2015/05/25

US Advances to Fed Cup World Group Playoffs with win over Argentina

Venus fistpump

(February 8, 2015) Venus Williams led the USA Fed Cup team into the World Group Playoffs on Sunday when she defeated Maria Irigoyen of Argentina 6-1, 6-4 in the second match of the day to clinch the tie at 3-1. Sister Serena did not play the first rubber of the day due to an illness. She was replaced by Coco Vandeweghe, who lost to Paula Ormaechea 6-4, 6-4.

The Americans will play in the World Group Playoffs the weekend of April18-19. They will face one of the following teams: Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland winners in World Group II, and the four World Group first round losers, Australia, Canada, Italy and Poland. The draw will take place on Tuesday.

The Americans have won the Fed Cup title 17 times, more than any other nation, with their last Fed Cup coming in 2000.

USA defeated ARGENTINA 4-1

Venue: Pilara Tennis Club, Buenos Aires (clay – outdoors)

Venus Williams (USA) d. Paula Ormaechea (ARG) 63 62
Serena Williams (USA) d. Maria Irigoyen (ARG) 75 60
Paula Ormaechea (ARG) d. CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) 64 64
Venus Williams (USA) d. Maria Irigoyen (ARG) 61 64

Taylor Townsend/CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. Tatiana Bua/Nadia Podoroska (ARG) 62 63

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Williams Sisters Give USA 2-0 Lead Over Argentina in Fed Cup

 

 

(February 7, 2015) The Williams sisters gave the United States an expected 2-0 lead over Argentina in their Fed Cup World Group II tie on Saturday in Buenos Aires.

Venus defeated Paula Ormaechea 6-3, 6-2, in the first match, and Serena, figured out her opponent and beat Maria Irigoyen 7-5, 6-0.

Venus, who is ranked No. 11 in the world, defeated No. 121 Ormaechea, 6-3, 6-2, in just one hour and 20 minutes,

“There were a lot of deuce games and Paula really competed well,” Venus said of the match. “She started coming back at 5-0 in the second set, so I had to find a way to put it away. I never thought she was going to give up. It was a good thing for our team to get that first point.”

“There were a couple of breaks in the beginning, but there were interesting circumstances to this match—you are playing for your country and it was my first time on clay. I was just trying to find my rhythm. Once I got broke, I was only thinking about breaking back and holding. By the fifth game, I felt good and it helped me a lot through the rest of the match.”

 

It was two completely different sets,“ Serena said when speaking about her match. “I was trying to find my rhythm. The ball bounced differently than in practice and my feet didn’t move as well in the beginning. The balls hit with more spin today and I needed to get used to that. It is also more humid here. The conditions were hot and the court got a few bad bounces. I was able to find my way there at the end and win.”

Serena can seal the first-round tie on Sunday, in the first of the reverse singles against Ormaechea.

Should the U.S. win, they will be in the playoffs in April, for the opportunity to reach World Group again in 2016.

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Serena and Venus Williams Lead US Against Argentina in Fed Cup Tie

Argentina Colombia WCup Soccer

(February 6, 2015) The United States will face Argentina in the Fed Cup World Group II First Round on an outdoor red clay court at the Pilara Tennis Club in Buenos Aires. Play begins Saturday at 11:00 am local time (9:00 am ET).

 

Opening the tie will be world No. 11 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and world No. 121 Paula Ormaechea. Venus comes to Argentina after reaching the Australian Open quarterfinal, her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2010. She holds a 19-4 overall record in Fed Cup competition (15-2 in singles), last playing in the 2013 Fed Cup World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach, Fla. She was also a member of the Fed Cup title-winning team in 1999. She has been ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles.

 

“I love the game, competition and everything about tennis,” Venus said in Friday’s draw ceremony. “It is a pleasure to be here and represent the U.S.”

 

“Paula is a great girl and a great player. We have practiced a few times together. I have a lot of respect for her and it will be a good match between us.”

 

 

Ormaechaea has competed in 12 Fed Cup ties for Argentina, holding an 11-7 singles record. She peaked at No. 59 in the world in October 2013 and has reached the third round of the French Open twice (in 2013 and 2014). Venus and Ormaechea have faced each other once on the WTA Tour – in the 2013 French Open, where Venus won, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

 

The second match on Saturday features world No. 1 and 2015 Australian Open champion Serena Williams and world No. 197 Maria Irigoyen. Serena holds a perfect 10-0 singles record in Fed Cup competition, last playing in the 2013 Fed Cup World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach to propel the U.S. back into the World Group last year. She also helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title. Williams has now won 19 Grand Slam titles along with the Olympic gold medal in singles and women’s doubles, with sister Venus, at the 2012 Games in London. Irigoyen has competed in 16 Fed Cup ties for Argentina, making her debut in 2008, and holds a 3-5 singles record in Fed Cup play. Irigoyen won her first WTA doubles title last year in Rio de Janeiro and has ranked as high as No. 155 in the world in singles and No. 83 in doubles. Serena and Irigoyen have never faced each other.

 

“It feels good to be in Argentina,” Serena said. “It is a change from Australia because we were on hard courts and now we are on clay. I love the clay. We are all trying to get our feet used to the surface, but the whole team feels really good. I am really excited to be playing here for my team.”

 

“I’ve played in some cozy, small stadiums around the world, including the Ukraine in Fed Cup. It’s a great chance for fans and people to come here to get up close to the tennis. I am excited to play for them.”

 

“I have been here with Venus before and we had a wonderful time. We had the opportunity to play with some kids with disabilities during our last visit and had fun playing with them. The city is really nice and we did a lot of shopping and touring and it was a wonderful experience. It is great to be back.”

 

 

 

This tie marks the first time that the U.S. Fed Cup Team has played in Argentina, as it has previously played them on home and neutral ground. This will mark the fifth matchup between the U.S. and Argentina in Fed Cup competition, where the United States holds a 3-1 record over Argentina. The U.S. is 8-11 in away ties since the World Group format was in instituted in 1995 and holds an overall 143-35 record.

 

“We are looking forward to this weekend,” said US Fed Cup captain MaryJoe Fernandez . We had a good week of practice, the club is fantastic, and the courts are in great shape. Obviously it is a big transition for Venus and Serena coming from Australia and changing the surface, but everyone is ready and looking good. We are ready to compete.”

 

 

The winner of this tie advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 18-19, to compete for a spot in the 2016 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2016. The U.S. will compete in World Group II in 2015 for just the second time since the World Group format was instituted in 1995 (the U.S. competed in the World Group II in 2012).

 

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 99 nations taking part in 2015. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000.

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Vandeweghe and Townsend to Replace Keys and Lepchenko On US Fed Cup Team

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

Coco Vandeweghe

Coco Vandeweghe

From the USTA: (February 4, 2015) Coco Vandeweghe and Taylor Townsend will replace Madison Keys and Varvara Lepchenko on the U.S. Fed Cup Team roster for the World Group II First Round in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Keys suffered a leg injury in the Australian Open en route to her first career Grand Slam semifinal, while Lepchenko suffered an illness after competing in Australia and is still recovering.

 

Vandeweghe, 23, is ranked a career-high No. 32 in the world after a strong start to the year, where she reached the third round of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals of the WTA event in Auckland, New Zealand. Vandeweghe made her only appearance on the U.S. Fed Cup Team in the 2010 World Group Final against Italy in San Diego. Townsend, 18, is ranked No. 96 in the world and is making her Fed Cup debut. Vandeweghe and Townsend join Serena Williams and Venus Williams, who were named to the U.S. team last week by U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez.

 

The United States will face Argentina on an outdoor red clay court at the Pilara Tennis Club in Buenos Aires, February 7-8. The winner of this tie advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 18-19, to compete for a spot in the 2016 World Group. This will mark the fifth matchup between the U.S. and Argentina in Fed Cup competition, where the United States holds a 3-1 record over Argentina.

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Serena and Venus Williams to lead US Fed Cup Team Against Argentina

USAFEDCUP

From the USTA: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., January 28, 2015 — The USTA and United States Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez today announced that world No. 1 and 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams, former world No. 1 and world No. 18 Venus Williams, No. 30 Varvara Lepchenko and No. 35 and 2015 Australian Open semifinalist Madison Keys will represent the U.S. in the 2015 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round against Argentina. The best-of-five match series will be played at the Pilara Tennis Club in Buenos Aires, Feb. 7-8. Former world junior No. 1 Taylor Townsend will also be joining the team in Argentina as a fifth member of the team and practice partner.

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 18-19, to compete for a spot in the 2016 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2016. The U.S. will compete in World Group II in 2015 for just the second time since the World Group format was instituted in 1995. (The U.S. also competed in the World Group II in 2012; it has competed in the World Group all other years.)

 

Argentina Fed Cup Captain Maria-Jose Gaidano named world No. 124 Paula Ormaechea, No. 198 Maria Irigoyen, No. 394 Nadia Podoroska and No. 551 Tatiana Bua to the Argentina team.

 

“We have an incredible amount of talent on this Fed Cup team, with three Australian Open quarterfinalists and four Top 40 players,” said Fernandez. “We are thrilled to be led by Serena, one of the greatest players of all time, as well as Venus, who is playing at the top of her game. I am so proud of Madison and her results in Australia and happy to have her on the team, as well as Varvara, who performs well in Fed Cup and has had a strong start to the year. I have full confidence in this team to play some great tennis in Argentina and help us get one step closer to earning our way back into the World Group next year.”

 

Matches begin on Saturday, Feb. 7, with two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Sunday’s schedule features two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 players square off, then the No. 2 players meet, followed by a doubles match. Play on Saturday and Sunday begins at 11 a.m. local time (9 a.m. ET). Tennis Channel will present daily coverage.

 

The United States holds a 3-1 record over Argentina in Fed Cup. The U.S. last faced Argentina in the 2009 World Group Quarterfinal in Surprise, Ariz., where the U.S. won, 3-2, in a fifth-and-decisive doubles rubber won by Julie Ditty and Liezel Huber. The U.S.’s only loss to Argentina came in 1993 in the World Group Quarterfinal in Germany. The two nations also faced each other in 1985 (in Japan) and in 1964 (in Philadelphia). The U.S. has never played Fed Cup in the country of Argentina; all other matches were either at home or on neutral ground. The U.S. is 8-11 in away ties since the World Group format was in instituted in 1995 and holds an overall 143-35 record.

 

World No. 1 Serena Williams, 33, holds a 10-0 singles record and 3-0 doubles record in Fed Cup competition, last playing in the 2013 Fed Cup World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach, Fla., to propel the U.S. back into the World Group last year. She also helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title. Williams won her 18th Grand Slam title at the 2014 US Open and captured the Olympic gold medal in singles and women’s doubles, with sister Venus, at the 2012 Games in London. With the Olympic singles win, Williams joined Steffi Graf as the only women to complete the Golden Slam—the Olympics and the four Grand Slam events—and she is the only person to accomplish the feat in both singles and doubles. Williams regained the No. 1 ranking in the world on Feb. 18, 2013, becoming the oldest woman (at age 31) to hold the top spot since the WTA computer rankings were introduced in November 1975. This was Williams’ sixth stint at No. 1 and took place nearly 11 years after she first became the No. 1-ranked tennis player in the world. Williams has won 64 WTA singles titles and has also been ranked No. 1 in doubles in her career. (She holds 21 doubles titles with sister Venus, including 13 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles.) Williams is currently in the semifinals of the Australian Open and will face Madison Keys on Thursday.

 

World No. 18 Venus Williams, 34, reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2010 at this year’s Australian Open. She re-entered the Top 20 in 2013 for the first time since revealing that she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, following the 2011 US Open. Venus holds a 19-4 overall record in Fed Cup competition (15-2 in singles), last playing in the 2013 Fed Cup World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach. She was also a member of the title-winning team in 1999. Venus is a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and has won 46 WTA singles titles. She has been ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles. In Olympic play, she has won three gold medals in doubles (with Serena) in 2000, 2008 and 2012, and she captured the singles gold medal in 2000. Venus reached the quarterfinals of the 2015 Australian Open—her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2010.

 

Lepchenko, 28, is currently ranked No. 30 in the world. She made her Fed Cup debut in the 2013 World Group First Round in Rimini, Italy, where she posted singles victories over then-world No. 8 Sara Errani and then-world No. 16 Roberta Vinci. Lepchenko was also named to the U.S. Fed Cup team for the 2013 World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach. She peaked at a career-high No. 19 in October 2012 and reached the fourth round of the 2012 French Open—her best result at a Grand Slam event—which qualified her for the U.S. Olympic team. In 2014, she reached her first WTA final in Seoul, upsetting top seed Agnieszka Radwanska. This year, Lepchenko reached the semifinals of the Australian Open tune-up event in Brisbane and the third round of the Australian Open. A native of Uzbekistan, Lepchenko has been living in the U.S. since 2001 after receiving political asylum, and she officially changed her nationality in 2007 to play for the U.S. She became an official U.S. citizen in Sept. 2011.

 

World No. 35 Keys, 19, is named to her third consecutive Fed Cup team after making her debut for the U.S. Fed Cup team last year, competing in the World Group First Round in Cleveland against Italy. (She also played in the World Group Playoff in St. Louis against France.) So far in her career, Keys has gone 1-2 in singles and 1-1 in doubles in Fed Cup. Keys advanced to her first career Grand Slam semifinal at this year’s Australian Open, where she upset No. 4 seed Petra Kvitova and No. 18 seed Venus Williams. Keys peaked at No. 27 in the world last July after winning her first WTA title at the grass-court event in Eastbourne, Great Britain. Also in 2014, she reached the semifinals of the WTA Australian Open tune-up event in Sydney and the French Open tune-up event in Strasbourg. In 2011, shebecame the youngest player to win a main draw match at the US Open since Nicole Vaidisova in 2005. And in 2009, she became the youngest player (14 years, 48 days) since Martina Hingis in 1994 to win a WTA match. Keys is coached by former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport and her husband, Jon Leach.

 

The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 99 nations taking part in 2015. For

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Serena Williams and Roger Federer Both Begin Quest for 18th Major

14845934374_96abdb46c5_z - Copy

(August 27, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – A pair of 17-time major champions made the first step in their mutual quests for an 18th major on Tuesday night. No. 2 seed Roger Federer and No. 1 Serena Williams both took out opponents in straight sets at the US Open.

The 33-year-old Swiss Federer led off the night session with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) vwin over No. 76 Marinko Matosevic of Australia. With six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan cheering him on in his courtside guest box, Federer pulled off the shot of the night – between the legs shot, facing backwards to the net, which hit his opponent in his lower back.

Federer admitted that Jordan, now 51, was a childhood idol of his. In an interview with ESPN, Jordan said that he knew nothing about tennis and said that Federer is a good athlete and that he played basketball.

“It’s just amazing having Michael here,” Federer said after the match. “Growing up he was my big sporting idol. … Having him here is unbelievably special and the collaboration is unique, so I love it.”

“He was just my hero of all sports,” Federer said in his news conference. “That’s what he was for me growing up. Besides Edberg and Becker being my tennis idols, I had Jordan as my all sports idol. I don’t remember having a Jordan jersey, as such, really. I just remember when I was younger, in Germany it was really big on the German TV stations. I think every Sunday they had unbelievable big NBA highlights. That’s where I saw him doing all his moves. I wasn’t necessarily a Chicago Bulls fan or anything like that. It’s just I was into him, into like the incredible athlete, you know, just being that guy who was carrying basketball at the time. So I guess that’s what inspired me.”

While Federer was entertaining an idol of his with his play, Serena Williams was defeating a player who idolizes her. Williams played almost flawlessly in dispatching 18-year-old fellow American Wild Card Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-1.

The two-time defending US Open champion, soon-to-be 33-year-old Williams made only 8 unforced errors in a match which lasted less than an hour.

Townsend discussed her appreciation of Williams in press: “I think I appreciate the fact that, number one, she loves the game so much. I think for anyone who’s watched her career progress, we have seen the ups and downs. She’s come through a lot of adversity. I think the most roaring time for me when I was watching her play was when she won that Australian Open, when everyone was completely doubting her, no one said she would win, she was totally out of shape, she was this, that, everything in the book. She literally fought and she beat Sharapova 1-0, 2-0, something ridiculous. But I’ve never seen someone so intense and so, like, driven to win, you know? I gained so much respect for her. Moving forward, I’ve just seen her love the game even more. The older she gets, the more she enjoys being out there and playing. I think her perspective has changed, having fun with what she’s doing. I think the wins are just making it even better.”

“I think it was an interesting match,” Williams said. “I thought she played really well. She started out super strong. She did a good job.”

“I think Taylor is a really great player. I believe she does everything well. She’s one of the few players that can come to the net and volley, as well as she has unbelievable hand speed with her racquet. She’s really unbelievable.”

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Victoria Duval Joins Pack of Young U.S. Women into Second Round of Wimbledon

Victoria Duval photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Victoria Duval photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

(June 24, 2014) WIMBLEDON – No. 114 Victoria Duval came through Wimbledon qualifying with a back injury last week. This week she’s taken out 29th seed Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the first round of Wimbledon. Born in Miami, the 18-year-old of Haitian heritage, playing Wimbledon for the first time, joined a group of young American women making their All England Club debut including Madison Keys and Alison Riske advancing to second round.

Duval had reached the the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Juniors back in 2011.

She announced herself last year when she took out 2011 U.S. Open Champion Sam Stosur in the first round of the U.S. Open. ” That was one of my best playing days that I can remember,” said Duval.

“I have my expectations of myself,” Duval said. “I’m not thinking about following up a win. I’m just thinking about winning all the time.”

She said it was “pretty crazy” to think she was actually playing at Wimbledon and that it did not sink in until during the third set.

Duval had reached the the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Juniors back in 2011.

Madison Keys, 19, who won her first WTA title three days ago in Eastbourne, finally got in the win column against Monica Puig, defeating the woman from Puerto Rico 6-3, 6-3.

“She’s a great player and we’ve played a couple of times,” Keys said.  “She’s beaten me a couple of times.

“But I was really just trying to go in and just stick to my game plan, not really worry about who is on the other side of the net.”

Alison Riske joined the USA party by upsetting 26th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.

Missing out on the winning experience was wild card Taylor Townsend who fell to 31st seed Klara Koukalova 7-5, 6-2

“Definitely it was a great experience,” Townsend said despite the loss.  “I’m really glad that I was able to get the wildcard and be here, first and foremost.

“I definitely am not pleased about my match, but it’s just a learning experience really.  I’m just going to take what I’ve learned over the past two slams.  I’m going to go back home.  I’m going to work extremely hard and get ready for the US Open Series.

“I have tons of tournaments to look forward to and a lot of great things are ahead, but it’s time to just put my head down and work again.”

“There are a lot of things I still need to work on in my game,” said Duval. Improving mentally, physically and getting stronger.”

Duval will face an opponent younger than herself in Belinda Bencic.

“I’m looking forward to it, it should be very exciting,” said an enthusiastic Duval.

“My goal is to win a couple of more rounds,” she said. “You come into a tournament hoping to win it.”

“My goal was top 100,” which she has reached by virtue of her win on Tuesday. “Keep improving keep winning.”

 

 

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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Taylor Townsend Striving for Top 50

 

Townsend1

(March 6, 2014) INDIAN WELLS, California – Just a year ago a 16-year-old Taylor Townsend made her pro debut at the BNP Paribas Open knocking off top 100 player Lucie Hradecka. A year later the young American, another wildcard and a year wiser, Townsend tops No. 49 Karin Knapp 7-6(1), 6-1, Back in January Knapp extended Maria Sharapova to the brink at the Australian Open.

The match was not a clean one, both combatants combined for 53 unforced errors. “ Neither of us had a rythym on serve,” Townsend said in regard to the back and forth first set. I was just trying to stay solid on my returns, just trying to make her play every single ball.

The former Junior No. 1 said the biggest improvement has been her focus.

“I’m happy with my progress, as far as where I’ve been going, what I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, both on and off the court.

“I’m happy with my progress over the last couple of months.”

“My mental game has gotten a lot better. My coaches and I have been stressing being very mentally tough and learning the game, learning how things work,” Townsend said. “We’ve been stressing that a lot, watching a lot of matches and trying to understand how to play when pressure hits, how to play when you’re up, how to play when you’re down. Things like that.”

Townsend’s focus was tested, just before her news conference when she followed her favorite player Roger Federer into the interview room – as he was leaving, she was entering.

“I tried not to look,” she said with a laugh. “Focus, Taylor focus! That’s what I’ve been working on. Focus please. I played it off well.”

Townsend’s goals for 2014 are to make the top 50 in singles and in doubles. “I’m pretty far away in singles (No. 337), in doubles I’m 189 so that’s not hard. You can have a few good tournaments, here and there and that can shoot up easily. Off the court I’m just continuing to work on myself.

A big test comes for Townsend in the second round when she plays the Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta, the 20th seed at the BNP Paribas Open.

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Taylor Townsend and Stefan Kozlov Lead US Juniors into US Open Junior Championships

 

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 25, 2013 – Former world No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend (17, Chicago) and Stefan Kozlov (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.), the youngest player in the Top 20 of the world junior rankings, lead the Americans accepted to play in the US Open Junior Championships, September 1-8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

 

Townsend, currently No. 5 in the world junior rankings, will play in her third junior Grand Slam in 2013 after reaching the finals at Wimbledon and the quarterfinals at the French Open. She made history in 2012 by finishing the year as the world’s top-ranked junior – the first American girl to hold that distinction in 30 years – before turning pro this year.

 

Kozlov, the only 15-year old in the Top 20 of the world junior rankings at No. 15, leads the American boys in the main draw after reaching the junior quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Kozlov, who trains out of the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., played his first ATP-level main draw match in July in Newport, R.I., pushing then-No. 113 Michal Przysiezny to three sets, nearly winning in a second-set tiebreak.

 

New York-area players competing in the US Open Junior Championships main draws include, on the girls’ side, No. 10 Louisa Chirico (17, Harrison, N.Y.), the 2013 Wimbledon and French Open junior semifinalist who trains at the home of the US Open at the USTA Training Center – East, and No. 32 Jamie Loeb (18, Ossinning, N.Y.). On the boys’ side, No. 26 Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.) will return for his second US Open junior main draw appearance.

 

Also accepted to the girls’ main draw are No. 21 Christina Makarova (17, San Diego), and Sachia Vickery (18, Hollywood, Fla.). Accepted for qualifying (August 30-31) are No. 48 Johnnise Renaud (17, North Miami, Fla.), No. 67 Katrine Isabel Steffensen (17, Scarsdale, N.Y.), No. 76 Alicia Black (15, Boca Raton, Fla.) and Brooke Austin (17, Indianapolis). They are all competing to become the third straight American US Open girls’ singles champion, following Samantha Crawford (2012) and Grace Min (2011).

 

Americans accepted into the boys’ main draw are No. 29 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (18, Charlotte, N.C.), No. 44 Luca Corinteli (18, Alexandria, Va.) and No. 50 Martin Redlicki (17, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.). Accepted for qualifying are No. 59 Spencer Papa (17, Edmond, Okla.) and No. 82 Michael Mmoh (15, Temple Hills, Md.).

 

Overall, the girls’ field features 19 of the Top 20 juniors in the world, including top-ranked Belinda Bencic, of Switzerland, who won both junior singles titles at Wimbledon – where she defeated Townsend in the finals – and at the French Open. The boys’ field features 16 of the Top 20 juniors in the world, including 2013 Wimbledon junior champion Gianluigi Quinzi, of Italy, and French Open junior champion Christian Garin, of Chile.

 

Previous US Open girls’ champions include Coco Vandeweghe (2008), Victoria Azarenka (2005), Marion Bartoli (2001), Lindsay Davenport (1992), Jennifer Capriati (1989) and Zina Garrison (1981).

 

Past US Open boys’ champions include Jack Sock (2010), Andy Murray (2004), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2003), Andy Roddick (2000), Stefan Edberg (1983) and Pat Cash (1982).

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Q & A: Catching Up with Taylor Townsend at Roland Garros

 

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(June 5, 2013) PARIS – Being at Roland Garros is not all about running from Court Philippe Chatrier to Court Suzanne Lenglen for two weeks.

Out on the outside courts, die-hard tennis fans catch good doubles and junior action throughout the two weeks.

One U.S. junior has already enjoyed some success in making that tricky transition from the Juniors to the Pro Tour, notching up a win against the then-ranked 57, Lucie Hradecka, at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells this year.

Ros Satar caught up with the No. 1 junior for 2012 Taylor Townsend after a solid second round win against Croatia’s Jana Fett.

Ros Satar for Tennis Panorama News: Great win today –a couple of breaks here and there but you really did edge it out?

Taylor Townsend: It was good, she came out playing really well, she was serving really well and in the beginning she really wasn’t missing a ball.

We exchanged some breaks and there were a few times where I could have served and gone up a break and a hold but she broke.

But it was a good match, I was really happy.

RS: What was it like out there – it started out quite cloudy but probably by the time that you were playing, it looked quite nice?

TT: It was actually very nice, it got a little bit cloudy and it was a little windy at times.

RS: Enough to whip up that clay into your eyes?

TT: Exactly – it actually got into my eyes a little bit but I am not complaining – I’m tough [smiling]

RS: Is it strange playing the juniors having made your pro debut at Indian Wells

TT: It’s not weird, because I played all last year and I’m still 17 so it’s not really weird but it’s definitely an adjustment that you have to make between going from the pros to the juniors.

It’s nice to see all my friends [going back to juniors].

RS: How did it feel to get that win in Indian Wells, to player ranked 57 at the time?

TT: It was amazing – like one of the best feelings ever, I felt on top of the world

I went crazy, after I did it, I just went nuts like I was a little kid.

I told myself one point at a time, one point at a time, I switched the score round and stuff.

But I was actually on a roll, I was playing really well so I [tried] not to think about it.

RS: What’s the transition like –the biggest challenge and the biggest benefit?

TT: The biggest challenge s definitely the mental thing.

It’s really easy to change your game because the speed of the ball isn’t the same

It’s really easy for you to let up a little bit and not really play to win like you would against the pros.

You can get away with not going for your shots as much and stuff like that, because even though you’re playing juniors, you’re still working on a specific thing.

But the benefits are you get to play matches, good matches that help you compete.

Basically it’s a good opportunity to continue what we’re working on.

If you change the way that you play and the way we’ve been practicing, then yeah that would be a downfall.

If we continue to work on the same line that we have been, with our strokes and playing to win and aggressive style of play, then it’s a huge benefit playing the juniors.

RS: So basically each time you’re playing in the juniors, you’re concentrating on one thing to improve, and when you go to the pros it’s really a question of putting that all together and going for it?

TT: Exactly

RS: What are the goals that you’ve set yourself this year?

TT: My goal is I wanted to reach at least into the top 200 or better by the end of the year and I really didn’t set a goal for juniors because honestly at the beginning of the year my coach was in Australia so I didn’t really know what my schedule was going to be.

But basically my pro [goal] I think very attainable because I’m at 333 already and we’re only half way done with the year.

I think I can do it.

RS: About the demon dirt – how is it going playing on clay?

TT: Actually I love it, because the clay here is so nice, they take such good care of the courts, it’s just so smooth.

The courts are just like candy underneath your feet, you just slide so gracefully – it’s so beautiful

RS: It’s like ice-skating?

TT: Yeah exactly!

RS: Is it very much a part of your season, the clay in Europe in particular?

TT: Yeah it is.

You go from the Australian Open, and then you have your clay court season, then you have your grass court season and then you go back to hard court.

You’re on hard court six months of the year if [not] more, it’s nice to have the change up and learning how to maneuver, move and how to play and how to work the clay and how to work the grass, it’s really nice.

It makes the season, it makes it different, it gives it a little bit of a unique character.

RS: What is your view of all the US women that have been in the draw?  You started with 15, down to 3 but two real headliners tomorrow – how does that make you feel?

TT: I’m proud, honestly – Serena(Williams), Sloane (Stephens), Venus (Williams), they’re all making me so proud to be an American.

They’re putting on such a good face on women’s tennis, it’s amazing.

The guys as well, they’re doing very well – John Isner, Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, Ryan Harrison, all of them are doing really well.

They’re great inspiration for me to just keep working hard [especially] seeing Serena mostly – you keep working hard and she’s in her prime, she’s in the later stage of her career, so it just gives me really great encouragement just to keep working hard.

RS: Are they all quite supportive of the juniors coming up, if you run across them at various tournaments?

TT: Yeah – they’re so nice.

We all hit together and they’re very helpful with giving advice and stuff like that.

It’s just a matter of if I get nervous to ask them a question or not [laughs]

RS: What is your schedule now for the rest of the year?

TT: You and I have the same question [laughs]

I know I’m going to Birmingham after this and then I’m going to play the juniors at Eastbourne and Roehampton and then Wimbledon and after that I have no idea.

RS: Are you going to play the juniors at the rest of the majors this year?

TT: Yeah just the majors really, because US Open most likely, I’m not really sure.

We’re just doing it just to play matches really, and stay competitive because if I wasn’t I would come over here and only play one or two tournaments and then be done.

RS: I guess playing the majors, you get a small taste of what it’s like to play that big an event?

TT: Yeah, Exactly.

RS: Are you doing any sight-seeing, any fun stuff whilst you are here?

TT: Hopefully – I mean this year I’m playing doubles so I’m not at the site all day

I’m not playing two matches so I think my dad really wants to go out, this is their first time out.

I don’t know what to do see because I didn’t go sight-seeing last year so we’re all going to experience this together.

But [definitely] the Eiffel Tower and Champs Élysées and some other stuff.

I’m just asking the ladies in the locker room, and they’re helping me a lot.

[RS writes down a load of suggestions]

At the time of writing, Taylor was into the third round of the Girls’ Singles Draw at Roland Garros.

On Tuesday evening in Paris, Townsend received the International Tennis Federation award for being the top junior girl for 2012 at the ITF World Champions Dinner.  Townsend was the Australian Open 2012 Girls Junior Champion. She is the first American junior girl to end the year at No. 1 since Gretchen Rush in 1982.

 

Karen Pestaina contributed to this interview and report.

 

Related article:

2012 Townsend and Andrews Take Junior Girls Title

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