Tag Archive | "U.S. Open"

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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Serena Williams Stupendous in Rogers Cup Final

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Serena Williams Stupendous in Rogers Cup Final


Following her semifinal win, Serena Williams admitted that Samantha Stosur, the tenth seed, would be a tough task in the final. While Williams’ words were proven true early on, she still found the means to neutralize her adversary. Williams prevailed 6-4, 6-2 over Stosur for her second Rogers Cup Trophy.

For Stosur, the 2010 French Open finalist Stosur, it’s been a difficult year. Finally though, in Toronto, Stosur has been able to string together good performances putting down Na Li in the third round and Agniezska Radwanska, the titlist last week in Carlsbad, in the semifinals.

Although at their ultimate meeting, the 2010 French Open, Stosur saved match point in defeating Williams in the quarterfinals. With a record of 2-8 in finals, Stosur would have to come up with something special to beat Williams who has a mark 38-14 at this stage of tournaments.

In her third round match, Williams overcame dropping the first set against Jie Zheng and did the same in the quarterfinals in battling lefty Lucie Safarova. Yet, in the semifinals, Williams dominated world number four, Victoria Azarenka.

At first, Williams had no answer for Stosur’s hugest weapon, the kick serve. With an ace, Stosur sealed her second love game for 3-2. Later, by utilizing her second big asset, the forehand, Stosur connected on a down the line winner for game point. When Williams netted the return, Stosur went ahead 4-3.

Williams was also coasting on her service games and forcing a myriad of errors from Stosur. With no indication of an upcoming break point, the tide suddenly shifted with Stosur serving at 4 all and 40-15.

Williams pulverized a second serve forehand return winner which stunned Stosur. The Aussie’s subsequent first serve was hit with less power resulting ultimately in a backhand mistake by Stosur and deuce.

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Stepanek Thwarts Monfils for Title in Washington

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Stepanek Thwarts Monfils for Title in Washington


For the second day in a row, rain disrupted the proceedings at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. But this afternoon, even that was insufficient for top seed and wildcard Gael Monfils to prevail. Unseeded Radek Stepanek bested Monfils 6-4,6-4 to win this ATP 500 tournament, the biggest prize of his career.

With a record of 5-2 against Stepanek, Monfils seemed in good stead to become the first Frenchman to triumph in the nation’s capital since Arnaud Clement beat Andy Murray in 2006.

For his part, Stepanek was on a quest to end his nation’s 29 year drought at this venue. Petr Korda, Stepanek’s coach, was the last victorious Czech in 1992.

The preamble to a disastrous afternoon for Monfils came in his initial service game. Monfils had two successive double faults despite holding.

Subsequent to guarding serve, Stepanek struck a backhand crosscourt winner for break point. When Monfils dumped a forehand into the net, Stepanek took a 2-1 lead.

In trying to consolidate, Stepanek went down 0-30. However, Monfils obliged with a sleuth of errors to allow the Czech to consolidate for a 3-1 advantage.

Later with Stepanek serving, the skies opened up and a thunderous downpour followed. Once Stepanek returned and completed the game for 4-2, showers came anew.

When play resumed, Monfils appeared more willing to fight and comfortably maintained serve. Yet despite Stepanek’s horrendous 30 percent first serve, Monfils could not capitalize on his second serve.

With Monfils stuck ten feet beyond the baseline and his returns falling short, an aggressive Stepanek proficient at volleying thrived at the net. Consequently, Stepanek easily bedded the first set.

For Monfils, the following set was a duplicate of the previous one. With a backhand volley winner, Stepanek had break point in the initial game. With Monfils’ forehand crosscourt pass finding the net, Stepanek converted.

Next, with an emphatic love game punctuated by his maiden ace, Stepanek raced to a 2-0 lead.

At times, Monfils uncorked his frustration on his racket. The crowd did it’s utmost to lift the Frenchman, however, without success. Despite losing solely two points his subsequent four service games, Monfils could not fabricate a single break point.

Stepanek’s first serve percentage picked up slightly this set at 46, winning 12 out of 12 points. With Monfils’ return not clearing the net, Stepanek had triple championship points.

When Monfils flubbed a backhand, Stepanek claimed his first title since San Jose in 2009. He also became the second oldest titlist. Jimmy Connors hoisted the trophy in 1988 at age 35.

With yesterday’s semifinals completed in the wee hours of the morning, Monfils did not go to sleep until four. Thus, the Frenchman felt the lack of rest made him “a fraction of a step slower. . . [so I] caught the returns late”.

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Sweet Retribution Serena Relishes Stanford Title

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Sweet Retribution Serena Relishes Stanford Title


Last June in the round of 16 at Wimbledon, Marion Bartoli stared down Serena Williams for her initial victory over the defending champion. Despite Williams’ twelve month absence from competition and only her second tournament back, Bartoli’s triumph was classified as a major upset.

Whether one calls it revenge or redemption, Williams was looking to make a statement in the final against Bartoli. After a tough first set, Williams vanquished Bartoli 7-5,6-1 at the Bank of the West Classic to claim her premier title since 2010 Wimbledon.

Due to Dominika Cibulkova withdrawing from their semifinal match because of an abdominal strain, Bartoli had an extra day of rest. Yet, unlike Wimbledon, fitness has not been an issue for Williams this week.

A noticeably more in shape Williams required just 69 minutes to dismiss 2011 Wimbledon finalist Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals. The following night in the semifinals, Williams dispatched 2011 Wimbledon semifinalist Sabine Lisicki in 59 minutes.

However, knowing that she won their ultimate meeting gave Bartoli a lot of confidence. Early on, the 2009 Bank of the West Classic champion gave Williams plenty to ponder.

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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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Del Potro Toughs It Out against Tipsarevic to Reap Delray Beach Title

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Del Potro Toughs It Out against Tipsarevic to Reap Delray Beach Title



Juan Martin Del Potro returned to the winner circle today.  Del Potro fought off Janko Tipsarevic in the final of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships with a 6-4,6-4 victory to earn his first tour title since the 2009 U.S. Open.

At the conclusion of his semifinal match last evening, Del Potro emphasized that despite being exhausted he would give it his all in the final.  Early on, Del Potro looked conspicuously fatigued.  Although the Argentine held easily his first service game, it was more a consequence of Tipsarevic making too many errors.  After getting ahead 2-1, Tipsarevic lined up a backhand down the line winner beautifully to secure double break point.  As a result of a Tipsarevic errant forehand and a questionable second serve ace, Del Potro got to deuce.  After giving the umpire a piece of his mind, Tipsarevic connected on a forehand crosscourt winner for a third break point.  That time when Del Potro misfired with the backhand down the line, Tipsarevic had the break for a 3-1 edge and later consolidated.  Despite difficulties, Del Potro guarded serve the subsequent game.  Next, showing a burst of energy for the first time, Del Potro sprinted to track down a Tipsarevic dropshot and put it away for a winner.  With that Del Potro had break point.  He converted when Tipsarevic’s forehand up the line landed long.  After quickly getting to 4 all, Del Potro provoked a forehand miscue from Tipsarevic on game point for deuce.  With two additional mistakes by Tipsarevic, Del Potro obtained the break and a 5-4 advantage.  Serving for the set, Del Potro had two shots go off course and double faulted to hand Tipsarevic triple break point.  By hanging tough and serving well, Del Potro arrived at deuce.  The Argentine wiped out two more break points and ultimately on his third chance secured the opening set.

Despite outplaying Del Potro in the previous set, Tipsarevic found himself behind in the scoreboard.  Nevertheless, the Serb attempted to soldier on.  The initial game of the second set, thanks to his long wing span, Del Potro caught up with a backhand volley from Tipsarevic and struck a backhand pass for a winner for break point.  With great defense, Tipsarevic denied Del Potro the game.  Five game points later, Tipsarevic captured the first game.  Following a couple of comfortable service games, at 2 all, Tipsarevic fumbled a backhand down the line to give Del Potro double break point.  The Serb then double faulted to gift Del Potro a 3-2 lead.  Later, with a forehand volley winner, Tipsarevic manufactured double break point of his own.  Yet, on both occasions, he was turned away.  Tipsarevic had two more opportunities to break in that game, but Del Potro shut him out.  After salvaging his eleventh out of twelve break points, Del Potro consolidated for 4-2. Although Tipsarevic continued to press, Del Potro aided by a vocal Argentine public held on for a 5-3 lead.  Serving for the match, Del Potro revved up the mph on the serve to get to triple championship point.  When Tipsarevic’s forehand crosscourt sailed long, Del Potro captured the title.

In analyzing the match, Tipsarevic iterated that it boiled down to “not executing well. . . .and not taking my chances”.  For Tipsarevic, the first set was pivotal because “I was disappointed that I lost it even though Del Potro was not playing his game”.

Del Potro was frank in saying “I think [Janko] deserved to win the first set. . . I was trying to focus on my serve [the first set] because I knew it was only one break. . . I knew I would have the opportunity to comeback. . . When I had it, I took it.  I had a little bit of luck granted. . . My forehand began to work which helped me in closing out the first set”.

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Del Potro Punches His Ticket into the Delray Beach Final

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Del Potro Punches His Ticket into the Delray Beach Final



Derailed by a wrist injury in 2010, Juan Martin Del Potro’s last final was the 2009 U.S. Open.  Tonight, the Argentine took care of American Mardy Fish 6-1,7-5 in the semifinals of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships to advance to his eleventh career final.

Following a comfortable opening game, Del Potro obtained a break point when Fish pushed a forehand up the line wide.  With a forehand crosscourt winner, Del Potro broke.  This was the first time Fish had surrendered his serve the entire tournament.  When Del Potro’s forehand crosscourt landed wide, Fish had a break point of his own.  However, after scrambling beautifully to defend, Fish misfired on a neutral backhand down the line to let Del Potro off the hook.  With two good serves, Del Potro consolidated for a 3-0 edge.  Subsequent to both players holding without difficulty, Fish committed three straight errors to hand Del Potro triple break point.  By bludgeoning a forehand crosscourt for a winner, Del Potro broke again for 5-1.  Promptly with another unadventurous game, Del Potro pocketed the set.

Throughout the initial set, Del Potro was crushing the ball and Fish played right into the Argentine’s hand by camping out on the baseline.  The second set, Fish altered his strategy and decided to take his chances at net.  Subsequent to a difficult hold, Fish provoked three forehand flubs from Del Potro for double break point.  When Del Potro’s backhand failed to go over the net, Fish had a 2-0 lead.  But, by connecting on a backhand down the line for a winner, Del Potro got to break point.  When Fish’s forehand bounced wide, the players were back on serve.  Nevertheless, Fish continued to press and again with three miscues in a row from Del Potro, he arrived at triple break point.  On that occasion, Del Potro double faulted to gift the American the break.  Despite facing a break point, Fish ultimately consolidated for a 4-1 advantage.  Although his service games got harder, Del Potro kept up with Fish to limit the deficit to one break.  Serving at 4-2, Fish made three mistakes to donate double break point to his adversary.  Del Potro gladly accepted by ripping a forehand down the line which lead to Fish’s response going wide.  Then at love, Del Potro leveled the set at 4 all.  With a quick hold, Fish inched ahead 5-4.  Yet, Del Potro had no problem squaring the set.  Later, off a booming backhand down the line by Del Potro, Fish watched his backhand land into the net to give the Argentine break point.  Del Potro converted by overpowering a forehand which resulted in a mistake by Fish.  After falling behind 0-30 while serving for the match, Del Potro produced two sensational winners to get to 30 all.  When Fish’s forehand did not clear the net, Del Potro had match point.  Del Potro sealed the victory when Fish misfired with the backhand.

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Delray Beach Draw Displays Potential for an Exciting Final

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Delray Beach Draw Displays Potential for an Exciting Final



As usual, Delray Beach will be the ATP’s first stop in South Florida.  This year, the field is more spectacular than ever with 2003 U.S. Open title holder Andy Roddick and 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro gracing fans with their appearance.  Moreover, former champions Marty Fish, Kei Nishikori, Xavier Malisse and Ricardo Mello will also take part in the festivities.  The draw has been announced, here’ a closer look as to how this thrilling week may unfold.

Roddick, the top seed, may have to face Janko Tipsarevic for the second consecutive week.  This time, Roddick would battle Tipsarevic or 2010 finalist Ivo Karlovic for a spot in the semifinals.

Third seed and wildcard entry Sam Querrey may be another threat to Roddick’s quest to the final.  However, prior to a potential date with Roddick, Querrey may have to overcome either Nishikori, Russian Igor Andreev or the always dangerous Benjamin Becker in the quarterfinals.

In the bottom section, 2009 titlist Fish is the second seed.  Veteran Rainer Schuettler could present a grave challenge for Fish in the second round.  Then, in the quarterfinals, Fish could contend with Radek Stepanek.

Also, in Fish’s part of the draw are John Isner and Del Potro.  These latter two just clashed in Memphis and could see each other again in the second round.  American teenager Ryan Harrison has a terrific opportunity to get to the quarterfinals.  But, in that round, Isner or Del Potro may await him.  Consequently, Fish, Del Potro, Stepanek and Isner appear the ones with the truest chance to advance to the final.

While the likelihood of an all American final exist, Roddick vs. Isner or Roddick vs. Fish, there are plenty of potential spoilers.  Since returning from his wrist injury, Memphis seems to be a turning point for Del Potro.  The Argentine looks to have regained some of the form and confidence which propelled him to the top ten.  As a result, it would not be surprising to see two former U.S. Open champions Del Potro and Roddick duke it out for the ITC title.

Click here for a complete look at the draw as it appears on the ITC tournament website.

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Midway Through Australian Open 2011:Clijsters and Wozniacki In, Henin Out

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Midway Through Australian Open 2011:Clijsters and Wozniacki In, Henin Out



The halfway mark has been reached at the Australian Open.  While Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki are still in line to collect their first major Down Under, the dream is at an end for Justine Henin and Samantha Stosur.  Here’s a look at the tournament’s past seven days.

In the top half of the draw, world number one Wozniacki coasted into the round of 16.   Despite difficult challenges from Gisela Dulko and Dominika Cibulkova, the Dane has yet to drop a set.  Wozniacki will battle Latvian talent 20 year old Anastasija Sevastova  who stunned Yanina Wickmayer in the second round.

On the other hand, Henin, a finalist last year, was dismissed in the third round by Svetlana Kuznetsova.  The 2009 French Open champion who appears to be fitter than ever will face reigning French Open victor Francesca Schiavone in the fourth round.  The latter needed three sets in each of her first two rounds.

There will be no Williams hoisting the prize this year.  Venus was forced to retire one game into her third round match with Andrea Petkovic due to a pelvic muscle injury.  Consequently, Petkovic will clash with Maria Sharapova in the round of 16. Sharapova scraped by Julia Goerges in the previous round.  With Sharapova’s serve a continual sore spot, Petkovic has a golden opportunity to reach her first quarterfinal at a major.

Both Li Na and Victoria Azarenka have been unforgiving thus far with straight sets victories to get to the round of 16.  These two will now collide for a place in the quarterfinals.

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Another Serena-Less “Slam”:  Who Will Capitalize at the Australian Open?

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Another Serena-Less “Slam”: Who Will Capitalize at the Australian Open?


For the second consecutive major, Serena Williams will be a no-show.  With the two time defending champion and former world number one still injured, current world number one Caroline Wozniacki should technically be “the” favorite.  While Wozniacki is a certain contender for the crown Down Under, it’s difficult to position her in the number one spot.  With her victories at the U.S. Open and the WTA championships to finish 2010, Kim Clijsters has to be viewed as the outright favorite.  The way the Australian Open draw stacks up, Clijsters has to relish her chances.  Let’s take a look how it breaks down.

Imagine needing to conquer Gisela Dulko in the first round, Dominika Cibulkova in the third round and either Justine Henin or Francesca Schiavone just to get to the quarterfinals.  This is the precise task which probably awaits Wozniacki.  Moreover, in the semifinals, the Dane could clash with either Venus, whom she has never beaten, Victoria Azarenka or Maria Sharapova.  In light of the treacherous road ahead, Wozniacki has her work cut out for her in trying to survive the first week and retain the number one ranking.

Since her 2010 Wimbledon injury, this will be Henin’s first major.  After months of noncompetitive play, Henin performed well at the Hopman Cup.  In Melbourne, a possible third round encounter with Svetlana Kuznetsova will be her first true challenge.  Last year, Henin battled her way to the final after an almost two year sabbatical. Consequently, if the Belgian successfully navigates the first week, she could duplicate her feat of a year ago.

If healthy, Venus should reach the round of 16 with ease.  At that stage, the 2003 Australian Open finalist could be tested, if the draw holds true to form, by the 2008 Australian Open champion, Sharapova. The Russian’s last major was in Melbourne.  Subsequent to shoulder surgery a couple of years ago, Sharapova appears finally at full steam.  That type of encounter could be a shot in the arm for Sharapova and push her back into the top ten.

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