Sloane Stephens and Sam Stosur both upset in Wimbledon 1st Round - UBITENNIS
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Sloane Stephens and Sam Stosur both upset in Wimbledon 1st Round

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – Both Sam Stosur and Sloane Stephens probably came into 2014 Wimbledon Championships feeling very confident about their game. They both got to the 4th round of the French Open a few weeks ago and the grass courts of Wimbledon do favour their style of play. However, Stosur was ousted by Belgian’s Yanina Wickmayer 3-6 4-6 and Stephens by Russian Maria Kirilenko 2-6 6-7. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Results, Order of Play, Draws and Interviews from The Championships

Both Sam Stosur (17) and Sloane Stephens (18) probably came into 2014 Wimbledon Championships feeling very confident about their game. They both got to the 4th round of the French Open a few weeks ago and the grass courts of Wimbledon do favour their style of play. However, watching their matches today, one would have figured that Stosur and Stephens were playing their first match on grass as they both looked so unsure of themselves. They were outplayed and outwitted by their opponents and in the end sent packing in straight sets to provide the tournament with its first upsets on Day 1. Stosur was ousted by Belgian’s Yanina Wickmayer 3-6 4-6 and Stephens by Russian Maria Kirilenko 2-6 6-7.

Wickmayer started the match by breaking her Australian opponent and held serve for 2-0. Stosur then picked up her play. She was serving up aces whenever in trouble, 13 for the entire match, and going for her big forehand. However, whenever pushed to the backhand side, she found herself in danger as Wickmayer kept pressuring it relentlessly. Wickmayer was able to stay ahead for 5-3 by escaping a tricky 8th game. Continuing her aggressive style of play, Wickmayer secured two more break points on the Stosur serve for set points in the 9th game. Stosur’s backhand was again under pressure and Wickmayer with her a more formidable backhand was able to break to take the set 6-3 in half an hour.

Wickmayer raced to a 5-2 lead after she broke Stosur in the 6th game. Stosur favoured running around the backhand for a huge forehand return whenever she had the chance on the Wickmayer serve. However, this left the court wide open on the forehand side and Wickmayer made her pay for this as she hit all short balls into the open court. Stosur now serving to stay in the match, held serve at love and forced Wickmayer to serve for the match. Wickmayer found herself down triple break points. She saved one with an ace but a scorching forehand return from Stosur got things back on serve 4-5. Stosur, again serving to stay in the match, could not hold on to the momentum as she opened with a double fault. She was now facing two match points and though she saved one, she could not save the other. Wickmayer with an amazing forehand crosscourt winner, knocked out the 17th seed Stosur 6-3 6-4 in 69 minutes.

In 2012, Kirilenko made it to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, one of her best efforts in a major. She quickly followed that up with a 4th place in the singles and bronze medal in doubles at the London Olympics, which was held at Wimbledon. However, since then, the former top-10 Russian has been plagued with injury and now ranked 109th in the world. Perhaps Stephens, ranked 18th in the world, was looking Kirilenko’s current status and not considering that she was facing a formidable opponent as she started the match very flat. The American failed to convert a break point chance in the 3rd game of the match and then saw Kirilenko raced ahead 5-2 in the 1st set. Stephens found herself being outmatched by Kirilenko’s big forehand and making careless errors at key moments in the match. Kirilenko, with the momentum largely on her side, broke Stephens again to the take the set 6-2 in 35 minutes.

In the 2nd set, Stephens looked more alert for the match. She broke Kirilenko in the 3rd game of the set and led 3-1. She maintained the lead to 4-2 but Kirilenko hungry for more Wimbledon success continued going for her forehand and broke Stephens for 4-4. Kirilenko then held serve for 5-4 to have Stephens serve to stay in the match. Stephens up 40-0, lost concentration once again and saw her game points disappeared for deuce. Stephens sensing the end close at hand, held her serve with a clutch forehand down the line. Kirilenko held serve for 6-5 and again pressured Stephens to hold serve. Stephens fought off five match points in this 12th game to push the match in a 2nd set tiebreaker. Stephens then captured the momentum in the breaker up 6-4. However, Kirilenko would not be denied as she capitalized on Stephens errors on these big point to take it 6-2 7-6(6) in just over an hour and a half.

Wickmayer and Stosur were near dead even in almost all categories. They both got 61% of 1st serves in and won over 70% of those points. They each had 25 winners and very close on errors; Stosur had 9 errors and Wickmayer 8. However, the main difference was the 2nd serves as Wickmayer won 13/20 of those points and Stosur 7/20. This in turn saw Wickmayer able to break Stosur four times and only being broken once in the match. Kirilenko, on the other hand, had a wonderful serving day as she got an impressive 85% of her 1st serves in and winning 73% of those points and 60% on her 2nd serves. She had 27 winners to 14 errors compared to Stephens who had 25 winners and 18 errors. Stephens got 70% of her 1st serves in but was only winning 63% of them and 46% on her 2nd serves. Kirilenko would be hoping to carry this fine form into the 2nd round where she will far Shuai Peng for a place in the 3rd round. Wickmayer will play Ana Konjuh of Croatia in the 2nd round.

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Magda Linette Wins Her Maiden WTA Title at the Maiden Bronx Open

The Polish player has struck gold in New York at the age of 27.

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NEW YORK: 27-year-old Magda Linette of Poland needed to qualify to get into the inaugural Bronx Open, and won eight matches in nine days to be the last woman standing. 27-year-old Camila Giorgi of Italy had survived two third set tiebreaks this week, and saved four match points in yesterday’s semifinals, but couldn’t close out Linette despite leading for most of today’s final. For the Italian, it’s her second loss in a final within the past four weeks, with both defeats as the expense of first-time WTA champions.

 

In the first set, a deep backhand return earned Giorgi a break point in the first game, and a Linette groundstroke that soared beyond the baseline gave the Italian the early advantage.  But Giorgi would make four consecutive errors in the next game to give the break right back, a sign of how back-and-forth this final would be. After Linette held at love, Giorgi would double fault three times in a row from 30-0 up, and a Linette drop shot winner clinched the break and a 3-1 for Magda. But with the lead, Linette double faulted twice herself, then committed two backhand errors to hand the break right back at love. Both women were obviously quite tight to start on this big occasion.

At 3-3, Linette faced two more break points, yet held with some strong serving and some great defense. They would both hold easily in the next few games until 5-5. In the first point of the eleventh game, a Giorgi ball would clip the net cord and creep over the net for a winner. And Linette would not win another point in the set thereafter, as Giorgi would break at love and then hold at love to win the set.

The net cord would also prove crucial to start the second set, but this bounce would go Linette’s way, giving her the early 2-0 lead. She’d maintain the lead until 4-2, when Giorgi struck three huge forehand winners to break at love. Linette allowed a break point to slip by in the next game with some unforced errors, and Giorgi held to even the set at 4-4. And the ninth game of the set would be an extended affair. Two Magda double faults granted Camila another break point, which Linette saved. As the game went on for many deuces, Magda saved a second one with an ace, and a third with an unreturned serve. On a fourth break point, Giorgi pinned Linette in the corner with a great return, but didn’t put away her shot at the net, enabling Magda to hit a cross court pass. Linette finally took the next two points and held for 5-4. Magda earned two set points in the next game, but misfired when it mattered, making it 5-5. After a Linette hold, a Giorgi double fault gifted Magda two more set points. And Linette would only need one, leveling the match with a cross court forehand winner.

In the first game of the decider, a Linette double fault on break point gave Giorgi the immediate advantage. Serving at 1-3, Magda survived another long, grueling service game, saving multiple break points to keep herself within striking distance. When Giorgi served at 4-3, Linette earned three break points, and she’d convert on the third when a Camila forehand just barely missed the baseline. Magda then held at love to claim her first lead of the set at 5-4. In the next game, Linette earned a match point with a forehand winner down the line. And with a Giorgi error into the net, Linette captured her first WTA title.


Following the match, Magda spoke to me regarding the long, pivotal service games that she pulled out in both the second and third sets. She explained how she focused on getting her first serve in as to not allow Giorgi to pounce on her second serve. And when speaking to me about how she persevered in those pressure moments, Magda credited her extensive match play over the last nine days. “The seven matches before gave me the confidence,” Magda stated. She’d go on to tell me, “I was not nervous, I guess that was the plus of all the matches that I played before, that’s when it showed up.”

There was a sizeable Polish contingent which showed up in the Bronx today to cheer on Linette, becoming more vocal as the match progressed. She would spend considerable time thanking them and celebrating with them after the match. When asked about how much their support meant to her, Magda said, “I’m really thankful to them that they came and supported me. And it’s great because we don’t have a tournament in Poland, we are not really used to having a home crowd. So it’s great that they always come for the big tournaments, and I’m so happy that they came to watch my final”

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WTA Bronx: Camila Giorgi Set For Title Showdown With Magda Linette

Camila Giorgi has twice survived a third set tiebreak this week, and saved four match points just yesterday, but can she claim the title?

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In Friday’s semifinals, Giorgi faced the top seed and world No.18 Qiang Wang.  This match would see a ton of service breaks, with each set consisting of five or more.  They would split the first two sets by identical scores of 6-4. In the third, the 27-year-old from China served for the match at 5-4, and would hold a match point, but Giorgi would save it and break for 5-5.  Camila’s firepower allows her to dictate play more often than not, and she’s continually lifted her game at the right moments this week.

 

Giorgi would then garner a match point of her own on Wang’s serve at 6-5, but also failed to convert.  In the deciding tiebreak, Qiang gained the early mini-break on the first point with a backhand winner down the line.  But Camila would punish an extremely soft second serve and get the breaker right back on serve. Wang then took advantage of a Giorgi forehand clipping the net, giving her extra time to rip a forehand and regain the mini-break.  They switched sides with Wang leading 4-2.

A few Giorgi errors gave Wang three more match points 6-3, with two of them on Qiang’s serve.  But Wang’s forehand misfired on both of the match points on her serve, and then Giorgi would put away a backhand volley to level things at 6-6.  Camila would again strike some deep and powerful groundies when she needed them, granting herself a match point at 7-6 on Wang’s serve. And Wang would sail a backhand beyond the baseline, sending the 27-year-old Italian into tomorrow’s final in dramatic fashion.

It’s the second final in four weeks for Giorgi, who was stunned in the Washington final by a first-time WTA champion, Jessica Pegula.  Camila saw her ranking fall outside the top 50 last month when her Wimbledon quarterfinalist points from 2018 dropped off her 52-week tally, but she’ll return to the top 50 with today’s win.  In her career, Giorgi is 2-5 in WTA tournament finals, with her most recent title coming last October at the Linz Open.

On Saturday in the first Bronx Open singles final, she’ll face another 27-year-old in Magda Linette of Poland.  This is only Linette’s second WTA-level final in her career, with the last coming four years ago in Tokyo. She lost in that final to Yanina Wickmayer, so a win today would give Magda her first career singles title.  Linette had to qualify to get into this draw, meaning this will be her seventh match in nine days. On Friday, she ousted Katerina Siniakova in straight sets, a day after surviving a third set tiebreak of her own in the quarterfinals against Karolina Muchova.

As much tennis as Linette has played in the Bronx, she may be the fresher of the two finalists.  Giorgi’s semifinal was played later in the day on Friday, and lasted nearly three hours. In their only previous meeting, Giorgi prevailed in three sets, on a hard court in Linette’s home country four years ago.

The first Bronx Open doubles champions were crowned on Friday, with Darija Jurak and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez defeating Margarita Gasparyan and Monica Niculescu in a deciding 10-point tiebreak 10-7.  This is the first title for this team, which was formed just a few weeks ago in Canada.

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Chris Evert On Why Coco Gauff Winning The US Open May Not Be A Good Thing

The former world No.1 speaks out about the teenage tennis prodigy.

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Cori Gauff - Wimbledon 2019 (photo via Twitter, @Wimbledon)

At next week’s US Open, one of the talking points of the women’s draw will be rising star Coco Gauff who will be making her main draw debut at Flushing Meadows.

 

The 15-year-old tennis prodigy grabbed the attention of many during the Wimbledon Championships. It was at the event where she became the youngest player in the Open Era to successfully qualify. Then she stunned former world No.1 Venus Williams, Magdalena Rybarikova and Polona Hercog en route to the fourth round. Where she lost to eventual champion Simona Halep.

Gauff’s rapid rise in the sport has caught the attention of both her rivals and sponsors. She already has deals with Barilla and New Balance. Amounting to an estimated $1 million, according to Forbes Magazine. Those brands will be hoping for the teenager to make another deep run at the final grand slam of the season. However, one former champion has warned against any potential success.

18-time grand slam champion Chris Evert is concerned that too much is happening to Gauff at a young age. Going as far as saying that success at the major event could be counterproductive. Gauff is currently ranked 141st in the world and is the youngest player in the top 500.

“I don’t know if it’d be necessarily great for her to win the Open.” Evert said during an interview with The New York Post.
“If she continues to play the way she is, have some big wins, still develop her game and be a normal 15-year-old with some semblance of privacy, then that’d be the most successful picture of her.’
“There’s no doubt there is Grand Slam potential in her, after watching her at Wimbledon. But I am very cautious because she is so young and so many things can happen between 15 and 20 (years old), mentally, physically, emotionally.”

Evert was 19 when she won her first major title at the 1974 French Open. In total she contested 34 grand slam finals over a 15-year period.

Earlier this week Gauff made an appearance at the Winston-Salem Open. A men’s tournament that is categorised as an ATP 250 event. She took to the court to play an exhibition match against world No.2 Ash Barty. Gauff edged out the reigning French Open champion 6-4, 2-6, [10-8].

“It was super fun. It’s different to kinda play in an atmosphere like that and not be in a tournament. It was cool to play with Ash and hopefully we can do it again sometime,” Gauff told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’m kind of sad to leave [Winston-Salem] because New York is busy but it was good to get the calm before the storm.”

Gauff will take on Russian world No.76 Anastasia Potapova in the first round of the US Open. There is a chance that she could play defending champion Naomi Osaka in the tournament if they both reach the third round.

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