Archive for July, 2011

31
Jul
11

Serena Williams won her 38th WTA title at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford.

 

With only Eastbourne and Wimbledon on her points total, Williams came into Stanford ranked a lowly No.169, far from the on-paper favorite she used to be when she was No.1. And in a draw that had four Top 10 players in it, even the biggest believers would have had some doubts. But none of that mattered at all. Playing a WTA tournament in America for the first time since 2009, Williams came out blazing, beating fellow 29-year-old Anastasia Rodionova by a double bagel in the first round. After a second set hiccup in the second round – she beat Maria Kirilenko, 62 36 62 – she went into high gear again, stunning Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals, 61 63, and Sabine Lisicki in the semifinals, 61 62.

Even after those wins, Williams still wasn’t completely satisfied. “There are still shots I’m not going for and not making that I know I can make once I get more confident and more match play. I’ll be able to make those,” Williams said. “It’s encouraging to me that I can do more, I can do better.”

On the other side of the draw the No.9-ranked player in the world, Marion Bartoli, was cruising. Seeded No.3 with a first round bye, she beat Canada’s Rebecca Marino in straight sets and then enjoyed some reprieve in the next two rounds – a 61 retirement win over Japan’s Ayumi Morita in the quarterfinals and a semifinal walkover over No.8 seed Dominika Cibulkova, due to an abdominal injury. For Williams a final battle with Bartoli was a chance for revenge. Four weeks ago, Bartoli beat her in the fourth round of Wimbledon, where she was the two-time defending champion. And she would get her revenge. Bartoli was up 4-2 in the first set and even served for it at 5-4 but Williams would not let it get away from her again, as she reeled off eight straight games to go up 75 50. Bartoli held one last time, then Williams served it out.

Williams is now an incredible 38-14 in WTA finals in her career. With the title she is projected to more than half her ranking and move back into the Top 80 players in the world.

31
Jul
11

Gisela Dulko and her new husband as of Wednesday.

31
Jul
11

Marcel Granollers defeated fourth seed Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in an all-Spanish final on Sunday at the Suisse Open to win his second ATP World Tour title.

Granollers

The 25-year-old Granollers capped a dream week, which also saw him defeat second seed Stanislas Wawrinka and third seed Mikhail Youzhny, to become the seventh different Spanish winner on the ATP World Tour this season. He earned 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €72,600 in prize money. “Last week was bad for me because I felt a lot of pain in my arm, which I had felt since Wimbledon,” revealed Granollers. “I went home and rested for five days without any practice, and I came here on Sunday and started to feel better and better. Now I have won the tournament and so it’s amazing. “It’s very important for me because I won my first tournament in 2008, which was a little unexpected, and three years later I won here. So there is a lot of work behind today and I feel amazing.”

In the fifth all-Spanish final on the ATP World Tour this year, and the first in Gstaad since 1997, Granollers dominate the first set, surrendering only four points on serve and converting one of his five break point chances to take the early lead.

31
Jul
11

A highly motivated Serena is virtually unbeatable by any other player.

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Serena Williams continued her stroll through the Bank of the West Classic as she beat Germany’s Sabine Lisicki to book her place in the final against third seed Marion Bartoli of France. The American, down to 169 in the world following a year of injury and health problems, dismantled Maria Sharapova to reach the semi-finals and was equally dominant today as she claimed a 6-1 6-2 win. She will next face Bartoli, who was gifted her path through tot he final when Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova withdrew from their semi-final because of an abdominal injury.

The match will give Williams the chance to gain revenge for the defeat inflicted on her by Bartoli at Wimbledon earlier this year.

30
Jul
11

Marin Cilic ensured home interest in the Croatia Open final for the first time in 21 years.

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Marin Cilic ensured home interest in the Croatia Open final for the first time in 21 years with a comfortable win over Fabio Fognini. The fourth seed dropped his serve only once en route to a 6-2 6-2 semi-final win, to become the first Croat in the final since Goran Prpic defeated compatriot Goran Ivanisevic in 1990. The Italian, who was bidding for a first ATP Tour final having now lost all six of his semi-appearances, briefly threatened to spoil the party when he broke early in the second set. But Cilic rattled off six straight games to set up a Sunday showdown with Ukrainian Aleksandr Dolgopolov.

“It was not as easy as it looks,” Cilic said. “I had to play really hard to win. My serve went up and down, especially in the second set. But I am really happy how I played.” Second seed Dolgopolov beat Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-4 6-4 in the other semi-final.

30
Jul
11

Robert Kendrick has been banned until next May following a positive test for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.

In the dock: Robert Kendrick has been banned until May

The American No nine and world No 105 provided a positive sample at this year’s French Open, following his first round defeat to Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The 31-year-old claimed at an International Tennis Federation tribunal that the presence of the substance in his system was the result of taking a Zija XM3 capsule to combat jetlag, and that he had not taken it to enhance his performance – an explanation which was accepted by the tribunal. But, under strict liability rules, he was found guilty of a doping offence and banned for 12 months, backdated to the positive test on May 22.

A statement at http://www.itftennis.com read: ‘The ITF accepted Mr Kendrick’s account of the circumstances surrounding his ingestion of methylhexaneamine, and accepted that he did not intend to enhance his performance. ‘Under the tennis anti-doping programme, however, it is a player’s strict personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his body, whether as a prescription medication or otherwise, unless he holds a valid therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for such substance. Mr Kendrick did not hold a valid TUE.

‘A tribunal therefore confirmed Mr Kendrick’s commission of a doping offence under Article C.1 of the tennis anti-doping programme, and determined that he should be suspended from participation for a period of 12 months, commencing as from 22 May 2011 and so ending at midnight on 21 May 2012. ‘The tribunal also determined that Mr Kendrick’s results at the 2011 French Open should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events.’

 

 

 

30
Jul
11

Gulbis shocks Del Potro to reach the Farmers Classic semi-final.

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Ernests Gulbis caused a major shock as he beat second seed Juan Martin Del Potro 6-2 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the Farmers Classic. It was his first win in three meetings with the Argentinian, who struggled to make an impact on his opponent’s serve. Next up for Gulbis is Alex Bogomolov Jr, who beat fourth seed Thomaz Bellucci 1-6 6-4 6-1 to reach his first ATP Tour semi-final.

The other semi will be an all-American affair between the top seed Mardy Fish, who beat Igor Kunitsyn 6-2 6-4, and Ryan Harrison, a 3-6 6-3 6-4 winner over Lu Yen-hsun.

30
Jul
11

Serena Williams put on a clinic to get the better of second-seeded Maria Sharapova, 6-1, 6-3, in the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic.

“I had a good start,” Williams said. “You can’t go in against the fifth-ranked player with your mind everywhere. You have to be serious. It’s a great win for the hardcourt season.” Playing in just her third tournament since winning Wimbledon last year, and her first on American soil since the 2009 U.S. Open, Williams looked as good as she did when she topped the rankings. “I’m a better player this month than I was last month,” Williams said. “I’ve put in a lot of work and I hope it continues to pay off.”

The fifth-ranked Sharapova had eight unforced errors before she hit her first winner and the slow start cost her in the battle of former No. 1s. “It certainly wasn’t my night,” Sharapova said. “She was serving and hitting so well and I was extremely late in my reactions. I felt sluggish. It was a bad day but it’s also a reminder that I need to step up.” Williams, ranked No. 169, beat Sharapova for the sixth straight time and improved to 7-2 overall against her. “I consider anybody I play to be an intense rivalry but we do have a good thing going,” Williams said. “It’s exciting and it’s good for tennis.”

Sharapova last defeated Williams in the finals of the 2004 WTA championships. “When I had chances to change things around I couldn’t do it,” Sharapova said. “Her biggest strength is her power and you don’t see so much of that in the top 10. It really makes her dangerous.”

Germany’s Sabine Lisicki knocked off her second straight seeded opponent, beating fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2. She will meet Williams in the semifinals. Lisicki was a semifinalist at Wimbledon and has improved her ranking to 26th after being No. 218 in March. “I’m looking forward to the match,” Lisicki said. “I love competing in the big matches. I have nothing to lose.” Sharapova beat Lisicki in the semis at Wimbledon. “Coming from grass to hardcourt is always a challenge,” Lisicki said. “It comes down to who plays the best that given day.” Last year, Lisicki missed five months with a left ankle injury. She says she has more endurance now than before her injury. “I’m much better than I was before the injury,” she said. “I’ve had to focus on so many aspects of my game. Last year I couldn’t even walk. Now I feel I can rely on my serve when I need it at crucial moments.” Lisicki recorded 14 aces to Radwanska’s seven. The 14th-ranked Radwanska was a semifinalist at Stanford last year. She’s still looking for her first tour title since 2008.

Third-seeded Marion Bartoli of France advanced when Japan’s Ayumi Morita retired after dropping the first set 6-1. Bartoli will meet eighth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, who beat qualifier Marina Erakovic 6-1, 6-1. The 20th-ranked Cibulkova, looking for her first tour title, reached her second semifinal of the year. “I was pretty solid the whole match,” Cibulkova said. “I hope to keep playing at this level.”

28
Jul
11

Marina Erakovic upsets Azarenka as she takes her record to 24 wins out of 28 matches.

New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic stunned top-seeded and defending champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 at the Bank of the West Classic on Thursday to reach her second quarterfinal of the year. The 121st-ranked Erakovic, a qualifier, recorded her first win over a top-20 opponent and has won 24 of her last 28 matches. The fourth-ranked Azarenka reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in her last tournament.

Japan’s Ayumui Morita recovered to beat qualifier Urszula Radwanska of Poland 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 and will next face Marion Bartoli.

28
Jul
11

“All the girls were trying to catch the bouquet, and then suddenly from somewhere Vera Dushevina came and sprinted and stole it from me,” Maria Kirilenko said with a laugh.

Maria Kirilenko said that last week’s wedding between former player Elena Dementieva and hockey’s Maxim Afinogenov in Moscow was the best one she ever attended. Kirilenko went to the wedding with her long time boyfriend, fellow Russian player Igor Andreev. Other players to attend the Olympic gold medalist’s wedding were Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Vera Zvonareva, Dinara Safina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Vesnina and Vera Dushevina, among others.

“Elena and her husband were always with the guests,” said Kirilenko. “They were sitting with us, talking on the microphone, they were dancing together. It was unbelievable. Normally when you go to wedding, you are sitting and watching and it’s kind of boring.” Kirilenko said that the newlyweds performed a duet, singing a love song to each other while dancing. “Elena told me they practiced a lot. I was surprised she sang well.” Kirilenko said that before Dementieva tossed the bouquet, that Dementieva winked at her to go to the middle of the pack and try to catch it. But she had no such luck.




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