May 26, 2016

Roger Federer and Serena Williams Defend Cincy Tennis Titles

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(August 23, 2015) Serena Williams and Roger Federer became the first women’s and men’s champions to defend their Cincinnati titles since the lat 1930s on Sunday. Williams defeated new No. 2 player Simona Halep 6-3, 7-6(5) for her second Western and Southern Open crowns while Federer stopped top ranked Novak Djokovic 7-6(1), 6-3 for his seventh.

Federer prevented Djokovic from claiming the only Masters 1000 title he has never won.

“The fifth time I’ve been in the title (match) and never won this title, so I guess I have to wait for Roger to retire,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been coming back each year wanting it more.”

“I really hope you can win here someday,” Federer told Djokovic during the trophy ceremony. “He deserves it. C’mon, so close.”

The win puts the 34-year-old Swiss back up to No. 2 in the world and gives him his 24 Masters title and 87th career tournament title. He is 7-0 in Cincinnati finals.

“I think I moved well,” Federer said. “I was explosive moving forward. Volleys were good. I think from the baseline was hitting my forehand very well. I was serving very well this week, don’t get me wrong, but I still think there was a little bit more room for improvement on the serve. I wasn’t always hitting all spots as perfect as I was hoping it to be. In practice I didn’t feel this good, to be quite honest.

“This has always been a good week for me. I think the volunteers make a wonderful tournament with the tournament director, and it’s very fan friendly as well. I get in touch a lot with the fans this week. It’s just a nice venue. Great center court. Good atmosphere. Good court speed for me. So many things for me to like about it.  Those are the reasons I’m sure I play well here.”

“Well, it’s the sport,” the Serbian said of the loss. “You can’t win all the time. I won many matches this year. Of course it’s disappointing at this stage to reflect on the match. Could have done some things better, but I lost to a better player, no question about it. I have to deal with it. US Open is around the corner, and I have to already turn the next page. Hopefully I can do well there.”

Serena Williams heads to New York’s U.S. Open trying to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 win a Grand Slam.

“I’m ready,” Williams said. “I don’t care if I win or lose or break even. I’m ready to start it, get it over with, and be done and go on to the next event. But I’m so ready for New York. Let’s go, right?”

“I know you can do four,” Halep said to Williams during the trophy ceremony.

2012 US Open champion Andy Murray clinched the 2015 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s title with Roger Federer’s victory over Novak Djokovic in the final of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Murray, who also won the Emirates Airline US Open Series title in 2010, will attempt to set a record for the largest payout in tennis history at the US Open – $4.3 million ($3.3 million for winning the US Open and a $1 million bonus for winning the US Open as Emirates Airline US Open Series champion).

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Cincinnati Finals Set: Djokovic versus Federer and Serena Williams Plays Halep

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RESULTS – Saturday, August 22
ATP Main Draw Singles – Semifinals
[1] Novak Djokovic (Serbia) d. [Q] Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) 46 76(5) 62
[2] Roger Federer (Switzerland) d. [3] Andy Murray (Great Britain) 64 76(6)
WTA Main Draw Singles – Semifinals
[1] Serena Williams (USA) d. [14] Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) 64 63
[3] Simona Halep (Romania) d. Jelena Jankovic 61 62
ATP Main Draw Doubles – Semifinals
[6] Marcin Matkowski (Poland) / Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia) d. [2] Ivan Dodig (Croatia) / Marcelo Melo (Brazil) 64 64
Daniel Nestor (Canada) / Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) d. Feliciano Lopez (Spain) / Max Mirnyi (Belarus) 75 64
WTA Main Draw Doubles – Semifinals
Hao-Ching Chan (Chinese Taipei) / Yung-Jan Chan (Chinese Taipei) d. [1] Martina Hingis (Switzerland) / Sania Mirza (India) 64 06 10-6
ORDER OF PLAY – Sunday, August 23, 2015
CENTER start 1:00 pm
[1] Novak Djokovic (Serbia) vs. [2] Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Not Before 3:00 pm
[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [3] Simona Halep (Romania)
GRANDSTAND start at 11:15 am
Daniel Nestor (Canada) / Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) vs. [6] Marcin Matkowski (Poland) / Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia)
Not before 1:45 pm
Hao-Ching Chan (Chinese Taipei) / Yung-Jan Chan (Chinese Taipei) vs. [4] Casey Dellacqua (Australia) / Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan)
NEWS AND NOTES
Roger Federer, a record six-time champion at the W&S Open, will play four-time finalist Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s title match. The pair have evenly split 40 previous career meetings, but Federer owns a 15-14 edge on hard courts and a 2-0 advantage in Cincinnati.
– The W&S Open final is a rematch of this year’s Wimbledon final. In fact, 14 of the 40 meetings between the two have been in finals, with Djokovic holding a 9-5 lead over Federer in those matches. This will be the fifth final they have contested this season, with Djokovic prevailing in three (Indian Wells, Rome and Wimbledon) compared to one for Federer (Dubai).
– Federer and Djokovic are the first players to meet in three Cincinnati finals in the Open Era (also 2008 and 2012).
– The final features two of the top three players in the ATP rankings, with Djokovic holding the No. 1 spot and Federer being ranked No. 3. The combined ranking of 4 is the lowest in a Cincinnati final since 2009 when No. 1 Federer played No. 2 Djokovic.
– Federer is looking to win back-to-back Cincinnati titles for the second time in his career (also 2009-10). Only three other players has successfully defended this title in the Open Era: Andre Agassi (1995-96), Michael Chang (1993-94) and Mats Wilander (1983-84).
– Djokovic has reached four Cincinnati finals but has yet to win the title. It is the only ATP Masters 1000 title that has eluded him. The final will be his 37th match here, placing him second among active players for matches played without a title at the W&S Open (Hewitt, 39).
– There is more than just the Western & Southern Open title on the line on Sunday, as the match will also decide the winner of the 2015 Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge. Djokovic will clinch the Challenge with a win on Sunday, while a victory by Federer would secure the Challenge for Murray.
Serena Williams will play Simona Halep for the women’s title. Williams owns a 5-1 edge over the Romanian.
– Williams is looking to be the first woman to successfully defend her title in Cincinnati in the Open Era. She is also the first player in the Open Era to reach three consecutive finals. She has a 20-4 lifetime record in Cincinnati.
– Halep has reached the finals here for the first time. She had twice been to the quarterfinals (2013 and 2014) before reaching the final this year.
– With Williams, No. 1, playing Halep, No. 3, this will be the fourth consecutive year that the women’s final features a pair of Top 10 players.
Daniel Nestor and Edouard Roger-Vasselin are through to their second straight Masters 1000 final together. Last weekend they contested the final in Montreal, losing to the Bryan Brothers 10-6 in the match tie-break. Nestor is looking to win a record-tying fifth Cincinnati title.
Marcin Matkowski and Nenad Zimonjic are also through to their second Masters 1000 final of the year, having finished as runner-up in Madrid.
Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova are pursuing their second title of the season after winning in Madrid final. The pair also reached the French Open final this year.
– The sisterly duo of Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan have won one title this season together, in Pattaya City. Chan/Chan lost in the opening round of the W&S Open in both 2012 and 2014.
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Semis Set in Cincinnati

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(August 21, 2015)
NEWS AND NOTES
– The trend of strong attendance continued Friday as more than 25,000 fans were in attendance at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Twelve of the 13 sessions this year have set an attendance record for the respective sessions.

Novak Djokovic is appearing in his fifth Cincinnati semifinal, and is undefeated in that round. However, Djokovic has never won this title, the only one of the ATP Masters 1000 titles that has eluded him.

Alexandr Dolgopolov is just the third qualifier to reach the semifinals at the Western & Southern Open in the Open Era, and is the first to do so since David Wheaton in 1994. He is bidding to be the first qualifier to reach the final in the Open Era.

– At No. 66 in the rankings, Dolgopolov would be the lowest ranked finalist since 1980 (Francisco Gonzalez, No. 119).

– This is the fourth year in a row that an unseeded player has reached the semifinals. The last unseeded player to reach a final was John Isner in 2013 (l. to Nadal).
Roger Federer has reached his seventh semifinal in Cincinnati, which is second in the Open Era behind Jimmy Connors and Stefan Edberg, who both did so eight times. Owner of a tournament record six titles, Federer is 6-0 in semifinals here.
– Two-time champion Andy Murray is on an eight-match winning streak, having won the title last week in Montreal. Murray is bidding to be the sixth player to win Canada and Cincinnati back-to-back in the Open Era (Cliff Richey 1969, Eddie Dibbs 1978, Andre Agassi 1995, Pat Rafter 1998, Andy Roddick 2003 and Rafael Nadal 2013)
Serena Williams, the defending champion, is bidding to reach her third consecutive final in Cincinnati. She has won 42 matches in a row on US hard courts, stretching back to 2013 Cincinnati final.
Elina Svitolina is through to the semifinals for a first time in Cincinnati, and her second semifinal of the summer (Stanford, l.to Kerber). At 20-years-old, she is trying to become the youngest finalist here since Vera Zvonareva reached the 2004 final at 19.

Jelena Jankovic, the 2009 champion, boasts a 24-7 record in Cincinnati, making her the winningest active woman at the tournament.

– Jankovic and Serena are the first women in the Open Era to reach the semifinals in Cincinnati four times.

Simona Halep, a first-time semifinalist here, has advanced to at least the semifinals at eight of 13 tournaments played so far in 2015. She is the first Romanian woman to reach the semifinals here.

– In doubles, the 19-17 match tie-break won by Hao-Ching Chan & Yung-Jan Chang over Sara Errani & Flavia Pennetta is the longest match tie-break this season on the WTA.

Bob & Mike Bryan, the two-time defending champions, had reached the semifinals or better every year since 2006. Friday’s loss snapped their consecutive semifinal streak at nine.

– Planning ahead, here’s a look at Sunday’s schedule:
11:15 am – Men’s Doubles Final (Grandstand)
1:00 pm – Men’s Singles Final (Center Court)
1:45 pm – Women’s Doubles Final (Grandstand)
3:00 pm – Women’s Singles Final (Center Court)
Full results from Friday and Saturday’s order of play follow the draws.
2015 Draws 
RESULTS – Friday, August 21
ATP Main Draw Singles – Quarterfinals
[1] Novak Djokovic (Serbia) d. [5] Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) 64 61
[3] Andy Murray (Great Britain) d. [12] Richard Gasquet (France) 46 61 64
Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) d. [6] Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) 64 62
[2] Roger Federer (Switzerland) d. Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 63 64
ATP Main Draw Doubles – Quarterfinals
Daniel Nestor (Canada) / Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) d. [1] Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA) 64 64
[2] Ivan Dodig (Croatia) / Marcelo Melo (Brazil) d. [5] Rohan Bopanna (India) / Floria Mergea (Romania) 61 16 14-12
[6] Marcin Matkowski (Poland) / Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia) d. [3] Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands) / Horia Tecau (Romania) 63 64
Feliciano Lopez (Spain) / Max Mirnyi (Belarus) d Leander Paes (India) / Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) 36 62 14-12
WTA Main Draw Singles – Quarterfinals
[1] Serena Williams (USA) d. [6] Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) 36 64 62
[3] Simona Halep (Romania) d Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) 76(3) 62
[14] Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) d. [7] Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) 64 26 60
Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) d. [Q] Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) 64 62
WTA Main Draw Doubles – Semifinals
[4] Casey Dellacqua (Australia) / Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) d. Chia-Jung Chuang (Taipei) / Su-Wei Hsieh (Taipei) 62 75
WTA Main Draw Doubles – Quarterfinals
[1] Martina Hingis (Switzerland) / Sania Mirza (India) d. [WC] Christina McHale (USA) / Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 64 61
Hao-Ching Chan (Taipei) / Yung-Jan Chan (Taipei) d. Sara Errani (Italy) / Flavia Pennetta (Italy) 67(4) 76(1) 19-17
ORDER OF PLAY – Saturday, August 22, 2015
CENTER start 1:00 pm
[1] Novak Djokovic (Serbia) vs. [Q] Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine)
Followed by 
[3] Andy Murray (Great Britain) vs. [2] Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [14] Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
Followed by 
3] Simona Halep (Romania) vs. Jelena Jankovic (Serbia)
GRANDSTAND start at 1:00 pm
[6] Marcin Matkowski (Poland) / Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia) vs. [2] Ivan Dodig (Croatia) / Marcelo Melo (BRA)
Followed by
Daniel Nestor (Canada) / Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) vs. Feliciano Lopez (Spain) / Max Mirnyi (Belarus)
Followed by
[1] Martina Hingis (Switzerland) / Sania Mirza (India) vs. Hao-Ching Chan (Taipei) / Yung-Jan Chan (Taipei)
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Djokovic and Murray Rally for Victories, Serena Williams and Federer Win Easily in Cincy

Andy Murray fistpump
(August 20, 2015) Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray withstood big tests on Thursday. Each man had to rally in the third set to defeat challengers. The world No. 2 Murray saved a match point and was down a set and two breaks before he came back to beat Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5.  No. 1 Djokovic was down 0-3 in the third set and rattled off six straight games to take out David Goffin 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
It was a straightforward rout for both Serena Williams and Roger Federer who both only lost two games in respective 6-0, 6-2 and 6-1, 6-1 wins.
Spanish countryman Feliciano Lopez upset eighth seed Rafael Nadal to reach the quarterfinals 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(3).
RESULTS – Thursday, August 20
ATP Main Draw Singles – Third Round
[1] Novak Djokovic (Serbia) d. [13] David Goffin (Belgium) 64 26 63
[2] Roger Federer (Switzerland) d. [15] Kevin Anderson (South Africa) 61 61
[3] Andy Murray (Great Britain) d. [16] Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 46 76(3) 75
[5] Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) d. Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) 6(2)7 76(5) 76(5)
[6] Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) d. Tommy Robredo (Spain) 60 61
Feliciano Lopez (Spain) d. [8] Rafael Nadal (Spain) 57 64 76(3)
[12] Richard Gasquet (France) d. Marin Cilic (Croatia) 75 63
[Q] Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) d. Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) 63 36 64
ATP Main Draw Doubles – Second Round
[1] Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA) or Juan Sebastian Cabal (Colombia) / Robert Farah (Colombia) check wsopen.com for result
[2] Ivan Dodig (Croatia) / Marcelo Melo (Brazil) d. [WC] Steve Johnson (USA) / Sam Querrey 76(4) 76(4)
[5] Rohan Bopanna (India) / Florin Mergea (Romania) d. Pierre-Huges Herbert (France) / Nicolas Mahut (France) 16 76(5) 13-11
[6] Marcin Matkowski (Poland) / Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia) d. Raven Klaasen (South Africa) / Rajeev Ram (USA) 76(2) 64
Daniel Nestor (Canada)  Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) d. [7] Jamie Murray (Great Britain) / John Peers (Australia) 76(3) 76(5)
[3] Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherland) / Horia Tecau (Romania)  d. Alexander Peya (Austria) / Bruno Soares (Brazil) 64 36 11-9
Feliciano Lopez (Spain) / Max Mirnyi (Belarus) d [4] Simone Bolelli (Italy) / Fabio Fognini (Italy) 63 63
WTA Main Draw Singles – Third Round
[1] Serena Williams (USA) d. Karin Knapp (Italy) 60 62
[3] Simona Halep (Romania) d. [15] Andrea Petkovic (Germany) 46 64 62
[6] Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) d. Sloane Stephens (USA) 26 64 61
[7] Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) d. Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) 62 ret. (right wrist)
[14] Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) d. Caroline Garcia (France) 60 63
Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) d. [8] Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) 62 36 75
[Q] Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 63 36 64
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) d. Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) 16 30 ret. (left thigh)
WTA Main Draw Doubles – Quarterfinals
[4] Casey Dellacqua (Australia) / Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) d. Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) / Elena Vesnina (Russia) 64 63
WTA Main Draw Doubles – Second Round
Chia-Jung Chuang (Taipei) / Su-Wei Hsieh (Taipei) d. [2] Timea Babos (Hungary) / Kristina Mladenovic (France) 46 64 13-11
[4] Casey Dellacqua (Australia) / Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) d. Michaella Krajicek (Netherlands) / Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic)  64 75
Sara Errani (Italy) / Flavia Pennetta (Italy) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) / Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) 61 36 10-3
[WC] Christina Mchale (USA) / Coco Vandeweghe (USA) d. [WC] Madison Keys (USA) / Lisa Raymond (USA) 75 62
Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) / Elena Vesnina (Russia) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain) / Arantxa Parra Santonja (Spain) 75 64
Hao-Ching Chan (Taipei) / Yung-Jan Chan (Taipei) d. [3] Caroline Garcia (France) / Katarina Srebotnik (Slovakia) 36 62 12-10
ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2015
CENTER start 11:00 am
ATP – [1] Novak Djokovic (Serbia) vs [5] Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – [1] Serena Williams (USA) vs [6] Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)
Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – [12] Richard Gasquet (France) vs [3] Andy Murray (Great Britain)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – Feliciano Lopez (Spain) vs [2] Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Not Before 8:30 pm
WTA – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) vs or [3] Simona Halep (Romania)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
WTA – [1] Martina Hingis (Switzerland) / Sania Mirza (India) vs [WC] Christina McHale (USA) / Coco Vandeweghe (USA)
Not Before 12:30 pm
ATP – [Q] Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) vs [6] Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA – [14] Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) vs [7] Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) vs [Q] Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia)
WTA – [4] Casey Dellacqua (Australia) / Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) vs Chia-Jung Chuang (TPE) / Su-Wei Hsieh (Taipei)
STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
ATP – [6] Marcin Matkowski (Poland) / Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia) vs [3] Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands) / Horia Tecau (Romania)
ATP – [5] Rohan Bopanna (India) / Florin Mergea (Romania) vs [2] Ivan Dodig (Croatia) / Marcelo Melo (BRA)
ATP MATCH
Not Before 4:00 pm
WTA – Hao-Ching Chan (Taipei) / Yung-Jan Chan (Taipei) vs Sara Errani (Italy) / Flavia Pennetta (Italy)
Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – TBA – [1] Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA) or Juan Sebastian Cabal (Colombia) / Robert Farah (Colombia) vs Daniel Nestor (Canada) / Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France)
Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – TBA – Feliciano Lopez (Spain) / Max Mirnyi (Belarus) vs Leander Paes (India) / Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland)
NEWS AND NOTES
– Two more attendance records were set on Thursday. A new single-day record of 26,338 people were in attendance, surpassing the mark that had been set on Tuesday (25.898). In addition, a night session record was set with 12,557 people in attendance. This comes just two days after the single session attendance record of 14,380 was set with the Tuesday day session.

Roger Federer is through to his ninth quarterfinal here. The six-time champion is third for W&S Open quarterfinal appearances in the Open Era behind Stefan Edberg (11) and Michael Chang (10).

Alexandr Dolgopolov is the 11th men’s qualifier to reach the quarterfinals here in the Open Era, and the first since Dmitry Tursunov in 2013. He is bidding to be the third qualifier to reach the semifinals (David Wheaton in 1994, Rick Fagel in 1977).

Ivo Karlovic tied his own tournament record with 35 aces in his match against Stan Wawrinka. It marked the second time this week and third time overall he had hit that record amount.

Jelena Jankovic, the 2009 champion, is through to an Open Era record seventh quarterfinal in Cincinnati. Serena Williams is in second place with five quarterfinals here.

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova is the seventh women’s qualifier to reach the quarterfinals since the tournament returned in 2004, and the first since Akgul Amanmuradova in 2010. She is bidding to be the fifth qualifier to reach the semifinals, and the first since Amanmuradova and Petra Kvitova both did so in 2009.

Partial results from Thursday and Friday’s order of play follow the draws.
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Sharapova and Venus Williams withdraw from Western & Southern Open; Results and Schedules

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(August 18, 2015) Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams both withdrew from the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday. Sharapova with a right leg injury and Williams with a viral illness.

 

Sharapova said, “Yeah, very unfortunate.  I mean, the tournament has been great to me and the tournament director and all the fans, and I definitely wish I could step out there.  But under the circumstances and the dateline to the US Open just, wouldn’t be a smart move.”

 

Williams said, “It’s pretty rare that I withdraw or retire, so I just wasn’t able to get out there tonight. Every match you have to be at your best, you know, to win. Just couldn’t be at my best today.”

“After warmups, I get a feel for how the match might go or how much you can give or you can’t give,” Williams said. “I definitely would have liked to have more matches, but I have to use my experience now.”

 

Ana Ivanovic moved into the third round as a result of Williams’ walkover. Ivanovic said, “It’s always hard to hear of a withdrawal. I really hope Venus feels better soon. It would have been a tough match for both of us. I hope she can get well fast.”

 

Roger Federer began his quest for a seventh Cincinnati title with a 6-4, 6-4 Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4 in his opening match. Federer skipped last week’s Masters event in Montreal.

 

RESULTS – Tuesday, August 18
ATP Main Draw Singles – Second Round
[2] Roger Federer (Switzerland) d. Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) 64 64
[6] Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) d. Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil) 62 63
[7] Marin Cilic (Croatia) d. Joao Sousa (Portugal) 64 62
[16] Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) d. [Q] Vasek Pospisil 76(4) 76(5)
[Q] Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) d. Bernard Tomic (Australia)  64 61
Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) d. Martin Klizan (Slovakia) 63 76(2)
ATP Main Draw Singles – First Round
Feliciano Lopez (Spain) d. [9] Milos Raonic (Canada) 76(4) 64
[12] Richard Gasquet (France) d. Nick Kyrgios (Australia) 62 61
[15] Kevin Anderson (South Africa) d. Leonardo Mayer (Argentina) 76(5) 36 61
Tommy Robredo (Spain) d. Pablo Andujar (Spain) 36 63 61
[WC] Jared Donaldson (USA) d. [Q] Nicolas Mahut (France) 75 6(2)7(7) 41
Sam Querrey (USA) d. [11] John Isner (USA) 63 76(3)
Borna Coric (Croatia) d. Alexander Zverev (Germany) 75 36 76(5)
Fernando Verdasco (Spain) d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) 46 63 64
Jeremy Chardy (France) d. [WC] Rajeev Ram (USA) 64 62
ATP Main Draw Doubles – First Round
Leander Paes (India) / Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) d. [8] Vasek Pospisil (Canada) / Jack Sock (USA) 76(4) 36 10-3
Juan Sebastian Cabal (Colombia) / Robert Farah (Colombia) d. Gael Monfils (France) / Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) 63 62
Alexander Peya (Austria) / Bruno Soares (Brazil) d. David Goffin (Germany) / Dominic Thiem (Austria) 67(5) 75 10-6
[WC] Steve Johnson (USA) / Sam Querry (USA) d. Andreas Seppi (Italy) / Viktor Troicki (Serbia) 63 64
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (France) / Nicolas Mahut (France) d. Adrian Mannarino (France) / Gilles Simon (France) 63 62
WTA Main Draw Singles – Second Round
[6] Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) d. Venus Williams (USA) WO (illness)
WTA Main Draw Singles – First Round
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. [10] Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) 61 62
Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) d. [11] Angelique Kerber (Germany) 75 63
[Q] Anna Carolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) d. [13] Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) 46 63 61
Daria Gavrilova (Russia) d. [16] Sara Errani (Italy) 61 46 62
[Q] Mona Barthel (Germany) d. [Q] Casey Dellaqua (Australia) 62 36 76(4)
Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) d. [Q] Lauren Davis (USA) 61 62
Caroline Garcia (France) d. Sabine Lisicki (Germany) 36 63 64
Kristina Mladenovic (France) d. Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) 62 61
Flavia Pennetta (Italy) d. Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) 75 62
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) d. Roberta Vinci (Italy) 63 06 62
Camila Giorgi (Italy) d. [Q] Christina McHale (USA) 75 36 62
Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) d. [Q] Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukraine) 76(2) 76(5)
WTA Doubles – First Round
[5] Raquel Kops-Jones (USA) / Anastasia Rodionova (Australia) d. Tatjana Maria (Germany) / Olga Savchuk (Ukraine) 63 60
[6] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) / Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) d. Anna-Lena Groenefeld (Germany) / Johanna Larsson (Sweden) 63 36 12-10
[WC] Madison Keys (USA) / Lisa Ramond (USA) d. [7] Andrea Hlavackova (Czech Republic) / Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) 76(6) 64
[8] Garbine Muguruza (Spain) /Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) d. Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) / Elena Vesnina (Russia) 64 62
Julia Georges (Germany) / Klaudia Jans-Ignacik (Poland) d. Irina-Camelia Gegu (Romania) / Alicja Rosolska (Poland) 75 64
Irina Falconi (USA) / Monica Niculescu (Romania) d. [WC] Christina McHale (USA) / Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 57 63 10-1
Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain) / Arantxa Parra Santonja (Spain) d. Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) / Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) 36 64 10-5
Michaella Krajicek (Netherlands) / Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic) d. [WC] Madison Brengle (USA) / Alexa Glatch (USA) 36 63 10-6
Hao-Ching Chan (Taipei) / Yung-Jan Chan (Taipei) d. Darija Jurak (Croatia) / Laura Siegemund (Germany) 62 64
ORDER OF PLAY – Wednesday, August 19
CENTER start 11:00 am
ATP – Borna Coric (Croatia) vs [5] Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – [1] Serena Williams (USA) vs Tsvetana Pironkova (Bulgaria)
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – [1] Novak Djokovic (Serbia) vs [LL] Benoit Paire (France)
Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – [5] Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) vs Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)
Not Before 8:30 pm
ATP – [8] Rafael Nadal (Spain) vs Jeremy Chardy (France)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
WTA – Kristina Mladenovic (France) vs [3] Simona Halep (Romania)
ATP – Sam Querrey (USA) vs Tommy Robredo (Spain)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA – Sloane Stephens (USA) vs [Q] Mona Barthel (Germany)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [WC] Mardy Fish (USA) vs [3] Andy Murray (Great Britain)
ATP – Alexander Peya (Austria) / Bruno Soares (Brazil) vs [3] Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands) / Horia Tecau (Romania)
STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
ATP – [Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (Australia) vs [12] Richard Gasquet (France)
ATP – Fernando Verdasco (Spain) vs [13] David Goffin (Belarus)
ATP – [15] Kevin Anderson (South Africa) vs Jack Sock (USA)
WTA – [4] Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) vs Caroline Garcia (France)
Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) vs [14] Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
COURT 9 start 11:00 am
WTA – Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) vs Madison Keys (USA)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – [WC] Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs [7] Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
WTA – [15] Andrea Petkovic (Germany) vs Camila Giorgi (Italy)
ATP – Andreas Seppi (Italy) vs Feliciano Lopez (Spain)
ATP – after suitable rest – [WC] Steve Johnson (USA) / Sam Querrey (USA) vs [2] Ivan Dodig (Croatia) / Marcelo Melo (Brazil)
ATP – after suitable rest – [4] Simone Bolelli (Italy) / Fabio Fognini (Italy) vs Feliciano Lopez (Spain) / Max Mirnyi (Belarus)
COURT 4 start 11:00 am
ATP – [WC] Jared Donaldson (USA) vs Jerzy Janowicz (Poland)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) vs Flavia Pennetta (Italy)
WTA – [1] Martina Hingis (Switzerland) / Sania Mirza (India) vs Julia Goerges (Germany) / Klaudia Jans-Ignacik (Poland)
WTA – After suitable rest – [WC] Christina Mchale (USA) / Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs [WC] Madison Keys (USA) / Lisa Raymond (USA)
Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – after suitable rest – [3] Caroline Garcia (France) / Katarina Srebotnik (Slovakia) vs Hao-Ching Chan (Taipei) / Yung-Jan Chan (Taipei)
COURT 6 start 11:00 am
WTA – Karin Knapp (Italy) vs Daria Gavrilova (Russia)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – [8] Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) vs [Q] Timea Babos (Hungary)
WTA – after suitable rest – Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) / Elena Vesnina (Russia) vs Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain) / Arantxa Parra Santonja (Spain)
WTA – After suitable rest – Sara Errani (Italy) / Flavia Pennetta (Italy) vs [6] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) / Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
COURT 7 start 11:00 am
WTA – [5] Raquel Kops-Jones (USA) / Anastasia Rodionova (Australia) vs Chia-Jung Chuang (Taipei) / Su-Wei Hsieh (Taipei)
WTA – Varvara Lepchenko (USA) vs Lucky Loser
WTA – after suitable rest – Karin Knapp (Italy) / Roberta Vinci (Italy) vs [2] Timea Babos (Hungary) / Kristina Mladenovic (France)
COURT 10 start 11:00 am
ATP – Daniel Nestor (Canada) / Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) vs [WC] Eric Butorac (USA) / Scott Lipsky (USA)
Not Before 12:30 pm
WTA – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) vs [Q] Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan)
WTA – [Q] Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) vs Irina-Camelia Begu (Romania)
WTA – after suitable rest – Michaella Krajicek (Netherlands) / Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic) vs [4] Casey Dellacqua (Australia) / Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan)

 

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Novak Djokovic Defeats Rafael Nadal to Reach Monte Carlo Final

(April 18, 2015) Novak Djokovic extended his current winning streak to 16 matches with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday in one hour and 37 minutes.

No. 1 Djokovic will meet Tomas Berdych in final on Sunday. Berdych dismissed Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-3 earlier in the day

The Djokovic – Nadal semifinal was much closer than the score indicated. In the first set Djokovic had to rebound from 0-2 with points to go down 0-3, taking six of the last seven games to claim the first set.

In the second set, Djokovic broke serve in the seventh game, after the 8-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal led 40-0. The Serb ended the match with a second break of serve in the set.

Djokovic hit 23 winners to 19 unforced errors in match to the Spaniard’s 20 winners and 20 errors.

Djokovic is now 10-1 against Top ten opponents in 2015. Djokovic has improved his head-to-head record against Nadal to 20-23.

Djokovic will be looking to claim his fourth straight Masters Series title and second Monte Carlo crown on Sunday.
RESULTS – SATURDAY, 18 APRIL 2015

Singles – Semi-Finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [3] R. Nadal (ESP) 63 63
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) d [14] [WC] G. Monfils (FRA) 61 64

Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [4] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 64 62
S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA) d [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 76(6) 63

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 19 APRIL 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 11:30 am
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [6] T. Berdych (CZE)

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Serena Williams Wins Eighth Miami Open Title

IMG_9007_Serena_TPN_box

(April 4, 2015) World No. 1 Serena Williams took home her eighth Miami Open trophy on Saturday defeating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-0 in the final.

This was the American’s 66th career title victory, which leaves her one behind Billie Jean King on the All-Time list.

All-time WTA titles leader Martina Navratilova who won 167 singles crowns was in attendance to present the winner’s trophy to Williams who won her third Miami title in a row. Her career record in Miami is now 73-7.

Williams became only the fourth women to win the same title at least 8 times. Navratilova holds the record for the most number of titles at a single tournament – 12 in Chicago.

It’s also Williams’ second tournament title of the year, the first one coming at the Australian Open adding her 19th major title in January.

The final which lasted 55 minutes, saw Williams win the last ten straight games, losing only five points in the second set.

“When I play with Serena I know that she’s the best,” Suarez Navarro said. “She has the game to make me play bad.

“But, well, this time I believe in me, in how I’m playing the other match. I try. I try until the last point, but was tough and was difficult for me.”

“I just kind of went out there and was hitting,” Williams said. “I didn’t have a plan it hit to her backhand or forehand. That’s never really my plan. I just can’t do that. I get too worked up.

“I just got to play my game. I’m not the kind of player that’s like, Oh, her forehand is weak, so I’m going to hit 100% there. I can’t do that.”

Williams remains unbeaten on the year and has won 21 straight matches since her loss in the Round-Robin stage at the 2014 WTA Year End in Singapore.

Asked about possibility of winning a calendar Grand Slam, she said: “Obviously anyone that wins the Australian Open wants to win a Grand Slam.

“I’ve won the Australian Open six times and I have not done that yet. I’m not saying this is the year or not the year. Who knows?”

Williams had to withdraw from the semifinals of Indian Wells two weeks ago with a knee injury.

Although a dominant winner, Williams felt she could have played better during the tournament. “I had to improvise in some of my matches,” she said. “Quite frankly, I had to take some pace off today because I wasn’t serving the way I normally serve. I normally serve tons of aces really hard.

“This tournament I wasn’t serving my best. On the flip side, it’s good to know that I can win relying on my groundstrokes or relying on other shots. It’s not just one shot that makes me good. It’s an all‑court game.

“It’s comforting, but at the same time, I definitely want to get my serve going again. I just really haven’t had time to practice. I’ve just been dealing with injuries, and when I’m practicing I’m hitting groundstrokes and just not hitting enough serves.”

For Suarez Navarro, despite the poor performance in the final, it was a career week for the Spaniard who will be the third Spanish woman to break into the Top Ten for the first time next week.

 

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Djokovic and Murray to Meet in Miami Open Final

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(April 3, 2015)Sunday’s Miami Open men’s final will feature a battle between a pair who have won multiple times in Key Biscayne when No. 1 Novak Djokovic takes on Andy Murray.

Djokovic, who will be going for his fifth Miami crown, moved past hard-serving John Isner in Friday night’s semifinal 7-6(3), 6-2. Murray, who will be attempting to capture his third Miami Open title, defeated Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic outserved Isner 10 aces to nine. Djokovic never faced a break point. After a very tight first set, Djokovic broke Isner’s serve twice in the second set. Isner lost 70 percent of his second-serve points.

“I didn’t quite have my legs underneath me like I did yesterday maybe for whatever reason,” Isner said. Conditions, it was a little bit more humid out there tonight. I didn’t have quite as much pop on the ball as maybe I had earlier in the tournament. I needed a lot of pop in order to make a match like that closer. I just didn’t quite have it tonight.”

 

“I created a lot of opportunities for myself in the first set, even though there was only one break point and it was actually a set point,” Djokovic said.

 

“I thought I made him work for his serves games a lot from the beginning. I thought that that has influenced a little bit his physicality. I think towards the end of the first and beginning of the second set he already felt a business exhausted, and I wanted to use the opportunity and the early break in the second to open the door for me.

 

“That’s when I felt like I could start swinging through, and played a great second set.”

 

Despite the loss, Isner had a good fortnight in Miami, beating three top 11 players in succession – Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori en route to the semifinals

 

“Novak is the best in the world,” Isner said. “He’s so good. It was a good two weeks for me. I’m playing better. I have to build on this, and I will.”

 

‘He’s No. 1 in the world for a reason. I had to play pretty close to my best to beat him, and I don’t think I did that tonight.”

 

Mubadala World Tennis Championship

This will be the Scot’s 13th Masters Series final and fourth Miami final.

“I felt like I served well,” said Murray. “It was tricky from one end of the court. We’re basically serving right into the sun at that time of day, so I had to take a little bit off the serve. On the second serve it was very tough to see.

“But I thought when I was behind in games, like the last game, for example, I came up with some big serves and was able to dictate a lot of the rallies from the baseline as well. I was moving him around a lot. That was good.”

Murray’s win has evened up his record against the Czech 6-6.

“Andy changed the game plan a bit,” Berdych said. “He starts to play much more aggressive in those last two matches that he played to me. I think that he’s been doing that pretty well. I think that’s the only reason.

 

“So, you know, I’m just going to need some time to put myself ‑‑ prepare better for the next time I’m going to play him.

Now I know what to expect and just be more ready for it.”

 

“Well, I thought I obviously started both sets well,” Murray said of the early breaks in each set. “Yeah, that was really the difference, to be honest. We played some good points. I thought throughout the match I thought it was a pretty clean match.

Yeah, I felt like I just played a bit better than him. That was the difference.”

Murray on playing Djokovic in the final: Novak obviously started the year extremely well obviously winning Australia, and then also last week, too. He’s come through a couple of tough ones so far in this event.”

 

As for Djokovic on playing Murray: “The fact that I won I think last six, seven matches that we played against each other, especially the one just recently in Indian Wells, gives me confidence and maybe a slight mental advantage.

 

“But we’re talking about small margins. That’s always the case when we play against each other. Very few points, details can decide a winner. We have very similar games. We already played twice this year, and of course in a big match in Australian Open final which was very, very physical, very close.

 

“I expect a battle, long rallies, and I know what is expecting me on the court. I know his game pretty well, as well as he knows mine.”

Djokovic leads in head-to-head clashes with Murray 17-8

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Serena Williams, Djokovic, Suarez Navarro and Isner Advance in Miami

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(April 2, 2015) Serena Williams will attempt to win her eighth Miami Open title on Saturday. The 19-time major champion won a two-hour-and seven minute semifinal thriller on Thursday night over third seed Simona Halep 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Williams will face 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain the title.

“I made so many errors and I was like `Serena, just come to the net at this point, because that’s the only thing that was working for me,'” Williams said. “I’m just really happy to get through that. It was actually a really fun match and I was able to come out and play here tonight.”

“I just tried to make some shots and I tried to go for some big shots,” Williams continued. “I thought, I’m just going to go for winners. Even though I’m missing most of them, I’m still going to go for them.”

“I just made more errors than I did in my last match, which I thought was impossible. I’m just not at my best level right now and it’s a little frustrating.

“I’m not serving well. I am serving at 40%. Yeah, so it hasn’t been my best of times. But, yeah, so that’s just the only frustrating part.

“And I’m a perfectionist, so if I don’t get it right I just want to keep trying.”

 

Simona Halep

Simona Halep

Halep said: “I was close. I saw that I can win against her. I can play like until the end against her. I was a bit tired in the end, but it’s normal. I have so many matches played already.

“It’s okay. She was better than me. She is better than me because she’s No. 1 in the world and she’s Serena. I have just to take the positive things from this tournament, this match, and just go ahead.”

Williams’ victory means that her time atop the rankings has reached 116 weeks which surpasses Chris Evert’s 113-week run for third-longest in WTA history.

Suarez Navarro 2182015-001

Suarez Navarro advanced to the final after beating Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-3 in an earlier match. Her victory in the semifinal assured her of reaching the Top Ten for the first time in her career.

“I feel so happy,” said Suarez Navarro. “It’s so important for me. I was practicing and I was working during all this year with my team to a moment like this.”

Williams is 4-0 against the Spaniard. “Playing Carla,” said Williams, “I think it’ll be good for me. She’s playing a little bit like Simona, so I will be ready for that. Have to be ready. If I want to win, I have to step it up a notch”

Williams is 4-0 all-time against Suarez Navarro, who’s assured of reaching the Top 10 in the world rankings win or lose.

Williams’ countryman, No. 22 seed John Isner became the first U.S. man to reach the semifinals in Miami since Mardy Fish in 2011, upsetting fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 6-3.

Isner interviewed

“I played extremely well today,” Isner said.”I needed to play well in order to beat a player like Kei and that’s what I did. From start to finish, I felt like I was aggressive. I was playing all the right shots and things just went my way.”

“I can’t ask for better conditions out there,” Isner continued. “I absolutely just can’t.

“You know, with the balls, the court, the balls bouncing high, it’s hot, it’s not that humid so it’s not taking a lot out of me. It’s perfect conditions ore me.

“I just played well. I mean, I’ve been serving well really for a while now, and I did that again today.

“So I was taking care of my serve. I was taking my chances on his serve, and the ball was finding the right spots for me.”

“Serve, I didn’t have any chance,” said Nishikori.

“Also, his forehand, also backhand, he hit some winners from back of the baseline. I think he close his eyes and hitting so many winners. Couldn’t really stop him today.

“So I don’t think I really play bad. Maybe I could do little better everything, but I think he played well today.”

 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Next for Isner will be No. 1 Novak Djokovic who defeated David Ferrer 7-5, 7-5 on the Spaniard’s 33rd birthday.

“I expected it to be a very physical match as it always is with David,” Djokovic said. “He’s one of the greatest competitors out there.”

“Every game is different, and I think tonight, my tactic, it was good,” Ferrer said. “My performance was good, playing aggressive with my forehand. But I think it’s difficult beat Nole when I am playing with him in the night because the ball is bigger when we are ending the set. And he has more power than me.

“Anyway, for beat Nole, I know I have to play perfect in important moments, play aggressive. And maybe tonight, the first set in important moments I didn’t play aggressive, no, with my forehand.”

Djokovic commented on playing Isner next:

“It’s going to be quite different match from tonight’s match. John is probably the best server we have in the game currently. At 6’10” he can hit any angle he wants with that serve.

“He won against Dimitrov, Raonic, and Nishikori in the last three matches, and that deserves a lot of respect. He obviously feels very confident playing here. He played great against Nishikori today.

“I think he improved his baseline game. Most of the players, when the play him, obviously he highly relies on his serve, but yet again, he does put a lot of balls back in play in his return games. He likes to run around his backhand and hit the forehand inside out. That’s his favorite shot.

“So I kind of know what to expect. He has his own patterns, as everybody else. I’m going to try to analyze his game, remember what I’ve done right in Indian Wells couple weeks ago, and try to obviously win.

“Hopefully we play during the night so the conditions will be a bit slower, which is going to maybe help me to get few more serves back in play, even though I know it’s going to be very close match.”

 

I’ll have nothing to lose,” Isner said. “I run into him a lot in Masters events, especially in the U.S. I think this would be our fourth encounter or something like that, playing at a Masters event in the States. Maybe fifth. I don’t know.

“But playing him, it’s always a challenge. He’s the greatest player in the world right now hands down. I played well against him last week in Indian Wells and he beat me in a tight two‑set match.

“I’m going to have to bring that level and some if I do play against him. I believe I can do that. Think I exhibited that today. He’s got a tough match against one of the best competitors or sport has.”

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Serena Williams Wins 700th Match; Will Face Simona Halep in Miami Open Semis

(April 1, 2015) Serena Williams overcame some inconsistent play to earn her 700th career win in defeating Sabine Lisicki 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-3 to earn a spot the semifinals of the Miami Open on Wednesday.

Her 700th win puts the American in a very select club which has only eight members.

“I didn’t know I had 700 wins,” noted the 19-time major champion.

“So now I’m like I just want to keep going, doing the best that I can. Just staying positive and winning as much as I can.”

“I grew up playing tennis. I think my destiny was to play tennis,” Williams said. “I saw a picture where I was in a stroller on the tennis court.”

The seven-time Miami Open champion has now won 16 straight matches in Key Biscayne.

Williams made 51 unforced errors on the day, had some problems with the sun and served well below her usual efforts.

“I know today wasn’t my best day,” Williams said. “I just told myself, I’m not serving the way I normally serve and hitting the way I normally would hit, so at this point all I can do is just fight and try to give 200% instead of 100%.

“At the start of the third set it was definitely a little bit of a natural reaction. Obviously I don’t want to lose, or at least I want to try to do the best I can. She had a lot of momentum going into the third set after winning the second set, so I just wanted to stay strong, and basically hold my serve.”

 

Williams will battle No. 3 Simona Halep for a place in the final. The Romanian defeated American Sloane Stephens 6-1, 7-5.

“I look forward to it because I didn’t get to play her last time,” said Williams. “I was really disappointed to not be able to play and just not even be close to 100%.

“So, you know, I look forward to it this time. I’m just happy to be in the semis and still be alive somehow.”

Simona Halep

Simona Halep

“It will be a very nice match,” Halep said after he win. “I have to try everything. She is No. 1 in the world. She’s the best player. I have nothing to lose.”

“I have just to play aggressive like I did today at the beginning the match. I think this is the most important thing to have to the chance against Serena.

“So I just want recover my body until tomorrow and to be ready it hit the balls.”

No. 9 Andrea Petkovic will face No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro in the other semifinal on Thursday.

Andy Murray fistpump

In men’s action, two-time Miami champion world No. 4 Andy Murray advanced to the men’s semifinals by rallying past unseeded youngster Dominic Thiem 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Murray will play No. 8 Tomas Berdych next.

“At the beginning of the match I didn’t return well, especially returning his first serve,” said the Scot. That put me in sort of a defensive position a lot when he was serving. I ended up doing quite a lot of running there.

“Returned the second serve well, but everything he made a first serve I was returning short and he was dictating all of the points.

“I thought on my own serve was doing fine. I just played one bad game, and my return game let me down a bit in the first set.

“Then, again, the second set I went up and I was creating quite a lot of opportunities, which was good, but just not quite finding the right shot.

“I think in the third set the difference was really my returning. Returned his first serve extremely well. I put him on the back foot. When I was returning the first serve well I was able to dictate points when he was hitting his first serve, and on his second, and then on my first serve as well.

“So when you’re sort of able to control 75% of the points, makes a huge, huge difference. That’s the most pleasing part for me.”

It was a career week for the 21-year-old Thiem who reached his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal.

“Before this week I would have given a lot for the quarterfinals, but now of course in the first moment I’m a little bit disappointed, especially I won the first set,” said the Austrian. “I played a good match.

“But, yeah, I will leave Miami positive for sure and with a good feeling for the clay court season.”

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