September 26, 2016

Rain Washes Out Some Matches in Miami – Halep, Azarenka and Stephens Advance

Simona Halep

Simona Halep

(March 27, 2015) Rain saw the cancellation of some late afternoon matches and the evening session at the Miami Open on Friday including Serena Williams’ opening match. Saturday’s new schedule will be announced.

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Third seed Simona Halep who took home the BNP Paribas Open title, just last Sunday, won 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 against wild card Nicole Vaidisova. Vaidisova a former two-time Grand Slam semifinalist and once No. 7 in the world, is back on the tour since retiring and coming back from multiple shoulder surgeries.

 

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

In the all-American battle on Stadium court in the late afternoon, No. 45 Soane Stephens defeated No. 17 Madison Keys 6-4, 6-2.

In the first meeting between both women, Stephens broke Keys’ serve five times during the match. Keys had 36 unforced errors during the match to only 14 winners.

“One of those days where didn’t quite have the feeling; couldn’t really find it,” Keys said.

 

“Sloane played really well. I thought in the first set I kind of had a chance to come back and maybe get into the match a little bit more, but a couple of bad points here and there and it kind of just got away from me.”

 

“It was windy,” Stephens said. “The conditions weren’t that great.

 

“Because I know going out there I had to play my game and stay focused and really focus on myself. I tried to do that the best I could. Obviously the conditions were tough, so I was just happy to get out with the win.”

 

“It’s always really good to see Sloane playing well,” Keys commented on her past Fed Cup teammate. “I thought ‑ I knew ‑ it was going to be a tough match.

 

“You know, she just played better than me today. You know, wishing her all the best and hoping she goes deep now.”

 

“I just go out and play my game and stay focused,” Stephens said. “Obviously she’s a great player. I knew I had to go out there and execute.

 

“That’s what I did out there with the tough conditions. I was pleased with myself.”

 

“I know Maddy is going to have a great career,” Stephens said.

 

“I am going to see her for like the next 10 years of my life consistently. I’m looking forward to seeing her get better and keep playing and doing what she’s doing now.”

 

 

Stephens will match up against Sweden’s Larsson, Johanna, who defeated 10th seed Lucie Safarova.

 

Victoria Azarekna

Victoria Azarekna

Former Miami champion Victoria Azarenka is into the third round of Miami by beating world No. 20 Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-1.

The former No. 1 Jankovic was 0-13 on break point chances.

“I just really tried to stay focused and tried to find a way to stay in the game,” Azarenka said. I had to save a couple of break points right away, and then there was, you know, this battle.

 

“I know that Jelena is a fighter. Doesn’t matter what score it is, she will not give up. Some of those rallies she just went for it, and I felt like I wasn’t that aggressive on some points.

 

“So I just had to stay focused and stay tough and try to find a way to finish the match. You know, in those moments that’s what I really look for right now, to be able to step up my game when it’s needed.”

 

Azarenka, a former No 1 who has been plagued with injuries over the last two years, is currently ranked No. 36 in the world and trying to regain her form.

 

More to follow

 

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“This one I think I played a lot smarter” – Cici Bellis Defeats Zarina Diyas in Miami for some U. S. Open Revenge
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“This one I think I played a lot smarter” – Cici Bellis Defeats Zarina Diyas in Miami for some U. S. Open Revenge

(March 27, 2015) Fifteen-year-old wild card Cici Bellis exacted some revenge on 29th seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan at the Miami Open on Friday with a dominating 6-2, 6-1 win.

 

The young American lost to Diyas in the second round of the 2014 U.S. Open. The match before that, the current world No. 211 made some noise in the first round of Flushing Meadow when she upset 2014 Australian Open finalist and world No 12 at the time, Dominika Cibulkova. Bellis was the youngest player to win a match at the U. S. Open since 1996

 

Bellis broke her Diyas’ serve seven times during the match which lasted 76 minutes.

“This one I think I played a lot smarter,” Bellis talking about Friday’s win over Diyas to media. “At the US Open I was really like caught up in, you know, all the kind of hype that was going on.

“But this one I was just really focused and played my game. I think I did what I needed to do to win really well.”

“I think every single part of my game has improved since the US Open,” said Bellis. “I mean, just from today, like I lost to her at the US Open, which was I don’t know how many months ago, like eight months ago or something, and today I beat her 2 and 1.

“So I think everything in my game has improved. I have been working really hard, extremely, extremely hard since the US Open just for that. I think it’s really paying off, so I’m really happy.”

Bellis could face world No. 1 Serena Williams in the third round. Williams plays Monica Niculescu on Friday night in a rematch of her third round match just two weeks ago at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

“I mean, it’s going to be really fun,” she said of the possible match against the 19-time major champion. “I have nothing to lose, so I’m just going to play my game and see what happens.”

Asked about what her mindset will be going into a possible match against Williams, she said: “Just don’t really think about who I’m playing. It’s just, you know, another one of my opponents that I’m playing. Doesn’t really matter who it is.

“We are all in the same tournament, so we are all kind of at this level. You can’t really think about who you’re playing. It’s just a ball that’s coming back on the other side of the court. You just have to go out and not think about that stuff and just play your game. That’s what I’m planning to do.”

Bellis, who will turn 16 on April 8, has not decided if or when she will turn professional.

“Amateur,” she said. “I haven’t decided yet, but I think just keep my amateur status for a little bit longer, just, you know, in case.”

After the Miami Open, Bellis plans on playing in the WTA tour event in Charleston.

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Maria Sharapova Upset by No. 97 Daria Gavrilova at Miami Open

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

(March 26, 2015) Maria Sharapova was looking for her first title at the Miami Open, a rare event in which she has never held the trophy going 0-5 in finals. The Russian is still looking for that crown in Miami, as she was upset by countrywoman and wild card recipient, world No. 97 Daria Gavrilova 7-6(4), 6-3 on Thursday night.

For the 21-year-old born in Moscow and resides in Australian, who just broke into the top 100 just days ago, it’s her first win against a Top 10 player, the biggest win of her career.

The first set of the match saw both women break each other’s serve, with Gavrilova moving to a 5-3 lead. Sharapova fought back, taking the next three games. The younger Russian held on to send the set into a tiebreaker, which she won 7-6 (7-4). The set last 68 minutes.

“I was down 6‑5 and I was up 5‑3 and it was 30‑All, and I was just thinking, Okay, be tough, be tough; you can do it,” said Gavrilova.

“I had some negative thoughts at that time, but I kind of got rid of them and just kept going.”

The wild card jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, then moving out to a 4-1 advantage. The world No. 2 fought back to win the next two games to cut the deficit to 3-4, but her opponent broke back for 5-3 and served out the second set and the match 6-3.

On court was an elated winner: “I’m just so excited, I’m so happy, I can’t explain it,” she said. “I always believed and that’s probably why I won!”

“I was very composed. I told myself to keep believing and keep trying.”

Later at her post-match news conference, Gavrilova elaborated on her belief in being able to defeat Sharapova. “I played Angelique (Kerber) twice this year, and I played Simona (Halep) last week. I was pretty close I thought all this time. I just thought, Okay, you can do it. You’re probably at this level right now.”

Gavrilova, who is making a comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee back in 2013 broke Sharapova’s serve four times during the match.

She talked about the journey from the ACL injury to recovery and the night’s big win: “I remember last year I was crying. I was like, Oh, it’s so boring doing this rehab. Blah, blah, blah. It all paid off at the end. I just have to keep going.”

“I was injured. I had a knee surgery last year. So I had a pretty rough time.”

Asked if she was surprised about the defeat, the No. 2 player said: “Well, it’s sport, and I happened to lose the match. Of course it’s a bit of a surprise. It’s the first round. I’m expected to win.

“But I think that’s, you know, one of the reasons why we play the matches, is you still have to go out and win it no matter if you’re the favorite.

“Today I didn’t.”

“I mean, I had little times where I did come back, but I was always behind. I put myself in a situation that was too far behind to come back from.”

“I still can’t realize that it’s my dream,” said Gavrilova. I have been dreaming about beating Maria since I was probably 12 when I saw her win Wimbledon, when she beat Serena.

“I was like, Oh, I really want to play her and beat her. I was probably visualizing beating her since I was 12, yeah.”

“She runs a lot of balls down,” Sharapova said, evaluating her opponent’s strength. “I was committing a lot of errors off of those balls and not really staying patient and just going for, you know, too many maybe winners, not moving forward enough.”

Sharapova committed 34 unforced errors during the match.

Sharapova said that she’ll be playing Fed Cup for Russia when they take on Germany in Sochi, Russia the weekend of April 18-19.

“I was actually talking to my coach and my physio,” Gavrilova said. “I’m saying, I’m not going to sleep tonight because my phone will be going off.

“And I said, Oh, I’ll turn my Wi‑Fi, 4G, 3G, everything off and sleep and get ready for the next one.

Next for Gavrilova, she’ll face No. 54 Kurumi Nara in the third round. Nara upset 25th seed Caroline Garcia 6-7, 7-6(9).

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Pospisil Spoils Del Potro’s Return

88 Del Potro 3

(March 26, 2015) Returning to the court for the first time since January 15, Juan Martin del Potro‘s recent attempt at comeback from wrist surgery ended in a first round loss at the Miami Open on Thursday.

Canadian Vasek Pospisil defeated the Argentine, who is currently ranked No 616, 6-4, 7-6 (7).

For Pospisil, it’s his first-ever win at the Miami tournament.

Del Potro’s rustiness showed in the second set when he failed to serve it out up 5-4 and then squandered set points in the tiebreaker, double-faulting twice, which led to match point against him.

“Obviously down there I wanted to win the match, and I had few chances in the first set; then in the second set I know I have set points, but I couldn’t close the set because I had easy efforts and easy mistakes,” del Potro said.

“I didn’t serve well in the special moments, which is tough for me with all of these things.

“But now I’m okay. I don’t have any physical problem after the match, and I will be recovering soon for the future.”

314Pospisil-001

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” said the Canadian in regard to taking on del Potro.

“That was a little bit added stress maybe before. But at the same time, I was just trying to focus on serving well and playing my game and trying to put pressure and coming to the net.”

“Whether he had pain or not, you know, it’s obviously not the same backhand that he normally plays,” Pospisil added. “I tried to take advantage of that by coming in and putting pressure on that side.

“But, you know, he’s still serving well and hitting his forehand huge, which made it tough. I just hung in there, you know, maybe got a little bit fortunate at the end. He was serving; had set point on his serve; but then the rest of the way I played well.”

The 2009 US Open Champion admitted that he still is not at 100 percent: “I’m not confident 100% to hit my best backhands yet.

“And I also need time to improve my backhand again. I already been hitting backhands the last 10 days in one year, which is very ‑‑ it’s very bad to play in this level.

“But I am working hard. I am working hard every day little more on my backhand. I think it’s the only way to get to pass through all of the things and get well for the future.”

“It’s just a wrist problem. Of course mentally you must be strongest enough to deal with the problem and get up every morning to do your treatments and rehab and stay calm, looking forward for the future.

“I’m not hurried to be in the top 10 very soon. I want to play tennis. It doesn’t matter how long it’s take me to be in the top again. Just wanted to play tennis and without pain.”

“It’s only 2 months after my second surgery and my left wrist. I feel better week by week, but it’s still very early to feel 100%.”

“It was like a Davis Cup atmosphere,”  said the 24-year-old Pospisil of the lively crowd cheering for his opponent. “I felt like I was playing away somewhere.

“It was a great atmosphere. Whether everyone is cheering for me or against me or if it’s equal, you know, when there is a big crowd and when they are into it, it’s always more enjoyable for everybody. I was enjoying it more, and actually might have helped me a little bit in the end, to be honest.”

The Canadian will take on No. 9 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the second round.

As for the 26-year-old del Potro, he’s taking his comeback one day at a time: “I think it’s the most important be patient and stay calm, and also try to be positive.

“I got depressive for a while in the past. I have been talking with (Janko) Tipsarevic, as well, at the locker rooms. He knows a lot about the injuries, about comebacks, and doesn’t make it.

“But in the end, I want to play tennis. If I have to learn a different backhand to keep playing, I will do it.

“But now I’m trying to do all my things to fix the problem and hitting my backhand as I did in the whole ‑‑ all my career. I am still positive.

“I think is the biggest goal for me trying to keep trying and stay mentally strong enough to go through all of the injuries.”

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Serena Williams Hopes to be Ready to Take the Court on Friday at Miami Open

315Serenawaitsforserve-001

(March 25, 2015) MIAMI, FL – Just days after withdrawing from her Indian Wells semifinal against Simona Halep with a knee injury, Serena Williams, now at the Miami Open, the two-time defending champion, hopes that she’ll be ready to play her first match on Friday.

“I’m okay,” said Williams giving an update on her health. “I’m just managing where I am right now. Just trying to stay out of as much pain as possible and see what happens.”

“I know I’m going to have to manage the pain. I think if I’m in that mental state, okay, you might be in a little pain. You just have to figure out the best way around it.”

Why not, skip the tournament all together? Williams just lives practically down the road from the event in Palm Beach County. On top of this, she’s won the event a record seven times.

“I didn’t think I would be doing this interview today,” Williams said. “I stepped on the court (to practice on Wednesday) and I was just like, I love this place. You know, I love playing at home. I live just down the road.

“So, yeah, it takes a lot. It takes a tremendous amount for me to stop. Yeah, so I don’t know if that’s a good thing or that’s a bad thing, but I think I will be okay.”

The real test for the 19-time major champion will be when she takes the court on Friday against second round opponent Monica Niculescu of Romania.

“Probably on my first match, if I get that far,” the world No. 1  said. “So, yeah, I don’t want to put too much pressure on it before.

“I’m just here in Miami, so I’m just going to go for it and see what happens.”

Williams just defeated Niculescu in the second round at Indian Wells just last week and won the match 7-5, 7-5.

“Well, I definitely don’t have low expectations,” said the American. “I just definitely expect to do the best that I can. Whether that’s winning or just stepping out on the court, that’s what I’m going to have to do.

“Again, I don’t feel any pressure because I have won this title a few times, so I feel good about being here. When I hit on the court today, just something about Miami, you know. I just feel so good out here.

“So I was like, Oh, this is fun. I’m just looking forward to just enjoying myself this year more than anything.”

“I think every player has pain. I said this before. I don’t know any player that goes out there without pain. Every match I play, I mean, I could be 10% in pain or I could be 80% in pain. It just kind of depends how you feel and how can you manage that.

“Knowing ahead of time the problems that you’re dealing with, usually you have a good way. Okay, we’re dealing with this problem and this is how you treat it, so you can be able to play at a high level.

“Now that I kind of know what’s going on, I’m able to treat it and be able to play at a higher level than I would have been able to play a couple of weeks ago.”

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Warwrinka Reaches Fourth Chennai Final

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

(January 10, 2015) Stan Wawrinka will defend his Chennai Open title against Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, the first qualifier to reach the final in the tournament’s 20-year history.

Wawrinka knocked out David Goffin of Belgium 7-5, 6-3, while Bedene beat the third seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8) saving four match points in the semifinals on Saturday.

This will be Wawrinka’s four final, looking for his third title on Sunday.

“I lost against him here some years ago and he played amazingly then,” Wawrinka said of his loss to the Slovenian in the 2013 quarterfinals “It’s going to be a really good match, an interesting one for sure.”

For Bedene he is the first Slovenian to make an ATP final since October 2012.

“I’ve worked hard and have been playing well this week,” Bedene said.

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 10 JANUARY 2015

Singles – Semi-finals
[1] S Wawrinka (SUI) d [4] D Goffin (BEL) 75 63
[Q] A Bedene (SLO) d [3] R Bautista Agut (ESP) 36 63 76(8)  – 4 M.P. saved

Doubles – Semi-finals
Y Lu (TPE) / J Marray (GBR) d P Raja (IND) / A Shamasdin (CAN) 57 63 10-8

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 11 JANUARY 2015

STADIUM start 5:00 pm
[1] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [Q] A Bedene (SLO)
[1] R Klaasen (RSA) / L Paes (IND) vs Y Lu (TPE) / J Marray (GBR)

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Robredo wins Casablanca

 

(April 14, 2013) Spain’s Tommy Robredo captured his first title since Santiago in February 2011 with a 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3 win over Kevin Anderson for the Casablanca crown. The 72nd ranked Robredo missed five months in 2012 due to a leg injury and fell to No. 471 in the world in the rankings.

For Robredo the victory was his 10th tournament title on clay.

“I have been practicing very well during a month in Barcelona before coming here, “ Robredo said. “I knew that I could play a good tournament here and you never know what can happen. I went match by match and kept winning. Today, I was pretty nervous since this is very important for me. I really wanted to win this. I’m very happy to win a title again after my injury. It’s just great! Those points will help me a lot in the ranking. The goal is to arrive in Roland Garros in the best form possible. After that I will sit down and have a look at my goals.”

Anderson who was playing in his first clay court final, spoke about his chances during the match.

“I thought I was in control of the match,” said the South African. “I had a lot of chances in the first set. I played a loose game to give the break back. And then in the tie-break at 6-all, I played two loose points. I came back and did well in the second. In the third, I had some good momentum, but after suddenly being up, I was down a break. I gave myself some chances to get back in the match. Obviously I’m not too happy with the errors I made on those two break points. But there are a lot of positives, which is the main thing I got to look at, as disappointing as it was not to have won it. It’s a good start for me on clay. There are still a lot of tournaments.”

 

RESULTS – SUNDAY, 14 APRIL, 2013

Singles – Final
T Robredo (ESP) d [2] K Anderson (RSA) 76(6) 46 63

Doubles – Final
[1] J Knowle (AUT) / F Polasek (SVK) d D Brown (GER) / C Kas (GER) 63 62

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Zeballos Stuns Nadal to Win Chile Title

 

NadalPracticeMadrid

Rafael Nadal

 

(February 10, 2013) In a battle of left-handers, Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos stopped Rafael Nadal from winning the first tournament of the Spaniard’s comeback on Sunday at Vina Del Mar. Zeballos, ranked 73 in the world stopped the eleven-time major champion and winner of a career 36 clay court tournaments 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-4 to win his first ATP World Tour tournament. The win also marks his first ever win over a top 10 player in three tries. He’s the second first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this year joining Bernard Tomic who won Sydney.

 

Nadal had been off the tour for seven months due to a knee injury.

 

“It’s a dream for me,” said Zeballos. “To be able to play a final against Nadal was already good enough for me. It’s a moment that will stay in my memory for the rest of my life.”

Zeballos did not get past the the second round at any of the ATP World Tour level tournaments events he played in 2012, but  he subdues  four seeded players on the way to the win – fourth seed Pablo Andujar, fifth seed Albert Ramos, eighth seed Carlos Berlocq and top seed Nadal.

 

“I’ve worked really hard because I really wanted to be at this level,” Zeballos said. “For some months, I’ve been playing at a high level and I think I’m at the best moment of my career. I’m very strong physically and psychologically.”

 

From the beginning Zaballos battled with Nadal and kept pace with the Spaniard.

 

After splitting tiebreaks in the first two sets, Nadal led off the third set with a break at love, but the Argentine answered back with a break. Zeballos took many chances on his service returns. At 5-4 he broke Nadal at love to end the match which lasted two hours and 46 minutes.

 

The Mallorcan broke Zeballos to love to begin the third set, but quickly relinquished his advantage, allowing Zeballos to get back on serve. The Argentine made more of an impact on return as the set intensified, and at 5-4, he surged ahead to a 0/40 lead. Zeballos converted his first match point to pull off the stunning victory in two hours and 46 minutes.

 

“It was a great tournament for me, ” said Nadal. “If we take everything, it was positive. It’s true I wanted to win the final but in wasn’t possible. He made things better than me and I didn’t play my best match. I just need to keep working, practicing with hope, motivation and the right attitude to have better sensations every week. I hope it’s the beginning of a lot of good things for me.”

 

Zeballos became the first Argentine to beat Rafael Nadal on clay since Gaston Gaudio at the 2005 Buenos Aires tournament. He previous did beat two top 20 players – No. 19 Nalbandian (Chile 2011) and No. 11 Gonzalez (Houston 2010). The win snapped Nadal’s 15-match win streak on clay.

 

Zeballos joins Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in a very elite club – he has become the third player to defeat Nadal in a clay court final.

 

Nadal lost two finals in one night as Paolo Lorenzi and Potito Starace defeated Juan Mónaco and Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4 in the doubles final.

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