BNP Paribas Open announces Wild Cards Which Include Americans Young, Sock, Harrison, Johnson, Duval and Townsend

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif., Feb. 26, 2014 – Former top five players Nadia Petrova and Vera Zvonareva; Americans Donald Young, Jack Sock, Ryan Harrison, Steve Johnson, Rhyne Williams, Coco Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers, Vicky Duval and Taylor Townsend; and Donna Vekic and Belinda Bencic were granted wildcards into the main draws of the BNP Paribas Open, to be held March 3 – 16 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, it was announced today by Tournament Director Steve Simon.
Russia’s Nadia Petrova has won 13 career WTA single titles and 24 doubles crowns. The former World No. 3 has reached nine Grand Slam quarterfinals, advancing to the semifinals twice. Fellow Russian star and 2009 BNP Paribas Open champion Vera Zvonareva has 12 career WTA singles triumphs and six doubles titles. The former World No. 2 also has two Grand Slam finals appearances.
In addition, nine Americans have been granted wildcards into the main draws including Donald Young, who reached the third round of this year’s Australian Open; 21-year-old Jack Sock, who advanced to the third round of the 2013 U.S. Open; Ryan Harrison, who boasted a career-high ranking of No. 43 in 2012; two-time NCAA Champion from USC Steve Johnson, who reached the third round of the 2012 US Open; Rhyne Williams, who is coming off a quarterfinals appearance at Delray Beach, pushing top-ranked American and World No. 13 John Isner to three sets; Coco Vandeweghe, a two-time ITF singles winner; Shelby Rogers, a four-time singles champion on the ITF circuit; Vicky Duval, who achieved a career-high ranking earlier this year after jumping 528 rankings places since the end of 2011; and 17-year-old Taylor Townsend, who turned professional in 2012 after reaching the top of the junior rankings earlier that year.
Two other international players receiving main draw wildcards are 17-year-old Croatian Donna Vekic, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 62 in 2013 and 16-year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who advanced to the second round of the Australian Open earlier this year.
“This year’s main draw wildcards span from established veterans, to rising American and international stars,” said Simon. “Awarding wildcards to players like Nadia Petrova, Vera Zvonareva, Donald Young, Jack Sock and others, add to the excitement for fans and provide the potential for these deserving athletes to make a run at the BNP Paribas Open.”
Qualifying wildcards were given to Americans Raymond Sarmiento, Stefan Kozlov, Clay Thompson, Irina Falconi, Madison Brengle, Grace Min and Allie Kiick, Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinaxis and the United Kingdom’s Heather Watson.
Sarmiento is a senior-standout at USC and member of two NCAA team championships for the Trojans. Sixteen-year-old Kozlov achieved a career-high ranking in February, after turning pro in 2013. Thompson reached a career-high ranking in 2013. Falconi cracked the WTA top 100 in 2011 and advanced to the second round of this year’s Australian Open. Brengle reached a career-high ranking earlier this year, and has won five ITF singles titles. Min won the 2011 US Open Junior Championship and three ITF titles in 2012, while Kiick also has three ITF singles crowns. Kokkinaxis advanced to the second round at this year’s Australian Open, where he pushed World No. 1 Rafael Nadal to three sets. Watson has one WTA singles title and two doubles titles.
In addition to the aforementioned qualifying wildcards, the winners of each BNP Paribas Challenge, the pre-qualifying event for the tournament, which takes place February 24 – March 1, will also be granted a berth into the 2014 BNP Paribas Open qualifying draw. Women’s qualifying starts March 3 and men’s qualifying begins March 4.

Zvonareva Withdraws from French Open with Shoulder Injury

Russia’s Vera Zvonareva has withdrawn from the French Open with a right shoulder injury prior to her Monday match.

“Unfortunately my shoulder injury has not healed so I have to withdraw. It’s not good enough to compete. I had to make this choice,” said the eleventh seed.

She’ll be replaced in the draw by lucky loser Sesil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan who will play Timea Babos.


Spain’s Feliciano Lopez retired with a side muscle injury after losing the first five games to France’s Florent Serra on Monday

“I pulled my oblique on Thursday when I came here, “Lopez said. “ After my practice I was playing one game with my coach and Raonic and his coach, and I just pulled something here.”

“In the beginning I felt it was nothing really serious, but day after I couldn’t play almost.

“I tried to rest during the weekend just to try to play today, but it was impossible.”

Lopez said that he has to rest and hopes to be ready for Wimbledon.


Tennis News Net Notes for January 11, 2012

Alex Bogomolov Jr.

Per ESPN.com, Alex Bogomolov Jr. announced he has paid back the USTA the $75,000 it claimed the former U.S. player, who recently changed his nationality to Russian, owed the organization for past assistance according to a contract he signed in 2009.

Vera Zvonareva and Jelena Jankovic recently switched their clothing contracts to Fila.

Wilson Sports announced that Feliciano Lopez, who plays with Wilson racquets, will now be wearing Wilson apparel and shoes starting in 2012.

Babolat introduced a new Pure Drive Racquet that Andy Roddick will be playing with at the 2012 Australian Open.


WTA Year-End Championship Groups are Set

(L. to R.) Samantha Stosur of Australia, Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, Maria Sharapova of Russia, Li Na of China, Vera Zvonareva of Russia and Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland pose for the Official Photo of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey on October 23, 2011. Photo by Julian Finney, Getty Images, courtesy of the WTA

The Year-End championships -TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships will be held in Istanbul, Turkey from October 25-30, 2011. The singles field consists of Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na, Vera Zvonareva, Samantha Stosur and Agnieska Radwanska.  France’s Marion Bartoli and Germany’s Andrea Petkovic will serve as singles alternates.

The draw ceremony was held on Sunday night and the players have been divided into the following groups: Red Group – Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova, Vera Zvonareva and Agnieska Radwanska. White Group – Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na and Samantha Stosur.


Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)

  • Third appearance at WTA Championships (5-4 record); best previous result was runner-up finish in 2010 (l. to Clijsters in final)
  • 2011 Titles (6): Dubai, Indian Wells, Charleston, Brussels, Copenhagen, New Haven
  • Best Grand Slam result in 2011: Australian Open SFs & US Open SFs
  • Record since US Open: 4-2 (Tokyo 3r, Beijing QFs)

Petra Kvitova at Madrid Open

Petra Kvitova (CZE)

  • First appearance at WTA Championships
  • 2011 Titles (5): Brisbane, Paris [Indoors], Madrid, Wimbledon, Linz
  • Best Grand Slam result in 2011: Won Wimbledon
  • Record since US Open: 8-2 (Tokyo SFs, Beijing 2r, Won Linz)

Vera Zvonareva

(6) Vera Zvonareva (RUS)

  • Fourth direct appearance at WTA Championships (7-6 record); best previous result was runner-up finish in 2008 (l. to V.Williams)
  • 2011 Titles (2): Doha, Baku
  • Best Grand Slam result in 2011: Australian Open SFs
  • Record since US Open: 6-3 (Tokyo R-Up, Beijing 3r, Moscow QFs)


(8) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
~ First direct appearance at WTA Championships (2-0 record… played and won one match as an alternate in both 2008 and 2009)
~ 2011 Titles (3): Carlsbad, Tokyo, Beijing
~ Best Grand Slam result in 2011: Australian Open QFs
~ Record since US Open: 11-1 (Won Tokyo, Won Beijing, Moscow 2r)


Maria Sharapova (Photo by Maria Noble for Tennis Panorama News)

Maria Sharapova (RUS)

  • Fifth appearance at WTA Championships (13-5 record); best previous result was winning title in 2004 (d. S.Williams in final)
  • 2011 Titles (2): Rome, Cincinnati
  • Best Grand Slam result in 2011: Wimbledon R-Up
  • Record since US Open: 2-1 (Tokyo QFs)

Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

  • Third appearance at WTA Championships (2-4 record); has never passed RR stage
  • 2011 Titles (3): Miami, Marbella, Luxembourg
  • Best Grand Slam result in 2011: Wimbledon SFs
  • Record since US Open: 9-1 (Tokyo SFs, Beijing 3r, Won Luxembourg)

Li Na (CHN)

  • First appearance at WTA Championships
  • 2011 Titles (2): Sydney, French Open
  • Best Grand Slam result in 2011: Won French Open
  • Record since US Open: 0-1 (Beijing 1r)

Samantha Stosur (AUS)

  • Second appearance at WTA Championships (2-2 record); best previous result was SFs in 2010 (l. to Clijsters)
  • 2011 Titles (1): US Open
  • Best Grand Slam result in 2011: Won US Open
  • Record since US Open: 4-3 (Tokyo 2r, Beijing 2r, Osaka R-Up)

Statistics  from WTAtennis.com


Players Participate in 12th Annual Taste of Tennis

Rafael Nadal


Vera Zvonareva


James Blake




Tamira Paszek


Gilles Simon


Tommy Haas


Janko Tipsarevic

Marin Cilic

NEW YORK, New York (August 25, 2011) – The world’s top tennis players and chefs served without racquets and balls at the 12th Annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis on Thursday night at the W New York Hotel.  The players teamed-up with guest chefs to create culinary delights for tasting. Among the players on the “green” carpet – Rafael Nadal, James Blake and Tommy Haas.

The BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis will benefit the New York Junior Tennis League. NYJTL is the largest tennis and education-themed community organization in the United States serving 100,000 children each year.

Some photos provided by Getty Images used with permission from Taste of  Tennis


WTA All-Access at the Western and Southern Open

Vera Zvonarena at Carlsbad WTA All-Access

By Brad Hunter

MASON, Ohio – Monday the media was treated to two hours of question and answer sessions with the top eight women’s seeds at the Western & Southern Open as part of WTA All-Access Hour.

Marion Bartoli appears to be a great health, looks fit and trim and has a nice summer tan.  She was dressed in a sporty, casual top and sweats.   Bartoli was open and relaxed and smiled easily which impressed me for a couple of reasons: she was sitting at a table and was surrounded by 10-12 members of the media staring at her, and she was fairly shy and introverted not that long ago.  When complimented by a reporter on her English,  Bartoli made a joke about how she listened and studied English from when she was young, and that perhaps some of the other French players who didn’t speak English well just didn’t listen to English that much (as much as her).

Victoria Azarenka showed up towards the end of Bartoli’s interview, and she slipped in quietly, sat down at another table and started signing autograph postcards.  Just before she walked over to the table to speak with the media, she applied her super shiny lip gloss.  Azarenka’s hair was swept to one side, around the front of one shoulder.  She was dressed like she might be going shopping on Melrose after, with a graphic tee, bright tennis shoes, and casual ¾ length pants.  The first questions were about her injury, which she answered carefully and like all the gals, she was relaxed thru all questions. Listen to Victoria Azarenka.

Caroline Wozniacki also entered silently and went straight to the autograph signing table after which, when she was done, she went and sat at a different table.   She was smiley and completely relaxed during the interview and even handled the potentially embarrassing Rory McIlroy questions without giving away too much info but maintaining her composure.  She answered several questions about her game and the growth that her game needs in order to win a Grand Slam, and she didn’t appear overly defensive about the topic.  She defended herself and her game but acknowledged that she would continue working.  She was dressed in her sporty casuals: a t-shirt type top, maybe a sweatshirt, and ¾ length sweatpants.  This outfit was worn by every woman except Azarenka.  Listen to Caroline Wozniaki


One expects Petra Kvitova to be shy, especially after seeing her being interviewed by Martina Navratilova this year during Wimbledon.  She was a bit reserved but she seemed much more at ease in this round table interview setting.   She laughed several times, and tried earnestly to answer every question– at times her honesty made the media folks crack up as well.  She says winning Wimbledon didn’t change her as a person.  Listen  to Petra Kvitova


Li Na slipped in right after, and was fun and hilarious and sweet from the first question on.   She spoke easily and quickly joked about her new found wealth, her spike in popularity, growth of tennis in Asia, and her husband.  I also noticed her tan lines where she wears her wrist bands. She answered every question thoughtfully, and seemed to get the most questions of all the players- so much that at some point Schiavone came into the room and started answering questions at another table in a different part of the room.  About half of the interviewers exited quickly, but Li Na was not the least bit distracted and stayed focused until the last question asked of her. Listen to Li Na


Francesca Schiavone is fun and seems to love tennis, and people, and honesty, and passion, and everything: she’s mischievous in the “fun, slightly wild friend” sort of way and she maintains a languid look in her eyes when she speaks.  If I were going all night dancing in Milan, then Schiavone seems like the gal who’d (a) be up for it and (b) know exactly which places to go and who to see and what to do.  She is that 2010 Roland Garros final personified.  She joked about not really being very old, made comments about the roles of men and women and challenges for women, and gave her honest appraisal of Americanized Italian food and good places to visit in Italy. Listen to Francesca Schiavone


Maria Sharapova peeked her head in towards the end of Schiavone’s interview, waited a bit outside and then came into the room and sat in the same seat Schiavone had been sitting in.  She made a quick joke about everyone’s devices being charged.   She told some interesting anecdotes about wanting to be a rhythmic gymnast, and smoothly answered similar questions that all the gals answered about Wozniacki being No. 1 and “was it deserved?” (Yes, she deserves it), and “are you surprised Serena (Williams) is back so strongly, so quickly?”  (Not surprised, Serena is a great champion).  Sharapova speaks in well modulated manner, and being up close with her in this session revealed that she is also goofy and critical of herself. Listen to Maria Sharapova

Vera Zvonareva was the last interview.  Zvonareva is a deep thinker: she processes her motivations and emotions, assesses situations in a balanced way, and puts her energy into answering every question with thoughtfulness.  She was asked about her thoughts on the combined event and the benefits of this tournament, her favorite doubles partners, and did Wozniacki deserve the No. 1 ranking (Zvonareva says yes, she deserves it). She was the most serious/intense woman who came into the interview room and she smiled when asked about Elena Dementieva’s wedding. Listen to Vera Zvonareva

Brad Hunter is covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News this weekend. Follow his reports here and live on our twitter account @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter account @BradHunter.


Radwanska Tops Zvonareva For Carlsbad Title

Agnieszka Radwanska

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – Agnieszka Radwanska played a pristine match in the final of the Mercury Insurance Open to beat Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-4. Showing more variety and guile than power, Radwanska was still able to move her opponent around the court. This is the first title Radwanska has won in over three years. The last final she played was right here in San Diego last year.

Zvonareva didn’t start the match as sharp as she had in her previous rounds, contributing errors to Radwanska’s cause. “She played the way she usually plays,  but didn’t make any unforced errors,” Zvonareva said after the match. “When Agnieszka’s playing well, if you make mistakes, it’s tough to win.”

Zvonareva didn’t hit the ball with as much sting as she did in her semifinal and even her good shots were tracked down by Radwanska.

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland pumps her fist after winning a point against Andrea Petkovic of Germany at a WTA tennis event in Carlsbad, California August 6, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Poroy (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


“I played very well today,” said Radwanska. “I really wanted to win this tournament so I was really focused from the beginning.” The shoulder injury she has been nursing since the third round hardly seemed to be a factor in the match.

Not only was this Radwanska’s first win over Zvonareva, it also ended a nine-match winning streak by the Russian. This was Radwanska’s fifth career WTA title.

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Zvonareva Edges Ivanovic, Reaches Final

Vera Zvonareva

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – In the best match of the week, Vera Zvonareva came back to beat Ana Ivanovic in the second semifinal of The Mercury Insurance Open, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. In each set, Zvonareva went ahead early only to face pressure when serving for the set. Ivanovic banged forehands and Zvonareva crushed backhands throughout the high-quality encounter. The surprise of the match may have been how well Ivanovic played defense.

Asked what she did better to win the second and third sets, Zvonareva answered, “I think I started playing a little bit more aggressive overall. We’ve been working on a few things with my coach. I tried to implement them into the match today. Sometimes I was going for some crazy shots and making some wrong decisions. But I knew I had to keep trying them. They didn’t work in the first set, but then they started slowly working. It helped me to win the match, I think.”

Ana Ivanovic

In the second and third sets, Zvonareva handled the tough pressure from Ivanovic better when it was time to close it out. Zvonareva gave credit to Ivanovic for playing so well and fighting to the end saying “If she keeps working hard and playing like this, I’m sure we will see her back in the top 10.”

Zvonareva will face Agnieszka Radwanska in the final. The two have played each other only twice, with Zvonareva winning both matches.

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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Zvonareva Fends off Liscki

Vera Zvonareva

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – It took five match points and three racquets, but Vera Zvonareva finally clinched a spot in the semifinals of the Mercury Insurance Open by beating Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. For two hours and 13 minutes, the two exchanged brutal ground strokes. Both players balanced defense and offense well in a battle of will power. Lisicki fought valiantly to the very end, but couldn’t put enough first serves in to keep the upper hand.

Sabine Lisicki

While Lisicki has a bigger serve, Zvonareva returned remarkably well and placed her own serves even better. Once the point was in play, it was a heated chess match. Zvonareva seemed to have the edge on backhand to backhand exchanges while Lisicki was able to notch points in the forehand rallies. Ultimately, it came down to a few mental lapses by Lisicki in the middle of the third set that gave her opponent the lead.

The match marked Zvonareva’s 40th win in 2011 and advanced her to a 7th semifinal this season. It also extends her winning streak to eight, having won at Baku.

Vera Zvonareva

“I don’t know,” she laughed when asked what would cap off her already outstanding season. “I’m enjoying the moment and I just want to do well every single match. I want to give 100% in every single match. As long as I do it, I will be happy with my season.”

Zvonareva will play the winner of the quarterfinal between Ana Ivanovic and Peng Shuai.

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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“Meet the Press” WTA Style at All-Access Hour at the Mercury Insurance Open

Top Seeds Meet the Media

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – The top seeds for the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open sat down, answered questions and laughed with the media at the Lacosta Resort  just north of San Diego. The high seeds enjoy a later start at the event so the players were all very relaxed and candid with their answers. In addition to what their goals are for the summer, Tennis Panorama News asked each player if they were planning on entering mixed doubles at the 2012 Olympics.


Agnieska Radwanska
The 2010 finalist is back with hopes to go one step further than she did last year. When asked how important the tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open are in preparing for the slam, she said, “I want to win every match. It’s not just to warm up for the Open. There are a lot of points to win between now and then.”

Radwanska says she’s really looking forward to the Olympics and would love to play singles, doubles and mixed if possible, but hasn’t lined up a mixed partner yet. Of course, she’d love to play doubles with her sister, Ursula “if their rankings allow for it at the time.”

She had fun playing golf here last year but noted that because part of the course was under construction, she might not get the chance to swing a club this year.

Ana Ivanovic
Seeded fifth this week, Ivanovic is waiting to play the winner of the match between Jelena Dokic and Ayumi Morita. Morita beat Ivanovic in straight sets last week in Stanford. Asked whether she’d prefer to play Dokic or get another crack at Morita, Ivanovic said emphatically, “Definitely Morita, to get some revenge. That was a hard loss last week.” However, losing early in Stanford did give Ivanovic the opportunity to come down to San Diego early and start training which she thinks will help her at this event. “The conditions down here are very different. It’s hotter and very humid.”

She doesn’t have specific goals in mind for the summer, just to keep trying to execute the things she is working on in practice. “If I do that, the results will come.”

Ivanovic revealed she has also been trying to eliminate gluten from her diet, like compatriot Novak Djokovic. “I try to eat rice before matches and avoid pasta and bread.”

She is excited to be playing with Nenad Zimonjic in mixed doubles at the next Olympics. She’d love to play all three tennis events at the Olympics, but doesn’t know yet whether she’ll play women’s doubles. She will, however, be playing doubles with her friend, Andrea Petkovic, next week.


Vera Zvonareva
The top seed says she feels “at home” here in San Diego. She’s played this tournament many times and has some great memories. Asked about the marathon match she played here against Anastasia Myskina in 2004, she said “it seems like yesterday.”

Zvonareva said that because she feels so comfortable here and because of the way the site is set up, she feels like she gets to watch more matches here than at other events. She couldn’t say who she’d like to see play this week, but she’d just “see how the week goes.”

While the Olympics is something Zvonareva is looking forward to, she couldn’t say who she would play mixed doubles with or if she’d even get to play mixed. “That’s up to the captain to decide.” She said she’ll do her best to prepare for singles and hopes to be selected to play doubles or mixed doubles when the time comes.


Andrea Petkovic
The second seed is enjoying a great year. Asked what she thinks about Serena Williams coming back from injury to win last week in Stanford, she said “There are two kinds of confidence. Serena was born with it. In my case, I had to work to get the confidence.”

She hasn’t come to San Diego with any new dances. She said she “has to wait for inspiration to hit her. It hasn’t hit yet but it usually does just in time.”

Fellow German, Julia Goerges is a potential quarterfinal opponent and friend. Petkovic says that, along with Sabina Lisicki, the three have a “healthy competitiveness” between them. When one does well, it inspires one of the others to do well. She says it’s always a little awkward to play friends in tournaments, but that is part of being a professional.

Asked who she would like to play mixed doubles with at the Olympics, she smiled and said, “I don’t know yet. I’d have to see all the photos and decide which one is cuter.”

Martina Hingis
Playing in a nearby ProAm event, Martina Hingis stopped by. She was quickly hounded by questions about the reports that she would play mixed doubles with Roger Federer at the Olympics. “No decisions have been made yet” she said. “It’s more up to Roger, but there are a lot of ifs.” She wouldn’t rule it out, but insisted that it most likely wouldn’t happen.

She said while she was encouraged by how well she played against Serena Williams recently in World Team Tennis, but was not making any comeback plans for singles. “Doubles is more on my mind,” she said only when pressed.

Hingis is currently touring the U.S. and Canada promoting clothing by Tonic. She said she approached them after wearing the clothes for yoga and fitness. She has been meeting with the designer at Tonic to provide input on a Martina Hingis branded line of tennis clothes by the company to launch in the Spring of 2012.

Asked if she could give any advice to Caroline Wozniacki, Hingis said “she has to be more in charge” adding that the women’s tour is so deep now that you need a weapon to win the quarters, semis and a final at a Slam.

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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