2014/04/24

Venus Williams Reaches Dubai Semis

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(February 20, 2014)DUBAI – Venus Williams fought off a late charge to stop Flavia Pennetta to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a 6-3, 7-5 win on Thursday.

The two-time former champion had to serve for the match twice. Williams at 5-4 could nor close out the match on her first match point and Pennetta eventually broke serve. Pennetta gave back the service break in the next game and Williams rallied from 0-40 on her serve to finally close out the match.

“She just keeps fighting. She stays relevant,” said Williams of the veteran Penetta. “That’s what she does really well. She stays in the point. I have to give her credit for that. I think I could have maybe made a couple more shots, but it’s not always easy against someone who competes as well as her.”

Williams evaluated her own performance: “I felt good.  You know, it was an adjustment playing someone like her.  Her game is different than (Ana) Ivanovic, so it was definitely an adjustment.  I have to be more patient; the points are going to be longer.  We have to be a little bit more measured.

“I think in the beginning of the match I wasn’t really on that mode, but as the match went on, then I started to kind of self‑correct a little bit.”

With Williams in the semifinals and her sister Serena on the other side of the draw, Venus was asked about a possible all-Williams final.

“I think that would be fantastic, you know, but we both have to get there,” Venus said . “I would like both of us to get there, so we’ll see.”

The last time Venus and Serena met in a final was back in 2009 when Serena defeated Venus in Doha in the WTA Year End Championship.

Venus Williams will play eighth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki who dominated Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 6-2.

Wozniacki in press

“That was good. That was really pleasing, and I always know that Sorana can be a tricky opponent,” said Wozniacki. “It was important for me not to let her back in the game, and I felt like I served well and I put the pressure on her and played the way I wanted to play today.”

“All credit to Caroline,” Cirstea said. “She played great today. I think she played one of the best matches I have ever played against her. Very solid. Quite aggressive from the start. She should definitely deserve this win. I didn’t really get a chance to get fully into the match.”

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Venus Williams Routs Ivanovic, Radwanska and Kvitova Upset in Dubai

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(February 19, 2014) DUBAI – Venus Williams gained some revenge for her loss to Ana Ivanovic in the Auckland final last month by routing the Serbian 6-2, 6-1 at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

“I learned a lot from that match,” Williams said of the Auckland loss “I definitely think I approached this match differently.

“I have improved a lot since then, too.  I have had to take some tough losses, but I have learned from them, and, you know, made them constructive.  That’s what I’m trying to do each time.

Ivanovic admitted that having played late the previous evening might have influenced her performance. But so did how well Venus Williams played.

“It’s hard to get much sleep when you finish that late and that kind of match, too,” said Ivanovic. “But she started really firing, you know, from the first moment on. It was just really hard. I tried to be aggressive and to put her under pressure, but I was just making way too many errors today.”

“I’m just trying to play well every day, take one point at a time and learn from my mistakes every match, try to go out there relaxed with a clear mind, Williams said.  “That’s what I’m trying to do.

“I think I’m playing smarter.  Yeah.  But I just want to keep playing better.

“I really expected a lot closer, to be honest, but, you know, like I said, she played well and it really wasn’t my day,” Ivanovic said.

“I definitely think she was a lot more aggressive (versus in the Auckland final).  She was stepping in the court way more, coming to the net more often.

“You know, she served well I thought in Auckland, too, but today I just felt she was putting more pressure on me.”

Venus teamed with sister Serena in doubles but losing 6-4, 4-6, 10-4 to Australian Open finalists Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

 

Carla Suarez Navarro photo ©2013 Regi Varghese

Carla Suarez Navarro photo ©2013 Regi Varghese

 

This also marked a day where second, third and fourth seeds all lost including defending champion Petra Kvitova.

 

Petra Kvitova fell in her opening match 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 to Carla Suarez Navarro.

Kvitova dominated the opening set against Suarez Navarro, led 4-2 in the second and served for the match at 5-4 in the third. But her persistent opponent refused to concede and eventually claimed the win in a tiebreak.

 

“When I was leading in the second set, I lost very badly my serve, and I think that from that moment I was like a little bit mentally down and I was trying to come back,” said Kvitova. “I was close, but still she won the second set and it was tough to come back again in the third. In the tiebreak I just made two easy mistakes, and I think that was the thing what she did better.”

 

Qualifier Flavia Pennetta stunned second seed and world No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-1.

“The ball was really flying,” said Radwanska. “I didn’t really feel the ball today at all. I think she was using the wind much, much better than I did. The conditions for me are tough. When I don’t feel the ball, it’s not good.”

Pennetta had lost her last three matches against Radwanska.

“Sometimes when you play with a player like Agnieszka it’s not easy because the ball, it always come back,” said Pennetta. “You have the feeling like you cannot win any points because it’s like a wall, completely. So you’re starting to be a little bit frustrating and starting to make so many mistakes, and today I just try to stay there every point, just to play every point in the same way, don’t go away.”

Fourth seed and 2013 Dubai finalist Sara Errani was beaten 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 by Sorana Cirstea.

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Results – Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Singles – Second Round
(Q) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (2) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 64 61
Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (3) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 16 64 76(4)
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (4) Sara Errani (ITA) 62 57 61
(5) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 75 64
(8) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (Q) Annika Beck (GER) 64 64
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 63 64
(WC) Venus Williams (USA) d. Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 62 61

Doubles – First Round
(2) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) d. (WC) Williams/Williams (USA/USA) 64 46 104 (Match TB)
(WC) Pennetta/Stosur (ITA/AUS) d. (3) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) 61 16 106 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Thursday, February 20, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Venus Williams vs. Flavia Pennetta
2. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Sorana Cirstea
3. Serena Williams vs. Jelena Jankovic (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Alizé Cornet

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Raymond/Zhang vs. Hlavackova/Safarova
2. Errani/Vinci vs. Kops-Jones/Spears
3. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova vs. Makarova/Vesnina
4. Pennetta/Stosur vs. Groenefeld/Rosolska

 

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“Rusty” Serena Williams Opens Dubai with a Win; Ana Ivanovic Squeaks by Angelique Kerber

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(February 18, 2014) DUBAI -Wild Card and top seed Serena Williams was forced to save set points in her 7-6 (8), 6-0 win over Ekaterina Makarova at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

This was Williams’ first match since she lost in the fourth round of Australian Open where she was dealing with a back injury which she has been recovering from ever since.

The world No. 1 admitted to being rusty.

“I felt a little rusty, but it was OK,” Williams said. “Body is fine. I just had to get my feet moving, but it was OK.”

Williams saved two set points against the 24th ranked Makarova in the first set tiebreak.

“Today was really difficult for me,” she continued. “I felt so rusty out there and a little frustrated – I’ve been practicing, but I was like, ‘Gosh, this isn’t what I practiced. But I was just really excited to get through that. I was really telling myself to stay positive, because I was making a lot of unforced errors that I don’t normally make, and my serve wasn’t popping the way it usually does.

“I’m happy for the win, but I’m going to have to play better if I want to do better here.”

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In an earlier match in the evening session Ana Ivanovic saved a match point and knocked out sixth seed Angelique Kerber 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

It was difficult match for Ivanovic to close. She could not take advantage of three break point against Kerber to end the match in the 12th game of the final set. Also Ivanovic built a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak but Kerber came back to have a match point of her own at 6-5. Ivanovic win the next three points to win the contest.

“I’m just so happy to be through,” said the Serbian.

 

 

Related stories:

Caroline Wozniacki Battles Past Sabine Lisicki in Dubai; Talks Engagement Ring in Press

Simona Halep Retires with Injury in Dubai Opening Match

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February 17-February 22, 2014
$2,000,000/Premier
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Results – Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Singles – Second Round
(1/WC) Serena Williams (USA) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 76(8) 60

Singles – First Round
(5) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (Q) Maryna Zanevska (UKR) 64 63
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (6) Angelique Kerber (GER) 36 63 76(6) (saved 1mp)
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. (7) Simona Halep (ROU) 61 11 ret. (right ankle injury)
(8) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 26 63 63
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. (Q) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 61 75
(Q) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 75 64
(Q) Annika Beck (GER) d. Samantha Stosur (AUS) 16 61 64

Doubles – First Round
(1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. Pavlyuchenkova/Petrova (RUS/RUS) 64 64
Hlavackova/Safarova (CZE/CZE) d. (4) Black/Mirza (ZIM/IND) 76(5) 57 119 (Match TB)
Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) d. Jankovic/Kleybanova (SRB/RUS) 76(4) 62

Order Of Play – Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Flavia Pennetta vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
2. Ana Ivanovic vs. Venus Williams
3. Sorana Cirstea vs. Sara Errani (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Petra Kvitova vs. Carla Suárez Navarro

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Annika Beck
2. Lucie Safarova vs. Jelena Jankovic
3. Kirsten Flipkens vs. Alizé Cornet
4. Williams/Williams vs. Makarova/Vesnina

Court 3 (from 16.00hrs)
1. Peschke/Srebotnik vs. Pennetta/Stosur

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Venus Williams Dominates in First Round Victory in Dubai

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(February 17, 2014) DUBAI – Wild Card entry and two-time former champion Venus Williams was off to a winning start at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships besting Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-2 hitting 10 aces along the way.

“The last couple matches I played against her, at Wimbledon she played so well and it wasn’t my day, and Cincy as well – I had some chances there but she was clearly more on her game,” Williams said after the win.

“These days I’m a little more on mine, so I was glad to get a win.”

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“I definitely don’t take for granted any win anymore,” said Williams. “Not that I used to. But now it’s even more special, every win. My serve keeps improving pretty much every tournament. That always helps me.

“I think the more matches I’ll play, the better I will feel. You know, in moments where I’m controlling the match, the better I will feel in moments where things are close.”

The 2009 and 2010 champion’s win will set up a second round meeting with the winner of sixth seed Angelique Kerber and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

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Results – Monday, February 17, 2014
Singles – First Round
Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (WC) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 63 62
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 64 67(3) 64
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 64 63
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Sloane Stephens (USA) 63 75
(WC) Venus Williams (USA) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 63 62

Doubles – First Round
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Chan/Huber (TPE/USA) 63 76(4)
Groenefeld/Rosolska (GER/POL) d. Dushevina/Parra Santonja (RUS/ESP) 64 63
Raymond/Zhang (USA/CHN) d. (WC) Flipkens/Kvitova (BEL/CZE) 06 64 107 (Match TB)

Singles Qualifying – Final Round
Annika Beck (GER) d. (1) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 61 64
(3) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (5) Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) 61 63
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Camila Giorgi (ITA) 75 62
Maryna Zanevska (UKR) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 76(8) 64

Order Of Play – Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Alizé Cornet vs. Simona Halep
2. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Sabine Lisicki
3. Angelique Kerber vs. Ana Ivanovic (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Serena Williams vs. Ekaterina Makarova

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Maryna Zanevska vs. Jelena Jankovic
2. Samantha Stosur vs. Annika Beck
3. Kaia Kanepi vs. Flavia Pennetta
4. Kirsten Flipkens vs. Karolina Pliskova

Court 3 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Hlavackova/Safarova vs. Black/Mirza
2. Errani/Vinci vs. Pavlyuchenkova/Petrova (NB 16.00hrs)
3. Jankovic/Kleybanova vs. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova

 

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Sloane Stephens Crashes Out in Opening Round of Dubai

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(February 17, 2014) DUBAI – World No. 18 Sloane Stephens is now winless (0-2) in non-major events this year following a 6-3, 7-5 loss to Lucie Safarova in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday. Last year Stephens also lost in the opening round of Dubai and last week, the American also fell in her first match in Doha last week.

Stephens told media that she needs to improve her results at Premier-Level events.

“I think it’s just something I need to work on, Stephens said. “I obviously need next year to try to do better here, and that’s what I need to do.”

She is 3-1 in majors this year and 0-2 in other events. Last year she was 15-4 in Majors and 24-19 on the WTA tour and Fed Cup. Stephens recently hired former Roger Federer and Pete Sampras coach Paul Annacone as her own.

“It was a tough match. She’s a great player and she played really well,” Stephens said. “I didn’t really get a good rhythm today, and she was playing some really good tennis at the end of the match.”

“Last year was a really long year,” she said. “It was tough towards the end, but I came through like a champ, and I think I did pretty well,” she said. “I think being obviously American, it’s a much bigger deal because sports is really big in the US, and either way I think the whole thing was a learning experience and it was what it was.”

Also into the second round is recent Pattaya winner Ekaterina Makarova, who overcame a challenge from Alisa Kleybanova to win 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. She’ll face No. 1 Serena Williams next.

Also in the day session in the final round of the qualifying matches, Australian Open semi-finalist and world No. 19 Eugenie Bouchard was beaten 6-1, 6-4 by Annika Beck.

Others to advance to the main draw were 2013 US Open semi-finalist Flavia Pennetta, who beat Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-3, Karolina Pliskova, who defeated Camila Giorgi 7-5, 6-2, and Maryna Zanevska rebounded from losing the first five games to defeat Mona Barthel 7-6, 6-4.

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Dubai Draw Provides Competitive Opening Round Clashes

 

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(February 15, 2014) DUBAI, UAEFormer world No. 1, 2011 champion and No. 8 seed Caroline Wozniacki will face 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

That is just one of the opening round clashes that were revealed when the draw was made at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Saturday in the presence of Venus Williams, Samantha Stosur, Sorana Cirstea and Lucie Safarova.

 

Another first round match will pit former No. 1 and the 2008 French Open champion, Ana Ivanovic, against six seed Angelique Kerber, who ended last season by beating Ivanovic to win Linz and then last month warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the Sydney final.

 

Former two-time champion Venus Williams needed a wild card to compete, and she will tackle Elena Vesnina in the first round for the right to meet either Kerber or Ivanovic.

 

Top seed Serena Williams has a bye into the second round, where she could face recent Pattaya winner Ekaterina Makarova, and second seed and 2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska will face either a qualifier or 2009 Dubai semi-finalist Kaia Kanepi. Third seed and defending champion Petra Kvitova will face either former world number three Nadia Petrova or Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.

 

Fourth seed Sara Errani, who finished as runner-up to Petra Kvitova in 2013, also receives a bye and then could face either Sorana Cirstea or her doubles partner and the player she beat in last year’s semi-finals, Roberta Vinci. Former world No. 1 and fifth seeded Jelena Jankovic will play a qualifier in the first round, and seventh seed and WTA Most Improved Player of 2013 Simona Halep faces Alize Cornet.

 

Main draw play begins on 17th February and continues until 22nd February, followed by the ATP tournament which takes place from February 24 to March 1.

 

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February 17-February 22, 2014
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Order Of Play – Monday, February 17, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Sloane Stephens vs. Lucie Safarova
2. Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Nadia Petrova
3. Venus Williams vs. Elena Vesnina (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Sorana Cirstea vs. Roberta Vinci

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Ekaterina Makarova
2. Chan/Huber vs. Kops-Jones/Spears
3. Raymond/Zhang vs. Pliskova/Pliskova
4. Dushevina/Parra Santonja vs. Groenefeld/Rosolska

Court 2 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Camila Giorgi vs. Karolina Pliskova (Singles Q Final)
2. Maryna Zanevska vs. Mona Barthel (Singles Q Final)

Court 3 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Eugenie Bouchard vs. Annika Beck (Singles Q Final)
2. Flavia Pennetta vs. Yvonne Meusburger (Singles Q Final)

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Venus Williams to Play Charleston

 

Venus William SP

(February 13, 2014) Venus Williams, former World No. 1 and 2004 Family Circle Cup Champion, has officially entered the 2014 Family Circle Cup. Younger sister, Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Sloane Stephens join Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion for the 42nd tournament, March 29 – April 6 in Charleston, South Carolina.

 

The 2014 Family Circle Cup will mark V. Williams’ seventh appearance in Charleston, where she holds a 17-5 record. In 2013, Venus Williams made a return to the Cup’s final four, losing in the semifinal to sister and World No. 1 Serena Williams. The match marked the first time the sisters met in singles since 2009, and the first time on clay since 2002.

 

“I love traveling to Charleston and playing in a stadium where the fans always get behind me,” said Venus Williams. “The Family Circle Cup has come to have a special place in my heart, and a tournament I always look forward to.”

 

The 2013 season marked Venus Williams’ 16th time in the WTA’s Top 50. She’s won 44 WTA singles titles, the second most among active players and the seventh highest of all time. Along with her singles accomplishments, Williams has amassed 21 doubles titles, including 13 Grand Slam championships and three Olympic gold medals.

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Serena Williams to Play Dubai

Serena Williams photo courtesy of Dubai tennis championships

(February 13, 2014) Serena Williams will join the field of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next week. She has been granted a wild card.

The world No. 1 will join sister Venus in playing the event. Venus was also given a wild card earlier in the week. The women’s draw will now 7 of the world’s top ten players.

The 32-year old won 11 events in 2013, beginning in the first week of the year in Brisbane and continuing through Miami, Madrid, Rome, the French Open, the US Open, Beijing and the final event of the year, the WTA Championships in Istanbul. She suffered just four defeats in the entire season, at the Australian Open, Doha, Wimbledon and Cincinnati.

A year ago she became the oldest ever world number one, and she set another record with a $12 million prize money haul for a single season. The year also marked the first time she had won 11 titles in a season, and her 78 match victories easily eclipsed her previous record of 58 wins in a year.

Play in the WTA event begins on 17th February and continues until 22nd February, followed by the ATP tournament which takes place from 24th February to 1st March and features defending champion Novak Djokovic, five-time champion Roger Federer, Australian Open semi-finalist Tomas Berdych and world number four Juan Martin Del Potro.

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Serena Williams Nets Record 61st Match Win at Australian Open

SerenaWilliamsIstanbul

(January 17, 2014) Serena Williams extended her current win streak to 24 with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Daniela Hantuchova to move into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.  With the victory, the No. 1 player has surpassed Margaret Court’s record of 60 wins at the Australian Open.

It was another hot day in Melbourne as the heat wave continued, during the 1 hour and 20 minute match the temperature reached 102F.

“I feel good to have gotten through that one because it was tough conditions out there, but I was happy to win,” said the five-time champion.

“It’s definitely a lot of physical, but you have to be ready.

“Today actually wasn’t as hot.  I think it was more hot yesterday.  So it wasn’t as bad today.

“Honestly, on the one end I felt it was like a cool breeze coming over, so that was a good sign.”

Williams announced during her post-match news conference that she and sister Venus were pulling out of the doubles, due to her sister’s lower leg injury.

In an exchange with a reporter who alluded to Indian Wells, Williams said that she was thinking about it, a tournament she has not played in over a decade, due her treatment by the crowd during the 2001 final.

Here is the transcript of the questions posed:

Q.  You love to laugh but you also have a serious side.  You have your schools in Africa and have read Mandela closely.  Mandela’s message was pretty much forgiveness and reconciliation.  Work with the springbox for reconciliation, put his jail in the front row of the inauguration.  Do you think that spirit could affect your thoughts about what happened in the desert?  There is a new generation of people who would love to see you there.  Would that ever cross your mind as a possibility?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it actually crossed my mind a couple days ago, or after I saw the movie.

Q.  Do you think you would?  It would be such a wonderful event for American tennis and for your career.  Do you think that’s something you might consider in the future?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Like I said, it crossed my mind not too long ago when I went to see the movie.  I thought about it.

Williams will take on either 2011 US Open winner Samantha Stosur or 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round.

“Either player will be very tough,” Williams said.  “Ivanovic, I think is doing really well.  She’s on a little winning streak herself.

“Stosur has the home crowd behind her.  She’s the fan favorite.  Obviously she’s beaten me a few times.

“It will be an interesting, whoever I play.  I think it will be a great match for me to really start to try to play better in this tournament.”

“I definitely look forward to playing in the cooler temperatures,” Williams said about the weather forecast which predicts a break in the heat wave. “I think, you know, the players that I have played, they have done really well in the heat.

“I just look forward to some cooler weather.”

 

Third seed Li Na saved a match point, stopping Lucie Safarova 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round.

“I think the five centimeters save my tournament,” Li said.  “If she hit in, I think, Whole team on the way to the airport.

“Yeah, I mean, at least I win the match, so still in the tournament.  I was really happy the way is fight on the court from first point until the last point.”

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Venus Williams Falls in Australian Open First Round

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(January 13, 2014) Seven-time major singles winner Venus Williams fell in the first round of the Australian Open to 22nd seed Ekaterina Makarova on Monday in Margaret Court Arena.

The 33-year-old veteran blew past Makarova in the first set going 3 for 3 in break point opportunities, hitting 15 winners.

The swing to Makarova came at 4-5 in the second set with Williams serving. The American double-faulted three straight times to give the Russian a break and the second set.

Venus Williams opened the third set jumping out to a 3-0 and then her serve began to fail her. Makarova won five consecutive games to take a 5-3 lead. She would close out the match.

Williams was 5- 14 in break point conversions during the match and hit 56 unforced errors.

“I think she played really well, and I think just my level was a little bit too up and down,” Williams said.

“I was hitting the ball well this week, and, you know, obviously it was disappointing to not win the first round.”

“I just really focused on the match and just tried to put the ball in the court and played aggressive,” she said.  “That’s pretty much what I tried to do.

“I totally do want to win tournaments.  It’s fun.  So going into tournaments, that’s always something I hope for.”

Venus said that she’s feeling better. She was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome back in 2012. “The last 12 months I have had issues, but this year I definitely am looking forward to having a good run and feeling well.”

When asked if she is close to closing the gap between where Williams knows she can play and were she is now, she responded:

“I don’t know.  That’s difficult to say, because I do play really, you know, points really well, and then sometimes I don’t put them together as well.  I feel like I have to be patient with myself, because I really haven’t had a chance to play that consistently.

“So I think I just have to be patient and keep going and just wait for it to keep coming together more and more.”

Overall, Williams is 55-6 in major first round matches, falling in the first round of the Australian Open for just the second time.

Makarova upset Venus’ sister Serena Williams in the fourth round of the 2012 Australian Open.
Makarova will play American Irina Falconi in the second round.

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