2014/10/31

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.”

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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.

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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).”

 

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Serena Williams Battles into Semifinal

SerenaWilliamsWilsonPhoto

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.”

 

 

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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.”

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bartoli, Jankovic, Kuznetsova Fall in Upset Filled Monday in Toronto

By Brodie McPhee

TORONTO, Canada – Main draw action got under way on Monday at the Rogers Cup. It was a day filled with surprises and upsets as seeds Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova all fell in the opening matches of their respective campaigns.

Perhaps the most surprising result was Galina Voskoboeva defeating Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-3. “I think I just played pretty successful this year, and I’m pretty confident right now”, said the Kazakh. It was a different story from the French woman, however, who has had an incredibly successful year, including runs to the French Open semis and Wimbledon quarters. “It was really just one of those days where nothing [was] working.” “When you commit so many mistakes like I did today, it’s really hard to win a match, to be honest. It was really like my game was not at the level I’m supposed to play regarding my ranking.”

 

Seeded Russian Pavlyuchenkova also fell in the first round, this time on the grandstand to Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Despite taking the first set with her signature powerful ground strokes combined with some excellent passing shots, Martinez Sanchez’s variety and impressive net game managed to overwhelm and frustrate the 14th seed.

Julia Goerges of Germany celebrates a point against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia during their match at the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Toronto, August 8, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

 

In the night session, number 15 seed Jelena Jankovic was also stunned by rising German star Julia Goerges in the first match of the evening session. Goerges’ powerful serve and forehand, along with her excellent movement and defense proved too much for the Serbian. “If you play a player like Jelena, you have to play your best to beat those players. That’s what I knew before. I went for my shots and I went for my game, and, yeah, it went pretty well today.” Jankovic admitted to being “rusty” and not match fit. She remained positive, however, citing her past 3 weeks of training, and that practice is never the same as real matches.

The last match of the night featured home town favorite Rebecca Marino up against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. It was a difficult night for the Canadian, who fought back from being down 0-5 in the first set tiebreak to even it up at 6-6, only to drop the next two points and the set, 7-6(6).

The second set followed a similar pattern. Marino looked excellent on serve, relying on her powerful first serve and driving forehand to stay on the aggressive side of the ball. The return proved much more difficult. Makarova used her lefty serve to her advantage, often kicking it out wide on the ad side of the court, and mixing up her speeds effectively. This kept Marino guessing and often left her behind from the first stroke. “Her serve was actually quite difficult. That second serve, I know it may have looked easy, but it’s difficult, because there was kind of no pace on it. So it’s hard to actually create your own. She used the angles very well generally and moved me around a lot. Very smart player, I guess, is the difference.” Unable to earn any break points in the match, Marino was broken herself at 4-5 in the second set after saving three match points, losing to Makarova 7-6(6), 6-4.

Tenth seeded seeded Samantha Stosur was the only seed to advance Monday. Greta Arn, Lucie Safarova, Simona Halep and Jie Zheng all won.

Brodie McPhee is the author of the tennis web site Mind the Racket. He’s in Toronto this week covering the Rogers Cup WTA edition for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews and his personal twitter @MindTheRacket.

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