Two Americans Among Final Four Standing In Singles At Red Rock Pro Open

Anna Tatishvili photo by Tracey Lee / Red Rock Pro Open

Anna Tatishvili photo by Tracey Lee / Red Rock Pro Open

SUMMERLIN (Sept. 26, 2014) – The semifinals are set at the Red Rock Pro Open as three seeded players and a qualifier won quarterfinal matches on Friday at the USTA Women’s $50,000 Pro Circuit event taking place at the Red Rock Country Club.


Two players representing the U.S. were among the winners beating wild card entries as No. 4-seeded Madison Brengle and No. 3 Anna Tatishvili recorded big wins. Brengle beat former world-ranked No. 7 Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-3 while Tatishvili had a tougher time against UCLA sophomore Jennifer Brady, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.


Portugal’s Michelle Larcher De Brito, the No. 8-seeded player, ousted No. 2 Timea Babos of Hungary, 6-3, 6-4, while qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine downed Sesil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan, 6-1, 6-3.


The big points seemed to unnerve Brady down the stretch and her inexperience showed as she led 5-3 in the final set but Tatishvili was able to pull out four consecutive games and win the match. At 40-love serving at 5-all, the reigning Pac-12 singles champion double-faulted twice and Tatishvili took control and the game.


The 28-year-old Bondarenko has turned into the story of the tournament. The mother of 16-month-old Karina, Bondarenko has impressed the Las Vegas fans with a game that once found its way into the world Top 30. She has now won six consecutive matches in Las Vegas, dropping just one set along the way.


Visiting the city of Las Vegas for the first time has been nothing but a positive experience for a player who has won more than $2 million in prize money during her career, and has won one WTA singles title.


“I’m holding up OK physically,” said Bondarenko, who has career wins over Venus Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Elena Dementieva and Li Na. “In a way it’s tougher (having an infant baby here), but then again it’s also nice to be able to relax with her.”


Tatishvili and Larcher De Brito start things off on Saturday at 11 a.m. Tatishvili holds a 2-0 advantage versus the 21-year-old Larcher De Brito, winning once on clay at the WTA level, and once on hard courts in a USTA Challenger.


Brengle and Bondarenko follow and have never faced each other.


In the doubles final it will be local Las Vegas resident Asia Muhammad and former USC All-American Maria Sanchez against Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay and Maria Irigoyen of Argentina on Sunday. The top-seeded team of Muhammad and Sanchez pulled out a spirted 6-7 (6), 6-4, 10-5, win over No. 4-seeded Nicole Melichar and Allie Will, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 10-5.


Both of Saturday’s semifinal matches on Stadium Court are being live streamed and can be viewed here at the Red Rock Pro Open website: http://redrockproopen.com/


The following are Friday’s results and Saturday’s semifinal schedule.



q: qualifier; wc: wild card

Quaterfinals Singles

Madison Brengle (USA) [4] def. Nicole Vaidisova (CZE) [wc], 6-4, 6-3

Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) [q] def. Sesil Karatantcheva (KAZ), 6-1, 6-3

Anna Tatishvili (USA) [3] def. Jennifer Brady (USA) [wc], 6-3, 3-6, 7-5

Michelle Larcher De Brito (POR) [8] def. Timea Babos (HUN) [2], 6-3, 6-4


Semifinal Doubles

Asia Muhammad (USA) / Maria Sanchez (USA) [1] def. Nicole Melichar (USA) / Allie Will (USA) [4], 6-7 (6), 6-4, 10-5

Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) / Maria Irigoyen (ARG) [2] def. Louisa Chirico (USA) / Sanaz Marand (USA), 6-3, 7-5



Wild Cards Keep Winning At Red Rock Pro Open

Bondarenko photo by Tracey Lee / Red Rock Pro Open

Bondarenko photo by Tracey Lee / Red Rock Pro Open


By Steve Pratt

SUMMERLIN (Sept. 25, 2014) – UCLA sophomore Jennifer Brady upset defending champion and No. 6-seeded Melanie Oudin on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals at the Red Rock Pro Open taking place at the Red Rock Country Club.


The 19-year-old wild-card Brady is taking the fall off of school, and so far it’s paying off for her. Just two weeks ago, she won the singles and doubles at the USTA $25,000 Pro Circuit Futures event in Redding, Calif.


Brady needed two tiebreakers to beat Oudin, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3). She next faces No. 3-seeded Anna Tatishvili on Friday in the first match on Stadium Court starting at 10:30 a.m.


In a rematch of last week’s $75,000 Albuquerque, N.M., Challenger final, the 24-year-old Boca Raton, Fla., resident Tatishvili ousted unseeded American Irina Falconi, 6-3, 7-6 (3), in a second-round match. Born in the country of Georgia, Tatishvili began representing the U.S. at the start of this year.


“It was similar to the final,” Tatishvili said of the energy of the match. “We both knew what to expect and knew how each other played.”


Another wild card also was victorious as former world No. 7-ranked Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic dominated No. 7-seeded Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay, 6-0, 6-2.


Vaidisova faces No. 4-seeded American Madison Brengle in her quarterfinal. For the second day in a row, Brengle eliminated a fellow American, on Thursday beating qualifier Samantha Crawford, 6-1, 7-6 (2).


Las Vegas’ Asia Muhammad was in action Thursday in doubles. Half of the No. 1-seeded doubles team along with Maria Sanchez, the pair dominated Naomi Broady and Falconi, 6-0, 6-3.


In the doubles semifinals on Friday, three of the top four-seeded team will play. In one semifinal it’s unseeded American’s Louisa Chirico and Sanaz Marand against Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay and Maria Irigoyen of Argentina, the No. 2 seeds. In the other semifinal it’s Muhammad and Sanchez against No. 4-seeded Nicole Melichar and Allie Will.


All of Friday’s Stadium Court matches are being live streamed and can be viewed here at the Red Rock Pro Open website: http://redrockproopen.com/


The following are Thursday’s results and Friday’s full schedule.



q: qualifier; wc: wild card

Second-Round Main Draw Singles

Nicole Vaidisova (CZE) [wc] def. Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) [7], 6-0, 6-2

Kateryna Bonderanko (UKR) [q] def. Caitlin Whoriskey (USA) [wc], 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

Timea Babos (HUN) [2] def. Paula Kania (POL), 6-4, 6-4

Madison Brengle (USA) [4] def. Samantha Crawford (USA), 6-1, 7-6 (2)

Anna Tatishvili (USA) [3] def. Irina Falconi (USA), 6-3, 7-6 (3)

Sesil Karatantcheva (KAZ) def. Montserrat Gonzalez (PAR), 4-6, 6-1, 6-0

Michelle Larcher De Brito (POR) [8] def. Ema Burgic (BIH), 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5)

Jennifer Brady (USA) [wc] def. Melanie Oudin (USA) [6], 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3)


Second-Round Main Draw Doubles

Asia Muhammad (USA) / Maria Sanchez (USA) [1] def. Naomi Broady (GBR) / Irina Falconi (USA), 6-0, 6-3

Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) / Maria Irigoyen (ARG) [2] def. Julia Boserup (USA) / Alexa Glatch (USA) [wc], 6-3, 6-4

Nicole Melichar (USA) / Allie Will (USA) [4] def. Tatjana Maria (GER) / Melanie Oudin (USA), 6-4, 7-6 (5)

Louisa Chirico (USA) / Sanaz Marand (USA) def. Nicola Slater (GBR) / Karolina Wlodarczak (AUS), 6-2, 7-5



Starting at 10:30 a.m. on Stadium Court

Jennifer Brady (USA) vs. Anna Tatishvili (USA) [3]

Followed by Madison Brengle (USA) [4] vs. Nicole Vaidisova (CZE)

Not before 3:30 p.m.

Asia Muhammad (USA) / Maria Sanchez [1] vs. Nicole Melichar (USA) / Allie Will (USA) [4]


Starting at 9:30 a.m. on Court 5

Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) vs. Sesil Karatantcheva (KAZ)

Followed by Michelle Larcher De Brito (POR) [8] vs. Timea Babos (HUN) [2]

Followed by Louisa Chirico (USA) / Sanaz Marand (USA) vs. Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) / Maria Irigoyen (ARG) [2]


Former Top WTA Players Post Impressive First-Round Wins at Red Rock Pro Open


Nicole Vaidisova photo courtesy of the USTA

Nicole Vaidisova photo courtesy of the USTA

SUMMERLIN (Sept. 24, 2014) – At times it probably felt like victory enough just to be back on the court for several players taking part in the Red Rock Pro Open on Wednesday.


Former WTA world-ranked No. 29 Kateryna Bonderanko of Ukraine – a 28-year-old mother of an infant child – upset top-seeded Tereza Smitkova of the Czech Republic in the first round of the USTA Women’s $50,000 Pro Circuit event taking place at the Red Rock Country Club.


At the 2012 US Open, Bonderanko lost in the first round to Jelena Jankovic, winning just three games. After the match, Bonderanko mentioned to her husband that she just didn’t feel right during the match. That something was off. She found out a month later back in her homeland that she was two months pregnant.


After 20 months off the tour, Bonderanko made her return in the spring of this year and has used her protected world ranking of No. 137 to get into some WTA events in Europe, and even played the French Open qualifying.


A quarterfinalist at the 2009 US Open, Bonderanko decided not to use her protected ranking in Las Vegas and won three qualifying matches. On Wednesday, she survived two set points down 6-4 in the first-set tiebreaker to record the 7-6 (6), 6-4 win over the 19-year-old Smitkova.


Bonderanko has career wins over Venus Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Elena Dementieva and Li Na and has won more than $2 million in prize money during her career.


Two players also making their return to tennis after an extended absence actually met in a first-round match as wild card and former world-ranked No. 7 Nicole Vaidisova outlasted former 2011 Las Vegas finalist Alexa Glatch, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.


Vaidisova is on the comeback trail after a four-and-a-half year layoff. “I struggled a little bit, and it was tough for a first match,” Vaidisova said. “It’s too early (to measure the progress). It’s just too early to assess. After four years, it’s just so tough to get the hang of it and get back into it mentally.


“It’s been a long journey of surgery after surgery. But I was happy just to be back on the court. I never expected to be out for as long as I was.”


Glatch, who had to win three qualifying matches as well, was playing her first main draw match since losing in the first round to Christina McHale at Wimbledon in 2013. She said after the match that wrist and hip surgery sidelined her for more than a year. “I didn’t think I’d ever play again,” Glatch said. “I’m just so happy to be back out there.”


Glatch will be “back out there” on Thursday as she and partner Julia Boserup took advantage of a doubles wild card and won their first-round match, beating Denise Muresan and Caitlin Whoriskey, 6-4, 7-5. The pair will face No. 2-seeded Veronica Cepede Royg and Maria Irigoyen in the second round.


And still another former top 35 player in the world Sesil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan posted a first-round win on Wednesday as the 25-year-old beat the No. 5-seeded  Jovana Jaksic of Serbia, 7-5, 3-6, 6-0.


In a key second-round match on Thursday, No. 3-seeded Anna Tatishvili faces off against unseeded American Irina Falconi in a rematch of last week’s Albuquerque, N.M. $75,000 Challenger final.


All of Thursday’s Stadium Court matches are being live streamed and can be viewed here:



The following are Wednesday’s results and Thursday’s full schedule.



q: qualifier; wc: wild card

First-Round Main Draw Singles

Melanie Oudin (USA) [6] def. Naomi Broady (GBR), 6-3, 6-2

Timea Babos (HUN) [2] def. Nastja Kolar (SLO), 6-1, 6-2

Ema Burgic (BIH) def. Giola Barbieri (ITA), 6-4, 6-0

Madison Brengle (USA) [4] def. Julia Boserup (USA), 6-4, 6-4

Sesil Karatantcheva (KAZ) def. Jovana Jaksic (SRB) [5], 7-5, 3-6, 6-0

Kateryna Bonderanko (UKR) [q] def. Tereza Smitkova (CZE) [1], 7-6 (6), 6-4

Nicole Vaidisova (CZE) [wc] def. Alexa Glatch (USA) [q], 2-6, 6-2, 6-4

Samantha Crawford (USA) [q] def. Sanaz Marand (USA), 6-4, 6-2

Irina Falconi (USA) def. Maria Irigoyen (ARG), 6-2, 6-3

Anna Tatishvili (USA) [3] def. Heidi El Tabakh (CAN), 6-4, 6-3


First-Round Main Draw Doubles

Asia Muhammad (USA) / Maria Sanchez (USA) [1] def. Giola Barbieri (ITA) / Amandine Hesse (FRA), 6-3, 6-1

Nicole Melichar (USA) / Allie Will (USA) [4] def. Jacqueline Cako (USA) / Cristina-Madalina Stancu (ROU), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 10-6

Julia Boserup (USA) / Alexa Glatch (USA) [wc] def. Denise Muresan (USA) / Caitlin Whoriskey (USA), 6-4, 7-5

Nicola Slater (GBR) / Karolina Wlodarczak (AUS) def. Jennifer Brady (USA) / Lauren Embree (USA) [wc], 7-6 (4), 6-3



Starting at 9:30 a.m. on Stadium Court

Nicole Vaidisova (CZE) vs. Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) [7]

Followed by Kateryna Bonderanko (UKR) [q] vs. Caitlin Whoriskey (USA)

Followed by Paula Kania (POL) vs. Timea Babos (HUN) [2]

Nicole Melichar (USA) / Allie Will (USA) vs. Tatjana Maria (GER) / Melanie Oudin (USA)


Starting at 9:30 a.m. on Court 5

Madison Brengle (USA) [4] vs. Samantha Crawford (USA)

Followed by Irina Falconi (USA) vs. Anna Tatishvili (USA) [3]

Followed by Montserrat Gonzalez (PAR) vs. Sesil Karatantcheva (KAZ)

Followed by

Asia Muhammad (USA) / Maria Sanchez (USA) vs. Naomi Broady (GBR) /

Irina Falconi (USA)


Starting at 9:30 a.m. on Court 6

Michelle Larcher De Brito (POR) [8] vs. Ema Burgic (BIH)

Followed by Melanie Oudin (USA) [6] vs. Jennifer Brady (USA)

Followed by Nicola Slater (GBR) / Karolina Wlodarczak (AUS) vs. Louisa Chirico (USA) / Sanaz Marand (USA)

Followed by Julia Boserup (USA) / Alexa Glatch (USA) [wc] vs. Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) [2] / Maria Irigoyen (ARG)


Spain Names First Female Davis Cup Captain

(September 21, 2014) The AFP is reporting that the Spanish tennis federation has named former No. 27 WTA player Gala Leon Garcia as the country’s Davis Cup captain, the first woman to hold this post.

She will replace Carlos Moya who resigned after Spain lost the Davis Cup World Group Play-off last weekend and are now relegated to Zonal Group 1 play for 2015, for the first time n 18 years.

The 40-year-old Leon Garcia southpaw played on the WTA tour between 1991 and 2004, reaching a career high ranking of 27 in 2000.


Former World No. 7 Nicole Vaidisova Receives Wild Card Into Red Rock Pro Open

Photo courtesy of the USTA

Photo courtesy of the USTA

By Steve Pratt

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 20, 2014) – Former WTA Tour world-ranked No. 7 Nicole Vaidisova has been awarded a wild card into the Red Rock Pro Open taking place next week at the Red Rock Country Club in Summerlin, organizers have announced.


The former Czech phenom won six WTA titles before she retired, and reached the semifinals of the 2006 French Open and the 2007 Australian Open. She achieved her career-high ranking of No. 7 at the tender age of 18 before injuries sidelined her, and she retired in March of 2010.


At age 25, Vaidisova is on the comeback trail having played in this week’s $75,000 Coleman Vision Challenger in Albuquerque, N.M., after a four-and-half year layoff.


Following a 6-3, 6-4 win in her opening round, Vaidisova fell to Johanna Konta of Great Britain, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, in Albuquerque.


“Surreal, nerve-wracking! I am so glad I got to play,” Vaidisova told the WTA’s official website after her first-round win.


Vaidisova won her first ITF event as a 14-year-old and became the sixth youngest to win a WTA title and cracked the top 100 in 2004.


“I don’t know how this will play out, but no matter the outcome, I know I will be proud of myself for giving it my all and for the person I have become through this,’ Vaidisova wrote recently on Instagram.


In addition to Vaidisova, other notable tournament wild cards include:

  • Asia Muhammad (Las Vegas): Muhammad, whose brother Shabazz plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, has trained and resided in Las Vegas throughout her professional career.
  • Jennifer Brady (Boca Raton, Fla.):  A sophomore at UCLA, Brady is coming off a win at the $25,000 ITF in Redding, Calif., last week. Many believe Brady is ready for a professional career, and she is taking the Fall semester off to play pro events.
  • Alexa Glatch (Newport Beach, Calif.): Glatch reached the finals in Las Vegas in 2011, the last year the event was held at Red Rock. She holds seven ITF singles titles.

Muhammad and Brady are both main draw wild card recipients, while Glatch received a wild card into the qualifying draw.


Qualifying for the Red Rock Pro Open begins Saturday and is free and open to the public. A fun-filled free Kid’s Day is planned for Sunday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This FREE party will include carnival games and activities for all ages as well as on court tennis games and fun clinics.  Every kid will go home a winner with prizes to be given out throughout the event.


In addition, a Pro-Am Tournament featuring selected sponsors and professional players will take place Monday starting at 7 p.m. A Tournament Party will also take place at the Country Club to provide a unique socializing and networking experience with players, sponsors and prominent community figures the following day on Tuesday at 7 p.m. More information on the schedule of events is posted on the tournament website at www.redrockproopen.com.


Premier sponsors include: Lotus Broadcasting, Cox Communications, Adidas, WG Communications Group, Storage One, USTA Nevada, Agent Atleta, LLC., 10sBalls.com, Samoa Artesian Water, Marquis Aurbach Coffing, Equilibrium-Vaga, Las Vegas Golf & Leisure, Darren Cahill


Support sponsors include: Marty Hennessy Foundation, Approach Tennis, Marcy Saxe Realty One, Farmers Insurance agent Richard Sacca, Guild Mortgage Company, Rachel’s Kitchen, Allstate Insurance agent Dwain Frazier, Ryan Wolfington, Raymond James agent Dan Jackson, Northern Trust, The Massage Advantage, Dr. Steve Kozmary.


The Red Rock Pro Open is a USTA women’s $50,000 Pro Circuit Challenger tournament encompassing a 32-player field in singles and 16 doubles teams.


The tournament’s official website is www.RedRockProOpen.com.  Follow along on Twitter @RedRockTennis and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/redrockproopen.


Li Na Announces Retirement

Li Na

Li Na

(September 19, 2014) After much speculations over the past few months, China’s Li Na has officially retired from tennis. The 32-year-old called it quits due to recurring knee injuries. She announced her retirement in a letter posted on social media on Friday.



Friday, September 19, 2014

My dear friends,

For close to fifteen years, we’ve been a part of each other’s lives. As a tennis player representing China on the global stage, I’ve trekked around the world playing hundreds of matches on the WTA tour, for China’s Fed Cup team, at the National Games and at several Olympic Games. You’ve always been there for me, supporting me, cheering me on, and encouraging me to reach my potential.

Representing China on the tennis court was an extraordinary privilege and a true honour. Having the unique opportunity to effectively bring more attention to the sport of tennis in China and all over Asia is something I will cherish forever. But in sport, just like in life, all great things must come to an end.

2014 has become one of the most significant years in my career and my life. This year was full of amazing highlights, which included winning my second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open and sharing the extraordinary experience with my country, my team, my husband and my fans. It was also a year filled with difficult moments, such as having to deal with the inevitable – making the decision to end my professional tennis career.

The amazing moment in Australia was filled with joy, happiness and extraordinary sense of accomplishment. The task of finally making a decision to hang up my racquet felt a lot more difficult than winning seven matches in a row in the Australian heat. It took me several agonizing months to finally come to the decision that my chronic injuries will never again let me be the tennis player that I can be. Walking away from the sport, effective immediately, is the right decision for me and my family.

Most people in the tennis world know that my career has been marked by my troubled right knee. The black brace I wear over it when I step on the court has become my tennis birth mark. And while the brace completes my tennis look, the knee problems have at times overtaken my life.

After four knee surgeries and hundreds of shots injected into my knee weekly to alleviate swelling and pain, my body is begging me to stop the pounding. My previous three surgeries were on my right knee. My most recent knee surgery took place this July and was on my left knee. After a few weeks of post-surgery recovery, I tried to go through all the necessary steps to get back on the court. While I’ve come back from surgery in the past, this time it felt different. One of my goals was to recover as fast as I could in order to be ready for the first WTA tournament in my hometown of Wuhan. As hard as I tried to get back to being 100%, my body kept telling me that, at 32, I will not be able to compete at the top level ever again. The sport is just too competitive, too good, to not be 100%.

Winning a Grand Slam title this year and achieving a ranking of World No.2 is the way I would like to leave competitive tennis. As hard as it’s been to come to this decision, I am at peace with it. I have no regrets. I wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place, remember? Not many people believed in my talent and my abilities, yet I found a way to persevere, to prove them (and sometimes myself!) wrong.

I’ve succeeded on the global stage in a sport that a few years ago was in its infancy in China. What I’ve accomplished for myself is beyond my wildest dreams. What I accomplished for my country is one of my most proud achievements.

In 2008, there were two professional women’s tennis tournaments in China. Today, there are 10, one of them in Wuhan, my hometown. That to me is extraordinary! Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams – with thirty Grand Slam singles titles among them – are coming to my hometown to play tennis for the fans of China! Just as I didn’t think I could ever be a Grand Slam champion, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that some of the best female athletes in the world could play tennis in Wuhan, in my backyard.

My contributions to the growth of the sport in China are very special to me. But I don’t want to stop here. Together with IMG, my management company, we are putting together various plans on how we will continue to grow the sport of tennis in China. These plans include opening the Li Na Tennis Academy, which will provide scholarships for the future generation of Chinese tennis stars. I will also stay involved in the Right to Play, an organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children overcome challenges through sport. My philanthropic work will expand in scope as I continue to dedicate myself to helping those in need. What was once just a dream in China today is a reality.

On a personal side, I look forward to starting a new chapter of my life, hopefully having a family and reconnecting with those I did not have the luxury of spending a lot of time with while playing. I can’t wait to revisit all the amazing places I played tennis in and see the world through a new set of eyes. I look forward to slowing down and living my life at a new, slower, relaxed pace.

Tennis is an individual sport and as players, our job is to spend a lot of time focusing on ourselves. But no player can ever become a champion alone and nobody knows this better than me. There isn’t enough space here to thank everyone who has travelled on my journey with me and contributed to my success. But I must thank those that have stuck with me through the highs and the lows and have helped me become the person that I am today.

Thank you to:
• My mother – for your never-ending support. Through the laughs and the tears, you’ve always been there for me.
• My father – you were taken away from me way too early and I haven’t been the same since. You’ve remained the sunshine in my life and I am who I am because of you.
• Jiang Shan – you’ve been by my side for 20 years. You are my everything and I am grateful to have shared my life with you.
• My first coaches Ms. Xia Xiyao and Ms. Yu Liqiao – for putting me on the tennis path.
• Madame Sun and the Chinese Tennis Association – thank you for being trailblazers for tennis in China.
• Mr. Hu Dechun and the Hubei Sports Bureau – for understanding me and supporting me through the years.
• Women’s Tennis Association – for your passion for women’s tennis and hard work growing it around the world.
• Mr. Chan Hongchang – for supporting me when I first decided to become a professional tennis player in 2008. You helped me make up my mind.
• Thomas Hogstedt – for introducing me to professional tennis.
• Michael Mortenson – for helping me win my first Grand Slam.
• Carlos Rodriguez – for pushing me beyond the limits I thought I could reach.
• Alex Stober – for taking care of me all of these years and pulling me together when I was falling apart.
• Erich Rembeck and Johannes Wieber – for finding a way to make me pain free, over and over again.
• Fred Zhang and the Nike team – you’ve been my guiding light, my support system and my biggest cheerleader. I will never forget it.
• To Max Eisenbud and the entire IMG Team – for being the best management company in the world and for taking care of me every day.
• To all the sponsors that have supported me through every stage of my career.
• To my relatives, friends, and everyone who has helped me throughout my career – for always being there for me and for your never-ending support.
• To my fellow tennis players – for being a part of my journey all of these years. I have so much respect for all of you.
• To everyone in the media who’s covered my career and helped the growth of tennis in China and around the world.
• To the amazing tennis fans around the world – for your unyielding support of our sport and for playing every tennis match along with me.
• And lastly, to tennis fans in China – for getting on the bandwagon and staying on it! I am grateful to each and every one of you for pushing me to be my best, embracing me and loving me unconditionally. There is no limit to how far we can take the sport of tennis in China, together.

When I started playing tennis, I was just a neighbourhood kid with an afterschool hobby, not realizing what magical journey lay ahead of me. If I only knew what a vehicle the sport of tennis, along with my success, would become for my beloved China. While my journey hasn’t been easy, it has been rewarding. I’ve seen change happening in front of my eyes, young girls picking up tennis racquets, setting goals, following their hearts and believing in themselves. I hope that I’ve had the opportunity to inspire young women all over China to believe in themselves, to set their goals high and pursue them with vengeance and self-belief.

Whether you want to be a tennis player, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or a business leader, I urge you to believe in yourself and follow your dream. If I could do it, you can too! Be the bird that sticks out. With hard work, your dreams will come true.


WTA Announcement on LI Na’s Retirement

ST PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Chinese tennis trailblazer and reigning Australian Open champion Li Na today brought down the curtain on a glittering 15-year professional career with the announcement of her official retirement from the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Winner of nine WTA singles titles, two doubles titles and a two-time Grand Slam champion, the 32-year-old marks the end of a career that saw her become one of the very best and most popular players in the history of women’s tennis.


“Li Na has been a fun, powerful, and wonderful player on the WTA tour and, along with her fans, I am sad to hear that she has retired,” said WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster. “In addition to her amazing tennis abilities and her warm and humorous personality, she is a pioneer who opened doors to tennis for hundreds of millions of people throughout China and Asia.  It’s hard to be a household name in a nation with 1.4 billion people, but that’s what Li Na is.  Thanks to all she has achieved and contributed, her legacy is immense and I have no doubt that her contributions to the WTA will be seen for decades to come in China, throughout Asia and the rest of the world.  I wish her the best of luck in this next chapter in her life.  I will miss her, and I know that while she may be retired from competition, she still will play a big role in the growth of our sport around the world.”


Li etched her name in the history books at Roland Garros in 2011 when she became the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam singles title, defeating Top 10 rivals in each of her last four matches. Earlier in 2011 she was the first player from the region to reach a major final, finishing runner-up to Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open. After another run to the final at the Australian Open in 2013, when she was edged by Victoria Azarenka in a dramatic three-setter, Li captured her second Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park in January this year – just the second woman aged over 30 to win the title in the Open Era, after Margaret Court. The victory helped propel Li to World No.2 on February 17, 2014 – the highest ranking ever attained by an Asian player.


Over the course of her career, particularly in later years as her success reached its crescendo, Li’s powerful game delivered against the very best. Her 21 wins over Top 5 opponents included two over reigning World No.1s – Serena Williams at Stuttgart in 2008 and Caroline Wozniacki at the 2011 Australian Open. In total she reached 21 WTA singles finals (going 9-12 in those) and in addition to her wins at the Australian Open and Roland Garros was a semifinalist at the US Open and quarterfinalist at Wimbledon.


Along the way, Li established a string of breakthroughs for Chinese tennis, alongside her Grand Slam title triumphs. She was the first to win a WTA singles title (2004 Guangzhou) and first to win a WTA Premier title (2011 Sydney); first to reach a Grand Slam singles quarterfinal (2006 Wimbledon); first to compete in singles at the WTA Finals (2011-13, finishing runner-up to S.Williams on her most recent appearance); and first to crack the singles Top 20 (August 14, 2006), Top 10 (February 1, 2010) and Top 5 (June 6, 2011). As wfaell as representing her country in Fed Cup competition in eight different years she was a three-time Olympian for China (Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008 and London 2012). She also played countrywoman Zheng Jie in the first All-Chinese WTA singles final at Estoril in 2006 (won by Zheng) and earlier this year won the second All-China final in WTA history at Shenzhen, defeating Peng Shuai for the title.


Li steps away from the game with a career singles win-loss record of 503-188 and prize money earnings of $16,709,074. She is currently ranked No.6.



2015 Davis Cup Draw Announced

(September 18, 2014) The ITF announced the draw for the 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas in Dubai.

This year’s finalists France and Switzerland will both travel away to European opposition with Les Blues opening their campaign against Germany. Switzerland will travel to Belgium after David Goffin inspired his nation to retain its place in the World Group in last weekend’s play-offs.

One of the stories of the draw was the coupling of great Latin American rivals Brazil and Argentina. The tie, which will be held in Argentina, will be the first meeting between the two nations since 1980. The two sides have never met in the World Group.

For the second consecutive year, Great Britain and USA have been drawn to face each other in the first round. After colliding in San Diego this year, the two nations will meet on British soil with the visitors keen to avoid another loss to their great Davis Cup rivals.

Third and fourth seeds Czech Republic and Serbia will both begin their campaigns with home ties. The Czechs, drawn in the same half as France, will host Australia while Serbia will host neighbors Croatia.

The full draw can be found below:
World Group

First round (6-8 March)

Germany [c] v France [s]

Great Britain [c] v USA [s]

Czech Republic [s] [c] v Australia

Kazakhstan [c] [*] v Italy [s]

Argentina [s] [c] v Brazil

Serbia [s] [c] v Croatia

Canada [s] [c] v Japan

Belgium [c] v Switzerland [s]
Americas Zone Group I

First round (6-8 March)

Colombia [s] v Bye

Uruguay v Bye

Barbados [c] v Dominican Republic

Ecuador [s] v Bye
Asia/Oceania Zone Group I

First round (6-8 March)

Uzbekistan [s] v Bye

Thailand [c] v Korea, Rep.

China, P. R. v Chinese Taipei or New Zealand

India [s] v Bye
Europe/Africa Zone Group I

First round (6-8 March)

Spain [s] v Bye

Russia [c] v Denmark

Netherlands [s] v Bye

Austria v Latvia or Sweden

Slovakia [c] [*] v Slovenia

[c] Romania v Israel [s]

Poland [c] v Lithuania

Ukraine [s] v Bye
Americas Zone Group II

First round (6-8 March)

Venezuela [s] [c] [*] v Costa Rica

Puerto Rico [c] v El Salvador [s]

Mexico [s] [c] [*] v Bolivia

Chile [s] [c] v Peru
Asia/Oceania Zone Group II

First round (6-8 March)

Chinese Taipei or New Zealand [s] v Lebanon

Philippines [s] [c] v Sri Lanka

Iran v Indonesia [s] [c]

Pakistan [s] [c] v Kuwait


[s] = Seeded nation
[c] = Choice of ground
[*] = Choice of ground decided by lot

The home nation is listed first for each tie.



Davis Cup Results for September 14, 2014



(September 14, 2014) France will be at home to Switzerland in the 2014 World Group Final on 21-23 November, with details of the venue confirmed later this month.


Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia and USA all won their World Group play-off ties to qualify for the 2015 World Group. The World Group play-off losers, Colombia, Israel, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will contest their respective Zone Group I competitions in 2015.


The World Group play-off tie between India and Serbia in Bangalore has been suspended overnight due to rain and will resume at 12:00 local time (06:30 GMT) on Monday.


The Draw for the 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas will be held during the ITF AGM in Dubai on Thursday 18 September at 19:00 local time (15:00 GMT). The draw will be live streamed on www.daviscup.com.


There is still one tie to be played in both Asia/Oceania Zone Group I and Europe/Africa Zone Group I in October. An announcement will be made on Monday on whether the draws for 2015 Asia/Oceania Zone Groups I and II, and Europe/Africa Zone Groups I and II can be held on 18 September.


The seeds for the 2015 Davis Cup Draw will also be announced on Monday. The top two seeds in the 2015 World Group will be the two finalists from 2014, while the remaining seeds will be based on the new Davis Cup Nations Ranking of 15 September.






Venue: Roland Garros, Paris, FRA (clay – outdoor)
Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 63 62 63
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Lukas Rosol (CZE) 62 62 63
Richard Gasquet/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek (CZE) 67(5) 64 76(5) 61

Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. Julien Benneteau (FRA) 64 63
Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Lukas Rosol (CZE) 57 64 75



Venue: Palexpo, Geneva, SUI (hard – indoor)
Roger Federer (SUI) d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 76(5) 64 64
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 62 63 62
Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. Marco Chiudinelli/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 75 36 57 63 62

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 62 63 76(4)
Andreas Seppi (ITA) d. Michael Lammer (SUI) 64 16 64




SERBIA level with INDIA 2-2

Venue: KSLTA Tennis Stadium, Bangalore, IND (hard – outdoor)


Dusan Lajovic (SRB) d. Yuki Bhambri (IND) 63 62 75
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) d. Somdev Devvarman (IND) 61 46 63 62

Rohan Bopanna/Leander Paes (IND) d. Ilija Bozoljac/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) 16 67(4) 63 63 86

Somdev Devvarman (IND) d. Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 16 64 46 63 62

Filip Krajinovic (SRB) leads Yuki Bhambri (IND) 63 4-4 (play suspended due to rain)


BRAZIL defeated SPAIN 3-1

Venue: Ginasio Estadual Geraldo Jose de Almeida, Sao Paulo, BRA (clay – indoor)


Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) 60 61 63
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. Pablo Andujar (ESP) 36 67(6) 64 75 63

Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA) d. Marc Lopez/David Marrero (ESP) 63 75 75

Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 64 36 63 62
Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) v Pablo Andujar (ESP) not played




Venue: Sunrise Tennis Club, Sunrise, FL, USA (hard – outdoor)


Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Bar Tzuf Botzer (ISR) 64 36 62 61

Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 63 67(5) 62 62
Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) d. Federico Delbonis/Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 63 36 61 36 63

Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Dudi Sela (ISR) 62 61 64
Carlos Berlocq (ARG) d. Bar Tzuf Botzer (ISR) 62 63 60


CANADA defeated COLOMBIA 3-2

Venue: Halifax Metro Centre, Halifax, Canada (hard – indoor)


Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 63 76(2) 63
Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) 63 63 62
Juan-Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah (COL) d. Daniel Nestor/Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 76(4) 76(7) 64
Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 61 76(2) 75
Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) d. Frank Dancevic (CAN) 46 75 62



USA defeated SLOVAKIA 5-0

Venue: Sears Centre Arena, Chicago, IL, USA (hard – indoor)


John Isner (USA) d. Norbert Gombos (SVK) 76(5) 64 62
Sam Querrey (USA) d. Martin Klizan (SVK) 76(6) 63 63
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) d. Norbert Gombos/Lukas Lacko (SVK) 61 62 61
John Isner (USA) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 63 60
Sam Querrey (USA) d. Norbert Gombos (SVK) 64 46 64



Venue: Cottesloe Tennis Club, Perth, AUS (grass – outdoor)


Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Denis Istomin (UZB) 64 75 64

Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Farrukh Dustov (UZB) 64 64 62
Chris Guccione/Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Farrukh Dustov/Denis Istomin (UZB) 63 76(5) 62

Samuel Groth (AUS) d. Temur Ismailov (UZB) 63 62

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Sanjar Fayziev (UZB) 61 61


Venue: Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, NED (clay – indoor)


Mate Delic (CRO) d. Igor Sijsling (NED) 46 64 75 62

Robin Haase (NED) d. Borna Coric (CRO) 76(4) 61 64
Marin Cilic/Marin Draganja (CRO) d. Robin Haase/Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) 62 36 63 64

Robin Haase (NED) d. Mate Delic (CRO) 36 46 64 61 64

Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Thiemo de Bakker (NED) 67(4) 64 62 75


BELGIUM defeated UKRAINE 3-2

Venue: Tere Tennis Centre, Tallinn, EST (hard – indoor)


Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. Steve Darcis (BEL) 67(5) 64 62 62
David Goffin (BEL) d. Illya Marchenko (UKR) 76(1) 63 61
Ruben Bemelmans/Olivier Rochus (BEL) d. Sergei Bubka/Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 62 63 26 36 62
David Goffin (BEL) d. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 61 62
Illya Marchenko (UKR) d. Steve Darcis (BEL) 76(2) 64


Venue: Cancha Central, Caracas, VEN (hard – outdoor)

Pablo Cuevas (URU) d. Jesus Bandres (VEN) 63 62 61
Martin Cuevas (URU) d. Ricardo Rodriguez (VEN) 75 62 63
Martin Cuevas/Pablo Cuevas (URU) d. Luis David Martinez/Roberto Maytin (VEN) 75 62 62
Ricardo Rodriguez (VEN) d. Ariel Behar (URU) 2-1 ret.
Rodrigo Senattore (URU) d. Jesus Bandres (VEN) 46 75 63


Venue: Kaohsiung Yangming Tennis Courts, Kaohsiung City, TPE (hard – outdoor)

Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) d. Hung Jui Chen (TPE) 62 62 60
Chung Hyeon (KOR) d. Wang Chieh Fu (TPE) 64 75 62
Chen Ti/Peng Hsien Yin (TPE) d. Chung Hyeon/Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) 76(3) 36 16 75 63
Chung Hyeon (KOR) d. Chen Ti (TPE) 60 36 67(3) 63 3-0 ret.
Wang Chieh Fu (TPE) v Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) not played


ROMANIA defeated SWEDEN 3-1
Venue: Arenele BNR, Bucharest, ROU (clay – outdoor)

Christian Lindell (SWE) d. Adrian Ungur (ROU) 75 76(2) 64
Marius Copil (ROU) d. Elias Ymer (SWE) 62 63 62
Florin Mergea/Horia Tecau (ROU) d. Isak Arvidsson/Johan Brunstrom (SWE) 76(2) 76(5) 63
Adrian Ungur (ROU) d. Elias Ymer (SWE) 36 64 76(4) 63
Marius Copil (ROU) v Christian Lindell (SWE) not played

AUSTRIA defeated LATVIA 4-1
Venue: Vidzemes Olimpiskaos Centrs, Valmiera, LAT (hard – indoor)

Martin Fischer (AUT) d. Andis Juska (LAT) 63 63 62
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Janis Podzus (LAT) 63 61 64
Ernests Gulbis/Mikelis Libietis (LAT) d. Philipp Oswald/Alexander Peya (AUT) 75 76(3) 64
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Mikelis Libietis (LAT) 62 62 64
Martin Fischer (AUT) d. Janis Podzus (LAT) 76(6) 64


RUSSIA defeated PORTUGAL 4-1
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Moscow, RUS (hard – indoor)

Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) d. Gastao Elias (POR) 62 64 64
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 76(7) 64 36 61
Konstantin Kravchuk/Andrey Rublev (RUS) d. Gastao Elias/Joao Sousa (POR) 63 64 64
Rui Machado (POR) d. Konstantin Kravchuk (RUS) 67(4) 64 61

Andrey Rublev (RUS) d. Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) 64 64


BARBADOS defeated MEXICO 3-2
Venue: National Tennis Centre, St Michael, BAR (hard – outdoor)

Tigre Hank (MEX) d. Haydn Lewis (BAR) 75 64 63
Darian King (BAR) d. Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) 64 64 62
Santiago Gonzalez/Tigre Hank (MEX) d. Darian King/Haydn Lewis (BAR) 64 64 36 46 64
Darian King (BAR) d. Tigre Hank (MEX) 62 62 75
Haydn Lewis (BAR) d. Lucas Gomez (MEX) 26 63 61 63


Venue: The National Tennis Development Center, Nonthaburi, THA (hard – outdoor)

Pruchya Isarow (THA) d. Aisam Qureshi (PAK) 36 63 63 62
Danai Udomchoke (THA) d. Samir Iftikhar (PAK) 60 64 61
Sanchai Ratiwatana/Sonchat Ratiwatana (THA) d. Aqeel Khan/Aisam Qureshi (PAK) 75 62 62
Danai Udomchoke (THA) d. Muhammed Abid (PAK) 60 61
Samir Iftikhar (PAK) d. Pruchya Isarow (THA) 46 63 1-1 ret.


Venue: Mojmilo Sports Hall, Sarajevo, BIH (hard – indoor)

Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Mirza Basic (BIH) 57 36 64 64 64
Damir Dzumhur (BIH) d. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 67(5) 61 61 1-0 ret.
Ricardas Berankis/Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) d. Mirza Basic/Tomislav Brkic (BIH) 63 63 76(4)
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 64 64 64
Nerman Fatic (BIH) d. Lukas Mugevicus (LTU) 67(6) 63 64

DENMARK defeated MOLDOVA 3-2
Venue: Bramdrupdam Hallerne, Kolding, DEN (carpet – indoor)

Radu Albot (MDA) d. Martin Pedersen (DEN) 75 63 62
Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) 62 62 63
Thomas Kromann/Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Radu Albot/Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) 62 64 64
Radu Albot (MDA) d. Frederik Nielsen (DEN) 75 63 63
Martin Pedersen (DEN) d. Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) 36 76(1) 64 36 75


DAVIS CUP: U.S. SHUTS OUT SLOVAKIA – Isner, Querrey victories give Americans a 5-0 win in the World Group Play-off


Isner, Querrey victories give Americans a 5-0 win in the World Group Play-off

By Junior Williams

(September 14, 2014) HOFFMAN ESTATES, Illinois – John Isner and Sam Querrey closed out the Davis Cup World-Group Play-off by winning their respective matches, giving the United States a 5-0 victory over Slovakia at Sears Center Arena in suburban Chicago.

Both matches were dead rubbers, since the U.S. clinched a spot in the World Group for 2015 courtesy of Bob and Mike Bryan’s doubles victory on Saturday.

In the first match, Isner – the No. 1 American and 16th ranked player in the world – defeated Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-0 in only 42 minutes, converting four out of eight break points and posting 22 total winners to Lacko’s four.

In the post-match interview, Isner said he was happy the match went “pretty quickly” and was looking forward to watching some football.

In the second match, Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos did his best to prevent his team from being shut out, but the world’s 126th-ranked player was outlasted by Sam Querrey 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in a hard-hitting, fast-serving contest.

After Gombos broke Querrey to win the second set — the only set Slovakia won during the three days of competition — the number-two American broke Gombos to go up 4-3 in the third set, and went on to close out the match with a service winner.

Here’s how close the match was: Querrey scored 96 points, Gombos 92.

Despite Gombos’ three defeats (including one to Isner in singles, another to the Bryans in doubles) , U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier had nothing but good things to say about the Slovak during the post-match interview, expressing how impressed he was with Gombos’ play.

The U.S. victory marks the first time the Americans shut out their opponent in a Davis Cup tie since 2012 — a first-round victory in Switzerland against a team featuring 17-time major champion Roger Federer, and Stan Wawrinka — who has since gone on to win the 2014 Australian Open.

Slovakia is now 0-3 against the U.S. in Davis Cup competition and is headed back to Europe/Africa Zone Group I. Both countries will learn about their next opponents when the Davis Cup draw for 2015 takes place Thursday in Dubai.


Mirjana Lucic-Baroni Beats Venus Williams to Win Quebec City

(September 14, 2014) Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni won her first WTA title since 1998, beating former world No.1 Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3 to win the Quebec City tennis tournament in 83 minutes.

In the battle between 30-somethings, Lucic-Baroni 32 and Williams 34, the Croatian had last been in a final in 1998.

Lucic-Baroni reached the Wimbledon semifinals back in 1999. After a hiatus off the tour, she came back in 2007 and at the US Open reached the fourth round.

“It was so long ago, I don’t even remember what it’s like to hold a trophy in my hands,” Lucic-Baroni said. “It’s just incredible. I’m still in a little bit of shock because I was so focused today, but oh my goodness, it’s just an amazing feeling right now.”

Venus Williams who was looking to win her 46th title said: “My opponent played too well against me today. She swung as hard as she could on every shot and hit so many lines. It’s not typical that when you go for every shot they almost all go in. I think I played pretty well, but she just played better than me.”

Lucic-Baroni added the doubles crown to her titles list on Sunday, teaming with Lucie Hradecka to win the doubles, her first doubles title since 1998. For Hradecka it was her 17 WTA doubles title.

Baroni is just the second player to win the singles and doubles titles at the same event this year after Caroline Garcia in Bogotá.