WTA Montreal – Serena Williams: “I definitely don't like playing her. I think I've lost to her more than anyone on the tour” - UBITENNIS
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WTA Montreal – Serena Williams: “I definitely don't like playing her. I think I've lost to her more than anyone on the tour”

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TENNIS WTA MONTREAL – 8th of August 2014. S. Williams d. C. Wozniacki 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. An interview with Serena Williams

 

Q. You said yesterday that Caroline would be your biggest test of the tournament so far. Obviously she was. What did she do that gave you trouble?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she just does everything well. She’s really fast, gets a lot of balls back, she makes you hit that extra shot. She kept her unforced errors down super low today. That was a good job, I think.

 

Q. Yesterday you said this match would give you a good idea of where your game is at right now. After a win like that, a comeback win like that, where do you see your game is at now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I’m definitely fit. I feel like I’m really ready to go the long haul. That’s good for me. I definitely needed to feel that and get some three-set wins under my belt.

 

Q. You were a little inconsistent in the first set, talking to yourself. How do you get back into the groove? What do you say to yourself to become mentally stronger?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I think I was making a lot of unforced errors in general. But for me, I just thought, Just keep fighting. Hopefully I can just hold on and hold on, try to break, keep going for each shot. I just never wanted to stop and try to do the best that I could.

 

Q. Looking ahead, the possibility of playing your sister. Are you looking forward to that if it happens?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, if it happens, it will be great. She’s been playing really well. She’s in really good form. It would be a really good match for me. She is playing really well.

 

Q. You and your sister have made a big impact on women’s tennis. Stacey Allaster was speaking about that the other day. You had your own schedule. Looking back, what are you most proud of?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We’ve had such a great impact. I think having been, you know, pretty much one of the first African Americans to do well, then to see all the African Americans, even some Canadians here playing really well, it makes me feel really good. I’m really excited to see that, to be honest. It’s just really, really great. Yeah, we just had an opportunity to do something really special. Sometimes I get chill bumps when I think about it because we’re just so normal and so down-to-earth. We just feel like we want to help everyone to do the best that they can. We’re really excited.

 

Q. Is it exciting to have to play her or are you seeing this more as, I don’t really want to play her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely don’t like playing her. I think I’ve lost to her more than anyone on the tour, so… Definitely not a fun match. But she’s tough. She has a great serve. She runs every ball down. She has a great backhand. She hits winners off the forehand. She does everything well, so it’s not an ideal matchup for anyone, to be honest.

 

Q. Early in your career your father said that you and Venus would probably play for a few years and then move on to other things. Obviously, you have done other things outside the court. Are you surprised you’re still playing now, playing at this level?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely didn’t see myself playing tennis at my age. I just thought I would have been gone doing other things. But it just so happens that I love to play, I love to compete. I’m having fun. I enjoy it. I just can’t give it up. I just really can’t let it go.

 

Q. I wanted to ask you about the state of American tennis. Once yourself and Venus move into the next phase, do you believe the women who are succeeding you have the ability to reach your level? What can America do to bring tennis back to the ’70s and ’80s?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, ’70s and ’80s sounds like a great theme party (laughter). But I don’t know. I think women’s tennis is doing really well on the American side. Yeah, suggestions? It’s kind of hard. You have to pour a lot of money into players. It’s very difficult on the men because there’s so many other American sports that men want to do, that you can be so successful in. Then you have tennis, which is definitely more an international sport. I don’t know. It’s really interesting. But I think the state of women’s tennis right now for the U.S. is really excellent and I’m really excited about it. So many great players.

 

Q. Why do you think Europe is doing so well, the eastern countries, when you look at the top 50 with women? When you say ‘pour more money into it,’ there’s more money in the U.S. than those other countries.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, tennis I think is a premiere sport for women in general. I’m actually not from those countries so I can’t comment on that. But I just think when you see players, you see opportunities that you can have by playing tennis, oh, my gosh, I would totally put my kids in tennis. It’s such a great opportunity. So maybe that’s why.

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Mikael Ymer overcomes Richard Gasquet to advance to the second round in Marseille

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Swedish 21-year-old Next Gen player Mikael Ymer edged past Richard Gasquet 6-3 3-6 7-5 after 2 hours and 22 minutes to reach the second round at the Open 13 in Marseille.

 

Ymer fended off 7 of the 10  break points he faced and broke serve in the third match point in a marathon third game setting up a second round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ymer raced out to a 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks. Gasquet pulled back one break in the seventh game to close the gap to 2-5, but Ymer served out the first set in the ninth game with an ace.

Ymer saved three break points in the sixth game, but Gasquet earned the break on his third chance in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3.

Ymer got an early break in the second game of the third set to open up a 3-0 lead. Gasquet broke back in the ninth game and held serve to draw level to 5-5. Ymer converted his third break point at deuce to seal the third set 7-5 in the 12th game.

Benoit Paire beat Gregoire Barrere 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the all-French match. Paire earned his only break of the match in the third game of the opening set. He saved two break points in the fourth game of the second set. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break, where Paire cruised through to a 7-1 win.

Ilya Ivashka overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-1 3-6 6-4. Ivashka broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Popyrin earned one break in the fourth game to clinch the second set 6-3. Popyrin got an early break at deuce in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Ivashka sealed the win with a break.

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Alexander Zverev Going In The Right Direction, Says Becker

The German tennis legend gives his verdict on Zverev’s current form following his grand slam breakthrough.

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Former world No.1 Boris Becker believes Alexander Zverev’s recent run at the Australian Open was confirmation that he belongs at the top of men’s tennis.

 

Last month the 22-year-old achieved his best ever grand slam performance by reaching the semi-finals in Melbourne Park before losing to Dominic Thiem. At the tournament he scored wins over Andrey Rublev, who won two consecutive titles prior to the event, and former champion Stan Wawrinka. Zverev has been tipped as a future world No.1 in recent years and remains the only active player outside of the Big Four to have won three or more Masters trophies. Although he has previously struggled to shine in the biggest events of the sport.

“Alexander Zverev has made a great step forward with his first participation in a grand slam semi-final.” Becker told reporters in Berlin on Sunday. “Although he had difficult weeks before, for which there were reasons.”

At the start of the year it looked as if the world No.7 was in trouble. At the ATP Cup he lost all three of his matches played. A performance Becker blames on his off-season training. During November and December Zverev played a series of exhibition matches with Roger Federer across South America and China.

“He didn’t train enough during the winter break and came to Brisbane unprepared.” He said.
“We exchanged some serious words off the court and he took them to heart.’
“Of course I’m happy he had such success. This is also a confirmation for him that he belongs at the top of the world (in tennis).”
“But the competitors never sleep, that’s a never ending story. He has to confirm this again and again.”

So far in his career, Zverev has won 11 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as third in the world. His biggest triumph occurred towards the end of 2018 when he won the ATP Finals in London.

Reflecting on his Melbourne run last month, Zverev believes he managed to achieve the milestone thanks to a new approach he took to the event. Instead of looking at the whole tournament, he narrowed his focus to match-by-match.

“I went here in a different way. I went match by match. Didn’t look very far. I just knew I had opponents in front of me. I had to play well to beat them. That was it.” He said last month. “Whenever I won, I’d sit down in the locker room and somebody told me who I’m playing next.’
“I went step by step, match by match. Usually I [haven’t done] that in Grand Slams.”

Zverev will return to action next week at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. A tournament where he finished runner-up 12 months ago. Becker believes his compatriot could do some damage on the hard courts over the coming weeks with two prestigious North American events taking place next month in Indian Wells and Miami.

“The next tournaments are on hard courts in America. He will play there as well. There he can take a lot of points.” Becker concluded.

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New York Open Sunday Recap: Kyle Edmund Wins His Second Career ATP Title

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Kyle Edmund raising the trophy at the New York Open (newyorkopen.com)

And in an exclusive interview with UbiTennis, runner-up Andreas Seppi of Italy reveals he is pulling out of Delray Beach next week due to an injury suffered in the final.

 

In Sunday’s championship match, neither player faced a break point until 6-5 in the first set.  In that twelfth game, Seppi struggled to make first serves, with Edmund hitting winners off both sides to break and secure the first set 7-5.

Kyle would break again to open the second, as Seppi played another loose game with neutral ball errors and a double fault. Up a set and a break, Edmund began to swing freely. Despite that, Seppi was able to survive a barrage of Edmund groundstroke winners to save multiple break points at 0-3. Edmund would then hold at love to make it 4-1, when Seppi left the court for a medical timeout. When Andreas returned, Edmund broke again by outlasting Seppi in the longest rally of the match. Kyle then closed out the match 7-5, 6-1 to win the second ATP title of his career.

When I spoke with Andreas after the match, he told me he felt something in his left hamstring as he was running for a drop shot in the fifth game of the second set.  Seppi shared he will be skipping the Delray Beach event next week due to the injury, and will head home a week earlier than expected to rest and await the arrival of his first child.

“I just felt like I could really never put him under pressure today,” Seppi told me, when asked about how difficult it was to get into Edmund’s service games.

Edmund had a great serving day, striking 11 aces and facing no break points.  He won 94% of first serve points in the match (31/33), against a player in Seppi who had won 36% of his return games this week prior to today’s final.  I asked Kyle about how crucial his serving was in Sunday’s victory.

“When I got my first serve in I lost a couple points on it, so it really worked well for me. When you get that first strike in- I mean that big first serve in- when I can get on my forehand, that’s where I want to be, and I was winning a lot of points like that this week,” said Edmund.

Kyle also spoke about how important this title is to him.

“When you’re young and training, or playing tennis, these are the sort of things you imagine: wanting to win professional titles,” said Edmund.

In the doubles final, Dominic Inglot and Aisam-ul-Haq-Qureshi won their first title as a team, defeating Reilly Opelka and Steve Johnson 7-6(5), 7-6(6). Inglot and Qureshi initially served for the championship at 5-4 in the second, yet failed to close out the match. In the eventual second set tiebreak, Johnson narrowly missed a forehand down the line at 6-6. On the next point, an unreturned Inglot serve ended the American team’s quest for a title on home soil. Inglot and Qureshi were also finalists last week in Montpellier.

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