Serena Williams


(March 15, 2015) Since Sloane Stephens beat Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open, there has not been much love between the world No. 1, 19-time major champion and the woman turning 22 on Friday, who is No. 42 in the world. The two women will face off for the first time since the 2013 US Open for a spot in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open.


Both women had completely different matches on Sunday to reach the fourth round of Indian Wells.


Williams, returning to play Indian Wells for the first time since 2001, dominated first-time Indian Wells participant Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-0 in just 53 minutes.


For Williams, she’s on a 13-match win streak since claiming the Australian Open.


Stephens survived a topsyturvy contest against two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-4. Stephens had a 4-0 lead in the final set.


Williams on her potential match up against Stephens: “I have had some tough matches with Sloane. She’s had an interesting year, but I have noticed that she’s been really playing well. She moves well and she tries to do her best for everything. That would be an interesting, good matchup for me.”



Asked about what she expects in her match against Williams, Stephens said: “The same thing I do every day: just go out and play my game. Stay focused and fight hard and just get out there and compete.”


“She’s the No. 1 player in the world and I expect her to play really well.”


“I felt like every match I played against her I have played well. I mean, it’s always an honor to play No. 1 player in the world. Obviously someone of her stature who has won so many titles and the great player she is, I just have to just go out there and play my game and do all I can and just compete.”


Asked about her relationship with Williams, which was damaged when Stephens did a revealing interview with ESPN The Magazine, Stephens said: “She’s the No. 1 player in the world and she’s a competitor, and that’s it.


Asked if she had “mended fences with Williams,” – “No. She’s a competitor; she’s the No. 1 player in the world. She’s ‑‑ what do you call it? She’s a ‑‑you know, when you work with someone?


“A colleague. There you go. She’s a colleague.”



In an exchange with a reporter in the post-match news conference, Stephens discussed the hate she received on twitter from Serena Williams fans:

Every time I have mentioned you on Twitter, which I know you think is a lot…


Anyway, any time I’ve mentioned you I have all these Serena fans immediately criticizing you out of nowhere.

SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, they hate me.

Why do you think that is?

SLOANE STEPHENS: I don’t know, but they are the first people to get blocked on my Twitter. I am the queen of blocking. Okay? You say one bad thing, block. I ‑‑ block.

No. There is no room for negativity. I understand that they are die‑hard fans and I appreciate that. I’m sure she does, too. But some of the comments and some of the things are know so unnecessary.

It comes to the point where you’re on Twitter saying mean things about someone else. Like what do you actually doing with your life? Like is this your day job or how does that work? I’m just like ‑‑ I don’t understand it. But die‑hard fans are die‑hard fans, so…

Just taking some getting used to. It’s jarring. You get it more and more directly.

SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. I mean, some of the things are crazy and outrageous. Like I said, I have gotten really friendly with the block button. One bad thing, block. Block, block, block. So…

If you were to estimate, how many people have you blocked?

SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, God, it’s not even funny. It’s too many.

More than a thousand?

SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, I don’t know. But I just don’t like negativity. And I think if you have something negative to say, think it. You don’t have to, you know, express it to me, at me, whatever you want to call it. It is what it is. Like I said, a die‑hard fan is a die‑hard fan.

Are you more protective of yourself on Twitter? You obviously, early on on Twitter, were much more expressive, and now it’s maybe a little more stringent.

SLOANE STEPHENS: I think Twitter has changed like since I started tweeting and it was fun. It’s definitely become ‑‑ it’s become a source for people to attack other people, and I am ‑‑ I’m not really into that. Like if I was a nobody, I wouldn’t attack a celebrity and say, Hey, you suck or whatever.

That’s not just me. I feel like a lot of that ‑‑ there is a lot of abuse like that, and I try to stay away from it. I only tweet positive things and retweet positive things and that’s all I can do from my end.

Any idea how this happens? Seems like you get the brunt of it worse than a lot of people?

SLOANE STEPHENS: I don’t know. I don’t really care. I don’t live my life for Twitter. I have a lot of other things going on. It’s okay that people don’t like me on Twitter. I will live.

Did you ever get to the point where you would just get off Twitter? What keeps you coming back when there is all this ‑‑ and I haven’t seen them. I’m just learning about them.

SLOANE STEPHENS: It’s fun. It’s something you can just express yourself and not really have to worry about what other people are saying. I think it’s a good tool. I mean, I love Twitter. I have always loved Twitter.

I’m not going to let people who say bad things or negative things about me scare me away from doing what I like to do. At the end of the day, people are saying something bad about me and negative, and they are not people I care about, they’re not in my life, they’re not people I love, so it doesn’t really matter to me.


In their career head-to-head record, Williams leads 2-1.

Related Articles:

Serena Williams Beats Sloane Stephens to Gain Quarterfinal Berth at US Open

Sloane Stephens Criticizes Serena Williams in ESPN The Magazine Interview

Serena Williams Responds to Sloane Stephens’ Quotes: Stephens Takes Blame on Twitter

Sharapova Reacts to Stephens’ Comments About Serena Williams

Serena Williams Beaten by Rising Star Stephens in Australian Open Quarterfinals


Raonic and Kuznetsova Claim Citi Open Crowns

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic


(August 3, 2014) Milos Raonic and Svetlana Kuznetsova won the singles titles at the Citi Open on Sunday in Washington, DC.

In the first-ever all-Canadian final on the ATP World Tour in the Open Era, No. 7 Milos Raonic defeated Vasek Pospisil 6-1, 6-4.

For Raonic it’s his sixth ATP title, his last coming last September in Bangkok.

“It’s great the way (the match) started, Raonic said. “I couldn’t have asked, really, for more. I had a chance to break in every single game in that first set. Then I continued to play solid after that. All in all, a very good performance and an important moment for me.”

“I wasn’t nervous about playing in the final,” Pospisil said. “It was a combination of (Raonic) playing very well and me being a little bit heavy-legged. It took me a little bit to get into the match, to get my groove and get the legs going a little bit. But credit to him, he played very well.”

Kuznetsova Wins

Svetlana Kuznetsova won her first WTA title in four years, her 14th overall, holding off Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Her last trophy came in San Diego in the summer of 2010.

“It feels like too long since my last title,” the Russian said. “I had a chance to win in Oeiras earlier this year and I got tight. The same thing happened today and I couldn’t play my best tennis at the end of the second and third sets. I was just hanging in there and in that last game I knew I just needed to get four points somehow. It’s a great feeling. I work very hard and winning titles is why you play tennis.”
“I did my best and I stuck to my plan out there, so I have no regrets,” Nara said. “She hits a very heavy ball so it made it difficult for me to get inside the court and attack. It was a great week for me and I like Washington very much and hopefully I’ll come here next year.”


Simona Halep and Andrea Petkovic Reach French Open Semis




(June 4, 2014) Andrea Petkovic and Simona Halep have both moved into their first-ever Grand Slam semifinal, both advancing with 6-2, 6-2 quarterfinal victories at the French Open on Wednesday. The matches on the show courts had their starts delayed by rain.

The 28th seeded Petkovic from Germany defeated 10th seed Sara Errani, the losing finalist at the French Open in 2012. Halep, the fourth seed beat 2009 Roland Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova the 27th seed.

“I have to say, today I was in a real zone. I didn’t think at all,” said an excited Petkovic. “I was just focused on what I had to do.”

“I had a very good game plan from my coach. It didn’t work in the beginning, so I was getting a little, not panicked, but when you have a certain game plan and you lose the first two games and it’s not working, so I was kind of getting a little worried,” Petkovic said. “I was lucky that I started playing better and that I was putting more balls into play.”

At one point last year when Petkovic lost in the French Open qualification tournament, she considered quitting tennis, now she’s in her first major semifinal.

The highest seed remaining in the women’s draw, No. 4 seed Halep held back Kuznetsova who had an injured left thigh and had to take a medical time out after the first set.


“I felt very good on court. It was a perfect day for me. I played really well and stuck to my gameplan,” Halep said to press. “I was very aggressive. I played very fast.
“So it was a good match, and I’m really happy that now I can play in the semifinals in Paris.”

Petkovic and Halep will face off for a spot in the French Open final, the winner playing the winner of the Maria Sharapova versus Eugenie Bouchard.


Ana Ivanovic Beaten in Third Round of Roland Garros

Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

(May 31, 2014) 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic’s dreams of a second Paris title were dashed on Satruday, when the 11th seed was beaten by 23rd seed Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-3. It was Ivanovic’s fifth straight loss to the Czech woman. Safarova is now 5-2 against the Serb.

Safarova will play 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova who had to battle past fifth seed Petra Kvitova 6-7 (3), 6-1, 9-7 in an over three-hour match.

Fifteenth seed Sloane Stephens advanced into the French Open’s fourth round for the third straight time with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova.

Stephens will face off against No. 4 Simona Halep for a place in the quarterfinals. Neither woman has ever reached the final eight in Paris.

Due to the upsets on No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 2 Li Na and No. 3 Agnieszska Radwanska, Halep is the top women’s seed remaining at Roland Garros.

“That’s a surprise for everyone,” said Halep. “Is not easy to be the (top) seeded now, during the tournament. But I try just to keep — the pressure (away).”



Serena Williams Battles into Semifinal


By Ros Satar

(June 4, 2013) PARIS – No. 1 seed Serena Williams overcame a spirited comeback by 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova to complete the semi-final line up for the top half of the draw 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.


It started very straight-forwardly for the American, as she romped through the first set in 38 minutes, when her next competitor was barely through her first set.


Kuznetsova took a timeout for medical treatment on an abdominal strain at the end of the first set.


At the start of the second set, the momentum had definitely shifted, as it was the Russian’s turn to zip into a commanding lead.


Winning five games on the trot, Williams found herself serving to stay in the set, finally breaking the run of games against her.


It looked as though we might be in for an upset, as Kuznetsova edged ahead by a break but Williams delivered a double coup-de-grace breaking Kuznetsova and serving out the set at the first attempt.


Williams said: “I was really excited that I was able to win such a tough match.”


Their head-to-head on clay was split 1-1, and Kuznetsova had beaten Williams in 2009, on her way to winning the championship.


Williams said: “She’s won two Grand Slams, so that doesn’t take luck.

“You know, it takes a really good player.

“She never gives up.

“Like when I had my match point, I was thinking, I’ve got to just stay so focused because she probably plays this like it’s 15‑all.”


Kuznetsova has struggled with form in recent months, but there were a lot of positives to take from this run.


The Russian suffered a disappointing first round loss in Rome, and had very little practice time ahead of the French Open. Then she suffered an abdominal strain in her straight-sets win over Bojana Jovanovski in the third round.


She said: “I look overall for the whole tournament I am extremely proud of myself what I’ve done.


“I was extremely pleased with the way I performed here, and I just need to keep going the same way.”




Kuznetsova Wins the Battle of the Grinders, Advances to Quarterfinals

Svetlana Kuznetsova

By Ros Satar

(June 2, 2013) PARIS – A  former winner of Roland Garros showed what took her to the title, as the 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Angelique Kerber 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.

It may not have been the prettiest tennis from time to time, and the grinding, grueling rallies could be soporific in the sunshine, but both showed they were capable of mixing their game.

Drop shots, winners and breaks were traded back and forth between them in two tight first sets, but it was in the third that Kuznetsova really stepped up, getting the better of the ball-battering rallies.

After going down an early break at the start of the third set, Kuznetsova reversed the decline, digging in to save break points on her serve to pull off a big hold for 4-1.

From then on it was plain sailing, to keep her nose ahead for a place in the quarter-final, where she will face Serena Williams, who dispatched Roberta Vinci in straights sets.

Kuznetsova did not want to get drawn into comparisons with her run to the championship in 2009

“I think it’s too far ahead still, but it’s always great memories, you know, to play here, and it’s a pleasure.”

Is Kuznetsova flying under the radar?  She does not believe so.

“I don’t care if I’m under or not under or flying or standing or whatever it is.  I just go out there and try to play my game.”

Looking ahead to her match with Williams, there is that quiet, understated belief – provided she has a decent day at the office.

“I believe that I have game and my good days, as well,” she said.

“She’s just a fighter.

“Let’s cross fingers I will have a good day that one.”