Venus Williams Loses in Second Round of US Open

Venus William SP

(August 28, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In the longest women’s match of the tournament so far at 3 hours, 2 minutes, 33-year-old American veteran Venus Williams lost to No. 56 Zheng Jie of China 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5) on a Wednesday full of rain.

Rain which began in the early afternoon cause 8 women’s matches to be postponed, including Venus’s younger sister, defending champion Serena who was scheduled to play Galina Voskoboeva on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

This is the third straight year in row that Williams has failed to reach the third round at the US Open.

After playing a mere two points, the match was delayed for almost two hours. Unforced errors were the undoing of Venus Williams. She had 44 unforced errors  and only 52% on first serves. Zheng played like a wall, blocking shots back to Williams.

After the match Zheng apologized to the crowd for beating a fan favorite.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” Williams said.  “The fans were really fantastic.  I love that.  I wish I could play some more for that.  But obviously I’ll be playing more for that in the doubles.

“I want to come back here just for that at this point.  The fans were so behind me.  I enjoyed that tremendously.”

“I definitely wish that I was playing the third round, but it’s not to be for me this year,” Williams told reporters.

“I tried.  Really, she played well.  She just went for every shot.  Unfortunately I, you know, didn’t play consistently enough.”

Asked about her health, the seven-time Williams said, “I mean, I’ve had a tough set of circumstances to work through, too, especially this year, last year, and the year before.

“You know, I’ve been dealt some cards that aren’t as easy to deal with, but I have to play with them.  You know, the last few months haven’t been easy, you know, coming back from the back injury, one of the more challenging injuries I’ve dealt with.

“I feel like it’s definitely affected my game, but I’m working on it.  I’m a fighter, you know.  Just like today, I didn’t play my best, but I tried as hard as I could.  You know, tried not to get down.

“So, you know, I’ll continue playing matches.  You know, for me it would be awesome if I could play another match right away, but unfortunately I have to wait weeks to play.  That stops the momentum.

“Maybe this fall I’m going to maybe enter consecutive tournaments, so even if I do have a bad match I can hopefully play sooner so I can just get some rhythm.

This match tied for the fifth-longest women’s singles match (since records have been kept since 1970).  The longest recorded women’s match took place in 2011, when Samantha Stosur defeated Nadia Petrova, 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-5, in three hours and 16 minutes in the third round.


Sharapova, Azarenka Advance to Roland Garros Fourth Round

Maria Sharapova

(June 1, 2013) After and easy first set defending champion Maria Sharapova had to fight to close out the match in two sets 6-1, 7-5 over Zheng Jie on Saturday at Roland Garros.

For the No. 2 seed it was the third straight day on the court due to her rain-delayed second round match was pushed into Friday.

After an easy 6-1 first set, Zheng jumped out to a two break lead 4-1. The Russian came back to even the set at 4-4 and then dropped serve for 4-5. Zheng lost serve while attempting to even the match at 1 set all and Sharapova moved thought the next two games to close the match.

Sharapova, who hit 8 double-faults during the match, disputed a double-fault call. “It hit the outside line,” she told the chair umpire. The umpire did not change the call which proved to be incorrect.

“Well, first of all, it’s not even about the fact of the call, whether it was in and out ‑‑ or out,” said Sharapova.  “I think for me it was the fact that the umpire did not recognize that the mark he pointed out was about a foot away from the actual mark.  So that’s a huge question mark, to begin with.

“Second of all, yes, all the other Grand Slams have Hawk‑Eye.  And I know these types of situations, although much more rarely on the clay, happen.  Why not?  Why don’t we have a system like this?  I mean, is it a money concern?  I don’t think so.

“This is just absolute proof that, you know, it’s a big point and it can happen in any situation.”

Sharapova is into the round of 16 where she’ll play American Sloane Stephens.

“I’m happy with the way I fought back and I found a way to win,” said Sharapova.

No. 3 Victoria Azarenka hit 10 double-faults and had her serve broken six times in her three set win over Alize Cornet 4-6, 6-3, 6-1..

“I think I left it home today,” Azarenka said of her serve. “If I can win with serving like this, that’s pretty remarkable.”

“It was a tough match,” Azarekna continued.  “I don’t think I played really the right way or, you know, I was playing my best way, taking my chances in the first set.  And she definitely took advantage of that and really took chances on the important moments, which I didn’t.

“You know, I felt like I had to close a lot of my opportunities in the first set, and it didn’t go my way.

“But it was important to turn things around and finally start playing the right way in the second set, because I felt that I was playing very comfortable for her, and she started to, you know, make a lot of winners, you know, fight and make a lot of balls.

“So I changed that a little bit in the second set and really took my chances moving forward and continued to stay aggressive, and that’s what was bringing me after the points and the victory in the end.”

Azarenka will get former French Open titlist Francesca Schiavone in the next round.

Francesca Schiavone dominated 13th seed Marion Bartoli 6-2, 6-1 to reach the fourth round of the French Open on Saturday.

It was a total obliteration by the 2010 Roland Garros winner. The Italian broke the top Frenchwoman’s serve five times, with 31 winners overall.

“On clay she’s always very dangerous and she won a clay court tournament again this year and this is a surface that suits her,” said Bartoli.

“When she starts winning matches and becomes more confident, then she can be very dangerous. So maybe she can sort out Azarenka and then if she arrives in the quarter-finals, who knows what can happen?”


Zheng Jie Wins Auckland When Pennetta Retires with Injury

Zheng Jie www.photosport.co.nz

By Stephanie Neppl

Zheng Jie of China has won the 2012 ASB Classic when Italy’s Flavia Pennetta was forced to pull out due to injury.

The final was moved indoors due to inclement weather, and No. 4 seed Pennetta charged ahead and won the first set 6-2. However, she frequently received treatment on her lower back. Despite being down a break in the second set, Zheng turned the tides and won the set 6-3. Pennetta’s physical struggles continued and she could not play on after going down 0-2 in the third set.

The victory was Zheng Jie’s first since she won a title in Stockholm in 2005. She called her gap between titles, “too long” and said she hopes to come back next year. “I am so excited and so happy to win this title because this is the first time I’ve won my first tournament of the year,” she said.

Pennetta said she isn’t sure what the injury is and would get an MRI tomorrow. “I think now the important thing is to recover.” She first felt the injury at 4-2 in the first set and said despite oncourt treatments the pain just got worse and worse.

Zheng said she felt sad for Pennetta. “I want to say sorry for Flavia and the problems with her back. I hope she is better for next week.”


Stephanie Neppl is in Auckland, New Zealand covering the ASB Classic for the tournament web site. She is the Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland covering the ASB Classic and Heineken Open.

Follow the ASB Classic on their web site http://www.asbclassic.co.nz/, twitter https://twitter.com/#!/ASBClassicAuckland and Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ASBClassic.

Auckland, New Zealand
January 2-8, 2012

Results – Sunday, January 8, 2012
Singles – Final
Zheng Jie (CHN) d. (4) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 26 63 20 ret. (low back injury)

Doubles – Final (played Saturday)
(3) Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. (4) Goerges/Pennetta (GER/ITA) 67(2) 62 107 (Match TB)


Sony Ericsson Open – The Excitement Starts Here and Now

By Craig Hickman

Tours, draw ceremonies, and qualifying matches filled up most of the day at the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open.

At 10:00 am, I toured the 34-acre site guided by tournament director Adam Barrett and Media and Public Relations Director Sam Henderson. Tracking down minor facilities issues (“Why is the Head Tent Closed?”) while walking a small group of media around the exquisitely designed and built set of facilities, it was clear that the Sony Ericsson Open has its eye on a bigger future. Adding another television court, hardwiring expanded workrooms for faster connectivity, and including a high-end VIP restaurant which will feature four celebrity chefs over the next week, the event will remain the premiere event outside of the Grand Slams.

At approximately 11:45, the women’s draw was unveiled. Samantha Stosur chose the chips with the 32 seeded players whose names were taped on a giant draw board threatening to blow off the easel. “Right now, it’s all just a bunch of names,” she said of her place in the 128-line draw. The No. 4 seed and Roland Garros finalist will face the winner of Zheng Jie and Xperia Hot Shot Sorana Cirstea in the second round.


The men’s draw followed with Jurgen Melzer doing the choosing. “The first thing I look at is where is Juan Martín del Potro in the draw,” said the No. 10 seed. “He’s in Robin Soderling‘s section so that’s going to be a nice little section. I think everybody says you play one match at a time, but we’re human so sometimes we do look ahead. If you’re confident you don’t care who you play, but if you’re not, you want to know what’s coming.” What’s coming for Melzer is his doubles partner Philipp Petzschner of Germany or Florent Serra of France.

Next, I jumped around and the grounds and darted in and out of several qualifying matches.

American wildcard and birthday girl Sloane Stephens had to rally from a set down to advance to the second round of qualifying. She beat the No. 4 seed Evgeniya Rodina of Russia 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. For a place in the main draw she’ll face Aussie Sophie Ferguson who upset No. 13 Alberta Brianti of Italy 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

The No. 4 seed in the men’s qualifying draw fared no better. Milwaukee native Tim Smyczek picked about Israel’s Dudi Sela 6-1, 6-4. “I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said after the match. Had me fooled. Though only 5′ 9″, the 23-year-old hits a big serve, has no weakness on either wing, and plays the net with aplomb. Perhaps his best asset on the court is his positive attitude. He played every point as though it were the last and never let an error cost more than one point. Smyczek will have a tough match against Olivier Rochus of Belgium who beat Flavio Cipola of Italy 6-3, 6-2.


American Ryan Sweeting also advanced in straight sets. Even though he yelled out to his box that his backhand was the worst it’s ever been, you wouldn’t have known it. Not the way he dismantled Juan Sebastian Cabal 7-6(4), 6-2. The Colombian became so frustrated he double faulted twice to lose the match. Sweeting will play Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic for a spot in the main draw.

Coming off the biggest win of his career with an upset of Andy Murray at the BNP Paribas Open, Donald Young was back to the business of qualifying for another major event. Against the wily veteran in Arnaud Clement, Young was out of sorts out the gate, dropping the first 10 points of the match with a listless performance and cantankerous disposition. But the young American who has seemed burdened by big expectations shook off a lopsided first set and turned the match around. “I didn’t play my game in the first set. I started to keep more balls in play and kept fighting,” said Young. He took pace off his shots, forcing Clement to create his own pace, and that change in tactics forced the Frenchman to make more errors. “If I keep playing my game, the way I played in the last two sets, I can get through.” He’ll have to fight past Frank Dancevic of Canada who can produce good tennis on North American hardcourts.


Americans Lauren Davis, Irina Falconi, Jamie Hampton, Christina McHale, Robert Kendrick, Michael Russell also advanced.

Tomorrow, matches from the women’s main draw begin on the Grandstand, Court 1 and Court 2. Find the full schedule here.

Craig Hickman is founder and editor of Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog. Follow him on twitter @CraigHickman.  Find his Sony Ericsson Open tweets on @GVTennisNews.

no images were found