July 24, 2016

Venus Williams’ Return to Indian Wells Ends in a Loss to Qualifier Kurumi Nara

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(March 11, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – After a 15-year absence, Venus Williams returned to Indian Wells on Friday to face Kurumi Nara. The qualifier from Japan ranked 89th in the world spoiled Williams’ return winning 6-4, 6-3 on Center Court to get her first win over the world No. 12.

Williams last played the event in 2001 when she and her father were booed and jeered at by fans in the stands after Venus withdrew from her semifinal against Serena with an injury as both were watching the final. Serena won the tournament. Venus Williams wrote about why she returned in the Player’s Tribune.

Walking on the court to thunderous applause in a half-filled stadium, the seven-time major champion acknowledged the crowd before she sat down, waving to fans in all directions and putting her hand over her heart.

“I did get emotional,” Williams said. “When we were doing the coin toss I got a little watery eyed. Your opponent, you don’t want to give them any more encouragement. It was wonderful. I think I smiled the whole warmup. I had to get my game face on. It was tough to do.”

“The crowd rooted me on because it was a tough day and tough conditions and brutal out there,” she said. “It was wonderful to feel the love. You know, I would love to come on back.”

Williams’ sister Serena made her return to the desert last year which influenced the older sister to return.

“I hadn’t really thought a lot about Indian Wells, playing here, until Serena thought she was going to come back,” she said. “That’s when I thought about it, obviously, after she played.

“So before that I hadn’t really — it’s not something I focused on, you know. In your life, especially when you try to accomplish things, you’re focusing on what you can accomplish, not on what happened ages ago.”

“I think what I felt was I want to be able to play well for everyone I think more than anything,” said Williams when asked about how she felt about the match coming into the tournament. “Obviously I saw Serena’s warm welcome. I just wanted to come out and play well and try to win that match.

“So I think that’s more than anything what I felt. But like I said, I was able to come and focus on the tennis. You know, I’m a person that’s not into the spotlight so much, so I guess such a warm welcome I actually felt a little shy.

“So, you know, it’s been a wonderful moment. You know, 15 years later to have such a joyous return is more than I could have ever. It’s such a blessing.”

A rare rain delay in Indian Wells came at 3-3 in the first set and the winds continued to be blustery throughout the match.

The wind played havoc on the 35-year-old’s game making 43 errors and hitting only 21 winners. Williams was only 4 for 12 on break points.

Kurumi Nara

Kurumi Nara

For Nara, it was her first victory over the seven-time major champion in three tries. The Japanese woman called it the “No. 1 win” of her career.

Asked about  the very hot topic about Maria Sharapova’s situation, Williams explained:

“Well, any time I have spoken up on issues is because I know the facts. In this case I don’t. I guess they are finding the facts now. That’s, I guess, a discovery period.

“So what can you say? What I do know is that in the past she’s been very competitive. I think she has been a role model for a lot of people. She has a ton of fans, and I think she’s affected a lot of lives in a positive way. Hopefully that will won’t be the end of that.”

“I really don’t know any — nobody called me and told me what the facts are so how can I comment? I don’t know anything at all. I don’t think anyone knows. I don’t know.”

“It was hard, rough out there,” said Williams about her contest with Nara. “She played really well. You know, everything was going for her. She’s very competitive. Everything seemed to be comfortable for her. Even the shank shots kept going in.

“I kept saying, How are these balls going in? Lord, how do I get some of mine in? And the conditions were really brutal. Just serving, it was tough. Not ideal.

“Thankfully it looks like it at least calmed down so when Serena gets out there it will be a tad bit easier. It was still a great day.”

 

More to follow….

 

 

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Venus Williams Wins Taiwan Open for 49th Career Title

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(February 14, 2016) Top seed Venus Williams dominated Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday to win the Taiwan Open for her 49th career WTA title. The American won the title without dropping a set during the tournament.

“The last five days were so exciting, just to feel the enthusiasm and to play great tennis every day. It was perfect week for me,” Williams said.

“I’ve had so much success in Asia,” said Williams, who claimed her last two tournament wins in China. “I feel like it’s very lucky to play here.”

Her win in Taiwan keeps her ranking at No. 11.

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USA Defeats Poland in Fed Cup World Group II

 

(February 7, 2016) The United States is now one step closer to competing in the World Group next year by sweeping Poland, 4-0, in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round at the Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, today.

 

In Sunday’s first match of the day in windy conditions, world No. 12 Venus Williams cruised past world No. 96 Magda Linette, 6-1, 6-2, in one hour and one minute to clinch the victory for the United States. Williams and Linette had never faced each other on the WTA Tour. Williams is now 19-2 in Fed Cup singles play, while Linette is 1-5. The Sloane Stephens-Paula Kania match was not played.

“This has been the most enthusiastic crowd I’ve ever played in front of, for Fed Cup, or even at home,” Williams said. “The enthusiasm, exciting. When they announced they were going to play the doubles, the crowd was so excited. You can hear them right now.

“It’s just been a pleasure to play for that.

“I love playing. I love looking forward to playing the next ties, seeing who we’re going to play when the draw comes out. I love all of that.

“I think I had a little bit of an advantage today because Sloane had a chance to play against Magda, so had a nice scouting report. I was able to really get started quickly. I think she did a little of the work beforehand for me. I kind of like had the heads-up.”

In the dead doubles rubber, CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands faced playing captain Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Paula Kania, who substituted for Alicja Rosolska. In the end, Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands won their match, 6-1, 7-5, in one hour and 15 minutes. Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands were playing together for the first time and Vandeweghe had beat Mattek-Sands in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Australian Open mixed doubles tournament last month. Vandeweghe is now 2-0 in Fed Cup doubles play, also playing in a dead doubles rubber last year with Taylor Townsend in the World Group II First Round in Argentina, while Mattek-Sands is 4-0 in doubles, last playing Fed Cup doubles in the 2010 World Group Semifinal against Russia. Jans-Ignacik is now 20-10 in Fed Cup doubles play, while Kania is 1-2.

“We just played our game,” said Mattek-Sands. “We kept playing aggressive, closing the net. That’s how we won the first set. We’re prepared for our opponents to step up and play better. Maybe have a little less pressure on them in the second and go for a few shots.

“I think it’s business as usual. We had our game plan and we stuck to it.”

“There’s ebbs and flows to every match,” said Vandeweghe. “It’s how you weather the storm for their good play and also adjusting to your own play. At times Bethanie and I were playing in sync, and at times we weren’t. This is the first time we ever played together. I think we have to take that into account as well.

“But I think we adjusted well right after the break, showing our dominance and presence again, basically dominating their serves right back.”

The U.S. is now 21-0 when leading 2-0 after the first day of play (since the World Group format was instituted in 1995), 38-6 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home, and holds an overall 145-36 record.

 

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000.

 

ORDER OF PLAY AND RESULTS

 

DAY/LOCAL TIME      MATCH             PAIRING

Saturday, 11:00 a.m.       Singles A:              Sloane Stephens (USA) def. Magda Linette (POL), 6-2, 6-4

Singles B:             Venus Williams (USA) def. Paula Kania (POL), 7-5, 6-2

Sunday, 10:00 a.m.         Singles C:             Venus Williams (USA) def. Magda Linette (POL) 6-1, 6-2

Singles D:             Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Paula Kania (POL)  not played

Doubles:               Bethanie Mattek-Sands/CoCo Vandeweghe (USA)

def. Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Paula Kania (POL) 6-1, 7-5

 

The United States advances to the World Group Playoffs, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. Poland will play in the World Group II Playoffs in April to remain in World Group II in 2017.

 

The draw for the World Group Playoffs will be held this Tuesday, February 9. The U.S. will face one of the losers of World Group I – Romania, Germany, Italy, and Russia. Below are the home-away scenarios.

– Romania (coin toss)

– Germany (home tie)

– Italy (home tie)

– Russia (away tie)

 

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Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens Give USA 2-0 Lead Over Poland in Fed Cup

usfedcup2

(February 6, 2016) After the first day of play, the United States leads Poland, 2-0, in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round played on outdoor hard court at the Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village.

 

The U.S. is 20-0 when leading 2-0 after the first day of play (since the World Group format was instituted in 1995). The U.S. is 37-6 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home.

 

In the first singles match of the day, Sloane Stephens, the United States’ No. 2 singles player, defeated Poland’s No. 1 player Magda Linette, 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and 13 minutes. Stephens trailed, 0-4, in the second set before making a comeback and winning the set.

“I definitely had a little fart there at the beginning of the second set, but I regrouped well and I was happy that I was able to play some solid tennis towards the end,” Stephens said.

“It happens, so all I can really take from that is that I tried my butt off and never gave up. That’s all that really counts.

“I kind of just ran out of gas. Needed some sugar. I had some caffeine and a little taste of a bar and I felt better. I got my energy back up and I was kind of bouncing around again and I felt good. So I think that definitely helped a little bit.

Stephens and Linette had met once on the WTA Tour last year in Washington D.C., where Stephens went on to win her first career WTA title. Stephens is now 2-2 in singles in Fed Cup, while Linette is 1-4.

In the second singles match, former world No. 1 Venus Williams defeated world No. 153 Paula Kania, 7-5, 6-2, in one hour and 12 minutes. Williams and Kania had previously met once on the WTA Tour in 2014 in Stanford, where Williams won 6-3, 6-2. Williams is now 18-2 in singles in Fed Cup. Kania was making her Fed Cup singles debut.

“She had some good shots; she played well; I had a few errors,” Williams said.

“I think I at 5-4 I was actually very relaxed. I think her strengths is playing from behind. I think when she was in front it wasn’t as comfortable for her.

“So just that game, I put some balls in, she missed a few, and at 5-All I probably had more experience than she did.”

“It’s never easy to play Fed Cup because you’re playing for more than yourself. I just get pumped,” said Williams. “The whole crowd is here for you and there’s no other feeling like it in tennis.”

ORDER OF PLAY AND RESULTS

 

DAY/LOCAL TIME      MATCH             PAIRING

Saturday, 11:00 a.m.       Singles A:              Sloane Stephens (USA) def. Magda Linette (POL), 6-2, 6-4

Singles B:             Venus Williams (USA) def. Paula Kania (POL), 7-5, 6-2

Sunday, 10:00 a.m.         Singles C:             Venus Williams (USA) vs. Magda Linette (POL)

Singles D:             Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Paula Kania (POL)

Doubles:               Bethanie Mattek-Sands/CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) vs Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Alicja Rosolska (POL)

 

Each country’s top singles players will meet on Sunday – Venus Williams (USA) vs. Magda Linette (POL) and Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Paula Kania (POL) – as well as a doubles match pitting CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) against Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Alicja Rosolska (POL).

 

In Sunday’s first match of the day, Williams will face off against Linette. World No. 12 Williams and world No. 96 Linette have never met on the WTA Tour. The second singles match on Sunday will feature Sloane Stephens and Paula Kania. World No. 25 Stephens and world No. 153 Kania have also never met in WTA competition.

 

Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands are scheduled to take on Rosolska and Jans-Ignacik, who is serving as Poland’s playing captain. Vandeweghe reached the mixed doubles final at this year’s Australian Open and is ranked No. 46 in the world in doubles. Mattek-Sands, ranked No. 6 in the world in doubles, won the 2015 Australian Open and French Open women’s doubles titles with Lucie Safarova and has won 17 career WTA doubles titles overall. Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands have never paired up for a doubles match before. Rosolska and Jans-Ignacik have played doubles together 16 times, the last coming in Fed Cup last year. Rosolska is ranked No. 46 in doubles and has won four WTA doubles titles, while Jans-Ignacik is ranked No. 50 in doubles and has won three WTA doubles titles.

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2017.

 

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. The U.S. holds an overall 144-36 record.

 

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Fed Cup Preview: USA vs Poland in Hawaii

usfedcup2

(February 5, 2016) Fed Cup is taking place in Hawaii for the first time, as Kailua-Kona hosts the United States and Poland in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round on an outdoor hard court at the Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village, February 6-7.

“I think it’s important to grow tennis in countries that don’t see it very often, in communities that don’t see it very often,” said US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez.

“It’s nice to be here playing Fed Cup for the first time and get new fans, hopefully encourage new children, new players to get involved in the game. This is one way of doing that.”

 

The United States brings a strong team to Hawaii, led by world No. 12 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and world No. 25 Sloane Stephens. CoCo Vandeweghe, who is ranked No. 46 in singles and also reached the mixed doubles final at the 2016 Australian Open, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who is ranked in the Top 10 in the world in doubles, also anchor the team.

 

In Saturday’s first singles match of the day, Sloane Stephens, the United States’ No. 2 singles player, will face off against Poland’s No. 1 player Magda Linette, ranked No. 96 in the world. Stephens and Linette have met once on the WTA Tour last year in Washington D.C., where Stephens went on to win her first career WTA title. In Washington D.C., Stephens defeated Linette, 6-2, 6-1. Stephens and Linette also met as junior players in 2008 at the Eddie Herr, which Stephens also won. Stephens is coming off her second WTA title, winning Auckland prior to the 2016 Australian Open.

” It’s the greatest honor play for your country and be on a team when every week you’re by yourself, Stephens said. “It makes it really fun. Of course, with girls you actually do like and enjoy being around makes it a good week and makes it a lot of fun.”

“I played before in Israel, in Eilat, which is also next to the sea,” Linette said. “But it’s obviously not this beautiful. I’m really enjoying. I believe my team also.

“We are very happy we can be here. We’re just enjoying and we try just to practice as good as we can on the tennis court, and then we just try to enjoy everything else out of the court. We really like it.”

The second singles match on Saturday will feature the United States’ top player Venus Williams versus world No. 153 Paula Kania. Williams and Kania have met once on the WTA Tour in 2014 in Stanford, where Williams won 6-3, 6-2.

“I enjoy being on the team,” said Williams. “I have a really good time on the team. It’s just a fun time. You don’t usually get to do this in tennis. It’s a different experience that you don’t get to have when you grow up as a tennis player, and you’re always solo from beginning to the end. It’s a moment where it’s a break from that.”

Hawaii becomes the 16th state to host Fed Cup. Hawaii hosted Davis Cup, the men’s equivalent to Fed Cup, in Kohala Coast at the Mauna Lani Racquet Club in the 1992 World Group First Round, where the U.S. team of Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras swept Argentina, 5-0. Hawaii also hosted the SportMaster Tennis Championships of Maui, a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit men’s Challenger, in mid-January in Maui and was joined by a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit women’s event that same week for the first time this year.

 

The United States holds a 3-0 record over Poland in Fed Cup. The U.S. last faced Poland in the 1990 World Group First Round in Atlanta, sweeping the tie, 3-0. The U.S., who also faced Poland in 1974 and 1980, has never lost a point in Fed Cup to Poland. This will be the United States’ first home tie since 2014 in St. Louis, as the team competed on the road against Argentina and Italy last year.

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2017.

 

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. The U.S. is 37-6 in ties played at home and holds an overall 144-36 record.

 

Weekend Line-up

USA v POLAND

Venue: Holua Tennis Center, Kailua Kona, USA (hard – outdoor)

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)

Venus Williams (USA) v Paula Kania (POL)

Venus Williams (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Paula Kania (POL)

Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Coco Vandeweghe (USA) v Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Alicja Rosolska (POL)

 

Tennis Channel To Air U.S. Versus Poland Fed Cup Tie

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Venus Williams Returns to BNP Paribas Open

VENUS Williams 700 TPN Wuhan Open

(January 27, 2016) Indian Wells, Calif., Jan. 27, 2016 – The BNP Paribas Open to be held March 7-20, 2016 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, has released its entry lists, which are highlighted by 10 former BNP Paribas Open and 14 Grand Slam Singles Champions, it was announced today by Chief Executive Officer Raymond Moore.

On the women’s side, the entry list is led by World No. 1, 21-time Grand Slam Champion and two-time BNP Paribas Open winner Serena Williams (1999, 2001). This year she is joined by her sister, World No. 10 and nine-time Grand Slam Champion Venus Williams, in the field.

“We are thrilled that Venus Williams, one of the greatest women’s players in the history of the game, is returning to play in the BNP Paribas Open,” said Moore. “Our fans embraced Serena last year, and we expect nothing less for Venus when she returns to compete at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.”

They are accompanied by a number of former BNP Paribas Open Champions including Defending Champion and World No. 2 Simona Halep, five-time Grand Slam Champion and World No. 5 Maria Sharapova (2006, 2013), and a quartet of former World No. 1 ranked players including two-time Grand Slam Champion Victoria Azarenka (2012), 2008 French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic (2008), Jelena Jankovic (2010), and Caroline Wozniacki (2011). Top 10 ranked tennis players and Grand Slam Singles Champions also on the entry list include Garbine Muguruza (3), 2014 BNP Paribas Open finalist Agnieszka Radwanska (4), Angelique Kerber (6), two-time Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova (7), Lucie Safarova (9), two-time Grand Slam Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and 2011 US Open Champion Sam Stosur.

The men’s entry list is led by World No. 1, 10-time Grand Slam Champion, and four-time and Defending BNP Paribas Open Champion Novak Djokovic (2008, 2011, 2014, 2015); World No. 3, 17-time Grand Slam Champion, and four-time BNP Paribas Open Champion Roger Federer (2004-2006, 2012); and World No. 5, 14-time Grand Slam Champion and three-time BNP Paribas Open Champion Rafael Nadal (2007, 2009, 2013). In addition, all of the remaining top 10 ranked men’s players are entered, including two-time Grand Slam Champion Andy Murray (2), 2015 French Open Champion Stan Wawrinka (4), Tomas Berdych (6), Kei Nishikori (7), David Ferrer (8), Richard Gasquet (9), and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (10). The 2014 US Open Champion, Marin Cilic (13), is also entered in the field.

“Looking at this list of incredible players – Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Murray, the Williams sisters, Halep, Sharapova, Kvitova and so many other talented players – will provide two weeks of great tennis,” said Moore. “Our fans will once again be treated to watching players in Indian Wells, a location that truly makes the event one of the most unique and best venues to watch professional tennis – this is tennis paradise.”

The remaining spots in the draws will be filled by winners of the Qualifying tournament (WTA – March 7 & 8, ATP – March 8 & 9) and Wildcards, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

View the full player entry list.

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Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens To Lead U.S. Fed Cup Team Against Poland

Venus fistpump

From the USTA: (January 27, 2016) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., – The USTA and United States Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez today announced that former world No. 1 and current world No. 10 Venus Williams, No. 26 Sloane Stephens, No. 42 CoCo Vandeweghe and world No. 3 doubles player Bethanie Mattek-Sands will represent the U.S. in the 2016 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round against Poland.

 

The best-of-five match series will be played at the Holua Tennis Center at the Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Feb. 6-7. This will be the first Fed Cup tie held in Hawaii.

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoffs, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoffs in April to remain in World Group II in 2017.

 

Poland’s Fed Cup Captain Klaudia Jans-Ignacik named No. 93 Magda Linette, No. 159 Paula Kania, and Alicja Rosolska, ranked No. 44 in the world in doubles, to face Team USA. Jans-Ignacik, who is ranked No. 40 in doubles, is also part of the four-team roster as a playing captain.

 

“We have great variety and depth on our team for Hawaii,” said Fernandez. “I am thrilled to have Venus, one of tennis’ greatest champions, competing for us. Sloane had a strong start to the season, winning Auckland for her second tour singles title, and CoCo and Bethanie are both playing really well in singles and doubles. Poland brings a skilled team and we look forward to competing. We are very excited to bring Fed Cup tennis to Hawaii for the first time and for the fans to come cheer us on.”

 

Play begins on Saturday, Feb. 6, with two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Sunday’s schedule features two “reverse singles” matches, where the No. 1 players square off and then the No. 2 players meet, followed by the doubles match. Play on Saturday begins at 11 a.m. local time (4 p.m. ET) and on Sunday at 10 a.m. local time (3 p.m. ET). Tennis Channel will present daily coverage.

 

The United States holds a 3-0 record over Poland in Fed Cup. The U.S. last faced Poland in the 1990 World Group First Round in Atlanta, sweeping the tie, 3-0. The U.S., who also faced Poland in 1974 and 1980, has never lost an individual match in Fed Cup to Poland. This will be the U.S.’s first home tie since 2014 in St. Louis, as the team competed on the road in Argentina and Italy in 2015.

 

Hawaii becomes the 16th state to host Fed Cup. Local sponsors of the event include Hawaii Tourism Authority, Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village, KTA Super Stores, and Kona Coffee & Tea.

 

World No. 10 Williams, 35, posted her first Top 10 season since 2010 last year, winning three WTA titles and reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and US Open. In 2013, she re-entered the Top 20 for the first time since revealing that she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, following the 2011 US Open. Williams holds a 21-4 overall record in Fed Cup competition, including 17-2 in singles. In 2015, she joined sister Serena on the team that defeated Argentina in Buenos Aires in the Fed Cup World Group II First Round; her second singles win clinched the tie. She was also a member of the title-winning team in 1999. Williams is a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and has won 48 career WTA singles titles. She has been ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles. In Olympic play, she has won three gold medals in doubles (with Serena) in 2000, 2008 and 2012, and she captured the singles gold medal in 2000.

 

World No. 26 Stephens, 22, is coming off a tournament title, the second of her career, at the 2016 Australian Open tune-up event in Auckland, New Zealand. She won her first WTA title in 2015 in Washington D.C. Stephens’ breakout came at the 2013 Australian Open, where she defeated Serena Williams en route to the semifinals. At 19 years, 10 months, 3 days old, Stephens was the youngest American to reach a Grand Slam singles semifinal since Williams reached the 2000 Wimbledon semifinals at 18 years, 9 months, 8 days old. Stephens also advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2013 to peak at No. 11 in the world that October. Stephens has played in three Fed Cup ties for the U.S., the last coming in 2014, and holds a 1-2 record in singles and 1-1 record in doubles. She is the daughter of the late New England Patriots running back John Stephens.

 

World No. 42 Vandeweghe, 24, advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2015 for her career-best result; she also advanced to the third round of the 2015 Australian Open to peak at No. 32 in the world in February 2015.Vandeweghe won her first WTA title in 2014 in ‘S-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, and reached her first pro final in 2012 at the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Stanford as a qualifier, losing to Serena Williams in the title match. Vandeweghe has also had success in doubles, advancing to the semifinals at the 2015 US Open and the quarterfinals at the 2016 Australian Open. She was named to the U.S. Fed Cup team for the 2010 final versus Italy and for the 2015 World Group II First Round in Argentina, where she played singles and doubles. As a junior player, Vandeweghe won the 2008 US Open girls’ singles title. Vandeweghe’s mother, Tauna, was a member of the U.S. national team in both swimming and volleyball, and her uncle is former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe.

 

World No. 63 Mattek-Sands, 30, is being named to her first Fed Cup team since 2011. In 2015, Mattek-Sands won the Australian Open and French Open women’s doubles titles (with Lucie Safarova) and the French Open mixed doubles title (with Mike Bryan). At the 2012 Australian Open, Mattek-Sands teamed with Horia Tecau to win her first Grand Slam title in mixed doubles. She is currently ranked a career-high No. 3 in the world in doubles.Mattek-Sands has been one of the U.S.’s most consistent performers over the past decade, playing in 14 US Opens and reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2008 and the French Open in 2013 for her career-best Grand Slam results. Overall, she holds 17 WTA doubles titles and five USTA Pro Circuit singles titles. In 2011, she was ranked a career-high No. 30 in the world in singles before being sidelined by a rotator cuff injury. Mattek-Sands holds a 3-0 record in Fed Cup doubles and a 2-6 record in singles. In the 2010 Fed Cup semifinal, with the U.S. trailing Russia 2-1, Mattek-Sands won the fourth singles match to force the decisive doubles rubber and then partnered with Liezel Huber to win the doubles match and clinch a spot in the final for the U.S. Mattek-Sands then went on to face Italy in the 2010 final—the United States’ last appearance in a Fed Cup final.

 

The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. The U.S. is 37-6 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home and holds an overall 144-36 record. Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 101 nations taking part in 2016. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup or www.fedcup.com. Follow the U.S. Fed Cup Team on Twitter @USFedCupTeam.

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Konta Becomes First British Woman to Reach Australian Open Quarterfinals in 32 Years: Keys Loses

 

(January 25, 2016) Johanna Konta’s Australian Open run continued on Monday, when the world No. 47 came back to knock out 21st seed Ekaterina Makarova 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 to reach the quarterfinals. Konta became the first British woman to reach the elite 8 of a major since Jo Durie did it in 1983.

Konta, making her Australian Open debut this year, upset No. 8 Venus Williams in the first round.

The Sydney-born Konta served for the match twice – she was broken at 5-4, but held her nerve and her serve to win 8-6 in the final set.

Konta came into Melbourne ranked 47th in the world.

Konta hit 37 winners in the match.

“Mentally, emotionally, physically…. I left it all out there, ” Konta said in her on-court interview.

“I’m going to eat and sleep, eat and sleep and repeat,” Konta said of her next match.

“I really enjoyed the match for what it was,” Konta told media. “It was a very high-level match against a very, very good player. I took it as such.

“I didn’t put any more on it. It was definitely one of the more spectacular matches I’ve played. There have been a few. I still remember a junior match I played and I lost 12-10 in the third. That’s definitely still in my mind.

“In my adult career it was, yeah, one of the memorable ones.”

Konta will play Shaui Zhang in her quarterfinal.

“I played Zhang a couple of times,” Konta said. “Actually both times were very good matches. I’ve never played Madison before.

“I mean, we’re talking about a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam, so whoever I’m going to play it’s going to be an incredibly good player. Right now I’m just looking forward to just recovering well and having a good night’s rest.

“Whoever I’m playing, prepare to the best of my ability.”

“This journey started when I was about eight years old, so we’re coming up to 18 years now,” said the British woman.

“I’ve always said I do not believe in kind of a light switch moment. Everything happens for a reason. My journey has been the way it has been for a reason. That’s to accumulate the experiences that I’ve had.

“I cannot give you a moment where I said, Oh, yeah, that’s where it started, because it’s been ongoing ever since I started playing.”

Shuai Zhang continued her run in Melbourne which began in the qualifying tournament. Zhang defeated a hobbled Madison Keys 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the final eighth.

Keys had to take a medical time out in the second set for an upper leg injury which had to be heavily taped. After that, the American’s movement was hampered.

The 133rd-ranked Zhang came into this year’s Australian Open 0-14 in majors.

“It’s so tough to play against someone injury because, yeah, when I’m saw her like feel more pain,” Zhang said. “You know, so tough. Maybe two point you feeling like cannot play, and then next three balls, pong, pong, pong, make two ace, one winner. So, so tough. You don’t know what’s happen.

“And also last year this happen many times. I’m almost win the match. I lost. I lost the concentrate. But this time I think I try to concentrate. So I’m happy I win the match, yeah.”

 

 

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Qualifier Zhang’s Run Continues into Fourth Round of the Australian Open

Qualifier Zhang Shuai Topples Second Seed Simona Halep at Australian Open

Johanna Konta Upsets No. 8 Venus Williams in First Round of the Australian Open

 

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Johanna Konta Upsets No. 8 Venus Williams in First Round of the Australian Open

Johanna Konta_270915

(January 19, 2016) Venus Williams became the highest seed knocked out of the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday. The American, who was the eighth seed, lost 6-4, 6-2 to Great Britain’s Johanna Konta ranked 47th in the world. Williams reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne last year.

“I’m very satisfied with how I dealt with the situation,” the 23-year-old Konta said of her Australian Open main draw debut. “It was hot out there. I was playing an incredibly great player. That’s no secret.

“Yeah, no, and I definitely played a good level and obviously it’s always nerve-wracking to be able to continue that and, you know, there is ebbs and flows in a match. Yeah, no, I’m happy with the whole match in general.”

Konta lost to the 34-year-old Williams in three sets in the Wuhan quarterfinals in the fall.

The former No. 1 Williams had her upper left thigh wrapped and seemed to move around the court as well as she normally does.

Williams was broken in the third game of the first set and Konta won the first set in 41 minutes.

The British woman, born in Australia, raced out to a 5-0 lead in the second set and served for the match. Williams won the next two games.

Konta was asked about getting nervous at the point of trying to close out the seven-time major champion.Tensing, I wouldn’t say so, but obviously there are nerves, and also the nerves of the many thousand people around you, which is impossible not to feel either,” she said.

“So just really focusing on my breathing and just trying to stay very present. Just very much staying with the work at hand, because it’s never is over until you’re shaking hands.

“Yeah, with that mindset, I just try to keep fighting and keep running down every ball.”

“I think it would be silly to look at Venus’ age and somehow consider that as a reflection of her level,” Konta said. “I think it’s irrelevant how old she is because she’s such a champion with so much experience and so much knowledge about the game.

“Even if she’s playing with one leg out there, you’ve got to really take care of things on your own, because, yeah, no, she’s an incredible player. I have all the respect for her in the world. Yeah, I was just very, really enjoying my time out there.”

Konta surged in the rankings last year, where she was 147th in the world at this time last year. She’s now 4-2 against Top Ten players.

Konta advances to the second round where she will play the winner of the Carina Witthoeft versus Saisai Zhang match.

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Defending Auckland Champ Venus Williams Falls in Opener

(January 5, 2016) Defending Auckland champion and top seed Venus Williams fell 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2 to Russian teenage wild card Daria Kasatkina in the first round of the ASB Classic.
No. 7 Williams made 73 unforced errors during the match.

The event was dealt another blow when Ana Ivanovic, the 2014 champion lost to Naomi  Broady 7-5, 6-4.
ASB CLASSIC – AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
USD 250, 000
4-9 JANUARY, 2016

Results – Tuesday, Jan 5

Women’s Singles
First Round
D. Kasatkina (RUS) d [1] V. Williams (USA) 67(4) 63 63
[Q] N. Broady (GBR) d [2] A. Ivanovic (SRB) 75 64
[3] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d D. Kovinic (MNE) 64 64
[7] B. Strycova (CZE) d [Q] K. Bertens (NED) 62 64
J. Goerges (GER) d L. Hradecka (CZE) 60 63
[Q] T. Paszek (AUT) d [WC] F. Schiavone (ITA) 76(3) 46 63
[Q] K. Flipkens (BEL) d B. Mattek-Sands (USA) 36 64 63
[WC] M. Erakovic (NZL) d Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 76(2) 76(3)
C. Mchale (USA) d M. Doi (JPN) 62 64

Women’s Doubles
First Round
[3] A. Groenefeld (GER) / C. Vandeweghe (USA) d J. Larsson (SWE) / A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) 75 61
L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) d J. Rae (GBR) / A. Smith (GBR) 63 63
D. Kovinic (MNE) / B. Strycova (CZE) d T. Maria (GER) / L. Siegemund (GER) 76(4) 62

Schedule – Wednesday, Jan 6

CENTRE COURT start 12:15 pm
[4] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [Q] T. Paszek (AUT)
[WC] J. Ostapenko (LAT) vs [Q] N. Broady (GBR)
A. Dulgheru (ROU) vs [WC] M. Erakovic (NZL)
Not Before 6:30 pm
C. Mchale (USA) vs [3] C. Wozniacki (DEN)
M. Erakovic (NZL) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) vs [2] J. Goerges (GER) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)

GRANDSTAND start 12:15 pm
[5] S. Stephens (USA) vs C. Witthoeft (GER)
[Q] K. Flipkens (BEL) vs I. Falconi (USA)
J. Goerges (GER) vs [7] B. Strycova (CZE)
Not Before 4:30 pm After suitable rest
[WC] K. Flipkens (BEL) / A. Ivanovic (SRB) vs E. Mertens (BEL) / A. Mestach (BEL)
M. Irigoyen (ARG) / B. Krejcikova (CZE) vs L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR)

COURT 2 start 1:00 pm
D. Kasatkina (RUS) vs N. Hibino (JPN)

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