September 4, 2015

Victoria Duval – Cancer Survivor, Venus and Federer Fangirl

(September 3, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Just over a year ago Victoria Duval was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma just one day before the start of Wimbledon. She lost in the second round. Just the year before, the American of Haitian descent qualified for the US Open and upset 2011 champion Sam Stosur in the first round.

She returned to the tour at an ITF event in Landsville, Pennsylvania in early August this year, winning two matches before withdrawing from her quarterfinal match.

She played in the US Open qualifying tournament where she lost in the second round.

I asked her about the biggest challenge in being back on the court.

“I think the mental aspect, just like the focus that it takes to do a long match,” she said. “In my second round (qualies) match, I was tired emotionally in the third set more than physically and I think that the hardest thing coming back is staying in the moment for hours at a time, so it’s going to take a few more months being in competition.”

“I think the serve and the return are the hardest coming back. Adjusting to the speed, the different speeds, the ball comes from a different direction. The serve is something that I’m constantly working on. I was impressed with the level I was able to play at. It was good.”

Losing in the first round of the mixed doubles with Christian Harrison on Thursday, I asked the effervescent teen about what she plans to do in New York now that she’s completely done at the US Open.

“I will probably stick around tomorrow and go home the next day. It’s New York so you have to live a little.”

“I went to the Guggenheim, because I love art, O my gosh! Art fanatic. I want to go to the Metropolitan.

“I saw that (Roger) Federer went. Jealous! I can go that day. I so just want a selfie with him!”

“That would be a highlight of my life, just one selfie,” the bubbly Duval squealed. “I tweeted that one time, but then I deleted it, because I said that’s too much fangirling.

“Like my family gets emotional when he loses. Like we are staunch Federer fans. It gets serious.”

She talked about Venus Williams as a very significant example in her life.

“For Venus to be doing what she’s doing at her age, with all of the health issues that she’s had to battle, she’s definitely a role model for me even though we have totally different illnesses. What she has been able to do and I’ve been able to look up to someone like that. And obviously she’s so nice and she talks to me whenever I need her to talk to me, so I feel super blessed to have someone like that.”

“Venus is everything I want to be,” the 19-year-old proclaimed. “She’s like so poised. Oh my god, I love her so much! Massive fangirl in the locker room. She walks in and I’m like ‘aaahh!’ I have to hide in the corner. She was doing her hair and I wanted to talk to her so badly, but she getting ready for her match – I’m like ‘what do I do?!!’

“I like freak out when I see her!”

Duval is among a group of young American women tennis players on tour. “Yea, for sure. We’re trying to be the next generation, we boost each other, we’re all friends so it helps.”

Does she or her peers feel pressure after Serena and Venus Williams are no longer on the scene?

“Not yet,” Said Duval. “Yah, we will, but not yet. Especially for me right now, I’m just too happy to be back, for other players I’m not sure, but for as young as we all are, I think we have no pressure.”

She was asked if she’s seeking a rise in the diversity of the sport of tennis.

“Yes, I definitely think so. I think we are seeing our group – me Taylor (Townsend), Sachia (Vickery), Alicia (Tornado Black) even.

“I think that the fact that we are all rising together we’re making more of an impact because we’re not at the lower level we’re kind of making a name for ourselves now, we’re being seen so I definitely think it’s a boost.”

For now, Duval is focusing on making the draw of the next major.

“My next tournament is going to be a 75K in New Mexico,” she said. “Then I’ll probably just stay in the states and do Challengers… Carlsbad and stuff like that and hopefully have my ranking up for Australia next year.”

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama at the US Open.

Related articles:

A New “Sunshine” – Victoria Duval

296th Ranked Qualifier Victoria Duval Upends 2011 US Open Champ Sam Stosur in First Round of US Open

Victoria Duval Diagnosed with Cancer

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Serena Williams Beats Sister Venus To Reach Wimbledon Quarters

 

(July 6, 2015)

On the second Monday of Wimbledon, it was “Sister Act” part 26 as No. 1 Serena Williams defeated her sister and the 16th seed Venus 6-4, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals. It was the younger sister’s sixth victory of the last seven, raising her head-to-head record to 15-11.

“I just thought,`Wow, I’m 33, and she just turned 35. I don’t know how many more moments like this we’ll have.’ I plan on playing for years, but you never know if we’ll have the opportunity to face each other,” Serena said after walking off the court. “I just took the moment in, and I thought, `We’re at Wimbledon.’ I remember when I was 8 years old, we dreamed of this moment, and it was kind of surreal.”

“When that moment is over, it will be over,” Venus said, shrugging her shoulders. “It’s not now.”

Tuesday’s win puts Serena closer to winning her 21st major title, fourth in a row, keeping hope alive the possibility of a Grand Slam should she win at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

“I no longer answer questions about Grand Slams,” Serena told media.

“It’s been six years since we played each other,” Serena said.  “I just really was enjoying the moment out there.  It was such a great vibe, such a great situation to be in, when we were both so young and dreaming of coming to Wimbledon.

“Not only did we fulfill our dreams, we both won it five times.  That’s pretty amazing.

“I just had an opportunity to reflect on that.”

Serena Williams will play Victoria Azarenka on Tuesday for a spot in the semis. Azarenka defeated Belinda Bencic 6-3. 6-2.

I’ve had a couple of tough matches with Victoria,” Serena said.  “It doesn’t matter who I play, I’m going to be ready.  I’m going to have to be ready.  She’s due to win big and to do really well.”

“I look forward to tomorrow.  I feel like my tournament has finally begun.  This is where I feel really comfortable in a Grand Slam.”

“Well, the key is for me, I still need to find it because I haven’t beat her in the Grand Slam,” said Azarenka.  “So for me, I still have to find that extra step to go a little bit further.

“But she’s a great player.  I mean, one of the greatest players of all time.

“I just try to really focus on what I have to do instead of thinking who is on the other side and try to execute my game.

“I think I have been playing pretty well, trying to climb and put my game together more and more.  So I’m just trying to focus on tomorrow, is another day, another match, and keep it simple.”

Two more Americans join Serena Williams in the quarterfinals – Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe. Keys beat qualifier Olga Govortsova 3-6, 6-4, 6-1while Vandeweghe beat French Open finalist and sixth seed Lucie Safarova 7-6(1), 7-6(4)

“I mean, every moment there is a breakthrough whether it’s in a WTA tournament or in a Grand Slam,” Vandeweghe said.  “Yes, this is the farthest I have ever gone in a Grand Slam and I’m playing really well at this time, but, you know, I’m not really considering it like, wow, a breakthrough.

I mean, I had set goals of what I wanted to do, and because I’m achieving it doesn’t mean it’s a breakthrough.  I think it’s stepping stones more than a breakthrough.  You know, I would more say it’s on the lines of it’s been a while coming because of what I felt that I have dedicated to my game of tennis.”

Vadeweghe will face Maria Sharapova next. The 2004 Wimbledon champion beat Zarina Diyas 6-4, 6-4.

 

“I think there is still going to be the nerves,” Madison Keys said about reaching her second major quarterfinal.  “It’s second quarter and it’s against a different person.  But I think there is at least some, Okay, I have done it before, I have been through it, I know what to expect.

“No matter what, it will be fun and will be exciting, and I just have to go out and try to focus on the match.”

Garbine Muguruza had the upset of the day when she ousted fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4.

“I went very like focused and prepared because I knew that she was going to try to do a long and physical match against me,” the Spaniard said. “So I think I used my opportunities of the short balls, good shots, the serve.  I think I played really good.  This helps me a lot against these types of players.”

On the men’s side of the draw Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson will have to complete their match on Tuesday. Djokovic lost the first two sets in tiebreaks and won the next two. Play was halted on Court 1 due to darkness.

Marin Cilic awaits the winner in his quarterfinal.

Roger Federer and Andy Murray moved into Wimbledon’s “elite 8.” Second-seeded Federer won 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 over No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut. Murray bested Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7), 6-4, 5-7, 6-4

The other men’s quarterfinal pairings are: Roger Federer vs. No. 12 Gilles Simon, Andy Murray vs. Vasek Pospisil, and Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 21 Richard Gasquet.

 


Ladies’ Singles – Fourth Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (16) Venus Williams (USA) 64 63
(4) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 64 64
(20) Garbine Muguruza (ESP) d. (5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 64 64
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (6) Lucie Safarova (CZE) 76(1) 76(4)
(13) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (28) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 75 64
(15) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Monica Niculescu (ROU) 16 75 62
(21) Madison Keys (USA) d. (Q) Olga Govortsova (BLR) 36 64 61
(23) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (30) Belinda Bencic (SUI) 63 62

Gentlemen’s Singles – Fourth Round

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) d. [20] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 62 62 63
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. [23] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 76(7) 64 57 64
[4] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. [16] David Goffin (BEL) 76(3) 76(7) 64
[12] Gilles Simon (FRA) d. [6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) 63 63 62
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Denis Kudla (USA) 64 46 63 75
[21] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. [26] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 75 61 67(7) 76(6)
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d. [22] Viktor Troicki (SRB) 46 67(4) 64 63 63

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Serena Williams Survives Heather Watson, Will Face Sister Venus in Wimbledon Fourth Round

(July 3, 2015) Serena Williams was just two points away from ending a bid for her fourth straight major title and the third leg of the Grand Slam. Britain’s No. 1 player and world No. 59, Heather Watson almost stood in the way of halting potential history on Friday at Wimbledon.

This was Williams’ 24th straight match-win at a major.

Williams recovered from two breaks down in the third set to stop Watson 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to advance to the round of 16, where her sister Venus will be waiting.

The older Williams defeated Aleksandra Krunic 6-3, 6-2. This will be the 26th time the sisters have played each other – Serena leads Venus 14-11. “We’ve been facing each other a long time,” Venus said.

“I honestly didn’t think I was going to win,” said the 20-time major champion. “How I pulled through, I really don’t know.”

“She just did everything so well. I wasn’t able to keep up. You know, sometimes you just don’t have your day,” Serena said about her opponent, who served for the match at 5-4 in the third set. “I thought maybe today just wasn’t my day.”

“I was two points away from winning that match, so I’m pretty disappointed,” Watson said to media. “But, I mean, the atmosphere on that court was amazing. I think it really helped me and pushed me. I just wish I could have closed it out at the end.

“I wouldn’t call losing the greatest day of my career. It’s very positive that I put myself in this position. I mean, I could have been out first round in this tournament.  I was match points down. I gave myself the opportunity to play against the best player in the world.

“I also gave myself the opportunity to beat her. I didn’t take it this time. But I’m really glad I was in that situation because I can learn from it and do better next time.”

Serena told the BBC: “I’ve had some tough losses here, but that was probably my toughest match here, playing Heather in front of her home crowd. She played unbelievable. I think she should have won the match at this point. She was up two breaks, she really gave it her all.”

 

Ladies’ Singles – Third Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 62 46 75
(4) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (29) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 64 63
(6) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Sloane Stephens (USA) 36 63 61
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) d. (14) Andrea Petkovic (GER) 75 64
(16) Venus Williams (USA) d. Aleksandra Krunic (SRB)  63 62
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (22) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 62 60
(23) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 64 64
(30) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. (Q) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 75 75

 

Gentlemen’s Singles – Third Round
[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. [27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) 63 63 63
[4] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 64 63 64
[26] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. [7] Milos Raonic (CAN) 57 75 76(3) 63
[21] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. [11] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 63 64 64
[14] Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. [24] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 64 76(6) 63
[16] David Goffin (BEL) d. Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 63 64 62

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Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Beat Opponents and the Heat to Advance at Wimbledon

(July 1, 2015) Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams beat their respective opponents as well as the record-setting heat at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

Djokovic defeated Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round. The Finn, Nieminen is retiring at the end of the year, so this was his final match at Wimbledon.

“He’s been around for so many years,” Djokovic said. “A very, very nice guy, one of the nicest guys off the court.”

“I would rate probably around 7 or 8,” the Serb said about his play on court.  “I think very solid performance.  I’ve done just enough to win in straight sets.

“He started off very well, very aggressive, winners in the first couple games. Well, I managed to stay calm and, you know, believe I can come back.  That’s what I’ve done.

“I think the crucial turning point was the 10th game of the first set when I won the set and I started playing more freely.

“You know, I thought I had the match under control and everything was fine.

Serena Williams beat Timea Babos 6-4, 6-1 for her 23rd straight Grand Slam match win.

“I hope I’m not playing my best, Williams said. “I have a lot of room to improve.”

She’ll take on Britain’s top player Heather Watson in the third round.

“Serena’s a great player,” Watson said. “She’s an amazing athlete, a great champion.  She’s always the one to watch.  She’s always the favorite for every tournament she plays.

“So I think she’s the one to beat in tournaments like this.  She’s probably the toughest opponent.”

“I’ve seen her around the locker room, “Williams said. “She’s always smiling, she seems to be so super sweet”

“I know Venus has played her before. I’ve watched that match a few times. I feel like she does really well on grass – she’s played well in Eastbourne. And she had a really good win today.

“I know it’s not going to be easy for me. She has nothing to lose. She’s going forward.”

“I’ve been used to playing against a lot of local people. It doesn’t matter what country it’s in. Hopefully that experience will help me a little bit. But the home court will probably help her a little bit.”

Sister Venus won her 75 match at Wimbledon with a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over Yulia Putintseva. The 16th seed stands alone at third on the list behind Martina Navratilova at 120 and Chris Evert at 96. Steffi Graf and Serena Williams have 74 wins.

It was a record setting day of high temperatures at the All- England Club with the temperature reaching 96.26 degrees Fahrenheit, the warmest temperature ever recording during a Wimbledon fortnight. The heat caused havoc for ball people, fans and players alike. Players used towels during changeovers.

A ballboy collapsed, Bernard Tomic needed treatment and some fans needed treatment for heat-related illnesses.

“I was very dizzy out there,” Tomic said. “I didn’t sleep well yesterday and the day before.  Probably getting three or four hours of sleep.  I was fatigued and starting to get dizzy out there with the heat hitting me.

“It was tough, so I had to slow things down. I had to catch my breath.”

High seeds who were ousted on Wednesday included fifth seed Kei Nishikori who withdrew from the tournament with a left calf injury and No. 7 Ana Ivanovic who lost to U.S. qualifier, 158th-ranked Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-4.

For Nishikori it was an injury from when he competed in Halle two weeks ago, “Got better before the first match, you know, last week,” he said. I thought it was really going to be okay.  But last match in fifth set I was hurting too much.”

“I try this two days, and warmup today.  But it was hurting, you know, just walking and running, so I decide not to play today.”

Nishikori said it was very disappointing, “Especially it’s Grand Slam.  I thought I was playing well on grass.  So very unfortunate to lose this chance.

“But, you know, I try to keep it up.  Hopefully I can do well in the U.S. series.

2004 champion Maria Sharapova defeated Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-1.

Asked about how she held up in the heat, she said: “It’s much warmer in my hometown of Long Boat Key, Florida.  There’s some cloud coverage.  I think I’ve trained quite long in the heat over there.

“I think just the preparation of understanding it’s going to be warm, not going for too much because you want to make the points quicker than normal because of the heat, just being a little bit smarter out there is the most important.”

Reigning French Open champion and No. 4 Stan Wawrinka defeated Victor Estrella Burgos 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

In the battle royaleof the day on the men’s side, U. S. Open champion and No. 9 Marin Cilic defeated No 90 Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-5.

“I would say that the match was very, very high quality match,” Cilic said.  “I think Ricardas was playing extremely well. Even after I broke him in the first set, I think he was playing really, really good until the end of the match, and there was, of course, very difficult to find some openings.

“I’m, you know, just really glad that I won and that the most positive things from today are that I was serving really, really well and, you know, I was staying mentally in the match.

“I saved a couple of break points end of the fifth, and, you know, just I think nerves got to Ricardas at the end, and that, I think, decided a little bit.”

In a battle of tall men, Cilic plays 17th seed John Isner next.

“We have played several times,” said the Croatian. “I think the only time we have played at the Grand Slam was in Australia.  It was very long match.

“With John, it’s always difficult, you know, couple balls are going to decide.  And especially here on grass, I don’t think there will be too much rallies, and, you know, it’s gonna be important who has more concentration and who’s delivering, you know, better shots at critical moments.”

 

Wimbledon Singles Results for July 1, 2015

Men’s Singles Second round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 64 62 63
[4] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Victor Estrella Burgos (DOM) 63 64 75
Santiago Giraldo (COL) d. [5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) W/O (left calf)
[7] Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Tommy Haas (GER) 60 62 67(5) 76(4)
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 63 46 76(6) 46 75
[11] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) d. Steve Johnson (USA) 76(8) 62 76(2)
[14] Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. Marsel Ilhan (TUR) 67(5) 76(6) 64 64
[16] David Goffin (BEL) d. Liam Broady (GBR) 76(3) 61 61
[17] John Isner (USA) d. Matthew Ebden (AUS) 62 76(8) 64
[21] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Kenny De Schepper (FRA) 60 63 63
[24] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Marcel Granollers (ESP) 63 76(4) 63
[26] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Juan Monaco (ARG) 76(5) 63 64
[27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) d. Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 76(3) 64 76(5)
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. [32] Dominic Thiem (AUT) 57 64 57 63 64
Denis Kudla (USA) d. Alexander Zverev (GER) 63 36 76(2) 64
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) d. John Millman (AUS) 67(5) 26 63 62 64

Women’s
Singles – Second Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Timea Babos (HUN) 64 61
(4) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (Q) Richel Hogenkamp (NED) 63 61
(6) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (Q) Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 62 63
(Q) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (7) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 63 64
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (11) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 76(5) 64
(14) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) 63 61
(16) Venus Williams (USA) d. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 76(5) 64
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) d. (19) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 67(2) 62
(22) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 63 64
(23) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 63 63
(29) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 75 67(4) 75
(30) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 75 46 60
Heather Watson (GBR) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 64 62
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (WC) Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 64 75
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) d. (Q) Aliaksandra Sasnovic (BLR) 75 61
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Lauren Davis (USA) 64 64

Women’s
Singles – First Round (delayed fromTuesday)
(21) Madison Keys (USA) d. Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 67(6) 63 64
Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 36 76(8) 108 (saved 1mp)

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Halep, Bouchard Beaten, Williams Sisters Withdraw from Doubles

(June 30, 2015) On Tuesday the Williams sisters pulled out of women’s doubles at Wimbledon. In a statement, Serena’s official reason for the withdrawal was “soreness”

“Following yesterday’s match, I feel it would be best for me to concentrate on singles here at Wimbledon, and as a result, have made the decision to withdraw from doubles,” Serena said in a statement. “I’ve always loved playing doubles with Venus, particularly here at Wimbledon where we’ve had so much success over the years, and so I’m really sorry to have to withdraw this year.”

Serena and Venus both won opening round singles matches on Monday. World No. 1 Serena is seeking her fourth straight major in a row for a second “Serena Slam” and is attempting to win the third leg of a traditional Grand Slam.

Misaki Doi and Stephanie Vogt replaced the Williams sisters in the draw.

The biggest upset of the tournament took place on Tuesday when third seed Simona Halep lost to No. 106th ranked Jana Cepelova 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Halep was treated for a lost toenail in the first set.

“I knew it would be a difficult tournament for me,” said Halep whose has been suffering from some poor results recently. “But I didn’t expect to lose in first round.” Last year the Romanian reached the semifinals at the All-England Club.

“To be honest, I have no reaction because, like I said at my first press conference on the weekend, I had no expectations for this tournament. And now here I am,” she said. “I knew that it would be a difficult tournament for me, but yeah, I didn’t expect to lose in the first round. But she played good tennis today. She was fighting until the end, and she was playing aggressively when she could.

“Life is not always good, but I have enough power to go ahead and just think about what I have to do to do better, and just get the good feeling back on court during my matches. I just have to work hard.”

Halep’s Opponent in last year’s Wimbledon semifinal was also ousted on Tuesday. Eugenie Bouchard, lost her 12th match out of the last 14, beaten by Chinese qualifier Duan Ying-Ying, ranked 117th 7-6 (3), 6-4.

“It’s been a huge learning process to have great results and then have, you know, so much attention, then have bad results,” Bouchard said. “Just learning about the ups and downs of life and tennis, how things won’t always go perfectly, like I expect them to. I’m always trying to keep the belief and stay true to myself and do what I need to do to become as good as I know I can be. So it’s really just been kind of eye-opening, a learning experience,” she added, resting her chin on her right hand, then added with a laugh: “But I’m good for the learning experience to be over now.”

Bouchard has been suffering from an abdominal tear which limited her practice.

“Probably wouldn’t have been smart to play here, but I couldn’t pass on Wimbledon,” said Bouchard. “In my head, it was no question I was going to play, even though I was advised not to. It’s just the way I am. It’s so hard to be forced not to play tennis, especially at Wimbledon.”

“So I did kind of minimal preparation to save myself for this match.”

The loss will put Bouchard out of the Top 20.

WIMBLEDON – WIMBLEDON, LONDON, GBR
GRAND SLAM – £26,750,000
29 JUNE – 12 JULY 2015

RESULTS – JUNE 29, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

(2) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Kiki Bertens (BED) 61 60
Jana Cepelova (SVK) d. (3) Simona Halep (ROU) 57 64 63
(5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Saisai Zheng (CHN) 75 60
(8) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (Q) Sachia Vickery (USA) 62 64
(10) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 60 60
(Q) Ying-Ying Duan (CHN) d. (12) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 76(3) 64
(13) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 63 62
(15) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 62 75
(17) Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. Misaki Doi (JPN) 36 63 62
(18) Sabine Lisicki (GER) d. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) 75 64
(20) Garbine Muguruza (ESP) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 64 61
(21) Madison Keys (USA) vs. Stefanie Boegele (SUI) 67(3) 63 22 (Suspended: darkness)
(25) Alize Cornet (FRA) d. Ana Konjuh (CRO) 62 62
(26) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. (Q) Laura Siegemund (GER) 63 64
(28) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 64 36 108
(31) Camila Giorgi (ITA) d. Teliana Pereira (BRA) 76(4) 63
Heather Watson (GBR) d. (32) Caroline Garcia (FRA) 16 63 86 (Saved 3mp)
Denisa Allertova (CZE) d. Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 62 46 63
Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) d. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 64 62
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) d. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 75 67(5) 75
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 67(3) 76(4) 62 (Saved 1mp)
Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d. Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 26 62 75
Christina McHale (USA) d. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 63 62
Krystina Pliskova (CZE) d. Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 36 75 75
Monica Niculescu (ROU) d. Monica Puig 57 63 61
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. Karin Knapp (ITA) 76(6) 30 retired (Right ankle injury)
(Q) Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. Andreea Mitu (ROU) 61 61
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) vs. Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) 62 67(6) 11 (Suspended: darkness)
Tatjana Maria (GER) d. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 76(2) 75
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d. Klara Koukalova (CZE) 63 64
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) d. (Q) Tamira Paszek (AUT) 62 62
Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) d. (WC) Laura Robson (GBR) 64 64
Kurumi Nara (JPN) d. Magda Linette (POL) 36 63 43 retired (Left thigh injury)

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Serena Williams Rebounds from Slow Start, Venus Dishes Brengle a Double-Bagel at Wimbledon

(June 29, 2015) No. 1 Serena Williams bounced back from a 1-3 first set deficit to close out 113th-ranked qualifier, making her Wimbledon debut, Margarita Gasparyan 6-4, 6-1 on the first day at 2015 Wimbledon.

Williams who is seeking her second “Serena slam” and third leg of a calendar Grand Slam.

“I’ve had such an amazing year, I ended up winning the Open, the Championships, the Australian and France,” said the 20-time major champion.  “I couldn’t have dreamt of a better 12 months.  So it’s been really great.  Yeah, I’m just excited about that and really focusing on that.

“I always focus on the moment.  You know, I don’t live too far in the future, and I don’t live in the past, I just live in the present.”

“When I (saw) her before match,” Gasparyan said, “I thought, `Oh, my God. I’m playing Serena.'”

Serena’s sister, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus, dismantled U.S. countrywoman Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-0.

This was the first double-bagel at the All-England Club in six years.

“She’s had like a great last 52 weeks,” Venus said of Brengle.”  “She’s had really great results in the majors.  Definitely playing a higher‑ranked player in the first round is a challenge. But thankfully everything worked for me.

“I don’t think she played badly.  I was just able to convert on the important points.”

On the topic on sister Serena’s chances on winning a calendar Grand Slam, Venus said: “It’s a pretty good chance. Hasn’t been done that often. But then again, she’s done a lot of things that haven’t been done that often.”

There could be an all-Williams fourth round contest. When asked about the possibility, Serena said: “You know what? I’m going to just focus on right now.”

Serena Williams is 33-1 on the year.

Other former No. 1’s advancing were Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic. American Sloane Stephens won her first match at Wimbledon in two years defeating No. 27 Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-2

Defending Gentlemen’s champion Novak Djokovic and the man who beat him for the French Open title three weeks ago, Stan Wawrinka won in straight sets on Monday.

No. 1 Djokovic defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

“Honestly, I thought I started the match really well, breaking Philipp, losing the serve right away,” Djokovic said.

“All three sets were decided in the 10th game.  After I broke him to win the first set and the second set, it was the same situation.  I felt like in the third, as well.  That’s where maybe I can have a mental edge over him.  He missed couple shots.

 

“I thought return was exceptionally well, good from my side.  Serving efficiently.  Just overall a great performance against a quality opponent.”

 

The fourth seed Wawrinka stopped Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-2, 7-5, 7-6.

 

“The mentality is the same as last year,” said the Swiss.  I know I’m playing well.  I have a lot of confidence.  It’s a new year, new tournament.  We all start from zero.  We need to win match after match.  We take match after match if we want to go through and go further in the tournament.

“I’m confident with myself, but I’m really careful with how mentally I get ready for every match.

“So far I’m really happy with the first one today. In general I feel good.  I know where is my game.  I feel ready for the next one.”

 

WIMBLEDON – WIMBLEDON, LONDON, GBR
GRAND SLAM – £26,750,000
29 JUNE – 12 JULY 2015

RESULTS – JUNE 29, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (Q) Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 64 61
(4) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (WC) Johanna Konta (GBR) 62 62
(6) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Alison Riske (USA) 36 75 63
(7) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (Q) Yi-Fan Xu (CHN) 61 61
(WC) Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) d. (9) Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 62 60
(11) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Irina Falconi (USA) 64 46 61
(14) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Shelby Rogers (USA) 60 60
(16) Venus Williams (USA) d. Madison Brengle 60 60
(19) Sara Errani (ITA) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 62 57 61
(22) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Danka Kovinic (MNE) 64 64
(23) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (WC) Anett Kontaveit (EST) 62 61
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) d. (24) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 63 26 64
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. (27) Barbora Strycova (CZE) 64 62
(29) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 76(6) 61
(30) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 36 61 63
(32) Caroline Garcia (FRA) vs. Heather Watson (GBR) 61 36 (play suspended: poor light)
Timea Babos (HUN) d. (Q) Petra Cetkovska (CZE) 7-6(4) 63
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 75 60
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 62 64
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 76(5) 75
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 62 61
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. Annika Beck (GER) 06 63 64
Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) d. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 36 63 75
(Q) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 63 62
(Q) Richel Hogenkamp (NED) d. Qiang Wang (CHN) 64 64
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) d. Nicole Gibbs (USA) 63 63
(Q) Aliaksandra Sasnovic (BLR) d. Lin Zhu 46 75 61
Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) d. (WC) Naomi Broady (GBR) 76(5) 63
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 64 62
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. Edina Gallovits-Hall (USA) 62 61
Lauren Davis (USA) d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 64 76(3)
(Q) Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) d. Kaia Kanpei (EST) 61 64

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Murray, Sharapova Advance as Venus Williams Falls at Roland Garros

(May 24, 2015) Third seed Andy Murray and second seed Maria Sharapova had straight set wins on day two of the French Open, while former finalist and the oldest woman in the draw, 15th seed Venus Williams lost along with four other seeds on Monday in Paris.

Making her 18th appearance in Paris, Venus Williams’ Roland Garros was ended in the first round by American countrywoman Sloane Stephens 7-6(5), 6-1. Stephens became just the second American to ever defeat both Serena and Venus Williams at a major. Stephens beat Serena in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open.

After the loss, Venus declined to speak to media. She did issue a statement which said that Stephens “just played better than me today.”

Williams said that she will be turning her focus to grass-court season.

“I have a little while now between tournaments and so now I’ll just get ready for the grass at Wimbledon.”

She is facing a potential fine for not having a news conference.

“Obviously it’s a tough first round of a Grand Slam,” Stephens said. “So going into it I knew I was going to have to just come out and be really solid and play my tennis. I did that today. That was good.”

“I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, obviously she’s a great player and a great champion. I knew I was just going to have to get out there and do my best.”

Defending champion Sharapova defeated Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-4 in her first round match. Sharapova nursing a cough during the match, declined an on-court interview, which lead to spectators booing her as she left the court.

“But it’s just the way it is. I’m getting over it, and hopefully it will pass by soon,” she said.

Andy Murray stretched his unbeaten streak during the clay court season to 11, with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Argentina’s Facundo Arguello, who reached the main draw as a lucky loser.

The Scot talked about the windy conditions on court.

“I felt like it was difficult. The start was very windy on the court and cold, so it was quite slow conditions. I found it difficult at the beginning. Then I felt, you know, when the wind died down a bit in the second and third set, I felt that the level of tennis was better.”

Besides Venus Williams, four other seeds made exits on Monday including No. 11 Feliciano Lopez who lost to Teymuraz Gabashvili and former Wimbledon finalist No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 against Annika Beck.

Others who bowed out were No. 30 Adrien Mannarino and No. 22 Barbora Strycova.

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Halep, Bouchard and Venus Williams Fall in Madrid

 

madrid logo

(May 3, 2015) Seeds (2) Simona Halep, (6) Eugenie Bouchard and (16) Venus Williams lost in the opening round matches of the Madrid Open on Sunday.

The Romanian Halep, the biggest casualty of the day failed to take advantage of two set points in the first set before falling 7-6 (6), 6-3 to Alize Cornet of France.

It was business as usually for No. 1 Serena Williams, who only dropped one game in her match against Madison Brengle while defending champion defending champion Maria Sharapova advanced after stopping Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-3.

Williams will take on Sloane Stephens, and Sharapova face qualifier Colombian Mariana Duque Marino.

“I don’t think I’ve played her on clay yet,” Williams said about Stephens. “We had a really tough three-set match the last time we played. She’s playing really well. She’s moving well and is having a better year this year. I think she’s kind of flying under the radar.”

Sister Venus Williams, lost Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 7-5.

Venus Williams, seeded 16th, went up a break at 4-3 in the second set, only for Azarenka to win four of the next five games.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic rallied from a 6-0, 3-0 deficit against Bouchard, 0-6, 6-3, 6-3, while former US Open champion Samantha Stosur served 14 aces to upset 12th seed Angelique Kerber, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. It’s Bouchard’s sixth straight loss.

 

SCHEDULE – MONDAY, 4 MAY 2015

MANOLO SANTANA start 11:00 am
WTA – S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs G. Muguruza (ESP)
WTA – [5] C. Wozniacki (DEN) vs [Q] C. Mchale (USA)
Not Before 3:15 pm
ATP – B. Becker (GER) vs [11] F. Lopez (ESP)
ATP – F. Fognini (ITA) vs S. Giraldo (COL)
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA – [1] S. Williams (USA) vs S. Stephens (USA)
Not Before 9:30 pm
ATP – J. Vesely (CZE) vs [9] M. Cilic (CRO)

ARANTXA SÁNCHEZ-VICARIO start 11:00 am
WTA – C. Dellacqua (AUS) vs [9] A. Radwanska (POL)
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – A. Mannarino (FRA) vs [16] J. Isner (USA)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA – R. Vinci (ITA) vs A. Cornet (FRA)
WTA – [11] A. Petkovic (GER) vs I. Begu (ROU)
ATP – J. Chardy (FRA) vs [Q] T. Bellucci (BRA)
ATP – E. Gulbis (LAT) vs D. Goffin (BEL)

STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
WTA – [13] L. Safarova (CZE) vs T. Pironkova (BUL)
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – S. Querrey (USA) vs [Q] T. Kokkinakis (AUS)
ATP – [Q] A. Gonzalez (COL) vs S. Johnson (USA)
ATP – J. Janowicz (POL) vs [LL] J. Sousa (POR)
ATP – B. Tomic (AUS) vs [Q] L. Vanni (ITA)

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
WTA – D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs [WC] V. Dushevina (RUS) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP)
WTA – K. Kanepi (EST) vs S. Stosur (AUS)
WTA – A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / M. Niculescu (ROU) vs K. Mladenovic (FRA) / K. Pliskova (CZE)
WTA – After rest – A. Groenefeld (GER) / A. Panova (RUS) vs [3] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
ATP – R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs M. Draganja (CRO) / H. Kontinen (FIN)

COURT 5 start 11:00 am
WTA – M. Krajicek (NED) / B. Strycova (CZE) vs [PR] J. Husarova (SVK) / I. Olaru (ROU)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [WC] M. Keys (USA) / L. Raymond (USA) vs M. Erakovic (NZL) / J. Goerges (GER)
WTA – After rest – C. Dellacqua (AUS) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs [6] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
WTA – TBA – [8] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs . Alternate / Unknown

COURT 6 start 12:30 pm
WTA – [5] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) vs Z. Diyas (KAZ) / S. Peng (CHN)
WTA – After rest – J. Gajdosova (AUS) / A. Tomljanovic (CRO) vs [7] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE)
WTA – A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) / M. Torró-Flor (ESP)

 

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Venus Williams Withdraws From Fed Cup Tie Against Italy

Venus Williams

(April 14, 2015) Venus Williams has pulled out of this weekend’s Fed Cup playoff in Italy due to “a personal matter.”

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced that Williams will be replaced by No 57 Lauren Davis.

No. 1 Serena Williams will lead team USA which also includes No. 45 Alison Riske and No. 65 Christina McHale.

The Italian team consists No. 15 Sara Errani, No. 26 Flavia Pennetta, No. 36 Camila Giorgi and No. 55 Karin Knapp.

The United States will face Italy for the fifth time in seven years in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff, held at Circolo Tennis Brindisi on an outdoor red clay court, this weekend April 18-19. The winner of best-of-five series will move into the World Group in 2016 for a chance to play for the Fed Cup title. The losing nation will fall back to World Group II.

The U.S. leads the overall series against Italy 9-4, losing the last four ties.

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Venus Williams Loses to Carla Suarez Navarro in Miami Open Quarterfinal

Carla Suarez Navarro

Carla Suarez Navarro

(March 31, 2015) In a very topsy-turvy match, Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro recovered from losing the first set 6-0 to recover to defeat three-time champion Venus Williams at the Miami Open on Tuesday 0-6, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the semifinals.

Williams needed just 27 minutes to blow out Suarez Navarro in the first set, nailing 14 winners.

The second set saw a reversal of fortune for the Spaniard, as she moved 16th seeded Williams from corner to corner, dominating with her forehand.

Both women broke each other’s serve, the 12th seed Suarez Navarro coming back from twice from being a break down.

Williams made 41 unforced errors.

The victory for the Spaniard moves her into the most important semifinal of her career- a Premier Mandatory. A win in the semifinal will move her into the top ten for the first time.

“It was a crazy match, crazy first two sets,” said the winner. “Venus was unbelievable at the beginning.

“I start a little bit nervous, but, you know, in tennis, even if you lost the first set, you’re still in competition. I’m happy with the way I come back after the first set.”

“Just a little too many errors and I was going for it the whole match,” Williams said. “Towards the end just never found the happy medium between being aggressive and putting the ball in the court.”

“Of course I want to play well every match as much as I can,” the seven-time major champion said, “I feel like I have the ability to win this match.

“Unfortunately it was a loss, but I learned a lot from them, and they always make me better. “

The Spaniard will play No. 9 seed Andrea Petkovic for a place in the final. The German ousted No. 14 Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-2, earlier in the day.

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