Tag Archive | "Wozniacki"

Azarenka Basks in Australian Open Victory

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Azarenka Basks in Australian Open Victory


The 2012 Australian Open marks a bevy of milestones for Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian reached her first final at a major. Moreover, by defeating Maria Sharapova 6-3,6-0, Azarenka claims her maiden major and will ascend to the number one spot for the first time.

Although they were tied at three a piece in their head to head, Azarenka had prevailed over Sharapova in the two previous finals they played. Still, this was a major and with three such trophies under her mantle, Sharapova had a colossal edge in experience.

Azarenka had her “Oh my God! I can‘t believe I‘m here” moment common with first time finalist which often signals disaster. Sharapova took advantage by breaking and consolidating for a 2-0 lead in the opening set. Yet, Azarenka refocused quickly to get back in the match.

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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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Venus and Serena Williams Maneuver Their Way into the Second Week at Wimbledon

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Venus and Serena Williams Maneuver Their Way into the Second Week at Wimbledon


A definite truism which applies to Serena Williams is that she’s always hungry for another major. The two time defending champion demonstrated that despite some first week cobwebs, she is prepared to fight for a “three-peat” at the All England Club.

Venus Williams, a five time champion at Wimbledon, is still in contention for another title on her most successful surface. Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion, is almost playing to the standards expected of her. Sharapova is trying to get pass the fourth round for the first time since 2006 at this venue.

The most stunning early departure was 2010 runner-up Vera Zvonareva. Here’s a mid-tournament summary and a preview of the interesting match-ups to come.

After going the distance her first two rounds, Serena Williams cruised in the third round against Maria Kirilenko. The next round, Serena will have to bring her best stuff against Marion Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon finalist. Bartoli is playing with great confidence since winning her maiden grass court title in Eastbourne.

Subsequent to a comfortable opening match, Venus Williams clawed past 40 year old Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second round. However, in the third round, Venus coasted to victory. Next up for Venus is Tsvestana Pironkova.

In a rematch of last year’s semifinal, Pironkova avenged her lost to Zvonareva in the third round. In 2010, Pironkova reached the semifinals by upending Venus in the quarterfinals. Pironkova also ousted Venus at the Australian Open in 2006. With Pironkova’s 2-1 against Venus, this tussle could be another doozy.

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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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Chinese First:  Li Na Clutches French Open Title

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Chinese First: Li Na Clutches French Open Title



From the outset, this year’s French Open title was up for grabs. Still, a final featuring world number five and defending champion Francesca Schiavone and world number six Li Na was a surprise. Today, Li defeated Schiavone 6-4,7-6 to become the first Chinese player to capture a major.

With a combined age of over sixty, this was the most mature major women’s final since Wimbledon 1998 whereby Jana Novotna prevailed over Nathalie Tauziat. At 30 years of age, in her first final since her title at Roland Garros, Schiavone was hoping to end her trophy drought by successfully repeating.

Since becoming the first Chinese individual to reach a major final, Li fell off the radar. After the Australian Open, the 29 year old failed to advance beyond the second round at any hardcourt event. Ultimately, the clay proved therapeutic with two semifinal showings by Li in Madrid and Rome.

After each woman held her initial two games, with a backhand volley winner, Li had double break point. With Schiavone’s forehand up the line sailing wide, Li pocketed the break. By consolidating with a love game, Li moved ahead 4-2.

With Schiavone unable to fabricate a break point, the one game difference was all Li required to seize the first set.

There was a serenity about Li which was absent in her first major final. Li had clearly learned from her loss to Kim Clijsters in Melbourne. With sizzling forehands, Li had double digit winners in the first set.

Furthermore, early on, it was conspicuous that Schiavone’s use of spin, slice, volley and overall variety were not throwing Li off balance. Instead, it was the Italian who was finding herself on her back heel.

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Women’s Field Wide Open at French Open

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Women’s Field Wide Open at French Open



With the exception of one Federation Cup match last year, Kim Clijsters has not competed on clay since the French Open in 2006. Nevertheless, with Clijsters triumphant at the last two majors and considering the state of the women’s game, the Belgian can play herself into form and is consequently a serious contender for the French Open trophy.

Strangely enough, Maria Sharapova is also a favorite on clay. The Russian’s victory in Rome two weeks ago demonstrates that she can power her way to a title on this surface. As such, Sharapova deserves to be in the column of players to beware of.

More so than previous years, there has been no standout on the red clay this season. Julia Goerges surprised world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the final in Stuttgart. Petra Kvitova made her debut into the top ten with her victory in Madrid, stunning world number four Victoria Azarenka.

Therefore, any one residing in the vicinity of the ten best from world number three Vera Zvonareva to Azarenka to defending champion Francesca Schiavone to Kvitova has a fair shot at hoisting the title. The French Open draw is revealed. Here’s an analysis of the key match-ups.

Wozniacki’s first round opponent is Kimiko Date-Krumm. The Japanese is know for pulling upsets at majors. Last year, she shocked Dinara Safina in the same round. As a result, Wozniacki will have no time to relax early on.

Another challenging encounter for the world number one could come in the third round where she may face 2009 French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova. Wozniacki’s progression to the final could be further complicated by 2010 finalist Samantha Stosur or Goerges in the quarterfinals and either Jelena Jankovic, Zvonareva, or Schiavone in the semifinals.

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Sharapova Razes Stosur to Carry Title in Rome

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Sharapova Razes Stosur to Carry Title in Rome



Maria Sharapova has been candid in admitting that clay is not her strong suit. Yet, in today’s final at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia, one would have thought that the Russian was a court specialist. Sharapova bullied 2010 French Open finalist Samantha Stosur around to claim her first premier clay court trophy with a 6-2,6-4 victory.

Sharapova and Stosur last collided in the round of 16 at the Sony Ericsson Open with the Russian triumphing in straight sets. With a 7-0 record against the Australian, Sharapova came in oozing confidence.

From the initial strike, Sharapova used her powerful forehand to assert her will and broke in the opening game. Then, with a brilliant volley winner, Sharapova consolidated at love. Later, with Stosur slicing a backhand long, Sharapova took a double break lead for 3-0.

After Sharapova went ahead 4-0, Stosur broke to narrow the gap to 2-4. However, with another forehand from Stosur traveling out of play, Sharapova had triple break point and converted. Next, Sharapova overcame a 0-30 deficit and closed out the set.

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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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Sharapova Too Strong for Lisicki, Stosur also into Fourth Round

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Sharapova Too Strong for Lisicki, Stosur also into Fourth Round



Two time Sony Ericsson Open finalist Maria Sharapova commenced her bid for the title by trouncing her third round rival. Sharapova destroyed Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 6-0.

From the first ball strike, Sharapova made her presence felt. After an early break and consolidating, with Lisicki serving at 2-4, Sharapova went up triple break point. Although Lisicki got to deuce, it was just delaying the inevitable. In the end, Sharapova captured another break and closed out the set.

After getting the break the initial game of the second set, Sharapova rolled on to clinch a spot into the third round.

Subsequent to the match, Sharapova commented that it was good that it was “pretty straightforward. . .a little tricky with the conditions. [Lisicki] is someone [who] can fire the ball really well and hits pretty solid[ly] from both sides. She’s someone [who]‘s beaten top players before. . . I knew that she would come out swinging pretty hard and deep. So I just wanted to be aggressive from the beginning.”

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Spotlight Miami: The Sony Ericsson Open Has Arrived

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Spotlight Miami: The Sony Ericsson Open Has Arrived


 
The Sony Ericsson Open singles draws for the women and men have been released.  There are a bevy of potential semifinal match-ups to salivate over.

On the ATP side, Rafael Nadal, the world number one may battle 2009 finalist Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

With Roger Federer dropping to the number three in the rankings, the Swiss could clash with Nadal in the semifinals.  Moreover, Federer may contend with defending champion Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals.

If the draw plays out according to the seeding, in the bottom half, David Ferrer and Robin Soderling will be slated to meet in the quarterfinals.  However, Juan Martin Del Potro could spoil that face-off.

Also located in the bottom section is the hottest player on tour, world number two Novak Djokovic. The Serb could have a rematch of this year’s Australian Open final in the quarterfinals with Andy Murray.

Whether it’s Del Potro, Ferrer or Soderling in the semifinals, at this stage, Djokovic seems ready to mow over all comers.

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