May 29, 2016

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

Venus fistpump

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

Konta came into Melbourne ranked 47th in the world.

Konta hit 37 winners in the match.

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

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

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

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

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

Konta will play Shaui Zhang in her quarterfinal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Qualifier Zhang Shuai Topples Second Seed Simona Halep at Australian Open

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



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

Johanna Konta_270915

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Defending Auckland Champ Venus Williams Falls in Opener

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

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

Results – Tuesday, Jan 5

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

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

Schedule – Wednesday, Jan 6

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

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

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


With Title Win in Zhuhai, Venus Williams Returns to the WTA Top Ten


(November 8, 2015) Venus Williams ended her 2015 season by reaching the Top Ten for the first time in four years, when the 35-year-old top seed defeated Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 7-6 (6) to win the WTA Elite Trophy on Sunday in Zhuhai.

Williams held off a set point against the Czech in the second set tiebreak and secured the win. For Williams it’s her third WTA trophy of the year, also taking titles in Wuhan and Auckland.

“I’m so excited to win the first trophy in Zhuhai,” Williams said on court after the match. “All the players felt so welcome here and we appreciated all of the enthusiasm. To see every seat filled for every match, that’s all the players and tournament hope for.”

“I was really lucky to win at the end.”

The Zhuhai event had 11 of the top players who did not qualify for last week’s WTA Finals tournament in Singapore which hosted 8 of the top ten players.


Venus Williams Wins Wuhan Open After Muguruza Retires


Venus wins Auckland

(October 3, 2015) Venus Williams won the Wuhan Open on Saturday when her opponent Garbine Muguruza retired with a left ankle injury while trailing 6-3, 3-0. For the 35-year-old American, this was her 47th career WTA singles trophy.

“I had pain the ankle since yesterday,” said the fifth-seeded Spaniard. “I’ve played a lot of matches and today my body had pain everywhere. I didn’t have much time to recover from yesterday. There is nothing you can do when it’s like this. I guess I didn’t recover.

“I was feeling very tired but I said that I am going to the court even if my leg is, like broken. I woke up saying, “come on, I’m going to play,” but during the match I was like, ‘oh shit, I’m getting tired, my leg is hurting, my ankle is hurting.’ In the first set I had my chances but with Venus it’s hard. If you’re not 100% percent fit you can’t find a way to play against her. “

For the unseeded Williams, this WTA Premier 5 event is her biggest title in five years, since Dubai 2010 and her second tournament victory in 2015. She also won the event in Auckland.

“I feel like everyone else on tour, I work hard, I do my best and as long as you continue to work hard and believe in yourself then you can have the results you want,: Williams said. “That’s exactly what I’ve done and it hasn’t been the easiest road but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a road worth traveling.

“I didn’t think of quitting but it’s definitely a lot of stress to play when you’re in pain. But for me I focus on everything that I can accomplish and not on what’s bothering me. My opponent wasn’t so lucky today. The pain was just too much for her and I was really sorry to hear that.

“Today, we both play really similar. Maybe experience helped me today. I know today she couldn’t do everything that she wanted to do. She couldn’t feel free and comfortable on the court. Of course it’s not always as exciting playing an opponent who doesn’t feel their best so I hope that she gets better.”

Williams, who is ranked 24th in the world will move up to 14 when the rankings come out on Monday. Muguruza will move to a career high ranking of No. 5.

Next stop for both women will be Beijing.


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.”


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

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


Not before 12.30pm
[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



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.

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

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)


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.


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


Serena Williams

Serena Williams


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


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


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference


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.





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






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.

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