Tag Archive | "Family Circle Cup"

Wozniacki Blocks Vesnina for Championship at the Family Circle Cup

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Wozniacki Blocks Vesnina for Championship at the Family Circle Cup



Two years ago, Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the final in Charleston but went down in straight sets to Sabine Lisicki. Last year, an ankle injury during the first set of the semifinals caused Wozniacki to forfeit the match. Today, Wozniacki made up for past disappointments. The world number one vanquished Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-3 for her first championship at the Family Circle Cup and her third title of the season.

Wozniacki’s road to the final was treacherous. The Dane prevailed in two tough tiebreaker sets in the third round. Wozniacki overcame Yanina Wickmayer serving for the match in the quarterfinals and battled past Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals.

For her part, Vesnina beat defending champion Samantha Stosur in the third round and knocked out two seeded opponents in the quarter and semifinals. Thus, Vesnina was hoping to cap her week with another great victory and get her maiden WTA title after failing on four prior occasions.

In their head to head, Wozniacki had a 4-1 record against Vesnina including two semifinal wins at Ponte Vedra Beach on clay in 2009 and 2010. Consequently, Vesnina would need to do something special to walk away with the trophy.

With a backhand volley winner, Vesnina arrived at break point. Yet, with a crosscourt backhand winner, Wozniacki took care of that. Finally on her fifth game point chance, Wozniacki held for 2-1 in the first set.

Then, with a backhand down the line winner, Wozniacki had double break point. When Vesnina dumped a forehand into the net, Wozniacki secured the break and consolidated for 4-1. Later, Wozniacki broke Vesnina a second time to bank the first set.

After dismissing a break point in the first game of the second set, Wozniacki manufactured a break point. However, Vesnina came up with a great backhand volley and eventually held for 1 all.

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Stosur Smashes Zvonareva In Charleston Final

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Stosur Smashes Zvonareva In Charleston Final


By virtue of prevailing in their last four meetings, Samantha Stosur, the 4th  seed and world 11th, was favored to win over Vera Zvonareva seeded 7th and ranked 22nd  in the Family Circle Cup final.  However, Stosur’s 1-6 record in finals left plenty of room for pause.  With ten titles under her belt including one this year, Zvonareva had experience on her side.  Still, Stosur obliterated her prior performances from her mind and crushed Zvonareva 6-0,6-3 to become the first Aussie to conquer Charleston.

With three straight winners, Stosur opened with a love hold.  Following a forehand error by Zvonareva, Stosur had break point.  The Aussie captured the break with an overhead winner.  Then, by culminating another love game with her sixth winner, Stosur took a 3-0 lead.  Following three consecutive errors by Zvonareva, Stosur broke again.  Later, with another forehand winner, Stosur stretched her lead to 5-0.  With two forehand winners and a double fault donation by Zvonareva, Stosur arrived at double set point.  As a result of an error by Zvonareva, Stosur secured d the set.

In her previous matches, Zvonareva had not relinquished a set.  Considering a competitive encounter in Indian Wells last month despite Stosur being triumphant, it seemed a matter of time before Zvonareva struck back and Stosur cooled down. Yet, with a few more winners, Stosur readily held to start the second set.  Then, with a backhand down the line winner, Stosur obtained triple break point.  By converting a forehand down the line winner, Stosur claimed the break.  Subsequently, with an ace to close out a love game, Stosur sprinted to a 3-0 lead.  After two Stosur forehand winners and a double fault, Zvonareva stared at double break point.  Unable to bottle her frustration any longer, Zvonareva erupted by wrecking a racket.  Thereafter, the Russian won the next four point for 1-3.  Momentarily, Zvonareva appeared to have found the antidote to Stosur’s hot hand.  After holding for 2-4, because of a double fault and two forehand mistakes by Stosur, Zvonareva had double break point.  When Stosur sliced a backhand out of play, the players were back on serve.  Undaunted, Stosur resumed her relentless attack.  In forcing a miscue from her rival, Stosur fabricated double break point.  The Aussie followed that up with a forehand down the line winner for 5-3.  Quickly, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Stosur set up triple championship point.  Stosur guaranteed the trophy with a forehand crosscourt winner.

The Family Circle Cup, a WTA premier event, is the second and biggest title of Stosur’s career.  Last season in reaching the semifinals at the French Open, Stosur revealed she is a legitimate competitor on clay.  Even though those at the head of the class when it comes to favorites at the majors, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams were absent from this event; through this victory, Stosur demonstrates she will be a mighty contender this clay season as she climbs back into the top ten.

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Wozniacki Repels Govortsova to Defend In Ponte Vedra Beach

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Wozniacki Repels Govortsova to Defend In Ponte Vedra Beach


In the finals of the MPS Group Championships, Caroline Wozniacki, the top seed and defending champion, terminated Olga Govortsova 6-2, 7-5 for her first title of the year.

After defeating second seed Alona Bondarenko in the first round, Govortsova took care of third seed Dominika Cibulkova in the semifinals. Therefore, Govortsova was hopeful that her third career WTA final would produce her maiden trophy. The problem was that Wozniacki had other intentions.

Govortsova commenced well, breaking Wozniacki to open the match.  However, Wozniacki promptly erased her rival’s lead and under pressure held for 2-1.  Subsequently, with an overhead winner, Wozniacki obtained her second break point of the game.  Caroline converted when Olga netted a backhand.  After salvaging break point, thanks to a few forehand errors by Govortsova, Wozniacki consolidated for 4-1.  The next game despite two double faults and two break points, Govortsova guarded serve to keep in touch at 4-2.  But, down 2-5, Govortsova let a game point evaporate.  Then, with a forehand crosscourt winner off a dropshot, Wozniacki had break point. Wozniacki banked the set when Govortsova committed another error.

By attacking, Govortsova built a substantial lead in the second set.  Two double faults and too many errors by Wozniacki permitted Govortsova to break for 2-1.  Subsequently, the Belarusian sponged over double break point to secure a 3-1 lead.  Later, with a forehand up the line winner, Govortsova arrived at 0-40.  With a forehand crosscourt winner, Govortsova stretched her advantage by double break at  4-1.  Still, because of multiple mistakes her next game, Govortsova dropped serve.  But, as Caroline served at 2-4, Olga produced another winner for break point.  Yet, with spectacular defense, Wozniacki maintained serve for 3-4.  As Govortsova served for the set at 5-4, after wiping out a break point, she arrived at set point.  But, when Olga dumped an uncomplicated backhand volley into the net, the players were at deuce.  Down the road, after salvaging five break points, Govortsova obtained another set point.  Again, because of a mistake, Govortsova failed to convert.  With a forehand from Olga flying long, Caroline had break point number seven. Govortsova double faulted to level the set at 5.  After Wozniacki held at love for 6-5, Govortsova crumbled.  With a forehand miscue, a backhand crosscourt long and a double fault, the Belarusian handed Wozniacki triple championship point.  By Govortsova netting a backhand, Wozniacki captured her second straight MPS Group title.

Two years in a row, Wozniacki has clawed her way into the finals by overcoming Elena Vesnina in the semifinal round.  Yesterday, Wozniacki was down a set and a break, into the latter stages of the second set.  When Wozniacki was asked the secret of her success in Ponte Vedra, she simply stated “I love coming back here”.  For the second time in her career, Wozniacki defends a title.  Last year, Wozniacki did the same in New Haven.  A finalist in Charleston in 2009, Wozniacki will attempt to sustain this excellence at the Family Circle Cup this week.

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Reflections on WTA 2009

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Reflections on WTA 2009


img_1710It’s that time of year when we look back at what transpired on the women’s tour over the past season and view ahead at the upcoming year.  Here’s a recap of the great, the good and the down right ugly moments from 2009.

Last year, in many respects, can be characterized as bizarre. The majors commenced with a meltdown by Dinara Safina as Serena Williams thrashed her in the Australian Open final.  Months later after sensational results at lead up tournaments, Safina, newly crowned world number one, had another breakdown in the French Open final vis-à-vis Svetlana Kuznetsova.  As such, Kuznetsova grabbed the second major of her career.

At the All England Club, after Serena survived a riveting semifinal match against Elena Dementieva, she faced Venus in the finals for the second consecutive year.  However, this go around, Serena bested big sister to capture 2009′s third major.  Also a favorite to step to the finals at the U.S. Open, Serena encountered two stumbling blocks, her emotions and  Kim Clijsters.

After fulfilling her desire to procreate, Clijsters discovered that her retreat from tennis had left a void.  Thus, following a two year absence, Clijsters once again embraced the game. Subsequent to some impressive triumphs, Clijsters took on Serena in the semifinals. The weather may have been in part culpable, more likely though, it was Clijsters’ superb touch that got under Serena’s skin as a foot fault by a line judge roused Serena’s anger.  Unsavory words by Serena caused a point penalty with Clijsters having match point.  A day later, Clijsters went on to rope the U.S. Open trophy, the second major of her career.

Leading the pack of names that captivated the tour in 2009 is Dane Caroline Wozniacki.  The teenager became her country’s first competitor to reach a major final. Although downed by Clijsters, after starting the year in the top 20, Wozniacki closed 2009 at number 4.  Belarusian Victoria Azarenka continued her march in the right direction.  Azarenka demolished Serena at the Sony Ericsson Open to catch the biggest title of her career.

On the other hand, for the Serbs, it was  a year of sliding backward. Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion and former world number one, had trouble directing her forehand and serve. With neither stroke on the money, Ivanovic did not get pass the fourth round at any of the majors. Ivanovic reached one final, Indian Wells, but failed to hoist the trophy. Fed up, Ivanovic put a punctuation to her season in October and her ranking tumbled to 21st.  Number one at the start of the year, Jelena Jankovic, fared a little better than Ivanovic by collecting two titles.  However, Jankovic was equally a disappointment at the majors with only a round of 16 appearance in Paris and Melbourne.

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Lisicki Lands First Career Championship In Charleston

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Lisicki Lands First Career Championship In Charleston


familycircle2In the clash of the teenagers at the Family Circle Cup in South Carolina, a green clay premier tournament, German Sabine Lisicki, ranked 62nd, dominated Dane Caroline Wozniacki, ranked 12th, 6-2, 6-4 to grab her first professional trophy.

After winning the MPS Group Championships in Florida last week and ousting top seed Elena Dementieva in the semifinals, Wozniacki, seeded fifth, was the undisputed favorite. However, Lisicki, seeded 16th, demonstrated from the opening game that she was soaring with confidence although this was only her second WTA final. Wins over Venus Williams, world number five, in the third round and Marion Bartoli, world number 13, in the semifinals, wetted Lisicki’s appetite. By provoking errors from Wozniacki and with two forehand winners, Lisicki broke for 1-0 lead. Then, with an ace and additional forehand winners, Lisicki went up 2-0. Despite being further challenged on her serve, Caroline managed to hold. Subsequently, after Sabine easily guarded serve, she attacked causing Caroline to flay a few forehands and go down double break point. The Dane then gifted the German a 4-1 advantage by double faulting. Never facing any danger, Lisicki closed out the first set.

Although Wozniacki’s performance improved in the second set, the difficulty was that Lisicki matched or surpassed her level of play. After keeping up with Lisicki, in the fifth game, Wozniacki saw a backhand crosscourt pass nullify a game point. Then, three more game points were negated and with a backhand error, Lisicki had break point. Thereupon, with an assist from the net as Wozniacki’s ball went long, Lisicki took a 3-2 lead. But, after being in front 40-0, Lisicki double faulted and made some untimely errors for deuce. When Sabine misfired with a forehand up the line, Caroline got her first break point of the day. Yet, with a forehand crosscourt winner for deuce and adroit serves, Lisicki consolidated for 4-2. Next, with Wozniacki serving at 3-5, Lisicki was like a pit bull. However, after four deuces, the Dane hung on to the game by scooping a heavy ball from the German for a forehand crosscourt winner. After a relatively flawless outing and with triple match point, Lisicki coughed up three consecutive unforced errors for deuce. Sabine then double faulted giving Caroline break point. Still, with her powerful serve, Lisicki evaded trouble. Finally, on the sixth championship point, Lisicki converted with a forehand winner.

Besides winning a major, a unique way to announce one’s self to the tennis world is with a command showing at a premier event. That’s what Lisicki did this week. As a result, the German will see a considerable boost in her ranking.

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Serena Does It Again: Family Circle Cup Title Is Hers


The big news this weekend was Serena Williams’ triumph at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston South Carolina, a tier I tournament. Williams defeated Russian Vera Zvonareva in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. This was Williams’ third tournament win this year as she improved her record to 19-1, but this was Serena’s first clay court title in nearly six years.

In the first set, Williams seemed unstoppable having more winners than errors and served at a high percentage. For the most part, Zvonareva kept up, saving multiple break point chances against her serve. But ultimately the service issue caught up with her. A game fraught with double faults provided Serena the break late in the first set whereby she then won it. The second set was a replay of the first in terms of Williams having a myriad of opportunities to break Zvonareva’s serve, but the Russian held on. The inability to take full command of the match began to annoy Serena, this resulted in her making several unforced errors. Thus, Williams went on to relinquish the second set. In the third set, Serena reestablished herself and finally broke the Russian in the latter stages of the set and won the match. Williams has been on a roll, winning the last two tier I tournaments. Inarguably, Serena will be a contender for the major in Paris. In the doubles category, the team of Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia and Ai Sugiyama are on a streak of their own, victorious in Charleston as well as the Sony Ericsson Open.

The women’s circuit will be on a break the upcoming week as Federation Cup Tennis takes center stage over the weekend. In the semifinals, powerhouse Russia battles a depleted USA team consisting of Vania King, Asha Rolle, Madison Brengle and Liezel Huber in Moscow. None of the top US players decided to participate, while the Russians will have three top 20 players on their roster. The other semifinal features Spain against China, with the Spaniards having the misfortune of their top ranked players also sidelined.

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Serena Ties WTA Serve Speed Record; Advances to Charleston Semis


During today’s quarterfinal match at Family Circle Cup in Charleton, South Carolina,  Serena Williams unleashed a blistering serve that clocked in at 129 mph!  With that serve, Serena is currently tied with her sister Venus Williams as the holder of the serve speed record on the WTA tour.  

The recipient of Serena’s record tying serve was Maria Sharapova. Sharapova was looking to consolidate her recent success on the clay courts having claimed her first title on surface at last week’s Baush & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida.  

Serena faced a set point in the first set, however, she fought back and came from behind to steal the set from Sharapova. In the second set, Sharapova once again got off to a quick lead, but this time she was able to hold on to the breaks and tie the match.

There was enough drama in the first two sets that one could argue that the match was worthy of a final as opposed to a quarterfinal encounter.   Over the last year, Serena’s low ranking has resulted in her clashing with higher ranked opponents in the quarters or semifinals as opposed to the final.  This is probably of little concern to Serena who has shown that she can beat all of the top ranked WTA players. However, tennis enthusiasts would probably prefer for these epic battles to take place in a final. 

In the decisive third set, Serena turned it up a gear and played what she would later term the “Serena Game” ,eventually running away with the third set.  Serena’s 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Sharapova advanced her to the semis where she will take on the up and comer French teenager, Alize Cornet.   

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