February 7, 2016

After Battling Past Vinci, Venus Williams to Face Muguruza in Wuhan Open Final

Venus Williams

(October 2, 2015) Venus Williams saved a match point to defeat Roberta Vinci to reach Saturday’s Wuhan Open final. Williams’ 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4) win set up the WTA Premier 5 title against Garbine Muguruza after the Spaniard survived a late foot injury scare to defeat Angelique Kerber 6-4 7-6(5).

“It had a lot of ups and downs, said Williams, who saved a match point when Vinci served for the match at 6-5. “I hope that on a day when I’m playing how I’d like, it’s a more straightforward match. She’s definitely tricky.  She finds a way to hang in there.”

Williams came back from 3-5 down against Johanna Konta in the previous round. “It’s the semifinals. It’s not time to get down.  It’s time to figure it out,” said the seven-time grand slam champion.  “Even down match point, I don’t remember what happened on that point.  I do know she had a match point.  It’s not over.  Just like when I was up and she didn’t give up, I felt the same way.”

The 35-year-old Williams, who notched up her 700th career WTA match win earlier in the week, should return to the WTA Top 20 in reaching the semi-finals, and could go as high as 15 should she win on Saturday. She shows no desire to retire just yet. “I always want to be in finals,” she said. “Even if it was the last tournament of my career, I would still want to be in that final,” she said. “I don’t think that ever changes.  It just never gets old and it’s never something that is a given.  You have to fight for it.  So I appreciate it.  It’s not over yet.  I still have matches to play.  Definitely not satisfied with just making the final.  I’d like to take the title and take it a step further.”

Muguruza’s win over Kerber also had plenty of drama, notably at 3-3 in the second set tiebreaker when the Spaniard took an injury time-out after feeling pain in her left foot earlier in the set. Despite this, she managed to  reach her first final since she was runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon in July.

“I felt it at 4 something in the second set.  Then in the tiebreak I felt something stronger.  So I said, No, no, I cannot wait to get worse.  So I just called the trainer,” sheexplained . “At that moment I said, Okay, Garbine, play.  Be aggressive and see what happens. You know, I was very, like, kind of brave.  I was like, Okay, come on, let’s do it.  Let’s see these couple of points and see if you can close the match. I had a lot of chances to close the match before.  I’m like, no way I’m going to lose this set. I did it and it was good.”

Williams and Muguruza have played twice before, in Florianopolis in 2013 and in Auckland in 2014, both on hard courts. “I think it’s a good final,” said Muguruza. “I face her sister in the last final, so is it good to have her again. Williams sisters everywhere,” she said, smiling. “It’s good.  She’s playing good also.  She had a very tough match also today.  So I think it’s a good final.”

RESULTS

SINGLES SEMI-FINALS
V. Williams (USA) d [15] R. Vinci (ITA) 57 62 76(4)
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [6] A Kerber (GER) 64 76(5)

DOUBLES SEMI-FINALS
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) / Monica Niculescu (ROM) d [6] Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) / Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 64 16 10-8 (MTB)
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) d [4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) 62 61

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY OCTOBER 03, 2015

Not before 12.30pm
DOUBLES FINAL
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) / Monica Niculescu (ROM)

Not Before 3:00 pm
SINGLES FINAL – V. Williams (USA) vs [5] G. Muguruza (ESP)

Venus Williams Joins 700 (Win) Club

Venus Williams Joins 700 (Win) Club

 

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British Qualifier Johanna Konta Stuns No. 2 Simona Halep at Wuhan Open

Johanna Konta_270915

(September 30, 2015) British qualifier Johanna Konta earned herself a thrilling 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over top seed and current World No.2 Simona Halep at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Wednesday.

Konta came from 1-5 down in the third set to tee up a quarter-final on Thursday against Venus Williams and said afterwards that playing the American would be “kind of a childhood dream”.

“She (Halep) is No. 2 for a reason, and that is an incredibly humbling experience for me, that I can compete with such a player,” said 24-year-old Konta. “But in terms of the result, I’m just really happy I get to come back tomorrow and play against someone like Venus. It’s actually a bit of childhood dream I guess. I grew up watching Venus.  So as a child, I’m like, Wow.  But as a competitor now, I’m just looking forward to the challenge.”

Williams was too strong for Carla Suarez-Navarro in their third round encounter. “We’ve had some great matches, and when I play her I always have to stay concentrated because she’s a great competitor who’s always played well against me,” said Williams. “It’s not just her single handed backhand, she just hits it so well. I was lucky because she missed a few today and gave me some openings.”

Roberta Vinci is keep up her form which saw her reach the US Open final earlier this month. She knocked out Wuhan’s defending champion Petra Kvitova with a 76(3) 62 and takes on Karolina Pliskova in Thursday’s quarter-finals.

Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza earned her quarter-final spot with a 46 61 60 comeback win against Ana Ivanovic and can now look forward to a last eight meeting with Anna Schmeidlova of Slovakia on Thursday.

Angelique Kerber wasted no time in dispatching Camila Giorgi and will be up against Coco Vandeweghe in the quarter-finals.

RESULTS – SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
Singles – Third Round
[Q] J. Konta (GBR) d [1] S. Halep (ROU) 63 36 75
[15] R. Vinci (ITA) d [3] P. Kvitova (CZE) 76(3) 62
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [9] A. Ivanovic (SRB) 46 61 60
[6] A. Kerber (GER) d C. Giorgi (ITA) 62 64
V. Williams (USA) d [7] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 64
[8] K. Pliskova (CZE) d [12] E. Svitolina (UKR) 26 64 64
A. Schmiedlova (SVK) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) 64 62
C. Vandeweghe (USA) d B. Strycova (CZE) 36 62 76(3)

Doubles – Second Round
I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [3] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 62 62
[5] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d X. Han (CHN) / N. Melichar (USA) 46 61 10-7
[6] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d C. Dellacqua (AUS) / A. Tomljanovic (CRO) walkover
[7] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / O. Savchuk (UKR) 76(3) 62

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 01, 2015
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[6] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[15] R. Vinci (ITA) vs [8] K. Pliskova (CZE)
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs A. Schmiedlova (SVK)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[Q] J. Konta (GBR) vs V. Williams (USA)
[6] A. Kerber (GER) or C. Giorgi (ITA) vs C. Vandeweghe (USA) or B. Strycova (CZE)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Rodionova (AUS) 12
after suitable rest – J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) vs A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP)
after suitable rest – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) or K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs [5] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA)

COURT 4 start 1:00 pm
[4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) vs L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) 54
after suitable rest – [7] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)
after suitable rest – [4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) or L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) vs J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) or A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP)

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Venus Williams Joins 700 (Win) Club

VENUS Williams 700 TPN Wuhan Open

(September 29, 2015) Venus Williams reached another milestone on Tuesday at the Wuhan Open. She won her 700th career WTA Tour match with a 6-4, 6-3 second round victory defeating Germany’s Julia Goerges.

Williams received roses shaped into the number 700 from tournament directors Yi Guoqing and Fabrice Chouquet. She confessed that she was not aware of the upcoming milestone. “I didn’t know.  I’m glad nobody told me before.  I would have been a little bit nervous,” said the 35-year-old American. “Who doesn’t like winning?  You know, that never gets old.”

“I was thinking, ‘How long would it take me to get to 800 now?’ Maybe that was my first thought!

“But it’s been a great 700 wins along the way.”

Venus’ sister, world No. 1 Serena praised her sister on Twitter:

The seven-time major champion won her last Grand Slam event at Wimbledon in 2008. She is the WTA ninth player in the Open Era to reach 700 match wins.

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In Their Own Words – Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic and Roberta Vinci

 

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Serena Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams

6-2, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You and your sister have played each other a number of times in the past, but never before with the calendar Grand Slam on the line. In terms of mental preparation, did you do anything different this time compared to the last times that you played each other?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, there’s nothing that I did different. I just was out there to play a really tough opponent today.

Q. What did that embrace with Venus at the end mean to you and how do you think you’ll look back on it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I will look back on it fondly. It means a lot to me. Obviously we are very, very tough competitors on the court, but once the match is over and the second it’s done, you know, we’re sisters, we’re roommates, and we’re all that.

Q. Venus came up with some incredible level of play tonight. People kept talking about she’s the older sister looking out for you, but she’s gone through a lot. What does it mean for you that she’s back to this level again and you were able to go out there tonight and do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s really great to see her do so well. She was at an unbelievable level today. Down to the match point it just was not easy. It’s probably the toughest match I have played in a really, really, really long time where I wasn’t actually beating myself. I was out there facing an incredibly tough opponent.

Yeah, so it was just seeing and knowing that she has that level is so good and inspiring, as well, and hopefully it’s encouraging for her, too. I think against any other player she for sure would have won.

Q. Was there a point in the match early on when you thought or you can tell Venus has her A game and this is going to be trouble?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, just in the very first game I knew she was playing well. But she played really well in her last match and she’s been playing really well all tournament.

She’s been going through this tournament really sneaky and on the low, and that was, I think, also really good for her.

Q. She knows your game very well. How do you play against that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Because I know her game well, so I think it actually evens out.

Q. Is there any other opponent across your career that has consistently given you as much trouble as your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. No, I mean, she’s still playing, as well. I have played a lot of great players like Lindsay and Jennifer and Martina and Kim and Justine. I have had a lot of losses against those players, as well. They just didn’t have, I think, what the pressure — they didn’t know my game and they just didn’t beat me as many times as Venus has.

Q. One of the great players you faced very early in your career a couple of times was Steffi. Could you take a minute and just talk about her game, break down her game a bit and what made her so tough?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she was Steffi Graf. I think that’s what made her really tough. You know, when you’re young and going against Steffi Graf, I mean, that, I think, pretty much sums it up.

Q. Her forehand, how does that compare with some of the other strokes you faced in your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, honestly it’s been a really long time since I have played her, but I just do remember her having an unbelievable forehand. I think her backhand was amazing, too, because she had that really good slice.

She was very athletic and very fast. She did a lot of things really well.

Q. When you split sets and you are sitting there in changeover chair and your sister is a few feet away from you, what’s the narrative going through your head going into that the final set with so much on the line? What’s the talk?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I’m thinking, at that point I was glad to be starting out serving. Just thought, Okay, I want to hold serve early on and see what happens. Just, What am I not doing? What am I not doing? What can I do better?

Nothing different goes in my mind as when I’m playing anyone else.

Q. That pragmatic? Nothing else swirling around?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, there is a lot of things going on in my mind, but nothing different from when I’m playing anyone else.

Q. These matches really intrigue the tennis public when you play your sister, and nontennis fans, too. Most important part of this is winning the match, but can you enjoy that at all in terms of what it means for the sport, or is the feeling, we’re going through this again and we will hear a lot of the same? Everybody will talk about me playing my sister again, and you just kind of want to be done with it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I didn’t really listen to a lot of the press and read anything about it, so I kind of was in a hole and I didn’t turn on my TV and didn’t watch any of the matches yesterday, men or women. I didn’t really live in that world.

But, yeah, it’s a big topic because I think it’s the greatest story in tennis because we really — you know, with our how we started and how we grew up and how we were able to win Championships and be, you know, such inspirations for so many women across the globe, I mean, it doesn’t get better than that.

Q. You just won a match. Normally you smile when you win you come here, you laugh. What happens tonight? Is just because you beat Venus or because you’re thinking about what is going next? What’s wrong?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s 11:30. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t want to be here. (Laughter.) I just want to be in bed right now. I have to wake up early to practice.

I don’t want to answer any of these questions and you keep asking me the same questions.

It’s not really — you’re not making it super enjoyable. (Laughter.)

Q. At least I made you laugh.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m just being honest.

Q. At least I made you smile. Can I just ask you…
SERENA WILLIAMS: Is it about Venus again?

Q. About Roberta Vinci, of course. Even in Italy we think that she has no chance, but what is your opinion about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it’s good. I played her in Canada. She played me really tough, and I didn’t really expect that. That’s how I sprained my finger actually, was playing against her.

Thankfully my finger is a little better now. But, yeah, so I’m not going to underestimate her. She played really well. She’s not in the semifinals of a Grand Slam for no reason. She knows what to do and she knows what to play.

I think it was really good. Again, I just think it was great that I played her because I kind of know what to expect, and I’ll be more ready for it this time.

Q. Venus said that one of the best things even about losing was taking pride in you and watching you go on in your quest for the calendar year slam and how that was very important to your family. How does your success and your family’s success all blend together?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think my success is our success. You know, we all started together and we all are still together. So I think, yeah, I didn’t know it was important to my family, actually, but…

It is important to me, but at the same time, you know, it is what it is. I’ll do what I can.

Q. Do you get more drained emotionally, physically, mentally playing against Venus than anybody else? When you’re done, are you more tapped out than when you play anybody else?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It depends. Today was a very tough match today. It wasn’t an easy match.

So just thinking what I could do better. Yeah, so it just really depends.

Q. You said you were an inspiration to women around the world. I know it’s late, but can you give us some feedback on how you’ve gotten feedback about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, just nowadays with social media you can get a lot of feedback. It’s kind of cool. You can sometimes see people say things that are just so positive or people post things like how inspiring my family is or Venus and I are and how they want to do it, they want to be like us, and how they started school or they started tennis.

It’s not always tennis. It’s just about how they started their lives and how we were able to inspire them. So I think that’s really kind of cool. You know, every time I read one it’s almost surreal like knowing that I and my sister have been able to inspire so many people and so many women.

It’s definitely something that when you’re growing up you don’t think, like, you know, I want to inspire people to do this. I just want to win some Grand Slams.

There is so much more to it that you don’t realize at the time.

Q. Venus said at the net when she hugged you she said, I’m just so happy for you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, everyone in this room knows that Venus is probably one of the greatest people on the tour. She’s really great. She’s super professional. Complete opposite of me. (Laughter.)

Which actually that’s not true, but I’m just making a joke since you said I’m not laughing.

Q. Thanks. Did she saying else, and what did you say back to her at the net?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Just, Thanks. I don’t remember, to be honest, actually. Usually I do, but I don’t remember.

Q. Would you say that Vinci is a vintage tennis player? She plays one-hand backhand? Nobody else does it after Justine Henin.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I played someone first round at Wimbledon who hit some rocket one-handed backhand. Yeah, they are very few and far between. I don’t know if she’s a vintage because she’s such a good one-handed backhand.

Yeah, she’s definitely — she has that mean slice on that backhand, too.

Q. Coming to the net a little bit more?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Definitely a little bit more old school, but also a really great matchup, because it’s fun to see people that can still come to the net and still hit slice and still hit one-handers. It’s different. It’s good for tennis.

Q. You’re very demonstrative tonight in a way you haven’t against Venus. Clearly you obviously wanted this match. After all that, how gratifying was it to walk to the net and get that hug from Venus? It was a nice moment.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was gratifying because you’re out there and you want to win so bad in that moment, and then when the moment is over — because every single match I root for her every time, and so it’s interesting to be in a position to what you’re trying to win.

Q. What was the most satisfying part of the experience for you tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Walking off the court and it being over with.

 

 

Venus in Press

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Venus Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams

6-2, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The embrace at the end of the match, what did you say to your sister after an amazing match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just said I’m so happy for you. I don’t remember what else I said after that. Just moments. Just the moment.

Q. You and Serena played on the big stage tonight, but obviously as sisters you grew up playing against each other. What advice do you have for other sibling sets who are coming up in the sport and have to face off?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just enjoy the moment and try your best and keep practicing. I don’t know.

Q. Can you walk us through what was going through your head after the second set? You were sitting there in your chair, one set to go. What’s in your head?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the first set was close. Lost serve a couple times, but I was still leading in both of those games.

Knew I had opportunities and just tried to capitalize on them.

Q. Do you remember the early days when you and Serena would play in the (indiscernible) foundation, playing the Jensens in doubles and playing one another in singles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I remember that.

Q. Yeah. Good memories back then of that fun stuff?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Anything for charity.

Q. What’s the toughest part about playing Serena both in terms of strokes and in terms of mindset?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she has of course a wonderful mental game, but she also has ability to come up with a great shot when she needs it. That’s just been the hallmark of her game.

Q. This match more important than any of the others you have played in terms of the gravity at the moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was more unique, definitely.

Q. What makes it more unique?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, obviously because Serena is going for the Grand Slam and I think everybody is interested because she has to play her sister to get to that.

People want to see, you know, how that’s going to come out. So it was definitely a different moment.

Q. Did that play on your mind at all during the match? I mean, it seems like you’re conscious about it, obviously, but once you get into the match you’re focused.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you have to be focused or else you’re going to lose serve. Just try to hold.

Q. What you and Serena did tonight probably promoted tennis as much as the Billie Jean King/Bobby Riggs as far as interest and enthusiasm. What’s that make you feel like? How much gratification is there for you in that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m not sure anything can top Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Q. It was very close.
VENUS WILLIAMS: But it definitely was intriguing.

Q. How do you think you played tonight? And second to that, what did you say to Serena at the net at the end?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I played pretty well tonight and served well. Just tried to play aggressively. That’s always how I want to play.

I just told her I was really happy for her, and like I said earlier, I don’t remember what I said after that.

Maybe she’ll remember.

Q. What is the emotional challenge when you play Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I answered that last time. (Laughter.) You know, when you get in the tournament, you want to win the match, you want to win the tournament, so that’s both of our focus when we get out there, is to try to be our best.

Q. You said the other day that when you were kids you both dreamed of duking it out on the biggest of stages. What do you think you showed tonight with the way you conducted yourself on the court and after?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I wasn’t trying to show anything. I’m just being myself when I’m out there, so whatever that is, that is.

Q. Is it any different when you played now as opposed to five, ten years ago in terms of all of this? Has it changed at all? And if so, how so?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t think it’s changed. Not for me, no.

Q. When you were young you were very much the caretaker of your little sister, giving her a trophy once, and when she lost, giving her a bunch of money and so forth. Do you still feel like you’re the older sister taking care of her and so forth? Can you talk about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I will always be the older sister. That’s never going to change. (Smiling.)

Q. But aside from chronologically, how do you feel in terms of the dynamics between you and your sister?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We have always taken care of each other, but also that goes for the rest of my family and other sisters. We have always taken care of each other no matter what.

So it’s just that you see Serena and I a little more often, but it’s a family thing.

Q. You both obviously have done something very special over the years and played a lot of special matches. We don’t know if you’ll ever meet in a stage like this again. Was there any part at the end or in breaks or anything where you looked around and just took it in a little bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, no. Sorry. (Smiling.)

Q. Too intense?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t think like that. I feel that, you know, luck and chance and blessings from God and we stay healthy, we’ll play again.

Q. What was most gratifying and what was most dissatisfying about the experience for you tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, losing isn’t fun. I mentioned that part.

And then gratifying, I don’t know if I thought about that yet, but probably the most gratifying is I’m still very excited to see Serena have an opportunity to win the four majors.

I think that’s the best part.

Q. You made the quarterfinals at the US Open; got a set off the No. 1 player in the world. At age 35, what do you think of what you still have left in the tank?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I try my best every match, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

I generally play against a lot of inspired opponents. No easy matches for me ever. So I think when I play people they come out swinging because they feel like either they have to or that they have — that they have to.

It’s wonderful to play and win against opponents that are playing well and to be able to move on and continue to do so.

Q. Is it emotional to still to face your sister? What’s it like playing her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Is that the question?

Q. Is it still emotional? I mean, was it emotional for you out there tonight facing your sister, even though you have talked about so many times?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my main goal when I go out there is to hold serve. I think that’s her main goal, too. Then you have to look at a break. That’s a lot of what I’m looking at when I’m out there. That’s kind of a peek into my mind.

Q. You mentioned a couple times holding serve. Does that pressure feel different against Serena because you know she has such a good serve to hold on to?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she has great returns, as well. How she ends up returning my serve is unlike any of the other players that I have played.

So on my first serve in my other matches I’m definitely getting easier points, but I think the trick is not to go for too much. She’s a good shot. Hey, what can you do? Try to put another first serve in.

Q. Serena said after the match that when she’s playing against you she doesn’t think of you as her sister. What do you think of Serena during the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I still think of her as Serena still, but I don’t — I don’t separate it.

Q. You were playing your sister out there on Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of a packed stadium. Presidential candidate, Oprah, and other dignitaries. If Arthur Ashe was there, what do you think he might have to say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea. That’s a good question. I never knew him so well. You might have to ask someone who knew him well. I imagine he would enjoy the moment.

His exact words, that’s a mystery right now.

Q. Serena said that you helped create her in a way and made her the player that she is. What would it mean to you if she doesn’t go on and go for the Grand Slam and actually succeed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that would be a huge, not just for me, but for my family just for what it represents and how hard we have worked and where we come from. So it would be a moment for our family.

But at the same time, if it doesn’t happen it’s not going to make or break you. We don’t have anything to prove. She has nothing to prove.

She’s really the best ever, so what are you going to do? Just try to make it. If you don’t, then that’s that and go to the next one.

Q. How do you feel when you say that she’s the best ever? What feeling does that give you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think she is the best ever because of the level of competition that she’s faced. There have been some unbelievable players in the past, but I have played in this, you know, seems like multiple eras at this point.

I have played the best from different eras, as well. I have seen the level of competitiveness go up, and I have seen players who are ranked 100 who didn’t believe they could win a match against you to this point fight you tooth and nail and try to take you down.

So that didn’t happen when I started. So just to be able to win at this level, I think that’s what makes her the best.

Q. If you have the chance to win your sister, will you take this chance?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I tried. Were you there? (Laughter.)

Q. What do you still want from tennis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, of course I want to win majors and I want to feel good when I’m on the court and just feel confident that I can practice there the way I want, prepare the way I want, and be able to do what I need to do on the court.

So that’s what I want. I want to be happy with my results personally. As long as that happens, then that’s good for me.

Q. She’s obviously going after Steffi’s record. Can you be a bit more specific and compare and contrast Serena’s game and Steffi’s game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah. I played both.

Well, if you compare the serve then you probably give it to Serena. If you compare the speed, they both are very fast, but probably Serena. She’s dangerous on the run.

Mental toughness, you probably have to give that to both of them. But it’s a different time. It’s a different time. You have to expect that perhaps 10, 20 years later that the next generation is going to be even at a higher level.

So let’s say Steffi played at this time. Then she would be even at a better level than she played at then.

Q. Pretty good forehand?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, huge forehand. Serena has a huge one, too. I don’t think anyone would want to face either one.

Q. Some people may think because you have taken care of Serena that you’d be conflicted tonight, that there is a part of you that doesn’t want to get in the way of her achieving a Grand Slam, but then there is a part of you that obviously wants to win and beat her. Is that a silly notion, or is there something to it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I feel like if I cared deeply about what people thought of me, I probably would have never made it out of Compton, California.

So my whole thing is to live up to hopefully my own expectations, which is the hardest thing to live up, anyway, probably to your own expectations than to other people’s.

So if I can live up to that, then I’ll be all right.

 

 

Djokovic celebrates win-001

U.S. OPEN

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/F. Lopez

6-2, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seemed really frustrated after the second set. What went wrong and how did you fix it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just frustrating when you drop — you play one sloppy service game in the beginning. Was 30-Love in that game and I allowed him to break me and the set was gone.

I thought I played a pretty good first set, and then after that, you know, I was just trying to hang in there and wait for the opportunities. I played good beginning of the third. Fourth was anybody’s game, really. Didn’t have many chances on his service games.

Played a very good tiebreak. That’s a positive.

Q. The fourth set obviously was 6-6 and goes to a tiebreak. It seemed like the tiebreak was almost over before it started. What was the difference between the fourth set and the tiebreak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I started to feel the end of the fourth like my serve, finding the range on my serve, which wasn’t working at all in the first part of the match. Obviously when you start serving better, more accurate, higher percent of first serves in, you feel more confident.

So that allowed me to kind of relax on the returns. Return points I managed to anticipate well. On 2-1 and 3-1, both of his first serves I anticipated well. Returned pretty good and, you know, allowed myself to make two mini breaks, which is a big advantage in the tiebreak.

Q. How happy are you with just your consistency tonight? Only 17 unforced errors.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, in a match like this against a player who comes in a lot, chips and charges and has a huge first serve, you need to be able to try to reduce your unforced error ratios as much as you can.

That’s why I was trying to do. Obviously always things you could have done better, but it’s a win in four sets against a player who is in form, playing well in Cincinnati, playing with the confidence, and winning against some top players.

All in all, I’m in the semifinals. I have two days off, and hopefully will be able to get ready for the next one.

Q. You have a perfect record against Cilic, but he’s the defending champion here. Do you think he takes a little more confidence into it than he normally would?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I would think so because of the fact that he won his first Grand Slam title last year in New York. He hasn’t lost a match, you know, 12, 13 matches in a row, so I’m sure that he feels confident. He won today a really close match. A couple of five-setters he had already in this tournament.

But he has a big serve. I think around 30 aces he had today, so the serve gets him out of trouble. I know him very well. I have played with him many, many times. We are great friends. Great guy.

I know what to do, and I’m opening I can execute the game plan obviously and play my best.

Q. When you face a player that you have had that much success against, do you anticipate him trying something new? Do you sort of then try to think ahead to how you would react to that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there are different scenarios that you can predict. Obviously when the moments are kind of tight and important during the match, most of the players have certain patterns of the serve and of the game.

So you try to analyze that, try and go back to those matches that I have played against him this year and other years and get myself ready.

Of course I’m sure he’s not going to start coming to the net after every ball, but I’m sure he’s gonna try to be aggressive, going to try to take his chances. That’s how he won last year US Open. I watched him play. He played great. Best tennis of his life.

This is where he loves playing. He loves the conditions on Arthur Ashe. As I said, I’m going to try to use that advantage and having success against him in the past and to my favor.

Q. Second straight match where you lost the second set and then played very good tennis afterwards. Is there a correlation? Do you just kind of make it more focused?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, again, I was focusing today on the beginning of the second. Just didn’t want to lose the concentration, and unfortunately it happened. I had a couple of break points in the first game of the second set, and obviously maybe the story would be different if I broke him there.

Started off with a break up, but I was break down and 3-Love down and he started swinging freely. I kind of backed up a little bit and the game changed. Sport of small margins, especially on the high level, one or two points can really change the course of the match.

 

314MarinCilic-001

 

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Marin Cilic

Press Conference

M. CILIC/J. Tsonga

6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you see yourself in the fifth set after three match points in the fourth, what’s going your mind? How do you regroup?
MARIN CILIC: Well, at the tiebreak when I was going down a bit with the score I was, you know, obviously disappointed with that.

At that point I was mentally on a scale either left or right. I’m going to break or, you know, either — I was asking myself, Am I going to change anything for the fifth set if it comes, or then I’m going to keep going with the same game plan?

Then I decided to, you know, stay mentally tough. You know, I was looking, thinking about third and fourth set. I didn’t play poorly. You know, Jo came up with amazing shots in the critical points, especially on all three match points that I had he played great points.

I, you know, could have done of course something differently. Could have played some shots differently and pick different spots. But the way I was playing them, I didn’t choose any bad shots or that I played bad points.

Just kept going with it. Sticked with my plan and stayed mentally tough and was very difficult day. Very demanding. Very, very hot, and of course a lot on the line for the match. Obviously with emotions and mentally was very exhausting.

So at the fifth set I was, you know, of course feeling a bit tired, but I was able to go through it.

Q. People who win Grand Slams say the hardest thing to do is come back and defend a Grand Slam. You’re deep in the tournament now, so you must feel a certain amount of pride and relief to come this far even as a defending champion.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I would say the word “pride.” I wouldn’t pick the word “relief” in there. I came to the tournament knowing that I can play well here, that I, you know, just need few matches to get into the rhythm, and that’s what happened.

I was feeling that, you know, I was starting to hit the ball much better. In the previous match with Chardy I finished with the third and fourth set really strongly. I was playing really good tennis.

Today, to beat Jo with, you know, a demanding day like this, it’s of course a huge accomplishment.

Q. Also he’s a very popular guy. How did you manage to steal the crowd away from him?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I don’t think I stole the crowd. As, you know, they were of course forcing — they want to see longer match obviously. That’s always like it is.

I didn’t mind, actually, them cheering for Jo. In the third set, when he won the third and especially when he held his serve to stay in the match when I had some match points, I just kept my coolness.

You know, at the end I used a little bit of emotions to pump the crowd at, you know, critical points. But I was, again, you know, in front and they were cheering again for Jo, but that’s absolutely normal. It was great, great atmosphere. I really enjoyed the match.

Q. How would you describe the respect that you have had coming back as a defending champion? Is it maybe less because we still have those named players: Federer and Nadal and Djokovic back, and you’re still somebody who isn’t as well known?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I felt that it was huge respect from even the tournament and people around and players around. I really felt that, you know, I’m coming differently to the tournament and I’m feeling differently.

You know, the things are set up completely different. I played several matches on the stadium, Arthur Ashe Stadium, and that, I think, there is no bad points, anything about it.

You know, just enjoying to play here.

Q. How does the absence at this stage of the tournament of Rafa and Andy Murray affect your chances, do you think?
MARIN CILIC: I don’t think that matters much. Of course they are great players, but, still, you’ve got in the draw the guys who play the best these last 10 days. Obviously all of them have deserved their spot to be here.

You know, the names that are most of the time circling around. They are of course the best players. You know that they can play the best at most consistent time.

But, you know, these guys that are left in the tournament, they are very dangerous, can. They play well. There is Stan, there is Roger still in, Novak; even Anderson is playing great tennis.

So it’s, you know, open field.

Q. Five sets. The ankle is doing okay?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah. Yeah, the ankle is doing okay. I was a bit scared after the match with Chardy, but it’s all right. It’s great to have also two more days until semis, actually three days.

Yeah, I think it’s going to be okay.

Q. You sliced some dropshots at some critical moments. Were you trying to get him to move a lot because of his knee?
MARIN CILIC: I actually didn’t plan that before the points or, you know, that I had that in the game. With Jo it’s tough to get opportunities to, you know, play some dropshots.

I actually played a couple that were very critical at the end of the match, and obviously he had some problems with his knee. I felt his serve in the third set went down a bit with the speed.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to break him, but afterwards he was serving big, and I didn’t see, you know, that it was causing too much trouble for him. Of course he wasn’t at the best shape, but, you know, I was trying to think about myself more.

Q. Today was one of the hottest days of the tournament, maybe the hottest day. How did you deal with that out on the court for a long match, five sets? Did you feel okay physically in that way?
MARIN CILIC: It was very demanding. As I mentioned, very difficult match psychologically, as well. Two sets to up — two sets to zero — I lost my words. I don’t know what I’m talking anymore. (Smiling.)

To lose the fourth set like that after three-and-a-half hours, whatever, it was very, very difficult. Extremely tough conditions today.

Q. Speaking of psychologically demanding, I know you have a younger brother who plays tennis. Can you imagine one day playing him on a stadium like this the way Venus and Serena are doing now?
MARIN CILIC: Actually, I was mentioning that to my team in the locker room. We saw the girls coming out on the court, and I said, I can’t imagine myself playing against my brother. That would be very difficult.

But, you know, it would be absolutely nice with me that he would be on the tour. You know, I would be more proud about him than myself.

Q. You’re a quiet, introverted guy; Jo is a showman. Do you really care how involved the crowd is or how they support you? Do you think about this during the match? Do you think, Gee, they aren’t really behind me or they are behind me, for the other guy, not for the other guy? What goes through your mind about that?
MARIN CILIC: It doesn’t really affect me. At most times when player is affected about these things is when he’s nervous or under stress or he’s down with the score or, you know, when things are not going his way.

And for me, I really don’t mind. Of course, I can have some tough days during the year that it would, you know, cause some provocation to me, but most of the time, 99% of the time, I really don’t mind.

I’m just focused on myself and trying to play.

Q. It didn’t affect you during the third or fourth set, for instance, when you were under stress?
MARIN CILIC: No. No, I mean, I’m aware that, you know, the crowd wants to see more tennis. I was, you know, in a similar situation several years ago when I played here. I played Novak and, you know, I was down with the score and then, you know, the crowd was cheering for me.

So, you know, it goes around.

Q. You mentioned thinking it would be difficult to play your brother. What do you think is so difficult about that, Serena and Venus? What’s difficult about that? And the second part of the question is: What’s been your perspective of Serena Williams over the past, five, ten years since you have been involved in the sport?
MARIN CILIC: Well, the most difficult part when you’re playing somebody that close is your emotions on the court. Everything is great, you know, when the score is going great in your favor. You’re keeping your coolness.

You know, the tough part is when the score is not going in your favor and you need to do something. It’s difficult, you know, to be angry, to show emotions, to be either overjoyed or show, like, bad emotions, you know, when you are playing somebody that close.

That’s I think the biggest difficulty there is. You have to sort of be like more quiet. You’re not gonna celebrate the points as much and you’re not going to go fist pumping to somebody from your family.

And for the other question, you know, as everybody knows that, they have changed the tennis, and especially Serena in last several years. She’s showing that she can change history, and then I think she can also, by achieving — you know, if she wins this year, by achieving the Grand Slam, she can help the next generations to be more motivated and to try to hunt her with the Grand Slam titles.

Q. The handshake with Jo wasn’t quite warm. I was wondering if you knew why. And if so, how do you see the next match? Could be Novak again.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I was surprised, actually. I don’t know. I really don’t know why.

But, you know, Jo shook my hand, and said, Congratulations. But that was it. I don’t know for the rest. If I provoke him or not I have no idea. I hope not.

And for Novak, if it’s gonna be him in the semis, definitely toughest match for me, toughest matchup, I would say. I haven’t beaten him ever in my career. I had close matches last few years, but I haven’t found the right formula to be able to win a match.

We will see. Trying to approach every match as a new one. You know, of course when you look at the statistic that he won that many matches against me, doesn’t, you know, go in my favor, absolutely.

But when you’re coming to the match it’s always going from zero, so it’s a new match. It’s different stage, and I’m feeling good here on the court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

 

Roberta-Vinci

 

 

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

R. VINCI/K. Mladenovic

6-3, 5-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tough battle out there today. Through to your first Grand Slam semifinal as a result of some fierce play. Talk about the match and how you feel you played.
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, of course I’m feeling good right now. It was a tough match, of course, quarterfinal. At the beginning I started to play good, much better than her, and then I won the first set.

Then 2-1 for me and break I lost my serve in 35 seconds, I think. And then starting to — she’s starting to play much better than the first set, but I think at the end, 3-All in the third set, long, long game, advantage for her, advantage for me, double fault, ace, everything, and when I won that game probably she’s going a little bit down or upset.

But of course it’s my semifinal in my career, so I’m really happy.

Q. A semifinal you’ll play against somebody with the name Williams. We don’t know which one.
ROBERTA VINCI: Doesn’t matter. I am in the semifinal. (Laughter.)

Q. How do you feel? Are you looking forward to playing your first semifinal? Maybe it doesn’t matter, but certainly going to be a lot of attention in that match.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, yeah. Of course. But doesn’t matter if Serena or Venus.

I’m so happy. I would like to enjoy my semifinal on Thursday. I did not expect one semifinal at the US Open, so I’m really happy. Now I enjoy my day. Tomorrow rest and play my game on Thursday.

I have nothing to lose. We will see.

Q. You said you didn’t — I think you said you didn’t expect to be in the semifinals right now.
ROBERTA VINCI: No.

Q. I know you haven’t been in one before. But is it fair to say that you have exceeded your expectations in this tournament thus far?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, I played good in Toronto; Cincinnati started to play much better.

But when you play the Grand Slams, always tough and you have a lot of pressure because there are so many points and so you can reach — you can improve your ranking.

But I think I have also good draw, because Suarez lost, Jankovic the same, Bouchard.

So maybe this was my tournament. I don’t know. Sometimes it can happen. Yeah.

Q. You’re one of six players in the top 40 for Italy. Today you made a major contribution. How proud are you of that contribution? How proud do you feel your country is of you right now, being the first into the semifinals? You won the race. You’re the first one in there.
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, yeah I’m happy. In Italy there are so many good players. Maybe see. Maybe tomorrow Flavia, she has to play, so probably she can reach also the semifinals, too.

I’m proud. Of course I’m really happy one Italian girl goes to the semifinal. Of course.

Q. Some players, you know, they make it to the semifinals, make the slam breakthrough early in their career; you’re making yours later in your career. I am curious as to what you think it means for you? What does it mean for you to make a slam semi now?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, it’s nice. I’m 32. I’m not young. So probably my experience today help me a lot. Kristina is a young player, so probably she find a little bit tension or something.

Of course I think I’m at the end of my career, so my semifinal, first semifinal, it’s incredible. You know, when you work hard for a long time and every single day, sometimes you have some periods down and try to come back. It’s not always easy.

But it’s nice. I’m very proud of myself.

Q. Could you break down playing either Serena or Venus with what you expect from each matchup.
ROBERTA VINCI: When they play tonight? For me?

Q. When you play.
ROBERTA VINCI: Against Serena or Venus?

Q. Yes. Talk about each of them.
ROBERTA VINCI: Wow. Tough match for both. Yeah, Serena is Serena, but Venus is still playing so good. But what I said, I have nothing to lose. Just play my game. Enjoy my match. We will see.

But of course I’m really happy now to go to the semifinal.

Q. Talk about how your experience might have helped you today. From your experiences against both of them, if memory serves me, seven matches you have played against Venus and Serena. What do you think you can take from any of those matches that would help you in the semifinal?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, I know that I have a lot of experience, but when you play against Serena doesn’t matter. (Smiling.) You have to play better then better then better.

And also, I think also against Venus.

Well, I have to play. I have to play my game, aggressive, nothing special. Yeah, I know I have a lot of experience, but maybe against them I don’t need this experience.

Q. What are your thoughts about the way your game has evolved during this tournament? How does that compare with what you were thinking when the tournament began?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, now I’m starting to play much better, more aggressive. I feel good. Also my body is okay. I don’t have injury. Maybe now I’m more solid and more in confidence.

You know, when you won a lot of matches you are a little bit of, yeah, in confidence.

So now I’m good. I’m feeling good. I mean, yeah. Is nice when you have this sensation. You know, when you go on the court, okay, let’s play.

When you don’t feel the balls or something goes wrong it’s tough, but now the things goes in a good way.

Q. What has given you that much confidence playing on the hard courts during this tournament?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, they are hard court. The balls, the balance, the surface, everything. I like to play in the States. I like to play here. It’s nice. (Smiling.)

Q. You’re a great doubles player. How much of that doubles success has rounded out your game to an all-court player? You’re starting to use your shots a bit more in your singles, it looks like.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, yeah, with Sara we won a lot of Grand Slams, so maybe I have a lot of experience, and then in doubles you can try some shot or something different, and you can also try to in singles.

I think the doubles help a lot. Yeah.

Q. How did this confidence help you in that marathon game in the third set? How did you stay focused? Did you know how important that game was?
ROBERTA VINCI: Was tough to stay focused, was tired at the end, but also her. Three whole long game. That was I think the key, because, yeah, she was also tired.

But on my mind I say, Play every single point. Don’t think about the results. Don’t think about the quarterfinal. Oh, maybe I go to the semis. Don’t think about that.

Play aggressive. That’s it. Try to stay calm. It was tough, but it’s okay.

Q. You were speaking before about the Williams sisters. With Serena specifically, when you watch her play, what goes through your mind?
ROBERTA VINCI: She’s the No. 1. She’s incredible player. I played against her in Toronto three weeks ago. The serve, it’s incredible. It’s tough to return. She’s the No. 1.

Q. How about her mental strength? How would you describe that?
ROBERTA VINCI: It’s not easy. You have sometimes you have to try to return and try to put the ball on the court. It’s not easy to do, but we will see. Maybe Thursday I can do it. (Smiling.)

Q. Is there a match or a win over the last summer that you point to and say that was the match where you got the most confidence?
ROBERTA VINCI: In the past?

Q. Just this summer. You had a very good hard court summer and you had some good wins. I’m just wondering if there is one match that you can point to as being…
ROBERTA VINCI: One match? Well, maybe the match against Bouchard that I play — I play so good. She play so-and-so, but I was tough, tough player. (Smiling.)

Q. Speaking of Bouchard, how fresh do you feel today? You didn’t have to play a fourth-round match?
ROBERTA VINCI: I was tired. I was tired. I didn’t play, but, you know, a lot of pressure in your mind and a lot of energy that you lost about this match.

I’m joking, of course. I didn’t play so I had one day off. It was good for my body.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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Serena Williams Moves into US Open Semifinals with Three-set Win over Sister Venus

(September 8, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It was Serena Williams versus Venus Williams part 27 as the sisters battled it out on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night at the US Open.

Serena kept her hopes for the Grand Slam alive with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win over Venus.

In the first set Serena broke Venus’ serve twice to capture the set 6-2.

In the second set, errors crept into Serena’s game and the 23rd seed Venus ran up a 5-1 score. Serena hit 3 double faults of her total of five in the match, while Venus continued to hit powerful groundstrokes, shot for shot with her sister. Serena saved two set points, but could not save a third, set to Venus 6-1.

In the third set Serena broke in the second a game and held the rest of the way for 6-3.

At the net, the two sisters embraced and Venus said “I’m so happy for you,” to Serena.

“I think I will look back on it fondly,” Serena said of the hug at the net. “It means a lot to me. Obviously we are very, very tough competitors on the court, but once the match is over and the second it’s done, you know, we’re sisters, we’re roommates, and we’re all that.”

“It’s really great to see her do so well,” Serena continued. “She was at an unbelievable level today. Down to the match point it just was not easy. It’s probably the toughest match I have played in a really, really, really long time where I wasn’t actually beating myself. I was out there facing an incredibly tough opponent.

“Yeah, so it was just seeing and knowing that she has that level is so good and inspiring, as well, and hopefully it’s encouraging for her, too. I think against any other player she for sure would have won.”

“I think she is the best ever because of the level of competition that she’s faced,” Venus said of her sister. “There have been some unbelievable players in the past, but I have played in this, you know, seems like multiple eras at this point.

“I have played the best from different eras, as well. I have seen the level of competitiveness go up, and I have seen players who are ranked 100 who didn’t believe they could win a match against you to this point fight you tooth and nail and try to take you down.

“So that didn’t happen when I started. So just to be able to win at this level, I think that’s what makes her the best.”

Serena is now 16-11 against Venus, 9-5 in majors.

Serena is on a 33-match winning streak in majors, a 26-match winning streak at the US Open.

Serena hit 35 winners to 35 unforced errors. She won 9 of 11 points at the net and was 3 for 6 in break point chances.

Serena will play Roberta Vinci for a spot in the final.

Defending US Open champion Marin Cilic was pushed to five sets by 19th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4 in his quarterfinal match which lasted almost four hours on Tuesday.

“He just hit the ball a little bit more properly than me at the right moment, and that was a huge difference at the end, because he just made it,” Tsonga said. “He just made it.”

“A big mental fight,” Cilic said after the match, “especially after losing that fourth set.”

Cilic talked about regrouping after failing to close out the match  in the fourth set: “Well, at the tiebreak when I was going down a bit with the score I was, you know, obviously disappointed with that.

“At that point I was mentally on a scale either left or right. I’m going to break or, you know, either — I was asking myself, Am I going to change anything for the fifth set if it comes, or then I’m going to keep going with the same game plan?

“Then I decided to, you know, stay mentally tough. You know, I was looking, thinking about third and fourth set. I didn’t play poorly. You know, Jo came up with amazing shots in the critical points, especially on all three match points that I had he played great points.

“I, you know, could have done of course something differently. Could have played some shots differently and pick different spots. But the way I was playing them, I didn’t choose any bad shots or that I played bad points.

“Just kept going with it. Sticked with my plan and stayed mentally tough and was very difficult day. Very demanding. Very, very hot, and of course a lot on the line for the match. Obviously with emotions and mentally was very exhausting.

“So at the fifth set I was, you know, of course feeling a bit tired, but I was able to go through it.”

“Jo just came up with amazing shots,” Cilic said.

The Croatian will face  No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Djokovic reached his ninth US Open semifinal in a row defeating 18th seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

“I thought I played a pretty good first set, and then after that, you know, I was just trying to hang in there and wait for the opportunities,” Djokovic said. “I played good beginning of the third. Fourth was anybody’s game, really. Didn’t have many chances on his service games.”

“I started to feel the end of the fourth like my serve, finding the range on my serve, which wasn’t working at all in the first part of the match. Obviously when you start serving better, more accurate, higher percent of first serves in, you feel more confident.

“So that allowed me to kind of relax on the returns. Return points I managed to anticipate well. On 2-1 and 3-1, both of his first serves I anticipated well. Returned pretty good and, you know, allowed myself to make two mini breaks, which is a big advantage in the tiebreak.”

Djokovic has never lost to Cilic and was asked about Cilic’s confidence.

 “Because of the fact that he won his first Grand Slam title last year in New York. He hasn’t lost a match, you know, 12, 13 matches in a row, so I’m sure that he feels confident. He won today a really close match. A couple of five-setters he had already in this tournament.

“But he has a big serve. I think around 30 aces he had today, so the serve gets him out of trouble. I know him very well. I have played with him many, many times. We are great friends. Great guy.

“I know what to do, and I’m opening I can execute the game plan obviously and play my best.”

“Well, there are different scenarios that you can predict. Obviously when the moments are kind of tight and important during the match, most of the players have certain patterns of the serve and of the game.

“So you try to analyze that, try and go back to those matches that I have played against him this year and other years and get myself ready.

“Of course I’m sure he’s not going to start coming to the net after every ball, but I’m sure he’s gonna try to be aggressive, going to try to take his chances. That’s how he won last year US Open. I watched him play. He played great. Best tennis of his life.

“This is where he loves playing. He loves the conditions on Arthur Ashe. As I said, I’m going to try to use that advantage and having success against him in the past and to my favor.”

The two other men’s quarterfinals matches on the other half of the men’s draw are on Wednesday. They will feature No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 12 Richard Gasquet of France, and No. 5 Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 15 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.

Williams will play Roberta Vinci in her semifinal. At age 32, this will be the Italian’s first major semifinal. Vinci survived an ailing Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

Vinci, ranked at No. 43 is playing her 44th major. Only Elena Likhovtseva had played in more majors, 46 before reaching the 2005 French Open semifinal.

“I’m so happy, Vinci said. “I would like to enjoy my semifinal on Thursday. I did not expect one semifinal at the US Open, so I’m really happy. Now I enjoy my day. Tomorrow rest and play my game on Thursday.

“I have nothing to lose. We will see.”

“Definitely a little bit more old school, but also a really great matchup, because it’s fun to see people that can still come to the net and still hit slice and still hit one-handers,” Serena said about her next challenger. “It’s different. It’s good for tennis.”

Serena stands just two victories away from winning the Grand Slam and her 22nd major, tying her with Steffi Graf for second on the all-time major list, two behind Margaret Court.

 

 

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In Their Own Words – Serena and Venus Williams

(September 6, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Venus and Serena Williams have set up a sister versus sister clash in the quarterfinals of the US Open set for Tuesday. This will be their 27th meeting overall. Serena hold the edge with a 15-11  record.

Older sister Venus knocked out 19-year-old qualifier Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 6-1 in only 50 minutes. At 35 Venus is the oldest competitor on the women’s side of the draw.

No. 1 Serena Williams took just  68 minutes to defeat the 20-year-old rising star 19th-seeded Madison Keys on Sunday 6-3, 6-3.

IMG_9007_Serena_TPN_box

U.S. OPEN

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Serena Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/M. Keys

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were asked the other day if you can remember a match this year that you really felt good after and satisfied with. Is this a match that you feel good about?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I played really well. I had to play well. I did hit a ball that bounced before it hit the net, so that is a first. (Smiling.)

Q. When Venus was here earlier she said even playing against you is fun, that it’s always fun playing tennis. What is it like for you on the court and even thinking about it before you step on the court to play your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Nowadays, I would agree, I think it’s more fun than it used to be. We really relish the opportunity. We’re both happy to still be involved in getting so far.

And it’s still super intense. She’s doing well and she wants to win this. So do I. It’s not easy.

Q. What do you think your rivalry has meant to the sport?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it’s been an amazing rivalry. I think it’s meant a lot. We’ve done a lot for the sport. I think, you know, hopefully it can continue as long as we play.

Q. You said you have been calm for a while. What was it about this match that made you so relaxed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I haven’t really felt a lot of pressure. Only in that second round; for whatever reason I got tight. The whole tournament I’ve been really kind of rather relaxed.

I don’t really feel like if I win this tournament it’s going to make or break my career.

So, you know, I look at it that way.

Q. How do you prepare differently to play your older sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I’m playing, for me, the best player in the tournament, and that’s never easy. She’s beaten me so many times. I’ve taken a lot of losses off of her – more than anybody.

Yeah, she’s a player that knows how to win, knows how to beat me, and knows my weaknesses better than anyone.

So it’s not an easy match at all. Hopefully things will go right.

Q. Genie Bouchard just withdrew with a concussion. We’re not used to seeing that much in tennis. Have you ever had one or tried to play through one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’ve never had it. Well, there was one time I was at the pizza joint in Palm Beach and I did fall and hit my neck and head. I don’t know if that counts as one. I came to the next morning.

Anyways, that was it. (Smiling.)

Q. When was this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That was an interesting story. But the pizza never fell. It was perched perfectly in my hand as I slipped.

But anyway, that’s the closest I’ve been to a concussion.

Q. When did that happen?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Earlier this year.

Q. Venus was in here earlier and she said she loves you dearly, but you have an annual family reunion. She wasn’t thrilled with the idea that every year you seem to pick the theme of the reunion. How would you respond to that very serious accusation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know what? Her team are just haters, to be honest. They’re jealous. Our team, the Kryptonians, do well. We tend to win every year.

We’ll just let it slide off our shoulders. We don’t take it personal.

Q. Because you know each other so well, is it hard not to overthink?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. For me it’s about that moment, about doing well at that moment. It’s not very easy. Like I said, for me, the only player in the draw I don’t want to play, not only because she’s my sister, but for me she’s the best player.

So it’s not easy.

Q. Will the two of you interact more or less the next couple days before you play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t think anything’s going to change. Whatever the outcome is, I don’t think it’s going to change either.

Q. What is it about her game that you admire most?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we play a lot. She plays similar. She’s fast; I’m fast. She hits hard; I hit hard. She serves big; I serve big.

We have a very similar game. We’ve had the same coach for a long time. It’s like playing a mirror. I have to be really ready.

Q. Is it harder or easier to lose to Venus than another player? If you have to lose, would you rather lose to her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would rather lose to Venus as opposed to anyone else. I, in general, don’t like to lose.

Yeah, so hopefully we’ll just go out and do the best that we can, and whatever happens hopefully have a good attitude about it.

Q. The match you had in Montréal was really high quality last year and just tooth and nail. What do you remember about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She played really good in that match. I mean, she did everything well. I won the first set barely; probably shouldn’t have. She came back and never gave up.

She served well. Yeah, she just did everything to win that match, so…

Q. She’s playing really well right now. Is that a concern, that she’s in top form?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Always. It’s always a concern. I’m going to have to play better, keep up my level, keep playing better.

Q. You didn’t serve many double-faults today. Did you think about that at all during the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I did, obviously, because I’ve been serving so many recently. Normally I serve like this my whole career. Past year and a half I haven’t.

But, no, my serve was definitely better. I also was hitting them a lot harder than I normally hit ’em. Still didn’t hit the double-faults.

Q. Is there a match that stands out in your mind when you played Venus where you felt like you played the best match against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t really remember a lot of matches I play against her. I don’t like to remember them.

Q. How do you deal with the pressure that in a long time you may become the first player to win all four major tournaments?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have to play Venus Williams next. I have to deal with that pressure first.

Q. Can you imagine being as successful without having Venus as your counter?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely not, no. I think she helped create me, for sure.

Q. From the outside looking in it looks like you flip a switch. From your perspective, how do you do that? You all of a sudden turn it on.
SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to. If you’re playing a great player, someone that knows how to win, you have to play better or you can go home.

You can choose one, so…

Q. Venus talked about you guys playing informally growing up. She recalls winning all the time. What do you remember most about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she always won. Like always. I don’t remember much. I just remember I never was able to beat her, and I don’t think I liked playing her, so…

Q. You and Venus are so popular and well-known. There are a couple of other sisters, the president’s daughters. Have you ever met them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, I met them. They’re really nice young ladies, beautiful young ladies. They’ve matured. I’ve met them at different stages of their life. They’ve really matured.

They’re just becoming really ladies to look up to and be role models.

Q. Did you chat with them at all about life?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Maybe now I can, but no.

Q. You tapped into your intensity when you needed to in your matches. When you play Venus, it’s a little bit muted, probably out of respect. How do you deal with that balance when you’re competing against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess I just try to be more internally excited. I still have a few C’mons, maybe not as many, but I’m definitely obviously as intense.

Q. What do you think of the example of the way you and Venus have conducted each other on the court has meant to people about friendly competition and sisters going at it but not disturbing their relationship?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it’s been a great experience. I feel like Venus and I have definitely proven that you can be friends and you can be sisters, you can be enemies on the court, and you can be friends and sisters off the court.

Q. Do you have any idea why it took so long that any player came up, after Steffi Graf, who has a chance to win all major tournaments in one year? What is the reason it took so long?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know why it took me so long. (Smiling.).

Q. Back to Genie Bouchard. She’s had a rough patch. Now she’s playing great this year. How much the confidence comes back when you win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it comes back fast. This is just a little hiccup. Hopefully she’ll be okay.

Q. You mentioned before that the girls you have in Africa, the schoolgirls, they see you play, they play some tennis themselves. Is it instructional? Do you have any designs to put an academy over there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not yet. That’s definitely something I want to look forward to when I’m done with all this.

Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

U.S. OPEN

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Venus Williams

Press Conference

V. WILLIAMS/A. Kontaveit

6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. If you were not here will you be watching your sister’s match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. But also after the match you have to cooldown and do different things. Have to still respect the process as well.

So it’s a balance between both.

Q. What is the most challenging thing emotionally and what is the most challenging thing in terms of tennis when you’re facing Serena in a match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, obviously that she’s so good. What else can you do except try to win the point and hope she doesn’t hit an ace.

Q. Emotionally what are the challenges? Obviously none of us have ever experienced anything like what you do. How would you best describe…
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, we’re both prepared obviously hoping she gets through this match. She’s looking good. We both know the draw so we are both prepared to play each other in case we both play well.

It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes it does. Then we go. We go.

Q. Do you have fun when you play against her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Tennis is fun, so any day that I’m out doing what I love, and I think she feels the same, then that’s the day that you feel blessed.

Q. Which is the more powerful feeling looking potentially to a match with her? The irony of meeting her at that stage here, or the sort of joy and wonder of the fact that you’re meeting her again here after so many years?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t know about the joy and wonder, per se, but it’s still all focus. You still have to prepare. Still have to play well.

Even though you’re playing your sister you have to be prepared and focus. The preparation doesn’t change.

Q. We know what will be at stake for her. (Indiscernible.)
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, obviously getting to a Grand Slam semifinal is the next step toward the final. Pretty clear what’s up for grabs here.

Q. A lot of other players were asked, How does it feel to be the spoiler of the Grand Slam, trying to derail Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Would they feel bad?

Q. Most of them said they would feel fine with it. Just wondering how you would feel.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t think anyone wants to be a spoiler. I think people love to see history being made. I think. No one is out to be a spoiler, but at the same time, you’re focused on winning your match even though the circumstances are really much different than you.

Q. When Serena was asked to name the one thing that got under her skin about you, she said your dog, who was loyal to her until you come home and she abandons Serena. I know you love her dearly, but the one thing that gets a little bit under your skin about your little sister?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we have a family gathering every year, and every year I don’t get much say. She always picks the theme, and so that bothers me. (Laughter.)

Q. On court when she makes a great crosscourt forehand or good volley or something, an ace, do you ever get a little frustrated with her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I play a lot of opponents who just play out of their head, that’s kind of a usual day for me. There’s no easy days.

At least you expect that from Serena. She’s not playing at a level that’s abnormal, it’s just her level.

Q. How do you account for the level of your play this week?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Been great. I’m happy. Whenever it’s a win, doesn’t matter what the level is because you have a chance to improve.

So today definitely was my highest level; the last round was pretty high, too. I think my opponent today was very good. She took a lot of risk. She has power, determination.

I think just the experience helped me to be able to keep the scoreline a lot easier. I think she’s not used to those kind of balls coming back or coming back at the pace or facing a serve at that pace or the constant focus, so those are probably new things for her.

But if she continues to play then she will experience that more and it will be more commonplace.

Q. Anything different in your approach or your training to the game this week?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Just try to focus on the good things and try to not be too hard on yourself in these tournaments. You have to really give yourself a pat on the back for the good things.

As a professional athlete you’re always going for perfection, but it’s not always realistic.

Q. A lot of talk has been made about you getting your college degree. Serena is taking pre-med classes, as well. Can you just talk about your parents and the importance that they stressed education and being a well-rounded person growing up?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It’s great to know that they didn’t put all the eggs in the basket of you’re going to be a professional tennis player, because if that doesn’t happen it can be tragic.

So to be a well-rounded person and know what’s going on in the world around you, to have a perspective outside of your sport, is important for every athlete. I’m blessed that our parents gave us that.

Q. Can you recall your first match versus Serena? I remember reading in the newspapers a lot of speculation saying, Oh, father Richard is saying that today Venus should win or today Serena should win. Of course you always say it wasn’t true, but what your father was saying to you before your matches against your sister, and what would he say today when you have to play Serena in such an important match for her especially and for you also?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. He wouldn’t say anything. Just stay relaxed and have fun. Especially when we play each other, he doesn’t even come to those matches.

Q. Didn’t come but he was talking to you.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. No. No, at that point it’s both of your daughters, so whoever wins is a win anyway for you. I think that’s how my parents feel.

Q. So much focus on Serena, but do you think you can win the US Open this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course. I’d love to. But it’s easier said than done.

Q. What would it feel like to win this?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. (Smiling.) It feels so good. But, you know, that’s not the thing that you focus on. You focus on the moment of whatever round that is.

Next round is the quarterfinals. That’s my focus, and not really to win.

Q. Genie Bouchard has had a head injury and doubtful she will actually play. I guess it’s up to her whether she will be able to play. Do you think it’s a situation where tennis doctors or officials should prevent a player they think might be endangering themselves by taking the court to play, or should that always be totally up to the athlete?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t even know what the rule is on that.

Q. I think the rule is up to her.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay. Well, it’s up to her. It’s difficult for anyone to tell you not to play, especially at this stage in the tournament you want to give it your all.

So I don’t know what she’s going through. I have no idea what the circumstances are. But it’s just super unfortunate and just not ideal, and especially she’s playing so well. It’s like the last think you think is going to happen.

Q. You’re getting a lot of questions on your legacy and impact, especially this year. How does it make you feel? Do you feel lucky to get them or what?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t know. A question is a question for me. I don’t take anything personal. Unless it’s a crazy question. Then we’re going to go toe to toe.

But it’s all good as long as long as it’s respectful.

Q. You said a few minutes ago that it’s fun even when you’re playing Serena. What has the opportunity to play against Serena as many times as you have had that opportunity on the biggest of stages, what has that meant to both of you, you in particular, and what do you think it’s meant to the sport?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I like to think it’s helped the sport to grow because it’s been such an unusual circumstance and so intriguing for everyone.

I don’t remember the other part of the question.

Q. What has it meant to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What’s it meant to me? I don’t know. I feel like that’s what we always wanted growing up, just to be out there on the big stage duking it out when someone named Williams will win. That’s a given on that one.

Q. You talk about the informal matches that you and Serena had growing up. Do you remember the first time she beat you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, in (indiscernible) she didn’t. That was a giant, though. It was always so tall and she was really small at the time. So it wasn’t a fair match, really.

Q. You and Serena have so many offcourt ventures in the business world and philanthropy. Is there comfort whenever you decide to walk away from the game you have all these opportunities lined up for you the second you leave?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Absolutely, absolutely, because there’s a big part of me that wants to be able not to move away from tennis but to explore other things in life and to transition and to find new challenges.

Of course I will always be involved with tennis, but it’s a certain challenge when you try something new. I love that.

Q. You have talked about in the past Kimiko Date has been the elder statesman and now you are. Following on his question, once you decide to hang it up, whenever that is, with the tennis involvement involve going back to Compton, helping kids there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I will be low key, just helping kids in the neighborhood or people who might want advice. Definitely need a break from traveling. I will take a break from tennis in terms of that.

Maybe I will come back at some point 20 years down the road and someone asks me to coach. I’m all right, I’m…

Q. Academy of some sort?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. An English writer wrote a line about siblings know every little detail and every little nuance of the other sibling. Do you think you know everything there is about Serena? And if not, what do you think it might be?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope so. It might help me in the match, right? I don’t know what the score is, but theoretically, so…

Q. Can you see yourself playing doubles for…
VENUS WILLIAMS: For?

Q. You could continue to play doubles until after you’re 50 years old. Can you see yourself after playing singles playing doubles in Grand Slam tournaments?
VENUS WILLIAMS: If Serena wants to, yeah, maybe. We’ll see.

Q. Have your other sisters said who they will root for if Serena makes the quarters?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, that’s never come up. That’s never come up.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129

 

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Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.
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Nadal Beaten by Fognini After 2 Set Lead; Serena Williams Survives Mattek-Sands at US Open

 

(September 4, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY –

Spectators got more than they bargained for during the night session of the US Open on Friday. Rafael Nadal lost and Serena Williams was forced to come back again to keep her hopes of a Grand Slam alive. The action lasted until 1:30 Saturday morning.

No. 8 Nadal came into the third round never losing a Grand Slam match when taking a two-set lead until he was beaten 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 by the 32nd seed Fabio Fognini. Nadal led by two-sets and a break of serve before the Italian’s comeback began.

“He play great,” Nadal said. “It was not a match that I lost, even if I had opportunities. It’s a match that he wins.

“So accept. Not happy that he played better than me, but that’s what happened. He played better than me, no? I didn’t play bad at all. I played a normal match, but not enough.

“So not happy with that. But accept that he was better than me today.”

“Well, I was starting to feel the ball really good, believe me,” Fognini said. “I lost that first set 6-3, but I was say in my mind, Okay, let’s try, let’s keeping working; do your tennis.

“I went down a break. After come back on 4-4, I went 40-Love on that game and I lost incredible game. So was my fault. Even if I come back from break down, I was say, Okay, let’s try. But two sets to zero against Rafa, maybe you have to go to Lourdes.

“I went there tonight and everything was in a perfect way.”

The loss ended the Spaniard’s 10 year run of winning at least one major.

“No, the only thing that means is I played worse than the last 10 years,” Nadal said. That’s the real thing.

“By the way, for me was amazing win 10 years in a row Grand Slam. I think nobody did. You can imagine how difficult is make that happen.

“Accept that was not my year and keep fighting till the end of the season to finish in a positive way for me. Finish the season with the feeling that I improved something from the beginning of the season. That’s something that I think I am doing.

“I think I have a good base now. As I said, good thing is I am not playing terrible matches like I did at the beginning of the season. When I am losing, I am losing because the opponents beat me, not because I lose the match, as I did a lot of times at the beginning of the season.

“That’s an improvement for me, so I have a base now. That is a start. I know what I have to do and I going to work on it.”

“I start really bad the season,” said the Italian. “I was starting really bad at the beginning in Australia. I play well on clay on the second month of the year. I play really bad another time on Indian Wells and Miami.

“But, you know, I was saying the first day that I came here, after play again really good on clay with the final against Rafa and two quarterfinal, I was feeling really well. I been playing really good, feeling on court really well.

“I play only two matches, that’s true. I play Monfils and I play Kokkinakis, but in two different way, for sure.

“For sure with Kokkinakis I play high level, even if I lost. With Monfils I play really good the first set, 0-6, breakpoint won. Second set I was really tired because I was coming directly to Europe.

“After Cincinnati I take two day off, recovery, start practice really hard four, five day of the week. I’m here for the first time in the fourth round.”

This will be the first-ever appearance in the round of 16 at the US Open for Fognini.

 

 

Before Nadal took the court, Serena Williams had to come back from a set down again to defeat American countrywoman wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6, 7-5, 6-0, winning the last 8 games. She has now gone 24-0 in majors this year.

“Getting out of it so many times definitely helps me,” Williams said. “It’s definitely not something I want to do, though. But, hey, a win’s a win, I guess.”

“Just know usually when I’m down, I mean, I feel like if I’m not playing well, I know I can take it to another level. But if I’m down and I’m playing well, then I probably won’t win.

“But usually, you know, I know that I can play better. I just try to tap into the energy and I try to play better.”

Williams is looking to become the first woman since Steffi Graff in 1988 to win the Grand Slam. She is just four victories away from achieving history and winning her 22nd major.

“I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been on this train. I love metaphors. I’ve never been on this train. It’s different. It’s definitely different.”

Women’s
Singles – Third Round
[13] Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. [17] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-3, 7-5
[23] Venus Williams (USA) def. [12] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-3, 6-4
[1] Serena Williams (USA) def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-0
[25] Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) def. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) def. Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-2, 6-3
Anett Kontaveit (EST) def. Madison Brengle (USA) 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
[19] Madison Keys (USA) def. [15] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 6-3, 6-2
Roberta Vinci (ITA) def. Mariana Duque-Mariño (COL) 6-1, 5-7, 6-2

Men’s
Singles – Third Round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. [25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) 63 75 75
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 67(5) 76(1) 63 67(3) 61

[32] Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. [8] Rafael Nadal (ESP) 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
[18] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. [10] Milos Raonic (CAN) 62 76(4) 63
[23] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. [14] David Goffin (BEL) 26 57 63 31 ret.
[19] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 75 62
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. [26] Tommy Robredo (ESP) 76(3) 61 61

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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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