Former world No.1 Serena Williams has said she played ‘her worst match of the tournament’ after suffering a straight sets loss to Bianca Andreescu in the final of the US Open.
The 23-time grand slam champion struggled to find her range through the Saturday night showdown as she dropped her serve six times in the match. Unable to find a solution to counteract her opponent’s solid play, the American produced a costly nine double faults and 33 unforced errors.
“I thought she brought more intensity than versatility. I didn’t give her too much opportunity to have versatility.” Williams said of the new US Open champion.
“I love Bianca. I think she’s a great girl. But I think this was the worst match I’ve played all tournament.’
“It’s hard to know that you could do better. It’s just taking it, whatever. I don’t even know what to say.”
One of the most frustrating areas of her game was the serve. Something that is usually a reliable tactic for the American. In the final, Williams only managed to get 44% of her first serves in. Meanwhile, on her second serve she only won 13 out of 43 points.
“That was obviously on my mind, like how do I play at a level like this in a final? Again, I think Bianca obviously played well. I think her returns make me play better and puts pressure on my serve. At the same time it’s inexcusable for me to play at that level.”
The 37-year-old remains without a title of any kind since becoming a mother in September 2017. Williams has contested the final in four out of the past six grand slams, but has lost all of them in straight sets. Previously doing so against Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon 2018, Naomi Osaka at the US Open last year and Simona Halep at this year’s Wimbledon Championships. She is trying to draw level with Margaret Court for most major singles titles ever won by a player.
“I’m not necessarily chasing a record. I’m just trying to win Grand Slams.” She explained. “It’s definitely frustrating. But for the most part I just am still here. I’m still doing what I can do.”
During the post-match press conference, Williams’ mood turned frosty after being asked a series of questions about her reaction to the loss. One reporter said her response ‘seems genuine.’ Last year the women’s final in Flushing Meadows was overshadowed by her heated confrontation with umpire Carlos Ramos. Who she called a ‘liar’ and a ‘cheat’ for issuing her with a warning for coaching.
Reporter: “Your resolve and congratulations seemed genuine. Are these losses starting to have less impact on you?”
Williams: “I don’t know how to answer that.”
Reporter: “You congratulated your opponent.”
Williams: “I always congratulate my opponent, yeah.”
Reporter: “Last year you were excusing more yourself than today or not?”
Williams: “I don’t understand that question. Excusing more myself? Anyway, thank you.”
Williams has now played in 33 grand slam finals. She will drop one place to ninth in the WTA rankings when they are updated on Monday. Meanwhile, Andreescu will rise to fifth.
French Open Finalist Marketa Vondrousova Undergoes Surgery
It is a premature end to what has been a breakthrough season for the Czech.
Czech rising star Marketa Vondrousova will miss the rest of the season after undergoing an operation on her left wrist.
The 20-year-old made the announcement on her Instagram account where she uploaded a picture of herself after undergoing the procedure. Vondrousova hasn’t played a match on the tour since Wimbledon, where she first sustained the injury. According to Czech media, she received treatment at the same facility which Petra Kvitova attended following a knife attack that severely injured her playing hand.
“For two months I tried to treat my wrist conservatively and tried everything possible. Unfortunately, nothing led to a significant improvement. That is why I decided on this solution, which should relieve me of my pain for good,” Vondrousova said is a statement issued by her team.
“Unfortunately for me, 2019 ended earlier than I wanted. I can’t wait to play back on the courts without pain anymore,“ she added.
The premature end draws the curtain on what has been a breakthrough season for Vondrousova. At the French Open she defeated Petra Martic and Johanna Konta en route to the final. Becoming the youngest player to do so at the tournament since Ana Ivanovic back in 2007. She was denied the title by Ash Barty, who prevailed in straight sets.
Yet to win a title, Vondrousova has managed to remain consistent on the tour by reaching the quarter-finals or better at six consecutive tournaments between February and June. Including the final of the Budapest Open. During that time, she managed to score two wins over Simona Halep. The highest ranked player she has defeated so far in her career.
Vondrousova is currently ranked 22nd in the world. She ends the season with a win-loss record of 29-9.
‘Relaxed’ Su-Wei Hsieh Saves Match Point To Oust Muguruza In Osaka
Su-Wei Hsieh saved match point to eliminate Garbine Muguruza from the premier-level tournament in Osaka.
Su-Wei Hsieh was in a relaxed mood as she saved match point to edge out Garbine Muguruza 3-6 7-6(1) 6-1 in Osaka.
The Wimbledon doubles champion claimed her second straight win over the Spaniard having saved match point in the contest.
After winning a tight second set, Hsieh cruised through the deciding set to secure a spot in the second round against Elise Mertens.
Even though this final part of the season can prove quite tiring, Hsieh is approaching in a more relaxed manner, “I know that anything can happen because this is almost the end of the year,” Hsieh said to the press after the win.
“I just want to be more relaxed, going more to my game. Sometimes I lose a little bit of rhythm at the beginning, so I just need to play more games to get the rhythm.
“In the second set, I felt a little bit more rhythm, and more stable myself, my personal style. It helped me a lot to get into the match and to get more game.”
As for Muguruza, this loss would have hurt her confidence a lot having not won a WTA match since June and her ranking slowly falling by the week.
Next for Hsieh will be US Open doubles champion Elise Mertens, where they have split their opening two meetings which came last season.
In other results today there were comfortable wins for Madison Keys and US Open quarter-finalist Donna Vekic over Daria Kasatkina and Caroline Garcia respectively.
Here is the second round line-up, which matches will be played across Wednesday and Thursday:
Naomi Osaka (1) v Viktoriya Tomova – Wednesday
Varvara Flink v Yulia Putintseva – Thursday
Sloane Stephens (3) v Camila Giorgi – Thursday
Su-Wei Hsieh v Elise Mertens (9) – Wednesday
Madison Keys (5) v Zarina Diyas – Wednesday
Nicole Gibbs v Angelique Kerber (4) – Wednesday
Donna Vekic (7) v Misaki Doi – Thursday
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Kiki Bertens (2) – Thursday
Despite New WTA Guidelines, Could Kim Clijsters’ Return Be Marred By Aberration?
Kim Clijsters will not have any restriction in the number of wildcards she receives. But she also deserves more in her upcoming third stint on the Tour
By the time, Kim Clijsters makes her return to professional tennis in 2020, around eight years will have passed since her second retirement from the WTA Tour. In this near-about octet of years, there have been several changes on the Tour, especially for those women attempting a return post maternity. But where does the 36-year-old stand amid these alterations?
The Belgian was one of the earlier trendsetters – of this decade – to resume her professional activity after becoming a mother for the first time. In 2009, when she returned during the American hard-court summer, the subject never gained as much traction as it did when Williams returned to the game, in 2018 after her pregnancy hiatus in 2017.
Clijsters’ win at the US Open that year – the first for an unseeded player – stifled the mushrooming of any possible avenues of such ranking tweaks back then. Over the next couple of years, as Clijsters ascended in the rankings boosted by her performances, including re-attaining her career-high of no. 1, the topic became moot.
Now, after all these years, in spite of the WTA bringing in modifications to its rules – by way of provision of special ranking to women re-joining the Tour after motherhood, among other factors – Clijsters’ continues to remain an outlying scenario. The obvious reason for this is the lapsing of time of the four-time Major champion’s returning to pro tennis. According to the new rules, a player who is out of the Tour on account of pregnancy must make a comeback within three years after her child’s birth, at most.
Her previous successes and titles ensure Clijsters will never lack for wildcards from tournaments, as per the WTA regulations. However, the question stemming here is should an exception be made for the former world no. 1 vis-à-vis the special ranking while overlooking the passing of years?
When announcing her imminent return to the Pro Tour on the WTA Insider podcast, Clijsters mentioned about challenging herself. “I don’t feel like I want to prove something. I think for me it’s the challenge…,” she said.
“The love for the sport is obviously still there. But the question still is, am I capable of bringing it to a level where I would like it to be at and where I want it to be at before I want to play at a high level of one of the best women’s sports in the world. I don’t feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again. This is my marathon. This is where I’m saying, ‘OK, let’s try this’.”
Clijsters’ path to trying this while taking it on as a challenge need not come at a cost of her being immediately pushed off the deep end in terms of encountering a higher-seeded opponent. The present state of the WTA would make it for an interesting match-up – whenever it happens – but it would also be akin to defeating the purpose underlining her return, regardless of how confident the 2011 Australian Open champion is with her timing.
The norms, too, could be nudged into further relooking easing them towards a player’s preference in ascertaining her post-childbirth return instead of clubbing them, at large. After all, as significant as Williams’ laurels were to usher in changes, Clijsters’ stunner yet again proves the variety that exists in women’s decision-making.
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(VIDEO) US Open Day 12: Daniil Medvedev Stands In The Way Of Nadal’s 19th Grand Slam Title
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