martes, 30 de septiembre de 2014
Sorana Cirstea blog: My good friend Monica Puig has been nominated to play in the WTA Rising Stars Exhibition. PHOTO OF THE DAY,
The No.1-seeded Williams, who had gone to three sets against the Bulgarian in both of their previous meetings, was in no such mood this time, taking her out in just an hour and 12 minutes, 6-2, 6-3.
"Tonight I was aware that I wanted to start out strong, and I think that was the main difference," Williams, who lost the first five games of her first round match here, commented. "I was just trying to make sure I was able to win a game early on." Williams is one of four players who have already qualified for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, along with Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova. Kvitova had a day off Tuesday but Sharapova and Halep were both in action, the No.4-seeded Sharapova beating Elina Svitolina, 6-2, 6-2, and the No.2-seeded Halep making it past Chinese wildcard Zhu Lin, 7-5, 6-4
For WTA Finals hopefuls, Beijing represents the final opportunity to collect significant points this season and her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Lisicki has left Bouchard's hopes in the balance.
On a chilly afternoon, Bouchard never really warmed to the task in front of her.
After being blown away in the opening set and falling 3-1 behind in the second, Bouchard's famed fighting spirit briefly looked like it may get her out of jail. However, Lisicki was not to be denied, a delightfully disguised drop shot helping her break for a 5-4 lead before serving out the match to love. To compound the Canadian's misery, one of her closest rivals for the remaining places in Singapore, Angelique Kerber, came through her own second round encounter, brushing aside Zarina Diyas, 6-3, 6-1.
Another player with an outside chance of a Finals place, Ekaterina Makarova, also advanced, dispatching Polona Hercog, 7-5, 6-0. Bouchard was not the only potential qualifier to trip up at the National Tennis Center. Earlier in the day, Agnieszka Radwanska lost to Roberta Vinci, 6-4, 6-4. Radwanska started brightly in both sets, but each time was pegged back by the Italian, who had lost seven of their eight previous meetings. Bouchard and Radwanska will have their eyes glued to Kerber's results for the rest of the week. If Kerber fails to reach the final, Bouchard is Singapore-bound, while for Radwanska to qualify, she would also need Makarova to leave the Chinese capital without the winner's trophy.
lunes, 29 de septiembre de 2014
Soler-Espinosa gleefully accepted her opportunity, breaking three times to build a commanding lead. However, even when not firing on all cylinders, the World No.1 remains a formidable competitor.
She demonstrated this fighting spirit over the next half an hour, saving three set points at 5-0 down - the last with a sumptuous crosscourt backhand - to spark a remarkable comeback. And as the American's touch returned, Soler-Espinosa's deserted her.
When two more forehands flew beyond the Spaniard's reach to draw Williams level at 5-5, the writing appeared on the wall. So it proved, Williams taking the set a few games later when Soler-Espinosa could only find the tape with a backhand. With the momentum now firmly behind her, the second set proved a formality, Williams closing out a 7-5, 6-2 win after an hour and 13 minutes.
"It was really exciting to come away with the win today. I got off to a slow start, but I just really, really wanted to win and get some matches under my belt, so it was good," Williams said.
On paper, Bencic, who earlier this month reached the quarterfinals of the US Open, looked a tricky opening round obstacle.
But Ivanovic was in an irrepressible mood, bossing Bencic around the court from first point until last to ease through, 6-2, 6-1. "Every year is different and every match is different," Ivanovic said. "We have seen in the past there are so many good players out there, they can beat anyone." The No.9 seed set the tone early on, thumping a couple of trademark forehands past Bencic to snuff out an early threat to her serve. A few games later, she produced another unerring blow, passing her teenage opponent to draw first blood. She had the chance to stretch her lead further at 4-1. And while Bencic survived that time, it was merely delaying the inevitable, Ivanovic wrapping up the set a few games later.
domingo, 28 de septiembre de 2014
Since winning the French Open in June, Sharapova's season has stalled somewhat, suffering a number of surprising defeats, the latest coming at the hands of Timea Bacsinszky, in Wuhan.
And when she slipped an early break behind against Kanepi, a tough afternoon looked on the cards. Any fears of another hiccup, though, were soon allayed as the No.4 seed got into her groove, pinning Kanepi behind the baseline to pinch an up-and-down first set. The start of the second set brought a few more nervous moments for the Russian, who summoned a couple of unreturned serves and a backhand winner to get her through a 12-minute opening game. From that point on, things went rapidly downhill for Kanepi. Sharapova continued to have the final say in all the exchanges that mattered, stretching her lead to 3-0 as she marched confidently over the finishing line. "I thought I played a difficult opponent, someone that I've had trouble against in the past," Sharapova said. "She's capable of playing really well, has beaten top players before in her career. "Her ranking has dropped a little bit this year, but overall I knew it was a challenging first round opponent and I thought I handled that quite well considering I didn't have a great result last week. I started off the match quite well and followed through with that.
sábado, 27 de septiembre de 2014
Kvitova has really made her push for Singapore in the second half of the season.
She went into Wimbledon down at No.16 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, far from the Top 8 that qualifies for the WTA's crown jewel event. But a fairytale run to her second Grand Slam title at the All-England Club and Premier-level triumphs at New Haven and Wuhan have now pushed her over the finish line. The Czech was asked about her season turnaround during her run to the title in Wuhan. "From the beginning my season was really tough. If somebody told me at the Australian Open that I would win Wimbledon and still be fighting for Singapore, I'm not sure I would have believed them. "But I've had a great second part of the season. It all started a little bit at the French Open, and from there I just kept improving. I think early on I was expecting too much of myself, and it was really difficult to take the loss in my first round in Australia, but I kept working hard, and now I'm here."
The No.3-seeded Kvitova had won the pair's only two previous meetings handily in straight sets, including a 55-minute, 6-3, 6-0 drubbing in the Wimbledon final this summer, and she did it again this time, breaking early in both sets and hanging onto those breaks to win in straights, 6-3, 6-4.
Kvitova originally led by a double break in the second set, 5-2, and had a match point in that game, but missed a backhand into the net. She lost that second break but still rode the first one to victory. The match stats weighed heavily in Kvitova's favor, as she put together an impressive +12 differential of winners to unforced errors (30 to 18), while Bouchard finished with a -4 differential (12 to 16).
Kvitova also converted on three of her five break point opportunities, Bouchard one of eight.
viernes, 26 de septiembre de 2014
Prize Money: $5,427,105
Director: Alfred Zhang / Charl
A combined ATP-WTA event, the China Open is the biggest tournament on the Asian leg of the WTA calendar and the fourth and last Premier Mandatory stop of the season. The tournament, which launched as a Tier II event in 2004 and was upgraded to Premier status in 2009, is staged in Beijing Olympic Park at the China National Tennis Center. The facility - constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics - expanded to 11 courts featuring a new 15,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof in 2011. It utilizes space-age air-cooling technology. In 2006, the China Open became the first tournament outside the United States to implement Hawk-Eye electronic line calling. Titlists include Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka and two-time winners Svetlana Kuznetsova and Serena Williams. A center for politics, culture, business, transportation and education, Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populated cities in the world.
The No.6-seeded Bouchard put on a masterclass against the No.8-seeded Wozniacki in the night session, needing just an hour and 18 minutes to storm into the final, 6-2, 6-3.
Wozniacki actually played very well - she finished the match with an even differential of winners to unforced errors (18 to 18). But Bouchard was an impressive +8 against one of the most solid players in the game (28 to 20).
Bouchard's other secret weapon was her sharpness on the biggest points - she managed to convert on five of her nine break point chances, while Wozniacki converted just one of seven break points. "I think I played very aggressively, and it was all about trying to maintain it," Bouchard said. "Of course I expected some resistance, and she definitely made me fight for every point, but I was happy with the way I was serving and stepping in and the way I kind of regathered by concentration. "I feel like I played very, very well, maybe up there with Wimbledon, maybe better."
jueves, 25 de septiembre de 2014
Kvitova, who had gone to three tough sets the day before against the red-hot Karolina Pliskova, had another surging WTA Rising Star across the net from her this time - Garcia had taken out a pair of all-time greats en route to the quarterfinals here in Venus Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska.
But the No.3-seeded Kvitova was just too efficient this time around, holding all 10 of her service games and getting one break per set to put Garcia away in just an hour and 21 minutes, 6-3, 6-4. She was also just too solid in the stats, putting together a -1 differential of winners to unforced errors (23 to 24).
Meanwhile, Garcia was a little too erratic on the day with a -9 differential (13 to 22). "I know Garcia had a great week here, that she beat Venus and Aga 7-6 in the third. You always have to be prepared for a fight," Kvitova said. "I knew that she can play really well, and that she can serve well and play very aggressively from the baseline, so I knew that I had to be ready for her.
"It was quite humid and hot today, and I was really sweating a lot, but the court feels faster, which is something that probably suits my game a lot. And I'm serving well, so that's helpful too."
miércoles, 24 de septiembre de 2014
But first there's the matter of the biggest win of Bacsinszky's career, a 7-6(3), 7-5 stunner over the No.4-seeded Sharapova.
In the match the pair went toe-to-toe from the baseline with their big groundies, but Bacsinszky was just a little bit more consistent overall, putting together a +3 differential of winners to unforced errors (25 to 22) while Sharapova compiled a negative differential of -6 (37 to 43). It has been a long road back for Bacsinszky, who peaked at No.37 in the world back in 2010 but who went as low as No.578 in 2012 after a series of nagging injuries and struggling to grind her way back up. But grinding is just what she's done this year - she came into 2014 ranked No.237 and is currently at No.61 after consistent success on the ITF Women's Circuit and in WTA qualies, and a couple of deep runs in WTA main draws as well, including making the semis of Guangzhou last week.
One of those players is Angelique Kerber, who was also one of the early winners on Wednesday.
Kerber, currently No.10 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard and the No.7 seed this week, needed just 64 minutes to beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova over on Court 1, 6-1, 6-1.
Her performance was actually so dominant that she held game points in both of the games she lost during the match. Other early winners were Alizé Cornet, who rallied from 3-1 down in the third set to beat Belgian wildcard Kirsten Flipkens in two hours and 46 minutes, 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-3, Caroline Garcia, who outserved CoCo Vandeweghe, 6-3, 6-2, blasting 11 aces to the American's eight, and Elina Svitolina, who advanced past Garbiñe Muguruza via walkover when the Spaniard withdrew due to gastritis.
Her day off was spent touring the Great Wall of China and the city's infamous Summer Palace.
"It's a great privilege to travel the world playing tennis," said Ana. "But of course our job is to perform to the best of our abilities on the court, so there isn't usually much time to go sightseeing. The one consolation about not being able to practice today is that I got to visit some wonderful sights. Beijing is a fascinating place.
This was my second visit to the Great Wall and it's more stunning than I remembered. If you ever have a chance to visit, I really recommend it."
martes, 23 de septiembre de 2014
The No.1-seeded Williams followed and had a similarly grueling battle, building an early 3-1 lead but watching on as Cornet just wouldn't let go, breaking back and neither player leading by more than a game again. But after a marathon 11th game, where Williams finally converted on her fourth break point to go up 6-5, the World No.1 had to retire from the match because of a viral illness. Though it may not have come the way she wanted, Cornet - who beat Williams at Dubai and Wimbledon this year - is the first player to beat her three times in a season since Justine Henin in 2007.
Wozniacki, the No.8 seed at the Premier-level event, needed more than two hours to make it past Suárez Navarro, dropping the second set and facing a point for a 5-3 deficit in the third set but clawing back and eventually making it past the Spanish No.1 in a third set tie-break, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(4).
Suárez Navarro had almost three times as many winners as Wozniacki during the match, 46 to 16, but the usually-rock solid Spaniard also had more than twice as many unforced errors, 51 to 24.