Tag Archive | "Clijsters"

Azarenka Defeats Kuznetsova to Claim Third Miami Open Title

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Azarenka Defeats Kuznetsova to Claim Third Miami Open Title

Karen Pestaina @TennisNewsTPN

Victoria Azarenka added her name to the list of women to complete the Indian Wells- Key Biscayne double when the 13th beat 2006 Miami Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova on Saturday 6-3, 6-2 for the title in 77 minutes. The Belarusian joins Steffi Graf and Kim Clijsters as the only women to achieve this feat.

Azarenka, once ranked No. 1 in the world and sidelined with injuries on and off over the past few years.

“The most difficult thing would hold me back was my body wasn’t responding well to training, to matches, and I was unhealthy, I wasn’t fit enough. So that was holding me back. And after I think the point when you reach your goals and (indiscernible) that tip of mentality where you kind of drop your motivation a little bit, if you don’t put the work in it can sway you away.

“I definitely had some difficulties mentally to get back with my motivation, but I never doubted my abilities.”

Despite setbacks, the soon-to-be back into the top five player says she’s back.

“I felt that I played really well,” Azarenka said. “I really took a lot of time away from her and her shots. I didn’t see the statistics, but I think I had a pretty high number of winners today.”

“I think I have played pretty well last year. With my injury I had some pretty good results despite that. So I’m looking forward to putting necessary work in and then go after it.”

“It’s an honor to stand next to those amazing champions,” Azarenka said during the trophy ceremony in regard to reaching a milestone set only by Graf and Clijsters. “This just gives me even more inspiration and motivation to keep working harder, because this feels great.”

Azarenka, a two-time major champion is now 22-1 on the year, her only loss coming to Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the final 8 of Melbourne.

No. 15 seed Kuznetsova upset 8-time Miami Open champion Serena Williams in the fourth round. “It’s quite open, but you have to see how Serena will play,” Kuznetsova said. “If she’s in a good mood, not good mood, good feet, not good feet – you never know.”

“I’d like to congratulate Victoria for doing such a good job this year and in these four weeks,” Kuznetsova said in her runner-up speech both speaking in Spanish and English.

“I want congratulate Sveta for the great result,” Azarenka said.

“I know you’ve had a lot of ups and downs in your career and I’m so happy to see you again in top form producing some great tennis.”

Azarenka dedicated her 20th career title to her family, especially her parents.

Azarenka said that she’s celebrating her title by eating pizza.

The tennis season switches from the hardcourts of the Unites States to the clay courts of mostly Europe next week and Azarenka says she’s ready.

“Definitely very motivated for clay season. I always been a high favorite of proving people wrong, and that’s what also motivates me a lot.

“Going into clay season, people say it’s not my favorite surface and whatever, I’m going to work pretty hard to make sure it’s going to be my favorite surface. I’m going to put in the work that’s needed and the adjustments that’s needed.

Karen Pestaina is a contributor to MiamiTennisNews. She writes for various tennis and news outlets and is the Editor-in-Chief of Tennis Panorama News. Follow her on Twittter @TennisNewsTPN.

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Kerber and Azarenka Advance to the Miami Open Semis

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Kerber and Azarenka Advance to the Miami Open Semis


Karen Pestaina @TennisNewsTPN

Victoria Azarenka stands two wins away from achieving the rare Indian Wells- Miami double. The 13th seed and two-time major winner defeated Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of the Miami Open on Wednesday.

Only two women have won Indian Wells and Miami in the same year and they are Kim Clijsters in 2005 and Steffi Graf in 1994 and 1996.

“If I’m able to make it, it’s great,” Azarenka said after the match. “It seems so close, but it’s really far. I want to stay in the present. I want to continue to fight and keep getting better.”

“Great player,” Azarenka said of Konta. “I was very impressed with her improvement taking from last year and seeing how well she’s handling the pressure and going in big stages and playing really well. That’s impressive. I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more of her in the future.

“I think especially for England not having women player stand out, she’s going to be the one, I think.”

“I think it’s exciting to watch her journey and see happens. She’s definitely playing top 10 level right now.”

The Belarusian who has struggled with injuries the last few years said that she always believed in herself but she still hasn’t reached her peak. “I never doubt my abilities,” said the 2009 and 2011 Miami Open winner. “What came to my mind is definitely after being for so long injured, the doubt was to get healthy. So always been a little bit on my mind.

“But I still feel that I’m far from my best, and that’s what’s really exciting for me, to be motivated, to keep improving. Everybody has doubts. We’re human beings. I always trust my ability and I believe in myself.”

Azarenka will face-off against No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber who defeated No. 22 Madison Keys 6-3, 6-2 in the evening session.

For the reigning Australian Open champion Kerber, this will be her first semifinal in Miami.

Kerber dominated her American opponent, Keys made 39 unforced errors during the match. Kerber rushed need just a little over an hour to complete the victory.

“It’s nice to play a match like this,” Kerber said. “I was feeling good. Madison is always a tough opponent. I know this because we had a lot of tough battles in the past.

“I knew that I must play very good to beat her because she played very well here in the last few matches. So it’s good. It’s good.”

She continued: “I was really trying to stay focus(ed) and stay really concentrate point by point and actually trying to really only focusing on points, on point by point.

“Because I know the tennis game, and sometimes one ball can change and turn around the match. That was my goal: to be focus(ed) and playing my game until the last point.”
Kerber notched her first win over Azarenka in the most recent quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Coming into that match, the Belarusian had a 6-0 advantage over the German.
“I went out there and trying to be really aggressive from the first point, trying to really believe in myself, because until this time I never won the match against her,” Kerber said. “It was 0-6; now it’s 1-6. I will try to go out there again like in Australia and try to believe in my game and myself and, yeah, trying to challenge her.

“It will be not easy. It will be tough match. But this is for what I am practicing, for the big matches out there, to really show what, yeah, we can do and playing the best tennis.

“So I’m really looking forward to play against her again this year.”

As for playing Azarenka in the next round, Kerber said: “She had a great start of the year, of course. She is like, yeah, on fire I think right now. I will just trying to play my game go out and try to beat her. I mean, we played two times already this year and that’s the third time.

“Yeah, I will try to enjoy it. I know that I must play really my best tennis to beat her because she won Indian Wells; she’s here now in the semis.

“Yeah, I will try to take this challenge against her.”

The other semifinal which will take place on Thursday will pit No. 15 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who defeated No. 1 Serena Williams in the third round, against No. 19 seed Timea Bacsinszky who knocked out two straight top 5 seeds to reach the final four.

Karen Pestaina is a contributor to MiamiTennisNews. She writes for various tennis and news outlets and is the Editor-in-Chief of Tennis Panorama News. Follow her on Twittter @TennisNewsTPN.

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Serena Williams Silences Sharapova for a record Sixth Sony Open Title

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Serena Williams Silences Sharapova for a record Sixth Sony Open Title

Serena Williams repelled Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 to win her sixth trophy at the Sony Open surpassing Steffi Graff with whom she was previously tied.

Williams had already made Sony Open history in the semifinals with the most victories on the women side, 60. Now, she wanted to stand in a league of her own by also capturing the trophy.

But, it was Sharapova in search of her first Sony Open crown, after failing four previous times, who handled the breezy conditions and the bright sun well early on. Subsequent to wasting three break point chances in a marathon eleven minute game, Sharapova fabricated a fourth in the fifth service game.

On that occasion when Williams’ backhand found the net, Sharapova converted the break for 3-2. However, the world number one applied the necessary pressure to bank the next game and square the set at 3 all.

Williams was not at her best on serve, frequently catching her toss and shading her eyes. In the ninth game, Williams double faulted to gift Sharapova a break point. When on the following point Williams dumped a forehand crosscourt into the net, Sharapova was in front 5-4.

With a love game replete with miscues by Williams, Sharapova sealed the first set. At that point, a visibly annoyed Williams slammed her racket against her chair, her wakeup call.

With an ace, Williams capped a love hold to start the second set. Then, by pushing Sharapova around, she got the break for 2-0.

Yet, a bevy of mistakes by Williams led to an ephemeral lead as Sharapova fabricated triple break point. As Williams fumbled another forehand, the players were back on serve.

Later, Sharapova set up triple break point once more with a backhand winner. By winning the fifth game, at 3-2, Sharapova was three holds from grabbing the elusive title and completing the rare feat of hoisting both the Indian Wells and Miami trophies. It has only been accomplished three times, last by Kim Clijsters in 2005.

Again though, Williams found the emergency brake. With two consecutive winners and a stellar return, Williams was at triple break point. As Sharapova’s stroke kissed the net’s bottom, the second set was leveled at 3 all.

Later courtesy of a double fault, Williams had a break point. She took a 5-3 lead when Sharapova committed another forehand error. Williams closed out the second set with an ace.

The decisive set became a nightmare for Sharapova. In the opening game, the world number two could not stave off double break point. Subsequent to Williams consolidating for 2-0, Sharapova threw in two successive double faults to provide her rival with an insurance break.

Williams pushed the cruise control button, capitalizing on a seventh break point to make it 100% conversion for the match and 5-0. Williams went on a ten game in a row tear to close out the championship.

Sharapova has gone down to Williams now in eleven successive encounters. She last triumphed in 2004. Today, in their maiden meeting in the final in Miami, Sharapova felt she wasted too many chances particularly in the second set “ I still had opportunities to get back at 3-4. I was up 40-15 and Love-30 in the next game. . . those are the games that you really need to keep challenging out there and keep being in them. . .those are the chances that you will have to take . . .if you want to win the match”.

Despite her heavy schedule up to this point, Sharapova cited fatigue was not a factor “ I feel fine. I’m very happy, very fortunate that I’ve been able to play. . . I have had a really great month and I think I can only take positives out of it, really”.

Clay is the next stop for the women’s tour. As the defending French Open champion, Sharapova is looking forward to Paris “when you experience such a nice moment in your career, to be able to come back there and to play on that court again where you lifted the trophy, it’s always special and meaningful. Especially for the amount of years that you’ve worked so hard to get to that point. I’ll treat it as any other title that maybe I haven’t won and really want to win because I would love to win it again”.

For the match, Williams’ first serve percentage was 51. She fired 35 winners and 32 unforced errors and was behind 4-6, 2-3. Sharapova connected on 64% of her first serves, struck 13 winners and 23 unforced errors.

The statistics explain Williams’ surprise in pulling off the victory “I honestly can’t say right now [how I turned it around]. I just feel everything was going so fast. . . I was just making so many errors. I just was like, Serena, are you really going to get to the final and not play up to your potential? I don’t think I had enough energy. I think I may have done too much work yesterday, may have hit too long, done too much gym”.

Williams’ strategy to get back into the match “at one point, I was just like, conserve your energy and try and relax and play better”. The serve was not a weapon today. Williams was hitting the first ball at times at 79 mph “I honestly have not served great this whole tournament, if you look at the stats. It hasn’t been my best week serving wise. Usually in the later rounds, I’m able to pick it up and do a little better. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that today, so I had to rely on other parts of my game”.

Williams has eyed that sixth trophy since 2009 when she lost to Victoria Azarenka in the final. This week, she even biked to the tournament to assure she would make her third round match.

Now, Williams will shift her focus to the clay in search of a companion for her lonely 2008 French Open trophy, the only major she possesses just one of. Clay is perhaps Williams’ most challenging surface. But, she does not view it as such “I think it’s only as hard as you say it is. I happen to love Roland Garros and I’m happy to play there. Hopefully I can just take it one match at a time. That’s in the future. I’m just going to do it one step at a time”.

Today’s performance by Williams qualifies as “winning ugly”. If on her worst day, Williams can walk away with the Sony Open, her 16th major, a second French Open may not be far behind.

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Sharapova Rolls Past Jankovic, Back in Sony Open Final

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Sharapova Rolls Past Jankovic, Back in Sony Open Final

Maria Sharapova is into her fifth Sony Open final after taking out Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-1 in the first women’s semifinal in Miami.

Sharapova is attempting to win her first ever title in Miami as well as completing the Indian Wells/Miami double. The last player to achieve that feat was Kim Clijsters in 2005.

“Yeah, I mean, it would be nice, but, you know, winning a title on its own, whether it’s here or Indian Wells, is a great achievement on its own”, said Sharapova. “To be able to come back from that and, you know, recover in just a few days and come back to the final here, I mean, it’s great.”

Asked about her chances in Saturday’s final Sharapova responded, “Well, it’s another final. It’s great to be putting myself in a position of this tournament to get into finals. I don’t know who has been in five finals of this event in the women’s draw, so it’s certainly, you know, a big consistent at this tournament but yet I haven’t won it, so it would mean a lot for me to be the champion here.”

A finalist in Miami in 2008, Jankovic had a quick turn over today after her match versus Vinci last night lasted over two hours.

“I served poorly today. I had a really low percentage of first serves. Overall, I wasn’t moving. I felt heavy on the court.”, said Jankovic. “I felt really tired and exhausted. So I didn’t really have enough time to recover. I finished the match last night at 11:00. I went to sleep at 1:00 by the time I came back to the hotel. Woke up early, had to play. So the schedule was tough. So today I wasn’t on the top of my game, and I wasn’t playing the way I wanted to, you know, especially on a big occasion like playing the semifinals.”

Sharapova will face either 2012 Sony Open champion Agnieszka Radwanska or Serena Williams in Saturday’s final. Radwanska faces Williams in the second semifinal match tonight in Miami.

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Wozniacki Fetters Serena Williams at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Wozniacki Fetters Serena Williams at the Sony Ericsson Open

The last time Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki collided, it was at the U.S. Open. Williams schooled the former world number one en route to the final. Tonight, in the quarterfinals at the Sony Ericsson Open, Wozniacki recorded her maiden win over the multiple majors champion. The Dane sent Williams packing 6-4, 6-4 to advance to her initial semifinal in Miami.

The two had battled on three previous occasions with Williams the victor. Following comfortable holds by both players, Williams saw a winner fly by to set up break point for her opponent. Wozniacki capitalized thanks to an errant forehand from Williams.
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Federer, Djokovic, Serena and Sharapova Highlight at Sony Ericsson Open

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Federer, Djokovic, Serena and Sharapova Highlight at Sony Ericsson Open

The order of play for Saturday at the Sony Ericsson Open is stacked with marquee matches. Action gets under way with five-time Miami champion Serena Williams facing of with Roberta Vinci. Andy Roddick will also be in action taking on Gilles Muller. Roger Federer begins his campaign to add another Miami title to his resume when he takes on Ryan Harrison. Sharapova will round out the day matches on Stadium court in a match up with Sloane Stephens.

The Grandstand court will also feature premiere matches with the likes of David Ferrer, Kim Clijsters, Mardy Fish and Juan Martin Del Potro scheduled to play.

The night session is highlighted by 2011 Sony Ericsson Open champion Novak Djokovic. Djokovic will play his first match in Miami against Marcos Baghdatis. The night session concludes with Samantha Stosur versus Chanelle Scheepers.

Here is today’s complete order of play :

Saturday, March 24, 2012

STADIUM Start 11:00 am
[21] Roberta Vinci (ITA) v [10] Serena Williams (USA) WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
Gilles Muller (LUX) v [31] Andy Roddick (USA) ATP
[3] Roger Federer (SUI) v [WC] Ryan Harrison (USA) ATP
[Q] Sloane Stephens (USA) v [2] Maria Sharapova (RUS) WTA

Starting at 8:00 PM

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) ATP
[6] Samantha Stosur (AUS) v Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) WTA

GRANDSTAND Start 11:00 am

Bernard Tomic (AUS) v [5] David Ferrer (ESP) ATP
[Q] Sergei Bubka (UKR) v [14] Gael Monfils (FRA) ATP
Kim Clijsters (BEL) v [23] Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) WTA
[Q] Frank Dancevic (CAN) v [8] Mardy Fish (USA) ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
[11] Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) v Ivo Karlovic (CRO) ATP

COURT 1 Start 11:00 am

[17] Richard Gasquet (FRA) v Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) ATP
[8] Na Li (CHN) v Iveta Benesova (CZE) WTA
[28] Kevin Anderson (RSA) v Sam Querrey (USA) ATP
[12] Nicolas Almagro (ESP) v [Q] David Goffin (BEL) ATP

Not Before 6:00 PM
[29] Petra Cetkovska (CZE) v [4] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) WTA

COURT 2 Start 11:00 am

[17] Shuai Peng (CHN) v [12] Sabine Lisicki (GER) WTA
[Q] Bjorn Phau (GER) v [20] Fernando Verdasco (ESP) ATP
Albert Ramos (ESP) v [15] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) ATP
[1] Bob Bryan (USA)/Mike Bryan (USA)v
[WC] Paul Hanley (AUS)/Bernard Tomic (AUS) ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
Kevin Anderson (RSA)/Milos Raonic (CAN) v
[3] Michael Llodra (FRA)/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) ATP

COURT 3 Start 11:00 am

[21] Juan Monaco (ARG) v Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) ATP
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP)/Flavia Pennetta (ITA) v
Chia-Jung Chuang (TPE)/Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) WTA
Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) v [23] Marin Cilic (CRO) ATP
Eric Butorac (USA)/Bruno Soares (BRA) v
[2] Max Mirnyi (BLR)/Daniel Nestor (CAN) ATP

COURT 6 Start 11:00 am

[5] Mariusz Fyrstenberg (POL)/Marcin Matkowski (POL) v
Lukasz Kubot (POL)/Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) ATP
[6] Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v
Jurgen Melzer (AUT)/Jamie Murray (GBR) ATP
[Q] Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) v [27] Viktor Troicki (SRB) ATP
[8] Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)/Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
vVera Dushevina (RUS)/Shahar Peer (ISR) WTA

COURT 7 Start 11:00 am

[WC] Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)/Jelena Jankovic (SRB) v
[7] Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)/Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) WTA
[30] Julien Benneteau (FRA) v Benjamin Becker (GER) ATP
Vania King (USA)/Monica Niculescu (ROU) v
Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN)/Shuai Zhang (CHN) WTA
Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE)/Shuai Peng (CHN) v
[5] Maria Kirilenko (RUS)/Nadia Petrova (RUS) WTA

COURT 8 Start 11:00 am

Mona Barthel (GER) v Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) WTA
[3] Sania Mirza (IND)/Elena Vesnina (RUS) v
[WC] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)/Lucie Safarova (CZE) WTA
Tomas Berdych (CZE)/Lukas Dlouhy (CZE) v
Santiago Gonzalez (MEX)/Scott Lipsky (USA) ATP
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)/Jie Zheng (CHN) v
Natalie Grandin (RSA)/Vladimira Uhlirova (CZE) WTA

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Sharapova, Serena, Nadal and Wozniacki Highlight Action at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Sharapova, Serena, Nadal and Wozniacki Highlight Action at the Sony Ericsson Open

The women take center stage Thursday at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open. Thursday’s schedule features six women’s Grand Slam champions as well as three former Sony Ericsson champions.

Maria Sharapova, a two-time runner up at the Sony Ericsson Open, opens her campaign this year by taking on Shahar Peer.

Serena Williams, a five-time Miami champion, begins her quest for a record breaking sixth title when she faces Shuai Zhang in her opening round match.

Two-time Sony Ericsson Open champion Kim Clijsters is up against Julia Goerges while 2006 Sony Ericsson Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova takes on Iveta Benesova.

Also in action on Thursday are 2011 US Open champion Smantah Stosur and 2011 French Open champion Na Li.

Not to be outdone by the women, 10-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal also takes to the courts on Thursday. The Spaniard team of Nadal and Marcel Granollers will face off against the Croatian team of Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic.

In the night session, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki plays against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova followed by Sam Querry versus Matthew Ebden.

Here is Thursday’s complete order of play :

Thursday, March 22, 2012

STADIUM Start 11:00 am

[WC] Ryan Harrison (USA) v Potito Starace (ITA) ATP
[WC] Shuai Zhang (CHN) v [10] Serena Williams (USA) WTA
Shahar Peer (ISR) v [2] Maria Sharapova (RUS) WTA

Marin Cilic (CRO)/Ivo Karlovic (CRO) v
Marcel Granollers (ESP)/Rafael Nadal (ESP) ATP

Starting at 7:30 PM
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)v [4] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) WTA
Sam Querrey (USA) v Matthew Ebden (AUS) ATP

GRANDSTAND Start 11:00 am

[13] Jelena Jankovic (SRB) v Mona Barthel (GER) WTA
[14] Julia Goerges (GER)v Kim Clijsters (BEL) WTA
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) v Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)ATP
[6] Samantha Stosur (AUS) v [Q] Valeria Savinykh (RUS) WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[Q] David Goffin (BEL) v Donald Young (USA) ATP

COURT 1 Start 11:00 am

Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) v [WC] Jesse Levine (USA)ATP
Iveta Benesova (CZE) v [26] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) WTA
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) v Bernard Tomic (AUS) ATP
[8] Na Li (CHN) v [Q] Melinda Czink (HUN) WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[29] Petra Cetkovska (CZE) v Christina Mchale (USA) WTA

COURT 2 Start 11:00 am

Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) v [12] Sabine Lisicki (GER)WTA
Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) v [25] Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) WTA
[Q] Sergei Bubka (UKR) v Ernests Gulbis (LAT)ATP
[Q] Bjorn Phau (GER v Carlos Berlocq (ARG) ATP
[Q] Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) v [Q] Rajeev Ram (USA) ATP

COURT 3 Start 11:00 am

Albert Ramos (ESP) v [Q] Simone Bolelli (ITA) ATP
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) v Flavio Cipolla (ITA) ATP
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) v [19] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) WTA
Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) v Gilles Muller (LUX) ATP

COURT 6 Start 11:00 am
Lukasz Kubot (POL) v Ivo Karlovic (CRO) ATP
Benjamin Becker (GER) v Olivier Rochus (BEL) ATP
Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)/Xavier Malisse (BEL) v [3] Michael Llodra (FRA)/ Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) ATP
Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) v Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) ATP
Daniele Bracciali (ITA)/Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL) v [8] Frantisek Cermak (CZE)/Filip Polasek (SVK) ATP

COURT 7 Start 11:00 am
[21] Roberta Vinci (ITA) v Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) WTA
Marina Erakovic (NZL) v [23] Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) WTA
[17] Shuai Peng (CHN) v [Q] Stephanie Foretz Gacon (FRA) WTA

Not Before 3:30 PM
[30] Sara Errani (ITA) v Sloane Stephens (USA) WTA
Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS)/Alexandra Panova (RUS) v
Andreja Klepac (SLO)/Alicja Rosolska (POL) WTA

COURT 8 Start 11:00 am

[8] Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)/Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) v
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU)/Nina Bratchikova (RUS) WTA
Eva Birnerova (CZE)/Klaudia Jans-Ignacik (POL) v
[4] Andrea Hlavackova (CZE)/Lucie Hradecka (CZE) WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
Nicolas Mahut (FRA)/Gilles Simon (FRA) v Kevin Anderson (RSA)
/Milos Raonic (CAN) ATP
[Q] Frank Dancevic (CAN) v Jeremy Chardy (FRA) ATP
Oliver Marach (AUT)/Alexander Peya (AUT) v
Nicolas Almagro (ESP)/Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) ATP

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Clijsters, Venus and Gonzalez On Tap At the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open

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Clijsters, Venus and Gonzalez On Tap At the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open

Opening day at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open kicks off with four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters taking on Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia in first round action. Two-time winner at the Sony Ericsson Open, Clijsters is playing in her first event since her semifinal appearance at the Australian Open.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams will also be taking to the courts during Wednesday’s day session. Williams, a three-time winner at the Sony Ericsson Open, will face Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan in her first round match.

On the men’s side, 2008 Sony Ericsson Open champion Nikolay Davydenko will face James Blake. Argentine David Nalbandian takes on Steve Darcis of Belgium.

The night session is headlined by Fernando Gonzalez of Chile. A 13-year veteran on the ATP tour, Gonzalez is playing in his final tournament and will retire after the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open. Gonzalez’s opponent will be Nicholas Mahut of France.

In the second match of the night session, American Christina McHale will face off with Galina Voskoboeva.

Here is today’s complete order of play :

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

STADIUM Start 11:00 am

Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) v Kim Clijsters (BEL) WTA
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) v James Blake (USA) ATP
[WC] Venus Williams (USA) v Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) WTA
David Nalbandian (ARG) v Steve Darcis (BEL) ATP

Starting at 7:30 PM
Nicolas Mahut (FRA) v [WC] Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) ATP
Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) v Christina Mchale (USA) WTA

GRANDSTAND Start 11:00 am

Gisela Dulko (ARG) v Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) WTA
Ryan Sweeting (USA) v Lukas Lacko (SVK) ATP
[Q] Guillaume Rufin (FRA) v Tommy Haas (GER) ATP
Vania King (USA) v Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) WTA
[Q] Jamie Hampton (USA) v Polona Hercog (SLO) WTA

COURT 1 Start 11:00 am

Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) v Frederico Gil (POR) ATP
Shahar Peer (ISR) v [Q] Alize Cornet (FRA) WTA
[Q] Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) v Xavier Malisse (BEL) ATP
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) v [Q] Madison Keys (USA) WTA
Anastasiya Yakimova (BLR) v Ksenia Pervak (KAZ) WTA

COURT 2 Start 11:00 am

Robin Haase (NED) v [WC] Marinko Matosevic (AUS) ATP
Pablo Andujar (ESP) v Santiago Giraldo (COL) ATP
[Q] Antonio Veic (CRO) v [WC] Denis Kudla (USA) ATP
[WC] Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Eleni Daniilidou (GRE) WTA
Ayumi Morita (JPN) v [WC] Garbine Muguruza Blanco (ESP) WTA

COURT 3 Start 11:00 am

Alejandro Falla (COL) v Denis Istomin (UZB) ATP
[WC] Olivia Rogowska (AUS) v [Q] Stephanie Foretz Gacon (FRA) WTA
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) v [Q] Sloane Stephens (USA) WTA

COURT 6 Start 3:00 pm

Dudi Sela (ISR) v [Q] Arnaud Clement (FRA) ATP
Philipp Petzschner (GER) v Ivan Dodig (CRO) ATP

COURT 7 Start 11:00 am

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) ATP
Michael Llodra (FRA) v Lukas Rosol (CZE) ATP
Alberta Brianti (ITA) v [Q] Melinda Czink (HUN) WTA
[Q] Roberto Bautista-Agut (ESP) v Andreas Seppi (ITA) ATP
[Q] Urszula Radwanska (POL) v [Q] Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) WTA

COURT 8 Start 11:00 am

Elena Vesnina (RUS) v Iveta Benesova (CZE) WTA
[Q] Vera Dushevina (RUS) v Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) WTA
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) v [Q] Valeria Savinykh (RUS) WTA
[Q] Eva Birnerova (CZE) v Michaella Krajicek (NED) WTA
[Q] Misaki Doi (JPN) v Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) WTA

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Kvitova Turns Sharapova Away for Wimbledon Title

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Kvitova Turns Sharapova Away for Wimbledon Title

In 2004, at the age of 17, Maria Sharapova advanced to her first major final and stunned the overwhelming favorite Serena Williams at Wimbledon. Seven years hence, in her second final at the All England Club, Sharapova ran into an intrepid twenty-one year old copycat. Petra Kvitova, a lefty from the Czech Republic, shocked the Russian 6-3,6-4 to prevail in her maiden major final.

After Kvitova was broken to open the match, it seemed that nerves would be the deciding factor in the match. However, Kvitova manufactured triple break point and capitalized to get back on serve.

Her next service game, Kvitova wiped out break point to hold for 2-1. Later, subsequent to a forehand winner by Kvitova, Sharapova double faulted to hand her opponent break point. Sharapova produced a second double fault to give Kvitova a 4-2 edge.

With great serving, Kvitova consolidated for a 5-2 advantage. By relentlessly pressuring Sharapova’s serve, Kvitova came to her first set point when her counterpart dumped a forehand into the net.

Yet, with an ace, Sharapova cleared that hurdle. Ultimately, Sharapova guarded serve for 3-5. Still, at love, a serene Kvitova secured the first set.

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Serena and Venus Are Back: Wimbledon Is Anyone’s Trophy

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Serena and Venus Are Back: Wimbledon Is Anyone’s Trophy

The Williams sisters made their long awaited return to competitive tennis this week. Despite being rusty, with nine of the last eleven championships at the All England Club, Venus and Serena are among the favorites. Moreover, the Wimbledon draw sets up the potential for a fifth all Williams final. Here’s a more detailed analysis.

World number one Caroline Wozniacki hopes to validate her ranking with a first major. However, Wozniacki will need to do some heavy lifting to achieve that feat.

In the quarterfinals, Wozniacki may have to go through 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova. In addition, for the Dane, a semifinal encounter with defending and four time winner Serena or reigning French Open champion Na Li may be in the cards. Needless to say, Wozniacki will have to work hard to earn her maiden major.

Serena will begin her title defense by facing the talented Aravane Rezai in the first round. In the fourth round, Serena could see another sizeable French hurdle in 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli.

Later, in the quarterfinals, Serena may clash against Li who is no push over. In Li’s case, Sabine Lisicki may present difficulties in the second round. Lisicki has been regaining her form and confidence as is evident with her recent title in Birmingham.

Sharapova is again in the mix at another major. While a first round match with countrywoman Anna Chakvetadze could be testy, Sharapova should come through. Sharapova is likely to have a tougher time in the fourth round if Samantha Stosur is the opponent.

Serena had been out of commission nearly a year. For the seventh seed to claim her fifth Wimbledon crown, she will have to come up with the type of performance which resulted in her surprise victory at the Australian Open in 2007. With Serena’s track record, it’s certainly hard to bet against her. Yet, with Ana Ivanovic, Maria Kirilenko, Flavia Pennetta and Julia Goerges in the top half of the draw, there is an endless list of players capable of pulling off an upset.

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