December 4, 2016

Fed Cup Results

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(February 7, 2016) Sunday’s results for the 2016 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group and World Group II first round ties taking place on 6-7 February.

 

In the World Group semifinals, on 16-17 April, Switzerland will be at home to Czech Republic, while France will host Netherlands.

 

Australia, Belarus, Spain and USA, the four winners in World Group II, have qualified for the World Group play-offs on 16-17 April, where they will be joined by the four World Group first round losers, Italy, Germany, Romania and Russia.

 

Argentina, Belgium, Chinese Taipei and Ukraine, who all qualified from their respective Zone Group I events on Saturday, will contest the World Group II play-offs on 16-17 April, where they will be joined by the four World Group II losers, Canada, Serbia, Slovakia and Spain.

 

The draw for the World Group play-offs and World Group II play-offs will be held at the ITF offices in London on Tuesday 9 February at 12:00 GMT. The seeds will be based on the new Fed Cup Nations Ranking of Monday 8 February.

 

WORLD GROUP FIRST ROUND

 

CZECH REPUBLIC defeated ROMANIA 3-2

Venue: Sala Polivalenta Cluj-Napoca, Cluj-Napoca, ROU (hard – indoor)

Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Simona Halep (ROU) 67(4) 64 62

Monica Niculescu (ROU) d. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 63 64

Simona Halep (ROU) d. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 64 36 63

Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Monica Niculescu (ROU) 64 46 63

Karolina Pliskova/Barbora Strycova (CZE) d. Andreea Mitu/Raluca Olaru (ROU) 62 63

 

SWITZERLAND defeated GERMANY 3-2

Venue: Leipziger Messe, Leipzig, GER (hard – indoor)

Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 63 64

Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 61 63

Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Angelique Kerber (GER) 76(4) 63

Annika Beck (GER) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 75 64

Martina Hingis/Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Andrea Petkovic (GER) 63 62

 

FRANCE defeated ITALY 4-1

Venue: Palais des Sports de Marseille, Marseille, FRA (hard – indoor)

Camila Giorgi (ITA) d. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 16 64 61

Caroline Garcia (FRA) d. Sara Errani (ITA) 63 75

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Sara Errani (ITA) 76(4) 61

Caroline Garcia (FRA) d. Camila Giorgi (ITA) 63 64

Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Martina Caregaro/Sara Errani (ITA) 60 61

 

NETHERLANDS defeated RUSSIA 3-1

Venue: Olympic Stadium, Moscow, RUS (hard – indoor)

Kiki Bertens (NED) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 63 64

Richel Hogenkamp (NED) d. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 76(4) 57 108

Kiki Bertens (NED) d. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 61 64

Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) v Richel Hogenkamp (NED) – not played

Darya Kasatkina/Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Cindy Burger/Arantxa Rus (NED) 60 62

 

WORLD GROUP II FIRST ROUND

 

AUSTRALIA defeated SLOVAKIA 3-2

Venue: Aegon Arena, National Tennis Centre, Bratislava, SVK (hard – indoor)

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) d. Arina Rodionova (AUS) 57 75 60

Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Jana Cepelova (SVK) 63 64

Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 76(5) 75

Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 63 61

Casey Dellacqua/Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Jana Cepelova/Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 57 61 62

 

BELARUS defeated CANADA 3-2

Venue: PEPS, Québec City, CAN (hard – indoor)

Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) d. Francoise Abanda (CAN) 64 26 63

Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) d. Olga Govortsova (BLR) 62 62

Francoise Abanda (CAN) d. Olga Govortsova (BLR) 64 64

Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) d. Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 64 64

Olga Govortsova/Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) d. Gabriela Dabrowski/Carol Zhao (CAN) 62 64

 

USA defeated POLAND 4-0

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

Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Magda Linette (POL) 62 64

Venus Williams (USA) d. Paula Kania (POL) 75 62

Venus Williams (USA) d. Magda Linette (POL) 61 62

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Paula Kania (POL) – not played

Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Coco Vandeweghe (USA) d. Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Paula Kania (POL) 61 75

 

SPAIN defeated SERBIA 4-0

Venue: Kraljevo Sports Centre, Kraljevo, SRB (hard – indoor)

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) d. Ivana Jorovic (SRB) 63 61

Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) d. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 64 62

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) d. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 63 64

Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) v Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) – not played

Lara Arruabarrena/Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) d. Ivana Jorovic/Nina Stojanovic (SRB) 46 76(6) [10-7]

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USA Defeats Poland in Fed Cup World Group II

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

ORDER OF PLAY AND RESULTS

 

DAY/LOCAL TIME      MATCH             PAIRING

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

– Romania (coin toss)

– Germany (home tie)

– Italy (home tie)

– Russia (away tie)

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORDER OF PLAY AND RESULTS

 

DAY/LOCAL TIME      MATCH             PAIRING

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Fed Cup Preview: USA vs Poland in Hawaii

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Weekend Line-up

USA v POLAND

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

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)

Venus Williams (USA) v Paula Kania (POL)

Venus Williams (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Paula Kania (POL)

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

 

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

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Fed Cup Draws for World Group and World Group II ties and Zone Group 1 Results

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(February 5, 2016) The ITF has announced the draws for the 2016 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group and World Group II first round ties taking place on 6-7 February.

 

Three Zone Group I events are also taking place on 3-6 February: Europe/Africa Zone Group I in Eilat, Israel; Americas Zone Group I in Santa Cruz, Bolivia; and Asia/Oceania Zone Group I in Hua Hin, Thailand.

 

All nations contesting the Zone Group I events are bidding to qualify for the Fed Cup World Group II play-offs on 16-17 April, with two teams qualifying from the Europe/Africa Zone, and one team from both the Americas and Asia/Oceania Zones.

 

WORLD GROUP FIRST ROUND

 

ROMANIA v CZECH REPUBLIC

Venue: Sala Polivalenta Cluj-Napoca, Cluj-Napoca, ROU (hard – indoor)

Simona Halep (ROU) v Karolina Pliskova (CZE)

Monica Niculescu (ROU) v Petra Kvitova (CZE)

Simona Halep (ROU) v Petra Kvitova (CZE)

Monica Niculescu (ROU) v Karolina Pliskova (CZE)

Andreea Mitu/Raluca Olaru (ROU) v Denisa Allertova/Barbora Strycova (CZE)

 

GERMANY v SWITZERLAND

Venue: Leipziger Messe, Leipzig, GER (hard – indoor)

Andrea Petkovic (GER) v Belinda Bencic (SUI)

Angelique Kerber (GER) v Timea Bacsinszky (SUI)

Angelique Kerber (GER) v Belinda Bencic (SUI)

Andrea Petkovic (GER) v Timea Bacsinszky (SUI)

Annika Beck/Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER) v Viktorija Golubic/Martina Hingis (SUI)

 

FRANCE v ITALY

Venue: Palais des Sports de Marseille, Marseille, FRA (hard – indoor)

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) v Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Caroline Garcia (FRA) v Sara Errani (ITA)

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) v Sara Errani (ITA)

Caroline Garcia (FRA) v Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Oceane Dodin/Pauline Parmentier (FRA) v Martina Caregaro/Sara Errani (ITA)

 

RUSSIA v NETHERLANDS

Venue: Olympic Stadium, Moscow, RUS (hard – indoor)

Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) v Kiki Bertens (NED)

Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) v Richel Hogenkamp (NED)

Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) v Kiki Bertens (NED)

Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) v Richel Hogenkamp (NED)

Darya Kasatkina/Maria Sharapova (RUS) v Cindy Burger/Arantxa Rus (NED)

 

WORLD GROUP II FIRST ROUND

 

SLOVAKIA v AUSTRALIA

Venue: Aegon Arena, National Tennis Centre, Bratislava, SVK (hard – indoor)

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) v Arina Rodionova (AUS)

Jana Cepelova (SVK) v Samantha Stosur (AUS)

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) v Samantha Stosur (AUS)

Jana Cepelova (SVK) v Arina Rodionova (AUS)

Jana Cepelova/Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) v Casey Dellacqua/Samantha Stosur (AUS)

 

CANADA v BELARUS

Venue: PEPS, Québec City, CAN (hard – indoor)

Francoise Abanda (CAN) v Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR)

Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Olga Govortsova (BLR)

Francoise Abanda (CAN) v Olga Govortsova (BLR)

Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR)

Gabriela Dabrowski/Carol Zhao (CAN) v Olga Govortsova/Vera Lapko (BLR)

 

USA v POLAND

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

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)

Venus Williams (USA) v Paula Kania (POL)

Venus Williams (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Paula Kania (POL)

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

 

SERBIA v SPAIN

Venue: Kraljevo Sports Centre, Kraljevo, SRB (hard – indoor)

Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) v Garbine Muguruza (ESP)

Jelena Jankovic (SRB) v Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)

Jelena Jankovic (SRB) v Garbine Muguruza (ESP)

Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) v Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)

Ivana Jorovic/Nina Stojanovic (SRB) v Lara Arruabarrena/Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP)

 

The ITF has announced the latest results for the 2016 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Zone Group I events taking place on 3-6 February: Europe/Africa Zone Group I in Eilat, Israel; Americas Zone Group I in Santa Cruz, Bolivia; and Asia/Oceania Zone Group I in Hua Hin, Thailand.

 

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I

Venue: Municipal Tennis Centre, Eilat, Israel (hard – outdoors)

Dates: 3-6 February

 

POOL A

 

UKRAINE defeated SWEDEN 3-0

Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) d. Susanne Celik (SWE) 61 63

Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) d. Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 16 62 60

Olga Savchuk/Anastasiya Vasylyeva (UKR) d. Jacqueline Cabaj Awad/Cornelia Lister (SWE) 62 64

 

POOL B

 

GREAT BRITAIN defeated GEORGIA 2-1

Katie Swan (GBR) d. Ekaterine Gorgodze (GEO) 63 63

Heather Watson (GBR) d. Sofia Shapatava (GEO) 62 60

Oksana Kalashnikova/Sofia Shapatava (GEO) d. Jocelyn Rae/Anna Smith (GBR) 62 64

 

POOL C

 

ESTONIA defeated TURKEY 2-1

Basak Eraydin (TUR) d. Valeria Gorlats (EST) 62 63

Anett Kontaveit (EST) d. Cagla Buyukakcay (TUR) 76(6) 64

Anett Kontaveit/Maileen Nuudi (EST) d. Cagla Buyukakcay/Ipek Soylu (TUR) 64 62

 

ISRAEL defeated CROATIA 2-1

Shahar Peer (ISR) d. Tena Lukas (CRO) 36 61 62

Ana Konjuh (CRO) d. Julia Glushko (ISR) 76(4) 61

Julia Glushko/Shahar Peer (ISR) d. Darija Jurak/Ana Konjuh (CRO) 64 76(2)

 

POOL D

 

BELGIUM defeated BULGARIA 3-0

Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL) d. Elitsa Kostova (BUL) 63 36 63

Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 64 62

Marie Benoit/An-Sophie Mestach (BEL) d. Dia Evtimova/Isabella Shinikova (BUL) 67(4) 62 64

 

LATVIA defeated HUNGARY 2-1

Anna Bondar (HUN) d. Diana Marcinkevica (LAT) 64 64

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) d. Reka-Luca Jani (HUN) 63 62

Diana Marcinkevica/Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) d. Dalma Galfi/Reka-Luca Jani (HUN) 76(2) 63

 

 

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP I

Venue: Country Club Las Palmas, Santa Cruz, Bolivia (clay – outdoors)

Dates: 3-6 February

 

POOL A

 

PARAGUAY defeated COLOMBIA 2-1

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) d. Camila Giangreco Campiz (PAR) 64 63

Montserrat Gonzalez (PAR) d. Maria Paulina Perez-Garcia (COL) 60 62

Camila Giangreco Campiz/Montserrat Gonzalez (PAR) d. Emiliana Arango/Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) 63 63

 

MEXICO defeated BOLIVIA 2-1

Ana Sofia Sanchez (MEX) d. Noelia Zeballos (BOL) 63 57 75

Maria-Fernanda Alvarez-Teran (BOL) d. Victoria Rodriguez (MEX) 63 62

Ana Sofia Sanchez/Renata Zarazua (MEX) d. Maria-Fernanda Alvarez-Teran/Noelia Zeballos (BOL) 64 16 76(3)

 

POOL B

 

ARGENTINA defeated BRAZIL 2-1

Nadia Podoroska (ARG) d. Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) 75 63

Teliana Pereira (BRA) d. Maria Irigoyen (ARG) 60 60

Maria Irigoyen/Catalina Pella (ARG) d. Paula Cristina Goncalves/Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) 63 63

 

ECUADOR defeated PERU 2-1

Rafaella Baquerizo (ECU) d. Anastasia Iamachkine (PER) 63 61

Dominique Schaefer (PER) d. Charlotte Roemer (ECU) 61 46 76(3)

Rafaella Baquerizo/Camila Romero (ECU) d. Bianca Botto/Anastasia Iamachkine (PER) 64 60

 

 

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP I

Venue: True Arena Hua Hin, Hua Hin, Thailand (hard – outdoors)

Dates: 3-6 February

 

POOL A

 

JAPAN defeated THAILAND 2-1

Bunyawi Thamchaiwat (THA) d. Eri Hozumi (JPN) 46 75 64

Nao Hibino (JPN) d. Luksika Kumkhum (THA) 06 75 61

Shuko Aoyama/Eri Hozumi (JPN) d. Kamonwan Buayam/Peangtarn Plipuech (THA) 75 60

 

INDIA defeated UZBEKISTAN 3-0

Prerna Bhambri (IND) d. Sabina Sharipova (UZB) 61 61

Ankita Raina (IND) d. Nigina Abduraimova (UZB) 61 60

Sania Mirza/Ankita Raina (IND) d. Akgul Amanmuradova/Arina Folts (UZB) 62 60

 

POOL B

 

CHINA, P.R. defeated KAZAKHSTAN 3-0

Wang Qiang (CHN) d. Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 62 62

Zheng Saisai (CHN) d. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 63 63

Liang Chen/Wang Yafan (CHN) d. Yaroslava Shvedova/Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 62 60 ret.

 

CHINESE TAIPEI defeated KOREA, REP. 2-1

Han Na-Lae (KOR) d. Chang Kai-Chen (TPE) 76(1) 64

Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) d. Jang Su Jeong (KOR) 76(5) 62

Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan (TPE) d. Han Na-Lae/Jang Su Jeong (KOR) 63 75

 

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

Venus fistpump

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Svitolina Heads Nominations for 2016 Fed Cup Zone Group I Events

 

fed cup colours

(January 6, 2016) World No. 19 Elina Svitolina heads the nominations for the 2016 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Zone Group I events taking place on 3-6 February in the same week as the Fed Cup World Group and World Group II first round ties on 6-7 February.

 

The ITF has announced the full nominations for Europe/Africa Zone Group I in Eilat, Israel; Americas Zone Group I in Santa Cruz, Bolivia; and Asia/Oceania Zone Group I in Hua Hin, Thailand.

 

The draws for all three Zone Group I events will be held at the ITF offices in London on Friday 8 January at 10am GMT.

 

All nations contesting the Zone Group I events will be bidding to qualify for the Fed Cup World Group II play-offs on 16-17 April, with two teams qualifying from the Europe/Africa Zone, and one team from both the Americas and Asia/Oceania Zones.

 

Five top 50 players will contest Europe/Africa Zone Group I, with Svitolina joined by countrywoman Lesia Tsurenko, Yanina Wickmayer and Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium and Johanna Konta of Great Britain. Teliana Pereira of Brazil and Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan head the nominations for Americas Zone Group I and Asia/Oceania Zone Group I respectively.

 

Nominations for the 2016 Fed Cup World Group and World Group II first round ties on 6-7 February will be announced on Wednesday 27 January.

 

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I

Venue: Municipal Tennis Centre, Eilat, Israel (hard – outdoors)

Dates: 3-6 February

 

Belgium

Yanina Wickmayer

Alison van Uytvanck

An-Sophie Mestach

Ysaline Bonaventure

Captain: Ann Devries

 

Bulgaria
Tsvetana Pironkova
Elitsa Kostova
Isabella Shinikova
Dia Evtimova
Captain: Dora Rangelova

 

Croatia
Ana Konjuh
Donna Vekic
Petra Martic
Darija Jurak
Captain: Iva Majoli

 

Estonia
Anett Kontaveit
Kaia Kanepi
Valeria Gorlats
Maileen Nuudi
Captain: Marten Tamla

 

Georgia
Sofia Shapatava
Ekaterine Gorgodze
Sofia Kvatsabaia
Oksana Kalashnikova
Captain: Margalita Chakhnashvili

 

Great Britain

Johanna Konta
Heather Watson
Anna Smith
Jocelyn Rae
Captain: Judy Murray

 

Hungary
Reka-Luca Jani
Dalma Galfi
Anna Bondar
Fanny Stollar
Captain: Gabor Juhasz

 

Israel

Julia Glushko
Shahar Peer
Alona Pushkarevsky
Shelly Krolitzky
Captain: Tzipora Hirsh

 

Latvia
Jelena Ostapenko
Diana Marcinkevica
Darta-Elizabete Emulina
Anna Ozerova
Captain: Daiga Juska

 

Portugal
Michelle Larcher de Brito
Ines Murta
Barbara Luz
Maria Joao Koehler
Captain: Neuza Silva

 

South Africa
Chanel Simmonds
Ilze Hattingh
Madrie le Roux
Michelle Sammons
Captain: Earl Grainger

 

Sweden
Rebecca Peterson
Susanne Celik
Jacqueline Cabaj Awad
Cornelia Lister
Captain: Lars-Anders Wahlgren

 

Turkey
Cagla Buyukakcay
Ipek Soylu
Basak Eraydin
Pemra Ozgen
Captain: Alaaddin Karagoz

 

Ukraine

Elina Svitolina
Lesia Tsurenko
Kateryna Bondarenko
Olga Savchuk
Captain: Mikhail Filima

 

 

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP I

Venue: Country Club Las Palmas, Santa Cruz, Bolivia (clay – outdoors)

Dates: 3-6 February

 

Argentina
Maria Irigoyen
Nadia Podoroska
Julieta Lara Estable
Catalina Pella
Captain: Maria-Jose Gaidano

 

Bolivia
Maria-Fernanda Alvarez-Teran
Noelia Zeballos
Hortencia Birnbaumer
Daniela Ruiz
Captain: Rolando Nieva

 

Brazil
Teliana Pereira
Gabriela Ce
Beatriz Haddad Maia

Paula Cristina Goncalves
Captain: Fernando Roese

 

Colombia
Mariana Duque-Marino
Paula Andrea Perez-Garcia
Maria Fernanda Herazo Gonzalez
Emiliana Arango
Captain: Catalina Castano

 

Ecuador
Charlotte Roemer
Domenica Gonzalez
Rafaella Baquerizo
Camila Romero
Captain: Manuel Balda

 

Mexico
Marcela Zacarias
Victoria Rodriguez
Ana Sofia Sanchez
Renata Zarazua
Captain: Bruno Echagaray

 

Paraguay
Montserrat Gonzalez
Camila Giangreco Campiz
Sara Gimenez
Lara Escauriza
Captain: Alfredo de Brix

 

Peru
Bianco Botto
Anastasia Iamachkine
Patricia Ku Flores
Dominique Schaefer
Captain: Percy Melzi

 

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP I

Venue: Hua Hin Centennial Sports Club, Hua Hin, Thailand (hard – outdoors)

Dates: 3-6 February

 

China, P.R.
Zheng Saisai
Wang Qiang
Wang Yafan
Liang Chen
Captain: Wang Peng

 

Chinese Taipei
Hsieh Su-Wei
Chang Kai-Chen
Chan Yung-Jan
Chan Hao-Ching
Captain: Wang Shi-Ting

 

India
Ankita Raina
Prerna Bhambri
Prarthana G. Thombare
Sania Mirza
Captain: Zeeshan Ali

 

Japan
Nao Hibino
Kurumi Nara
Eri Hozumi
Shuko Aoyama
Captain: Toshihisa Tsuchihashi

 

Kazakhstan

Zarina Diyas
Yaroslava Shvedova
Yuliya Putintseva
Galina Voskoboeva
Captain: Dias Doskarayev

 

Korea, Republic
Jang Su Jeong
Han Na-Lae
Lee So-Ra
Choi Ji-Hee
Captain: Cho Yoon Jeong

 

Thailand
Luksika Kumkhum
Peangtarn Plipuech
Kamonwan Buayam
Bunyawi Thamchaiwat
Captain: Pracharapol Khamsaman

 

Uzbekistan
Nigina Abduraimova
Agkul Amanmuradova
Sabina Sharipova
Arina Folts
Captain: Dmitriy Tomashevich

 

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Agnieszka Radwanska Triumphs in Singapore to Win WTA Finals Crown

Radwanska

By Ros Satar

(November 1, 2015) SINGAPORE – It is fair to say this was a title that no-one was expecting at the start of the week, as Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova took to the court. This was going to be the first time anyone with a 1-2 record in the round robin phase of the WTA Finals would go on to lift the championship trophy.

 

But all that needed to be put aside, especially for Kvitova, who quickly found herself down a break at the start of the opening set. Steadying the nerves to at least get on the board, it was going to be important for her to stay in contention, against an in-form Radwanska – who was ready to punish any careless generosity of points from the Czech.

 

The first set was completely out of her reach in 33 minutes as Radwanska’s control versus Kvitova’s errors told the story in the score line of 6-2. If ever there was a time that Kvitova needed to be on the winning side of a brutal game it was now, but Radwanska could seemingly do no wrong, breaking the Czech in the first game.

 

The only way out for Kvitova would be to keep the points short and somehow, she seemed to find her groove, reeling off nine points in a row to get things back on serve. Keeping the pressure on now was vital if she wanted to delay/deny Radwanska making some Polish history. At the very least (especially after a Doubles final drubbing for Carla Suarez Navarro and Garbine Muguruza in a little over an hour), the crowd needed to have a match to get their teeth into.

 

By the third set though it was clear that the heavy strapping on Kvitova’s right thigh was causing her grief. On more than one occasion she had looked in pain as the momentum shifted first the Czech’s way, and then back to Radwanska as she came from a break down in the decider to lead by a break.

 

Neither seemed willing to hold until finally Radwanska seemed to steady the ship to edge to a 5-3 lead. Kvitova’s grip loosened as Radwanska broke her to win as Kvitova dumped a forehand into the net.

 

Given that both players came in with a losing record, and Kvitova was reliant on Lucie Safarova delivering a straight sets win, it was a time to reflect ahead of the Fed Cup final next week.

 

“I think with this kind of tournament it’s more positives for sure,” Kvitova said. “I mean, I had a great match yesterday with Maria (Sharapova), and I just think that today was really big fight and just about few points and I didn’t make it.

 

“I think was still great even for me. The season was good. I mean, of course I wish a little bit better, but on the side I think could be much more worse. It’s still okay.”

 

The winner still had a look of disbelief about her, although she was reduced to speechlessness when asked if any of her prize money would be buying presents for the press!

 

When all said and done though, Radwanska deserved to be in the final with her tough match against Muguruza, and perhaps the results did not truly reflect the standard of her game for the large part.

 

She said: “I lost first two matches, but it’s not like I was playing bad. It was still good matches. I just didn’t use the chances. I wasn’t really focus enough and something just slip away and then it was hard to come back. But definitely not bad matches, especially the one against Maria. That’s why I didn’t ‑‑ I just knew being fresh and have a good rest, that is very important for us.

 

“I don’t know how, but I was really feeling better afterwards, and I think I used to conditions, used to surface. I think I was playing even better in those two days.”

 

It is worth noting that Amelie Mauresmo was the last WTA Finals champion without having won a Slam previously, and the following year she went on to win two.

 

She said: “Well, for sure give me more confidence, especially that in a Grand Slam you also to have win and beat couple of top players in a row.

 

“I think here it’s even harder because just eight of us and you don’t have any first rounds to used to the courts. But definitely a good start. I’ll definitely try to do that next year. (Smiling.)”

 

Kvitova of course heads to the Fed Cup Final in Prague, and Radwanska will join the IPTL this year.

 

Ros Satar was in Singapore covering the WTA Finals as media for Tennis Panorama News. She is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.

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Kvitova to Face Radwanska for WTA Finals Crown

Agniezska Radwanska

Agniezska Radwanska

By Ros Satar

(October 31, 2015) SINGAPORE – The question around the media centre at the WTA Finals was just how much had Garbiñe Muguruza’s efforts in both the singles and the doubles taken out of her. A grueling match with Petra Kvitova had left her admitting that she felt pretty tired, whereas for Agnieszka Radwanska, it was a slot gained by the supreme play so far from Maria Sharapova, coming in with a 1-2 record for the second time in a row.

 

Even watching them in training in the morning, Radwanska seemed the more care-free and free-swinging while Muguruza looked a bit inhibited and more subdued. That being said, the nerves were evident for both as they started with trading breaks, before Radwanska held serve before the first change of ends.

 

With a run of four games on the trot, it looked as though Muguruza’s bubble had burst, while Radwanska, on her seventh time out at the season ending championships looked on the verge of getting past the semi-finals for the first time.

 

Calling out coach Sam Sumyk, Muguruza looked impassive as he murmured his advice, but whatever he said, it worked as she decided it was high time she went on a little winning spree of her own, winning the next three games to put her right back in contention.

 

Now things were picking up as the Muguruza started to apply a little more pressure, moving the magician around, putting some of that doubles prowess to good use, to force a first set tie-break.

 

Despite once more building up an advantage, Muguruza came back from 1-4 down to win five points in a row to bring up set point. Radwanska pulled off a regular Houdini trick to save it, and after a slugging rally, a bewitched net cord delivered Radwanska the cruelest blow, dropping the ball back on her side to hand Muguruza the first set with quite some drama.

 

If we thought the momentum would be with the second seed, we could not have been more wrong. Once more Radwanska was the quicker off the mark, quickly leaping out to a 4-0 lead before Muguruza would get on the board. This time, though there would be no miracle come back as Radwanska leveled the match.

 

With a feeling of déjà vu, Radwanska once more picked up a 3-0 lead, and this time it looked as though Muguruza was done. Yet again though with her back against the wall, Muguruza slowly crept back into the game. But the fatigue finally caught up with the Spaniard who could not serve to force a tie-break, with Radwanska breaking on her second match point to win 7-6(5,) 3-6, 7-5.

 

Radwanska said, after the match: “I was just so happy to get through that match. Like I was saying before, I didn’t really expect to be in the semis after the first losses and now it’s the final. So that was really big match. Well, a lot of emotion during that match I think all three hours. I’m just so relieved that it’s over and I could win that match.”

 

Describing some of the outstanding tennis on show today, she said: “Sometimes like, Oh, my God. It’s in! But tennis is so fast, so you’re not really have time to think. That’s just the reaction. We have not even a second to make shot, a decision, and it’s just suddenly there. But, well, I’m just always very happy to make those shots. Well, yeah. (Smiling.)”

 

With Muguruza still having to play the doubles semifinal later today, she was positive about the whole run, saying: “In the first set like I kind of give it all, and then it was hard for me to start the second one. But, well, I just wanted to give everything I had, and doesn’t matter how long I was going to be able to keep it. I just went out there, and if I die on the court, I die, but at least I go out from there happy.

 

“I’m super happy the way I played. I think it’s amazing: Tokyo, Wuhan, Beijing, and here and be able to keep the level and go out there and just have amazing matches.”

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

The second semifinal had all the promise of a long slugfest with Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova trading breaks right at the start, before they got right down to business. But it has been a bit of an unsettled tournament for Kvitova. A lackluster start, and a tough battle to finish with a 1-2 record, reliant on an outstanding display by Lucie Safarova to dump Angelique Kerber out of the competition.

 

Any concerns though that she might have checked out a bit, went with two breaks at the end of the set in succession.

 

With the Russian hustling to a 3-0 lead at the start of the second, and no doubt having watched the first semifinal grind out with a sense of glee, she proceeded to make extremely light work of the Czech. Faced with yet another 1-4 score-line deficit, were we going to see another memorable comeback this evening?

 

The answer turned out to be yes, as Kvitova clicked into focus and worked her way back in, and Sharapova, who has been so strong throughout started to unravel a bit, while Kvitova ran off five games on the trot. Sharapova managed to stop the rot, to push the second set into a tie-break. Kvitova by now was locked in as she went on a run of four straight points to set up a final with Radwanska, winning 6-3, 7-6(3).

 

There were a lot of positives for Sharapova to take away from a tournament which signaled her first complete run since July this year.

 

She explained: “I didn’t have expectations coming into this week. Of course it’s always tough to sit after a match and say you’re happy, especially after you lose it. But I think it would be quite unprofessional of me to not take a lot of positives out of this week. I think there’s a lot to look forward to in the off‑season and next year, yeah, as well as couple of the matches in two weeks.

 

“I was able to play quite physical matches and get through them. I think that was something that I wasn’t sure of coming into this week because I hadn’t played a lot.

 

“I don’t know what to expect [from the Fed Cup Final]. I know it’s going to be much more difficult than the first time around, but it’s never easy playing away and never easy being in the final as well. Yeah, I just look forward to the experience. Something new for me.”

 

Kvitova had gone from being fairly disinterested in proceedings after almost accepting that her season (excepting Fed Cup) was over, to now having a shot at a second title.

 

She said: “It’s very weird, I have to say. Yesterday I was talking about my season, and it’s still not over yet. But I’m happy for that for sure. I mean, I couldn’t really believe that I going to play semifinal; now I’m the final, which is very interesting. I’m really looking forward. I think Aga is kind of in the same situation, so it’s going to be interesting.

 

“[She is a] difficult opponent, for sure. She’s very smart. I think she has a lot the variety on the court. She getting so many balls, so sometimes it feels that she’s never‑ending story on the court. So it’s really about the patient and still be kind of sharp, but playing a lot of shots and rallies. It’s difficult. But last match of the season for her, for me ‑ even if I’m not counting with the Fed Cup ‑‑ so both of us will leave everything out there tomorrow.”

 

Kvitova and Radwanska will play the final, on Stadium Court at 6:30pm.

 

Ros Satar is in Singapore covering the WTA Finals as media for Tennis Panorama News. She is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.

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With Win Over Kvitova, Muguruza Reaches Semis in WTA Finals Debut

By Ros Satar

(October 30, 2015) SINGAPORE – The final day’s Round Robin at the WTA Finals matches saw the highest seed remaining, Garbiñe Muguruza take on former champion Petra Kvitova in the first match of the day. After a disrupted year, Kvitova seemed ill at ease on court in her opener, losing to Germany’s Angelique Kerber and thus setting herself on the back foot for the tournament.

 

She may have kept up her spotless record against compatriot Lucie Safarova, but after a mammoth hold in her opening service game, staving off three break points, first blood inevitably went to the Spaniard, who this time needed no second invitation to capitalize on the break point.

 

It was a good response though from the Czech, who kept her head to break straight back, but not to be outdone Muguruza struck back again to regain the advantage. Kvitova picked up her serving to at least stay in contention but the second break put Muguruza in the driver’s seat to serve out the first set, and this secure her qualification at the top of the tree in the white group.

 

Yet again the pair traded breaks at the start of the second set, as the Czech started to unwind a bit, this time being the one to exert pressure on Muguruza. With the scenarios still dictating that a win would need both Czech lefties to be victorious, the 2011 champion seemed to relax more into her hitting in the second set, easing out to a 3-1 lead.

 

With three breaks apiece, a botched swipe at the net and the merest of deflections off the net kept Kvitova hanging in, as Muguruza seemed to buckle for the first time this tournament, swinging wide and long, with Kvitova barely having to do much to break to take the set.

 

This time it was Kvitova who started by swinging for the fences, but again just not being able to hold on to her break advantage. What was at stake was Muguruza’s position in the mix. A win in three for the Spaniard meant we were still theoretically on course for a Maria Sharapova/Muguruza final, but if Kvitova swung for the win, and could call upon compatriot Lucie Safarova to beat Angelique Kerber, the Czech could force a change in the position and throw the script out the window.

 

Take nothing in women’s tennis for granted. Kvitova’s break was once more nullified by the Spaniard and the game of chess continued. The quality of tennis from both was outstanding, but at the end the nerves of steel belonged to Muguruza after swinging between match-points and break-points, finally sealing it 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 on her fourth.

 

With that she qualified top of the group with a perfect 3-0 record on her debut, leaving Safarova to save Kvitova’s chances with a straight sets win over Kerber, and with the German needing just a single set to advance.

 

It was not technically over for the Czech when she came into press, but one couldn’t help feeling that maybe the focus was shifting.

 

Kvitova said: “I think for me it’s first time in kind of this situation, so it’s kind of new for me. Of course I’m cheering for Lucie, but, I mean, I did everything what I could today. Really didn’t happen. I left everything so I’m okay.

 

“Still have a Fed Cup final ahead, which is interesting and I’m really looking forward to do that. The main goal is be prepared and healthy for the next season.”

 

It was undoubtedly Muguruza’s toughest battle yet, and with the singles and the doubles semifinals to contest, it is a tough end to the season coming right up.

 

Admitting she was tired, and now just concentrating on getting through the week, Muguruza said: “I went to the court thinking that I want to win the match, not only a set or just to qualify. I went there like, No Garbine, go on the court and ‑‑ if you go on the court you have to go and win, not to be half/half.

 

“So that’s what I did. I had my good and bad moments, but I’m just happy that I’ve been through.”

 

If there were any hopes this would be a straight forward match, three straight breaks of serve quickly dispelled that. With Safarova managing to consolidate her second break, it was enough to keep her nose ahead, and even squandering two set points on Kerber’s serve was not enough to halt her momentum as she moved half way to putting Kvitova back in the mix.

 

It was a very rattled Kerber almost tearfully remonstrating with her coach down a break in the second set. It was disappointing that after demonstrating some solid aggressive play, the German was reverting to much more passive play and it was costing her dearly.

 

It was the cruelest blow to Kerber – for the third time in a row she failed to advance at a time when she looked to be the player most likely to join Muguruza in the semifinals. Match to Safarova 6-4, 6-3.

 

The semifinal line up is Sharapova verus Kvitova and Muguruza against Radwanska.

 

Ros Satar is in Singapore covering the WTA Finals as media for Tennis Panorama News. She is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.

 

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