October 8, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wimbledon Singles Results for July 1, 2015

Men’s Singles Second round

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

Singles – Second Round

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

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


Halep, Bouchard Beaten, Williams Sisters Withdraw from Doubles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The loss will put Bouchard out of the Top 20.

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

RESULTS – JUNE 29, 2015
Singles – First Round

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serena Williams is 33-1 on the year.

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

RESULTS – JUNE 29, 2015
Singles – First Round

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


Murray, Sharapova Advance as Venus Williams Falls at Roland Garros

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Scot talked about the windy conditions on court.

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

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

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


Halep, Bouchard and Venus Williams Fall in Madrid


madrid logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



Venus Williams Withdraws From Fed Cup Tie Against Italy

Venus Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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


Venus Williams Loses to Carla Suarez Navarro in Miami Open Quarterfinal

Carla Suarez Navarro

Carla Suarez Navarro

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

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

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

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

Williams made 41 unforced errors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Venus and Serena Williams Reach Miami Quarters

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 30, 2015) Venus Williams kept her record perfect against No. 4 seed Caroline Wozniacki on Monday at the Miami Open defeating the Dane 6-3, 7-6(1).

Venus, a three-time Miami winner joined her sister seven-time winner Serena in the quarterfinals. Serena bested two-time major champ Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3.

Venus and Serena could meet in the final of the tournament.

Venus did not return to Indian Wells as her sister did two weeks ago but spoke about her sister’s return.

“It was wonderful to see,” Venus said. “I definitely watched every moment, and it was great to see her and my family there. Next year will be a big year for us being an Olympic year.

“I can’t exactly say what my schedule will be, but it was wonderful to see her reception.”

“I have heard so much about how much the tournament has just improved in general in terms of the fans and the players.

“So it will be something to see for me.”

“She’s playing really well,” Serena said of her sister’s play. “She’s playing really aggressive. I have always said what Venus has gone through has really motivated me.

“I think a lot of the things happened to help me become a better player in the past few years. You know, that’s another thing. I was really motivated by her and her spirit and her fight.

“I thought that I was doing really well, that I could ‑‑ I thought since she was doing really well, I could, as well.”

Another American reaching the quarterfinals is Sloane Stephens who stopped 18-year-old Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-6 (5). Other women reaching the final eight include Carla Suarez-Navarro, Sabine Lisicki, Karolina Pliskova and Andrea Petkovic.

Four-time champion and No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat qualifier Steve Darcis 6-0, 7-5 to reach the final 16 where he will meet Alexandr Dolgopolov.

“I saw a couple of matches he played here, and he’s feeling good,” Djokovic said of his next opponent. He likes this surface. Generally likes a bit slower court with a higher bounce.

“Very quick dynamic motion on the serve and can serve very big for somebody of his height. And moves around very well around the court.

“So I know his game pretty well. I know what to expect. Hopefully I’ll be able to start as well as I did in the first two matches, but then end it in a bit different way. Keep the concentration going, you know, all the way through.”

Also advancing were No. 4 Kei Nishikori, No. 5 Milos Raonic while No. 9 Grigor Dimitrov fell to John Isner in straight sets.

More to follow.


Serena Williams Wins Easily in Opening Match at Miami Open

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 28, 2015) Seven-time champion Serena Williams extended her winning streak at the Miami Open to 13 after winning her opening match over Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-1.

The two-time defending champion and world No. 1 just last weekend withdrew before her semifinal match at Indian Wells with a right knee injury. The 19-time major champ did not appear to be hindered by her injury.

“It was a little sore in practice, but it was OK today,” she said in regard to her knee.

Williams just defeated the Romanian two weeks ago at Indian Wells.

“It was definitely easier today,” Serena Williams said of playing her slicing and dicing opponent. “I knew what to expect. I still got a little frustrated, but overall was able to stay calm more than the last time I played her.”

No. 1 Williams, who is on a 16-match winning streak will take on 15-year-old Cici Bellis in the third round on Sunday.

“This one I think I played a lot smarter” – Cici Bellis Defeats Zarina Diyas in Miami for some U. S. Open Revenge

Serena’s sister Venus was also a winner on Saturday.

Venus Williams served for the match three times in the second set before closing out Sam Stosur 6-4, 7-6 (3).

“I think I served for it a few times, but the second set didn’t go exactly as I wanted,” Venus said. “But I put myself in a good position, and that was good.

“It was so interesting, because once I got to the tiebreaker, that’s when I really started to feel a lot more rhythm in my game. I think she did, too.

“So I think just playing extra games actually helped me. I think I’m going to be feeling a lot better once my next rounds come around.”

Serena told media that she and her sister plan on playing Fed Cup next month when the United States travels to Brindisi to take on Italy in the World Group Playoffs in an attempt to try move back into World Group in 2016.

“We deserve to be back in,” Serena said. “We have some of the best players in the world. We should be in the World Group A and competing for the title.”

Venus Williams will tackle No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki, in the fourth round, Wozniacki came back to stop Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

“We played a really competitive match early this year,” Venus said. “I can’t remember the score in the last set, but it was tough. I was just so happy to win that match, so I’m going to try to learn from that.

“I would love to win that match in two sets, but it’s going to take some work.”

The upset of the day on the women’s side came when German qualifier Tatjana Maria, ranked 113, stunned Wimbledon finalist No. 6 Eugenie Bouchard 6-0, 7-6 (4).

For the German, it was her second victory over a top ten player. Her first came against Li Na in 2010.