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Serena pulls out of Italian Open with ailing knee

Serena pulls out of Italian Open with ailing knee.....»»

Category: sportsSource: thestandard thestandardMay 15th, 2019

FRENCH OPEN 19: Serena Williams tries again for 24th major

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press Women to watch at the French Open, where play begins Sunday: ___ NAOMI OSAKA Ranked: 1 Country: Japan Age: 21 2019 Match Record: 19-5 2019 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 3 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 — Australian Open (2019), U.S. Open (2018) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-Lost in 3rd Round, 2017-1st, 2016-3rd, 2015-Did Not Play, 2014-DNP Aces: After going only 5-4 on clay last year, heads to Paris with a 7-1 mark on the surface in 2019. ... Withdrew with injuries from tournaments in Stuttgart (abdominal muscle) and Rome (thumb). Topspin: Big hitting carried her to two Grand Slam titles in a row on hard courts. Clay presents different challenges. ___ SIMONA HALEP Ranked: 3 Country: Romania Age: 27 2019 Match Record: 23-8 2019 Singles Titles: 0 Career Singles Titles: 18 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — French Open (2018) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-Won Championship, 2017-Runner-Up, 2016-4th, 2015-2nd, 2014-RU Aces: Among the WTA's top 10 in break points converted and first-serve percentage in 2019. ... Pulled out of Italian Open with hamstring problem, but said she was sure she'd be OK for Paris. Topspin: Tries to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time. Her movement and defense-to-offense skills have carried her to three of the past five finals at Roland Garros. ___ KIKI BERTENS Ranked: 4 Country: Netherlands Age: 27 2019 Match Record: 26-10 2019 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 9 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: SF, French Open (2016) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-3rd, 2017-2nd, 2016-SF, 2015-1st, 2014-4th Aces: Ranks in the tour's top two in aces and service points won this season. ... Hit 20 aces in one match. ... At past three clay events, went semifinals-title-semifinals. Topspin: Has the game and the confidence to go far in Paris. Many in tennis think she is ready to play well deep into the second week at a major tournament. ___ PETRA KVITOVA Ranked: 6 Country: Czech Republic Age: 29 2019 Match Record: 28-8 2019 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 27 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 — Wimbledon (2011, 2014) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-3rd, 2017-2nd, 2016-3rd, 2015-4th, 2014-3rd Aces: Pulled out of Rome with a left calf issue. ... Is third on tour in aces this year, but also has hit by far the most double-faults. Topspin: Since getting to the 2012 semifinals at Roland Garros, only has been past the third round once. Her strong lefty strokes and recent form on clay could mean that changes this year. ___ SLOANE STEPHENS Ranked: 7 Country: United States Age: 26 2019 Match Record: 14-9 2019 Singles Titles: 0 Career Singles Titles: 6 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — U.S. Open (2017) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-RU, 2017-DNP, 2016-3rd, 2015-4th, 2014-4th Aces: Recently hired coach Sven Groeneveld, who has worked with such past French Open champions as Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic. Topspin: Run to last year's final in Paris showed that Stephens is capable of winning a Grand Slam championship on clay to go with her hard-court title from the U.S. Open. ___ ASH BARTY Ranked: 8 Country: Australia Age: 23 2019 Match Record: 24-5 2019 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 4 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: QF, Australian Open (2019) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-2nd, 2017-1st, 2016-DNP, 2015-DNP, 2014-1st Aces: After going 1-6 against top-10 opponents in 2018, she is 6-4 in those matches in 2019. ... Played cricket while away from the tour for nearly two years after the 2014 U.S. Open. Topspin: After major breakthroughs at the Australian Open in January and when she collected the title at the Miami Open in March, seems poised to show big improvement on her 2-5 career record at the French Open. ___ SERENA WILLIAMS Ranked: 10 Country: United States Age: 37 2019 Match Record: 7-2 2019 Singles Titles: 0 Career Singles Titles: 72 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 23 — French Open (2002, 2013, 2015), Australian Open (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017), Wimbledon (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016), U.S. Open (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014) Last 5 French Opens: 2018-4th, 2017-DNP, 2016-RU, 2015-W, 2014-2nd Aces: Back in the top 10 this year after dropping out of the top 400 while away from the tour to have a baby. ... After missing about 1½ years of majors, reached two Grand Slam finals in 2018. ... Pulled out of last two tournaments because of injured left knee. Topspin: Comes to Paris with only one clay-court match since last year's French Open. There's also uncertainty about the status of her knee. So while she's always considered a favorite, no matter the site or surface, when she is healthy, it is hard to know what to expect from her this time around......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2019

Serena Williams set to return from injury at Italian Open

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Serena Williams is set to return from injury at the upcoming Italian Open. Tournament director Sergio Palmieri told The Associated Press on Friday that he spoke with Williams' agent and that Williams "has already reserved her rooms and should be here a few days early" for the May 13-19 event. Williams has not played since withdrawing from her third-round match at the Miami Open in March with a previously undisclosed left knee injury. She hasn't played in Rome since winning her fourth title at the clay-court event in 2016, when she beat Madison Keys in the final. Roger Federer's status, meanwhile, remains a question mark. Federer's announced schedule has him playing the Madrid Open next week as his only warmup for the French Open, which starts May 26. The 37-year-old Federer skipped the clay season the last two years. "Federer is entered to play, which is different from the last two years when he withdrew ahead of time," Palmieri said. "So the fact that he's entered means it's possible for him to play. It's impossible to predict, though. ... Knowing him, it's more probable that he'll come only if he's playing well." While he is a four-time runner-up, Federer has never won the Italian Open — making it one of the few significant trophies he hasn't claimed. "Playing three consecutive tournaments on clay at his age is complicated," Italian tennis federation president Angelo Binaghi said. "But I think it also depends on his results in Madrid." The only top men who have withdrawn from Rome are sixth-ranked Kevin Anderson and 16th-ranked Milos Raonic, who are both injured. The only top woman to pull out so far was three-time champion Maria Sharapova, who is recovering from a right shoulder injury. The Italian federation said 1999 champion Venus Williams and former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka received wild cards to the tournament according to the WTA rule for former top-20 players. Another wild card was given to Sara Errani. The men's wild cards are Matteo Berrettini, last week's Hungarian Open champion, and Andreas Seppi and Lorenzo Sonego......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2019

AC Milan s fans banking on Ibrahimovic to rescue ailing club

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press Veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is returning to help his struggling former club AC Milan, which is reeling from a humiliating defeat and languishing way behind city rival Inter Milan. Ibrahimovic's arrival resembles something of a rescue mission for a seven-time European champion fallen on tough times. That's because Milan is mired in 11th place in Serie A, a distant 21 points behind league leader Inter, and none of its players has more than four league goals this season. Matters reached a crushing low last Sunday, when Italy's most successful club in the European Cup endured its heaviest league defeat in 21 years, a 5-0 defeat at Atalanta on Sunday. The club desperately needs Ibrahimovic at his best to stem the rot and have a chance at qualifying for a European place next season. “I’ll fight together with my teammates to change the course of this season,“ said Ibrahimovic, who has never lacked confidence in a stellar and varied career. “I will do everything to make it happen.“ The 38-year-old Swede has agreed a deal until the end of the season with the option to extend the contract for another season, the club announced Friday. Ibrahimovic has taken his brash confidence with him wherever he has gone. He needed it as a shield when forging a career against considerable adversity when he was growing up in Sweden. After starting out with modest Malmö, he then impressed enough with Amsterdam-based Ajax to earn a move to Italian powerhouse Juventus at the age of 23. From there followed stints with Inter and Spanish giant Barcelona. He scored regularly for both, but for once he was overshadowed by the diminutive frame of Lionel Messi at Barca. He stayed with the Catalan club only one season, taking the hint there was a bigger star than him shining, and so joined Milan for two seasons. He then moved to Paris Saint-Germain, where he had a prolific four years, and subsequently to Manchester United and recently the LA Galaxy. But Ibrahimovic always spoke fondly of his time with the Rossoneri and keenly left the door open for a move back. “I’m coming back to a club I hugely respect and to the city of Milan I love,“ said Ibrahimovic, Sweden's record scorer with 62 international goals and owner of nearly 500 club goals. He has been named the best player in Serie A and the French Ligue 1 three times, and best foreign player in Italy five times. The deal is subject to medical examination and Ibrahimovic will be in Milan on Jan. 2 to take it, before joining his teammates for his first training session. If he's passed fit it will then be time for Ibra, as he is known, to show Milan's fans he has lost none of the old magic against Sampdoria on Jan. 6. Fittingly for a player who craves the limelight, that match is at home. Milan's fans will expect nothing less than instant success, and neither will he......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2019

Like a lion, Nadal beats Schwartzman to reach US Open semi

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Rafael Nadal kept pulling away in his U.S. Open quarterfinal, then getting reeled back in by Diego Schwartzman. In the first set, Nadal led 4-0 before Schwartzman got to 4-all. In the second, Nadal went up 5-1 before Schwartzman made it 5-all. Took more than two hours just for those two sets. Eventually, both were claimed by Nadal. And so, ultimately, was the match and a berth in a 33rd Grand Slam semifinal for Nadal, who prevented Schwartzman from reaching his first by winning 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 after 12:30 a.m. Thursday in Arthur Ashe Stadium. "Like a lion in the ... jungle. He's big. He's a fighter. He knows how to play the important moments, every single time," Schwartzman said. "I've played him eight times and every important moment, he played better than me." No wonder Nadal is 8-0 against the guy. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are both out of the bracket, but Nadal is still around, meaning at least one member of the Big Three is in the semis at a 62nd consecutive major tournament. That trio has combined to win the last 11 Slam trophies — and Nadal is going to be heavily favored to make that 12. None of the other men left has played in a major final, let alone won one. Nadal, though, is closing in on a fourth championship at the U.S. Open and his 19th at all majors, which would move him within only one of Federer's record for men. On Friday, Nadal will play No. 24 Matteo Berrettini, a 23-year-old from Rome who is Italy's first male semifinalist in New York since 1977. Berrettini barely got there, edging No. 13 Gael Monfils 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5) on Wednesday. The other men's semifinal will be No. 5 Daniil Medvedev of Russia vs. 78th-ranked Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. In the women's semifinals Thursday, Serena Williams meets No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, and No. 13 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland takes on No. 15 Bianca Andreescu of Canada. Dimitrov won a five-setter Tuesday night against Federer, who was hampered by an issue with his upper back. Medvedev won his quarterfinal in four sets against Stan Wawrinka, who had built a big lead in the fourth round against Djokovic when the defending champion stopped because of pain in his left shoulder. A year ago, it was Nadal whose body broke down: He retired from his semifinal against runner-up Juan Martin del Potro because of a bad knee. This time, on a muggy night with the humidity above 50%, the left-hander raised some concern by having a trainer come out to rub a cream into that forearm during a changeover early in the third set. At the next changeover, Nadal flexed his right forearm and was visited again by the trainer, took a salt pill and guzzled some drinks, then shook that arm between points in the following game. Afterward, Nadal said he had dealt with cramps late in the second set and early in the third. "And then I took some salt, that's all, and then it was over. The body is in good shape, I think. Not big problems," Nadal said. "Just, of course, a little tired. Long day." Still, Nadal managed to play his best when it mattered the most against the 20th-seeded Schwartzman, an Argentine serenaded by loud choruses of "Olé! Olé! Olé! Olé!" by an audience that included former San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili. Nadal came up with a service break in the last game of each of the opening two sets, then the last one he would need made it 4-2 in the third and he broke yet again to end it. "I don't know how," Schwartzman said, "but this guy is improving every time." Now Nadal becomes Berrettini's problem. Berrettini describes his mental coach as a big help and a best friend. They've been speaking on the phone before and after every match. And they certainly had plenty to chat about when it came to this latest victory. Berrettini double-faulted away his initial match point and then needed four more to finally put away Monfils after nearly four hours. "He told me, 'I need to thank you, because I thought that everyone is born once and dies once. But during that match, I was born and died 15 or 16 times,'" Berrettini said about his conversation with the mental coach he's worked with for several years. "I collapsed and got back up. I collapsed and got back up. That match point. Those other chances. I was down then I came back. It's a great source of pride for me." In truth, the denouement was hardly a thing of beauty, with both men, clearly spent, fighting themselves and the tension of the moment as much as the guy on the other side of the net. Monfils finished with 17 double-faults but managed to avoid any throughout the entire, exhausting fifth set until he served at 6-5 — and then he had three in that game, plus another two in the deciding tiebreaker, often doubling over between points to rest and catch his breath. "A very bad day for me, serving," Monfils said. Berrettini acknowledged the obvious afterward, too, saying he felt "a little bit tight." You think? It all was a bit of a whir. "Right now, I don't remember any points, just the (last) match point, you know?" he said. "I remember also the double-fault; I have to be honest.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2019

Shaky start to No. 1 Naomi Osaka s US Open title defense

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Osaka put her right hand in the shape of a gun and pointed two fingers at her temple, her face grim, while she looked toward her guest box. She'd just dropped the second set, moments after wasting a match point, as her U.S. Open title defense got off to a shaky start Tuesday. Her body language told the story: the eye rolls, the balled up fists covering her face at a changeover, the racket resting atop her head. Stretched to a third. Anna Blinkova takes the second set 7-6(5) off of defending champion Naomi Osaka!#USOpen pic.twitter.com/bb7WEuJZPz — US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 27, 2019 Back in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she beat Serena Williams in last year's chaotic final, the No. 1-seeded Osaka kept digging holes and kept climbing out of them, eventually emerging with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 victory over 84th-ranked Anna Blinkova of Russia in the first round. "I don't think I've ever been this nervous in my life," Osaka told the crowd during her post-match interview. "For me, I just came off really slow and I never really found my rhythm." The 21-year-old from Japan wore a black sleeve over her left knee, which has been an issue recently. But it wasn't so much her movement as her erratic strokes that presented problems for Osaka, who finished with 50 unforced errors, more than double Blinkova's total of 22. "You kind of want to do well after you did well last year," Osaka said, when asked why she felt so many jitters while trailing 3-0 and 4-1 at the outset. "Just definitely," she said, "didn't want to lose in the first round." Osaka avoided that sort of disappointment. Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 21-year-old from Greece who was seeded No. 8, did not. He lost in the first round for the second Slam in a row — and made a lot of noise on his way out, saying during a late dispute with chair umpire Damien Dumusois: "You're all weirdos." After getting broken to trail 4-3 in the last set of his 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 7-5 loss to Andrey Rublev, Tsitsipas was fiddling around with a plastic bag of sweat bands and head wraps at a changeover when Dumusois announced it was time for play to resume. Tsitsipas said he wasn't ready; Dumusois, essentially, told him that was too bad. Tsitsipas told the official, who already had warned him about getting coaching help, to go ahead and call him for a violation; Dumusois obliged, docking a point. "This chair umpire, I don't know, he has something against me. I don't know why," said Tsitsipas, who upset Roger Federer en route to the Australian Open semifinals in January but bowed out of Wimbledon in the first round. Another highly seeded man went out when No. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut, a Wimbledon semifinalist, was defeated by Mikhail Kukushkin 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, while No. 14 John Isner and 2014 champion Marin Cilic each won in straight sets. No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 4 Dominic Thiem were in later matches. In other women's results on Day 2, two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza was eliminated by Alison Riske of the U.S. 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, while two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and No. 13 seed Belinda Bencic both won in two sets. During the professional era, which began in 1968, only two U.S. Open women's champions have lost in the first round the following year: It happened in 2005 to Svetlana Kuznetsova and again in 2017 to Angelique Kerber — who was beaten by none other than Osaka, ranked 45th at the time and yet to get past the third round at a major tournament. Osaka thought back to that match Tuesday. "I could kind of see how stressed out (Kerber) was and that was in my favor," Osaka said. "I don't want to give people that look." This victory, difficult as it was, stretched Osaka's winning streak in hard-court Grand Slam matches to 15, which includes her run to the titles at Flushing Meadows in 2018 and at the Australian Open in January. Those helped her become the first Japanese tennis player to be ranked No. 1, a spot she regained this month. Osaka has spoken rather openly about the struggles she's had dealing with pressure and expectations this season. She said Tuesday that she hoped figuring out how to get past Blinkova — who is now 0-2 at the U.S. Open and 0-4 against top-10 opponents — would boost her moving forward. "It helps me a lot, because I learn from the tougher matches," Osaka said. "It helps me be prepared and try to learn and adjust my game plan.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2019

US Open 19: No. 1 Osaka defends; Serena Williams eyes 24th

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press Women to watch at the U.S. Open, where play begins Monday: ___ NAOMI OSAKA Seeded: 1 Country: Japan Age: 21 2019 Match Record: 26-10 2019 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 3 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 — U.S. Open (2018), Australian Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-Won Championship, 2017-3rd, 2016-3rd, 2015-Did Not Play, 2014-DNP Aces: Defends Slam title for first time. ... 2 of 3 tour-level titles came at hard-court majors. ... 4th this season in total aces; averages 7.2 per match. Topspin: After winning two major titles in a row, has lost two Grand Slam matches in a row. If her head is in the right place, certainly capable of a deep run, given how good her serve, strokes and movement are. Matchup to Watch For: Could play 15-year-old Coco Gauff in 3rd round. ___ ASH BARTY Seeded: 2 Country: Australia Age: 23 2019 Match Record: 42-8 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 6 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — French Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-Lost in 4th Rd, 2017-3rd, 2016-Did Not Play, 2015-DNP, 2014-1st Aces: Made second week of last 4 majors, including first Slam title in Paris. ... 27-5 on hard courts in 2019. ... Played professional cricket while away from the tennis tour for about 1½ years after 1st-round exit at 2014 U.S. Open. Topspin: Really came into her own this season, but renaissance started with fourth-round showing at Flushing Meadows last year. A title threat on all surfaces. Matchup to Watch For: Could play two-time major champ Angelique Kerber in 4th round. ___ KAROLINA PLISKOVA Seeded: 3 Country: Czech Republic Age: 27 2019 Match Record: 42-12 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 14 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: Runner-Up, U.S. Open (2016) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-QF, 2017-QF, 2016-Runner-Up, 2015-1st, 2014-3rd Aces: Might be best server not named Williams — leads tour in total aces (averages 7.4), service games won (80.6. ... Tied with Ash Barty for most match wins this year. Topspin: 14-3 U.S. Open record over past three years shows what she's capable of when her serve is clicking and the rest of her game helps support that skill. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Johanna Konta, Marketa Vondrousova, Daria Kasatkina or 2011 U.S. Open champ Sam Stosur in 4th round. ___ SIMONA HALEP Seeded: 4 Country: Romania Age: 27 2019 Match Record: 39-12 2019 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 19 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 — French Open (2018), Wimbledon (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-1st, 2017-1st, 2016-QF, 2015-SF, 2014-3rd Aces: Winning 44.4% of return games, second on tour in 2019. ... Hasn't won a match in New York since 2016. Topspin: Tends to play better with less pressure and outside expectations — see results at French Open vs. Wimbledon this year — so maybe will show her best at Flushing Meadows. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Wimbledon semifinalist Barbora Strycova in 3rd round. ___ SERENA WILLIAMS Seeded: 8 Country: United States Age: 37 2019 Match Record: 19-5 2019 Singles Titles: 0 Career Singles Titles: 72 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 23 — U.S. Open (6: 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014), Australian Open (7: 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017), French Open (3: 2002, 2013, 2015), Wimbledon (7: 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-RU, 2017-DNP, 2016-SF, 2015-SF, 2014-W Aces: Winning 74.3% of first-serve points this season, No. 1 on tour. ... Runner-up at 3 of past 5 Slams, including last year in New York. ... Trying for 24th major singles trophy to equal Margaret Court for most in history. Topspin: Ankle, knee, back issues in 2019. Health could be key for her at U.S. Open, where she has been to the final in 7 of last 9 appearances. Matchup to Watch For: Plays five-time major champ Maria Sharapova in 1st round. ___ SLOANE STEPHENS Seeded: 11 Country: United States Age: 26 2019 Match Record: 21-15 2019 Singles Titles: 0 Career Singles Titles: 6 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — U.S. Open (1: 2017) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-QF, 2017-W, 2016-DNP, 2015-1st, 2014-2nd Aces: 11-2 in tiebreakers this season. ... Reunited with coach Kamau Murray after splitting with Sven Groeneveld. Topspin: Will be interesting to see how returning to work with Murray, her coach when she won her title at Flushing Meadows two years ago, sparks Stephens. Matchup to Watch For: Could play two-time major champ Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2nd round. ___ BIANCA ANDREESCU Seeded: 15 Country: Canada Age: 19 2019 Match Record: 38-4 2019 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 2 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: 2nd Round, Australian Open and French Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-DNP, 2017-DNP, 2016-DNP, 2015-DNP, 2014-DNP Aces: 7-0 against top-10 opponents, including 4-0 against top 5, during breakout season. Topspin: Biggest impediment is injuries, including to her right shoulder, but if she feels well, should be able to make a run in her U.S. Open debut. Matchup to Watch For: Could play 2018 Australian Open champ Caroline Wozniacki in 3rd round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2019

Madison Keys, Daniil Medvedev get 1st titles in Cincy

By Joe Kay, Associated Press MASON, Ohio (AP) — Two unexpected champions embraced their first Rookwood championship trophies, concluding a week that brought more questions than clarity to the upcoming U.S. Open. Who's going to be healthy on the women's side? Will stumbles in the men's bracket at the Western & Southern Open carry over to New York? And are Madison Keys and Daniil Medvedev capable of carrying their newfound momentum into a Grand Slam event? After winning the biggest tournament title of their careers, they were already getting asked about how it might transfer to the bigger stage. Keys rallied late in both sets and beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 7-6 (5) Sunday for her second title of the season and easily the biggest of her career. After flameouts in her last three tournaments and a tough draw for the week, she couldn't imagine the outcome. Back on the court to receive the trophy , she told the crowd: "If you told me this is where I would be a week ago, I would have laughed in your face!" Yet there she was, back in the Top 10 on a surprising upswing heading to New York. She'll move up to the No. 10 ranking after a gritty showing that was typical of her week. She broke Kuznetsova to pull even in both sets at 5-5 and then pulled them out with a steady serve. Keys hadn't made it past the second round in her last three tournaments, including Wimbledon. Now she's got a good feeling with her favorite Grand Slam event at hand. "It's definitely a great building block," Keys said. "I want to do well in New York and have a good end to the season." At 34, Kuznetsova was the oldest finalist in the Western & Southern Open's history. She beat three top-10 players in a tournament — Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova and Ashleigh Barty — for the first time in her 19-year career. The 153rd-ranked player got a late start on the season as she completed a seven-month recovery from a knee injury. In her ninth tournament of the season, she got her game together and got her best result in two years. "Honestly, I didn't expect to be so good at this tournament," she said. After what happened in Cincinnati during the week, nobody knows what to expect in the women's bracket in New York. Serena Williams dropped out of Cincinnati because of back spasms that also forced her to withdraw from the final in Toronto. Naomi Osaka, the defending U.S. Open champion, withdrew from her semifinal match on Friday with discomfort in her left knee that left her worried about her condition heading to New York. There's some intrigue on the men's side, too. The bracket in Cincinnati was billed as a reunion of the Big Four — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray back together for the first time since January. None of them made it to the final. Nadal won the Rogers Cup last Sunday and withdrew from the Western & Southern, citing fatigue. Murray played singles for the first time since hip surgery in January and lost his opening match. Seven-time champion Federer was knocked out in the quarterfinals, and Djokovic lost to Medvedev in the semifinals with the crowd cheering him on. The Russian thanked the crowd for its support after beat David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-4 for his first Masters 1000 title Sunday. It was his third straight final, but the first time he'd won. Medvedev lost to Nadal on Montreal a week earlier, then went on to reach his sixth final of this season, most on the ATP tour. He's won twice. "To finally lift the trophy this week is an amazing feeling," Medvedev said. At age 23, he became the youngest Cincinnati champion since Murray at age 21 in 2008. "Congratulations," Goffin told him, "and I think you're ready for New York.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2019

Barty upset in Cincy semifinals, misses top spot for US Open

By Joe Kay, Associated Press MASON, Ohio (AP) — Ashleigh Barty's chance to move back to No. 1 was only one victory away. At the end of an up-and-down week, she didn't have another comeback left. Barty lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Saturday, adding to the tournament's week of upsets and injuries. The women's bracket has a lot questions with New York just around the corner. No. 1 isn't one of them. Barty's seven-week run atop the field ended when Naomi Osaka edged ahead of her in the latest ranking. A victory Saturday would have moved Barty back ahead for the U.S. Open. Instead, she dropped the opening set for the third straight match and this time, there was no digging out. "A week that we battled through," Barty said. "I think at times I played some good stuff. At times, I played some pretty awful stuff." Which will it be for Barty at the Open? And will Osaka be in good enough shape to defend her title? Osaka dropped out of her semifinal match Friday with discomfort in her left knee that caused her worry. She still plans to play in New York, but it's unclear whether the knee will be a problem. And then there's Serena Williams, who retired in the finals at Toronto last Sunday because of back spasms. She also withdrew from Cincinnati before her first match, but stuck around to cheer sister Venus until her loss in the quarterfinals. For Barty, it was another instance of a slow start leaving her trying to dig out. This time, a resurgent Kuznetsova gave her no openings, knocking off a top-five player for the second time this week to reach her first final of the season. "Sveta was unreal today," Barty said. It's been awhile since her play has been described that way. The 153rd-ranked player is recovering from seven-month layoff because of a knee injury. Playing in her ninth event of the season, she got her game together, winning her first Premier-level semifinal since 2017 at Madrid. "Well, sometimes in life it's like this," Kuznetsova said. "It's like really small things change everything. Definitely it's different momentum I have now." She'll face Madison Keys , who beat Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-4 with the help of 14 aces. Keys ended her streak of failing to make it past the second round of her last three tournaments, reaching the final in Cincinnati for the first time. In the men's bracket, David Goffin reached his first Masters 1000 final by beating Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4 . Goffin also is on an upswing after falling to No. 33 in the ATP rankings on June 10, his lowest since September 2014. "Of course, it was a tough period there," Goffin said. "I was coming back from injuries. I had some trouble with my confidence. I couldn't find my rhythm, my game. So it's great now. I'm feeling great. I'm back at my best tennis." Defending champion Novak Djokovic was scheduled for an evening match against Daniil Medvedev. The men's bracket also took several notable hits throughout the week. Originally billed as a reunion of the Big Four — Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray together for the first time since January — it quickly lost its luster. Nadal dropped out after winning the Rogers Cup, citing fatigue. Murray played singles for the first time since hip surgery in January and lost his opening match. And Federer, the seven-time champion, failed to reach the weekend, losing in the quarterfinals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 18th, 2019

Halep wins Wimbledon, stops Williams bid for 24th Slam

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Clutching her trophy 20 minutes after becoming Wimbledon's champion, Simona Halep checked out the board inside Centre Court that lists tournament winners. Below all of the mentions of Serena Williams, her opponent in Saturday's final, there already was inscribed: "Miss S. Halep." Halep was not concerned with preventing Williams from winning a 24th Grand Slam title. All Halep cared about was winning her first at the All England Club. And she played pretty much perfectly. On top of her game right from start to finish, Halep overwhelmed Williams 6-2, 6-2 in stunning fashion for her second major championship. The whole thing took less than an hour as Williams lost her third Slam final in a row as she tries to equal Margaret Court's record for most major trophies in tennis history. "She literally played out of her mind. Congratulations, Simona. It was a little bit 'a deer in the headlights' for me," Williams said. "So, I mean, whenever a player plays that amazing, you just kind of have to take your hat off and give them a nod of the head." How good was the No. 7-seeded Halep? She made a mere three unforced errors, a remarkably low total and 23 fewer than Williams. Not bad for someone who has been frank about how jittery she has gotten in past big matches and began the day having lost nine of 10 matchups against Williams. But after losing each of her first three major finals, Halep now has won two straight, including at last year's French Open. "Well, I had nerves. My stomach was not very well before the match," said Halep, a 27-year-old Romanian, "but I knew there is no time for emotions. I just came on court and I gave my best." Couldn't have been any better, really. Williams also lost in straight sets against Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final a year ago, and against Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open last September. The 37-year-old American hasn't won a tournament since the 2017 Australian Open, when she set the professional-era record of 23 Grand Slam championships (Court won 13 of her titles against amateur competition). Williams was pregnant when she won in Australia and then took more than a year off the tour; her daughter, Olympia, was born in September 2017. Since returning to tennis, Williams has dealt with injuries but still managed to remain among the game's elite. In part because of a bad left knee, she only had played 12 matches all season until Wimbledon. "Just got to keep fighting," Williams said, "and just keep trying." Didn't take long on Saturday for Halep to demonstrate this was not going to be easy for Williams. Not by any means. Showing off the talents and traits that once lifted her to No. 1 in the rankings, Halep never really gave Williams a chance to get into the match. Halep tracked down everything, as is her wont. She didn't merely play defense, though, managing to go from retrieving an apparent point-ending stroke by Williams to lashing a winner of her own in a blink. Her returns were exceptional, repeatedly getting back serves that left Williams' racket at 115 mph or more. On this cloudy, cool afternoon, with the temperature in the low 70s (low 20s Celsius), Halep began with a pair of service breaks and even delivered the match's first ace, at 106 mph, which put her out front 4-0 after 11 astonishing minutes. Halep won 14 of the first 18 points, with many in the crowd roaring for each of the rare ones that went Williams' way. Halep produced eight winners before a single unforced error, avoiding a miscue until the seventh game. Williams, in stark contrast, came out looking a bit tight, short-arming shots and accumulating nine unforced errors before conjuring up a single winner. She spoke after her semifinal victory about trying to remain calm on court, and that she did, even in the face of a player who was at her very best. Williams would place a hand on her hip. Or put a palm up and look at her guest box, as if thinking, "What can I do?" Williams' greatest show of emotion came after she stretched for a forehand volley winner on the second set's second point. She leaned forward and yelled, "Come on!" But the comeback never came. Halep broke to lead 3-2 in that set when Williams pushed a backhand long, and there wasn't much left from there. Halep only had been as far as the semifinals once at Wimbledon until now. But she was determined to change that and said she told the locker-room attendants at the beginning of the tournament she wanted to grab a title to earn lifetime membership in the All England Club. "So here I am," she said Saturday, the fortnight done, her trophy won. "It was one of my motivations before this tournament. So now I am happy.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

Serena Williams loses her 3rd consecutive Grand Slam final

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — The Centre Court crowd kept roaring whenever Serena Williams would win a point in the Wimbledon final, seemingly trying to will her to make things interesting against Simona Halep. Never happened. Instead of earning an eighth title at Wimbledon and record-equaling 24th overall at Grand Slam tournaments, Williams fell one victory short yet again, beaten with surprising ease by Halep 6-2, 6-2 Saturday. Williams has now lost her past three appearances in major finals — and five of her last seven. There's no shame in repeatedly making it to championship matches, of course, but it used to be rather unusual to see her come up just short like this: Williams won 21 of the first 25 Slam finals of her career. "I'm always expected to win," Williams said. That is true. Still, it was the seventh-seeded Halep who grabbed ahold of this match and never let go, finishing with three unforced errors to Williams' 26. Halep created problems by repeatedly tracking down Williams' shots and forcing the 37-year-old American to hit another one and another one and another one to win a point. "I definitely knew that she was just playing her heart out. I felt like, 'OK, what do I need to do to get to that level?'" Williams said. "I don't know if there's anything I could have done differently." After entering the final with a tournament-high 45 aces, Williams only managed two on Saturday. She was broken in half of her eight service games. Halep had a lot to do with that. "I feel like I'm still incredibly competitive or else I wouldn't really be out here, per se," Williams said. "For the most part, I feel like I'm on the right track. I'm just going in the right direction in terms of getting back to where I need to be." She hasn't won a title of any sort since the 2017 Australian Open, when she was pregnant. That was Slam trophy No. 23, breaking a tie with Steffi Graf for the most in the professional era. It also moved Williams within one of Margaret Court's total, although Court won 13 of her 24 major titles before professionals were admitted to Grand Slam tournaments, while all 23 of Williams' major titles have come in the Open era, which began in 1968. Since returning to the tour last season after her daughter was born on Sept. 1, 2017, Williams has reached the finals at three of six major tournaments she entered, defeated in straight sets each time. A year ago, she was the runner-up at Wimbledon to Angelique Kerber, and then the runner-up at the U.S. Open to Naomi Osaka in a final that descended into chaos when Williams was penalized a game for arguing with the chair umpire. Williams recently revealed that she saw a therapist after that episode and sent Osaka a written apology. She's also dealt with a series of injuries and arrived in England having contested only 12 tour-level matches in all of 2019. Just four of the other 127 women in the Wimbledon field had fewer; 105 had at least twice as many. After losing to 20-year-old American Sofia Kenin in the third round of the French Open, Williams stuck around in Paris for medical treatment on her left knee. By the time she began preparing in earnest for Wimbledon, about 1½ weeks before the start of play, she was pain-free. "I feel like I'm just really on this journey of just doing the best that I can," Williams said Saturday, "playing the best that I can when I can." According to the WTA's website, women's tennis pioneer Billie Jean King said recently that she would like to see what Williams could do on the court if she were to put "everything else aside" and "focus on what's necessary" for her tennis. King added: "If she's happy doing it this way, then that's fine. It's whatever makes her happy — it's not about us." The last question of Williams' post-match news conference referenced those comments and asked for a reaction. "The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me," Williams said, "will be the day I'm in my grave.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

Lucky loser from US upsets 2018 champ Kerber at Wimbledon

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Lauren Davis wasn't even supposed to be playing in Wimbledon's main draw, let alone upsetting defending champion Angelique Kerber in the second round. It's been quite a week. The 95th-ranked Davis lost in the last round of qualifying and figured that was that. But then another player withdrew from the tournament, opening up a spot, and the 25-year-old American got in — a "lucky loser" in tennis parlance. On Thursday, Davis turned things around after a poor start and knocked off the No. 5-seeded Kerber 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 to get to the third round and equal her best showing at any Grand Slam tournament. "I wouldn't say that I was surprised, because I always believe in myself. She's obviously an incredible champion; I have immense respect for her," Davis said. "I definitely believe in myself and believe that I can hang with these girls and beat them." She seemed to move around just fine despite a heavily wrapped left knee. "The tape is a lot worse than it looks. It's just a little soreness with my meniscus on my left side," Davis said. "It's really just prevention at this point, especially on the grass where it can be slippery potentially." Davis was by far the more aggressive player, compiling a hard-to-believe edge of 45-13 in total winners against Kerber, whom Davis called "a human backboard." This continues what's been an up-and-down season for Kerber, who won her third career major championship a year ago at the All England Club by beating Serena Williams in the final. Kerber hasn't won a title since. "I'm disappointed. Of course it's not the way I would like to finish here or to play here," the German said. "But you sometimes have days like that. You have to accept it. You have to learn from it." DUMPED FOR COCO Just a couple of other ways in which 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff is gaining attention at Wimbledon: Her third-round match Friday against another unseeded player was scheduled for Centre Court, and she was picked to play mixed doubles by someone who dumped his original partner in that event. First, Gauff was the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon in the professional era. Then the American went out on No. 1 Court and beat Venus Williams, who is 24 years older and had won four Grand Slam titles before Gauff was born. And then she beat 2017 semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova, again on No. 1 Court, and again in straight sets. Now she'll face 60th-ranked Polona Hercog at the most hallowed tennis arena anywhere. Gauff is entered in mixed doubles with Jay Clarke, who explained after losing to Roger Federer in singles on Wednesday that he switched things up after initially planning to play with fellow Brit Harriet Dart. "I made the decision a few days ago now to play with Coco, because ... you play with a big name or a past champion," Clarke said. "Yeah, I made the decision to play with probably the biggest name in the draw at the moment." Sorry, Harriet. "Obviously, initially, she was very upset," Clarke said. "She had every right to be; I'd be too." SO LONG, MARCOS Marcos Baghdatis said goodbye to tennis with a kiss. The 2006 Australian Open runner-up played the last match of his career Thursday at Wimbledon, a 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-3 loss in the second round to 17th-seeded Matteo Berrettini. After it ended, the 34-year-old from Cyprus patted his heart with both hands, then knelt and leaned his forehead on the grass, before planting a kiss on No. 2 Court. He cried as the spectators regaled him with a lengthy standing ovation. Baghdatis, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2006, said before the tournament began that it would be his last before retirement. His wife, former player Karolina Sprem, is expecting a baby in November, their third child. "I didn't want to leave the court," Baghdatis said. "It was a nice farewell. It felt amazing.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 5th, 2019

WIMBLEDON 19: What to know, from Murray s return to FAA

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Clearly, Andy Murray's tearful farewell to tennis was premature. So, too, was tennis' farewell to Murray. About five months since Murray discussed retirement because of pain in his surgically repaired hip — and everyone wished him well in any future endeavors — he is once again on tour thanks to a new operation. He's also back at age 32 at Wimbledon, where he won singles championships in 2013 and 2016. He is, for now, entered only in men's doubles but said Saturday he wants to find a mixed doubles partner, too. "We've had a number of conversations with a few players," three-time major champion said about finding a woman to play with, although he sidestepped questions about whether that could wind up being Serena Williams. "I mean, obviously she's arguably the best player ever," he said, before deadpanning: "It would be a pretty solid partner." In January, Murray said at the Australian Open that he would need to quit the sport because of his hip. After a five-set loss there — his first opening-round loss at a Grand Slam tournament in 11 years — Murray said: "If today was my last match, look, it was a brilliant way to finish." A video was shown there with tributes from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and others. The gist: "Congratulations on a great career. You'll be missed." Except Murray decided soon thereafter to get an artificial hip. He teamed with Feliciano Lopez at Queen's Club this month for the first test — and they left with the title. At Wimbledon, he will play with Pierre Hugues-Herbert. Did that immediate success shift Murray's expectations? "That's probably one of the things that I will try to make sure doesn't change over the next few years. I think a lot of that stuff kind of comes out from other people," said Murray, who was Britain's first men's singles title winner at Wimbledon in 77 years. "I'm just happy to be playing tennis again, really." Here are other things to know for Wimbledon, the year's third Grand Slam tournament: NADAL'S SEEDING Nadal was not pleased that Wimbledon — unique to majors, it gives extra credit for results on its surface over the preceding two years — dropped him from No. 2 in the rankings to No. 3 in the seedings, swapping spots with Federer behind No. 1 Djokovic. Nadal said it wasn't fair, and he blamed the ATP for not putting pressure on the All England Club to switch the way it determines seeds. ATP POLITICS Four members of the ATP Player Council resigned Saturday, a day after a 7-hour meeting to decide the new Americas' representative on the board. Dani Vallverdu, Robin Haase, Jamie Murray and Sergiy Stakhovsky stepped down. It's part of an ongoing, behind-the-scenes power struggle in men's tennis that has included the decision to not renew the contract of CEO Chris Kermode and the resignation of board member Justin Gimelstob after he was sentenced in court for attacking a former friend in Los Angeles. Former ATP executive Weller Evans was chosen Friday to fill Gimelstob's seat. FAA Everyone wants to try to figure out the sport's next new star, and there are plenty who think it could be Felix Auger-Aliassime, an 18-year-old from Canada who is seeded 19th. There are two particularly important numbers associated with a guy many refer to by his initials, "FAA." There's 88, the ranking spots he's climbed this year, from 109th to 21st. And there's zero, his career victory total at Grand Slam tournaments. That figures to change soon. "To me," said McEnroe, a seven-time major champion and now an ESPN commentator, "he's going to be No. 1." INJURIES The latest person out of the tournament was 14th-seeded Borna Coric, who withdrew Saturday because of an abdominal injury. Brayden Schnur, who lost in qualifying, moved into the field and will face Marcos Baghdatis. Earlier withdrawals included 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro (right knee) and Bianca Andreescu (right shoulder). Among those coming back to action are 2018 finalist Kevin Anderson, who has played only two matches since March because of a right arm issue; 2018 semifinalist John Isner, out since the Miami Open final because of an injured left foot; and five-time major champion Maria Sharapova, who returned this month after being out since January with a hurt right shoulder. Petra Kvitova, who missed the French Open with a left forearm problem, plans to play at Wimbledon......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2019

Kerber to play Pliskova in Eastbourne final

EASTBOURNE, England (AP) — Reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber will face Karolina Pliskova for the Eastbourne title after semifinal opponent Ons Jabeur withdrew with a right ankle injury on Friday. Jabeur rolled the ankle on Thursday in the quarterfinals and couldn't recover in time for her second career semifinal. Chasing her first title since she beat Serena Williams in last year's Wimbledon final, Kerber will play in the Eastbourne final for the third time after losing in 2012 and 2014. The second-seeded Pliskova didn't face a single break point in beating Kiki Bertens 6-1, 6-2. For Pliskova, it was her third consecutive match dropping three games or fewer. "I'm just pleased that I made it," Pliskova said. "I didn't spend too much energy and too much time on court." Bertens stumbled and hit her head on the court at 1-0 in the second set and went on to lose the next five games. Pliskova beat Caroline Wozniacki to win the Eastbourne title in 2017 after losing to Dominika Cibulkova the year before. Kerber has a 7-4 record against Pliskova and won their only previous meeting on grass in Birmingham in 2015. Pliskova is 2-1 in finals this season and won the Italian Open last month. Kerber will start her Wimbledon title defense against Tatjana Maria and is in the same quarter of the draw as Williams and French Open champion Ash Barty. There's an all-American final in the men's draw as Taylor Fritz plays Sam Querrey. Both are unseeded. Fritz upset third-seeded Kyle Edmund 7-6 (8), 6-3, while Querrey downed Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2019

Super old Federer to face ex-contemporary s son at French

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Roger Federer, 37, joked to a stadium filled with screaming kids that he's "so super old." Stan Wawrinka, 34, pulled a crying boy out of a crush of autograph-seekers in the stands. Rafael Nadal, about to turn 33, offered this advice to youngsters at his match who might be pondering a tennis career: "The main thing is, don't think about winning Roland Garros." Schools in France are closed on Wednesdays, bringing out a, um, louder brand of fan to the French Open, and that trio of past champions of the clay-court major seemed to appreciate the adulation from the little ones who attended their straight-set victories. Fitting, too, perhaps, that Federer advanced to a third-round meeting against 20-year-old Casper Ruud, someone so much his junior that the guy's father was in the field when Federer made his debut in Paris in 1999. "I know probably more about his dad," Federer said, "than about him." Federer, the tournament's 2009 champion who hadn't been in the field in four years, will be playing his third opponent in a row who is 25 or younger, after beating 144th-ranked Oscar Otte 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round. Now the 20-time major champion takes on Ruud, a Norwegian ranked 63rd. He is coached by his father, Christian, who told Casper he once practiced with Federer, although they never played. "Ever since I can remember, I've been watching Roger on TV," said Ruud, who knocked off 29th-seeded Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. Then came this admission from Ruud: "To be honest, I've been a little bit more of a Rafa fan and Rafa guy." Better hope no one tells Roger. Still, even if he always has preferred Nadal, Ruud described what comes next this way: "I'm playing one of the greatest champions ever of this sport on Friday, so I'm just super excited for it. I can play loose and free." Wawrinka, the winner in 2015 and the runner-up two years later, also had no trouble against a much younger foe Wednesday, eliminating 22-year-old Cristian Garin 6-1, 6-4, 6-0. Afterward, Wawrinka came to the rescue of one of his tiniest fans, lifting him away from danger and offering a towel as a keepsake. "I took him out of that mess a little bit," Wawrinka said. "He was in pain and sad." Owner of three Grand Slam titles in all, Wawrinka will bring his signature backhand into what shapes up as a more competitive matchup against two-time major semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, who eliminated 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic 6-7 (3), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 over nearly 4½ hours. Nadal's form hadn't been up to his usual standards during much of the clay season: This was the first time since 2004 that he entered May without a title for the year. But he looked good while taking the title at the Italian Open this month, including a victory over Novak Djokovic in the final, and he's been close to untouchable so far as he seeks a record-extending 12th trophy in Paris. His latest tour de force was a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over 114th-ranked Yannick Maden, a qualifier from Germany. OK, so Nadal hasn't really faced much of a test yet. Still, he is displaying the court-covering, ball-walloping style he has perfected, which could come in handy when he plays 2016 French Open quarterfinalist David Goffin in the third round. "I don't like the word 'easy,' because when you win, it always looks easier," Nadal said. "I can say (I had) a comfortable victory. I have been in control most all the time. And that's the only thing that really matters." While plenty of the sport's big names still dot the men's bracket, the women's field keeps seeing top players depart. On Wednesday, No. 4 seed Kiki Bertens, a 2016 semifinalist and considered a contender for her first major title, quit during the first set of her match against Viktoria Kuzmova because she was sick. Tears filled Bertens' eyes as she described waking up at 3 a.m., feeling ill. "Vomiting. Diarrhea. All night long, all day long. I felt a little bit better before the match. I had some sleep, and I just wanted to give it a try," she said. "But then as soon as I start warming up right before the match, it started again. There was not any energy left." Bianca Andreescu, an 18-year-old Canadian who was seeded 22nd, pulled out before her match against 20-year-old American Sonia Kenin, citing an injured right shoulder that sidelined her from March until this week. Kenin will face the winner of Thursday's match between Serena Williams and Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara. Bertens and Andreescu join two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who withdrew before her first match because of an arm injury, and former No. 1s Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki, who both lost in the first round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

Nadal opens bid for 12th French Open title against qualifier

By Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Rafael Nadal will start his campaign for a record-extending 12th title at the French Open against a qualifier. And if he makes it to the second round of the clay-court Grand Slam, another qualifier will be waiting. The defending champion was handed what looked like quite an easy draw Thursday at Roland Garros stadium, where the Spanish player attended the ceremony and said he was happy with his form. Nadal won his first title of the season last week at the Italian Open, where he looked close to his best after some uncharacteristic struggles on clay. "It was an important title for me," Nadal said. "I played very well throughout the tournament, I'm very happy to find myself in this situation." In the women's draw, Simona Halep will open the defense of her title against Ajla Tomljanovic. Top-ranked Naomi Osaka, who seeks a third consecutive major championship, will be up against Anna Karolína Schmiedlová. Coming to Paris with only one clay-court match since last year's French Open, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was drawn into the top half of the draw with Osaka and Halep. She will take on Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round. Osaka will be up against a tough opponent if she gets past Schmiedlova, facing the winner of a first-round match pitting 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko and former top-ranked player Victoria Azarenka. Nadal, who last year became the first male player to win 11 titles at the same Grand Slam tournament, could meet his old foe Roger Federer in the semifinals. Federer, in his first French Open match since 2015, will face Lorenzo Sonego of Italy and could face Stefanos Tsitsipas in a potential quarterfinal matchup. Federer is back on clay after skipping that part o the season for the past two years. He reached the quarterfinals in Madrid and Rome, where he withdrew because of a right leg injury. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic will begin his run against Hubert Hurkacz. The Serb has been enjoying a good run of form during the clay season, winning the title in Madrid before losing to Nadal in Rome. Organizers announced before the draw that Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic had withdrawn from the tournament, which starts on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Serena Williams, umatras sa nagpapatuloy na Italian Open Tennis Tournament

TENNIS superstar Serena Williams.   NG: SMNI NEWS UMATRAS na sa nagpapatuloy na Italian Open Tennis Tournament ang tennis superstar na si Serena Williams. Sa pahayag ni Williams, sinabi nito na ang kanyang pag- withdraw sa torneyo ay bunsod ng kanyang iniindang injury sa kaliwang tuhod. Nakatakda sanang makaharap ni Serena ang kanyang kapatid na […] The post Serena Williams, umatras sa nagpapatuloy na Italian Open Tennis Tournament appeared first on PINAS......»»

Category: newsSource:  pinasglobalRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

Svitolina, Zverev shocked in Rome as Serena withdraws from Italian Open - The Manila Times Online

ROME: Two-time womens holder Elina Svitolina crashed out of the WTA and ATP Italian Open on Tuesday along with Germanys Alexander Zverev as Serena Williamss return to the courts wasREAD The post Svito.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

Serena Williams set to return from injury at Italian Open - Inquirer Sports

ROME Serena Williams is set to return from injury at the upcoming Italian Open. Tournament director Sergio Palmieri told The Associated Press on Friday that he spoke with Williams agent and that Will.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 4th, 2019

Federer extends run of reaching 3rd round to 18 Aussie Opens

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer relied on his Grand Slam experience during the most important points to beat Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3) on Wednesday, maintaining his record of never failing to reach the third round at the 18 Australian Opens he's contested. After back-to-back wins over qualifiers, the degree of difficulty in his comeback from a six-month injury layoff will increase exponentially. Next up he faces 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, who had a 6-3, 7-6 (6), 6-2 win over Ryan Harrison. Also looming, potentially, is No. 5 Kei Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open finalist, who set up a third-round match against Lukas Lacko with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over Jeremy Chardy. Federer didn't play after his semifinal exit at Wimbledon last year, resting his injured left knee. He returned at the Hopman Cup exhibition in Perth this month, and opened at Melbourne Park with a win over another 35-year-old veteran, Jurgen Melzer. Against Rubin, a 20-year-old qualifier and 2014 Wimbledon junior champion, the 17-time Grand Slam winner played the big points like the old pro that he is. Rubin had his chances in the third set, breaking Federer in the second game and having two set points on the Swiss star's serve when he led 5-2. But Federer upped the tempo, winning four of the last five games to force a tiebreaker, which he dominated. Rubin moved well from the baseline, and hit 11 forehand winners, but was only able to convert one of his six break-point chances. 'I definitely got lucky winning that third set. He had a couple of set points on my serve,' Federer said. There were, 'a lot of difficult points, which is what I need.' Federer has a 16-6 record against Berdych, winning the last five, but has had losses to the Czech player at the 2004 Olympics, at Wimbledon in 2010 and at the 2012 U.S. Open. 'He's caused difficulties for me in the past on faster courts,' Federer said. 'Then again, I've played him here, as well, when it went my way. I just got to play on my terms.' U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka advanced 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 over Steve Johnson and will next play No. 29 Viktor Troicki. No. 19 John Isner, the highest-seeded U.S. player in the men's draw, lost to Mischa Zverev 6-7 (4), 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (7), 9-7 and followed Johnson, Rubin and Harrison out in the second round. No. 23 Jack Sock and No. 31 Sam Querrey won in straight sets, ensuring the U.S. men finished day three on a brighter note. Defending champion Angelique Kerber celebrated her 29th birthday with a 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-2 second-round win over Carina Witthoeft. The crowd sang her 'Happy Birthday,' although she wasn't entirely on song. The No. 1-ranked Kerber angrily swiped her racket in the second set in a burst of frustration that momentarily threw her off her game. She had two double-faults in the tiebreaker, as Witthoeft leveled the match, but regained control in the third. Kerber planned to celebrate over dinner, then get back to work before Friday's third-round match against Kristyna Pliskova, who beat No. 27 Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 7-6 (8). Pliskova's twin sister, Karolina, lost the U.S. Open final to Kerber. 'I'm always playing on my birthday — always in Australia,' said Kerber, who had her major breakthrough here last year. 'I feel like at home here.' Speaking of age, Venus Williams had to field questions about getting older after an energetic performance in her 6-3, 6-2 win over Stefanie Voegele. The 36-year-old, seven-time major winner played the first of her record 73 Grand Slam tournaments at the French Open in 1997. 'It's an honor and privilege to start that young,' she added, laughing, 'and play this old.' Venus and Serena Williams, who have won 14 major doubles titles together, withdrew from a scheduled first-round doubles match later Wednesday, citing an injury to Venus' right elbow. In her next singles match, Venus will play Duan Yingying, who beat Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 3-6, 10-8. In other third-round matches, two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova will meet former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic, No. 11 Elina Svitolina will take on No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Eugenie Bouchard, who reached the semifinals here and the Wimbledon final in 2014, will play CoCo Vandeweghe. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza beat Samantha Crawford 7-5, 6-4 in a night match, and Mona Barthel beat Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Federer returns with a win, joins Murray in 2nd round

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer shanked a few shots and was unsettled by how nervous he felt after six months on the sidelines, despite the familiar surroundings at the Australian Open. No other man on tour knows the way around a Grand Slam tournament better than Federer, who is playing in his 69th major and has won a record 17. He served 19 aces and had only one double-fault in a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win Monday over fellow 35-year-old Jurgen Melzer, but dropped serve three times and experienced frustrating moments. 'I was feeling nervous once the match actually started,' said Federer, who hadn't played at tour level since Wimbledon after taking time off to let his injured left knee heal. 'In the warmup ... I felt fine. Then I hit four frames in a row. It was like, 'Whew, it's not as easy as I thought it was going to be.' 'I struggled for a while to find that groove, that rhythm.' Federer had surgery on the knee after a semifinal exit at the last Australian Open and missed the French Open, ending his streak of 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. He returned for Wimbledon, reached the semifinals, then didn't play again in 2016. In November, he fell out of the top 10 for the first time in 734 weeks. The 17th-seeded Federer wasn't the only highly-ranked player to find the going tough Monday. Stan Wawrinka, the U.S. Open champion, was pushed to five sets. So was No. 5-seeded Kei Nishikori. Angelique Kerber, defending champion and ranked No. 1 at a major for the first time, had some nervous moments in her 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win over Lesia Tsurenko. Kerber won her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne last year, beating Serena Williams in the final after saving a match point in the first round. After wasting a match point before her serve was broken as Tsurenko rallied to win the second set, Kerber said her mind raced back 12 months. 'When I lost the second set, and I had match point, I was thinking about my match last year in the first round,' she said. 'First rounds are always tough.' In his first Grand Slam match with the elevated status of having a knighthood and the No. 1 ranking, Andy Murray berated himself when he made mistakes and frequently yelled during a 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over Illya Marchenko. In other words, nothing much has changed. The five-time finalist comfortably navigated what he hoped was the first step to a drought-breaking Australian Open title. Murray has lost four of the last six finals in Melbourne to six-time champion Novak Djokovic. Gaining the top ranking and receiving the civic honors doesn't change anything for Murray, who said he faces 'the same pressure, same expectations. I've never won here — I'm going to try to change that this year.' Wawrinka, who made his Grand Slam breakthrough in Australia in 2014, narrowly scraped past 35th-ranked Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. In the ninth game of the fifth set, Wawrinka smashed a soft half-volley from Klizan straight back into the Slovakian's body, clipping the frame and just missing his midsection. He stepped over the net and ensured Klizan was OK, then held serve in that game and broke in the next game to finish it off. Nishikori beat Andrey Kuznetsov 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2. Joining him in the second round are 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 19 John Isner, No. 23 Jack Sock, No. 27 Bernard Tomic, No. 29 Viktor Troicki and No. 31 Sam Querrey. Also, No. 14 Nick Kyrgios returned from his suspension for underperforming in Shanghai last year and raced through a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Gastao Elias. No. 16 Lucas Pouille was the highest-ranked of the three men's seeded players to lose. Five of the women's seeded players went out, including No. 4 Simona Halep, who lost 6-3, 6-1 to Shelby Rogers in the first match on Rod Laver Arena, and No. 15 Roberta Vinci, who lost to CoCo Vandeweghe. Seven-time major winner Venus Williams beat Kateryna Kozlova 7-6 (5), 7-5, and 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard continued her recent resurgence by routing Louisa Chirico 6-0, 6-4. Joining them in the next round will be French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 10 Carla Suarez, No. 11 Elina Svitolina and No. 20 Zhang Shuai. Sixteen-year-old Destanee Aiava became the first player born in this millennium to play in the main draw of a major, but the milestone match ended in a 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to Mona Barthel. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017