Serena Williams returns in Stanford - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams returns in Stanford

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TENNIS – Serena Williams will make her much-awaited come-back this week at the Stanford Premier Level Tournament which starts the US Open Series. Stanford marks the first tournament for Serena since her third-round defeat against Alizé Cornet and her strange withdrawal from a doubles match with her sister Venus at Wimbledon. Diego Sampaolo

Serena suffered from a viral infection which caused her lose her equilibrium during a doubles match with Venus at Wimbledon.

I was scared. It reminded me of when I had my other illness a while ago. I didn’t realize how I felt until later. I did not realize how sick I was. I was really ill. I did not feel great walking on the court. I didn’t even warm up for the match.”

Her sister Venus convinced Serena to stop playing.

Venus kept saying: ‘Walk off the court. I am the older sister and I say you have to leave’.

Because of family history I will undergo a series of tests”, said Serena.

Serena has been drawn in the same half as Azarenka, Ivanovic and her sister Venus, Andrea Petkovic and Sam Stosur at the star-studded Stanford Tournament. Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber have been drawn in the bottom half.

Serena, who will turn 33 in less than two months, has remained at the top of the WTA Ranking for 74 consecutive weeks (the longest streak since Martina Hingis’ 80 weeks in 1997 and 1998), although she has not reached the quarter final in any of the first three Grand Slam tournaments.

Williams restarted her career in Stanford in 2011 when she won her first tournament in over one year. At that time she was ranked World Number 175 and the win in Stanford helped her move up the ranking and end the year as the World Number 12th.

Stanford will be the first hard-court tournament in the build-up to the US Open where she will chase her 18th Grand Slam title

I feel really good about the tournament. It has been a special place for me”, said Williams.

The US legend will make her debut against Karolina Pliskova from Czech Republic who beat Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-1 6-3. It will be their first ever head-to-head match.

The first round features some exciting matches like Ana Ivanovic vs Sabine Lisicki, Dominika Cibulkova vs Garbine Muguruza, Andrea Petkovic vs Anja Tomljanovic. Venus, who received a wild card from the organizers, may face Azarenka in the second round. The Bank of he West Classic is special for Venus who made her debut on the professional circuit at the age of 14 when this tournament was held in Oakland in October 1994. Venus, who won this tournament twice, will play against Paula Kania

The first major upset of the Stanford Premier Tournament was Sam Stosur’s defeat against 16-year-old Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka who fought back from a set down to win 4-6 7-6 7-5 after the Australian player got a match point at 7-6 in the second set and took a 5-3 lead in the decider. Osaka will face Andrea Petkovic in the second round. Petkovic recovered from a break down in the second set to beat Anja Tomljanovic 6-1 6-4.

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Madison Keys Marches Into Cincinnati Final With Win Over Kenin

Madison Keys set up a intriguing final against Svetlana Kuznetsova with an excellent straight-sets win over Sofia Kenin in the semi-finals.

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Madison Keys (@CincyTennis on Twitter)

Madison Keys advanced to her ninth career final with an impressive 7-5 6-4 win over Sofia Kenin at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

The American, 24, has endured a patchy year on the WTA tour. But she found a rich vein of form in the early rounds to defeat Garbine Muguruza, Daria Kasatkina and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep.

And by the time Keys set about dispatching Venus Williams in straight sets in the quarter-final, she looked full of confidence.

The World No.18 started in similar fashion against Kenin. She dominated her first two service games and broke the younger American in the fourth game to establish a 3-1 lead. She then held off a couple of break points in game five to increase her advantage to 4-1.

But Kenin is a fighter and she had no intention of giving up on the set. She broke Keys in game nine to make it 5-4 and then saved two break points to level the score.

The older American did not panic. She held serve comfortably and then hit a couple of excellent winners to break the 20-year-old for the second time in the set and take it 7-5.

Keys triumphs in close second set

There were a few momentum swings in the second set. Keys held to love in the first game but dropped her serve during a sloppy third game. Kenin then consolidated the break with a comfortable hold.

In response, the World No.18 fired down three aces as she held serve to love in just 42 seconds. She then unleashed a stream of winners to break the younger American and level the score at 3-3.

Both women played superb return games as they traded breaks to move the score along to 4-4. Then Keys unleashed a series of ferocious groundstrokes to repel a break point and hold for 5-4.

After an intense conversation with her father at the changeover, Kenin looked a bit subdued in game ten. She sent down a weak second serve on the second point which was punished by a backhand winner from the World No.18.

The 20-year-old made a double-fault to slip 15-30 behind. Then she came into the net and could only watch and admire as Keys guided a sublime backhand pass into the opposite service box for a winner that set up two match points.

The World No.18 did not have to wait long to celebrate victory, as an unforced error from Kenin on the next point sealed her win.

Keys will play Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. The Russian continued her impressive week with an eye-catching 6-2 6-4 win over World No.2 Ashleigh Barty.

“I’m very happy to be in the final,” the American said. “Sveta has been playing incredibly well. She is a craftier player with a little bit of everything. It will be a pretty difficult match but I’m looking forward to it.”

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Madison Keys sets up an all-American semifinal against Sofia Kenin in Cincinnati

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Madison Keys hit 32 winners and never dropped her serve in her 6-2 6-3 win over Venus Williams in 77 minutes in an all-American quarter final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach her first semifinal since winning the Volvo Car Open title in Charleston.

 

Keys broke three times and faced just two break points in the match. She earned her first break in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead, as Venus made three double faults. Keys went up a double break at 15 to seal the first set 6-3.

Williams saved four break points to hold her serve in the fourth game for 2-2, after hitting her first winner of the match, but Keys sealed the win with her only break in the eighth game of the second set and a hold at love setting up an all-American semifinal clash against Sofia Kenin

“It was nice to see against a really aggressive player like Venus being able to defend as well as I did. Overall, I am pretty happy with almost everything I did tonight. I am happy with how well I served. She is a very good returner, and being able to have fairly straightforward service games was my favourite part. The biggest thing, after having a couple of tough losses in the last tournaments I have played, being able to bounce back, and especially after my first round here, being able to get that win and then just building on that”,said Keys.

 

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Svetlana Kuznetsova completes her come-back by reaching the semifinal in Cincinnati

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Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova came back from one set down to beat Karolina Pliskova 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to secure her spot in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

Kuznetsova, who was sidelined by a knee injury in the first half of the season, bounced back last week when she reached the third round at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. She beat Anastasija Sevastova, Dayana Yastremska and Sloane Stephens en route to the semifinal.

Kuznetsova hit 30 winners and broke three times to close out the match after 2 hours and 23 minutes.

Pliskova converted her only break point at love in the second game to win the opening set 6-3.

Pliskova saved three break points to hold serve at deuce in the fourth game before breaking serve at 15 to take a 4-3 lead. Kuznetsova broke back at 15 in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Kuznetsova earned four set points and converted her first chance to seal the tie-break 7-2.

Kuznetsova went up a break at love in the third game of the decisive set to take a 2-1 lead. Both Pliskova and Kuznetsova saved two break points in the fifth and sixth games. Kuznetsova sealed the win with a double break in the ninth game.

The Russian player set up a semifinal against 2019 Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty, who came back from one set down to beat Maria Sakkari 5-7 6-2 6-0.

 

 

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