Archive for September, 2010

30
Sep
10

Aussie and Italian teams added to 2011 Hopman Cup.

The Hopman Cup today announced that Francesca Schiavone will partner Potito Starace for Italy at January’s ITF International Mixed Teams Championship in Perth and Alicia Molik will partner Lleyton Hewitt for Australia. Schiavone becomes the sixth Grand Slam Champion coming to Perth this year joining Serena Williams, Lleyton Hewitt, Justine Henin, Novak Djokovic, and Ana Ivanovic.

 Paul McNamee, said, “Francesca has been pre-eminent in the renaissance of Italian tennis – their success in Fed Cup speaks for itself, and may well spill over to the Hopman Cup. It’s also great to be able to welcome Alicia back. She’s done such a great job in her comeback so far”. Schiavone said, “I’m delighted to be coming back to Perth. This has been an amazing year for me, and I look forward to starting the New Year well with Potito”.

The teams announced to date are:

■USA – Serena Williams and John Isner.

■Belgium – Justine Henin and Steve Darcis.

■Serbia – Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic.

■France – Kristina Mladenovic and Gael Monfils.

■Kazakhstan – Yaroslava Shvedova and Andrey Golubev.

■Italy – Francesca Schiavone and Potito Starace.

■Australia – Alicia Molik and Lleyton Hewitt.

One further team will complete the eight nation field. Alicia Molik returns to the Burswood Centre Court for the first time having moved to Western Australia after her retirement in 2008. She returned to the international tennis scene in 2009 after recovering from a series of injuries with a successful run through the Australian Pro-Tour, which got her back inside the top 200. Further success on the WTA Tour has seen her ranking rise inside the top 100 (currently 95) and she was a member of Australia’s Fed Cup team this year. Alicia will partner Lleyton Hewitt.

Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIII runs from 1-8 January 2011 at Perth’s Burswood Dome. Series Tickets are on sale via Ticketek and Corporate Tickets are also now available (hopmancup.com).

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30
Sep
10

Wozniacki and Dementieva reach the Tokyo semis.

Wozniacki, the No.1 seed, built a 5-0 lead when No.6 seed Agnieszka Radwanska was forced to retire from their match with a left foot injury. “I’m very disappointed to have to withdraw. I wanted to fight but I was in a lot of pain,” Radwanska said. “Caroline and I are very good friends and she’s playing so well. She’s too good to play when you have an injury. I’m hoping to play Beijing next week because it’s a big event and I really want to be there.” “Aga is a good friend of mine so I’m sorry she had to retire. I hope she’ll be okay,” Wozniacki said. “I was so focused on my own game I didn’t pay too much attention to the other side of the net. I was playing really good tennis and I’m happy to reach the semifinals. It’s not going to be easy against Azarenka.” Awaiting Wozniacki in the semifinals will be No.8 seed Victoria Azarenka. Wozniacki and Azarenka are tied in their head-to-head, 2-2.

Zvonareva, the No.2 seed, had a strong start but wasn’t able to keep it up, losing seven straight games from 5-3 up in the first set and eventually going down to No.7 seed Elena Dementieva in straight sets at night, 75 62. “I knew Vera wasn’t going to be giving away any points. I knew I had to go for winners and play aggressively and I’m happy I was able to do that,” Dementieva said. “We both returned serve well and had lots of baseline rallies.” Next up for Dementieva is No.5 seed and fellow veteran Francesca Schiavone. Dementieva leads Schiavone in their head-to-head, 6-5. “Every time we meet we have a great battle and know each other’s games very well,” Dementieva said. “Last time we played at the French Open, it ended in disappointing circumstances for me. But injuries are a part of this game. We both had tough matches today so recovery will be a big part of our preparation. I’m sure we’ll both be very motivated to win tomorrow.”

30
Sep
10

Schiavone and Azarenka thru to the semifinals.

Francesca Schiavone, the No.5 seed, was the second player into the semifinals, outlasting Kaia Kanepi in a tight three-setter, 75 46 75. Schiavone missed a crosscourt backhand on her first match point at 5-4 but closed the match out two games later, finishing it on a big serve that drew a Kanepi return into the net. The marathon match lasted three hours and nine minutes.

Victoria Azarenka, seeded No.8, ended the run of American qualifier Coco Vandeweghe, winning five consecutive games from 1-2 in the first set and six straight from 0-1 in the second set for a 62 61 win. Azarenka has now gone one round better than in her debut appearance here last year, where she was a quarterfinalist. “I played her in an exhibition match in the summer, so I knew a little bit about her,” Azarenka said of Vandeweghe. “She has a big serve, plus she had won a lot of matches here, so I knew it would be tough. My game plan worked well today. She started very well in the beginning but I was able to focus and be aggressive and I’m really excited to be in my first semifinal here in Tokyo.” Vandeweghe, just 18 and ranked No.172, was playing her second career quarterfinal, having made it to the final eight at San Diego in the summer. She had upset No.14 seed Aravane Rezai en route to her match-up with Azarenka.

30
Sep
10

Verdasco ousted in his Asian debut in 87 minutes.

Fernando Verdasco suffered a blow in his bid to add valuable points to his South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Thursday, when the Spaniard fell in his opening-match at the PTT Thailand Open. The World No. 8, who is hoping to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London for the second successive year, was beaten by No. 65-ranked Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-4, 6-4 in 87 minutes. It was Becker’s first win over Verdasco since June 2009 at the UNICEF Open. Becker, the 2007 runner-up, hit nine aces for the fifth Top 10 victory over his career (5-16 lifetime). Verdasco has a 2-2 record in ATP World Tour finals this year and a 41-18 match record.

Jarkko Nieminen, a quarter-finalist at the Open de Moselle last week, continued his run of form by reaching the last eight of an ATP World Tour tournament in Bangkok. The 29-year-old Finn saved an astonishing 14 of 15 break points to defeat seventh-seeded Serbian Viktor Troicki 7-6(4), 6-2 in one hour and 41 minutes. Nieminen improved to a 19-22 match record on the season.

29
Sep
10

Gulbis, Melzer and Becker advance in Bangkok.

Ernests Gulbis came through a marathon battle with Rainer Schuettler to seal his place in the third round of the Thailand Open in Bangkok. The fourth seeded Latvian took the first set 7-4 in the tie-break, but his German opponent hit back by doing the same in the second. But Gulbis did just enough in the decider to finally win a match that lasted just short of three hours.

Third seed Jurgen Melzer enjoyed a more comfortable passage through as he beat David Sela 6-3 6-4 while Daniel Brands overcame a second set wobble to knock out sixth seed Thiemo De Bakker 7-6 (7-2) 1-6 7-6 (9-7).

Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez beat France’s Florent Serra 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-5. In the day’s only first round game Germany’s Benjamin Becker was a 6-1 6-4 victor over compatriot Mischa Zverev. Becker will now meet number two seed Fernando Verdasco.

29
Sep
10

Zvonareva joins Azarenka in the quarter finals.

At the Toray Pan Pacific Open Vera Zvonareva has certainly turned the tide by reaching the quarterfinals on Wednesday in two quick sets. Zvonareva, the No.2 seed this week, had lost to Italian qualifier Roberta Vinci before, but there would be none of that this time as Zvonareva broke away from 3-all in the first set, winning nine of the next 10 games for a 64 60 victory. “Overall I played a good match but there’s room for improvement,” Zvonareva said. “I didn’t show my best today but I played well when I needed to.”

This was the first day since Sunday where rain didn’t require usage of the Centre Court roof and nearby indoor courts. “The conditions were different today,” Zvonareva added. “The roof was open and it was windy, which affected both of our games throughout the match. But, overall, I am happy with how I played.” Next up for Zvonareva is No.7 seed Elena Dementieva, a 64 62 winner over Flavia Pennetta. Dementieva leads Zvonareva in their head-to-head, 4-2. Not only is this the pair’s first clash since 2008, it is also the first time Zvonareva will be the higher ranked player when playing her compatriot Dementieva.

Another quarterfinal clash set up early in the day was No.8 seed Victoria Azarenka and qualifier Coco Vandeweghe, after Azarenka’s 62 retirement win over No.11 seed Marion Bartoli (viral illness) and Vandeweghe’s 63 60 win over Julia Goerges. This is a first-time meeting and Vandeweghe’s second Sony Ericsson WTA Tour quarterfinal, after her run to the final eight at San Diego in the summer (where she beat Zvonareva en route to her first final eight).

Later in the afternoon the No.5 and No.6 seeds also scored wins, No.5 seed Francesca Schiavone putting an end to the run of Kimiko Date Krumm a day after the Japanese No.1 turned 40, 63 63, and No.6 seed Agnieszka Radwanska recording an identical 63 63 victory over Andrea Petkovic.

28
Sep
10

Ivanovic, Stosur and Kuznetsova all ousted in 2nd round.

It was a good day for the German contingent with Andrea Petkovic sealing a surprise 6-3 7-5 victory over 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, and Julia Goerges knocking out Samantha Stosur of Australia. Japan’s Kimiko Date Krumm celebrated her 40th birthday by beating Daniela Hantuchova to reach the third round. The former world number four, who stunned defending champion Maria Sharapova in the first round, delighted the home crowd with a 2-6 6-0 4-0 after her Slovakian opponent retired with a shoulder injury. “It’s a miracle I was able to stand up after yesterday’s match,” said Date Krumm. “Maybe some luck rubbed off on me because it was my birthday.”

Former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli, the 11th seed from France, crushed Serb Ana Ivanovic 6-2 6-1. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia set up a meeting with Wozniacki with a 6-2 6-1 win over Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine.

28
Sep
10

Oliver Rochus defeats a rusty Del Potro in Bangkok.

Juan Martin del Potro’s eagerly anticipated comeback to the ATP World Tour ended in disappointment Tuesday evening in Bangkok as Belgian Olivier Rochus defeated the fifth-seeded Argentine 7-6(7), 6-4 in the first round of the PTT Thailand Open.

The 22-year-old del Potro was playing his first match since a fourth-round exit (l. to Cilic) at the Australian Open in January, having since been sidelined for eight months with a right wrist injury. He underwent surgery on 4 May in Rochester, Minnesota and was forced to withdraw from last month’s US Open, where he was the defending champion.

The diminutive Rochus, a foot shorter than the 6’6 del Potro, withstood 16 aces as edged a close first set and fended off a short-lived comeback from the Argentine in the second set, recovering from 0-2 down to seal victory in one hour and 44 minutes. World No. 78 Rochus recorded his 16th tour-level win of the season, highlighted by a run to his eighth ATP World Tour final in Newport (l. to Fish).

Rochus next will face Kazakhstani Mikhail Kukushkin, who recorded his 10th tour-level win of the season after he beat American qualifier Ryler Deheart 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-4 in two hours and eight minutes.

28
Sep
10

Zvonareva, Dementieva, Azarenka advance in rainy Tokyo.

Playing her first match since her magical run to the US Open final, Vera Zvonareva was impressive in her opening match of the Toray Pan Pacific Open, dispatching Sara Errani in straight sets, 63 63.

Zvonareva was 0-2 at the Premier tournament, but as the No.2 seed this time there are more expectations and she shouldered them well on Tuesday, scoring her third win in as many career meetings with the feisty Italian.

In her two previous appearances at this event, Zvonareva lost opening matches in 2007 (to Samantha Stosur) and 2009 (to Alisa Kleybanova).

Also scoring wins on Centre Court during the day were Victoria Azarenka and Elena Dementieva. Azarenka, the No.8 seed, improved to 5-0 in matches – and 10-0 in sets – against Lucie Safarova, 61 63, while Dementieva, seeded No.7, needed just 51 minutes to roll over Yaroslava Shvedova, 60 61.

“It was a nice and quick match,” Dementieva said. “I played very aggressively and consistently the whole match. It’s always good to get into a rhythm. There are a few big tournaments left so I want to play my best – no matter how well you do in the beginning of the year, it’s always good to have a strong finish.”

For the second straight day, rain forced the Centre Court roof to close and some matches to be sent indoors. “It has been tough not being able to practice because of the weather,” Dementieva added. “All the girls were waiting hours for their matches, so I was lucky to play under the roof of Centre Court.”

27
Sep
10

Serena gives Oprah a foot massage and pedicure.

Serena Williams, the world’s No.1–ranked women’s tennis player,  appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show this afternoon to give the queen of talk a foot massage and pedicure. About an hour ago, she announced on her Facebook page, “Hey Everyone! Guess who I’m giving a Foot massage to this afternoon?? Oprah!! And I got to use my signature Foot lotion – which she loved! So excited!”

Williams, who has 13 Grand Slam titles and two Olympic Gold metals, announced on Saturday that she would be pulling out of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo and the China Open in Beijing later this year in order to continue healing after a July foot injury. She also had to sit out this year’s U.S. Open, and many are wondering whether she’ll be able to regain her authority with so long an absence.

Off the court, however, she is busy building an empire. Today’s Oprah appearance will promote Mission Skincare, a new line of products she launched to meet the needs of athletes. She recently debuted a new clothing line, Signature Statement, on the Home Shopping Network, in addition to her line Aneras (“Serena” backwards).

She may be on the sidelines healing, but she will continue raking in the money. She’s the top-earning female athlete by prize money, and earned $20 million last year, as of June 2010.




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