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US Open: Women's Preview

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TENNIS US OPEN – World number one and US Open Series winner Serena Williams is surely the name everyone expects to see on this year’s winner’s trophy. Giulio Gasparin

 

The Women’s singles draw

The Men’s singles draw

World number one and US Open Series winner Serena Williams is surely the name everyone expects to see on this year’s winner’s trophy, but the American is yet to reach a slam quarter final in this 2014 and this will be her last chance.

Surely other players will take a chance to lift the last slam of the season and surprises are not to be excluded.

Top Quarter:

Serena Williams opens her run against one of the most discussed youngsters, Taylor Townsend, which potentially could be her hardest match until the fourth round.

Carla Suarez Navarro is the seeding favourite, but Sam Stosur has won here in the past and Cali girl Coco Vandeweghe has showed great skills over the summer.

Two potentially difficult opponents in the fourth round could be Ana Ivanovic, who beat Williams at the Australian Open this year, and Flavia Pennetta, last year’s semifinalist. But both will need to survive a difficult opener: Ivanovic will need to tame crowd’s favourite Alison Riske, while Pennetta will need to reverse a nightmarish summer against Julia Goerges.

QF prediction:

Serena Williams vs Ana Ivanovic

Interesting R1:

Ana Ivanovic vs Alison Riske

Earlier this year the Serb won in two tight sets, but the American is capable of beating big names in New York and her serve and volley can be tricky to handle, especially as a first round match.

Second Quarter:

Before New Haven the two finalists of Wimbledon and highest seeds of this session had won one match between the two, with Eugenie Bouchard winning her first match of the American summer only last week, while Petra Kvitova conquered her second title in New Haven.

Both players have never reached the quarter finals in New York and will need to watch out from some dangerous floaters like Madison Keys, Elina Svitolina, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ekaterina Makarova.

Each of these players and some others have big chances of advancing to the quarter finals. Quite in danger despite their seeding are the two time finalist Victoria Azarenka, still recovering from injury, and Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova, who seems unable to pick up her form after a stunning early season.

QF prediction:

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Elina Svitolina

Interesting R1:

Heather Watson vs Sorana Cirstea

Both players could be quite hot and cold, but, when they find their best days, they can easily make you forget about big names. Their tennis is rich of variations and though the Romanian has the most power, Watson is capable of great defence.

3rd quarter:

Angelique Kerber and Agnieszka Radwanska dominate this session of the draw and it seems very hard to look past these two. Both have showed a good form over the summer, but the Pole, despite the fourth seed, looks to be a little less of a favourite, especially given the fact that she has never reached the second week in New York.

Lucie Safarova could be the dangerous outsiders in the session, while Alize Cornet, Jelena Jankovic and Sloane Stephens will need to improve their recent level of game to pose a threat.

QF prediction:

Angelique Kerber vs Agnieszka Radwanska

Interesting R1:

Sloane Stephens vs Annika Beck

The clash of styles will be evident from the early points, but the solid game of the German could force the American to play her best tennis if she wants to advance.

Belinda Bencic vs Yanina Wickmayer

Bencic is the youngest player in the top 100 and Wickmayer, despite her recent bad form, is always a great fighter, this match could provide great entertainment.

Bottom quarter:

The most packed quarter of the draw this year comes at the very bottom, with two big favourites for the title and another dark horse: Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep seem to be set for the fourth meeting of the year, with the world number two still looking for the first win over the French Open champion.

A new chapter of this rivalry could be belated by Caroline Wozniacki, who seems back to a good level after the breakup with golfer Rory McIlroy and has twice challenge closely Serena Williams in the past weeks. The Dane looks fit and focused and her special relationship with New York could motivate even more.

Venus Williams, Andrea Petkovic and Sabine Lisicki are also looking tough ahead of this event, making this the strongest session of the draw.

QF prediction

Caroline Wozniacki vs Simona Halep

Interesting R1:

Caroline Wozniacki vs Magdalena Rybarikova

The Dane’s form as a potential outsider is immediately tested by New Haven’s finalist.

Kimiko Date-Krumm vs Venus Williams

Over 30 one, over 40 the other and yet both are still capable of some of the finest tennis on the tour, it could be a classic.

Sabine Lisicki vs Francoise Abanda

The young Canadian is having a breakthrough summer and lost only six games in three qualification matches, the WTA fastest server will need many of her big serves to win this one.

 

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Iga Swiatek Saves Two Match Points To Edge Out Krejcikova In Rome

Iga Swiatek survived a 2 hour and 50 minute clash to advance to the Rome Quarter-Finals.

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Iga Swiatek (@TickTockTennis - Twitter)

Iga Swiatek saved two match points to defeat Barbora Krejcikova 3-6 7-6(5) 7-5 to reach the last eight in Rome.

 

The defending Roland Garros champion battled and clawed to victory in 2 hours and 52 minutes after saving two match points.

Swiatek will now play the winner of the match between Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals tomorrow.

A summary of the match would be a lot of errors and tentative play throughout as the Pole was too aggressive in the opening set allowing a lot of unforced errors into her game.

Meanwhile Krejcikova was solid but was aggressive with the right angles in the right moments.

This proved crucial for the Czech Republican as she took advantage of Iga’s inability to produce first serves.

A crucial hold at 4-2 was enough for Krejcikova as there were six breaks of serve in the opening set. A long ninth game ended with the Czech taking the set 6-3.

In the second set it was more of the same with Swiatek as she was not able to produce her best tennis.

After going down an early break, Swiatek knew she had to build the points up slowly and gain her confidence. This is what occurred as she got the break back immediately and started to hold serve more comfortably.

Even though the world number 15 looked more confident with her shots and started to construct points better she could not successfully get into Krejcikova’s service games.

Towards the end of the set Swiatek saved two match points as this dramatic contest went to a second set tiebreak.

Swiatek’s mini-break lead was reduced but her fighting spirit was not as Krejcikova felt the pressure and a double fault from her gave the Pole a lifeline as she forced a deciding set.

After spending the change of ends being emotional, Swiatek regained similar form in the final set with her drop-shots being effective.

Krejcikova held nerve of her own as she continued to force the Pole to make unforced errors and just be as solid as she could be.

Swiatek saved three break points in the seventh game to lead 4-3 and then pounced in the 12th game with some heavy returns to take the match and move into the last eight.

Next for the Pole after a mammoth clash will be Garbine Muguruza or Elina Svitolina as she climbs into a new career ranking of 14 in the world.

In other results today Coco Gauff knocked out Madrid Champion Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 6-3 for one of the best wins of her career.

The vibrant American faces world number one Ash Barty who continued her amazing season with with a 6-3 6-3 win over Veronika Kudermetova.

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Serena Williams’ 1000th Match Ends In Defeat To Podoroska

Serena Williams was defeated in Rome as she reaches a landmark milestone of 1000 WTA matches.

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Serena Williams (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Serena Williams’ 1000th WTA tour match has ended in a 7-6(6) 7-5 defeat to Nadia Podoroska in Rome.

 

The American made her return to tour for the first time in 84 days as she looked to build momentum heading into Roland Garros.

If the first few games were to set the tempo of the match then it would prove to be a long contest with Serena struggling to get any free points on her serve.

It was the Argentinian who got the first break of the match in the third game as she tested Serena’s stamina early on in the contest.

In typical Serena fashion, the 23-time grand slam champion produced some stunning ground-strokes especially from central positions to break to love straight away.

On serve, Serena looked fairly comfortable as she ended the match with eight aces although she only made a first serve percentage of 48%.

That was her key downfall as it was Podoroska who looked the more comfortable on return as she used some devastating angles to force unforced errors from the Serena racket.

A break for a 5-4 lead ensured that the last year’s Roland Garros semi-finalist would serve for the opening set.

However Serena used her power and good point construction to once again break back which was met with a roar from the world number eight.

Eventually the first set would head towards a tiebreaker with Podoroska dominating the majority of it.

She had three set points which came and went as Serena used her fighting qualities to roar back into the match.

But once again some unforced errors would cost the four-time champion as Podoroska took the next two point to claim the opening set in 66 minutes.

In the second set, Serena was the early aggressor as she dictated points better setting the pace of the match.

Again though Podoroska extended the rallies and made the American move all round the court exposing as much space as possible.

The Argentinian was rewarded for her court coverage when she broke in the sixth game as Serena began to tire.

As in the first set, Podoroska couldn’t serve out the second set as her cautious play lead to Serena levelling it up at 5-5.

However Serena’s serve was just not working when she needed it too and Podoroska secured the final blow to seal a fantastic victory for her.

For Serena its onto Roland Garros as she will look to improve her fitness in the next couple of weeks.

As for Podoroska she will play Petra Martic after the Croatian beat Kristina Mladenovic today 7-5 6-3.

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Naomi Osaka’s Clay Woes Continue After Pegula Defeat In Rome

Naomi Osaka went out in the second round in Rome to Jessica Pegula.

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Jessica Pegula (@TickTockTennis - Twitter)

Naomi Osaka’s clay court woes continued in Rome after losing to Jessica Pegula 7-6(2) 6-2.

 

The world number two admitted previously that learning the clay court trade would take time and this continues to be the case after another early defeat on the surface.

After losing in the second round in Madrid to Karolina Muchova, Osaka knew she needed a quick start in this match and she produced that with the early break for a 2-0 lead.

Pegula’s loss in Madrid was in the third round although that was to the eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka and she had every reason not to be intimidated as she slowly worked her way in the match.

The American reaped her rewards as she took her second break point to bring the match back on serve.

Despite the setback, Osaka continued to dictate play using her athleticism to bring shots back with depth and pace as she was arguably playing the better tennis.

In the latter stages of the set, the Australian Open champion had created three set points before some bold Pegula tennis denied Osaka the set.

Eventually the first set went to a tiebreak which saw the world number 31 be more aggressive and produce some stunning tennis to win seven of the nine points on offer to win the tiebreak 7-2.

In the second set, Osaka fell apart as her backhand, net play and general point construction crumbled quickly.

Pegula offered more in attacking combinations and produced some big serves as she broke three times in the second set.

Despite breaking in the sixth game, it was another disappointing performance from Osaka who conceded defeat in 90 minutes.

As for Pegula she has set up a third round clash with Ekaterina Alexandrova.

In other results so far today Elina Svitolina survived a scare as she edged past Amanda Anisimova 2-6 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Garbine Muguruza also edged past Bernarda Pera 2-6 6-0 7-5 in just over two hours after the Spaniard struggled with a foot injury.

There were comfortable victories for Ash Barty and Karolina Pliskova while Petra Kvitova was knocked out by Vera Zvonareva 6-4 3-6 6-4.

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