Dominant Serena Williams Silences Skeptics in 2014 US Open Semifinal Rout - UBITENNIS
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Dominant Serena Williams Silences Skeptics in 2014 US Open Semifinal Rout

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TENNIS US OPEN – She’s rolling now, crushing opponents and symbolically all those who doubted her. A season that seemed destined to go nowhere for Serena Williams, a season that made some of us suggest that at almost 33 years old her best days were over, is now headed to the stars. Art Spander for bleacherreport.com

 

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She’s rolling now, crushing opponents and symbolically all those who doubted her. (Blush!). A season that seemed destined to go nowhere for Serena Williams, a season that made some of us suggest that at almost 33 years old her best days were over, is now headed to the stars—and the record books.

Was she ever any better than she was Friday afternoon in a semifinal of the U.S. Open? Was she any more dominant, more overwhelming more—yes—awesome? Maybe, but probably not.

Serena destroyed bewildered Ekaterina Makarova, 6-1, 6-3. She needed only one hour. That’s 60 minutes. That’s ridiculous.

It was a terrible, swift sword of a victory, a win that told us whatever happened at the Australian Open, at the French Open and at Wimbledon, she remains a major force. In women’s tennis, she’s the major force.

“Well, Serena, she’s a great, unbelievable player,” said Makarova.

The Russian hadn’t lost a set in five previous matches this Open. This day, as the sun shone, the thermometer climbed into the 80s and—as so often happens at Arthur Ashe Stadium—the wind swirled; Makarova was fortunate to win four games.

“It’s always tough to play against her,” said Makarova, who had been 1-3 against Williams in their careers. “Today, she was so aggressive. I didn’t think she will be that aggressive. She was coming (for the ball) so early, so sometimes I was too late because she was too fast.

“I lost against No. 1.”

As Williams stands currently in the rankings and, now, after her 18th win in the last 19 matches since going out in the third round at Wimbledon, she certainly will remain in that position. Her only loss during the stretch was to older sister Venus a month ago at Montreal.

And for those of us who gave up on Williams, who believed that not even reaching the second week at the other three Grand Slams this year, much less the quarterfinals, she had meaningful advice:

“Well, there’s always…what is the word, skeptics?” Williams reminded. “I don’t know. I’m losing my mind. Anyways, that people might write or people might not believe.

“I worked really hard for Wimbledon. I worked really, really hard, and I was really disappointed and sad and shocked that I wasn’t able to win. I worked hours, more than I worked before. Maybe it’s just paying off now.”

The old order, relatively speaking, refuses to give up or give in. Thursday night, Roger Federer, who having turned 33 in August is about six weeks older than Williams, showed he still has a serve, a forehand and method.

Federer overcame a two-set deficit to beat Gael Monfils and reach the semis against Marin Cilic.

“It’s amazing to see,” Williams observed. “We’re both making it so far. It would be cool if we did it together. It would really be just an amazing, amazing feat for the both of us.”

Especially since they both have 17 Grand Slam titles, for Williams five of those at the Open, including the last two years.

Still, from a distance, nothing Williams does is amazing. And everything she does is amazing.

The lady is unpredictable. She can blow her stack, as she did five years ago in the Open, cursing out a meek lineswoman who had the temerity to call a foot fault on Williams. She can be absolutely charming and humble, praising opponents—including Makarova.

Williams is a close friend of Caroline Wozniacki, who she’ll meet in the Sunday final after Wozniacki’s opposition in the other semi, Shuai Peng, was forced to withdraw because of cramping.

“She really knows my game well and knows how to play,” said Williams, talking about Wozniacki much like a football coach talks about the team he’s playing next. All positive. Nothing negative.

Still, Williams is the favorite, having won seven of the eight matches they have played starting in 2009. The most recent were close, however, Serena needing three sets to win at Cincinnati and Montreal, both within the last month.

If Williams serves with the ferocity and accuracy she did against Makarova, she’ll be the champion.

“When she’s on fire, she’s hard to beat,” said Wozniacki. “But I have had two tough matches against her the last few weeks. I was really close. Hopefully for me that would be the third time’s the charm.”

Serena had some good things to say about the Woz.

“She’s so consistent,” said Williams. “I think that’s one of the things that makes her really tough. So I just have to be ready for that and, again, just stay calm and just be able to relax and be happy. You know, the beginning…the past six months I would never thought I’d be here.”

Neither did a great many of us, the ones Serena labels as skeptics. Perhaps we should have been careful. Perhaps Williams should have been successful. She won three Slams in 2013, needing only one more to tie Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Then she bumbles through the first three Slams of 2014.

“In the beginning of the week,” she said about her play at the Open, “I definitely wasn’t sure I would make it this long.”

Does she mean it? Or is she teasing us? What goes through her mind? How does she stomp Alize Cornet, 6-1, in the first set of their Wimbledon match and then lose the next two sets? How does she batter Makarova and then tell us, “I didn’t see myself being that aggressive?”

Makarova did. Everyone in the arena did.

“You don’t know what it means to me,” she said to the crowd over the public address system about the win. Now Caroline wants to go for her first Grand Slam. “I want to make some history.”

She’s made plenty of history. She’s also made her critics as baffled as poor Ekaterina Makarova was on court. What a lady.

Article from bleacherreport.com

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Alycia Parks Stuns Garcia To Win First Tour Title In Lyon

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Image via WTA Twitter

Rising star Alycia Parks is on the verge of breaking into the world’s top 50 for the first time after stunning world No.4 Caroline Garcia in straight sets to win the Lyon Open. 

 

22-year-old Parks, who contested just three WTA main draws last year, battled to a 7-6(7), 7-5, win over Garcia who is the first top-five player she has beaten on the Tour. Throughout the final, the American didn’t drop serve after saving all four break points she faced. In total, she produced 28 winners with 15 of those being aces. It is only the second time she has beaten a top 10 player on the Tour after Maria Sakkari at the Ostrava Open last year. 

“I want to thank you for all coming out, this title means a lot to me,” Parks said afterwards. “France has a special part in my heart right now. I want to congratulate Garcia, you had an amazing week, keep playing how you’re playing.”

The victory caps off what has been a breakthrough week for Parks who dropped two sets in five matches played which was in her opening two rounds. Earlier in the tournament, she also defeated seventh seed Danka Kovinic and fourth seed Petra Martic to become only the third unseeded player to win a WTA event so far this year.  

Parks was ranked 199th in the world 12 months ago but has climbed up the rankings and is now set to break into the world’s top 70 for the first time on Monday. Towards the end of last year, she won back-to-back WTA 125 tournaments and has now won 16 out of her last 17 matches played. Her only loss was to Czech teenager Sara Bejlek in the second round of qualifying at the Australian Open.

As for Garcia, Sunday’s clash was the first time she had contested a WTA final in her home city of Lyon. Coming into her clash with Parks, she had won 10 out of her last 11 finals played on the Tour. It is the 40th time in her career she has lost to an American player in a WTA main draw.

Congrats on an amazing week and the (past) couple of months have been unbelievable (for you),” said Garcia. “It’s your first WTA title today and it was well deserved. You played amazing and if you keep playing like this you are for sure going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks, who graduated from High School in 2019, is coached on the Tour by her father Michael who has been her main mentor since childhood. 

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Garbine Muguruza Switches Focus From Ranking Points To Enjoyment In Hunt For Form

Ranked outside the WTA top 80 for the first time since 2013, Muguruza is hoping to stage a comeback with the help of a new perspective.

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Garbine Muguruza (ESP) waves to the crowd after defeating Fiona Ferro (FRA) on No.2 Court in the first round of the Ladies' Singles at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 1 Monday 28/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

To say that last year was tough for Gabine Muguruza is a bit of an understatement. 

 

The Spaniard started 2022 among the best players in the world and was ranked No.3 as a result of her triumph at the WTA Finals just a couple of months earlier. However, the year didn’t go as planned for two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza who won just 12 matches. In total, she played in 17 tournaments but only managed to score back-to-back victories in two of them. In October she plummeted down the rankings from 13th to 57th. 

Muguruza’s problems have continued into this season. She is yet to win a match and is now down to 82nd in the world which is her lowest position in almost a decade. January 2013 was the last time the 29-year-old was ranked outside the top 100. 

“I’ve had so many moments in my career where I’ve been so high, and other moments when I’ve not been so high. It’s a process of trying to get back up there,” the former world No.1 told The National. “Now I’m focusing on training hard and being humble.
“You have to know that maybe you haven’t had the success recently as you had in other years, but that’s fine because things can change very quickly.
“With tennis, one week it can go wrong, then next week it can go well, then everything changes again. I think experience helps me to stay calm in the not-so-good moments when I haven’t been playing as well or results haven’t followed.”

It is a frustrating situation for somebody of Muguruza’s ability to be in. At the 2021 WTA Finals, she scored four wins over top-10 players but since then hasn’t beaten anybody ranked higher than No.31 in the world. 

Eager to get back to the top of the sport, she has decided to change her outlook on how she approaches the Tour. Muguruza, who is coached by Conchita Martinez, now says her main priority is enjoying her tennis. If this is achieved, she is confident the results will follow in due course. 

“I feel that this year it’s more about keeping it calm and more simple,” she said. “Last year I put myself under a lot of pressure, telling myself to keep going to stay at the top all the time. That definitely didn’t help me, and it was a bit of a struggle.
“This year, yes ranking is important – I’ve been at every possible ranking – but that is not my priority anymore. Now it’s about enjoying my time on court and taking the trophies back home, then we’ll see what the ranking is.”

Muguruza’s next test will be at the Abu Dhabi Open, which will get underway on Monday. She has been drawn to play Karolina Pliskova in the first round who recently reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Then if she wins, she faces Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. 

“I played some good tennis [in Australia]. A bit disappointed about the quarter-final but overall my level is there. Of course, there are some things to improve to become more solid but overall the situation is quite good,” Pliskova said ahead of the first round clash. 

12 months ago Muguruza reached the third round in Abu Dhabi before losing to Maria Sakkari. 

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Injured Bianca Andreescu retires From Semi-Final match In Hua Hin

The Canadian was looking to book a spot in her first WTA final of the year but was forced to retire after injuring her right shoulder.

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Lesia Tsurenko booked her spot in the final of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin after Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire whilst down 7-6, 4-0.

 

The first set was extremely tight with the first four games being breaks of serve. Andreescu got the crucial break to lead 5-3 and served for the first set but the Ukrainian fought back to level the set at 5-5. Then Tsurenko was the one to break serve but she was able to close out the first set.

After the opener, the semi-final clash went completely one-sided with Tsurenko taking over by winning four games off the trot before Andreescu decided to call it quits. The Canadian had a medical timeout during a second set changeover.

Tsurenko gave full credit to her opponent and despite the retirement says it was a very difficult match.

“Bianca is such an amazing player she said. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today”. She said.

Tsurenko is looking to win her fifth WTA title and will be playing in her first final since 2019 in Hua Hin. She faces the China’s Lin Zhu who earlier in the day beat the number seven seed Xinyu Wang 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and 38 minutes to book her spot in the final.

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