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.”


Sharapova and Kuznetsova in Notes and Quotes at the BNP Paribas Open

Maria Sharapova


(March 8, 2013) World No. 3 Maria Sharapova had no problems taking out Francesca Schiavone at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday 6-2, 6-1 while 2-time major champ Svetlana Kuznetsova have to overcome a first set bagel to top  18th seed Jelena Jankovic 0-6, 6-2, 7-5.

During Sharapova’s post-match news conference, the media asked more questions about her candy “Sugarpova,”  than about the match.

Asked about her experience in this business venture:

“I think learning, you know.  One of the things that I have really picked up over the many years I have worked with different brands and people is that I never really had a solid education in my career, but I have always liked to listen and I have liked to learn.

“That was my way of learning, is through being in so many different types of meetings, whether they were creative ones, whether they were with advertisement agencies, it was just ‑‑ but at the end of it all, I was just a small part of all those big brands.

“I knew that one day ‑‑ I certainly didn’t really think that it was going to be a couple of years ago ‑‑ I would start my own business.

“Usually you would start something a lot quicker than two years, but it took two years, and I don’t regret any ‑‑ you know, launching it earlier than I did, because it took that much to get it all together and make it into a quality product and something that I really believed in.

“I wanted to do something that was different, that was very unexpected.  You know, I have been part of, you know, clothes collaboration and done things with accessories from Japanese brands to Cole Haan to working on my own collection and Nike. I  even had a perfume back many years ago.

“So I wanted this to be something unique.  And when the name came about right away, I knew that it was going to be candy, yeah.”

On possible expansion and extension of her candy line into other forms of sweets:

“Not at this point.  I see it expanding more into different businesses, whether it’s fashion or cosmetics down the line.

“But I want to get ‑‑ I mean, even though it’s been, you know, beyond my expectations, there are still so many things and so many markets that we need to get, you know.  Where now we have 12 SKUs, and we’re adding three more in a few weeks.  There are so many things to be done.

“Right now we are trying to get around the world, and that takes ‑‑ to get into one country takes at least three to four months before their own food and drug organization, you know, approves everything and ingredients.  Certain countries you have to change certain ingredients for it to be sold there, the labels in different countries have to be changed.  So many things you don’t even think about.”

Svetlana Kuznetsova

A big topic of conversation in Kuznetsova’s news conference was her on-court attire. Her match turned around by changing her outfits:

“Well, for me it’s very difficult to play in cold weather because even I tried to play in the long tight pants first set, I cannot.  I think I can do it every time I go and try, and I know I cannot play in anything ‑‑ wearing anything, because it’s just not comfortable.

“I can practice in it without problem, but when I have matches I always start to lose and I have to take it off and then all the things changes.  I don’t think I started to win because of my pants, but still, I was not moving.  (Smiling.)

“I just had to change things.”

“You know, I thought it was ‑‑ they are very tight (the pants), so they were kind of pushing my stomach so I was not so much comfortable.  It was not bothering me like so much, but after I took it off I was feeling a little bit looser.  So it’s a little bit funny.  Yeah, it’s just the pants, but I don’t blame them.  I mean, it’s all because of me.”

On playing at Indian Wells  and other tournaments during her career:

“You know, other day I was on the radio and they ask, What do you like and what do you not like in Indian Wells?  When I was younger it was too boring for me, this place.  Now I enjoy actually the tranquility of here.  Just everything is fine.

“For me, whole my career is so much ups and downs and I am just used to it, so just going along with it.  Just try to do my best this year wherever I can.”

” I believe I can play good anywhere, and I can play bad actually in the same way.  (Laughter.)

“Not actually in the same way, but I still keep it there.  Bad loses not maybe many people remember, but the wins, it always counts.”

“I mean, of course everybody comes to press, I love this.  You know, you’re tired to listening, I love this.  I mean, for sure you don’t love every week.  This is pretty clear.

“There are smaller ones which are not well organized, and it’s very difficult to go play them.  It’s not like I hate them.  There is always some good things and some bad things.

“But there is events like small you’ve got to take a train, a flight, then a ride, and then this, and then the food is not great.  These events really like I better not go play.

“But big events, I think they’re all quite good.  I mean, there are some things you don’t like about it, yeah, or you like more or less, but big events always pretty well organized.”

Follow Tennis Panorama News‘ coverage of the BNP Paribas Open here and on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.




Azarenka Continues Title Defense, Advances to Semifinals at Australian Open

Victoria Azarenka

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – World No. 1  Victoria Azarenka kept her title defense on track on Wednesday at Melbourne Park, progressing to the semifinals of the Australian Open with a 7-5 6-1 win over Svetlana Kuznetsova.


It was an enthralling encounter between the world No. 1 and the two-time grand slam champion as they went toe for toe in the 77 minute opening set. Kuznetsova got her nose in front early to lead 4-1 before Azarenka charged back and was able to break Kuznetsova on set point to go up one set 7-5.


The second set began with the women swapping breaks in the first three games before Azarenka got a stranglehold in the fourth game by consolidating the second break to lead 3-1. From there she made very few unforced errors and raced to victory 7-5 6-1.


“I feel like at the beginning it was a little bit like play around, you know, a lot of back and forth. I think we were both producing, you know, good tennis, but I felt like she was a little bit on top of me on the important moments. I didn’t really take advantage of that, and she really did. So I felt like that was the main thing that she got that lead.”


“Then I turned it around and I took control in my hands and it was more up to me. That’s what I felt like was a turning point mentally and physically, you know, and everything else there.”


The match today was a good test for the world No. 1 heading into the semifinals.


“Yeah, I think you cannot expect to have your best tennis on every single point, on every single game. But it’s important to know that when you need it, it’s there and you can rely on that. That’s what gives you, you know, confidence. That’s what keeps you fighting all the time, that you just have to try and try and try. “


Azarenka progresses through to the semifinals where she will play Sloane Stephens who upset Serena Williams.


Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.


Azarenka in Fine Form, Meets Refreshed Kuznetsova in Quarterfinal


Azarenka smiles

By Jaclyn Stacey


(January 21, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Victoria Azarenka kept her Australian Open title defense on track on Monday after comfortably disposing of Hobart champion Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1 in 58 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.


She moves into a quarterfinal matchup with Svetlana Kuznetsova after the Russian defeated Caroline Wozniacki in a grueling encounter 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.


Kuznetsova will carry a 4-3 head-to-head lead into the match against Azarenka and will be determined after re-discovering her passion for the game during her six month hiatus from the sport in the second half of 2012 due to a knee injury.


Kuznetsova won the 2004 US Open and the 2009 French Open and was asked how it felt to make a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam on the comeback trail.


“Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s my best result. I have been two times to quarterfinals, so I’m just kind of replaying that.”


“It’s very good result for first tournament, for first Grand Slam, and especially I don’t remember when I was in quarters.”


Kuznetsova raced to a one set lead over the Dane and said she was feeling so good that she stopped and before she knew it she was into a decider and needing to fight for the match.


“I was very happy with the first set, so happy that I stopped to do anything.”


“And third set I just had to fight every ball as I could, try to still dictate, try to do the things what I was doing well.”


Kuznetsova said that the knee injury was the one of the best things to happen to her as it forced her to take time off from the tour and re-discover her passion for tennis.


“Here I think it was time to just stop. My body was not able to hold anymore, and mentally I was not there, as well.”


“Never had a thought of stopping tennis. I was just laying in bed, and I was like, thanks my knee. At least I can rest, you know.”


“But anyway, I had time home and just refresh my mind, and then I just understood that I want to play this game. I mean, I always loved it, but I wanted to have this desire to bring me back; this is what happened.”


Kuznetsova said that her quarterfinal opponent will be tough to beat, saying that the Belarusian is a more complete player and has been able to rein in her emotions in the big points of a match.


“But, I mean, she’s tough; she’s No. 1; I have nothing to lose; she has all the pressure. I know I got the game to give her some problems, and I will just do my best and just try to enjoy it.”


Azarenka knows how hard it will be to take on Kuznetsova and said, “I think it’s going to be very tough match. I can see Sveta came back much fresher, much stronger. She knows how to handle big stages, big tournaments. She’s a Grand Slam champion, as well.”


Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.


Kuznetsova Quietly Breezes Through Australian Open Draw

Cicma nd Kuznetsova Tennis Panroama News BNPBK

By Jaclyn Stacey


(January 17, 2013) Svetlana Kuznetsova needed only 52 minutes to dispose of twenty-sixth seed Hsieh Su-Wei and progress through to a third round meeting with Spaniard Carla Suarez-Navarro on Saturday.


The two time Grand Slam champion missed much of the second half of the 2012 season due to a knee injury and fell outside of the top 50 for the first time in 11 years, ending her season ranked number 72.


Kuznetsova spoke of her renewed passion for the game in Sydney last week where she qualified for the main draw and produced an upset win over Caroline Wozniacki before losing in the quarterfinals to Angelique Kerber. She has managed to remain committed to the game while the majority of her Russian contemporaries have retired, including 2004 Roland Garros champion Anastasia Myskina, Beijing gold medallist Elena Dementieva and former world number one Dinara Safina.


Kuznetsova raced to a 4-0 lead in the first set and allowed her opponent only two games before closing it out the set in 23 minutes. Hsieh broke Kuznetsova in the first game of the second set and it would prove to be the only game she would win, her opponent winning the next six games and the match 6-2 6-1.


Kuznetsova was pleased with her performance after the match saying “It was good. I thought it was not going to be an easy match because she’s a tough opponent, she’s unpredictable. So I was trying to stay focussed and do what I could.”


The heat was not an issue for Kuznetsova, and said playing in the Sydney heat wave last week was handy preparation. “It was 52 minutes so I’m happy to be out there before an hour. But it was alright, I had a good practice last week as well.”


On her third round match up against Suarez-Navarro she says “It’s going to be a tough match. Carla is never easy, she’s a very stable opponent but I did practice with her back in Spain so more or less I know how to play.”


Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.


Notes and Quotes from Day 8 of the 2012 French Open

Victoria Azarenka

Pretty much everything, really.  I don’t know how to describe my performance really today.  It wasn’t satisfying at all.  It wasn’t satisfying being out there playing that way.

But I guess it happens, you know.  I don’t know even what to find positive really in my performance today.  But, well, it’s been too little time.  Maybe in a few hours I’ll find something that I can be happy with.

I’m gonna kill myself.  What am I going to do recovering?  I’m just gonna go on the practice court and practice again.

This tournament is over for me.  What’s to recover from?  It’s to really look forward and improve.  That’s it.


Yeah, she’s a dangerous opponent.  She had big wins before, and it was no surprise that she was going to be playing well today.


But right now I’m just really, really unhappy with the way I played.  And I’m gonna look for what I do wrong, you know, so make sure it doesn’t happen again.


I mean, the beginning of the year couldn’t have been possibly better for me.  It happened, you know.  Today I lost a match.  I’m not trying to look back, you know, what happened in January right now, what happened in February.

I need to learn from what I did today because there is still a lot more tournaments to play, and I have to be ready.


Well, for sure I’m going to go back home.  I haven’t been home in a while, and it’s something that I for sure need just to get rested mentally, definitely, and, you know, just to get out of the tennis field a little bit.

And once I have my passion and desire back on the court, I’ll be on the grass.



Dominika Cibulkova

 On kissing/smelling the tennis balls:

No, I’m not kissing the balls.  I really like the smell of the balls, of the new balls.  (Smiling).

I was just smelling the balls all the time.  I do the same things.  Yeah.


I don’t need to do it, but it’s just my habit, what I do on the court when I have new balls.  I just smell them.  It’s maybe also for the luck, and I do it all my life, so it’s just, you know, something, what I do on the court.


On giving credit to her former coach:

We split with Zeljko after Miami.  We split with him after that match  not after the match, but whatever.  We split after Miami, and it was maybe a little bit too much for me, you know.

I mean, I have to give him the credit.  He gave me a lot on the tennis side.  You know, he helped me change my game.  He showed me what is my weapons.

But maybe after it was a little bit too much pressure, you know.  I just I just couldn’t handle it, you know.  He was maybe too much pushing.  It was, I would say now, the best thing what could happen to me that we split with him.  And actually now I’m just more relaxed on the court, and I just don’t need to go for everything, you know.  I go what I feel, and, you know, it’s really so, so much better.

I just feel relaxed and I’m again love tennis.  You know, we love to go on the court, and I’m enjoying it on the court.  That’s what’s the most important.

I think that’s why I play much better now.


Kerber photo Courtesy of WTAtennis.com

Angelique Kerber


I think after the US Open I start to believe in me more.  And also I continue my practice and do a lot of fitness things.  So I think that’s the things to… yes.


Yeah, today it was a tough match.  I mean, I am not playing my best tennis, and it was not the best match I played.

But, I mean, I just try to stay in the match and try to play a little bit aggressive, but it’s not working the whole two sets.

But, yeah, I mean, I just try to play point by point, and at the end it was just two, three points what decide the match.


Paris is one of my favorite places.  I mean, I won here my first WTA tournament.  So I have a lot of good weeks and days here, and I hope the next week and days will continue.



I’m not thinking to win this year.  I mean, I just thinking to play round by round, and because now I know that I need to improve and play better like today to win like the quarters against Errani, because, yeah, today  like I say, I didn’t play my best, and the matches will be tougher, and we will see.


I don’t know why, but it’s good for Germany that we have a lot of top players right now.  After Steffi Graf, there was a long break, and now we are, I don’t know, five or six good players.

And it’s good.  I mean, we know each other and we are friends, and, yeah  yeah, we practice like from the beginning together.  But everybody goes her own way, and it’s good to see that, yeah, the girls you practice from the young age are also good and playing very well.

Svetlana Kuznetsova

On Paris run:

I mean, as I said from the start, I didn’t expect a lot.  But then I didn’t expect a lot from the tournament, but then when I started to play better and better, of course I know my possibility.  I knew of my chances.

As I said, I didn’t use them.  Yeah, again today was really tough day.  I didn’t play a good game, far away from it.

Really disappointing.  Again, it was no expectation.  I did fourth round.  It’s all right for me for the moment.  I just have to go back and just to work on my game.

It’s already starting it’s like the drawing is already getting better, but still lots of works to do still.

Yeah, I mean, first set was just horrible.  Today the weather was so bad.  I felt cold like during whole match.  For me to move was really complicated.  I could not make my feet just go and moving.  I couldn’t get myself on the roll.

Then in the second set I started to play better, the right points at the right time.  But at 5-3 I just didn’t play the right thing.  Maybe I rushed too much.

Sara, for her game, it’s the best I’ve seen her play.  Her ball is very good on clay.  I’m far away from my best form yet.


On the aspects of her game that she working on:

Well, on defense and passing to attack, playing more spin, forehand.  Change few things with the serve, which I’m really happy about it.

But still have to adjust some things.  You cannot just start to work with coach one week before French Open.  You cannot change really big things.  We are not looking to change big things, but still have to add little by little some changes.  And I didn’t have any time for that.  And I’ll have to adjust to the schedule, so I’ll see what it’s going to be.


On her new hairdo:

It’s my hair?  I don’t know.  My friend does this for me.  My coach was really pissed after second match because my  these things were falling off the way I made it and I was taking it all the time and pulling it back.  So he was really mad at me.

He said, If you don’t do something good for next match, I will give you the kitty whatever is the baby’s of his daughter’s he’ll put on my head and I will play with Hello Kitty things.

I had to make up something interesting.


Well, my friend offer me to do that.  I said, Okay, let’s try.  I always love the cornrows or whatever.  It’s good.

Novak Djokovic

Well, you’re always happy and relieved when you win.  So that’s what matters the most today.

All the congratulations for his tournament and performance today.  I think, you know, he was a better player for first two sets, definitely.  I was very fortunate to come through to this match.  I was fighting.  When I was two sets down, I believed I could win the match, and I think, you know, that’s the only positive I can really pick up from today’s match.


Well, it’s one of those days where you don’t feel just  nothing is working, you know, really.  My serve was well.  But aside that, I could not get into the rhythm, you know.  I was fighting, and I think because of the fight I won the match.


You know, I’m not worried.  I’m just hoping that I can wake up tomorrow knowing that I’m in a quarterfinals, and I just want to deliver my best performance in the next challenge, forget this match today, take the best out of it, you know.

I’m proud that I’ve been fighting and coming back from two sets down.  That’s all I can say now.


I was most worried about my game.  You know, I wasn’t really worried about the match itself.  I mean, his game, he played well.  That’s a fact.

But, I mean, I wasn’t managing to get into the rhythm.  I had my kind of flashes, you know, positive flashes where I was winning games in a row, and I felt that I actually can hit it now.

But most of the match I was defensive, and so that was it.


Look, you know, I think it’s just a bad day, you know, for my game, for my rhythm in general.

But, look, I won.  So I don’t need to be disappointed or, you know, think, okay, you know, I’m gonna be worried now or whatever.

I’m in the quarterfinals.  I won the match.  That’s what matters the most.  That’s something that gives me, of course, always motivation to continue on and trying to, as I said, wake up tomorrow, you know, hoping for a better day, you know.

It was just not a good day.  That’s what’s happen in sports.  You have good days; you have bad days.

It has to be much better performance from me in order to try to win against the next opponent, because both of these guys are great quality players.

Jo is a home favorite, crowd favorite.  He has big support, obviously.  I think he’s a big match player, you know.  He loves the big stage, the pressure and everything.

Stan is one of the most consistent players we have on tour in the last couple of years.  And he loves playing on clay.  He loves playing best of five and upsetting some favorites.

It’s a quarterfinals now.  There is no more clear favorites anymore.

Roger Federer

Rating David Goffin:

I thought he played really well.  Great impression.  You know, he took the ball early every time.  Don’t hit a very good shot, he can take advantage of that.

I guess for his size and, you know, he’s not the heaviest guy out there, it’s natural he’s gonna be a good mover, and his strengths lie sort of in the baseline game, right?  That’s what he showed today.  He’s got great potential in terms of his touch and the way he reads the game.  I thought it was an interesting match.

Obviously in some ways I guess it’s tough for me coming out not knowing exactly what his favorite patterns are in the game, the way he serves, when he does what.

But, no, he impressed me, and I enjoyed the match today.

Obviously the way he, you know, I think he takes a backhand early and he absorbs pace really well, as well, from the baseline.

You know, I had a very hard time getting control from the baseline.  Obviously the wind wasn’t helping, and maybe I wasn’t playing all that great early on, but that was due also to his great playing.

But what I enjoy very much about this story, about David and the way he played today, it’s nice to see someone do it at a Grand Slam again for a change again, because back in the day we were used to seeing Becker winning Wimbledon, Chang winning the French Open at very young ages, even in the women’s game.  It just doesn’t happen so often anymore.

On his first week of the French Open:

Yes, of course I’m very happy that I went through the first four rounds, because I may have thought that I was playing too different a game compared with my opponents, starting from the second round.

Physically I feel well.  I’m not tired.  I don’t have any source of pain anywhere, so that’s very positive.

And regarding my level of play, everything is fine.  Could be better.  But, again, I’m still adjusting.  Sometimes I’m not so sure.  So I may miss something, but usually I prepare for the rest of the tournament.

And I suppose it’s going to help me if, in the next round, I play somebody I’ve already played against several times.  It will be a much more straightforward sort of match.

Del Potro or Berdych, I know them, I know the way they play on their backhand, I know how they serve, I know how they return.  They have no secrets for me.

You know, sometimes you expect something, and when you’re the favorite, you end up thinking you are going to win, but you don’t exactly know how you’re going to win.  That’s probably what made things more difficult during this particular match.

I almost lost today.  It was a very tight match.  So I’m very happy that I’m still here tonight.


Advice to Goffin:

All in all, I think that he has many people, coaches and a full team around him, who are going to tell him what to do.

However, what matters is that he has a couple of people whom he trusts, and those are the people he needs to listen to.  He should not listen to those who are going to try to jump on the train while it’s already running.  Then he’s going to need to improve, and, you know, there’s no secret.  You work hard.  You improve.

Your talent is helpful up to a certain degree, but then it takes a bit of hard work.

You need to work on your basics, and I’m sure that that’s what he’s going to do.  And if he has any more questions, I’m available.  I’m on the tour, so he knows where to find me.


I’m not used to playing against an opponent who loves me or loves the way I play, loves me as a tennis player.

But, I mean, I’m aware that it had to happen someday, because it happened to me when I played against Sampras or people I admired, like Agassi.  Although it was different, because I still played a one‑hand backhand.  I missed Becker and Edberg, unfortunately, but I had a lot of fun during the very first years on the tour, so I suppose it’s going to be exactly the same for him.



David Goffin

Yes, it was a very nice day, very nice match.  I start very well early in the match, I was playing aggressive, and with my backhand, and, yeah, it was great.  But I give all my best during all the match.

I was a little bit tired at the end, because I play a lot of match in this tournament, but it’s okay.  No regrets.

I give all I had.

Yeah, of course, it’s the biggest match of my life, play Roger here in Roland Garros after tournaments.  It was a bonus match for me, but I took a lot of pleasure on this stadium.

I was a little bit nervous, of course, but I was feeling good.  Physically I was good at the start of the match.  So it was a great match.


Asked about what he will do with his big payday:

I don’t know yet, but, yeah, first I see the result and not the prize money.

But of course it’s my best prize money ever, but I don’t think about this.  First I think about the result and the moment on the court.


On the match:

It’s definitely the greatest moment in my life.  I had never played in such a big stadium against the best player I’ve ever had as an opponent.

This is a moment that I will not forget, and I hope I will have many more in my life.


Well, what is very frightening is his (Federer’s) attitude.  When he was down, I thought he’s going to show something with his face, he’s going to have a shake in his lips.  Nothing.  Poker face.  Like in every other match.  He’s very focused.

Even when he’s not playing at his best level, he continues playing and he ended up winning.  Just like anywhere else.  That’s what I find impressive.


About the future:

Well, of course people will expect more from me in the future.  But I’m still very young.  I’m working on the long term, and if I want to have a long career, I still have to work hard.

Of course you can’t play in the round of 16 in a Grand Slam tournament three times a year, so I’m going to work hard to go back to the same level.  It might not happen overnight, but I will give it all so that I can improve.

I still have to work a lot.  I still need to develop my play.  I’m young.  I have a long career ahead of me, so I’m going to work on the long term.


Thought of being sent to the Olympics to represent Belgium:

Of course.  If they ask me to go, I will go.  I will defend Belgian colors in London.

But I had not been thinking about it before I came for this tournament.  But now after this round of 16, obviously I’m on the brink of going to London.  I hadn’t really thought about it.

We’ll see after the tournament.  I still have to manage my grass season, but I will prepare for the grass season.  I really like the grass, and I will prepare and I can do some good stuff.


My very first match was great, and then the second match I won in five sets, and then the third match is an unbelievable result that opens the door for me for a match against Federer.  And obviously “the” match was today’s match against Federer.

That is “the” memory that I’m going to hold on to.

Sloane Stephens



So much fun to just be out there and just play, you know.  I don’t know.  Some people can’t even play tennis, so for me, it’s just like when you think about it, it’s not bad at all.

I was playing pretty well in the first set and I had my chances.  I served for the set; didn’t serve it out.

So, I mean, I was playing well, and second set made a little comeback.  Then it was a weird one, but you learn from it and, you know, take that.

I have been playing really well.  I have more confidence now and I’m kinda like coming into my own, I guess you could say.  I feel a lot better on the court, and, you know, the whole thing, the whole game is pretty much just believing in yourself.

People play well with confidence, and when you’re having fun and you’re, you know, doing the right things, everything’s all good.

So even though I lost today I played pretty well, I’d say, to play against, I guess, No. 6 seed and she’s top 10 in the world.

I thought it was okay.


I have had such a good time.  And even though every day I have been saying, Man, I can’t wait to get home to eat my grandpa’s curry crab, I don’t want to leave.

So it’s kind of bittersweet that I’m going home, but I had so much fun.


It was kind of a weird thing.  We played on a court that was  there was really no people there.  There was no crowd.  There was nothing really.

So the tennis part probably came down to experience, and I wouldn’t say that it was like, Oh, my God, she was just like overwhelmingly whatever.

But definitely things to be learned on my part.

Samantha Stosur

Yeah, for sure the start was, I guess, pretty tense, like you said.  I mean, she came out playing very well.  I felt like I was struggling to kinda get into it, like I played a good point and a couple of bad ones.

She came out playing very aggressive and kinda got me off guard, I think.  I went down that break and got a little bit mad with myself and then recomposed, and, yeah, really tough to come back from 5-3.

I think that 5‑All game was huge for both of us.  Luckily I was the one that got through and was kinda able to step it up and get on a little bit of a roll from that point.


No, I knew she played aggressive and the little bits and piece about her it, yeah.  Her forehand was, I thought, excellent.  She hit it very, very well.

If I didn’t hit a really good shot into that side then I was kinda getting burnt.  So I kind have had to raise just a few things and really kind of, yeah, change what I was trying to do a little bit from that point on.


I think she’s, yeah, got a very bright future ahead of her.

I think again at that point of maybe 5-3, 5-All, 5-4, 5-All, that inexperience probably showed through a little bit.  And then again for me to be able to run away with a string of games, I think that’s just, yeah, being young and maybe not handling it as well as you might down the track.

And, yeah, but I think like I said before, she’s got an excellent forehand and serves pretty big and moves very well.  I think, you know, as she matures and gets a little bit older that’s all going to really come together.

I think she’s, yeah, got a very good future ahead of her.




2012 ASB Classic Preview

2012 ASB Classic Preview

By Stephanie Neppl

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – One of the strongest fields in ASB Classic history will contest the 2012 tournament, with the top eight seeds all ranked within the top 30 players in the world.


The top seed is German Sabine Lisicki, who played as a qualifier in the 2011 tournament before having a career best year in 2011. Lisicki won two titles and made the semifinals at Wimbledon, helping her be named the WTA’s Comeback Player of the Year. Lisicki faces French wildcard Virginie Razzano in the first round.


Peng Shuai of China is the second seed, and the returning semifinalist had a strong and consistent 2011 season which saw her end the year ranked No. 17. She will start against a qualifier.

Third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova is a two-time grand slam winner and returns to Auckland after losing a three-set battle with Peng in the second round in 2011. The Russian plays a qualifer in the first round.


Italian Flavia Pennetta rounds out the top four seeds. The 2010 runner-up had some big wins in the second half of 2011, taking out Maria Sharapova at the US Open and WTA No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the China Open.  Pennetta opens against Romanian Sorana Cristea.


The remaining top seeds are German Julia Goerges, who reached the semifinalis last year; Italian Roberta Vinci, who won three titles in 2011; 2010 winner and 2011 runner-up Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium; and Romanian Monica Niculescu. Georges faces defending champion Greta Arn of Hungary and Vinci plays Canadian Rebecca Marino. Wickmayer and Niculescu open against qualifiers.


The rest of the field include upcoming American Christina McHale, US Open semifinalist Angelique Kerber; Aussie and former top 5 player Jelena Dokic, 2009 runner-up Elena Vesnina and New Zealand’s No. 1 Marina Erakovic.


Top eight seeds:

1 – Sabine Lisicki (Germany)
2 – Peng Shuai (China)
3 – Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)
4 – Flavia Pennetta (Italy)
5 – Julia Goerges (Germany)
6 – Roberta Vinci (Italy)
7 – Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium)
8 – Monica Niculescu (Romania)


2012 Kia Motors Doubles Draw


The 2012 Kia Motors Doubles Draw has been released, and the field boasts the defending Wimbledon and French Open champions as well as half of the reigning Australian Open champions.


The top seeds are defending champions Kveta Peschke  and Katarina Srebotnik, who won Wimbledon in 2011. The pair will open their title defence against Liga Dekmeijere of Latvia and Megan Moulton-Levy of the US.


Second seeds are Elena Vesnina of Russian with India’s Sania Mirza, who had a great 2011 including a runner up finish at the French Open. They lost that final to our third seeds, the Czech duo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. The reigning French Open doubles team face off in their first match against the Swedish team of Sofia Arvidsson and Johanna Larsson.


Italian Flavia Pennetta, the #4 singles seed who won the Australian Open doubles title in 2011 with partner Gisela Dulko, is playing with #5 singles seed Julia Goerges of Germany and they will face Kiwi Emily Fanning and Russian Regina Kulikova in their first match.


Kiwi Marina Erakovic is playing with Canada’s Rebecca Marino, and they open against Mirza and Vesnina.


For the full doubles draw, please click here.

Stephanie Neppl in Auckland, New Zealand covering the ASB Classic for the tournament web site.

Follow the ASB Classic on their web site http://www.asbclassic.co.nz/, twitter https://twitter.com/#!/ASBClassicAuckland and Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ASBClassic.

$ 220,000.00
DECEMBER 31 – JANUARY 07, 2012

CENTRE COURT start 1:00 pm
C Mchale (USA) vs A Dulgheru (ROU)
[4] F Pennetta (ITA) vs S Cirstea (ROU)
[WC] S Jones (NZL) vs E Baltacha (GBR)
[WC] M Erakovic (NZL) / R Marino (CAN) vs [2] S Mirza (IND) / E Vesnina (RUS)

Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] S Lisicki (GER) vs [WC] V Razzano (FRA)
M Barthel (GER) vs J Dokic (AUS)

COURT 2 start 10:00 am
Qualifying – R Kulikova (RUS) vs A Riske (USA)
Qualifying – P Parmentier (FRA) or A Rezai (FRA) vs C Vandeweghe (USA)

Not Before 1:00 PM
L Hradecka (CZE) vs A Brianti (ITA)
[3] A Hlavackova (CZE) / L Hradecka (CZE) vs S Arvidsson (SWE) / J Larsson (SWE) – POSSIBLE COURT CHANGE

COURT 4 start 10:00 am
Qualifying – [WC] M Puig (PUR) vs K Pliskova (CZE)
Qualifying – A Keothavong (GBR) vs J Hampton (USA) or I Falconi (USA)

Not Before 1:00 PM
J Larsson (SWE) vs S Errani (ITA)
A Cornet (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU) vs E Bogdan (ROU) / A Dulgheru (ROU) – POSSIBLE COURT CHANGE
S Cirstea (ROU) / D Jurak (CRO) vs K Barrois (GER) / A Groenefeld (GER) – POSSIBLE COURT CHANGE