2015/02/01

Serena Williams Wins 6th Australian Open for 19th Grand Slam Title

 

(January 31, 2015) Serena Williams moved up on the all-time list of Grand Slam title holders beating Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-6 (5) to win her sixth Australian Open title on Saturday night. It’s the 33-year-old’s 19th major, tying her with Helen Wills Moody for third on the all-time list, just behind Steffi Graf (22) and Margaret Court (24). The American passes both Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with 18 each.

“I would love to get to 22,” Williams said. “I mean, 19 was very difficult to get to. Took me 33 years to get here, so… I would love to get there. But I have to get to 20 first, and then I have to get to 21. There’s so many wonderful young players coming up, so it will be a very big task. My next goal was just to get to 19. That was my goal. So I didn’t think it would happen this fast, to be honest, but it feels really good.”

Battling a cold during the tournament, No. 1 Williams remains unbeaten in six finals. She is the oldest Australian Open champion of the Open Era.

“Standing here with 19 majors is something I never thought would happen,” Williams said during the trophy ceremony. “I went on the court with a ball, a racket and a hope”

“I have to congratulate Maria. She really pushed me tonight. She played a great match… not only for you guys but for tennis”

“I haven’t beaten her in a really long time but I love playing her because you want to play the best,” world No. 2 Sharapova said. “And she’s the best.”

It was the 16th straight win for Williams over Sharapova to raise her record to 17- 2 over the Russian.

The match began with the roof open on Rod Laver Arena, but the rain came and the roof close in the first set causing a 13-minute delay.

Williams promptly hit an ace upon resumption of play, winning six straight points which included a break of serve.

Williams was dominant in her serving, hitting 18 aces during the 1 hour and 51 minute match. Fifteen of the aces came in the second set.

Williams celebrated prematurely on her third match point, thinking she had hit an ace, when it was a let.. She promptly regrouped.

“I thought after the let, Man, I am not meant to win this tournament,” Willliams said. “I had a couple of match points. I mean, she played great on those match points. She totally went for broke. I was like, C’mon. First of all, why I hear the let. Then I was like, Okay, do I go T? Do I go wide? What am I going to do? Then I just tossed and served as hard as I could.”

 

“I haven’t won against her many times, but if I’m getting to the stage of competing against someone like Serena, I’m doing something well.,” Sharapova said in her post-match interview with the media. “I’m setting up a chance to try to beat her and it hasn’t happened. I’m not just going to go home without giving it another chance. That’s just not who I am and not who I was raised to be. I’m a competitor. If I’m getting to the finals of Grand Slams and setting myself up to play a match against Serena, I mean, I know it sounds — maybe you’re telling me I’m wrong — but I’m happy to be in that position. I love the competition. I love playing against the best, and at the moment she is.”

“Over the last 10 years her and I have been out of the game. Sometimes she was injured for a period of time; I was out for a year. So, yeah, between all of that, between and around it, we’ve been able to play a lot of great matches against other players. I’m proud to be part of an era where she’s in.”

“I’m happy with the way I’ve handled a few of the matches here, how I’ve come back strong, how I’ve set myself up to try to win another major. It’s not easy to get to the final of a Grand Slam. It takes a lot of work. It’s over the course of two weeks. That’s a good achievement. It’s a good start to the year. The year is very young at this point.”

“It feels really good to be sitting here as the champion,” Williams said in her post-match interview. “I definitely didn’t think I would be here in the beginning of the week or the beginning of the two weeks, but it feels pretty excellent.”

“The match definitely got tough in the second set. Maria started playing a lot better. She started being a little more aggressive. I think I got a little more passive. Was just trying to get the ball back in play. But I also started serving better in the second set because I knew if I wasn’t having my groundstrokes where I wanted them to be, I knew I could serve it out. So, yeah, it definitely got really interesting. I had a lot of moments. I had some easy shots that I missed in the second set on her serve, and then she came up with a big serve when she was down a breakpoint, which was great. But I definitely can look back and say, Oh, I could have done a few things better just for the future”

“I’ve been through so much the past week,” the champion continued. “I really, really didn’t expect to win. I didn’t expect to be here this long. I was walking down the hall yesterday and I was thinking, Wow, I’m still in the tournament. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the final here or the semifinal. It’s been a long time coming. I was just really, really elated to have an opportunity to walk out on the final match.”

Williams’ six Australian titles came in 2003, ’05, ’07, ’09 ’10 and ’15. She defeated Sharapova in ‘07 and ‘15. Sharapova won the title in 2008.

Serena Williams is halfway to another “Serena Slam” having won the 2014 US Open and now the Australian Open. The next major and second leg of the calendar Grand Slam will be the French Open in May.

“When I think about Paris, I don’t think about 20,” Williams said. “I just think about winning there. It’s the one slam I don’t have more than two titles on. I only have two there. Sorry. That and Wimbledon I’ve been struggling. Yeah, so I think, okay, now that I got this under my belt. I’m a little more comfortable with my ranking now. Now I can really move. Like I did so bad last year at Roland Garros, and Wimbledon as well. So those are the two I really have my eye on, because I would like to do better at those. And I know I can do better. I’m not going into it not as number 20, but I want to win Roland Garros.”

 

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Tale of the Tape – Novak Djokovic Versus Andy Murray in the Australian Open Final

head_to_head_murraydjokovicTPN

2015 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

DAY 14 MEN’S NOTES

Sunday 1 February

 

 

Singles Final

 

 

  1. 1 NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB) v NO. 6 ANDY MURRAY (GBR)

At stake for the finalists, in addition to the prestige of the Australian Open title, is the following:

 

 
AUD$
ATP Ranking Points
Champion 3,100,000 2000
Finalist 1,550,000 1200

 

Who has the advantage?
For 4 out of the past 7 years, the man who played his semifinal second has been the one who won the final, so recent history would suggest that Djokovic has the slight advantage in winning the 2015 Australian Open title.

 

No. 1 v No. 6
This is just the 2nd Open Era meeting between a No. 1 seed and No. 6 seed in the Australian Open final after the 1979 final, when No. 1 Guillermo Vilas defeated No. 6 John Sadri. The last meeting between a No. 1 seed and No. 6 seed at a major was at the 2009 US Open, when No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro defeated No. 1 Roger Federer. This is just the 5th Grand Slam final meeting between a No. 1 seed and a No. 6 seed in the Open Era.
The No. 1 seed has reached the final here for the 4th consecutive year. Rafael Nadal’s loss to Stan Wawrinka in the final here last year was the first defeat for a Top seed in the Australian Open final since 1995 (No. 2 Andre Agassi d. No. 1 Pete Sampras) and ended an 8-match winning streak for the No. 1 seed in Australian Open finals.

Hard court heroes
Murray could equal Ivan Lendl in 5th place on the list for most Open Era hard court titles if he wins the title here. Djokovic, meanwhile, is looking to close the gap on Andre Agassi in 2nd place.

.                                                        Hard court title leaders (Open Era)

Player

Hard court titles

Roger FedererAndre Agassi 57
46
Novak Djokovic 37
Pete Sampras 36
Ivan Lendl 26
Andy Murray 25

ATP Rankings update…

Regardless of the outcome of the final, Djokovic will still occupy the No. 1 position in the ATP Rankings when they are published on Monday 2 February. Murray has climbed to 4th in the rankings by reaching the final and will climb to No. 3 if he goes on to win the title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head-to-head: Djokovic leads 15-8

2006     AMS Madrid                  Hard (I)             R16      Djokovic           16 75 63

2007     AMS Indian Wells          Hard (O)            SF        Djokovic           62 63

2007     AMS Miami                   Hard (O)            SF        Djokovic           61 60

2008     AMS Monte Carlo          Clay (O)            R16      Djokovic           60 64

2008     AMS Toronto                Hard (O)            QF        Murray              63 76(3)

2008     AMS Cincinnati              Hard (O)            FR        Murray              76(4) 76(5)

2009     Miami-1000                   Hard (O)            FR        Murray              62 75

2011     Australian Open           Hard (O)           FR        Djokovic           64 62 63

2011     Rome-1000                   Clay (O)            SF        Djokovic           61 36 76(2)

2011     Cincinnati-1000              Hard (O)            FR        Murray              64 3-0 ret. (right shoulder injury)

2012     Australian Open           Hard (O)           SF        Djokovic           63 36 67(4) 61 75

2012     Dubai                           Hard (O)            SF        Murray              62 75

2012     Miami-1000                   Hard (O)            FR        Djokovic           61 76(4)

2012     Olympic Tennis Event    Grass (O)          SF        Murray              75 75

2012     US Open                      Hard (O)           FR        Murray             76(10) 75 26 36 62

2012     Shanghai-1000              Hard (O)            FR        Djokovic           57 76(11) 63

2012     ATP World Tour Finals   Hard (I)             RR        Djokovic           46 63 75

2013     Australian Open           Hard (O)           FR        Djokovic           67(2) 76(3) 63 62

2013     Wimbledon                  Grass (O)          FR        Murray             64 75 64

2014     Miami-1000                   Hard (O)            QF        Djokovic           75 63

2014     US Open                      Hard (O)           QF        Djokovic           76(1) 67(1) 62 64

2014     Beijing                          Hard (O)            SF        Djokovic           63 64

2014     Paris-1000                     Hard (I)             QF        Djokovic           75 62

 

Murray is bidding to end a 4-match losing streak against Djokovic and defeat the Serb for the first time since the 2013 Wimbledon final.

 

It will be the 5th meeting between these 2 players in a Grand Slam final which puts them in joint-3rd position on the all-time leaderboard for most match-ups in a Grand Slam final along with Andre Agassi v Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl v Mats Wilander.

 

                                                Most head-to-heads in Grand Slam finals

Head-to-head Grand Slam final meetings
Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal 8
Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal 7
Andre Agassi v Pete SamprasIvan Lendl v Mats Wilander

Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray

55

5

 

This is the 3rd Australian Open final to feature Djokovic and Murray, which extends their lead for the most match-ups in the Australian Open final ahead of Jim Courier v Stefan Edberg (2) and Johan Kriek v Steve Denton (2).

 

Murray and Djokovic are the closest Grand Slam finalists by age. Murray is just 7 days older than Djokovic. The previous closest Grand Slam finalists in terms of age were Guillermo Vilas and Jimmy Connors who met at the 1977 US Open when Vilas was 16 days older than Connors.

 

Djokovic has a 13-6 win-loss record against Murray on a hard court.

 

Road to the Final

DJOKOVIC Time^ Time^ MURRAY
d. (Q) Aljaz Bedene 63 62 64d. Andrey Kuznetsov 60 61 64 1:491:24 1st round2nd round 2:131:42 d. (Q) Yuki Bhambri 63 64 76(3)d. Marinko Matosevic 61 63 62
d. No. 31 Fernando Verdasco 76(8) 63 64 2:21 3rd round 2:06 d. Joao Sousa 61 61 75
d. Gilles Muller 64 75 75d. No. 8 Milos Raonic 76(5) 64 62

d. No. 4 Stan Wawrinka 76(1) 36 64 46 60

2:082:00
3:30
Round of 16Quarterfinals
Semifinals
3:322:05

3:26

d.   No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov 64 67(5) 63 75d. Nick Kyrgios 63 76(5) 63

d. No. 7 Tomas Berdych 67(6) 60 63 75

total time on court 13:12 ^Scorecard time 15:04 total time on court

 

 

 

DJOKOVIC                                      v                                       MURRAY

 

27                                           Age                                           27

6’2”/1.88m                                   Height                                   6’3”/1.90m

1                                    ATP Ranking                                    6

72,444,489                      Career Earnings (US$)                      34,190,080

48                                         Titles                                         31

186-33                      Career Grand Slam Record                      140-33

7 titles                        Best Grand Slam Result                        2 titles

49-6                          Australian Open Record                          39-9

612-141                               Career Record                               487-151

398-82                          Career Record – Hard                          338-95

8-1                                    2015 Record                                    6-0

8-1                               2015 Record – Hard                              6-0

23-8                          Career Five-Set Record                           17-6

3                          Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          7

175-102                        Career Tiebreak Record                        141-90

4-1                             2015 Tiebreak Record                            2-2

                                                                                

  • 4-time champion DJOKOVIC is looking to become the second man in history to win 5 or more Australian Open titles. Roy Emerson is the only man who has won more than 5 titles in Melbourne.

 

Australian Open title leaders (all-time)

Player
Titles won
Years
Roy Emerson 6 1961, 1963-67
Andre Agassi 4 1995, 2000-01, 2003
Jack Crawford 4 1931-33, 1935
Novak Djokovic 4 2008, 2011-13
Roger Federer 4 2004, 2006-07, 2010
Ken Rosewall 4 1953, 1955, 1971-72

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to win his 8th Grand Slam title and move into equal-8th place with Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall on the all-time list for most major titles.

 

All-time Grand Slam men’s singles titles

1. 17 Roger Federer
2= 14 Rafael Nadal
Pete Sampras
4. 12 Roy Emerson
5= 11 Bjorn BorgRod Laver
7. 10 Bill Tilden
8= 8 Andre AgassiJimmy Connors

Ivan Lendl

Fred Perry

Ken Rosewall

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to win his 8th Grand Slam title. He has a 7-7 win-loss record in his 14 previous Grand Slam finals and a 4-0 win-loss record in Australian Open finals:

                                          

                                             Djokovic’s record in Grand Slam finals

Grand Slam Final Result
2007 US Open l. Roger Federer 76(4) 76(2) 64
2008 Australian Open d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 46 64 63 76(2)
2010 US Open l. Rafael Nadal 64 57 64 62
2011 Australian Open d. Andy Murray 64 62 63
2011 Wimbledon d. Rafael Nadal 64 61 16 63
2011 US Open d. Rafael Nadal 62 64 67(3) 61
2012 Australian Open d. Rafael Nadal 57 64 62 67(5) 75
2012 Roland Garros l. Rafael Nadal 64 63 26 75
2012 US Open l. Andy Murray 76(10) 75 26 36 62
2013 Australian Open d. Andy Murray 67(2) 76(3) 63 62
2013 Wimbledon l. Andy Murray 64 75 64
2013 US Open l. Rafael Nadal 62 36 64 61
2014 Roland Garros l. Rafael Nadal 36 75 62 64
2014 Wimbledon d. Roger Federer 67(7) 64 76(4) 57 64
2015 Australian Open v. Andy Murray??

 

  • Djokovic won his 7th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon last year, defeating Roger Federer in the final. He is a 4-time Australian Open champion having won the titles here in 2008 (d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga), 2011 (d. Andy Murray), 2012
    (d. Nadal) and 2013 (d. Murray).

 

  • Djokovic also won the titles at 2011 Wimbledon and the 2011 US Open, defeating Nadal on both occasions. He has never won Roland Garros despite reaching the final there twice – in 2012 and 2014, losing to Nadal both times.

 

  • Djokovic is in 8th place on the list for the most Grand Slam match-wins in history with a 186-33 win-loss record. The leading all-time performers are as follows:

 

Most Grand Slam match-wins (all-time)

Rank Player Win-loss
12 Roger FedererJimmy Connors 281-46233-49
3 Andre Agassi 224-53
45 Ivan LendlRoy Emerson 222-49217-48
67

8

Pete SamprasRafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic

203-38191-26

186-33

910 Stefan EdbergKen Rosewall 178-47174-32

                                                                               Note: active players in bold

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to record his 50th match-win at the Australian Open and close the gap on Stefan Edberg in 2nd place on the list for most Australian Open match-wins in the Open Era.
Player Win-loss
Roger Federer
Stefan Edberg
    75-12
56-10
Novak DjokovicAndre Agassi    49-648-5
Ivan Lendl        48-10
Rafael NadalPete Sampras     45-945-9

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to become the 17th 1 seed to win the Australian Open title in the Open Era. The last Top seed to win the title here was Djokovic himself in 2013. The Top seed has won the title here in 6 of the last 9 years.

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to extend his 9-match winning streak against Top 10 opposition. He has not lost to a Top 10 player since losing to Federer in the semifinals at 2014 Shanghai-1000. He has dropped just 3 sets in his last 8 matches against Top 10 players – one set to Kei Nishikori in the semifinals at the 2014 ATP World Tour Finals and 2 sets to Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals here.

 

  • Djokovic is the only male Serbian Grand Slam champion and also the only Serbian man to appear in a Grand Slam final.

 

  • By reaching the final here Djokovic has equalled Stefan Edberg and Federer in first place for the most Australian Open final appearances.

 

                                            No. of Australian Open final appearances (Open Era)

Novak Djokovic 5
Stefan Edberg 5
Roger Federer 5
Andre Agassi 4
Andy Murray 4
Ivan Lendl 4
Mats Wilander 4

 

  • Djokovic has reached his 15th Grand Slam final and moved into equal-8th place on the all-time list of most appearances in Grand Slam finals.

 

1 Roger Federer 25
2 Rafael Nadal 20
3 Ivan Lendl 19
4 Pete Sampras 18
5 Rod Laver 17
6= Bjorn Borg 16
Ken Rosewall 16
8= Andre AgassiNovak Djokovic 1515
Jimmy Connors 15
Roy Emerson 15
Bill Tilden 15

 

  • Last year here, Djokovic’s streak of 14 consecutive Grand Slam semifinal appearances was ended by Wawrinka in 5 sets in the quarterfinals. It is his last 5-set loss. He has a 23-8 Tour-level win-loss record in 5-set matches and a 4-2 win-loss record in 5-set matches at Melbourne Park.         

 

  • Djokovic won 7 titles in 8 finals in 2014 and in so doing finished the year with a prize money haul of $14,269,462. It was the 4th straight year he had earned over $12 million. He finished the year ranked No. 1 for the 3rd time after winning his 3rd consecutive ATP World Tour Finals crown.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2014, as well as reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and winning the title at Wimbledon, Djokovic lost to Nadal in the final at Roland Garros and to Nishikori in the semifinals at the US Open.

 

  • Djokovic warmed up for the 2015 Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at Doha (l. Ivo Karlovic).

 

  • Djokovic started working with 2-time Australian Open champion Boris Becker in 2014. He has also been coached by Marian Vajda since June 2006. His wider team includes physios Miljan Amanovic and Gebhard Phil-Gritsch.

 

  • 3-time Australian Open runner-up MURRAY is looking to become the first man in the Open Era to win the Australian Open title after losing 3 finals. He finished as runner-up here in 2010 ( Roger Federer), 2011
    (l. Djokovic) and 2013 (l. Djokovic). Marat Safin is the only player to lose 2 or more Australian Open finals before winning the title.

No. of Australian Open final appearances before winning first title (Open Era)

Player
No. of Australian Open final appearances before winning the title
Years
Andy Murray 4?? Lost 2010, 2011, 2013
Marat Safin 3 Lost 2002, 2004. Won 2005

 

  • If Murray wins the title for the first time on his 10th Australian Open appearance, he will set a record for most Australian Open appearances before winning the title.

 

                    Number of Australian Open appearances before winning the title (Open Era)

Andy Murray??Petr Korda

Stan Wawrinka

Thomas Johansson

Ivan Lendl

Marat Safin

10??9

9

8

7

7

 

  • Murray is bidding to become the first British man to win the Australian Open since Fred Perry defeated Jack Crawford in 1934.

 

  • Murray is bidding to become the 21st man in the Open Era to win 3 or more Grand Slam titles. He is also looking to become the 16th man in the Open Era to win at least 3 of the 4 Grand Slam titles.

 

  • Murray is bidding to end a 5-match losing streak against players ranked No. 1. He has not defeated a world No. 1 since defeating today’s opponent in the final at 2013 Wimbledon. He has a 2-8 win-loss record against players ranked No. 1 at the Grand Slams – as well as defeating Djokovic at 2013 Wimbledon, he also defeated No. 1 Nadal in the semifinals at the 2008 US Open.

 

  • By reaching his 4th Australian Open final, Murray has moved into joint-4th place on the list for most Australian Open finals reached in the Open Era.

 

Player No. of AO finals
Novak DjokovicStefan Edberg

Roger Federer

5
Andre AgassiIvan Lendl

Andy Murray

Mats Wilander

4

 

  • By reaching the final here, Murray has closed the gap on Fred Perry for the most appearances in a Grand Slam final by a British man (since the Challenge Round was abolished at Wimbledon in 1922):

 

Player Appearances in a Grand Slam final
Fred Perry 10 – US Championships 1933-34, 1936, Australian Championships 1934-35, French Championships 1935-36, Wimbledon 1934-36
Andy Murray 8 – US Open 2008, 2012, Australian Open 2010-11, 2013, 2015, Wimbledon 2012-13

 

  • Murray is the only Briton to reach 4 Australian Open finals. Fred Perry is the only other British man to reach multiple finals at the Australian Open, winning in 1934 and finishing a runner-up in 1935:

 

British Players in the Australian Open final (all-time)

Year Player Opponent Result
1915 Gordon Lowe Horace Rice Won 46 61 61 64
1920 Algernon Kingscote Eric Pockley Won 64 60 63
1929 Colin Gregory Richard Schlesinger Won 62 62 57 64
1934 Fred Perry Jack Crawford Won 63 75 61
1935 Fred Perry Jack Crawford Lost 26 64 64 64
1977 John Lloyd Vitas Gerulaitis Lost 63 76 57 36 62
2010 Andy Murray Roger Federer Lost 63 64 76
2011 Andy Murray Novak Djokovic Lost 64 62 63
2013 Andy Murray Novak Djokovic Lost 67(2) 76(3) 63 62
2015 Andy Murray Novak Djokovic ??

 

  • By reaching his 8th Grand Slam final, Murray has equalled Ken Rosewall and Guillermo Vilas in joint-13th place for the most Grand Slam finals reached in the Open Era. Only 3 active players have reached more Grand Slam finals than Murray – Roger Federer (25), Rafael Nadal (20) and today’s opponent (15).

 

  • Murray is a 2-time Grand Slam champion. He won the 2012 US Open title (d. today’s opponent) and became the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title in 77 years in 2013 (d. today’s opponent).

 

  • Murray has a 2-5 win-loss record in his previous Grand Slam finals:

                                            

                                             Murray’s record in Grand Slam finals

Grand Slam Final Result
2008 US Open l. Roger Federer 62 75 62
2010 Australian Open l. Roger Federer 63 64 76(11)
2011 Australian Open l. Novak Djokovic 64 62 63
2012 Wimbledon l. Roger Federer 46 75 63 64
2012 US Open d. Novak Djokovic 76(10) 75 26 36 62
2013 Australian Open l. Novak Djokovic 67(2) 76(3) 63 62
2013 Wimbledon d. Novak Djokovic 64 75 64
2015 Australian Open v. Novak Djokovic

 

  • Murray is bidding to become the first No. 6 seed to win a Grand Slam title since Juan Martin del Potro won the 2009 US Open. Just two No. 6 seeds have won the title here – Petr Korda in 1998 and Andre Agassi in 2001.

 

  • Murray’s semifinal victory over Berdych was his 2nd win in his last 6 matches against Top 10 players at the Grand Slams. He has a 4-6 win-loss record against Top 10 opposition at the Australian Open compared with 0-3 at Roland Garros, 6-5 at Wimbledon and 5-5 at the US Open.

 

  • If Murray wins today he will take sole occupancy of 8th place on the list for the most Australian Open match-wins in the Open Era. He is currently level with Wayne Ferreira (39-14) with a 39-9 win-loss record here.

 

Most Australian Open match-wins (Open Era)

Player Win-loss record
1.    Roger Federer 75-12
2.    Stefan Edberg 56-10
3.    Novak Djokovic 49-6
4= Andre Agassi   Ivan Lendl 48-548-10
6= Rafael NadalPete Sampras 45-945-9
8= Wayne FerreiraAndy Murray 39-1439-9
10. Andy Roddick 38-11

*Players at the 2015 Australian Open in bold

 

  • Murray is the leading British man in history in terms of Grand Slam match-wins with a 140-33 win-loss record.

 

  • Murray is on a 5-match winning streak in 5-set matches. The last time he lost a 5-set match was against Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the 2012 Australian Open. He has a 1-3 win-loss record in 5-set matches at Melbourne Park.

 

  • Last year here Murray reached the quarterfinals, falling to Federer 63 64 67(6) 63. He is contesting his 10th straight Australian Open and 36th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2014 he reached the semifinals at Roland Garros (l. Nadal) and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon (l. Grigor Dimitrov) and the US Open (l. today’s opponent). It was the 4th straight year he had reached the quarterfinals at all Grand Slams in a calendar year. [NB He missed 2013 Roland Garros with a back injury.]

 

  • Also in 2014, Murray won 3 titles – at Shenzhen (d. Tommy Robredo), Vienna (d. David Ferrer) and Valencia
    (d. Robredo). He saved 5 match points in both of his finals against Robredo. The Valencia final was the longest ATP final in 2014 at 3 hours 20 minutes.

 

  • Murray warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup, where he won all 3 of the singles matches he played against Benoit Paire, Jerzy Janowicz and Marinko Matosevic in straight sets.

 

  • Murray is coached by 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo. His fitness trainer is Matt Little and his physio is Mark Bender.

**Statistics provided by the International Tennis Federation

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Novak Djokovic Reaches Fifth Australian Open Final

Djokovic

(January 30, 2015) No. 1 Novak Djokovic avenged last year’s quarterfinal loss to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open, besting the Swiss 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 to reach his fifth Melbourne final on Friday.

The match which lasted 3 hours, 30 minutes, was by no means epic as it produced a total 118 unforced errors – 49 for Djokovic and 69 for last year’s champion Wawrinka.

“I did not play on the level that I intended before the match,” Djokovic said. “There were parts of the match where I stepped in and played a game I needed to play, but parts of the match where I played too defensive and allowed him to dictate the play from the baseline. He has great depth in his shots. Once he has control of the rallies it’s very difficult to play against him. So, yeah, it was very emotional, very tense, as it always is against a top player in semifinals of a Grand Slam. Of course, judging by the last two matches we played here in Australian Open last two years, we could expect something like that, five-setter. So the battle was great. It was no different this year from the previous two years in terms of, you know, fighting from both sides. The only difference was that the fifth set went completely my way. But, again, it was a tight first opening game of the fifth set where he had some breakpoint opportunities, missed an easy ball. Yeah, I mean, a couple points decide a winner in these particular matches when you’re playing for Grand Slam final. I can say I’m glad, of course I’m happy and satisfied to go through. I’m proud of the fighting spirit that I had. But the level of performance was not where I wanted it to be.”

“Describe the match? Strange. Not the best, for sure,” said Wawrinka. “I think there were a lot of up and down. Beginning conditions weren’t too good. It’s quite flying a little bit. Balls are not easy to control. Not much. It was not the best match, for sure. “

“Told my coach before the match and already yesterday that I was mentally completely dead and no battery. Tough to focus on what I want to do. Tough to focus on my game. And that’s what happened today.”

Four-time Melbourne champion Djokovic reaches his fifth Australian final and will face Andy Murray, whom he defeated in two previous finals. Djokovic has now equaled the record of Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg for most Australian finals in the Open era.

“Getting to the finals is already a great achievement,” said the Serb. “But now this is the match for which you have worked for now two months. This is where you want to be. This is why you put all these hours on and off the court, trying to get yourself in a position to win Grand Slam trophy, because that’s what matters the most. I’m going to give my best, of course.”

On playing Murray in the finals. Djokovic said: “He’s one of the best defenders in the game, no question about it. He is an incredible counter-puncher. He’s got a lot of variety in his game. He’s got also a big serve. I think if he serves well, that’s a huge, let’s say, confidence boost and advantage for him. He feels that he’s more relaxed on the court and he can swing through his shots from the baseline. I think forehand has improved, judging by the matches he has played the matches during these couple weeks compared to a few months ago. The courts are playing a little bit faster in the last two years than it was the previous years in Rod Laver Arena as we mentioned before. Because they are faster, because the ball is bouncing a bit lower, that’s pretty suitable to his style of the game. He likes that. He has a flat backhand and moves around the court pretty well. So it’s going to be a very physical match, no doubt about that. It’s finals, so I’m sure that we both are going to go out and give our best.”

Djokovic has a 15-8 record versus Murray.

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Serena Williams Win Sets Up Australian Open Final Against Maria Sharapova

(January 29, 2015) For the first time since 2004, the Australian Open women’s final will feature No. 1 versus No. 2. Top seed and five-time Australian Open winner Serena Williams will take on 2008 champion Maria Sharapova for the title on Saturday.

Both women won straight set matches on Thursday to advance. Williams won a slugfest of big serves and hard groundstrokes against 19-year-old Madison Keys in a battle between Americans 7-6 (5), 6-2. Williams was pushed by Keys at the very end, needing nine match points to close the contest. Sharapova had a much easier time against Russian countrywoman No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2.

For the 33-year-old Williams, she is seeking her sixth Australian Open title and 19th major. She last won the Australian Open in 2010. Sharapova will be trying to claim her second Melbourne title and sixth Grand Slam title.

“She (Keys) pushed me really hard the first set ……. and I had to really dig deep mentally to get through that,” said a coughing Williams who has been ill for several days. “It was a little frustrating, I had like nine or 10 match points and couldn’t close it out. That doesn’t happen so much. She played like she didn’t have anything to lose.”

“I think she’s going to be winning this tournament very soon and lots of other Grand Slams,” said Williams to ESPN.

A total of 25 aces were hit during the match – 13 for Williams, 12 for Keys. Williams hit 19 winners to 16 unforced errors to Keys 27 winners to 39 unforced errors.

“I was impressed by her ability to stay in the match,” Said Williams. She never let up at all till the end. I think that is a really great quality to have.

“Well, I was just happy to get through it today. And I think I was able to serve big when I needed to. So that really helped me out a lot.”

“I’m really happy to have gotten this far in a tournament,” Keys said. “It’s my first one. Just looking forward to having more. Hopefully have a couple where I’m with the trophy at the end of the week.”

“I think I handled the moment pretty well. I definitely had a good start, so nerves didn’t totally play into that. I thought I handled myself pretty well in that last serving game of mine. But, I mean, she played really well. She served really well. It was pretty much impossible for me to break her serve. So, you know, great job to her today.”

“I think this week has definitely more shown to me, more than anyone else, that I can play the top players and I can do well against them. I can play the No. 1 player in the world in a pretty close match. So I think for me that’s inspiration for every time I’m on a practice court to keep working, keep getting better so I can have more and more weeks like that.”

 

Sharapova was pleased with her decisive win on Thursday. “I’m definitely happy. Like today, I thought I played solid. I did everything I had to do. I wasn’t afraid for it to become a physical match. You know, I think it was important to really stand my ground in the first few games, which I did well, even though I was behind, especially the first and second one. But, yeah, those key moments are really important. Yeah, definitely happy I was able to win really solid today.”

The No. 2 player’s road to the final had one major bump – she saved two match points in the second round of the tournament coming back to beat No. 150 Russian qualifier Alexandra Panova.

“It’s been a strange road for me to get to the finals, but I’m happy,” said Sharapova. “Came from behind in a few, really behind in one – saving match points. I felt like I was given a second chance. I just wanted to take my chances.”

Williams is 16-2 against Sharapova, with her last loss to the Russian coming in 2004. Williams has won the last 15 straight matches against Sharapova. Regardless who wins the final, Williams will remain in the top spot after the tournament.

“Everyone’s expecting me to win, “Williams said to ESPN. But I have to win. I’m glad No. 1 and No. 2 are in the final and I think it will be a good match.”

“Maria is playing great,” Williams said in her post-match news conference. “She’s in the tournament only because she’s a fighter and only because she refuses to give up. So, yeah, it’s a new match. She has nothing to lose, once again. She has only things to gain. And I feel that way, too. I feel I don’t. I’ve won this tournament several times. I don’t have to go out there and have another title. I want it, but it’s not life or death for me. I think that helps me he relax. So, yeah, she absolutely has nothing to lose, and I have nothing to lose, so it will be fun.”

Asked about what about Williams’ game give her trouble, Sharapova responded: “I think her power and her aggressiveness, I think that’s always made me a little bit too aggressive, maybe going for a little bit more than I had to. You know, she’s great at making players hit that shot that you don’t necessarily have to go for. You know, maybe going for a little too much, going on the line. It’s been a really difficult matchup for me, but, you know, I am a competitor. If I do play her, I will go out and I will do everything I can to try to change that result around.”

“I think my confidence should be pretty high going into a final of a Grand Slam no matter who I’m facing against and whether I’ve had a terrible record, to say the least, against someone” said the 27-year-old. “It doesn’t matter. I got there for a reason. I belong in that spot. I will do everything I can to get the title.”

“I’ve had many great memories on Rod Laver Arena. I’ve hopefully set myself up for another good one.”

“I think it’s great for women’s tennis,” Williams remarked about No. 1 versus No. 2. “I think it’s good for me and Maria. I’m excited. Like I said, I love playing her. I look forward to it. I didn’t expect to get to the finals of this tournament when I first got here because I wasn’t playing great. So I’m happy to be here. Yeah, I’m just happy, like I said, to get past the quarterfinals of a slam. Fourth round actually, outside the Open.”

No. 6 Andy Murray advanced to his fourth Australian Open final defeating No. 7 Tomas Berdych 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.

On the court there was obvious tension during this night match due to one of Andy Murray’s coaching team switching over to Berdych’s in the off-season.

There were profanities being yelled between the players on the court and during the first set of the match it appeared that Murray’s fiance Kim Sears was caught on camera cursing at Berdych.

“Obviously losing in the finals is disappointing. But making four finals is a very, very difficult thing to do,”Murray said. “And, yeah, I’m proud of my record here. I’ll go in with best tactics possible, prepare well – I literally couldn’t have done anything more to put myself in a better position come Sunday.”

Murray, who has been coached by former No. 1 player Amelie Mauresmo since June, had come under scrutiny for his choice of a female coach.  After the match on Thursday night he paid tribute to female coaches: “A lot of people criticized me working with her,” said Murray. “And I think so far this week we’ve showed that women can be very good coaches as well.”

“Madison Keys, who reached the semis here and had her best tournament, is also coached by a woman, Lindsay Davenport, and I see no reason why that can’t keep moving forward like that in the future.”

Murray will play the winner of the Novak Djokovic –  Stan Wawrinka match in Sunday’s final.

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US Teens Kozlov and Donaldson Receive Wildcards into Memphis Open

memphis Open

(January 28, 2015) MEMPHIS, TENN.– The Memphis Open announced that Jared Donaldson and Stefan Kozlov, two promising American teenagers, received wild cards into the main draw of the 2015 Memphis Open, held February 7-15 at the Racquet Club of Memphis.

 

The wild cards give Donaldson, 18, and Kozlov, 16, direct entry into the singles field of 28, where they’ll compete alongside top pros such as 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori and top-ranked American John Isner.

 

Donaldson is the third-youngest player ranked in the Top 300, at No. 251. He competed in the main draw of the 2014 US Open, where he also received a wild card entry, after winning 16 straight pro singles matches over the summer. Donaldson, from Chepachet, R.I., was the runner-up at the 2013 USTA Boys’ 18-and-under National Championships, an achievement that led him to train with Roger Federer in Dubai later that same year. Donaldson turned pro in November, shortly after turning 18, and competed in qualifying at the 2015 Australian Open.

 

Kozlov, who turns 17 on February 1, is the youngest player in the Top 500 of the ATP World Tour rankings, at No. 455. He has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the world among juniors (players ages 18 and under) and advanced to the junior singles final at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 2014. Kozlov, who has already turned pro, made his ATP main draw debut at Newport in 2013, as a 15-year old. He is a resident of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and has lived in South Florida since emigrating from his native Macedonia with his family at 1 year old.

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BNP Paribas Open – 2015 Tournament Entry Lists Released

bnpparibasopenlogo
Indian Wells, Calif., Jan. 28, 2015 – The BNP Paribas Open, the WTA and ATP World Tour combined two-week event, to be held March 9-22, 2015 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, has released its entry lists http://www.bnpparibasopen.com/en/players/2015-entry-list), which are highlighted by 11 former BNP Paribas Open and 12 Grand Slam Singles Champions, it was announced today by Steve Simon, tournament director.
The announcement of the 2015 BNP Paribas Open entry lists kicks off a six-week countdown to the 40th anniversary of the Southern California tennis tournament. From humble beginnings back in 1976 at Mission Hills in Palm Springs, to the 2015 tournament where more than 300 of the world’s best players will descend on Indian Wells and compete for more than $10 million in prize money in front of more than 400,000 fans, the event has grown exponentially.
The men’s entry list is led by World No. 1, seven-time Grand Slam Champion and Defending BNP Paribas Open Champion Novak Djokovic (2008, 2011, 2014), 17-time Grand Slam Champion and World No. 2 Roger Federer (2004-2006, 2012), and 14-time Grand Slam Champion and World No. 3 Rafael Nadal (2007, 2009, 2013). In addition, all of the remaining top 10 ranked players are entered, including Stan Wawrinka (4), Kei Nishikori (5), Andy Murray (6), Tomas Berdych (7), Milos Raonic (8), Marin Cilic (9) and David Ferrer (10).
On the women’s side, the entry list is led by World No. 2, five-time Grand Slam Champion and former two-time BNP Paribas Open Champion Maria Sharapova (2006, 2013). She is joined by a number of former BNP Paribas Open Champions including World No. 5 Ana Ivanovic (2008), No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki (2011), Defending BNP Paribas Open Champion and No. 12 Flavia Pennetta, Jelena Jankovic (2010), Victoria Azarenka (2012), Daniela Hantuchova (2002, 2007) and Vera Zvonareva (2009). Top 10 tennis players also on the entry list include Simona Halep (3), Petra Kvitova (4), Agnieszka Radwanska (6), Angelique Kerber (9) and Dominika Cibulkova (10).
“Over the past 40 years, the BNP Paribas Open has developed into one of the world’s best sporting events, and a significant reason for that success is the fact that the best players in the world annually come to Indian Wells,” said Simon. “This year our fans can once again look forward to seeing past BNP Paribas Open Champions such as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, and Caroline Wozniacki, along with hundreds of other world-class tennis players.”
The remaining spots in the draws will be filled by winners of the Qualifying tournament (March 9-11) and Wildcards, which will be announced in the coming weeks.
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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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Nominations announced for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group and World Group II ties

Nominations announced for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group and World Group II ties

 

The ITF has announced the official team nominations for the 2015 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group and World Group II first round ties taking place on 7-8 February.

Four Zone Group events are also taking place in the week commencing 2 February: Europe/Africa Zone Group I in Budapest, Hungary (4-7 February); Americas Zone Group I in San Luis Potosi, Mexico (4-7 February); Asia/Oceania Zone Group I in Guangzhou, China (4-7 February); and Europe/Africa Zone Group II in Tallinn, Estonia (4-7 February)

All nations contesting the Zone Group I events will be bidding to qualify for the Fed Cup World Group II play-offs on 18-19 April, with two teams qualifying from the Europe/Africa Zone, and one team from both the Americas and Asia/Oceania Zones.

 

Live scoring for the World Group and World Group II ties will be available on the official Fed Cup website throughout the weekend of 7-8 February and both the English and Spanish websites will feature a live blog, reports, photographs, audio interviews, podcasts and live streaming. A live blog and full coverage of the Zone Group events will run 4-7 February. There will also be a fan zone showing the best social media content at www.fedcup.com/showyourcolours.

 

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 96 nations taking part in 2015. The event celebrated its 50th birthday in 2013 in the ITF’s centenary year. The title sponsor is BNP Paribas, the Official Bank of Fed Cup. Adecco (Official HR Sponsor) is an international sponsor. Follow all the action on www.fedcup.com, www.fedcup.com/es and at www.fedcup.tv as well as on social media at www.twitter.com/fedcup, www.facebook.com/FedCup  and www.Weibo.com/fedcupofficial.

WORLD GROUP FIRST ROUND

 

CANADA v CZECH REPUBLIC

Venue: PEPS, Quebec City, CAN (hard – indoors)

 

Canada

Sharon Fichman

Gabriela Dabrowski

Francoise Abanda

Captain: Sylvain Bruneau

 

Czech Republic

Karolina Pliskova

Tereza Smitkova

Denisa Allertova

Lucie Hradecka

Captain: Petr Pala

 

ITALY v FRANCE

Venue: 105 Stadium, Genoa, ITA (clay – indoors)

 

Italy

Sara Errani

Camila Giorgi

Roberta Vinci

Karin Knapp

Captain: Corrado Barazzutti

 

France

Alize Cornet

Caroline Garcia

Kristina Mladenovic

Pauline Parmentier

Captain: Amelie Mauresmo

 

POLAND v RUSSIA

Venue: Krakow Arena, Krakow, POL (hard – indoors)

 

Poland

Agnieszka Radwanska

Urszula Radwanska

Alicja Rosolska

Klaudia Jans-Ignacik

Captain: Tomasz Wiktorowski

 

Russia

Maria Sharapova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Vitalia Diatchenko

Captain: Anastasia Myskina

 

GERMANY v AUSTRALIA

Venue: Porsche Arena, Stuttgart, GER (hard – indoors)

 

Germany

Angelique Kerber

Andrea Petkovic

Sabine Lisicki

Julia Goerges

Captain: Barbara Rittner

 

Australia

Samantha Stosur

Casey Dellacqua

Jarmila Gajdosova

Olivia Rogowska

Captain: Alicia Molik

 

WORLD GROUP II FIRST ROUND

 

NETHERLANDS v SLOVAKIA

Venue: Omnisport Apeldoorn, Apeldoorn, NED (clay – indoors)

 

Netherlands

Kiki Bertens

Richel Hogenkamp

Arantxa Rus

Michaella Krajicek

Captain: Paul Haarhuis

 

Slovakia

Dominika Cibulkova

Magdalena Rybarikova

Anna Schmiedlova

Kristina Kucova

Captain: Matej Liptak

 

ROMANIA v SPAIN

Venue: Danube Arena, Galati, ROU (hard – indoors)

 

Romania

Simona Halep

Irina-Camelia Begu

Monica Niculescu

Alexandra Dulgheru

Captain: Alina Cercel-Tecsor

 

Spain

Garbine Muguruza

Silvia Soler-Espinosa

Lara Arruabarrena

Anabel Medina Garrigues

Captain: Conchita Martinez

 

SWEDEN v SWITZERLAND

Venue: Helsingborg Arena, Helsingborg, SWE (hard – indoors)

 

Sweden

Johanna Larsson

Rebecca Peterson

Susanne Celik

Sofia Arvidsson

Captain: Lars-Anders Wahlgren

 

Switzerland

Belinda Bencic

Timea Bacsinszky

Viktorija Golubic

Xenia Knoll

Captain: Heinz Guenthardt

 

ARGENTINA v USA

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

 

Argentina

Paula Ormaechea

Maria Irigoyen

Nadia Podoroska

Tatian Bua

Captain: Maria-Jose Gaidano

 

USA

Serena Williams

Venus Williams

Taylor Townsend

Madison Keys

Captain: Mary Joe Fernandez

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Serena Williams to face Madison Keys in Australian Open Semifinal

Madison Keys

Madison Keys

(January 28, 2015) No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 35 Madison Keys booked spots in Australian Open semifinals on Wednesday. Keys broke up what could have been an “all-Williams” semifinal when the 19-year-old knocked out 34-year-old Venus Williams 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam final four.

Serena Williams had a much easier time advancing, dismissing last year’s Australian Open losing finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes, is still on track to try and win her 19th major and sixth Australian Open title.

Statistics tell the story for the world No. 1 American who hit 58 winners including 15 aces and made only 18 unforced errors against the Slovak. Williams has won the title at Melbourne Park each of the five previous times she has advanced to the semifinals.

“I feel I played well,” said Serena. “I felt I had to. I feel like when you’re going up against a player like that who is confident on the court – she just had a few good matches – I knew that I needed to really play well or go home.”

“It was tough match for me today,” No. 11 Cibulkova said. “She was just playing really well today, I have to say. She was putting so much pressure from the serve and return. I didn’t have a chance to play my game. Just felt under so much pressure. It was a good day for her.

“It’s the way I struggle with reading her serves. I just don’t put many first returns in the game. That’s what makes it tough. And also then I feel under a bigger pressure on my serve. That’s why I try to go for much more first serve today. It just didn’t go in. Then my second serve, she was just going for it. Yeah, that’s make it really tough. She tries to make the rallies much shorter and not to get me in the rhythm. Yeah, that’s it.”

In a battle between tennis generations, Venus Williams and Keys, it was the first All-American quarterfinal since Sloane Stephens beat Serena Williams in Melbourne Park back in 2013.

After a dominant first set by Keys, who is now coached by former No. 1 and three-time slam winner Lindsay Davenport, she had to overcome a left leg injury and rally from a break down in the third set to win the match. Keys completed the match with 34 winners to 45 unforced errors, while Venus hit 10 winners to 38 unforced errors. The match saw 12 service breaks.

“I definitely didn’t serve as consistently as I wanted to,” said the seven-time major champion. “I felt like just not as aggressive off the ground as I would have liked. So I think in this kind of match you have to be aggressive. Like I said, I give a lot of credit to her because she really set her points up. She was swinging freely. Most of them went in for her. So it was just, you know, great for her.”

“It already feels like a long season already, so many matches in a row,” Williams said. “But it’s a great start. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this level up.”

Venus is 9-1 on the year, having won the tournament in Auckland.

“I think she played really well,” Venus said “Of course, I have to give credit to her just for playing well, landing a lot of great shots I think is ultimately — ultimately she played really well.

Venus hadn’t reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since the U.S. Open in 2010 since being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011, an auto-immune disease which causes fatigue.

“I think just being able to come back from being down and from not being able to move as well, not having as effective of a serve, just being able to kind of grind through that, still figure it out, manage to win some points, is what I’m most happy about,” Keys said about her left abductor injury.

“It was definitely one of those things where it wasn’t nearly as bad as Wimbledon, but it was that nightmare of `I don’t want this to happen again,’” Keys said. “Luckily the pain meds kicked in.”

“I mean, it definitely feels amazing,” said the teenager about the victory. “It’s one of those things where you want to feel this way all the time. But it’s not, you know, this unbelievable excitement either ’cause you want to keep winning and you want to keep doing better. I am very happy and I am very excited, but also not getting too far ahead of myself and being too content where I am.”

This is the third straight year that a teenager has reached the Australian Open semifinals: 2013 – Sloane Stephens, 2014 – Eugenie Bouchard and 2015 – Keys.

“I think Genie and Sloane are both really talented and can play some really good tennis,” Keys said.” It’s not super surprising they made semifinals. But, no, it’s one of those things when you see some of your fellow peers doing well, going deep in tournaments, it’s inspirational. Makes you kind of believe that you can do the same.”

About how Venus sees Keys’ future: “Sky’s the limit. There is no limit on what you can achieve. No one can stop you. Sometimes you may not win every match, but there’s a lot of them you can win. Really the sky’s the limit for her and anyone out there.”

On playing Serena next, Keys said: “It’s just one of those things where I have to go out and I have to do my best and I have to really just have to stay focused on my side of the court, because she’s obviously very, very good and she’s going to play very well. So if I get too focused on what she’s doing I think I can kind of let the moment get away from me. So I’m just really going to stay focused on myself.”

Serena on playing Keys:“I think she likes the surface. I’m just happy to be in the semis, and whatever happens an American will be in the final.”

“She’s playing great. I told her I was really happy that she did well. She’s in the semis. It’s good to see another American, another African American, in the semifinals playing so well. Regardless, there’s going to be an American in the finals, so that is great. It’s also great for me and Venus because we know that finally there’s other Americans that are constantly playing well and playing better, showing that they want to be the world’s greatest.”

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka posted straight set wins to reach the semifinals. Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 to gain his 25 major semifinal, while defending champion Wawrinka dominated Kei Nishokori with a powerful backhand 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (6).

This sets up a repeat of the last year’s dramatic quarterfinal which Wawrinka won in five sets.

 

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Americans John Isner, Sam Querrey, and Steve Johnson to Play U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship

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(January 27, 2015) HOUSTON – The top three Americans on the ATP World Tour rankings will play at River Oaks in April during the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship.

John Isner, the 2013 tournament champion, will be joined by his countrymen Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson, playing singles at the tournament while fellow Americans Bob and Mike Bryan highlight the doubles draw.

The trio of American singles players joins a field that will include defending champion Fernando Verdasco, Kevin Anderson and Feliciano Lopez for the April 6-12 tournament.

Five of these six singles players reached at least the third round at the Australian Open. Anderson and Lopez both reach the fourth round, while Johnson, Isner and Verdasco made it to the third round.

Isner has won at least two titles in each of the past four seasons on the ATP World Tour. During each of the past three seasons, Isner has finished as the No. 1 ranked American. He has an 11-6 record at River Oaks, including the title in 2013 and a run to the final in 2012.

Querrey has finished in the Top 50 of the ATP rankings six times in the last seven years, including this past season. He has won seven career titles in 12 finals. Querrey is 7-5 in his career at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, including a run to the final in 2010 and the semifinals in 2014.

Johnson completed career-best season in 2014, improving his ranking by over 120 positions during the year. He won back-to-back NCAA titles while playing at USC. As a pro in 2014, he reached the semifinals in Delray Beach and four other quarterfinals. Johnson will be playing at River Oaks for the third time. Both previous appearances ended with a loss to Verdasco.

These player commitments were announced as a new tournament website was launched. www.usmensclaycourt.com.

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