TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – On a rainy Saturday, Serena Williams was washed out by Alizé Cornet in three sets 6-1 3-6 4-6. Thus making it the second major in a row where both the number one and number two seeds have been dismissed before the end of the first week. Cordell Hackshaw
Serena Williams (1) made another grand exit from her third consecutive major in the early round. She has yet to get past the 4th round of a major all year. This time around at Wimbledon where she was heavily favoured to win the title, she lost to Alize Cornet (25) of France who beat her for a second time in a row. There was much speculation of there being a possible upset in this 3rd round encounter but no one rightly believed that Williams, a five-time singles and doubles champion as well as two-time Olympic champion here at Wimbledon would lose this match. Nonetheless, she did and even more so, it was Cornet who looked to be the most comfortable on the grass court as she defeated Williams in emphatic style 1-6 6-3 6-4 in the nearly two-hour affair. “I couldn’t believe it. I still cannot believe it, actually. If somebody would have told me a couple years ago that I would be in second week here in Wimbledon, beating Serena, I wouldn’t have believed it. It feels great,” said Cornet after the match.
From the start of the match, it was clear that Cornet believed that she could score a second consecutive win off Williams who was looking quite superior in her first two matches. “I just knew that I could do it because I did it once in Dubai,” Cornet later stated. Williams on the other hand, looked very shaky as Cornet earned herself two break points in the very first Williams service game. She converted on the second one but Williams broke back to even it at 1-1. It was 1-1 deuce when play was interrupted for several hours by heavy rainfall. However, upon resumption of play, Williams went on a tear. She closed out that 3rd game with her trademark big serves and then simply shut out Cornet for the rest of the set. Williams targeted the forehand of Cornet and was able to take charge of the rallies. The American hit an amazing crosscourt forehand return winner to break Cornet for the third time in the set and take it 6-1. It was clear that this might be a one-sided affair and Williams was going to move through to the 2nd week of Wimbledon; something she has failed to do only twice in the 14 Wimbledons she has played.
In the 2nd set, something inexplicable happened to Williams because it was a completely different match. Even Williams was at a lost to describe what exactly went wrong, “I don’t know. I tried and it just didn’t work out.” Cornet took over the match and she never for a moment relinquished control. She started off by holding serve for the first time in the match, punctuating this small victory with an ace. “I think she lost a little bit her concentration in the beginning of the second set and I used it to come back in the match, and finally I played way better from the beginning of the second set. I think then the battle was on … I was trying to play just point after point, trying to fight as usual and play simple.” If this were indeed a “battle” as Cornet described it, she simply out-gunned Williams. Cornet broke Williams twice to be up 5-0 in the 2nd set.
Williams could not get any traction on her infamous serve, her ground strokes were misfiring and missing the target. She seemed to have regained some momentum when she won three games in a row; breaking Cornet once and holding serve twice for 3-5. Cornet would end this possible shift in fortunes by taking the set 6-3 ending it by winning another net point. Asked to describe how she was able to take control of the match, Cornet said, “Actually being myself. Just being creative on the court, doing some dropshots, doing some variation with my topspin forehand. Trying to stay focused on the way I was moving on the court, I think it’s very important against Serena … because otherwise Serena, she wouldn’t lose a single chance to make you feel that she is the boss on the court.” In the 3rd set, again it was all Cornet. Williams would have to save four break points in order to hold serve in the opening game. This set the tone for all of Williams’ service game in the set as Cornet had chances to break in nearly all of them; 9 in total for the set. Williams constantly had to fight off break points but eventually Cornet converted in the 5th and 7th games to go up 5-2.
Williams early tactic of targeting the forehand was no longer working and Cornet was simply brilliant up at net winning 14/16 points there. Williams remained aggressive as she too came to net often but it was almost like touching a live wire for the American as she was getting shocked by Cornet. Williams only won 19/32 points in the match either because she failed to make an easy volley or because Cornet was simply able to pick her off and take the point. Cornet served for the match up 5-2 but Williams broke her and then went on to hold serve for 4-5. Cornet was under pressure to close out this match against one of the sport’s greatest champions. Cornet came up with the goods as she held at love. Williams for her part, failed yet again to make easy volleys up at net. Cornet moved through to the 4th round with a 1-6 6-3 6-4 victory. This is only the second time that Cornet has made it to the second week of a major in her 34 appearances at this level.
After the match, Williams stated “Yeah, I thought I was playing pretty well. I worked really hard coming into this event. It’s okay, though. Sometimes it happens. You know, you work hard, maybe it’s not for today, maybe it’s for tomorrow …[S]o I just got to keep going.” She dismissed any notion that this losing streak at majors this year was symptomatic of a larger issue but noted that yet again her serve failed to come to her aid; “I thought my first two matches I served well … I worked really hard on my serve, so I don’t know why it didn’t happen today.” Williams had 3 aces, 7 double faults, got only 66% of her first serves in, won 68% of those points and 30% on her second serves. Cornet for her part had 3 aces, 5 double faults, made 60% of her first serves and won 73% of those points and 30% on second serve. She was able to break Williams 5 times having earned herself 15 break point chances; 11 of those coming in the last two sets. Williams on the other hand would only see three chances to break in the 2nd and 3rd sets after that 1st set when she broke Cornet each time she served. Interestingly enough, they both won 90 points total in the match. However, Williams made 29 winners to 29 errors and Cornet had a ratio of 28 to 18. Cornet will play Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard (13) in the Round of 16 on Monday. Cornet did not want to elaborate on the upcoming match up, “I will think about it tomorrow, think maybe about a different tactic to have against her. But right now I really want to enjoy my win.”
Cincinnati Daily Preview: Brits Andy Murray and Cam Norrie Meet in the Second Round
On Monday, Andy Murray overcame another three-time Major singles champion, Stan Wawrinka, in a three-hour thriller. In the second round, he meets the new British No.1 Cam Norrie, who reached his first Slam semifinal last month at Wimbledon.
WTA action is headlined by three matches between Slam singles champs, which includes world No.1 Iga Swiatek. Also on Wednesday, Rafael Nadal will play his first match since withdrawing from the Wimbledon semifinals.
Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule. Wednesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.
Andy Murray vs. Cameron Norrie – 11:00am on Center Court
Murray will be happy he had a day of rest after his emotionally and physically taxing match against Wawrinka. He has compiled a solid record of 23-14 this season, with 2022 being his most active year since 2017, when his hip issues began. But Norrie has taken his place as the top British male, and has really come into his own over the past 18 months. Cam is now 38-18 this season, and has reached 10 finals since the start of last year. Their only prior meeting occurred three years ago in Beijing, with Murray prevailing in a long, tight three-setter that lasted nearly three hours. But three years later, Norrie is a much-improved competitor. While playing your fellow countryman is often tricky, especially when they’ve been knighted, Cam should be favored to even their head-to-head.
Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Sloane Stephens (WC) – Not Before 3:00pm on Grand Stand
Swiatek is vying for her 50th win of the season on Wednesday, with 37 of those victories coming consecutively between February and July. But since those 37 wins in a row, Iga is only 3-3, and suffered a frustrating loss last week in Toronto to Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-5 in the third after three hours of play. Stephens continues to be a streaky player, as the 2017 US Open champion has gone on multiple winning and losing streaks of four matches or more throughout the year. On Monday night, she crushed Alize Cornet 6-1, 6-0. Sloane often plays her best tennis in American hard courts, and advanced to the third round or better of this tournament in seven straight appearances between 2012 and 2019. These two Major champs have never played before. Stephens could be primed for another win streak, and it would be understandable if Swiatek experienced a dip in her level after all the tennis she’s played this year. Yet after dominating the tour for most of the year, Iga should still be favored.
Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:
Victoria Azarenka vs. Emma Raducanu (10) – It’s a two-time Australian Open champ against the reigning US Open champ. Azarenka defeated Kaia Kanepi in three sets on Tuesday, while Raducanu easily prevailed over Serena Williams 6-4, 6-0.
Elena Rybakina vs. Garbine Muguruza (8) – It’s another two-time Major champ against the reigning Wimbledon champ. Rybakina is 2-2 since her surprising run at The All-England Club, while Muguruza is a subpar 9-13 on the year. They split two meetings last year, with Elena victorious in the more notable encounter, in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics.
Taylor Fritz (11) vs. Nick Kyrgios – Fritz started the summer by winning the title in Eastbourne, while Kyrgios was the champion in Washington. This will be their first career meeting.
Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Borna Coric (PR) – Despite his injury issues, Nadal is a staggering 35-3 in 2022, and 20-1 on hard courts. Coric missed a full year of action due to shoulder surgery, and is just 12-12 at all levels since returning. Borna has won two of their four previous meetings, including six years ago at this event.
Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.
Cincinnati Daily Preview: Serena Williams Plays Emma Raducanu, Venus Faces Karolina Pliskova
In what is expected to be the next-to-last event of her storied career, Serena Williams will play her opening round match on Tuesday. And in a blockbuster matchup, she faces reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu. Can the 19-year-old defeat the GOAT, or can Serena pull off one more high-profile victory before her career comes to an end?
Tuesday’s schedule in Cincinnati features many other top names as well. Center Court alone also includes Naomi Osaka, Daniil Medvedev, Nick Kyrgios, and Venus Williams, who takes on Karolina Pliskova in a battle between two of the WTA’s all-time best servers.
Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule. Tuesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.
Karolina Pliskova (14) vs. Venus Williams (WC) – Second on Center Court
This will only be Venus’ third singles match of the season, as multiple injuries have hampered the 42-year-old in recent years. Williams has only earned one singles win in the last 18 months. Pliskova has struggled this season since a hand injury caused her to miss the first two months of 2022. But Karolina had her best run of the season last week in Toronto, where she reached the semifinals, which included a three-set win over fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari. Venus and Karolina played three times between 2015 and 2017, with Pliskova taking two of those three encounters. Their most notable match was in the fourth round of the 2016 US Open, which Karolina won in a third-set tiebreak. In 2022, Pliskova is a considerable favorite to prevail.
Serena Williams (DA) vs. Emma Raducanu (10) – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court
This will only be Serena’s fourth singles match of the season, and she’s 1-2 since returning at Wimbledon. Last week in Toronto, she made a tearful exit from the court after her straight-set loss to Belinda Bencic, as the Canadian crowd gave the 23-time Major singles champion a standing ovation. With this mini-retirement tour being new territory for Serena, how will she react to what will be a boisterous American crowd on Tuesday? She’ll surely feel nervous, but Raducanu will as well, as she likely assumed she would never get to play Serena. Emma has understandably struggled since her shocking, life-changing run a year ago at the US Open, as she’s just 11-14 on the year. But she’s still played a lot more tennis of late than Serena. This match was originally scheduled for Monday evening, and reports indicated it was postponed until Tuesday due to an injury concern regarding Serena. That’s advantage, Emma. But as we’ve learned over the course of the last several decades, Serena is fully capable of willing her way to victory even when she’s far from her best.
Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:
Naomi Osaka vs. Shuai Zhang – Osaka is just 1-2 this summer, and was forced to retire last week in Toronto due to a back issue. She is 3-2 against Shuai, though they haven’t played in nearly four years.
Nick Kyrgios vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina – Kyrgios has won 14 of his last 16 singles matches, and is on an eight-match win streak in doubles. Davidovich Fokina is only 4-9 this season on hard courts.
Coco Gauff (11) vs. Marie Bouzkova (Q) – Gauff is now the new world No.1 in doubles, and is on the brink of making her top 10 debut in singles. Bouzkova has claimed 18 of her last 22 matches at all levels.
Mackenzie McDonald (WC) vs. Carlos Alcaraz (3) – McDonald was a finalist last year in Washington, but arrived in Cincinnati on a three-match losing streak. Alcaraz was upset last week in an extended affair with another American, Tommy Paul. Earlier this year at Indian Wells, Carlitos beat Mackie 6-3, 6-3.
Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Botic van de Zandschulp – Medvedev needs to win at least two matches this week to ensure he maintains his No.1 ranking. He’s 2-0 against van de Zandschulp, taking seven of their eight sets contested, all on hard courts.
Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.
Cincinnati Daily Preview: Major Champions Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka Square Off
For the second consecutive week, a combined ATP Masters/WTA 1000 event is being staged in North America. This week, it’s the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. The singles draws in American’s heartland are loaded: the ATP draw features 14 of the world’s top 16, while the WTA draw features all 16 top-ranked players.
Most notably, Serena Williams will play what is assumedly the next-to-last event of her career, and will face reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the first round. And Rafael Nadal will play his first match since withdrawing from the Wimbledon semifinals due to his ongoing left foot issues.
Monday’s action is headlined by Major champions Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, who will play each other for the 22nd time.
Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule. Monday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.
Stan Wawrinka (PR) vs. Andy Murray – Third on Center Court
Their rivalry dates all the way back to 2005, when Wawrinka defeated Murray in Davis Cup. Their most prominent encounter took place in the 2017 Roland Garros semifinals, when Stan outlasted Andy in a five-setter that lasted over four-and-a-half hours. And neither man has been the same since that grueling battle. Just weeks later, Murray’s hip problems derailed his career, while Wawrinka would undergo knee surgery. Both men have now battled multiple serious injuries over the last five years. Overall Andy is 12-9 against Stan, and 8-4 on hard courts. Murray has gritted his way to 22 victories this year, while Stan is only 3-7 since returning from foot surgery this spring. Based on current form, as well as Murray’s history at this event, where he is a two-time champion, the Brit is the favorite on Monday.
Matteo Berrettini (12) vs. Frances Tiafoe – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court
Berrettini returned from surgery on his right hand in June, and promptly went on a 12-match win streak. However, he unfortunately missed Wimbledon due to testing positive for COVID-19. And last week in Montreal, Matteo lost in the opening round, though that one-sided loss to Pablo Carreno Busta doesn’t look quite as bad after Pablo’s fantastic run to his first Masters 1000 title concluded on Sunday. Meanwhile, it’s been a disappointing year for Tiafoe, who is only 20-17 and has suffered some painful losses. At Wimbledon, he lost a four-and-a-half hour fourth round match to David Goffin despite having a two-sets-to-one lead. And just last week in Montreal, Frances was up 4-0 in the third over Taylor Fritz before losing the last six games of the match. Their only previous meeting occurred four years ago on clay in Rome, where Matteo was victorious in his home country in straight sets. Can Tiafoe avenge that loss in his own home country? Frances often excels during night matches in the United States, with his five-set win over Andrey Rublev at last year’s US Open serving as a prime example. But Matteo has been the much stronger performer for a few years now, and his potent serve/forehand combo makes him the favorite.
Other Notable Matches on Monday:
Amanda Anisimova vs. Daria Kasatkina (9) – Anisimova has reached the second week of every Major this season, while Kasatkina has won 18 of her last 24 matches, which includes a title run this month in San Jose. Amanda leads their head-to-head 2-0, and dominated Daria 6-2, 6-0 at the beginning of this year.
Jil Teichmann vs. Petra Kvitova – Teichmann was a surprise finalist here a year ago. Kvitova is only 17-15 this season, though she did win a title on grass in June. They’ve played three times since last year, with Jil claiming two of those three matches.
Denis Shapovalov vs. Grigor Dimitrov (16) – Shapovalov has now lost nine of his last 10 matches dating back to May. Meanwhile it’s been over four months since Dimitrov has won more than two matches in a row. Grigor is 2-1 against Denis, and 2-0 on hard courts.
Sloane Stephens (WC) vs. Alize Cornet – It’s been a streaky season for Stephens, with nine of her 11 victories coming at just two events. Cornet has achieved two noteworthy results this season: reaching her first Major quarterfinal in Melbourne, and ending Iga Swiatek’s 37-match winning streak at Wimbledon. This is their first career meeting.
Monday’s full Order of Play is here.
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‘It Feels Amazing’ – Emma Raducanu Crushes Soon-To-Be Retired Williams In Cincinnati
Cincinnati Daily Preview: Brits Andy Murray and Cam Norrie Meet in the Second Round
Frances Tiafoe Translates Performance Into Results In Cincinnati Opener
Greatest Of All Time Honor Between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Says Robredo
Inspired By Andy Murray, Citi Open Chief Pledges To Donate Funds To Ukrainian Appeal
Andy Murray Targets US Open Seeding After Early Exit From Washington
Daria Kasatkina Opens Up About Her Sexuality As Native Russia Eye Tightening Anti-LGBT Laws
Daniil Medvedev Aims To Get Back On Track After Kyrgios Defeat
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon Win Was Good But The Level Wasn’t Great
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE): Novak Djokovic Battles Past Norrie, Faces Kyrgios In The Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Brad Gilbert Makes A Bold prediction on Sinner, Backs Kyrgios To Trouble Nadal
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