Archive for July, 2010


Azarenka continues her dominance of Stosur to reach the Stanford final.

Victoria Azarenka celebrated her 21st birthday with an easy victory over Sam Stosur in the semi-finals in Stanford, USA.

The Belarusian continued her return to form with a 6-2 6-3 win, breaking three times in the first set and holding the edge throughout the second.

“I’m happy with the way I played. I’m finally injury-free and I’m enjoying my time on the court,” said Azarenka.

“[Stosur] has had such good results. I’m so happy at how I played against her.

“I started to move a little better as the match went on and I improved my defensive game and that helped my offensive game move forward.”

Azarenka, ranked 18th, is still seeking her first title of the season and ousted defending champion Marion Bartoli of France in the quarter-finals.

It was another dismal performance by Stosur in an important match as she continues to come up short in finals and semi finals.


Murray has to prove he’s the class of this field.

Top seed Andy Murray battled against his serve as well as Alejandro Falla, but claimed a 7-6 (7/3) 6-1 win to reach the semi-finals of the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles.

Murray’s first-serve percentage was just 42% for the match and an incredible 38% for the second set, but he met an opponent who struggled as much as he did.

And after battling through a tough opening set, the second, despite his service struggles, was far simpler as Murray, without a coach after he split with Miles Maclagan this week, sealed a last-four clash with Feliciano Lopez.

Lopez, who has lost to Murray in their last two meetings, said of his opponent: “Since the first time I saw him, I realised he was a very talented player and would be one of the best players in the world.”

Meanwhile fourth seed Lopez ended American James Blake’s run with a 3-6 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 win.

Second seed Sam Querrey came through testing quarter-final against Rainer Schuettler with a 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7/4) win, despite the veteran German twice serving for the match.

After going a set down, Schuettler battled back to claim the second, then broke to go 5-4 up in the third.

Querrey levelled, but again surrendered on serve, before breaking back for a second time to send the match into a tie-break, which he won.

“I was pretty frustrated the whole time, but I did a great job of playing the 5-4 and 6-5 games,” Querrey told “I played great points on those games and really battled back well.”

Waiting for Querrey in the semis is sixth-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic.

The had a relatively easy time against Marcos Baghdatis, coming through 6-3 7-5 against the third seed.


Final Four set for Bank of the West Classic.

Maria Sharapova defeated fellow Russian Elena Dementieva 6-4 2-6 6-3 at the Stanford Classic in California to reach her fourth semi-final of the year.

Fifth seed Sharapova responded to losing the second set to the number two seed by going for her shots in the third and got her reward.

“I had to pick it up and put more balls in play and I think she was surprised I kept them in court,” said Sharapova.

She faces Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Maria Kirilenko, in the last four.

The Polish number three seed eased to a 7-5 6-0 victory over Russian Kirilenko in a match of complete contrast to Sharapova’s, which at two hours, 47 minutes, was the longest of the tournament.

“I wasn’t swinging through well,” Sharapova added. “Sometimes my arm doesn’t want to swing. I didn’t want to let up on my serve, though. I wanted to keep going for it.

“When things aren’t going that well, you keep doing the right things and hope it turns around.”

Dementieva, who has recovered from a shoulder injury and was playing in her first tournament since the French Open, was satisfied with her performance despite losing.

“This is what I was hoping for, to play a few tough matches here, to feel the competition and feel the game,” she explained.

“I feel like I played much better than my first match. My serve wasn’t good enough and she was serving very well. It was a pretty tough game but hopefully the next time it’s going to help me.”

In the other quarter-finals, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus recorded her fourth successive victory over France’s Marion Bartoli to knock out the defending champion.

Bartoli looked on course for a comfortable win after using her powerful groundstrokes to open up a 6-3 3-1 lead, but Azarenka held serve in her next game and then reeled off seven more in succession to take control.

After the match, Bartoli claimed that Azarenka’s loud grunts had distracted her.

“It’s difficult to play against those kinds of players,” she said. “It’s fine to grunt sometimes when you make an effort, but sometimes it’s just so loud.

“It’s hard to focus on the other side of the net. But it’s not something I can get bothered by, because otherwise I would lose my concentration so much.

“I just need to forget about it, but it’s hard.”

Azarenka faces number one seed Sam Stosur in the last four after the Australian edged past Yanina Wickmayer 7-5 3-6 6-3.

“It was tough from the first game to the end,” said Stosur. “I got a little flat in the second set and I was down 2-0 down in the third when I finally started to pick it up and stayed away from playing into her patterns.”


Murray (#4) is unimpressive against Smyczek (#192)

Andy Murray admitted he was stretched on his return to action as he beat qualifier Tim Smyczek 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 in the second round of the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles last night.

The match was the world No4’s first since his straight sets defeat to Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon semi-final four weeks ago and came just two days after he sacked his coach Miles Maclagan.

It should have been a straight forward assignment for Murray considering that Smyczek is 192 in the rankings and that his win over Russia’s Teimuraz Gabashvili this week was his first on the ATP Tour.

But the British No1 was forced to dig deep and said: “I’m stiff, I don’t know if it’s the weather or the fact that this is my first match since Wimbledon. It’s to be expected so hopefully it will be okay tomorrow. I hope to have a good run here. There were a lot of long rallies in the first and second sets. Hopefully, it will stand me in good stead.”

Having received a first-round bye, Murray initially showed no signs of rustiness as he broke his American opponent to take a 2-0 lead and then raced through the opening set.

But his serve abandoned him in the second and Smyczek capitalised as he fashioned three break points in game four of the set and duly converted for a 3-1 lead.

Murray broke back immediately and held for 3-3 but the American did not roll over and again established a two-game lead at 5-3.

Again Murray broke back but he simply could not buy a hold with his first-serve percentage for the set down at 42 per cent and again surrendered to allow Smyczek to level the match.

The contest continued in topsy-turvy fashion at the start of the third as the pair traded breaks in the opening two games.

Murray broke again for 2-1 and finally held to give himself a two-game cushion.

From there on he did not look back and broke once more for a 5-2 lead before serving out for a victory, which set up a quarter-final against Alejandro Falla.


Ivanovic loses (again) to an inspired Bartoli.

If you would like to read an accurate report from someone who watched her match, go to this link!

Ana slipped to a 6-3 6-4 loss against world No.14 Marion Bartoli in the second round of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. It was the first loss for the 22-year-old in four matches against the Frenchwoman.

The defending champion served at a consistently high level, while Ana didn’t manage to win more than 37 per cent of the points on her second serve.

Ana broke to lead early in the second set, but couldn’t sustain her advantage.

“She was hitting the ball faster than I thought she would,” said Ana, who had previously lost just one set against the Frenchwoman.

“It was very hard for me to read her serve. I always felt I was a little bit too late.

“But I had some chances. Overall there are a lot of positive things from this match. I just have to move forward.”

Ana will now head to San Diego, where she enters the Mercury Insurance Open, which starts on Monday.


Sharapova wins to set up a meeting with Dementieva.

Maria Sharapova recovered from an uninspiring start to see off Olga Govortsova and book her place in the quarter-finals of the Bank of the West Classic.

The Russian fifth seed dropped her first service game after double faulting the first point of the match, but that was about her only mis-step as she won 6-3 6-3 in 79 minutes.

“It was a sloppy first game but the rest of it was fine,” said Sharapova, who will face compatriot Elena Dementieva in the last eight.

Another Russian, Maria Kirilenko, joined them in the last eight by beating sixth seed Shahar Peer 6-4 6-3.

Peer was badly let down by her serve, with her first-serve percentage below 50% for the match, and surrendered in 90 minutes.

There were no such problems for fourth and eighth seeds, Marion Bartoli and Victoria Azarenka, who both secured straight-sets victories.

Bartoli beat out-of-form Serb Ana Ivanovic 6-3 6-4, while Azarenka had an even easier day, seeing off American teenager Melanie Oudin 6-3 6-1.


Baltacha knocks off the top seed in Turkey!

Elena Baltacha pulled off a surprise straight sets win over top seed and French Open champion Francesca Schiavone to move into the quarter-finals of the Istanbul Cup in the Turkish capital today.

Having battled past Turkish wild-card Cagla Buyukakcay in the first round Baltacha looked a different player as she took the game to the stunned Italian and triumphed 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 25 minutes.

Baltacha stretched the Schiavone serve throughout, breaking five times on her way to securing her third tour quarter-final place of the year, where she will next meet the German sixth seed Andrea Petkovic.

Third seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova eased through with a 6-3 6-2 win over Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia. Romania’s Sorana Cirstea and Austria’s Jarmila Groth completed the last eight line-up.

Speaking after the victory, the British number one said: “I’m really proud of today. I’ve had such a great year, it feels amazing.


Querrey finds a way to win at Farmers Classic.

Sam Querrey came through a stern test against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in the second round of the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles.

Querrey served for the first set at 6-5 but Anderson broke back to force a tie-break, which the American eventually took 10/8.

Anderson hit back in the second, breaking twice en route to taking the set 6-4, but had no answer as Querrey powered through the decider to complete a 7-6 (10/8) 4-6 6-0 win.

He will next face Rainer Schuettler, a 6-3 3-6 6-4 winner over another American, Robby Ginepri.

Third seed Marcos Baghdatis claimed his first win in five matches to advance to the quarter-finals with a 3-6 6-2 6-3 victory over Ryan Sweeting.

Baghdatis had not won a match since the French Open and looked to be slipping to yet another defeat when the American wildcard took the first set in Los Angeles.

But the popular Cypriot rallied to book a last-eight match against sixth seed Janko Tipsarevic.

“It’s been a long time,” Baghdatis said.

“I didn’t win a match on grass. It’s been two months I didn’t win a match. It’s a long time. It feels good winning a match, even without playing good.”

Tipsarevic booked his place with a straight-sets win over Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman.

The key moment proved to be a marathon first set tie-break, which Tipsarevic eventually claimed before racing through the second set for a 7-6 (11/9) 6-2 win.


Andy Murray has his sights set on being #1. But who will be his new coach?

Andy Murray last night explained his split from coach Miles Maclagen. ‘We had a chat in Miami and saw things differently,’ said Murray.

‘It was not the nicest decision to take, but it wasn’t tough. It was easy when I saw how far apart we were. It comes down to business and me achieving my goals. I want to be No 1.’

‘I don’t think I need to make huge changes in my game. I just need to become a better player all around. ‘ I’ve had good results against (Roger) Federer. I’ve beaten (Rafa) Nadal a couple of times in slams. I’ve been to the latter stages of quite a few slams.’

Murray, who has previously been coached by Briton Mark Petchey and American Brad Gilbert, has yet to win a grand slam title despite several close calls in recent years.

In the 2008 U.S. Open final he was taken apart by Federer and he fell to the Swiss master again in this year’s Australian Open final.

Earlier this month, Murray was beaten 6-4 7-6 6-4 by Spanish World No 1 Nadal in the last four at Wimbledon.

‘It’s easy to start over-thinking things and over-analysing things’ said Murray, who reached a career-high second in the rankings in August last year.

‘I don’t think there’s a problem with my game. ‘I just need to get better, and that’s something that maybe hasn’t happened the last four or five months. Hopefully by getting a new coach and a new coaching team in place, that will help me do that, and hopefully achieve my goals.

Alex Corretja has been retained on his part-time contract of around 12 weeks a year, although confusingly he has also flown home, leaving Murray coachless ahead of the US Open.

Murray now has the opportunity to scour the market and bring in a Grand-Slam winning coach if he wants to, can find one and can afford one.

Maclagan, relatively speaking, represented extremely good value for money and a top-name coach will cost considerably more, particularly considering the consultancy and media fees most of the high-profile guys command.

Australian coach Darren Cahill is a potential candidate to replace Maclagan

Larry Stefanki, who turned the job down in 2006 before Brad Gilbert was hired, now works with Andy Roddick. Paul Annacone, leaving the LTA at the end of the year, is about to start a fascinating trial period with Roger Federer.

Darren Cahill – Andre Agassi’s former coach – is employed by Murray’s new kit sponsor and some form of link there is one of the more obvious possibilities. Cahill’s easy-going demeanour appeals to Murray. A chatterbox is not required for this vacancy.

Of course there are many leftfield options, including plenty of former champions always keen to keep themselves in the public eye and, while a British contender appears unlikely, it’s worth noting that Murray recently trumpeted the attributes of a little-known coach from Scotland, Iain Hughes, when the Davis Cup captaincy was available.


A tough day for the seeded players, but they all survived!

Elena Dementieva came from a set down to see off Kimiko Date Krumm in the second round of the Bank Of The West Classic on a day in which the top three seeds were all given moments of discomfort.

Date Krumm came into the match on the back of an impressive win over former world number one Dinara Safina and she continued that form as she claimed the first set.

But second seed Dementieva remained calm and did just enough to claim a 3-6 6-3 6-4 win.

Top seed Samantha Stosur received a tough workout as she began her campaign with a 6-1 7-5 victory over Christina McHale.

The Australian received a bye in the first round and her second-round assignment was not looking too much tougher as she raced through the first set in 23 minutes.

But American teenager McHale rallied and stayed with her more experienced opponent to 5-5 in the second, but was broken for 6-5 and could not make the most of four opportunities to level.

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska was also made to work hard for a straight-sets win.

She was pushed to a tie-break in the first set by Ukrainian qualifier Olga Savchuk, but prevailed and made light work of the second for a 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 victory.

The day’s other match saw seventh seed Yanina Wickmayer beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-1 6-4.

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