Saturday, January 28, 2017

AO 2017 Finala: Serena Williams scrie o altă pagină în istoria tenisului, cucerind cel de-al 23-lea trofeu de Mare Șlem

Ultimul act la Australian Open 2017 le-a avut ca protagoniste pe nimeni altele decât surorile Williams ce au creat scenariul perfect pentru a scrie din nou istorie.

 În cea de a 28 confruntare directă a lor, Serena Williams s-a impus 6-4 6-4 după două seturi echilibrate, în care avantajul unui break în fiecare a fost cheia victoriei.


 Cele două campioane au oferit un meci spectacular plin de agresivitate, lovituri de toată frumusețea și servicii puternice bine plasate. În momentele importante, Serena a jucat cu o acuratețe rară, creînd unghiuri deosebite în fața cărora sora sa nu a găsit o soluție sau un răspuns. Știind că, pentru a o bate pe Serena trebuia să riște la maxim, Venus a încercat prea mult pentru unele lovituri, ratîndu-le de puțin și oferindu-i acel avantaj.

 După o oră și 22 minute, Serena a pus capăt unei partide istorice, cu o miză imensă și de o importanță majoră pentru tenisul femenin, dar și pentru întregul sport.

 Astfel, prin cucerirea acestui titlu Serena Williams a stabilit două recorduri noi pentru această era:

-23 turnee de Mare Șlem
-316 meciuri câștigate în turnee de Mare Șlem

 Deasemenea, campioana americană și a recâștigat poziția de numărul unu mondial în circuitul feminin, după ce a căzut pe locul doi în vară anului trecut.

 După încheierea meciului, surorile și au spus cuvinte ce au sensibilizat și emoționat lumea întreagă.

 "Este un sentiment minunat de a ajunge la numărul 23," a spus Serena după meci. "L-am urmărit de mult timp. Când a ajuns pe radarul meu, am știut că am ocazia de a-l atinge, și acum sunt aici. Sunt aici"

 "Nu aș fi câștigat 23 de titluri fără ea [Venus]", a declarat Serena, după victoria istorică. "Nu aș fi câștigat nici unul fără ea. Ea e singurul motiv pentru care există surorile Williams."



"Prima mea finală de Mare Șlem a fost aici și să ajung la 23 tot aici și să joc cu Venus, sunt lucruri făcute doar pentru legende. Nu aș fi putut să scriu o poveste mai bună. Simt că a fost momentul potrivit".

"[23], este un număr incredibil", a spus Venus. "Știu că și-ar dori să câștige puțin mai mult. Cine nu și-ar dori? A fost un moment mare. Sunt foarte fericită că ea a fost în stare să ajungă la nr.23, pentru că există nr.22 înainte și de asemenea, ea l-a câștigat.

 "A fost grozav să am posibilitatea de a juca pentru titlu. Asta e exact unde vreau să ajung la Grand Șlam-uri, astăzi a fost finală. Acesta este punctul important, punctul de a fi în acest moment."

AO 2017 Final: Serena Williams diseña una otra página en la historia del tenis, ganando el vigésimo tercero (23) titulo de Grand Slam.

La final del Abierto de Australia 2017 los tuvo como protagonistas a nada menos que las hermanas Williams, que han creado el escenario perfecto para escribir otra vez historia.

Confrontándose por la 28 vez, Serena Williams derroto a Venus Williams 6-4 6-4 en dos sets equilibrados donde la ventaja de un break en cada una fue la clave de la victoria.



Las dos campeonas han ofrecido un partido espectacular lleno de agresión, con golpes impresionantes y fuertes saques bien colocados. En los momentos importantes, Serena jugó con una precisión increíble, creando ángulos especiales frente a cual su hermana no ha encontrado una solución o una respuesta. Sabiendo que para vencer a Serena hay que arriesgar al máximo, Venus aposto demasiado para algunos golpes, fallando al limite.

Después de una hora y 22 minutos, Serena puso fin a un partido histórico, de una importancia mayor para el tenis femenino y también para el deporte en general.

Por lo tanto, gracias a este título Serena Williams ha establecido dos nuevos récords para nuestra era:

- 23 torneos de Grand Slam
- ganó 316 partidos en torneos de Grand Slam

Además, la campeona de Estados Unidos recuperó el número uno del mundo en el circuito femenino, después de caer al segundo lugar el verano pasado.

Después del partido, las hermanas se dijeron palabras que emocionaron a todo el mundo.

"Es una gran sensación de llegar al número 23," dijo Serena después del partido. "Lo he visto desde hace mucho tiempo. Cuando él vino en mi radar, yo sabía que tenía la oportunidad de tocarlo, y ahora estoy aquí. Estoy aquí"

"Yo no habría ganado 23 títulos sin él [Venus]," dijo Serena, después de la victoria histórica. "No me he ganado ninguno sin ella. Ella es la única razón por la que hay hermanas Williams."



"Mi primera final de Grand Slam estaba aquí y llegar a 23 aquí y jugar con Venus, son cosas que son solo para leyendas. Yo no sería capaz de escribir una historia mejor. Creo que era el momento adecuado."

"[23] es un número increíble", dijo Venus. "Sé que le gustaría ganar un poco más. Quién no le gustaría? Fue un gran momento. Estoy muy feliz de que ella era capaz de llegar a No.23, No.22, porque allí antes y que también ganó.

"Fue genial tener la oportunidad de jugar por el título. Eso es exactamente donde quiero llegar en los Grand Slam, hoy fue la final. Este es el momento importante, el hecho de estar aquí y vivirlo."

AO 2017 Final: Serena Williams designs another page in the tennis history, winning her twenty-third (23) Grand Slam title

In the final of the Australian Open 2017 have met the Williams sisters, who created the perfect scenario for writing history again. 
Playing for the 28th time, Serena defeated Venus in two straight set 6-4 6-4 where the advantage of a break in each was the key to victory.


The two champions have offered a spectacular match full of aggression, with impressive shots and strong well- placed serves. In the most important moments, Serena played with an incredible precision, creating special angles and her sister has not found a solution or an answer against them. Knowing that to beat Serena you have to risk to the maximum, Venus went too much for some shots, missing by a few inches.

After an hour and 22 minutes, Serena put the end to a historic match, of major importance for women's tennis and also for the sport.

Therefore, thanks to this title Serena Williams has established two new records for Open Era:

- 23 Grand Slam tournaments
- 316 matches won in Grand Slam tournaments

In addition, the American restored her atop the WTA rankings after falling to the second place last summer.

During the ceremony, Williams sisters expressed their emotions that touched and moved the entire world.

"It's such a great feeling to have 23. I've been chasing it for a really long time. When it got on my radar, I knew I had an opportunity to get there, and I'm here. I'm here. It's a great feeling, and no better place to do it than Melbourne."


"There is no way I would be at 23 [Grand Slams] without her. There is no way I would be at one without her. She is my inspiration, she is the only reason I am standing here today and the only reason that the Williams sisters exist.

"My first Grand Slam started here, and getting to 23 here, but playing Venus, it's stuff that legends are made of. I couldn't have written a better story. I just feel like it was the right moment. Everything kind of happened. It hasn't quite set in yet, but it's really good."

"[23], it's a great number," Venus said. "I know she would like to have a little more. Who wouldn't? It was a great moment. I'm very happy that she's been able to, you know, get to No.23 because there's 22 ahead of that that she also earned, and she earned it.

"It was great to have an opportunity to play for the title. That's exactly where I want to be standing during these Grand Slams, is on finals day, having an opportunity. That's the highlight of all this, is to be in that moment."

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

AO 2017 QF: Serena Williams wipes Johanna Konta to make semifinals at Melbourne Park


The world nº2 raised her level almost to her best to beat Konta 6-2 6-3. 

On her route to make more history, Serena had a tough task against a very in-form Konta. The Brit is playing her best tennis winning already a title this year and a semifinal on the first week of the year. 



It was an interesting match, where Konta tried all but Serena moved so well returning almost every ball back even better. Being known for her aggressive return, the American overpowered Johanna´s serve easily to take an early advantage. She kept pushing her rival far from the baseline and grabbed the first set 6-1 in 35 minutes.

"My returns have really picked up. All around, I feel like she's a great all-around player. So I feel like I had to be on it all around today."    

Struggling with her first serve, Serena was broken very early in the second and Konta looked decisive to force a decider leading 3-1. But against Serena you never know and she´s for so many reasons the best player on tour.

"My first serve wasn't really great, but I've really been working on my second serve. Hasn't been great all tournament, so I've been kind of relying on my second serve. I've been relying on my groundstrokes, forehand, backhand." 



The 22-times Grand Slam champion came back spectacularly to take 5 games in a row to jump into another semifinal on Australian soil. 

"It was an interesting match. She's obviously a really good player. Yeah, it went pretty well for me today."  

AO 2017 QF: Lucic-Baroni stuns Pliskova to get the ticket for the semifinals

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni knocked out Karolina Pliskova 6-4 3-6 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes and moves into the semifinals of the Aussie Open 2017.

"This is what I've been dreaming about. This is what I've been training for. At 34 years old, like I said before, I have a wonderful home. I'm happily married. I would be perfectly okay being at home enjoying my family. But I really knew deep down in my soul that I have these results in me. To now be here and actually live these moments, it's incredible."



Struggling with the rhythm at the beginning of the match, Pliskova went for her plan B, showing a good defense to take an early break and consolidating it by her big weapon first serve. Advancing one meter inside of the court, Lucic-Baroni tried to return as early as possible and came back with some heavy balls to level the set. On the big moments of the next games, the 5th seed looked quite tight and the Croatian found some amazing angles with her giant forehand to steal the first set.

She continued being solid at the start of the second, but after, her shots started losing range producing a lot more of unforced errors and Karolina completed a run of winning the next 6 games of 7 to tie the contest.   



In the decider, both players had ups and downs, exchanging some breaks of serve until the 8th game when Mirjana found again the accuracy and the consistency of the forehand. Facing a late foot injury, she hit four aces in the last two service games to close out her biggest win in over a decade.

"I was just really thankful, really thankful to God that I was able to do this today, that I was able to finish my match. I was really worried. I was concerned. I didn't know if I had it in me to finish it. I started hurting pretty bad mid-match, especially towards the end. The fact that I was able to do it and so well at the end, I was really grateful."



AO 2017 QF: Coco Vandeweghe cruises Garbiñe Muguruza to advance to her first semi-final at a Major

Coco Vandeweghe smacked out Garbiñe Muguruza in a full-power contest 6-4 6-0 on the Rod Laver Arena.

In a battle between two of the biggest hitters on the tour, Vandeweghe proved to be the better player in controlling the accuracy of the powerful shots.


 Having a very similar game, where the natural feeling of both is to win the point as fast as possible, the American found a way to be every time one step ahead against the nº7 seed. Until 4-all in the first set, Muguruza was able to maintain the aggressive rhythm and the speed of the game, but from there Coco played near to perfection, barely missing a shot.

"I thought I took care of the things that I could control, which is the most important thing: not letting outside factors affect anything that was happening."


Her serve, her focus and her ability to keep all these aspects at such a high-level have mystified the French Open champion. Winning the next eight games, hitting 5 aces and finishing with an overall of 31 winners to only 20 unforced errors, the unseeded player pushed once again the Spaniard to make the last backhand error and to complete a stellar win in one hour and 24 minutes.

"It's amazing to be in a semifinal.  But, you know, not satisfying. I want to keep going, keep playing. There's more things to do out on a tennis court that I'm hoping to achieve."
      

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

AO 2017 QF: Venus conquers Pavlyuchenkova to reach first Aussie semi-final since 2003

Venus Williams impressed again with her aggressive game to take out Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in two straight set 6-4 7-6.

"I have a lot to give to the game. I feel like I have a lot of great tennis in me. So any time you feel that way, you continue. Why not? I have nothing to lose, literally."



After reaching the quarterfinals in every Major, Pavlyuchenkova looked to make one step further to access into her first semifinal. She started really well in both sets leading by one break but wasn´t able to keep it, as the American was always there to take it back excelling on the return games. Venus grabbed the first set after hitting one of her 35 winners, a backhand down to the line in 39 minutes. 



The Russian kept digging deep, pushing her rival far from the baseline and leading 4-3 but again failed to maintain the advantage, as the serve wasn´t at her best. After so many breaks, the players found a way to hold their serve to decide the winner of the second set in a tiebreak. 

There the experience of the 36-year-old was the key, playing big points in the most important moments and closed the match after Pavlyuchenkova double-faulted.

"It's wonderful to be here to start the year out with this. I want to go further! I'm not happy just with this, but I'm just happy to be in the position to go further."   

Monday, January 23, 2017

AO 2017 (R4): Bottom half quarter-finals set at Melbourne Park

In the 8th day of the tournament were set the bottom half quarter-finals matches:

Serena Williams overcame the intriguing Barbora Zahlavova Strycova to complete a dramatic 7-5 6-4 win in one hour and 46 minutes. 

The American started really well the tournament by passing the first two tests in the early rounds and looked to keep her form. The Czech proved to be another tough one and she had to work much harder to get the win. It was a battle, where the players struggled with their rhythm and made an overall of 60 unforced errors. 

The inaugural set featured 7 breaks and Serena was the player who took the decisive one and got a one set lead on the scoreboard. In the second, Williams looked more confident and went more for her shots breaking the serve and from there Strycova couldn´t escape of the defeat.  

"I feel like it was really good for me to win on probably not my best day, which is always good. Because sometimes you rely on one shot and if it goes off, and then, like, what happens now? It was really good for me to almost lose that so I know my other game is going pretty good, too."  





Quarter-final: Serena Williams (2) vs Johanna Konta (9)


Johanna Konta cruised easily Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-4 to advance to the quarter-finals of the tournament. For the Russian, Australian Open is her most successful Grand Slam, where she made the semifinals back in 2015. 

Despite not being in her best form, she managed again to get to the 4th round, but this time against the on fire Brit the court lines haven´t been in her favor. With her deep and strong strokes, Konta found the lines and the corners to secure the first set of the contest. 

In the second, Makarova started to play much better, proving why the Aussie Open is her favorite Slam and took a 4-1 lead. But she couldn´t keep the rhythm more and the 9th seed came back immediately winning the next 5 games to take the win in one hour and 9 minutes.

"I don't think I did too much wrong there. It was just a slight shift in momentum and she started playing better. I'm happy I was able to then hang in there in that set. I trusted in the system that I was bringing to the court and what I was trying to achieve out there against her. I trusted in that, and so, I'm happy to have come through."        



⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅          ⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆


Mirjana Lucic-Baroni keeps her dream alive and continues her stellar route by dispatching Jennifer Brady 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 11 minutes. Coming into this tournament, Lucic has won only one match in 19 appearances and now she has four in a row. 

Being known for knocking out big tennis names on big stages, she did once again in the second round by sending home the world nº3 Aga Radwanska. Today she faced a totally unexperienced player, the qualifier Brady that can be tricky for this round of the competition. 

The experience was the key to the contest, as the 34-year-old took the only break in the first set to grab it. In the second, Baroni delivered her powerful game from the baseline and closed the match with an overall of 35 winners. 

"It feel so much better now to reach the quarterfinals. It's incredible now. I mean, back when I was a teenager it was kind of expected of me and it was normal. I won a lot as a junior. Then I won a lot as soon as I started playing pro. It was kind of normal. It was normal to win tournaments, normal to win big matches and go far. I mean, it was incredible, of course, but it was more normal. But now it's been so long, it's extra fun, it's extra special, for sure."




Quarter-final: Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs Karolina Pliskova (5)


Karolina Pliskova dismissed the home favorite Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-3 to make her first quarter-finals on Australian soil. After the tough win in the previous round, the Czech recovered in time for the battle against one of the most tenacious players on tour. 

Playing much better than in the early rounds, Pliskova was in control during the whole match, blasting 27 winners. Also helped by her gun nº1, her powerful serve, she hit 12 aces and won 81% of the points on her first one. 

The local favorite gave her best but, against this stats, she couldn't do much more and accepted the defeat after one hour and 13 minutes under the closed roof on Rod Laver Arena.

"I'm definitely happy about this because the match I played against Ostapenko took up a lot of my energy. I felt a little bit tired yesterday, even today too. Definitely happy to be through this one. I have a day off tomorrow, and that's definitely a good thing. With the roof closed, everything was like little bit different, I felt. Even though I didn't feel my game that good, I still think was like solid. I served well when I needed to, but not as the last match. It's a win, so I'm happy about it."

Sunday, January 22, 2017

AO 2017 (R4): Top half quarter-finals set at Melbourne Park

In the 7th day of the tournament were set the top half quarter-finals matches:

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated the in-form Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-3 to be the first player who moves into the quarterfinals. 

Nastya played one of her best tennis to start strongly the match and take a 5-1 lead. Coming after one of the longest matches here at Australian Open, Sveta looked tight and wasn't able to do something against the fresh Pavlyuchenkova. 

In the second, somehow Kuznetsova leveled at 3-3, but from there, the younger Russian got right back on track and closed the contest in one hour and 8 minutes.
"I'll take it. I mean, it's super exciting. I'm so happy. I was always wondering why I could never have a good start here in Australia after good preseason, good offseason, and a lot of practicing. But now it seems like I found a way, and I'm super excited to still be in the second week here."





Quarter-final: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (24) vs Venus Williams (13)




Venus Williams kept her amazing form to overcome one of the qualifiers, Mona Barthel 6-3 7-5. 

The German was one of the surprises of the tournament, coming after a tough 2016 year full of injuries. She managed to get to this stage by performing really impressive, but against Venus it looked to be too tough. 

The American didn't let her opponent to breath, playing aggressively and safe to grab the first set. Barthel found a way to create more damage until 5-5 in the second, but the former world nº1 swept the next two games and secured the win.
"But really, at the end of the day, it's about walking to the net, shaking hands as the winner. However that happens, two sets or three sets, that's how I want to walk to the end, as a winner."


⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅⭅          ⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆⭆

Garbiñe Muguruza closed out the unexpected route of Sorana Cirstea to book the ticket for her first quarter-finals appearance at Melbourne Park. 

Cirstea was enjoying her best results here in Australia, after sending home the 10th seed in the second round. From the other side, Muguruza was working to get her form match by match and against the Romanian, she showed one of her most consistent game. 

The big hitter scattered winners to take early breaks in each set and by consolidating the advantage she had no problem to put an end to the match after only one hour and 5 minutes.  
"I am very happy. I went through the match very concentrated, looking to play positively. Was an important match for me. A couple of times in the last three years, I've lost in this round. Was the first time I go through. I'm in the quarterfinals. So I'm very excited about that, and I'm still excited!"



Quarter-final: Coco Vandeweghe vs Garbiñe Muguruza (7)



Coco Vandeweghe produced the biggest shock of the tournament so far, by knocking out the defending champion Angelique Kerber 6-2 6-3 and advanced to her 2nd Grand Slam quarterfinals. 

Kerber definitely wasn´t at her best, but Coco took this as an extra motivation to play probably the match of her life. The American started on fire and never looked back, pushing the world nº1 to defend her powerful shots all the time. There was a try of coming back when Angie started the second set by breaking the serve and taking a 2-0 lead, but it proved to be a false alarm. 

Converting 4 of 6 break points and with a total of 30 winners to only 20 unforced errors, Vandeweghe stunned Kerber on the Rod Laver Arena to get her well-deserved spot in the last eight after only 68 minutes.
"I believe this is my first No.1 win, so I'll take that. I was feeling bad out there but you've just got to keep at it and keep going. I had to trust my game to beat her and I did."        

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

AO 2017 (R2): Kuznetsova, Cirstea, Jankovic and Svitolina feature wins to stay in the tournament

Around the courts on Day 3 at Melbourne Park:




Sorana Cirstea was the player of the day after shocking the 10th seed, Suarez Navarro 7-6 6-3. The Romanian managed to find the right balance to impose her strong game from the baseline. Dominating with her shots from the both sides, she noticed a stellar performance against the Spaniard and booked a spot in the third round after one hour and 34 minutes.



Jelena Jankovic overcame the powerful groundstrokes of Julia Goerges to take the win in two straight sets 6-3 6-4.  The Serbian secured the advantage of one break in each set and played quite solid to complete a well-deserved performance against the German in one hour and a half.




Svetlana Kuznetsova dismissed Jamee Fourlis to advance to the next round at Melbourne Park. It was all about Sveta´s game, as the resurgent Russian gave a tennis lesson to her unexperienced opponent and grab the win easily 6-2 6-1.  



Th 11th seed safely past Julia Boserup to move in the third round after one hour and 16 minutes. One of the best counter punchers on the tour, the Ukranian performed well enough to keep a positive balance hitting 24 winners to 21 unforced errors and to secure the win in two set 6-4 6-1. 



   

AO 2017 (R2): Eugenie Bouchard moves into the third round after eliminating Shuai Peng in two straight sets

The beautiful Canadian played a solid game to win 7-6 6-1 against the veteran Peng. 




Bouchard started quite strong by breaking the serve of her opponent and managed to keep the advantage until the eighth game when the Chinese came back to level the score at 4-4. In the next four games, the players held serves and forced a tiebreak. There, Genie proved to be the more consistent player and grabbed the set with a forehand down the line.

In the second, Peng looked tired and wasn´t able to maintain the same level of play as her younger rival. Showing her beautiful groundstrokes and winning point after point, the scoreboard flowed quickly to a 5-1 for the former world nº5. Refusing to lose, the 30-years old player tried a last comeback by saving the first three match points, but she couldn´t save the 4th one, as Bouchard returned too well to put the end of the contest. 

Overall she hit 5 aces and made 22 winners to 20 unforced errors to conclude a well-balanced performance.              

AO 2017 (R2): Angelique Kerber fights hard to beat her compatriot Witthoeft

It was an all-German battle in the second round, where the defending champion prevailed at the end after two hours and 11 minutes 6-2 6-7 6-2. Kerber came after a difficult first round win and looked to be again in trouble, struggling with the rhythm and Witthoeft started strongly the match. "I'm trying to play more aggressive. Today, I was not finding my rhythm from the first ball."
From there, Angelique showed a part of tennis that helped her to climb on the top of the ranking to lead 6-2 2-0. Playing on one of the biggest tennis stages, Carina got the right motivation to find a way of coming back into the match and played some of her best tennis to force a decider.



Going into the distance, the upset was growing, as she broke the serve. But, for one reason the top seed has won two Grand Slams Titles in 2016 and that one showed up. Her ability to compose and run for hours helped to earn a spot in the third round winning the next 6 games of 7."But I know I can trust my legs and run for hours. When the other things are not working, I know I have to run for every ball." 

With this victory, she continues the route to defend the title and gets the best gift for her 29th birthday.
"I just remember celebrating my 18th birthday at home, and having a big party. Since then, I was always here. It's nice. I mean, I'm feeling here like home, so it's always great to be in Australia for my birthday. I think we will go for a nice dinner. I don't know yet where, but it will be nice."  

AO 2017 (R2): No battle this time, as Venus Williams ease past Stefanie Voegele

Venus Williams got a 6-3 6-2 easy win against Stefanie Voegele in one hour and 23 minutes. 



In the first match on Rod Laver Arena, the world nº17 met the qualifier Voegele to play for a place in the third round. Pulling out of doubles, everyone was worried about Venus physical conditions. After a tough first round win, the former world nº1 stepped out under the Australian sun with the goal to grab the win and avoid to spend too much time on the court. 
The American started her mission playing safe and with no errors to take a 3-0 double break lead. With the pressure of facing such a champion, the Swiss managed to win her first two games after taking a break back and holding serve. But it was not enough to create some problems for Venus, as her strong and aggressive game took the control of the match. By winning the next three games of four the set was hers. 
The story was not so different in the second, Williams continued with her consistency and showed no sign of any injury. "Today was a good day, a little less hot first thing in the morning, so it was good to get it in, you know, and have a win early." 

In the next match, the Champion will meet Duan Ying-Ying, a player that never faced before. "I don't know anything about her. I have never seen her play. Zero, like zero. So I'm going to have to see how it goes. Like, maybe get a scouting report in the warm-up when we hit the five minutes and kind of see how it feels."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

AO 2017 (1R): Radwanska overcomes Pironkova at Melbourne Park

Agnieszka had to fight hard to secure a win in three sets over Pironkova 6-1 4-6 6-1. 
Despite her ranking, the Bulgarian is a remarkable opponent and knows how to beat the Polish, as she did 3 times in their 12 encounters. Their last meeting was at French Open 2016 in the 4th round, where Tsvetana stunned Radwanska. This year, they faced each other in an early stage at Aus Open, where Aga completed the win. 
Playing her usual game with few mistakes, she took a one set lead after 28 minutes. "That first set was kind of quick. I played very well, I just start very aggressively." 
In the second, the world nº64 started to find the rhythm and won a crucial break in the seventh game. Consolidating her advantage, she managed to hold serve and leveled the match. "So I think I just stepped back a little bit in the second set. Obviously, she started to play a little bit better, too." 
Going into the decider, the one who quickly ran to a 4-0 lead was the Ninja and in one hour and 44 minutes, she crossed the finish line. "I think I was just a little bit too slow, as well. Well, I think always end up like that! But I'm just really glad that I could some more good tennis in that third set and win the whole match." 
With the win, the world nº3 keeps her hopes for a first Grand Slam Title. 

AO 2017(1): Wozniacki, Safarova, Konta, Vesnina are among the winners of the 2nd day action

The second day of the Australian Open was full of action and featured some interesting matches. Let's have a look at the results:


The hero of the day was definitely Lucie Safarova who saved nine match points to defeat Yanina Wickmayer 3-6 7-6 6-1. The Belgian has led by one set and 6-3 in the tiebreak, but Safarova played her best to come back and turn the match in her favor after 2 hours and 7 minutes. Next opponent for the Czech is Serena Williams in a rematch of 2015 French Open Final. 



Caroline Wozniacki managed an easy first round win overcoming Arina Rodionova 6-1 6-2. It was a one-way victory, as the former world Nº1 played consistently enough to secure a spot in the next round and thus, looking for a deep run at Melbourne Park this year.



Seeded No.14, her highest seeding ever at a Slam in singles, Elena Vesnina defeated Ana Bogdan 7-5 6-2 on court 3. The Russian has struggled with her rhythm during the first set but found her game in the keys moments and closed the contest in one hour and 23 minutes.




The Apia International Champion continued her winning ways sending home Kirsten Flipkens 7-5 6-2. The Belgian is a very tricky opponent, especially in the early stages of a Grand Slam, but for Konta today was not a bit trouble, even if the first set finished after 12 games. The 9th seed kept her winning ways and booked a ticket in the second round.    

AO 2017 (1R): Domi Cibulkova defeats Allertova to book a ticket for the second round


The world Nº6 found a winning way to claim a 7-5 6-2 victory against a tricky opponent in Melbourne opener. After a tired first game where Cibulkova had to save two break-points for holding serve, she regrouped fast to take a 5-2 advantage by playing solid and safe. Serving for the set, the Slovakian lost the concentration and gave a chance to her opponent to come back and level the score at 5-5. To win the next two games and secure the first set, Dominika came with her hard-hitting shots from the baseline by moving Allertova all around the court. 
In the second it was a much easier job, as the Czech player started missing easy balls and her flat groundstrokes were not as precise as they were at the beginning.
So after one hour and 42 minutes, the WTA Finals Champion put an end to secure the win against Denisa Allertova. "I'd say it was a pretty good performance, for a first round. In every Grand Slam the opening round it's always tough, but you have to get through it."

After the match, she was asked about how it feels to be seed No.6, her highest seeding ever at a Grand Slam "This is my first experience, being really high-ranked in a Grand Slam. It's my first time being in this situation and I really try to focus and do the right thing, not let my head go to negative thoughts and lose focus."

AO 2017 (R1): Serena started successfully the quest for her 23rd Grand Slam Title

The world nº2 had one of the toughest draws possible, as she met the talented Belinda Bencic in the first round. Coming into the first Grand Slam of the year, Serena´s form was very doubtful, after missing the end of 2016 and being surprisingly eliminated in the second round at Auckland. On Tuesday, she stepped on court with the mission to defeat an opponent that beat her in their last match. In the first set, Williams was the first to break the serve but Bencic responded promptly back to level the score at 4-4. From there, the former world nº1 won 7 games in a row to grab the first set and get close to only one game from the victory. "I think it was pretty good. I mean, she's a really good player. So I think I was able to start out well." 
Being a set and 5-0 down, the Swiss tried a comeback by winning the next 3 games and playing some kind of tennis that helped her to stun Williams back in 2015 at Rogers Cup. "I feel like she definitely has a lot more power. Obviously, she beat me in Canada the last time we played, but I really don't remember much about that match." 
In general, the American showed a too solid game to claim the win 6-4 6-3 and to start successfully the quest for her 23rd Grand Slam Title. "I just wasn't as aggressive as I was during those games. She started playing better. I made a few errors on some key points, but for the most part, I still was going for everything and I was able to close it out."    

AO 2017 (R1): Pliskova rolls past Sorribes Tormo to move into the second round

Pliskova wasted no time to secure a spot into the second round after defeating Sorribes Tormo 6-2 6-0. The 5th seed never past by the third round at the Melbourne Park, but looked very confident to make a deep run this year or who knows, to conquer the title. 


"I've heard a few things, but I'm not thinking about this. I just don't want to get it into my head. I just want to continue in those things what I was doing the second half of the year last year and even in Brisbane. Obviously, I know that people are talking somehow, especially at Grand Slams and stuff. But it's not really important for me, these things." Unbeaten in 2017 by winning the Brisbane International Title, Karolina still found herself having bad rhytm but yet made it to a 5-1 lead in the first set. "The first round is always tricky, and I didn't feel that good in the first set there." Serving for it, she was surprised by her rival and lost the game to love, but nobody thought that this would have been the last one for the Spaniard. From there, the 2016 Us Open finalist broke back to secure the first set in 32 minutes. Despite the serve was weaker than her usual, Pliskova still manage to hit 5 aces and bageled the unseeded player in the second set to cover the victory within a mere hour on the Rod Laver Arena.   

Asked after the match about feeling pressure, she said "I feel 100 times better than I felt before the US Open. So this thing is already gone, the scariness of the second week and thinking about how I have to pass the third round. Even if I don't do it here this week, I know I have been there, so it's really different this time. It doesn't mean that I'll be in the second week of every Grand Slam for sure; it can happen that I still lose, but definitely I feel better with this pressure what I had before."

Monday, January 16, 2017

AO 2017 (R1): The Gold medalist Monica Puig, the former world nº1 Jelena Jankovic and Genie Bouchard moves into second round at Melbourne Park

There were some surprises on the first day of the Australian Open 2017, but fortunately for Puig, Jankovic and Bouchard was not the case. 


The Gold medalist started her AO campaign by dismissing on court 14 the Romanian Patricia Tig 6-0 6-1 in 53 minutes. The Puerto Rican was superior in all aspects of the game, by firing 2 aces and breaking 5 times the serve of her younger opponent. 



Genie Bouchard wasted no time on the last match of Margaret Court Arena by defeating the rising star Louisa Chirico 6-0 6-4. Despite the fact, that Chirico fired 3 aces and had a higher percentage than her rival, she was able to win her serve only 3 times, as Genie was on fire on the return. The Canadian closed the contest after 55 minutes to secure a spot in the next round. 



The former world nº1 Jelena Jankovic overcame a tough first round opponent, after 2 hours and 37 minutes of battling on Court 8. The first two sets were similar as score 6-1, 1-6, as each player has won one. Going into the decider, the experience of the Serbian was the key as she took the decisive break at 4-4 to claim the victory against the talented Laura Siegemund. 

AO 2017 (R1): The defending champion passes first Australian test after a hard win

Everybody was excited and curious to see how the defending champion will start her campaign. She looked quite comfortable and she was only one point away to win in 2 sets by leading 6-2 5-4, but from there, the Ukranian considered one of the toughest first round opponents, showed some incredible tennis to level the match.

Kerber started off really solid, doing what she knows the best, creating angles and making her opponent run to claim the inaugural set in 27 minutes. Continuing playing consistently and making few errors, the German got a quick lead also in the second. Serving at 5-4, Angelique remembered about her last year first round scare, when she had to save a match point to stay in the tournament.


"To be honest, I was thinking about my match last year when I lost the second set after having match points. I'm happy that this time I won, and this is what counts."

A little bit of confusion and some unexpected errors gave a chance to Tsurenko to steal somehow the set. Going into the decider, all were looking for the huge upset. But it was not to be, as the world nº1 save her best tennis that drove her on the top of the ranking, to win the last 5 of 6 games by keeping her chances in defending her title. "I have to say I'm really happy to be back here. Everything started here for me when I won my first Grand Slam here. The first round is always tough, but I just tried to enjoy it as much as I could. I'm so, so happy to be in the second round."

After more than 2 hours, Angelique Kerber prevails against Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 5-7 6-2 and secures a meeting in the second round with her compatriot Carina Witthoeft.    

AO 2017 (R1): Venus digs deep to access in the second round

The older sister of Williams continues to make history after a tough 7-6 7-5 win against Katerina Kozlova. Venus played just her second match of the year, after pulling out from the ASB Classic due to injury. It was noticeable the lack of performing in a tournament, as Williams had to find her best tennis to pass a very tricky first round opponent. She was one game away to lose the first set but, came back to take it in a tie-break under the Australian heat. 
"I'm a Floridian, so I'm pretty good with heat. But obviously, if it's going to be hot, I think with players, you can train in the heat the week before. This last week it was kind of cool, actually, a lot of the time. So it's definitely a wildcard, like, total wildcard." 

In the second set, The former world nº1 looked to keep her momentum by breaking her opponent´s serve and taking a 3-1 lead. Somehow, the Ukranian leveled the scoreboard at 3-3 all and looked quite strong to force a decider.  "Just from the warm-up it looked like she was just ready to go, hitting it solid. I really have to give her a lot of credit for playing a match that was not a lot of errors and just relentless. I guess when I walk out there I have to expect that from my opponents and not an easy first round, but a great first round to get through, for sure." 

It was not enough, as the 13th seed performed at her best to win the last 3 games of the set and close the contest in almost 2 hours of play. 

AO 2017 (R1): Muguruza survives first round scare

It was a tough opener match for the 2016 French Open Champion as she had to overcome her difficulties to beat Marina Erakovic in 2 tough sets 7-5 6-4. Garbine was the first in taking a lead by winning the serve´s opponent, but Erakovic responded back immediately to level the set at 4-4. In the eleventh game, the hard hitter broke again the serve and grabbed the first set 7-5 in 44 minutes.
"Marina and I played a couple of times and it's always a tough match. I'm happy, even with my body, that I won. It was very tough." 

The Newzealand started very strong the second set by taking advantage of Muguruza´s problems to secure a 4-1 lead, but from there the world number 7 proved once again why she is a Grand Slam champion. "It was very tough. You're playing, then suddenly you start to feel pain in your body. Obviously I was nervous, so I just tried to be calm, to have a good attitude and keep fighting for the match." 

She bounced back by winning 5 games in a row to secure a spot in the second round after one hour and 37 minutes at AO 2017.



AO 2017 (R1): Rogers produces the first shock of the tournament by sending home the 4th seed Simona Halep

It was one of the most expected and suspected first round matches because everybody knew that Rogers is capable of producing some spectacular tennis to stun a big name of tennis. On Monday, in the first match on Rod Laver Arena, she showed that kind of tennis to send home the 4th seed Simona Halep in 2 straight sets 6-3 6-1. Despite the fact, that Halep was one of the players who came very early to prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year, due to her physical conditions, she was not able to perform at her best. 


The Romanian has struggled with some pains at the end of the first set and Shelby took advantage of it by securing a one set lead in 49 minutes.  "The biggest thing I took away from that was just that I can compete with the top players in the world and I'm good enough. There are little things here and there I need to work on, but I'm here. I need to believe in myself. So I have definitely carried that away from the French Open and just been enjoying it a little bit more. There has been a lot of positive feedback, which has been nice. Just trying to keep that going." 

By keeping the same intensity and consistent game and making only 22 unforced errors and 26 of winners the American dismissed her rival. "I have always enjoyed a big crowd and people cheering. I have always loved that atmosphere. It's a little bit different playing on such a big court and then having different pressures coming from everywhere. I think I have matured a little bit and gotten used to that. It's a great part of the sport. It's a great opportunity that we have to play in front of so many people and have people cheering us on. I really appreciate it." 

As she mentioned in her interview, she got used handling different pressures playing on a big court against a big name and all that, has helped to notice her first top 5 victory.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Johanna Konta stuns Radwanska for Apia International Sydney 2017 Trophy

Johanna Konta captured a perfect week to obtain the title at Apia International Sydney 2017. The British lost her 2 previous encounters with the world number nº3, but this time she came decided to change the story. She started off strongly, breaking the serve of her rival in the third game after a drive-volley forehand winner to take the lead 2-1. Some minutes later, Konta hit an impressive backhand down to the line to keep her advantage on the scoreboard by 5-3.  In the next two games, each of the players has won their services and after 45 minutes, the world nº10 secured the set. She continued blasting amazing forehand returns to build up a double break lead 4-0 in the second. Radwanska was able to win 2 more games because it looked to be a too tough task to find any responses against the aggressive game of her opponent."She was just playing unbelievable tennis from the beginning till the end, and normally you're thinking that she can't play like this whole match and it's gonna be even game or two that, you know, you can go forward because she's gonna have some worse couple of games. But she didn't. She was just playing whole match so aggressive with pretty much everything in, and I couldn't do much."

Konta finished as strong as she started, firing her 7th  ace of the match to notice her first win against the 2013 Champion 6-4 6-2 in 81 minutes and her second WTA Title. "But overall, very happy with the match I played today. I really felt I definitely maintained a high level throughout and I made it very difficult for her to do much today. Going into any match against Aga - I played her twice before - I knew it had to be nothing short of what it was today if I was to have a chance of coming through."

After this stellar performance, Johanna Konta definitely will be one of the players to watch at the first Grand Slam of the Year, Australian Open 2017.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Konta dismissed Bouchard to book her spot in the final where she´ll face Radwanska at Apia International Sydney 2017

After Daniel Evans sent home the top seed in the men´s draw, Johanna Konta got inspired by her compatriot and followed up the way of victory to defeat Eugenie Bouchard in two identicals sets 6-2 6-2 and to complete a great day in the office for the British nation. "Yeah, Dan Evans started it off and I'm just happy I was able to bring it home."

Coming into this semifinal, both players were in a good form and all the fans were looking for a great battle. It looked like Konta had different plans and played an almost perfect match to move through to her 3rd WTA final. In the third game, the British obtained her early break thanks to a great forehand return. Bouchard responded right back to level the score at 2-all, showing an impressive backhand on a run. After the players exchanged breaks of serve, on the court was all about Konta´s game. She won the first set by 6-2 in 32 minutes and got a new lead by 3-0 in the second. This time, the Canadian wasn´t able to answer, as her rival was finding the corners and painting the lines to close the contest after one hour and eight minutes.

In the final, Johanna Konta will face Agnieszka Radwanska in a battle for the trophy. When she was asked about her next opponent, Konta said that Aga is one of the best players on tour and she hopes that tomorrow will be able to get the title and her first win against the Polish "[Radwanska] has been one of the best players for as long as I can remember, so she's definitely doing something right. I've played her twice before. Lost twice. So hopefully I'll do a better job tomorrow." 

Radwanska returns to the final of the Apia International thanks to a 6-1 6-2 easy win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova

After spending more than 4 hours on court in her last two singles matches, Strycova wasn´t able to find her strength and looked tired in the first semifinal of the day on the Ken Rosewall Arena. Considered one of the most intelligent players on tour, Aga took profit of it and played wisely creating short angles and making her opponent run through the court. Starting with a 4-0 lead, the Polish didn´t spend more than 29 minutes to grab the first set by 6-1. "I think I'm playing better and better each match. I think I was doing everything right today, and I cannot really complain about anything." 

In the second set, she lost only one point on her first serve, two points on her second serve and by breaking her opponent twice secured a place in another final here in Sydney after a little more than one hour. During her on-court interview, the world number 3 shared the joy of playing in Australia "I really like to play in Australia. I love the courts. I feel very comfortable here. So I'm just very happy to make another final, especially here when it's always very strong tournament." 

In the final act, she´ll meet the winner of the second semifinal between Johanna Konta and Eugenie Bouchard.

Bouchard ease past Pavlyuchenkova, Konta sails into semifinals at Apia International Sydney 2017

In a meeting between two of the rising stars, Johanna Konta proved to be the better player by defeating Daria Kasatkina 6-3 7-5. In the previous match, after a stellar performance, the Russian sent home the world nº1 and looked to keep her momentum, but failed. Playing a very aggressive game from the baseline, the British hit 14 winners and only 11 unforced errors to grab the first set after 38 minutes by 6-3. In the second set, Kasatkina started more solid by breaking her opponent´s serve and leading 4-2. In the next game, she was serving for 5-2, but after the longest game of the match that has had 8 times deuce, Johanna found a way to recover her deficit and leveled at 4-all. "She had just beat the World No.1, so I knew she was going to be tough!" From there, the world number 10 took advantage of being the player more experienced and won the last 3 of 4 games to close the match after one hour and 41 minutes. After this performance,  Konta moves through to her second semifinals of 2017.    


In a meeting where the both players have never faced before and have had impressive wins in their previous matches, Eugenie Bouchard eases past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-3. It was a one-way victory for the Canadian, taking early breaks and advantages in the both sets. At the beginning of the match, each player has won their 2 games of services, being tied at 2-2. From there, Bouchard was on fire, breaking for the first time in the sixth game when Pavlyuchenkova missed a backhand down to the line and for the second time in the eighth game grabbing the inaugural set by 6-2. In the second set, the story has been much the same with the Russian being able to steal only 3 games because, the former world nº5 was just too good, showing her arsenal of shots and powering winners from the both sides. By this win, after one hour and 14 minutes, the 22-years-old marked her first victory against the nº27 in the world and advanced to the semifinals to continue her route here at the Apia International Sydney 2017.    

So, in the second semifinal of Apia International Sydney 2017, Johanna Konta will meet Eugenie Bouchard for their second encounter. The match is planned to be played tomorrow, during the evening session on the beautiful Ken Rosewall Arena.