2015/02/01

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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Maria Sharapova to Face Eugenie Bouchard in Australian Open Quarterfinals

 

(January 25, 2015) Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard will face off for a place in the Australian Open semifinals after reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne on Sunday.

No. 2 seed Sharapova won the last 8 games of the match in her 6-3, 6-0 dismissal of No. 21 seed Peng Shuai in the fourth round.

Seventh seed Bouchard won nine of the first 10 games against No. 42 Irina-Camelia Begu, but was pushed to win her first three-setter of the tournament in her 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 win.

On the road to the round of 16, the Romanian Begu defeated No. 9-seeded Angelique Kerber in the first round.

Bouchard, advanced to semifinals or better at the first three major tournament in 2014, took a break after the second set.

“I gave myself a good, long hard look in the mirror,” Bouchard said post-match in regard to going off court. “I said, `Genie, this is unacceptable.’ I really kind of kicked myself in the butt a little bit.”

The Canadian spoke about how the match switched momentum to her opponent in the second set. “It’s disappointing for me because I want to play so well and I want to be perfect. That’s not possible. It happens. Yeah, I think I started being a bit less aggressive, a bit too passive, and you know, that’s not my game at all. I don’t do well when that happens. She could string together a few good points here and there, hit some good shots and serves and got some confidence in the second set. You know, that helped her. So definitely disappointing. But I learned a lot from it and I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t happen next time. I’m happy that I could regroup and, yeah, play a bit better tennis in the third. I want to build on that for the next match”

“Clearly I need more practice!” she said.

The 20-year-old Bouchard will play Sharapova next. The Russian has a 3-0 career record against Bouchard. Sharapova fell in the fourth round at Melbourne Park last year, while Bouchard reached the semifinals in her Australian Open debut.

Sharapova said, “Last year I lost in the fourth round here, getting to the quarters is really special.”

Asked about what she expects in her match with Bouchard, Sharapova responded: “She’s been playing really well in this tournament and also in the slams the last year. Really confident tennis and inspired form. I expect her to come out and play a really good match. I think we only played each other one time last year, which was at the French. That was a really tough match for me. I had to come back from being down one set to Love. Yeah, I’m sure she’ll come out and play extremely well.”

“She’s a pretty aggressive player. She stays really close to the line, she likes to dictate the points. Yeah, I feel that’s where she’s hurt a lot of players and been really successful.

 

“I would definitely look forward to that match,” Bouchard said. “I think it’s always great to play the best players in the world. We’ve had a couple matches, and a good match last year. You know, I think I was close. It was just a tough battle. But I think I’ve progressed a lot since then, and, you know, I definitely want to keep playing my game no matter what. Really kind of take it to her, go for my shots. That’s what I want to do on the court. And it’s more fun when I play that way, too. I had more fun in the third set today. So I want to try to do that.”

Sharapova was asked about Bouchard being compared to her. “I think we all want to go through our own paths and we all want to — when I was coming up, I was compared to Kournikova for many years in my career and still occasionally name always comes up in interviews and articles. That’s just part of it, part of the game, part of the business. It’s understandable. It is what it is. As I have said, I believe I was still a teenager, I don’t want to be the next anyone. I want to be the first Maria Sharapova. And that’s how I’ve been throughout my whole career. And we all want to create our own path and go through our own career. And we’re all destined for some sort of thing. We work extremely hard at a sport, and that’s what we want to be known for.”

Asked about if she sees Bouchard in her, Sharapova responded:

“I personally don’t know Genie very well. As a tennis player she’s a big competitor. She’s an aggressive player as well that likes to take the ball early and dictate points. From that perspective, yeah, definitely.”

 

In another fourth round match, No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia won 6-3, 6-2 over Germany’s Julia Goerges to reach the elite eight, where she’ll face off against No. 3 Simona Halep.

Halep is in the Australian Open quarterfinals for the second straight year with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Yanina Wickmayer.

For Makarova it’s her third trip to the Australian Open quarterfinals.

“A lot of confidence I have now because I didn’t lose a set,” Halep said. “I had good matches here in first week, so I’m really happy that I’m in second week now like last year. Here I started to play my best tennis in Grand Slams. So means a lot for me. I really have more confidence now to play the quarterfinals.”

“I’m so happy, yeah, that I’m showing my good tennis here and already in the quarter; third time here in Australian Open,” said the Russian. So I’m so happy that I beat today Julia. She’s tough opponent. She’s in great shape. She played great her matches. So I’m happy that I came through.”

 

Makarova upset Serena Williams at the Australian Open in 2012.

On playing Halep next, Makarova said: “Well, we played once in New Haven I think not the last year, the year before. I lost 6-1, 7-6, something like that. She’s one of the greatest player now, and I’m really looking forward. If she wins today, depends, yeah. I will want to forward and forward step by step.”

Halep on matching up against Makarova: “I know her. I play a few times against her. She serves pretty well; she’s moving well; she’s playing aggressive. I have my chance. I believe in my chance next round. So I have to make my game again to be aggressive and to serve well like today.”

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2015 Australian Open Men’s Contender Profiles

(January 17, 2015) Profiles of the top Men’s Singles contenders for the 2015 Australian Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

2014 Record: 61-8

Grand Slam Record: 180-33

Australian Open Record: 43-6

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2008, ’11-’13)

Fast Fact: If Djokovic wins the title, he will be tied for 5th for Grand Slam titles won (8) with Agassi, Connors, and Lendl, and will have the most Australian Open titles (5) in the Open era.

 

Roger Federer

2014 Record: 73-12

Grand Slam Record: 279-45

Australian Open Record: 73-11

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2004, ’06, ’07, ’10)

Fast Fact: Over the last five years, the Australian Open has been Federer’s most successful Grand Slam event, with 26 match wins (French – 22 wins, Wimbledon – 22 wins, US – 21 wins).

 

Rafael Nadal

2014 Record: 48-11

Grand Slam Record: 187-25

Australian Open Record: 41-8

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2009)

Fast Fact: Over the last seven months, Nadal has lost as many matches (3) against players ranked outside the top 100 as he had over the prior seven years.

 

Stan Wawrinka

2014 Record: 39-17

Grand Slam Record: 82-38

Australian Open Record: 23-8

Australian Open Best Result: W (2014)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Wawrinka won 73% of his matches vs. Top Ten players (8-3); in prior years he won only 29% vs. Top Ten (27-67).

 

Kei Nishikori

2014 Record: 54-14

Grand Slam Record: 37-21

Australian Open Record: 12-5

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Nishikori won $4.4M in prize money, more than he had earned in his entire career prior to 2014 ($3.6M in 2007-2013).

 

Andy Murray

2014 Record: 59-20

Grand Slam Record: 134-33

Australian Open Record: 33-9

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2010, ’11, ’13)

Fast Fact: Murray has reached at least the QF in his last 15 Grand Slam events played, a streak dating back to 2010 US Open (lost 3R to Wawrinka).

 

Tomas Berdych

2014 Record: 55-22

Grand Slam Record: 103-45

Australian Open Record: 29-11

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Berdych has played 15 five set matches at Grand Slam events, but only one at the Australian Open (2009, lost 4R to Federer).

 

Milos Raonic

2014 Record: 49-20

Grand Slam Record: 35-16

Australian Open Record: 10-4

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2011, ’13)

Fast Fact: Raonic has only one Top Ten win at a Grand Slam, defeating No. 10 Youzhny in the 3R of the 2011 Australian Open.

 

David Ferrer

2014 Record: 54-24

Grand Slam Record: 121-48

Australian Open Record: 32-12

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2011, ’13)

Fast Fact: Ferrer’s win over Berdych in Doha last week was his first win vs. a Top Ten player since May, 2014 (def. Isner, Madrid 3R).

 

Grigor Dimitrov

2014 Record: 50-18

Grand Slam Record: 20-17

Australian Open Record: 6-4

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2014)

Fast Fact: Dimitrov is the only player born after 1990 to have reached the Top Ten in the ATP rankings.

 

Ernests Gulbis

2014 Record: 41-21

Grand Slam Record: 27-29

Australian Open Record: 2-6

Australian Open Best Result: 2R (2009, ’14)

Fast Fact: Gulbis has lost in the first or second round in 22 of the last 24 Grand Slam events he has played.

 

Feliciano Lopez

2014 Record: 39-26

Grand Slam Record: 73-52

Australian Open Record: 17-12

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2012)

Fast Fact: In his 17th year as a professional, Lopez had his most successful year in 2014, winning 39 matches.

 

Gael Monfils

2014 Record: 36-15

Grand Slam Record: 67-32

Australian Open Record: 16-9

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2009)

Fast Fact: Monfils is the only seeded man at the 2014 Australian Open to win the Boys Singles title (2004).

 

John Isner

2014 Record: 39-20

Grand Slam Record: 37-26

Australian Open Record: 7-6

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2010)

Fast Fact: Of Isner’s 18 career final appearances, 15 have been in U.S. events.

 

 

 

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2015 Australian Open Women’s Contender Profiles

(January 17, 2015) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for the 2015 Australian Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

2014 Record: 52-8

Grand Slam Record: 259-39

Australian Open Record: 61-9

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2003, ’05, ’07. ’09, ‘10)

Fast Fact: At the Australian Open, Serena has only lost twice to a Top Ten player (2001 to Hingis, 2008 to Jankovic).

 

Maria Sharapova

2014 Record: 49-13

Grand Slam Record: 165-40

Australian Open Record: 42-10

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2008)

Fast Fact: With her win last week in Brisbane, Sharapova has won a title in each of the last 13 years, placing her 4th in the Open Era behind Navratilova (21), Evert (18), and Graf (14).

 

Simona Halep

2014 Record: 46-16

Grand Slam Record: 27-18

Australian Open Record: 6-4

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2014)

Fast Fact: Halep celebrated 50 consecutive weeks in the Top Ten, and will mark her one year anniversary during the Australian Open (reached No. 10 on Jan 27, 2014).

 

Petra Kvitova

2014 Record: 43-16

Grand Slam Record: 64-24

Australian Open Record: 11-6

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: Kvitova will play her 500th career match in the first round of the Australian Open.

 

Ana Ivanovic

2014 Record: 58-17

Grand Slam Record: 97-39

Australian Open Record: 24-10

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2008)

Fast Fact: Despite having her best season since 2008, Ivanovic lost to lower-ranked players at all of the Grand Slams in 2014.

 

Agnieszka Radwanska

2014 Record: 47-22

Grand Slam Record: 90-34

Australian Open Record: 24-8

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Since beating Venus Williams to win 2014 Canadian Open (Montreal), Radwanska has a losing record, 8-9.

 

Eugenie Bouchard

2014 Record: 43-22

Grand Slam Record: 23-7

Australian Open Record: 5-1

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Bouchard won more Grand Slam matches in 2014 than any other woman (19).

 

Caroline Wozniacki

2014 Record: 49-19

Grand Slam Record: 79-31

Australian Open Record: 22-7

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2011)

Fast Fact: Wozniacki has a 7-0 record in opening round matches at the Australian Open, the only Grand Slam event that she has not lost in the first round.

 

Angelique Kerber

2014 Record: 47-24

Grand Slam Record: 48-28

Australian Open Record: 11-7

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2013, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Kerber has a 1-7 record against Top 50 players at the Australian Open.

 

Ekaterina Makarova

2014 Record: 41-21

Grand Slam Record: 48-29

Australian Open Record: 18-7

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2012, ‘13)

Fast Fact: In her last four Australian Open appearances, Makarova has defeated four Grand Slam champions (Ivanovic, S. Williams, Bartoli, V. Williams).

 

Dominika Cibulkova

2014 Record: 32-24

Grand Slam Record: 53-29

Australian Open Record: 13-7

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2014)

Fast Fact: Cibulkova has won only six matches since Wimbledon, as many matches as she won en route to the Australian Open final in 2014.

 

Flavia Pennetta

2014 Record: 33-20

Grand Slam Record: 69-45

Australian Open Record: 13-11

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2014)

Fast Fact: Pennetta had a losing record at the Australian Open until reaching the QF in 2014.

 

Andrea Petkovic

2014 Record: 41-23

Grand Slam Record: 31-20

Australian Open Record: 6-5

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2011)

Fast Fact: Petkovic hasn’t won a match at the Australian Open since 2011 (def. Sharapova 4R).

 

Venus Williams

2014 Record: 32-14

Grand Slam Record: 221-57

Australian Open Record: 41-14

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2003)

Fast Fact: With her 2014 Australian Open appearance, Venus moves into 3rd place in the Open Era with 65 Slam appearances, trailing only Frazier (71) and Navratilova (67).

 

Victoria Azarenka

2014 Record: 15-9

Grand Slam Record: 101-32

Australian Open Record: 32-7

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2012, ’13)

Fast Fact: Azarenka enters a Grand Slam event unseeded for the first time since 2007 U.S. Open, after 27 Slams where she was seeded.

 

 

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Andrew Walker appointed ITF Commercial Director

ITF

(January 7, 2015) The International Tennis Federation announced  that Andrew Walker, formerly Chief Marketing Officer of the WTA, will take over as ITF Commercial Director on January 7,  2015. He replaces Kenny MacLeod who leaves the ITF in mid-January.

 

Walker joined the WTA in 2003 and played a leading role in sponsorship sales and activation plus sales and strategic projects in helping to drive the growth of women’s professional tennis. He played an important role in some of the biggest success stories in women’s tennis, including being a key member of the revenue generating team that concluded WTA’s sponsorship deals and subsequent renewals with organisations such as Sony Ericsson, Whirlpool, Xerox, BNP Paribas and Rolex. Since leaving the WTA, Walker has taken on various consultancy roles within the industry.

 

“We are very pleased that Andrew Walker, with his outstanding experience in tennis, has agreed to join the ITF as Commercial Director,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “We have known Andrew for many years and believe he will be a great asset to our commercial team. At the same time, we wish Kenny well for the future and thank him for his efforts on our behalf.”

 

“I am excited to join the ITF and to help contribute to the continued commercial success of the organization, members and sport,” said Walker. “The leadership team at the ITF have done an incredible job of expanding both the ITF’s flagship properties and the development of the game on a global basis, and I look forward to working with them along with their members and partners to drive new opportunities for growth.”

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Merry Christmas From Tennis Panorama News

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(December 25, 2014) New York, NY – Tennis Panorama News wishes our readers who celebrate a very Merry Christmas.

 

Seasons Greetings from ATP

merryitf

ita

 

 

Happy Holidays from the Citi Open® Tennis Tournament

As a special surprise, check out our 2014 Citi Open Champions Milos Raonic and Svetlana Kuznetsova showing off their holiday cheer with
Bam & Boo!

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season!

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Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic named 2014 ITF World Champions

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(December 18, 2014) The ITF announced on Thursday that Serena Williams of the United States and Novak Djokovic of Serbia are the 2014 ITF World Champions. Williams is named Women’s World Champion for the fifth time, while this is the fourth occasion that Djokovic has received the honor.

 

Americans Bob and Mike Bryan are named Men’s Doubles World Champions for the 11th time in 12 years, while Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy become Women’s Doubles World Champions for the third successive year.

 

Catherine “CiCi” Bellis of the United States and Russia’s Andrey Rublev are named ITF Junior World Champions, while the ITF Wheelchair World Champions are Japanese duo Yui Kamiji and Shingo Kunieda, who becomes men’s champion for the sixth time.

 

The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the 2015 ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 2 June, in Paris, during Roland Garros.

 

Serena Williams is named Women’s World Champion for the fifth occasion, after maintaining the No. 1 ranking throughout the year. The 33-year-old captured her 18th Grand Slam title at the US Open to equal the achievements of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. She won six other titles during the year, including the season-ending WTA Finals. Williams is the oldest player ever to be named an ITF Singles World Champion.

 

Williams said: “I’m so honored to be named ITF World Champion for the fifth time. This was a year of challenges and triumphs, so to win another Grand Slam and retain my year-end No. 1 ranking is an accomplishment I’m very proud of. I’m grateful to have the support of the tennis community in every way possible. I can’t wait for 2015.”

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic becomes Men’s World Champion for the fourth time after reclaiming the No. 1 ranking in 2014. The 27-year-old won his seventh Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, and was also a finalist at Roland Garros and semifinalist at the US Open. He won a total of seven titles during the year including the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals. Djokovic is one of only four men to be named World Champion four or more times, alongside Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.

 

Bob and Mike Bryan become Men’s Doubles World Champions for the 11th time after capturing their 16th Grand Slam title and 100th title overall at the 2014 US Open. They won a total of ten titles during the year, including the ATP World Tour Finals, taking their total career titles to 103. They were also runners-up at Wimbledon. The brothers now stand within two trophies of the record of wheelchair tennis star Esther Vergeer, who was named World Champion 13 times.

 

Mike Bryan said: “The 2014 season was one of our best seasons on tour and it’s one we’ll fondly remember for a lot of reasons. We look forward to the awards dinner in Paris and sharing the stage with all the other world champions.”

 

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci are only the second pair to be named Women’s Doubles World Champions on three occasions. The Italians completed the career Grand Slam with their first victory at Wimbledon, and were also champions at the Australian Open and runners-up at Roland Garros. They won a total of five titles during the year and finished 2014 co-ranked No. 1 on the WTA doubles rankings.

 

Errani and Vinci said: “We are both really happy to be Women’s Doubles World Champions for the third consecutive year. It is a great pleasure and honour to have finished this year as number one in the doubles ranking again. Our goal for 2015 is to defend our Australian Open and Wimbledon titles.”

 

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “All of our World Champions have demonstrated great consistency at the top of the game in one of the strongest eras for our sport. Serena Williams is one of the toughest competitors of all-time, while Novak Djokovic’s performances at the biggest events make him a deserving winner. Bob and Mike Bryan’s remarkable achievement is a testament to their continued drive and determination, while Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci have shown the importance of teamwork both on and off court.”

 

The ITF’s selection of its senior World Champions is based on an objective system that considers all results during the year, but gives special weight to the Grand Slam tournaments, and two ITF international team competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.

 

Catherine “CiCi” Bellis is the second American in three years to become ITF Girls World Champion, and is the youngest world champion since 2006. The 15-year-old won four singles title during the year, sealing the year-end No. 1 ranking at last week’s Orange Bowl. She also led the United States to victory in the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, one year after being a member of the USA’s 14-and-under ITF World Junior Tennis winning team.

 

Bellis said: “It was my goal to be the year-end No. 1 from when I started playing in the juniors two years ago and I am ecstatic that I was able to reach this milestone as a 15-year-old.  It is an honour to be in such great company with all of the amazing and legendary juniors before me.”

 

Andrey Rublev is the first Russian male in any category to be named ITF World Champion after achieving the year-end No. 1 boys’ junior ranking. The 17-year-old was the most consistent performer on the ITF Junior Circuit, winning his first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, and capturing singles bronze and doubles silver at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. He reached a total of five singles finals during the year, winning two titles.

 

Rublev said: “I am happy to finish this year as World Champion. I thank my family, coaches and team for all the support I was getting all the time. I also understand that this is just the first step and will do my best to score further victories.”

 

Shingo Kunieda becomes Men’s Wheelchair World Champion for the sixth time after retaining the year-end world No. 1 ranking. The 30-year-old only lost one match all year, winning 12 singles titles on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour and boasting a 51-1 overall win-loss record. He won all three Grand Slam singles events, taking his total major titles to 17, and was also champion at the season-ending NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters.

 

Kunieda said: “I am very happy to be world champion six times. I played well this year and still feel I am improving my tennis. I’d like to thank my team and am already looking forward to next season.”

 

Yui Kamiji is named Women’s Wheelchair World Champion for the first time after dominating the Grand Slam tournaments. The 20-year-old captured her first two major titles at Roland Garros and the US Open, and was runner-up at the Australian Open. She also partnered Britain’s Jordanne Whiley to the women’s doubles Grand Slam. Kamiji won a total of eight singles titles during 2014 and is the first Asian woman to receive this honour.

 

Kamiji said: “2014 is definitely the year to remember in my career. I was proud to win my first two Grand Slam titles and reach the final of the Australian Open. It was also very special to achieve the doubles calendar Grand Slam and win the Doubles Masters with my best friend on tour Jordanne Whiley.”

 

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “I would like to thank all the 2014 ITF World Champions for their contribution to another memorable year for our sport.”

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Tennis Hall of Famer Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney Passes Away at 98

Dodo Cheney photo courtesy of the International Tennis Hall of Fame

Dodo Cheney photo courtesy of the International Tennis Hall of Fame

(November 25, 2014)  –  The International Tennis Hall of Fame  announced on Tuesday the death of 2004 inductee Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney. She was 98 years old. She passed away surrounded by her family in Escondido, Calif. on November 23, following a brief illness.

Cheney first started playing as a young child and was an active competitor well into her 90s. Cheney won an extraordinary 391 gold balls – this is awarded by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to winners of its national titles, amateur or professional, junior or senior. Among her 391 national titles, Cheney was a champion numerous times in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, across various age levels, and on all surfaces.

 

In 1938, Cheney became the first American woman to win the Australian Championships (now known as the Australian Open). She was a runner up three times in women’s doubles at Grand Slam tournaments and four times in mixed doubles. In addition to her Australian Championships title, Cheney reached four semifinals at the U.S. Championships and one semifinal each at Wimbledon and the French Championships.

 

Cheney was ranked in the world top-10 in the late 1930s through mid 1940s. She reached a career high of World No. 6 in 1946. She was the No. 3 ranked player in the United States in 1937, 1938, and 1941. She competed against peers including Hall of Famers Helen Wills Moody, Alice Marble, Sarah Palfrey Cooke, and Pauline Betz Addie, among others.

 

Cheney was the daughter of Wimbledon and U.S. Nationals Champion, Hall of Famer May Sutton Bundy and U.S. Nationals Doubles Champion Tom Bundy. In 2002, at age 85, Cheney and her daughter Christie Putnam won the USTA National Grass Court Super-Senior Mother Daughter Championships.

 

Cheney was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur. She is survived by two daughters, Christie Putnam and May Cheney; a son, Brian Cheney; eight grandchildren; and fourteen great-grandchildren.

 

Cheney was passionate about the development of junior tennis players. In lieu of flowers, her family has suggested gifts to the junior tennis program of one’s choice in her memory.

 

A private memorial service will be scheduled at a future date.

 

Statement from USTA Chairman, CEO and President Dave Haggerty on the passing of Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney: 

 

“Dodo Cheney was one of the most prolific champions in the history of tennis and the personification of tennis truly being a lifetime sport. She played competitively into her 90s, and her remarkable grace, singular class and competitive spirit made her one of our sport’s greatest ambassadors. She will be sorely missed by the sport that she loved.”

 

A 2004 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, Cheney was the personification of tennis as a lifetime sport. She became the first American woman to win the Australian Championships (1938) and reached the semifinals at every other major, including four such appearances at the U.S. National Championships.  Cheney went on to win more than 390 USTA National titles in a career that saw her play well into her 90s. She was 98.

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Roger Federer Win Clinches Switzerland’s First Davis Cup Title

 

(November 23, 2014) Switzerland became the 14th country to claim the country’s first Davis Cup title on Sunday when they defeated France 3- 1 in Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, France.

In front of a record setting crowd of 27,448, world No. 2 Roger Federer clinched the tie for Switzerland defeating Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, falling to the ground in celebration after hitting a drop shot winner. Gasquet filled in for an ailing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The Swiss No. 1 was in command of the match from beginning to end, which lasted an hour and 42 minutes.

“He was playing fast. He was very focused and making very few mistakes. I was not even able to have a break point,” said Gasquet. “It was difficult for me to give him problems. We are all disappointed. I would have liked to do more for the team because the crowd was ready, ready to support me to the end. In that situation, the only thing you want to do is play a fourth or fifth set just to please the crowd.”

“He was not unbeatable today, but he only made a few mistakes,” Gasquet explained. “It’s a shame I could not get any break points.”

Federer was dominated in a straight set loss to Gael Monfils in the second singles rubber on Friday. Stan Wawrinka opened the tie with a four-set victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and teamed with Federer to claim the doubles rubber on Saturday to give the Swiss a 2-1 lead coming into Sunday.

Being a part of a winning David Cup, adds another victory to his career resume, in which he already holds 17 major titles.

“I’m unbelievably happy. Amazing feeling to be celebrating with my friends,” said Federer post match in an on-court interview. “Just a great match, great atmosphere. It was a beautiful weekend for tennis.”

“We fought hard for it, I’ve been playing this game for almost 15 years now and clearly I’ve never come as close as this last weekend. I’m happy I was able to stay calm and play a good match when I had to and I’m happy for all the guys on the team.”

With Federer coming into the Davis Cup final in questionable health due to a back injury which forced him to withdraw last week’s ATP World Tour Final against No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the Basel native gave full credit to Wawrinka as the “MVP” of the Davis Cup Final.

“Everybody worked incredibly hard to get me match ready, Stan has put in so much effort over the years and played an unbelievable weekend that gave me the opportunity today,” said Federer.

“I’m very much aware of that, this one is for the boys. It’s not for me. I’ve won enough in my career and did not need to tick any empty boxes. I’m just happy for everybody else. I’m happy we could live a great tennis historic moment in our country.”

Just over a week ago, there appeared to be friction between Federer and Wawrinka when some media reports claimed that Federer’s wife Mirka allegedly heckled Wawrinka by calling him a “crybaby” during the ATP World Tour Finals semifinals between Federer and Wawrinka. It was later reported that Federer and Wawrinka had an argument in the locker room after the match.

“At the end, it’s a tennis match, you feel great emotions,” Federer continued. “You’re unbelievably happy and relieved “We wanted this clearly very badly, especially being up 2-1. You inch yourself closer and closer. Clearly seeing Stan out there, the rest of the team supporting you, gives you an extra push. It was definitely one of the better feelings in my career, no doubt about it. So much nicer to celebrate it all together.”

“It’s an amazing feeling. The best,” said Wawrinka. “We all know how it’s great to watch such an amazing player when he’s playing good tennis.”

With the Davis Cup win on Sunday, Wawrinka, became the first person since Andre Agassi in 1992 to win his first Grand Slam title and his first Davis Cup trophy in the same year. Wawrinka also won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo, taking out Davis Cup teammate Federer back in April.

Federer set a new record as the most successful Swiss player in the history of the Davis Cup. It was his 50th win, now ahead of Jakob Hlasek for total wins.

Asked about comparing this victory to winning his first major, Wimbledon in 2003, Federer said, “You can’t compare. When I won Wimbledon, it was a total shock honestly. Davis Cup is something that I knew was possible at some stage in my career.

“Of course, there was the pressure of being able to manage all this and make everyone happy with all the support we had for the team and everything. So it is a totally different feeling. Also I was not alone on the court. This changes everything.”

 

Final scores:

DAVIS CUP BY BNP PARIBAS FINAL

SWITZERLAND defeated FRANCE 3-1

Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, FRA (clay – indoors)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 61 36 63 62

Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Roger Federer (SUI) 61 64 63

Roger Federer/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Julien Benneteau/Richard Gasquet (FRA) 63 75 64

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Richard Gasquet (FRA) 64 62 62

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI) not played

 

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