2014/04/18

Serena Williams Ends Career Season with Istanbul Win

TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships: Istanbul 2013 - Day Six

(October 27, 2013) For Serena Williams it was icing on the cake to a career season as she rallied past Li Na 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in Istanbul to defend her WTA Championship title, her 11th of the year and the fourth time she’s won the event. Williams became the first player to defend the year end event since Justine Henin did it in 2007. It’s the American’s 57th title of her career, 13 more than any other current player and the seventh most in WTA history.

“At the start of the match, maybe I was feeling too excited,” first time WTA Championship finalist Li said. “So after one set and a half I felt like I had no more energy left. I have a little bit of a bad taste, because it’s 6-0 in the third set, but I still feel more positive things than negative. At least in the whole match I was using a lot of serve and volleying. I was trying as much as I could to come to the net. So it was an improvement there and I’m still happy overall.”

“I don’t know how I got through that one,” Williams said. “I’ve just had a really long year, and I’m just really excited, honestly. I really didn’t expect to get through this match today. I’m just overjoyed, to be honest. It’s really awesome. It’s such a special moment. To finish the year No.1 in the world and win this title after 40 years of the WTA, it means even more.”

Li Na will finish the year at a career-high No. 3 in the world, the highest ever for a Chinese player.

Williams was an astonishing 78-4 on the year a .951 win percentage winning over $12.3 million dollars for the year, a WTA record and third overall behind Novak Djokovic’s 2011 and 2012 seasons. At 32, Williams is the oldest player to win the year-end and to be WTA No. 1.

Williams has now extended her winning streak to 15 consecutive matches at the tournament; second behind Martina Navratilova, who won 21 in a row between 1983 and 1987 at the year-end championships.

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Serena Williams to Face Li Na for WTA Championships

(October 26, 2013) A sluggish Serena Williams overcame her fatigue to stop Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to move into finals of the WTA Championships.

Williams who appeared to be in pain during the match said that she hit a wall after playing so much tennis this year. She’s 77-4 on the year and looking for her second straight year-end title, which would be her fourth overall.

Williams will be meeting Li Na in the final on Sunday. Li defeated Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-2 to make her first appearance in the year-end tournament. This will be a match-up between the two oldest women in the tournament with Williams at 32 and Li at 31.

 

TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – ISTANBUL
Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships
Hard/Indoors

Results – Saturday, October 26, 2013
Singles – Semifinals
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 64 26 64
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 64 62

Doubles – Semifinals
Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) d. (1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 46 75 103 (Match TB)
(2) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) d. Petrova/Srebotnik (RUS/SLO) 76(5) 62

Order Of Play – Sunday, October 27, 2013
Center Court (from 14.30hrs)
1. Doubles Final: Makarova/Vesnina vs. Hsieh/Peng
2. Singles Final: Serena Williams vs. Li Na (NB 17.00hrs)

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Serena Williams Survives Her Serve and Li Na To Qualify For Istanbul Semis

(October 24, 2012) Serena Williams had to overcome her shaky serve on Wednesday to stop Li Na 7-6(1) 6-3 to win to go 2-0 in round-robin play in the Red Group and secure a spot in the semifinals of the WTA Championships in Istanbul.

Williams won only 51 percent of her first serve points double-faulting six times.

“My serve was a little off, said Williams.  “That’s the only way to explain it.  I think the good news is I can serve better and I can play a lot better than what I did today.

“My serve just didn’t go in. Every time I got my first serve in, I was surprised. But knowing I was able to still, for me, zero serve compared to how I normally serve…. I think it’s something good I can take out of the match.

“I lost serve today more than in all of Wimbledon.”

Williams was so upset with her poor serving, that after her serve was broken she smashed her racquet.

“No, I don’t break racquets in matches,” Williams said.  “Although I didn’t hit it hard and it kind of broke.  Maybe I don’t know my own strength.”

After trailing 4-1, Williams surged by winning the next four games, but was broken serving for the first set, but eventually won the set in a tiebreak.

“I know I have very good beginning of the match, “Li said.  Afterwards, break up and I think too much, you know, because I saw I was 4‑1 up and maybe I have a chance.  But I have to say she has very good serve in the second set.

“But what I can do?  Already try the best on the court today.  Maybe I have some more chance, but I waste them.  I wish I can doing better tomorrow.

“Very tough to play the first match against Serena.  We didn’t have match before for warmup.  If you come to the court with her you have to start right away and keep high level as well.

“But this is the Championships.  It’s different tournament.  It’s end of the year, the last tournament, so, yeah.  I mean, how do you say, it’s really tough.”

Williams has now won 28 of her last 29 matches dating back to Wimbledon.

“It’s important for me to do well and win every match I play, Williams said of her next opponent No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.  She’s playing well.  She’s had a stellar year.

“I don’t want lose whether it’s against her or whether it’s against anybody else.”

Williams will advance out of the Red Group in the semifinals. It’s the fifth time she’s reached the semifinal round. She’s won the tournament twice.

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Notes and Quotes from Day One at the WTA Championships

 

(October 23, 2012) A few of the more unique quotes from news conferences from day one of the WTA Championships in Istanbul from Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanksa and Maria Sharapova.

 

Serena Williams

No.1 Ranking or Winning Majors?

“Obviously I would rather win majors.  I’ve been No. 1 and I would love to be No. 1 again.  I think maybe one day I will.  We’ll see.

“But, you know, for me, I just feel if I keep winning tournaments, majors, tournaments like this, and playing well and consistently, the ranking will come.”

 

Asked about if she remembered her first WTA Championships:

“No, I don’t.  I think it was back in the 1800s.”

 

Scheduling now with the RoadMap versus 2009:

“It’s always been difficult.  It’s always been a disaster and a nightmare in the past, and I think the Roadmap really helped.  I know a lot of players were really, really unhappy before the Roadmap commenced, and I think that addition ‑‑ and I think in general Stacey Allaster has been a great leader for the WTA.  Completely for the tour and completely unselfish.

I think above all, that has been a great model for our female tennis players.  I think that’s the reason why it’s been so successful.”

“ Being on both sides (younger players seems to feel the roadmap is less flexible) I feel like this is pretty cool, because there are some events that you know you’re going to be able to play week in and week out.  You have your big events and your other events.

“So I have nothing to complain about, because I think this is much better than the other system.”

On drug testing in tennis:

“Stringent enough is putting it mildly.  People show up at my house at 5:00 in the morning trying to test me.  You never know when they come.

I mean, I think, yeah, I get tested a lot.  I don’t know about the other players, but for me it’s a pretty intense system, and I know a lot of the players feel the same way.”

 


Agnieszka Radwanska

Road Map Opinion:

“It’s always a good and a bad side.  For sure it change a lot, especially for the top 10 players.  We have a lot of commitments and tournaments to play.

“But I think it’s also a lot of good things.  It’s much more bigger tournaments, so it’s a little bit more to choose.  They are trying to make it a little bit easier for us.  But I think I can’t complain right now.

Pretty much I know all my tournaments for next year, and that’s why I think I don’t have a problem to choose the tournaments.”

 

Maria Sharapova

 On drug testing in tennis:

“Considering I landed from New York and my first day back at home I got a wake‑up call at 6:00 a.m., I think that’s enough.  (Laughing.)

Yep, knocking on my door.  I was like, Thank you.  Welcome home.

On the wheareabouts rule:

“I know it seems difficult to have to give one hour every single day, but I usually have my hour somewhere in the middle of the night because I’m not going to be anywhere but in my bed.

“If they come get me up they can wait and I can wait until I have to go to the bathroom.  It’s the most awkward thing when they knock on your door at 6:00 in the morning in you’re walking around in your robe and your dog is going, What is going on?  Who are these strangers?  It’s just a really bizarre situation.”

Sugarpova in Turkey?

“I would love to see the candy here.  I had an attempt of bringing two bags with me, but between me and my team they were gone on the plane.  Turkish Airlines swallowed them up.

“I would love to see the candy come here.  It’s going to be actually available internationally in a couple weeks, so people if want to order online at sugarpova.com it will be able to come to Turkey.

“Great news.  I’ve been getting a lot of mail that people are upset they can’t get it around the world.  So, you know…”

 

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Serena Williams Dusts Off Rust to Polish Off Kerber in Istanbul

(October 23, 2012) Serena Williams defeated Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-1 in her first match since capturing the US Open title in September at the WTA Championships in Istanbul Turkey on Tuesday in round-robin play.

 

The match stayed close in the first set until 3-3, when Williams captured 9 of the next 11 games to seal the victory.

Williams who has won 27 of her last 28 matches since capturing the Wimbledon crown, avenged her only loss which was to Kerber in Cincinnati.

“Honestly, you know, you don’t really think about it too much ‑ at least I don’t, “Williams told media.  “Obviously I go into the match ‑‑ what I do is go into the match more focused thinking, Okay, she’s beaten me before so she’s going to be a little confident and feel like she can beat me.  What can I do to improve?”

“I felt like I was ready to play,” Serena said of her layoff since the US Open.  “I felt like I practiced too much, and if I hit another practice ball I’m going to go nuts.

“So I just really wanted a match.  I was glad I played first on the first day.  I was like, if I have another practice day, you know, I don’t know if I can handle it.”

Angelique Kerber

“She plays today very well from the beginning, Kerber said. “Like I say, I was a little bit nervous in the beginning.  I mean, I was just trying to find my game and to play aggressive.  I make maybe a little bit more mistakes in the important moment than she.”

“I mean, it was not easy, the match.  And playing here first round against Serena, it was very tough match and also a very tough fight for me.

“But I think I ‑‑ yeah, I mean, she played very well and I was just trying to be there.  I think I do everything I could today.  But I mean, I’m still here.  Tomorrow it’s a next match and I can still qualify.  So I will just, yeah, take the good things from today.

“I mean, I was a little bit nervous in the beginning.  It’s my first time here, Serena is a big champion, and I think she had a lot more confidence today.  So I think that was also the thing.

“But, yeah, I was feeling actually that I can play also consistent on the top level.  Well done to her today.  Tomorrow is the next day, next match, and we will see.”

For Kerber who is at a career high of No. 5, this is her first appearance at the WTA Championships. Williams was asked if she remembered her first time: “No, I don’t,” Williams said.  “I think it was back in the 1800s.”

“I could feel that she was really excited all week long,” Williams said of Kerber. “She’s really happy to be here and feels honored to be here.  She deserves to be here because she worked hard and has been one of the most consistent players constantly on the tour. I think ten semifinals is really pretty impressive, and winning titles as well.

“I think she definitely was excited, and she will have a lot more chances to play at this event.”

Williams will face Li Na on Wednesday in “Red Group” play.

 

“It’ll be interesting, and definitely a tough match,” Williams said. “She’s been playing really well.  Obviously to make it here you have to be playing well.

So I look forward to it.  It will not be easy, but I don’t think any match in this tournament is easy.

“So you have to be ready.”

TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – ISTANBUL 2012
Istanbul, Turkey
October 23-28, 2012
$4,900,000/SEC
Hard/Indoors

Results – Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Round Robin – Red Group
(3) Serena Williams (USA) d. (5) Angelique Kerber (GER) 64 61

Round Robin – White Group
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (7) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 62
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 63 62

Order Of Play – Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Stadium (from 17.00hrs)
1. Serena Williams vs. Li Na
2. Victoria Azarenka vs. Angelique Kerber
3. Maria Sharapova vs. Agnieszka Radwanska

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Year-End WTA Championship on ESPN3, ESPN2

From ESPN: The coveted year-end top ranking in the WTA will be on the line when Victoria Azarenka, the current No. 1, and No. 2 Maria Sharapova lead the field of the top eight women’s tennis players in the world in Istanbul, Turkey, for the round-robin TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships on ESPN3 and ESPN2 beginning Tuesday, Oct. 23. ESPN3 will present 22 live hours from the Sinan Erdem Arena with coverage daily through the championship Sunday, Oct. 28. The final match will be aired on ESPN2 on a short delay at 2 p.m. ET with Patrick McEnroe and Jimmy Arias on the call.

 

The eight players will play in a round-robin format leading to the semifinals – the top two players in each half – and culminated with the championship. The players, in order of current ranking: Azarenka, 2004 champion Sharapova, two-time winner Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, defending champion Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and Li Na.

 

ESPN3 will present two matches per day from the round-robin action Tuesday, Oct. 23 – Friday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The semifinals will be shown Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 a.m. with the championship on ESPN3 and ESPN2 Sunday, Oct. 28 at 11 a.m.

 

The year-end No. 1 ranking will be decided between Azarenka and Sharapova. Azarenka, who has won four of five meetings against Sharapova in 2012, enters the event as No. 1, having held that ranking for all but four weeks since beating Sharapova in the Australian Open final in January. Sharapova held the top spot for one month following her French Open title.

In addition, ESPN3 will present 58 live hours of men’s play from the ATP Swiss Indoors Basel from Switzerland, and the ATP Valencia Open 500 in Valencia, Spain, including the championship of both events from Tuesday, Oct. 23 – Sunday, Oct. 28. In Basel, hometown hero Roger Federer won the event for a fifth time last year and will have to contend with Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro. The field in Spain is topped by David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Janko Tipsarevic and John Isner.

 

ESPN3 delivers thousands of global sports events annually and accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members. It is currently available to 73 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. For fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription via Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV or Comcast Xfinity TV, WatchESPN will provide live complete coverage from ESPN2 at WatchESPN.com and through the WatchESPN app on smartphones and tablets, in addition to ESPN3’s multi-screen offering.

 

WTA Tennis This Week on ESPN Networks

Date Time (ET) Match
Tue, Oct 23 – Fri Oct 26 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. WTA Championships Round Robin Action ESPN3
Sat, Oct 27 8 a.m. – Noon WTA Championships Semifinals ESPN3
Sun, Oct 28 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.2 – 4 p.m. WTA Championships FinalWTA Championships Final (tape delayed) ESPN3ESPN2

 

ATP Tennis This Week on ESPN Networks

Date Time (ET) Match
Tue, Oct 23 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Wed, Oct 24 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Thur, Oct 25 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 ESPN3
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Fri, Oct 26 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Quarterfinals ESPN3
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Quarterfinals ESPN3
Sat, Oct 27 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Semifinals ESPN3
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Semifinal #1 ESPN3
2 – 4:30 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Semifinal #2 ESPN3
Sun, Oct 28 9 a.m. – Noon ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Championship ESPN3
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Championship ESPN3
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Serena Williams, Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka and Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond qualify for WTA Year End Championships

Serena Williams (photo from FamilyCircleCup.com)

NEW YORK, NY, USA – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced today that Serena Williams and the doubles teams of Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka and Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond have qualified for this year’s TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, which will be staged at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. The WTA’s year-end finale, to be held from October 23-28, will feature the world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams, competing for the coveted title and a share of $4.9 million in prize money.

 

“I would like to extend my congratulations to Serena, Andrea, Lucie, Liezel and Lisa on qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO. “Serena has had an incredible year, becoming the only player in history to achieve a golden career Grand Slam in both singles and doubles, and winning her 5th Wimbledon and 4th US Open titles. Serena’s love of the sport and relentless determination to win continues to inspire generations of tennis fans from around the world.”

 

“Andrea and Lucie’s outstanding play has seen them reach the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, in addition to winning a silver medal at the Olympics. It is a wonderful moment for them to qualify for their first WTA Championships. Liezel and Lisa continue to set the bar for dedication and commitment, capturing five titles and spending 20 weeks as co-No.1s on top of the WTA doubles rankings. It will be great to see them back in Istanbul to defend their title.”

 

Serena Williams

 

This season Williams has added more highlights to her resume, including winning two gold medals at the Olympics to achieve a career golden Grand Slam in singles and doubles, securing her 14th and 15th Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, and surpassing sister Venus for the most titles won by an active player (45).

 

The 30-year-old has compiled a 53-4 record this season and a tour-leading six titles, bolstering her Wimbledon, Olympics and US Open victories with wins at the Family Circle Cup (Charleston), Mutua Madrid Open and Bank of the West Classic (Stanford). She is undefeated against Top 5 opponents this year (10-0), and with her tally of 15 wins, only one player can boast more defeats over World No.1 players (Navratilova, 18; equal with Davenport, 15).

 

Williams has qualified for the WTA Championships on nine occasions during her career, and is set to compete for the first time since 2009. The American is a two-time champion at the event – receiving a walkover in the 2001 final against Davenport, and defeating sister Venus in 2009 – in addition to reaching the final in 2002 (runner-up to Clijsters) and 2004 (runner-up to Sharapova in three sets).

 

Click on the link to hear Serena’s thoughts on her season and qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul: http://youtu.be/D-xgx4R9gvg

 

Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka

 

“It is such an unbelievable feeling to have qualified for the WTA Championships,” said Hradecka. “I watched the matches last year, and Petra Kvitova told us how amazing the tournament was, so we are really looking forward to it.”

 

“When we were planning our goals at the start of the year, our focus was really on the Olympics, but as the results started to come, we began to think it might be possible to qualify for Istanbul,” said Hlavackova. “It’s great that we’ll be playing indoors on a fast surface, and we’re going to have some fun and make the most of the week.”

 

The Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka has advanced to seven finals so far this season, winning titles at ASB Classic (Auckland), Memphis International, and Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati), in addition to finishing runners-up at Wimbledon, US Open and the Olympics.

 

First teaming together in 2008 they have collected eight titles, including last year’s Roland Garros, and in doing so became the first all-Czech pairing to win a Grand Slam doubles title since Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova won Wimbledon in 1990. Both players will be making their WTA Championships debut, and will follow in the footsteps of Novotna/Sukova who were the last Czech team to contest the WTA Championships, also in 1990.

 

Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond

 

“One of our goals this year was to return to Istanbul and defend our title at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships,” said Huber. “Istanbul was a memorable experience last year and I am excited to be heading there again in October. The doubles competition there will be tough and I’m sure the fans will see some of the best tennis all year.”

 

“I’m thrilled to qualify for my twelfth WTA Championships and am looking forward to ending the year hopefully on a high note in Turkey!” said Raymond.

 

Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond are two of the WTA’s most decorated doubles players. This season they have reached eight finals and captured five titles: Open GDF SUEZ (Paris [Indoors]), Qatar Total Open (Doha), Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) and New Haven Open at Yale.

 

Between them, Huber and Raymond own 132 doubles titles, including 11 Grand Slams and 7 Championships, including last year in Istanbul. Huber has spent 199 weeks at the top of the WTA’s doubles rankings – behind only Navratilova’s 237 weeks – while at 39 years of age, Raymond is the oldest player ever to hold the WTA No.1 ranking in singles or doubles.

 

Huber will be making her sixth appearance at the year-end finale. The 36-year-old is a three-time winner of the WTA Championships, having won in 2007-08 with Cara Black, and last year with Raymond. This will be 39-year-old Raymond’s 12th journey to the event, having first qualified in 1994. Including last year’s victory, she has won the title four times; also in 2001 with Rennae Stubbs, and 2005-06 with Samantha Stosur.

 

These players join the already-qualified Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, and doubles team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. Five singles and one doubles spot remains open for this year’s player field.

 

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