Simona Halep Wins Qatar Open

Halep TennisTV dont com

(February 16, 2014) Simona Halep captured her first title of the year with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Angelique Kerber of in the Qatar Open final  in Doha on Sunday. For Halep it’s her seventh career title, she won her first six in 2013.

On the way to the win, Halep knocked out three top ten players – No. 7 Sara Errani in the quarterfinals, No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals, and the No. 9 Kerber in the final.

“I feel very, very good now,” Halep said.  “I’m very happy I could win this tournament. It’s amazing for me, because when I came here I didn’t think I could reach the final, or win even. So it’s amazing. It’s the biggest tournament I’ve won. It’s incredible here in Doha.”

“I made too many easy mistakes at the beginning of the match, but Simona played very well – she played at a high level the whole week,” Kerber said. I was trying to play what I could today, I was giving everything I could, but she deserved to win the title. And I’m still happy about the week.”

For Halep this win represents the biggest WTA title of her career – her third Premier-level title and the one with the most prize money.

When the new rankings are announced on Monday, Halep will move up one spot to a career-high No. 8.


Venus Wins, Stephens Falls in Doha


(February 10, 2014) Venus Williams returned to the court for the first time since losing in the first round of the Australian Open, while countrywoman Sloane Stephens fell in Doha on Monday.

Williams bested qualifier Petra Martic 6-2, 6-2 to set up a second-round match with former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

No. 2 American Stephens could not find any consistency and lost to qualifier Petra Cetkovska 7-5-6-1.

Doha, Qatar
February 10-February 16, 2014

Results – Monday, February 10, 2014
Singles – First Round
(Q) Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. (11) Roberta Vinci (ITA) 63 63
(Q) Petra Cetkovska (CZE) d. (14) Sloane Stephens (USA) 75 61
Peng Shuai (CHN) d. (Q) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 76(5) 75
Venus Williams (USA) d. (Q) Petra Martic (CRO) 62 62
Annika Beck (GER) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 76(5) 62
(Q) Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 75 63

Doubles – First Round
Pliskova/Pliskova (CZE/CZE) d. (WC) Al Nabhani/Honcova (OMA/SVK) 63 62
Buryachok/Diatchenko (UKR/RUS) d. Dushevina/Parra Santonja (RUS/ESP) 63 26 103 (Match TB)
(WC) Jankovic/Kleybanova (SRB/RUS) d. Lepchenko/Panova (USA/RUS) 76(3) 06 102 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Centre Court (from 15.30hrs)
1. Francesca Schiavone vs. Magdalena Rybarikova
2. Dominika Cibulkova vs. Alisa Kleybanova
3. Ana Ivanovic vs. Daniela Hantuchova (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Marina Erakovic vs. Samantha Stosur

Court 1 (from 14.30hrs)
1. Tadeja Majeric vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
2. Stefanie Voegele vs. Alizé Cornet
3. Andrea Petkovic vs. Yanina Wickmayer
4. Eugenie Bouchard vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Court 2 (from 14.30hrs)
1. Kaia Kanepi vs. Varvara Lepchenko
2. Alla Kudryavtseva vs. Sorana Cirstea
3. Lucie Safarova vs. Kirsten Flipkens (NB 18.00hrs)
4. Chan/Huber vs. Klemenschits/Olaru

Court 3 (from 14.30hrs)
1. Zhang Shuai vs. Maryna Zanevska
2. Karolina Pliskova vs. Cagla Buyukakcay
3. Monica Niculescu vs. Fatma Al Nabhani
4. Pavlyuchenkova/Petrova vs. Beygelzimer/Savchuk

Court 4 (from 14.30hrs)
1. Barthel/Moulton-Levy vs. Kops-Jones/Spears
2. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs. Yvonne Meusburger (NB 15.30hrs)
3. Elina Svitolina vs. Klara Zakopalova (NB 18.00hrs)

Court 6 (from 15.30hrs)
1. Kristina Mladenovic vs. Jana Cepelova
2. Karin Knapp vs. Caroline Garcia
3. Husarova/Rosolska vs. Raymond/Zhang


2014 Australian Open Women’s Contender Profiles


(January 11, 2014) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for the 2014 Australian Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

Serena Williams Beijing

Serena Williams

2013 Record: 78-4

Grand Slam Record: 246-36

Australian Open Record: 58-8

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2003, ’05, ’07. ’09)

Fast Fact: Last year marked the first time Serena lost in consecutive Australian Open events since 2000-2001.

Victoria Azarenka Miami Players Party

Victoria Azarenka

2013 Record: 43-9

Grand Slam Record: 92-30

Australian Open Record: 28-6

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2012, ’13)

Fast Fact: An Australian Open title would make Azarenka only the second woman in the Open Era to win her first three Slam titles at the same venue (Clijsters, US Open in 2005, ’09, ’10).

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

2013 Record: 37-7

Grand Slam Record: 149-37

Australian Open Record: 39-9

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2008)

Fast Fact: Sharapova’s best winning percentage at a Grand Slam event is in Melbourne, 39-9 (81.25%).

10062012 China Open Li Na in press 2

Na Li

2013 Record: 44-14

Grand Slam Record: 81-29

Australian Open Record: 27-8

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2011, ’13)

Fast Fact: Li has reached at least the QF of every event she has played after the 2013 French Open.


Agniezska Radwanska

Agnieszka Radwanska

2013 Record: 56-20

Grand Slam Record: 79-30

Australian Open Record: 19-7

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2008, ’11, ’12, ’13)

Fast Fact: If Radwanska is ranked in the Top 5 at the conclusion of the Australian Open, it will mark 100 consecutive weeks of a Top 5 WTA ranking.

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

2013 Record: 51-23

Grand Slam Record: 54-21

Australian Open Record: 11-5

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: Kvitova hasn’t defeated a higher ranked opponent at a Grand Slam since defeating Sharapova to win the 2011 Wimbledon title.


Sara Errani

2013 Record: 49-24

Grand Slam Record: 38-25

Australian Open Record: 8-6

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: Errani has lost in the first or second round in 15 of her 25 Grand Slam appearances.


Jelena Jankovic

2013 Record: 46-21

Grand Slam Record: 96-41

Australian Open Record: 23-11

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2008)

Fast Fact: Jankovic hasn’t defeated a higher ranked opponent at the Australian Open since 2004 (Dementieva, 1R).

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

2013 Record: 46-23

Grand Slam Record: 36-24

Australian Open Record: 8-6

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2013)

Fast Fact: Kerber has never lost to an unseeded player at the Australian Open.

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

2013 Record: 39-22

Grand Slam Record:  68-27

Australian Open Record: 20-6

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2011)

Fast Fact: Over the last two years, Wozniacki has won more matches at the Australian Open (7) than at the other Slam events combined (6).


Simona Halep

2013 Record: 50-22

Grand Slam Record: 10-14

Australian Open Record: 2-3

Australian Open Best Result: 3R (2011)

Fast Fact: Halep is the only player in the WTA Top 20 who has never reached a Grand Slam Quarterfinal.


Roberta Vinci

2013 Record: 50-24

Grand Slam Record:  38-36

Australian Open Record: 7-8

Australian Open Best Result: 3R (2006, ’10, ’13)

Fast Fact: Vinci has lost four of her last five matches at WTA tour events.


Sloane Stephens

2013 Record: 40-23

Grand Slam Record: 25-10

Australian Open Record: 6-2

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Stephens won 2/3rds of her career prize money in 2013 ($1.43M of $2.16M).

Ana Ivanovic 2

Ana Ivanovic

2013 Record: 40-23

Grand Slam Record: 89-35

Australian Open Record: 20-9

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2008)

Fast Fact: Ivanovic has lost to a Top 4 seed in 6 of her last 8 Grand Slam events.



Petra Kvitova Wins Title in Tokyo


Kvitova Dubai winner

(September 28, 2013) In an all-lefty final, 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat Angelique Kerber 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 in the Pan Pacific Open final in Tokyo on Saturday for her second title of the year.

“I’m very happy I could win this final today,” Kvitova sais. “For me the whole tournament was great – I felt good all week on the court. I really enjoyed my week here and it’s even better to come away with the title.”

“Petra was playing very well in the first set – in the second set I started to play my game, and I tried to do the same thing in the third set, but she started playing tougher again and moved better,” said the losing finalist. “I was trying to give my best but she was better at the end, so all credit to her.”

The win will move Kvitova up to No. 7 in the world from No. 11 when the rankings come out on Monday, putting her in contention for a place in the WTA Year-End Championships in Istanbul.

For the Czech it’s her 11th the career title. Back in February, Kvitova won a title in Dubai.



Second Seed Ousted in Tashkent


Tashkent, Uzbekistan
September 9-14, 2013

Results – Monday, September 9, 2013
Singles – First Round
(1/Q) Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Kurumi Nara (JPN) 64 63

Nastassja Burnett (ITA) d. (2) Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 76(4) 64

(3) Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) d. Timea Babos (HUN) 26 62 61

(4) Dona Vekic (CRO) d. (Q) Lyudmyla Kichenok (UKR) 63 62

(5) Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) d. (WC) Sabina Sharipova (UZB) 62 60

(6) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. (Q) Alexandra Panova (RUS) 76(8) 61

Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. Michaella Krajicek (NED) 75 26 61
Nadiya Kichenok (UKR) d. Eva Birnerova (CZE) 75 62

Mandy Minella (LUX) d. Olga Puchkova (RUS) 62 63

(Q) Risa Ozaki (JPN) d. (Q) Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 75 62

Doubles – First Round
Savinykh/Torró-Flor (RUS/ESP) d. Abduraimova/Gavrilova (UZB/RUS) 62 46 103 (Match TB)
Kapshay/Mircic (UKR/SRB) d. (WC) Folts/Yusupova (UZB/UZB) 60 62

Order Of Play – Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Centre Court (from 10.00hrs)
1. Yaroslava Shvedova vs. Vesna Dolonc
2. Nigina Abduraimova vs. Petra Cetkovska
3. Arina Folts vs. María-Teresa Torró-Flor
4. Misaki Doi vs. Evgeniya Rodina (NB 15.00hrs)

Court 1 (from 10.00hrs)
1. Tetyana Arefyeva vs. Julia Glushko
2. Maryna Zanevska vs. Galina Voskoboeva
3. Babos/Shvedova vs. Palkina/Pekhova
4. Kremen/Sasnovich vs. Rodionova/Zanevska (NB 14.30hrs)

Court 2 (from 10.00hrs)
1. Birnerova/Buryachok vs. Begu/Cadantu
2. Honcova/Sharipova vs. Govortsova/Minella
3. Ivakhnenko/Kozlova vs. Krajicek/Panova
4. Kichenok/Kichenok vs. Dolonc/Olaru (NB 14.30hrs)


296th Ranked Qualifier Victoria Duval Upends 2011 US Open Champ Sam Stosur in First Round of US Open

Victoria Duval

(August 27, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Last year at the US Open, Victoria Duval gained a wild card into the US Open when she won the US Junior Girls’ National 18 and under championship. This year she had to win three matches in the qualifying tournament to make the main draw. She made good use of extra practice on the courts during qualifying to upset No. 11 seed and 2011 US Open Champion Sam Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to move into the second round at Flushing Meadows.

Originally, the 296th ranked Duval who is just 17-years-old  said she wanted to be a ballerina but she took after her brothers’ interest in tennis.

“Actually, my brothers played,” she said.  “So I was a ballerina before tennis.  I would just run around and hit the ball.  I could never hit the strings.  My brother would go to this tournament in Santo Domingo every year.  The tournament director said, your daughter comes and sits on your lap.  Why don’t you have her play in the tournament?

“I was seven.  I had no idea how to keep score, nothing.  It was a 10‑and‑under tournament, I think, and I won it.  I had no idea where to stand on the court or anything.  After that, my mom was, Okay, you have to choose now.  Tennis seemed to be appropriate.”

The effervescent teen born in Florida but grew up in Haiti, with a high pitched voice that could pass for an animated character, did not have an easy road to tennis.

“It was definitely financially difficult, especially after the earthquake.  My dad wasn’t able to work anymore.

“I’ve been very fortunate.  A couple family members have helped me.  Hopefully with this win today, that will change a little bit.”

At one point as a child she and her cousin were held hostage by robbers.

“We were held hostage,” said Duval.  “It’s not a good memory, so I try to forget as much as I could about it.  I don’t remember too much of it anymore, which is great.”

Also in 2010 an earthquake hit Haiti and her father, a doctor, was underneath rubble for nearly 12 hours. He survived with the aid of an American friend who found a helicopter to get him out. However, now her father is unable to work.

“But he’s improving so much,” said Duval.  “Emotionally it was hard at first.  But he’s as happy as he’s ever been.  He had a couple surgeries that helped take the pain away.  We’re just so happy that, you know, he’s in a good state of mind right now.  He’s just here with us.  So it’s incredible.”

In her post-match on-court interview she reflected on how fortunate she really is: “I don’t take anything for granted. You never know what can happen any day. My dad’s fortunate to be here. … I thank God every day for everything that’s happened. Life is short.”

Duvall made much better memories on Tuesday in Louis Armstrong Stadium with her victory.

“Obviously it’s a great feeling to beat a past champion,” Duval said.  “And Sam is amazing.  Although she didn’t play nearly her best today, I played amazing, so I’ll take it,” she said with a smile.

“But, yeah, I mean, I have to worry about the next match, so I can’t celebrate too much.”

The tale of the tape showed that Stosur hit 56 unforced errors to Duval’s 35.

“I think she played from the ground pretty decent,” Stosur said.  “You know, she went for her forehand a lot more than maybe what I was expecting, from what I could kind of find out beforehand.  She hit that well.  She hit that cross‑court forehand well.  Moved relatively well, all that.

“I again, she played a pretty good match.  It was certainly a match where I feel like I could have played a lot better than what I did.  At the end of the day, that’s what happened today.  She did well.”

Asked if she was going to become a tennis star, Duval said: That’s what I’m working for.  If God will let it, then let’s go.”

Karen Pestaina is covering the US Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.


Related articles:

A New “Sunshine” – Victoria Duval

Q & A with Victoria Duval at the Sony Open


Simona Halep Heads for New York on a Roll

By Jack Cunniff

(August 24, 2013) NEW HAVEN – For Simona Halep, it all came together in Rome. Ranked 64th at the time, she defeated three players ranked in the Top Twenty en route to the semifinals, where she lost to Serena Williams.  Her strong form continued with tournament victories in Nurnberg, s’Hertogenbosch, and Budapest. And on the eve of the U.S. Open, she has now won her fourth title of 2013, and largest of her career, taking the New Haven Open title over Petra Kvitova.

It is Halep’s first Premier title on the WTA Tour, and it will vault her into the world’s Top Twenty; she is expected to be No. 19 on Monday.  How will she feel as one of the top women’s players?  Based on an 11-4 record vs. the Top Twenty since Rome, she certainly belongs.

Four thousand fans arrived at Yale today to watch the New Haven Open final, probably expecting   the defending champion, Kvitova, to repeat. The 23-year-old is a former Wimbledon champion, a former world No. 2, and the third seed. But as the players warmed up, emcee Wayne Bryan listed the recent achievements of the unseeded Halep; she was deserving of her spot in the final.

In the first few games, Kvitova began the way she finished her semifinal match, when she crushed Klara Zakopalova 6-0, 6-1. She held serve easily, and had a 15-40 advantage in each of Halep’s first two service games. Halep successfully fought her way through her service games, then broke Kvitova’s service for a 3-2 lead. That lead to a flurry of unforced errors from Kvitova that continued for the remainder of the match.  The 21-year-old from Romania went on a streak of nine straight games, to lead 6-2, 4-0.  While Kvitova managed to salvage her final two service games, Halep sealed the title with an ace, 6-2, 6-2.

Halep becomes only the second unseeded player to win the title in New Haven; her semifinal victim, Caroline Wozniacki, was the first in 2008. She becomes the tenth different player to capture the title in New Haven since the event has been played at Yale University in 1998. Seven of the previous nine champions also have Grand Sam Singles titles on their résumé.

In Doubles action, Sania Mirza and Zheng Jie took the title in straight sets over Anabel Medina Garrigues and Katarina Srebotnik, 6-3, 6-4.  Mirza and Zheng were playing in their third hard court event this summer as a duo, and had struggled in their earlier events. Those struggles continued in the first two rounds in New Haven, as the pair had to battle through 10-8 third set scores in both of those matches to stay alive. But they’ve started to gel as a team, and won in straight sets in the semifinals and final to take the trophy. As Mirza noted afterwards, “I think that you got to win, so to say, a couple ugly matches.” They played their best today against the veteran duo of Srebotnik and Medina Garrigues, who are playing together for the first time in eight years.


Reversal of Fortune in New Haven

Wozniacki frustrated

By Jack Cunniff

(August 23, 2013) Yesterday,  Caroline Wozniacki was asked about her high quality play in the quarterfinals of the New Haven Open against Sloane Stephens. “You never know,” she replied, “Every match is different.  Sometimes you feel really great out there.  Sometimes it’s a struggle, but you need to find a way to win.  Sometimes it’s a little up and down.”  Sure enough, today’s semifinal action at Yale proved to be a complete reversal from the form the competitors displayed in their quarterfinals.
Defending champion Petra Kvitova entered the semifinals today having been extended to three sets in each of her last six matches, including all three matches she played in New Haven.  In fact, 12 of her last 15 matches, dating back to the Eastbourne event in June, have gone the distance.  Kvitova had played a WTA Tour-leading 30 three set  matches.  But today she cruised through her semifinal against Klara Zakopalova.  Kvitova was a model of efficiency against her friend and Czech countrywoman Zakopalova.  Despite serving three double faults in the match, Kvitova’s serve was a huge weapon; she won 23 of 26 first serve points, and never faced a break point in the match.  The crowd cheered enthusiastically for Zakopalova when she finally held serve in the twelfth game, but the end result was no longer in doubt, and Kvitova advanced 6-0, 6-1.
The evening match saw 4-time New Haven champion Caroline Wozniacki square off against Simona Halep, the 21-year-old Romanian who has won three events over the summer.  Wozniacki, so sharp in the quarterfinals against Stephens, could not recapture that form today.  She made too many errors and seemed easily flustered in the first set.  Halep, with the experience she’s gained this year, took advantage.  After Wozniacki lost the opening set 6-2, she tried to change tactics. She hit a higher ball with little pace, and mixed in some drop shots. The strategy partially worked, as it forced Halep into more errors, but Halep still had full control of the match. She broke Wozniacki at 5-5 in the second set, and held her nerve to serve out the match, 6-2, 7-5.
Halep will face Kvitova for the first time in her career in tomorrow’s Championship match.
Around the Grounds… Kvitova is hoping to defend a title successfully for the first time tomorrow. “I have one more new motivation then,” she said when reminded she’s never defended a title…. Wozniacki was asked about Halep’s sudden improvement, and spoke of how quickly intangibles like confidence can turn around someone’s game. “You know, the thing is, it can switch so quickly.  It can be one match that changes completely.  All of a sudden you feel like you’re playing great, you’re on a roll. Yeah, it’s so little, and it can do so much to your game.”… Defending doubles champion Liezel Huber and partner Nuria Llagostera Vives were eliminated in the Doubles semifinals by Anabel Medina Garrigues and Katarina Srebotnik.  Huber won the 2012 New Haven Open title with Lisa Raymond; Huber/Llagostera Vives had elimanted Raymond and current partner Flavia Pennetta in the opening round. Medina Garrigues and Srebotnik, the second seeds, take on The No. 3 seeds Sania Mirza and Jie Zheng in Sunday’s championship match.
Jack Cunniff is covering the New Haven Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.
New Haven, CT, USA
August 18-24, 2013

Results – Friday, August 23, 2013
Singles – Semifinals
(3) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 60 61
Simona Halep (ROU) d. (4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 62 75

Doubles – Semifinals
(2) Medina Garrigues/Srebotnik (ESP/SLO) d. (4) Huber/Llagostera Vives (USA/ESP) 46 75 101 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Saturday, August 24, 2013
Stadium (from 12.25hrs)
1. Doubles Final: Mirza/Zheng vs. Medina Garrigues/Srebotnik
2. Singles Final: Simona Halep vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 15.00hrs)


Qualified Success in New Haven

garcia 08.17.2013

Caroline Garcia

By Jack Cunniff

(August 17, 2013) NEW HAVEN – The Women’s Singles Qualifying draw of the New Haven Open is always an interesting mix.  The strength of the Women’s Singles draw translates to several Top 50 players placed in qualifying to earn their way to the main draw.  And there are some more obscure players, ranked outside of the WTA Top 200.  But because qualifying for the U.S. Open is held the same week as New Haven, the bulk of players ranked between 100 and 200 are missing from action.

(Of course, an enterprising player could always attempt to play both U.S. Open qualifying and a tour event, as John Ross did in 1987. Ross, an American, alternated between the U.S. Open qualifying at The National Tennis Center, and the ATP stop in Rye, NY.  He was successful, too, defeating Thomas Muster and Jaime Yzaga en route to the finals at Rye, and qualifying for the U.S. Open.)

Most of the qualifying draw is comprised of players ranked in the 40-100 range, which means that qualifiers often find success in the New Haven main draw.  In 2011, Petra Cetkovska was ranked No. 40, successfully played her way to the main draw, then defeated three of the top five seeds (Agnieszka Radwanska, Marion Bartoli, and Li Na) en route to the finals.  Cetkovska wasn’t the first qualifier in recent memory to reach the finals; in 2007, Agnes Szavay qualified then reached the final as well.

So which 2013 qualifier might be destined for success?

The list of candidates featured a former Wimbledon semifinalist (Tsvetana Pironkova, 2010), a former U.S. Open semifinalist (Yanina Wickmayer, 2009), and a former top-ten player who reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals on three occasions (Flavia Pennetta, 2008-09, 2011).  But two of those players were ushered out in the second round of qualifying.

Pennetta, the 31-year-old Italian veteran still on the comeback trail from wrist surgery a year ago, was facing a player more than a decade younger, 19-year-old Annika Beck.  Pennetta showed her old form in taking the first set, but midway through the second set she called the trainer for a lower back injury.  Once Beck closed out the second set, Pennetta was forced to retire the match.

Pironkova is better known for her grass court success, but showed solid hard court play early in the match against her teenage opponent, Caroline Garcia from France.  But Pironkova could only convert one of twenty break points in the first two sets.  Strong serving from Garcia in the third set troubled Pironkova, and Garcia prevailed, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3.

Wickmayer had more success today, battling from a set down to eliminate Olga Puchkova.  Other players in the qualifying draw who hope to make an impression in the main draw of New Haven include Monica Puig, who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last month; Elina Svitolina, an 18-year-old Ukranian who has won her last two events; Yaroslava Shvedova, the former Top Thirty player and Grand Slam Doubles champion best known for winning a “Golden Set” at 2012 Wimbledon; and Alison Riske, an American whose ranking has jumped from No. 171 in June to her current rank of No.98.

Jack Cunniff is covering the New Haven Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.

$ 690,000.00
AUGUST 16 – AUGUST 24, 2013


Qualifying Singles – Second Round

Qualifying – E Svitolina (UKR) d J Cepelova (SVK) 63 63
Qualifying – A Beck (GER) d F Pennetta (ITA) 36 62 00 Retired
Qualifying – S Voegele (SUI) d A Cadantu (ROU) 62 60
Qualifying – M Puig (PUR) d S Arvidsson (SWE) 62 52 Retired
Qualifying – A Morita (JPN) d A Medina Garrigues (ESP) 63 62
Qualifying – Y Wickmayer (BEL) d O Puchkova (RUS) 36 61 63
Qualifying – K Knapp (ITA) d [WC] A Mueller (USA) 36 76(0) 62
Qualifying – C Garcia (FRA) d T Pironkova (BUL) 67(5) 76(2) 63
Qualifying – A Riske (USA) d I Begu (ROU) 26 76(2) 62
Qualifying – M Duque-Marino (COL) d A Hlavackova (CZE) 75 75
Qualifying – A Schmiedlova (SVK) d S Zhang (CHN) 64 63
Qualifying – Y Shvedova (KAZ) d Y Duan (CHN) 76(6) 64

Championship – Quarterfinals

[1] J Dadamo (USA) d D Gooch (RSA) 62 64
M Pecotic (CRO) d [3] P Daciek (USA) 63 62
[4] C Boyce (USA) d E Orkin (USA) 63 62
T Larson (USA) d A Ball (USA) 62 63

Championship – Quarterfinals

[1] M Hibi (JPN) d M Okruashvili (GEO) 62 61
[2] N Melichar (USA) d K Mckenna (USA) 64 63
L Graff (USA) d [3] N Kukharchuk (RUS) 67(3) 64 61
[4] P Porter (USA) d M Kelley (USA) 62 64

STADIUM start 11:00 am
Qualifying – A Beck (GER) vs K Knapp (ITA) – WTA
Qualifying – M Puig (PUR) vs C Garcia (FRA) – WTA

Not Before 2:00 PM
[7] S Lisicki (GER) vs K Mladenovic (FRA) – WTA
N Grandin (RSA) / D Jurak (CRO) vs [2] A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / K Srebotnik (SLO) – WTA

GRANDSTAND start 12:30 pm
Qualifying – M Duque-Marino (COL) vs A Morita (JPN) – WTA
Qualifying – A Riske (USA) vs Y Wickmayer (BEL) – WTA
S Aoyama (JPN) / A Klepac (SLO) vs I Begu (ROU) / O Govortsova (BLR) – WTA

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
Qualifying – E Svitolina (UKR) vs A Schmiedlova (SVK) – WTA
Qualifying – S Voegele (SUI) vs Y Shvedova (KAZ) – WTA

Not Before 2:00 PM
H Chan (TPE) / J Husarova (SVK) vs L Hradecka (CZE) / K Zakopalova (CZE) – WTA

COURT 3 start 12:00 noon
L Graff (USA) vs [2] N Melichar (USA) – USONP
[4] C Boyce (USA) vs M Pecotic (CRO) – USONP
[1] M Hibi (JPN) vs [4] P Porter (USA) – USONP
[1] J Dadamo (USA) vs T Larson (USA) – USONP


Citi Open Interview: Sorana Cirstea: Happy Sorana Cirstea Has Sky-High Goals

By Steve Fogleman for Tennis Panorama

Citi Open Feature Interview: Sorana Cirstea


(July 31, 2013) WASHINGTON, DC – Sometimes words alone cannot capture the emotions of a human being as adequately as seeing and hearing the subject.

This is one of those times.

Sorana Cirstea is one happy tennis player.

I caught up with her yesterday after a 7-5, 1-1 over Lesia Tsurenko by retirement. She’ll face Alison Riske in the second round of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. tomorrow for a spot in the quarters.


“I hope you don’t make me sing! I cannot sing!” she jokingly protested, as I handed her a microphone for the interview.


Sorana Cristea is so happy with her year so far and so excited to be in Washington for the first time that she comes across as one of the most genuine and well-balanced players I’ve ever met.

This is one of those times when I’m glad I’m about the only person who regularly shoots video interviews in the early rounds of the tournaments I attend. I know it’s more convenient to read a blog than watch a video on your Iphone or laptop. I mean, you might be at work or on a bus or watching a tennis match right now.


But please take time to hear Sorana’s infectious jubilance by watching the video at some point.

If you like Cirstea, you’ll like her even more. And if you don’t know anything about her, you’ll like her for the first time.


The 23-year-old Romanian is just off her new career high of #23 in the world. She has been in the late rounds of every other tournament I follow.


She’s only won one WTA singles title, and that was five year ago in Tashkent, but this year alone, she has made the semis at Pattaya and Stanford, the quarterfinals at Birmingham, and the Round of 16 in Charleston and Miami. She also made the third round at Roland Garros before falling to eventual champion Serena Williams.


And yet, it seems, no one in the English-speaking world can pronounce her name.

She even changed the pronunciation of Cirstea because non-Romanian speakers simply cannot pronounce it.

“However people can say it, as long as they get Sorana fine, that’s all good. I find it funny.

The funniest thing of all is when I go to grab a coffee. That’s always the worst place they spell my name. So for now on, I will be something like Bob or Michael!”


She’s definitely pleased with the results of her hard work on the circuit this year.

“It’s been a solid year. I’ve been quite consistent from tournament to tournament. I feel I am playing better and better from week to week. It’s nice knowing that when you put all that hard work in, you can see the results. I think that motivates. I’m just very excited and looking forward to what’s coming next.


I feel I’m ready. When I have a good day, I can beat anyone. I always say that the rankings show the truth. If I’m 28 right now, it means this is where I should be.”


This is her first time in Washington in any capacity. She’s thrilled with the beauty of the city and the friendliness of Citi Open staff.


“I’m very excited to be here for my first time in Washington. I’ve always wanted to come. It’s this thing about “The Capital”. I’ve been waiting 23 years to get here. As soon as I got in on Sunday night, we dropped our bags at the hotel and went to the White House.


There’s just so much history here. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to explore and be a tourist.”

I asked her if she might be a lawyer after her pro career concludes. She acknowledged that it might be too late to start schooling for such a job, and that she has some many interesting options after tennis.


“Once I have something in my mind, I try to put 100% in to make it.”

Of course, the reason I asked about a legal career was due to her brilliant closing arguments against bad calls in Stanford recently in a match with Dominkia Cibulkova. It was an argument she won, and won, and won, as the judges went her way six times in a single set.


“I think that’s more stubbornness!”, she joked. “Once I think I’m right, I usually go all the way. I knew I was right at that point. So I was really confident and I went for it. I have respect for the chair umpire and all the linesmen. The only reason why I argued is because I wanted that point. It was mine. I earned it. I’m one of those people where if something is mine, I won’t give it away.”I don’t know if about her stubbornness, but I am impressed with her fearlessness. She took a maiden sky-diving jump last year and loved it so much she had to do it again recently.


“I loved it. I always wanted to do it and never had the opportunity.The second time around was ten times better, because I actually knew what to expect. Everyone should jump at least once in their life. It’s an experience worth living. Don’t  be surprised if you see me jumping again.”


And don’t be surprised if you see her hoisting a trophy and winning another WTA title or two before the year is out.


Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He tweets from @TennisEastCoast.