Archive for the 'Aegon Classic' Category


Sharapova and Bartoli withdraw from the Aegon Classic.

Maria Sharapova at the French Open by Getty Images

Two of this year’s French Open semi-finalists, Maria Sharapova and Marion Bartoli, have today announced their withdrawal from the AEGON Classic.

Sharapova, who has withdrawn through illness, commented: “The Birmingham tournament is one of my favourite events of the year and has great history for me.

“I am really sorry that I will miss all my amazing fans this year, but I will be back next year for sure.”

Marion Bartoli has withdrawn due to an injury sustained in Paris.

Tournament Director, Patrick Hughesman commented: “This is disappointing news for the tournament as Maria is very popular here in Birmingham.

“However we do still have world class players competing at the event, including Ana Ivanovic and Britain’s own Heather Watson, so it will be a great event and we’re looking forward to it enormously.”



Masha’s service deserts her as she loses to Li Na in Birmingham.

Li Na of China clinched the AEGON Classic title in Birmingham with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Maria Sharapova.

It is the second time the top-ranked Li has defeated the former Wimbledon champion at the Priory after winning their semi-final match 12 months ago.

Sharapova, seeded two and twice a winner in Birmingham, broke Li early and led 3-1 but then found it increasingly hard to land her first serves, firing seven double faults in total.

Once Li broke back for 3-3, she got on top and by the start of the second set, Sharapova’s confidence had dipped.

The Russian was outmaneouvred in the baseline rallies as Li hit a number of brilliantly struck drives from both wings to close out the victory.

“Last year I beat Maria in the semi-finals and then was so excited I forgot I had another match,” Li said.

“I’m excited again. If I had another match this time, I think I would probably lose that too.”


Sharapova v. Li Na in Sunday’s Aegon Classic final.

Maria Sharapova closed in on a third Birmingham title with victory over American qualifier Alison Riske in the semi-finals of the Aegon Classic.

Riske, 19, had never won a WTA main-draw match before this week but beat third seed Yanina Wickmayer to reach the last eight.

And she put in another fine display before former world number one Sharapova came through 6-2 4-6 6-1.

Top seed Li Na of China beat Aravane Rezai 6-1 3-6 6-3 in the second semi.


Sharapova to face US qualifier Alison Riske in the semi final.

Maria Sharapova defeated qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva 6-2, 6-4 to reach the Aegon Classic semifinals on Friday.

Sharapova has made the semifinals in five of seven visits to Birmingham, where the Edgbaston Priory Club has made her an honorary life member.

The Russian senses the chance for a third title now that her surgically repaired right shoulder is less of a problem.

“I definitely feel in a better situation,” Sharapova said. “Last year, I wasn’t sure how my arm was going to hold up, and I was always on the watch out for that. But I feel much better about it now.”

Sharapova made it to the semis in her debut as a qualifier in 2003, won the grasscourt title in 2004 and 2005 and was runner-up in 2007.

On Saturday, she’ll face Alison Riske, a 19-year-old American qualifier who continued her extraordinary run with a victory over Yanina Wickmayer 6-7, 6-4, 6-3. 

Riske, who gave up a scholarship at Vanderbilt University to turn professional, played aggressively with fewer errors against Wickmayer.

Wickmayer had a bleeding lip while dropping serve to lose the second set. She double-faulted in the sixth game of the final set to hand Riske the decisive break.

Sharapova broke Karatantcheva’s serve in the opening game and broke again for a 4-1 lead.

However, Karatantcheva, who reached the French Open quarterfinals five years ago as a 15-year-old, began trading heavy strokes from the baseline and working hard to contain the second-seeded Sharapova’s fierce hitting.

Sharapova also used the opportunity to change the direction of her attack, producing three successful drop shots, and managed to return two balls left-handed under pressure.

She faltered only once, when trying to close out the match. Three times she went break point down before ending it with a solid second serve that caused a return error.

“It will get tougher from here,” Sharapova told the crowd before blowing kisses to all four corners.



Mardy Fish capitalises on Murray’s immaturity.

Andy Muray was ousted by Mardy Fish after played resumed today. Murray could not hold his serve in the third set tiebreaker finally losing 7 points to two. His outburst when the match was halted is an indication of his immaturity, and adds a little more to his growing image as the  spoiled tennis brat of British tennis. He continues to throw his hands in the air when his opponent wins a point as if he should be able to retrieve them all. He gives no credit to good shots against him, but usually looks skyward as if to suggest that even the Almighty is against him.

Andy Murray accused Mardy Fish of gamesmanship during a furious volley directed at officials after his AEGON Championships third-round clash was halted for bad light.

The third seed confronted umpire Cedric Mourier and supervisor Tom Barnes after it was decided to postpone the match with the score locked at 4-6 6-1 3-3.

Fish had just surrendered a 3-0 lead in the decisive set when he made his request to abandon a contest that had started at 7.10pm and was being played amid gloomy conditions.

Barnes agreed and Fish gathered his equipment and walked off without a word, leaving a bemused Murray stood on the baseline ready to continue.

When the Scottish third seed realised what had happened, he approached Mourier and Barnes to complain about the decision.

“Marty says he doesn’t want to play so we stop playing. The umpire didn’t consult anyone,” Murray said on centre court.

“That came out of nowhere. The weather was absolutely fine. It’s ridiculous.

“The only reason he wanted to stop was because it was 3-3.”

A rollercoaster match was halted with Murray clawing back the ascendancy and the showdown for a place in the last eight will resume at 12.30 tomorrow.


As expected Wickmayer proves to be too strong for Robson.

Teenager Laura Robson put up a valiant fight before falling 7-5 6-4 to third seed Yanina Wickmayer at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.

The 16-year-old came through qualifying before winning her first WTA Tour match in the opening round.

However, Wickmayer, world-ranked 242 places higher than Robson at 16, proved too strong in their second-round match.

Elsewhere in the draw and American qualifier Alison Riske has claimed a place in the third round after a straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, win over Aleksandra Wozniak the tournament 9th seed and world No.48.

Alison Riske, the world No. 192, played some confident tennis in a match that saw her secure the win in just over an hour.

Whilst Kaia Kanepi of Estonia joins Riske in the third round having beaten Jarmila Groth of Australia 7-6, 7-5.


Sharapova will try again today to complete her match.

Maria Sharapova’s first-round match with Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States was postponed by rain again Wednesday at the Aegon Classic.

But unlike Tuesday, there was 25 minutes of play before the rains struck with Sharapova leading 4-0 in the first set.

The winner will play Alla Kudryavtseva, who beat American Vania King 6-1, 6-2.

Sharapova served well, using a fuller arm action again after a slew of double-faults last year following shoulder surgery. During the match, Mattek-Sands received six minutes of treatment on a thigh.

While shorter tarp covers failed to prevent rain from encroaching onto the playing area on center court, players on the outside courts finished their matches. Magdalena Rybarikova, Sesil Karatantcheva, Anna Chakvetadze and Sara Errani advanced to the third round.

Rybarikova defeated Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (5), and Karatantcheva stopped Yaroslava Shedova 6-4, 6-4. Chakvetadze eliminated Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4, and Errani needed three sets to beat American Shenay Perry 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.

In other matches, Elena Baltacha retired after losing the first set to Kaia Kinepi, citing “heat stroke.” Karolina Sprem edged Kristina Barrois 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).


These two are among the teenagers who are the future of Men’s tennis.

While the spotlight was directed on the big names at the Aegon Championsip at Queens, two first day winners quietly slipped under the radar with significant wins. Grigor Dimitrov’s 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win didn’t go quite unoticed because he was playing a Brit in the form of Alex Bogdanovic, but had it not been for that he would have moved on without any fanfare.

The second player to win today was the other youngster from Australia Bernard Tomic. He had a more spectacular win over a high ranked player from Italy Andreas Seppi 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.

Both Dimitrov and Tomic are teenagers, 19 and 17 respectively, both have impressive junior records and both are destined to become among the next batch of world beaters after Roger and Rafa have retired.

Tomic has grabbed the headlines several times because of his Father/Coach, and because as an Australian, where Tennis used to be the National sport, his every move is reported by the news- hungry press.

Dimitrov, who won both Wimbledon and the US Open as a junior, is coached by Peter Lundgren at the Mouratoglou Academy.

Both are ranked outside of the top 200, and both have no aspirations or expectations of winning this year at Queens, but they might pull off a couple of upsets before they are eliminated.


Both Tennis tours are back on the grass!

At the AEGON-sponsored events this week in West London and Birmingham, where Maria Sharapova is the main attraction again as Edgbaston Priory, the long drawn-out challenge of clay is replaced by the rapid-fire demands of grass.

Maria Sharapova believes she can win Wimbledon again.

“I go in believing that I have a chance,” the 23-year-old Russian said. “It would be tough to go out there and step on to the court and to have the confidence to beat my opponents if I didn’t.”

“I really love coming on grass and the change from the clay courts and the different bounces. … It brings back a lot of memories,” Sharapova said. “I come into Birmingham every year wanting to play as many matches on grass as I can and to try and get really good practice the week before (Wimbledon) as well.”

Rafael Nadal will spend 45 minutes practising on the courts of Queen’s Club today, he would like to play doubles tomorrow and his first competitive singles match on the surface in two years will be staged on Wednesday. It does not take long for the clay to be dusted from the shoes and lawn to be the operative word in tennis.

In Germany, Roger Federer has signed an agreement to play the Gerry Weber Open in Halle for as many years as his career is extended. The directors of Queen’s have long suspected that it may never attract Federer, but their cast list is undeniably impressive, with Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, the defending champion, on top of the pile. “I love this tournament,” Nadal said, “I feel great all the time there.”


Aegon Classic features most of the Brit hopefuls.

Teenager Laura Robson shrugged off the furore over a magazine interview by qualifying for the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.

The top seed is Li Na, while second seed Maria Sharapova is targeting her third title having won in 2004 and a year later.

The 16-year-old apologised on Thursday for making disparaging remarks about her fellow players in Vogue.

But she made the most of a wildcard into the Birmingham qualifying draw, beating fifth seed Nina Bratchikova in the first round.

On Sunday, opponent Vitalia Diatchenko retired while trailing 6-3 4-0.

“I don’t really know what happened to her or why she pulled out because it was in the middle of a game,” Robson said afterwards.

“I thought I was dictating the whole match, particularly on my service games, so that she didn’t really have a chance.

It means the 2008 Wimbledon junior champion will play in a top-level tournament for the first time by right, having received a wildcard for Wimbledon last year and Luxembourg the year before.

“Usually I lose last round of qualies, so that’s really good!” she joked.

However, Robson joins a strong British contingent at the Aegon Classic, which begins on Monday.

Elena Baltacha, Katie O’Brien and Anne Keothavong made it into the main draw by right, while Mel South, Heather Watson and Naomi Broady were awarded wildcards.

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