November 25, 2015

WTA Finals – Sharapova Rallies While Halep Dominates in Opening Wins

By Ros Satar

(October 25, 2015) SINGAPORE –

Simona Halep [1] d Flavia Pennetta [7]

Halep fist pump-001

Any doubts over Halep’s fitness was dispelled pretty much in an instant (well, at least in the first 25 minutes) as the Romanian scampered around as well as she has ever done, to wrap up the first set over the last Slam title winner of the year in just 25 minutes without dropping a game.


Halep, who has struggled in the past with the variety and finesse that an on-form Pennetta has to offer, could seemingly do nothing wrong in the first set, as Pennetta struggled to find any way into the match.


The second set saw a lot more attacking play from the Italian as Halep maybe faltered ever so slightly, not quite finding the lines but having no trouble with the wide open space behind them.


But Pennetta admitted that she just was not on point to take her chances today as Halep set down a marker that her run to the finals last year was no fluke.


She admitted: “The second set was much better. I was trying to find something more, to be more aggressive, and I was more close and I have my chance. I didn’t make it.”


Of course the beauty of the round robin format is you live to fight another day. While Pennetta has been to the season ending finals before, winning with doubles partner Gisela Dulko in 2010, this was her first (and of course last) shot at the singles.


“I think I have to recover a little bit, to have more energy, to be more aggressive, and that’s going to be my goal for the next match for sure.”


For the Romanian – if she can keep up that level of aggression, she will be targeting her first win over Maria Sharapova.


She said: “I was well‑prepared and I knew how to play against her. I was expecting that she’s going to play the same like in US Open, and I knew how to adapt the game. So I was solid. I was smart‑aggressive, I can say. I didn’t use overpower. I just opened the court and I tried to finish the point.”


Halep started quickly last year, stunning Serena Williams in the round-robin stages before succumbing in the final on her debut. She admitted that last year she was just happy to be there, but if she plays throughout the early stages like she did today, she has to be a favourite to win at the end of next Sunday.



Maria Sharapova [3] d Agnieszka Radwanska [5] 4-6 6-3 6-4

Sharapova gets ready to serve

If Halep was speedy, we knew we were in for the long haul as Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska embarked upon games that were almost half as long as the first set of Halep/Pennetta.


Sharapova looked to be a little rusty – something that she probably expected having not gotten through a full match since her semifinal defeat by Serena Williams this summer at Wimbledon. Fist-pumping battling, it was left to Radwanska to pull out the ninja tricks with some outstanding shot-making to keep herself in contention as they both had their chances to make a break, neither being able to convert.


After a quick start in the second set by Sharapova, they seemed to be back to their old dueling ways as Radwanska righted the ship to get back on the board at 1-3. But by now the bit was between the Russian’s teeth as she leveled the match to set up a decider, and more importantly to answer the question about how match-ready she was.


The first advantage in the decider went to Sharapova in a hold just shy of 14 minutes followed by a break to put Radwanska firmly on the back foot. By now looking spent, it was as much as she could do to stay in contention as Sharapova faltered once after breaking to serve out the match for the first time, before finally grinding out the win, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.


Radwanska had to admit this was the one that got away, after the match: “I think she is just kind of player that even that she didn’t play for couple months, she’s always ready to play matches and always in shape to play really good match.


“I think we always playing three hours match in Championships, so I’m not surprised.


“I think it was really good match. I didn’t really use my chances. Couple of off games that I just slip away a little bit.”


“Even when you lose you have chances to go for it. Of course no easy matches here, so I’ll be very happy to play the same tennis that I was playing today and we’ll see.”


For Sharapova, the relief of having completed her first match since July was palpable.


She explained: “I’ve had a lot of starts and stops, and I was just really thrilled that despite not playing these last few months and not playing my best tennis, I was facing an opponent that obviously deserved a spot in tournament and has had a really great last few months, and I just felt like I was able to take myself to another level physically, which I didn’t exactly expect that I would be able to.


“I know we have pretty long ones. I know a lot of you look forward to them. I do, too. I really do enjoy playing against her. I feel like those are some of the matches that I like to watch on TV, when different styles of games clash against each other. Becomes that bit of a cat and mouse game.”


Play will continue on Monday with both Garbiñe Muguruza taking on Lucie Safarova in the evening session, followed by Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.


Ros Satar is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


All Access at the WTA Finals

The 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global returns to Singapore for the second consecutive year with the top women competing for $7 million in prize money from October 23 to November 1. This year's singles field poses with the Billie Jean King Trophy in front of the National Gallery Singapore. Left to Right: Flavia Pennetta (Italy), Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Maria Sharapova (Russia), Simona Halep (Romania), Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain), Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic), Angelique Kerber (Germany) and Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic). Credit: Getty Images.

The 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global returns to Singapore for the second consecutive year with the top women competing for $7 million in prize money from October 23 to November 1. This year’s singles field poses with the Billie Jean King Trophy in front of the National Gallery Singapore. Left to Right: Flavia Pennetta (Italy), Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Maria Sharapova (Russia), Simona Halep (Romania), Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain), Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic), Angelique Kerber (Germany) and Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic). Credit: Getty Images.

By Ros Satar


(October 24, 2015) SINGAPORE – With the draw out of the way, it was time for the stars of this year’s WTA Finals to meet the press, after a week of frenzied calculations of who may or may not make the cut.


With World No. 1 Serena Williams’ absence, the field is possibly one of the most open in recent times, with an all-European cast, with three debutantes (Garbiñe Muguruza, Flavia Pennetta and Lucie Safarova), and a frenetic sprint to the finish for the last spots.

Kvitova bh-001

First up on the scene was Petra Kvitova, who clinched the title on her debut in 2011. It has been an up and down year for the Czech, who still has the Fed Cup final to go before she can call time on her season.


Kvitova took the brave move to take a couple of months off the spring hard-court swing, citing exhaustion and later it emerged she had been struggling with mononucleosis so to qualify for the WTA Finals was an achievement worth smiling about.


She said: “To qualify again after what was a tough year for me, I’m really satisfied that I made it again. In the beginning of the year if somebody told me that I’m going to qualify, I’m not really going to believe them. I hope that next year will be a bit boring.”


The fourth seed heads up a trio of lefties that have all wound up in the White Group, and felt that despite the lack of the World No. 1, the field was ready to put on a good show.


“I know that we are missing Serena. I think she needed the time off so it’s good for her. Of course she is a great champion and probably for many people she is one of the greatest player. So they are probably a little bit sad she isn’t here.


“But I think it’s still a great draw and a great two groups. I think you’re going to see great tennis from everyone here.”


Simona Halep

Simona Halep

Top seed Simona Halep is thankfully out of the leftie group, but has the challenge of Maria Sharapova in hers and feels ready to tackle the 2004 champion and get her first win over her.


Halep said: “I never beat her, but maybe I will have the chance here. I just want to play match by match, everyone is playing tough here. We are the best eight players in the world so every match is like a final. I have nothing to lose. I have no expectations.”


Halep stunned Williams last year in the Round Robin stages before meeting her again in the final, on her debut last year. With three players making their debut this year, she felt like the field could be wide open this year.


She continued: “A few players are coming very strong. Muguruza – she’s coming very strong. She’s strong, she’s a strong player. She can win many matches, many important tournaments, Radwanska, is coming back again. She’s playing well, Pennetta won US Open, for the first time.


“So of course she will give everything she has because she said she’s going to retire so she has nothing to lose anymore. It’s my second year playing the WTA Finals so I have nothing to lose too because last year I had great result. So I think everyone can win the title.”


Agniezska Radwanska

Fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska is another player who has had a tough year, but in a spurt towards the end of the year picked up pace to qualify fifth for the WTA Finals.


“Of course, beginning of the year was tough. To be honest, I didn’t really change much. I was practicing the same. It’s just during the matches, something didn’t work. I couldn’t really play my best game during the matches.


“[The] grass court season I think gave me much more confidence on court. That was kind of a click out there. I was playing much better, feeling much better on court than beginning of the year. It was still not too late to be here, to make much more points in the second part of the season.”



The wait was possibly more nail-biting for Angelique Kerber, who was relying on the results of others to make the cut.


“You know, of course it’s better if you have it in your hands. But at the end, I was waiting and watching a little bit on the live score how the other is playing.


“At the end I did everything I could this year to be here. Of course, I’m proud that I qualified at the end. It was I think the most toughest and closest to qualify at the end.”


For Muguruza – it is her singles debut, having made the doubles event here last year, and she will be contesting both this year. Since winning her highest profile tournament to date in Beijing, she has been in Singapore preparing for this tournament, and the challenges of playing both the singles and doubles.


“I think is very tough to play singles and doubles, especially when you are really in high rankings because every match you play, you really need to be 100%. Obviously playing singles and doubles makes you more tired. You have to spend more hours in the side practicing, talking and thinking. But I enjoy playing doubles with Carla (Suarez Navarro). We said two years ago, Carla, let’s play doubles and see what happens.


“We are playing Masters again, it’s amazing. I think it helps me a lot, doubles, as a better player, to learn things. So far I’m enjoying singles and doubles, but it’s hard, really hard.”


Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

After Flavia Pennetta triumphed in New York, winning her maiden slam and then announcing this would be her last year in tennis, she acknowledged that once she had a chance to make the cut, she would fight for it.


But she was very clear – this is her final tournament as a player, and while she emphatically shut down the thought of becoming a coach to at least a senior player, the thought of perhaps shaping how stars of the future are made appealed.


She said: “That thing is going to be something that I like to do, more to just explain them how it is the life. I mean, now I feel there is a lot of pressure [on] the young children to become champions. I think there is a right time for everything.


“They need to be a child. They need to have fun. They don’t have to be professional at 10 years old. I mean, they have so much time in the life. Why to rush too much? Now I think they are really push from the sponsor, from the family, from everyone. Before was more relaxing everything. Now they want it too much, so early.”


Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

In fact Pennetta is not the only player who has found success a little later in her career, with Lucie Safarova joining the cast of players this year, following her run to the final of the French Open.


“I’ve been improving through last couple years already. I’ve been climbing the rankings. It hasn’t been as fast as some other players jump there. But the more I really enjoy it, I’m thankful for it.”


She will be partnering Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the doubles.


Pride of place in terms of the day’s procession of players was 2004 champion Maria Sharapova. One of only two players here who won on their debut, it has been an up and down year for the Russian, who battled with injury throughout the US hard court season and only took to the court after Wimbledon for the first time in Wuhan, where she had to retire in her opening match.


Sharapova might avoid the ‘group of lefties’ but with little match play and even with no nemesis Williams in the mix, and the prospect of the Fed Cup final ahead, there are plenty of challenges enough this week in Singapore.


She said: “Considering I haven’t played much, it doesn’t change much for me. I think, as I said before, it’s not so much who I’m playing against or what my record is than it is about me being out there and staying healthy and working my way through the matches.


“I feel there’s definitely been a big mix of a few players that have done extremely well at certain times of the year and not so in other parts of the year. Besides Serena, the consistency has been lacking, that’s for sure.


“Of course, there are definitely names that have been around, a younger generation that we always believed would come through, is proving to show that. There are also players that have had great potential around my age that have come through and done extremely well, and even older. There’s been a mix of everything this year.”


Sharapova will be part of the opening day’s line-up, playing on the opening night against Radwanska. Earlier in the day the WTA Rising Stars final will take place, and will be followed by Halep v Pennetta.


Monday’s schedule will see Muguruza kick off the White Group matches against Safarova while Kvitova and Kerber take the night match honours.


Play on Sunday begins at 11am with Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Safarova v Muguruza/Suárez Navarro.


Ros Satar is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


Djokovic Wins Third Shanghai Crown; Jankovic, Radwanska and Pavlyuchenkova Claim WTA Titles


(October 18, 2015) Novak Djokovic won his third Shanghai title on Sunday besting Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final 6-2, 6-4. The victory, which gave him his 25 ATP Masters Series title and 57th career tournament win extended his current winning streak to 17 straight matches.

“Today the key was to get as many serves back into play to Jo because he has one of the biggest serves in the game,: said the world No. 1. “He has shown that in the second set, with some break points early in the set. He came up with some aces, some big serves.

“Generally I always felt in control of the match. I felt like I’ve done everything right. I’ve won many of my service games very comfortably. I didn’t allow him to get into the rhythm, get into the match. Today’s match, and overall the tournament, it’s gone incredibly well for me.”

“The first set went quick,” Tsonga said. “It’s not easy to stop him. He is really consistent on his return. Today I didn’t serve well enough, especially in the first set. After that, in the second, I served a little bit better, and it gave me the opportunity to have a chance on his serve. But finally I was not able to do it, and he broke me at 4-all.

“I’m very satisfied. To come back at your best level, it’s always a long process. I’m happy today to be back really close to the Top 10. Like I said just before, it gave me energy to continue to work hard and try to achieve other good things.”

With his performance this week, the Frenchman in now No. 9 in the Race to London for a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals.Just two spots remain in the eight-man field as Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych secured their places this week. They will join Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka who have already qualified.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Twenty-ninth ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won her first title of the year and eighth WTA title overall defeating Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany 6-4, 6-3 for the Linz title Generali Ladies.


Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

Veteran Jelena Jankovic rallied from a set and 6-5 down to beat second seed Angelique Kerber in the Hong Kong Open final 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1

For the former No. 1 WTA player coming into the event as a Wild Card, Jankovic this was her 15th career crown. Jankovic said that this win will improve her confidence, especially beating Kerber and Venus Williams. She said it proves that she can still play at the top level and said that if she works hard, maybe she can win a major next year.

Aga Radwanska Party with the pros

Agnieszka Radwanska easily defeated Danka Kovinic 6-1, 6-2 win the Tianjin Open title and claim a place in the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Radwanska, who won her 16th WTA title of her career, became the fifth player to qualify for the year-end championships. She will be joining Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza in Singapore. No. 1 Serena Williams withdrew from the event to rest and recover.



Garbine Muguruza Moves into Top Four with Beijing Title

(October 11,2015) Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza won the China Open with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Timea Bacsinszky for her second career WTA title, first Premier Mandatory.

Muguruza rallied from 5-2 down in the first set and a break down in the second set to claim the title.

“It was a very tough start of the match,” said the winner. “I was nervous. I was really nervous because I came from the final of Wuhan thinking, C’mon, I want to win this one so much. Sometimes it doesn’t help to think like this, but you cannot say no.

“I think, yeah, it was tough. But I could turn it around at some point during the set. I think also Timea started really believing she could do it, and she was playing great.”

The title will vault the Spaniard to No. 4 in the rankings, a career high.

“Well, definitely it’s a big achievement,” said Muguruza. “I think, you know, to see you are improving, also on the tennis side, but in the rankings, it’s that moment when there’s only three more in front of me. It feels good. It feels that you’re doing in a right way your things. “

Muguruza, has playing well in Asia, last week a finalist in Wuhan falling to Venus Williams, when she had to retire in the second set with an ankle injury.

Bacsinszky, almost out of the game of tennis two years ago will reach the top ten on Monday.

“I think I’ve never imagined ever in my whole life to be one day top 10. Right now I’m top 10. Yesterday I didn’t talk about it so much because probably I was only focusing on the tournament.

“But just looking back with what I’ve achieved right now, yeah, just have goosebumps right now because the road was long. It’s just so great, yeah, and special.”

“It was already not a goal to be top 10, to be honest,” said the Swiss. “I talked about it many, many times. Maybe it’s crazy for some people to understand that I have no goals, no special goals.

“My only goal is to give 100% wherever I am, if it’s in Europe, if it’s in Asia, if it’s in South America, if it’s sunny, if it’s rainy, if it’s snowy, if it’s wind, no wind, whatever. I try to give my best every day. I try to push myself.

“It got me where I am right now. I had big faith in my project. When someone was talking to me about top 10, I was like, Yeah, yeah, top 10 is over there, it’s far. Right now I am one of it.

“It just shows if you don’t set yourself limits, you can go anywhere. You can just push, push, push yourself every day. That’s what I’m doing.”

Muguruza has withdrawn from this week’s Hong Kong Open, citing that her ankle needs to recover.


BNP Paribas Open Tournament Director and COO Steve Simon New CEO of the WTA

Volunteers are celebrated before the start of the Women's Singles Final in Indian Wells, California on Sunday, March 22, 2015. (Photo by Billie Weiss/BNP Paribas Open)

(October 5, 2015) On Monday, the Board of Directors of the Women’s Tennis Association announced a unanimous decision naming Steve Simon, the Tournament Director and Chief Operating Officer of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Tournament, as the new CEO of the women’s tour. Simon will begin his new position immediately and leave his current post at the end of November.

Simon joined the tournament in 1989 in a sponsorship sales role after working with adidas for six years. He became Tournament Director and COO in 2004. At the end of the 2013 tournament, he and the CEO oversaw the vast expansion of Indian Wells.

“I am exceptionally grateful to both Charlie Pasarell and Raymond Moore for the opportunity they gave me more than 25 years ago to work at the BNP Paribas Open,” said Simon through a news release. “I have cherished my time here, and everyone involved with the event – staff, volunteers, players, officials and many more – who have made this event into the exceptional tournament it has become. I am humbled and excited about the opportunity, and leave the tournament knowing that the team in place, under the guidance of Moore and owner Larry Ellison, will continue to excel and keep the BNP Paribas Open as one of the best events in the world.”

“Steve Simon, with his successful career leading one of tennis’ most prestigious tournaments, is the perfect person to run the WTA,” the WTA Board said in a statement. “Steve produced results, pursued excellence and he kept innovating, making the fan experience even better. He has a very clear vision for the sport and is held in high regard by all.”

Simon replaces Stacey Allaster who announced her resignation on September 22.


Top Two Seeds Halep and Kvitova Out of China Open

Halep 2182015-001

(October 4, 2015) Top seed Simona Halep of Romania retired from her match with a left Achilles injury while No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova lost to Sara Errani at the China Open on Sunday in Beijing.

No. 2 Halep retired against Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena at 4-5 in the first set. There were three other retirements in women’s matches on the day.

“I have pain in my Achilles,” the Romanian said. “It’s getting worse. I thought that it’s getting better and I can play. But no. I don’t want to force (it).

“It’s a tough injury because always is dangerous to continue with the tendon. So, yeah, I hope just to recover and to be healthy soon.” She had the same injury in 2011.

“My first thought is just to be healthy,” Halep said when asked about competing at the WTA Finals in Singapore. “Of course, every tournament is important. But the most important thing is to be okay, to feel no pain, and then I will see.

“I hope I can play in Singapore. Was my goal for this year. I will see. I need treatment and I need break, for sure.”

“I think all the players in the end of the year are a little bit tired. It’s tough to manage these situations,” she said.

“If you want to be in the top, you have to work hard and to be getting better year by year, you know, as soon as you can.”

No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska moved on when Coco Vandeweghe retired after the first set.

“Well, I knew she retired last week,” Radwanska said. “But, you know, every week it’s different story, different tournament.

“I was prepared for whole match. We played couple times before that. So I knew what to do on court.

“But maybe still going on something with her health. I think we have to ask her.”

“I think this is the end of the year. Not everybody is fresh at the moment,” the Pole responding to a questions about the day’s retirements. “I think really that’s the main reason.

“Well, I think that’s what happen in Asia pretty much.”

Sara Errani of Italy had the upset of the day knocking out second-seeded Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-4.

“I never beat her, so I know was a really tough match,” Errani. “Of course, she’s a really good player.”

and Sloane Stephens of the United States defeated ninth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2.

Errani said that the difference in the match was just a few points. “I just tried to stay there every point, solid, without too many mistakes. It’s my game.

“She hit the ball really strong, so I just tried to make her play one shot more.”

Kvitova who was a finalist at the China Open last year felt that she was not ready.

“Of course the loss is always disappointing,” Kvitova said. “I really wanted to win and kind of qualify for Singapore here. But I just wasn’t really able to.

“You know, it was kind of game which I really had to be ready physically and mentally and everything, and I just wasn’t.

“I just think it was kind of the case, I couldn’t really serve in the second set as well. I didn’t really help with anything. She (was) going for the chance. It was kind of difficult.”

“I’m kind of sleepy all day long. It’s just weird,” Kvitova said.

Singles – First Round

[Q] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) d [1] S. Halep (ROU) 54 Retired (Left ankle injury)
S. Errani (ITA) d [2] P. Kvitova (CZE) 75 64
[3] F. Pennetta (ITA) d [WC] X. Han (CHN) 75 46 64
[4] A. Radwanska (POL) d C. Vandeweghe (USA) 63 00 Retired (Left ankle injury)
[7] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 63 00 Retired (Right elbow injury)
[8] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] B. Jovanovski (SRB) 62 64
S. Stephens (USA) d [9] K. Pliskova (CZE) 63 62
[16] E. Svitolina (UKR) d [Q] Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 75 62
[Q] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) d A. Cornet (FRA) 63 63
A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) d A. Schmiedlova (SVK) 62 64
[Q] I. Falconi (USA) d D. Gavrilova (RUS) 75 26 64
M. Barthel (GER) d [WC] S. Zhang (CHN) 63 62
[Q] K. Bondarenko (UKR) d B. Strycova (CZE) 63 62
D. Cibulkova (SVK) d J. Jankovic (SRB) 61 16 63
A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d J. Goerges (GER) 62 64
[Q] M. Puig (PUR) d Z. Diyas (KAZ) 64 00 Retired (Left lower leg injury)
[Q] M. Duque-Mariño (COL) d T. Pironkova (BUL) 63 63
C. Garcia (FRA) d [WC] S. Zheng (CHN) 62 62

Doubles – First Round

J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) d [7] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) 76(5) 36 10-6
[WC] C. Liang (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN) d B. Bencic (SUI) / B. Strycova (CZE) 46 61 11-9
L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) d [WC] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) / S. Stosur (AUS) 64 26 10-8
G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) d A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) 63 46 10-8

ATP – [8] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs A. Haider-Maurer (AUT)

Not Before 2:30 pm
WTA – [13] A. Petkovic (GER) vs E. Bouchard (CAN)
WTA – [11] B. Bencic (SUI) vs M. Brengle (USA)

Not Before 7:30 pm
ATP – V. Troicki (SRB) vs [5] M. Raonic (CAN)

Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs S. Stephens (USA)

LOTUS COURT start 12:30 pm
WTA – A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) vs [15] R. Vinci (ITA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – [7] D. Goffin (BEL) vs A. Seppi (ITA)
ATP – [Q] D. Istomin (UZB) vs [WC] Ze. Zhang (CHN)

Not Before 6:30 pm
WTA – [4] A. Radwanska (POL) vs M. Barthel (GER)

MOON COURT start 12:30 pm
WTA – S. Stosur (AUS) vs M. Niculescu (ROU)
WTA – [Q] K. Bondarenko (UKR) vs [14] M. Keys (USA)
WTA – [7] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs [Q] M. Puig (PUR)
WTA – [16] E. Svitolina (UKR) vs A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)

COURT 3 start 12:30 pm
WTA – M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) vs I. Begu (ROU)
ATP – F. Fognini (ITA) vs M. Klizan (SVK)
ATP – [Q] A. Bedene (GBR) vs L. Rosol (CZE)
ATP – I. Karlovic (CRO) / L. Kubot (POL) vs D. Inglot (GBR) / R. Lindstedt (SWE)

COURT 4 start 12:30 pm
ATP – [1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs E. Butorac (USA) / S. Lipsky (USA)
WTA – Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN) vs L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Klepac (SLO)
WTA – After suitable rest – [8] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)
WTA – After suitable rest – K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
ATP – [Q] J. Knowle (AUT) / O. Marach (AUT) vs [2] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)

COURT 8 start 12:30 pm
WTA – C. Chuang (TPE) / S. Hsieh (TPE) vs [5] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
WTA – G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) vs [2] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / E. Vesnina (RUS)
WTA – [6] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) vs [WC] A. Cornet (FRA) / M. Linette (POL)
ATP – J. Sock (USA) vs T. Gabashvili (RUS)




Venus Williams Wins Wuhan Open After Muguruza Retires


Venus wins Auckland

(October 3, 2015) Venus Williams won the Wuhan Open on Saturday when her opponent Garbine Muguruza retired with a left ankle injury while trailing 6-3, 3-0. For the 35-year-old American, this was her 47th career WTA singles trophy.

“I had pain the ankle since yesterday,” said the fifth-seeded Spaniard. “I’ve played a lot of matches and today my body had pain everywhere. I didn’t have much time to recover from yesterday. There is nothing you can do when it’s like this. I guess I didn’t recover.

“I was feeling very tired but I said that I am going to the court even if my leg is, like broken. I woke up saying, “come on, I’m going to play,” but during the match I was like, ‘oh shit, I’m getting tired, my leg is hurting, my ankle is hurting.’ In the first set I had my chances but with Venus it’s hard. If you’re not 100% percent fit you can’t find a way to play against her. “

For the unseeded Williams, this WTA Premier 5 event is her biggest title in five years, since Dubai 2010 and her second tournament victory in 2015. She also won the event in Auckland.

“I feel like everyone else on tour, I work hard, I do my best and as long as you continue to work hard and believe in yourself then you can have the results you want,: Williams said. “That’s exactly what I’ve done and it hasn’t been the easiest road but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a road worth traveling.

“I didn’t think of quitting but it’s definitely a lot of stress to play when you’re in pain. But for me I focus on everything that I can accomplish and not on what’s bothering me. My opponent wasn’t so lucky today. The pain was just too much for her and I was really sorry to hear that.

“Today, we both play really similar. Maybe experience helped me today. I know today she couldn’t do everything that she wanted to do. She couldn’t feel free and comfortable on the court. Of course it’s not always as exciting playing an opponent who doesn’t feel their best so I hope that she gets better.”

Williams, who is ranked 24th in the world will move up to 14 when the rankings come out on Monday. Muguruza will move to a career high ranking of No. 5.

Next stop for both women will be Beijing.


After Battling Past Vinci, Venus Williams to Face Muguruza in Wuhan Open Final

Venus Williams

(October 2, 2015) Venus Williams saved a match point to defeat Roberta Vinci to reach Saturday’s Wuhan Open final. Williams’ 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4) win set up the WTA Premier 5 title against Garbine Muguruza after the Spaniard survived a late foot injury scare to defeat Angelique Kerber 6-4 7-6(5).

“It had a lot of ups and downs, said Williams, who saved a match point when Vinci served for the match at 6-5. “I hope that on a day when I’m playing how I’d like, it’s a more straightforward match. She’s definitely tricky.  She finds a way to hang in there.”

Williams came back from 3-5 down against Johanna Konta in the previous round. “It’s the semifinals. It’s not time to get down.  It’s time to figure it out,” said the seven-time grand slam champion.  “Even down match point, I don’t remember what happened on that point.  I do know she had a match point.  It’s not over.  Just like when I was up and she didn’t give up, I felt the same way.”

The 35-year-old Williams, who notched up her 700th career WTA match win earlier in the week, should return to the WTA Top 20 in reaching the semi-finals, and could go as high as 15 should she win on Saturday. She shows no desire to retire just yet. “I always want to be in finals,” she said. “Even if it was the last tournament of my career, I would still want to be in that final,” she said. “I don’t think that ever changes.  It just never gets old and it’s never something that is a given.  You have to fight for it.  So I appreciate it.  It’s not over yet.  I still have matches to play.  Definitely not satisfied with just making the final.  I’d like to take the title and take it a step further.”

Muguruza’s win over Kerber also had plenty of drama, notably at 3-3 in the second set tiebreaker when the Spaniard took an injury time-out after feeling pain in her left foot earlier in the set. Despite this, she managed to  reach her first final since she was runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon in July.

“I felt it at 4 something in the second set.  Then in the tiebreak I felt something stronger.  So I said, No, no, I cannot wait to get worse.  So I just called the trainer,” sheexplained . “At that moment I said, Okay, Garbine, play.  Be aggressive and see what happens. You know, I was very, like, kind of brave.  I was like, Okay, come on, let’s do it.  Let’s see these couple of points and see if you can close the match. I had a lot of chances to close the match before.  I’m like, no way I’m going to lose this set. I did it and it was good.”

Williams and Muguruza have played twice before, in Florianopolis in 2013 and in Auckland in 2014, both on hard courts. “I think it’s a good final,” said Muguruza. “I face her sister in the last final, so is it good to have her again. Williams sisters everywhere,” she said, smiling. “It’s good.  She’s playing good also.  She had a very tough match also today.  So I think it’s a good final.”


V. Williams (USA) d [15] R. Vinci (ITA) 57 62 76(4)
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [6] A Kerber (GER) 64 76(5)

Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) / Monica Niculescu (ROM) d [6] Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) / Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 64 16 10-8 (MTB)
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) d [4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) 62 61


Not before 12.30pm
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) / Monica Niculescu (ROM)

Not Before 3:00 pm
SINGLES FINAL – V. Williams (USA) vs [5] G. Muguruza (ESP)

Venus Williams Joins 700 (Win) Club

Venus Williams Joins 700 (Win) Club



British Qualifier Johanna Konta Stuns No. 2 Simona Halep at Wuhan Open

Johanna Konta_270915

(September 30, 2015) British qualifier Johanna Konta earned herself a thrilling 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over top seed and current World No.2 Simona Halep at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Wednesday.

Konta came from 1-5 down in the third set to tee up a quarter-final on Thursday against Venus Williams and said afterwards that playing the American would be “kind of a childhood dream”.

“She (Halep) is No. 2 for a reason, and that is an incredibly humbling experience for me, that I can compete with such a player,” said 24-year-old Konta. “But in terms of the result, I’m just really happy I get to come back tomorrow and play against someone like Venus. It’s actually a bit of childhood dream I guess. I grew up watching Venus.  So as a child, I’m like, Wow.  But as a competitor now, I’m just looking forward to the challenge.”

Williams was too strong for Carla Suarez-Navarro in their third round encounter. “We’ve had some great matches, and when I play her I always have to stay concentrated because she’s a great competitor who’s always played well against me,” said Williams. “It’s not just her single handed backhand, she just hits it so well. I was lucky because she missed a few today and gave me some openings.”

Roberta Vinci is keep up her form which saw her reach the US Open final earlier this month. She knocked out Wuhan’s defending champion Petra Kvitova with a 76(3) 62 and takes on Karolina Pliskova in Thursday’s quarter-finals.

Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza earned her quarter-final spot with a 46 61 60 comeback win against Ana Ivanovic and can now look forward to a last eight meeting with Anna Schmeidlova of Slovakia on Thursday.

Angelique Kerber wasted no time in dispatching Camila Giorgi and will be up against Coco Vandeweghe in the quarter-finals.

Singles – Third Round
[Q] J. Konta (GBR) d [1] S. Halep (ROU) 63 36 75
[15] R. Vinci (ITA) d [3] P. Kvitova (CZE) 76(3) 62
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [9] A. Ivanovic (SRB) 46 61 60
[6] A. Kerber (GER) d C. Giorgi (ITA) 62 64
V. Williams (USA) d [7] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 64
[8] K. Pliskova (CZE) d [12] E. Svitolina (UKR) 26 64 64
A. Schmiedlova (SVK) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) 64 62
C. Vandeweghe (USA) d B. Strycova (CZE) 36 62 76(3)

Doubles – Second Round
I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [3] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 62 62
[5] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d X. Han (CHN) / N. Melichar (USA) 46 61 10-7
[6] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d C. Dellacqua (AUS) / A. Tomljanovic (CRO) walkover
[7] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / O. Savchuk (UKR) 76(3) 62

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[6] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[15] R. Vinci (ITA) vs [8] K. Pliskova (CZE)
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs A. Schmiedlova (SVK)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[Q] J. Konta (GBR) vs V. Williams (USA)
[6] A. Kerber (GER) or C. Giorgi (ITA) vs C. Vandeweghe (USA) or B. Strycova (CZE)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Rodionova (AUS) 12
after suitable rest – J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) vs A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP)
after suitable rest – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) or K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs [5] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA)

COURT 4 start 1:00 pm
[4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) vs L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) 54
after suitable rest – [7] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)
after suitable rest – [4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) or L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) vs J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) or A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP)


Venus Williams Joins 700 (Win) Club

VENUS Williams 700 TPN Wuhan Open

(September 29, 2015) Venus Williams reached another milestone on Tuesday at the Wuhan Open. She won her 700th career WTA Tour match with a 6-4, 6-3 second round victory defeating Germany’s Julia Goerges.

Williams received roses shaped into the number 700 from tournament directors Yi Guoqing and Fabrice Chouquet. She confessed that she was not aware of the upcoming milestone. “I didn’t know.  I’m glad nobody told me before.  I would have been a little bit nervous,” said the 35-year-old American. “Who doesn’t like winning?  You know, that never gets old.”

“I was thinking, ‘How long would it take me to get to 800 now?’ Maybe that was my first thought!

“But it’s been a great 700 wins along the way.”

Venus’ sister, world No. 1 Serena praised her sister on Twitter:

The seven-time major champion won her last Grand Slam event at Wimbledon in 2008. She is the WTA ninth player in the Open Era to reach 700 match wins.