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INSTAGRAM: Frenchman Gael Monfils Takes Out Italy's Andreas Seppi To Reach ABN-AMRO Quarter Finals

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2015: Peerless and fearless: Serena and Venus Williams Chase a New Landmark

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The amazing sister act are still inspiring each other as they head for another improbable grand slam semi-final meeting at the Australian Open

Venus Williams ackowledges the fans after defeating Camila Giorgi of Italy in their third round match at the Australian Open.

(The Guardian) - Sisters, friends, survivors: all the strengths and virtues that Serena and Venus Williams have shown in adversity over the years arrived for them on day six of the 2015 Australian Open. However, after good wins from a set down against Elina Svitolina and Camila Giorgi respectively, there are a couple of formidable challenges immediately ahead for them if they are to collide in the semi-finals, which last happened in a slam at Wimbledon 15 years ago.

The day after Roger Federer left an unfillable space in the men’s draw following defeat to Andreas Seppi in the third round, there were some anxious moments on Saturday as Serena, the women’s favourite, had to fight from a set down to beat the tough young Ukrainian 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 on another hot, still day on Rod Laver Arena. A final withering forehand left Svitolina flailing at air to bring 96 minutes of struggle to an end. The scoreline told the story of a slow start, recovery and finishing flourish; a familiar pattern for Williams.

“She played really well, one to watch,” Williams said. “She made me work very hard. She kept hitting winners in the first set and there wasn’t much I could do. Then I heard so many people say: ‘Serena, Serena,’ and I thought you guys are really here for me. I looked up at the screen and saw Venus was 1-4 down and I thought: ‘Come on, we can do this.’ We really inspire each other.”

What an enigma the younger Williams sister is. Last year she failed to make even the quarters of three majors then won the US Open to take her career slams to 18 – one ahead of Federer, but, more pertinently, four behind Steffi Graf, who heads the women’s list in the Open era.

On Monday she plays the talented Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza, who put her out of the French Open last year and here beat the Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. “She’s had a really good win and I have nothing to lose,” Williams said. “I’ll do my best.”If that seemed false modesty on a grand scale, Serena has suffered enough shock defeats in recent years to be wary, although the tennis she produced in the third set resembled her awesome best.

Venus’s 4-6, 7-6, 6-1 win over the promising Giorgi continued her run of decent form and she seems to be in good health, which is always her priority since the auto-immune disease Sjögren’s syndrome struck her three years ago. Her next opponent provides tougher opposition than Muguruza: the sixth seed, Agnieszka Radwanska, who impressed while beating Varvara Lepchenko 6-0, 7-5 in an hour and a half, although the Uzbeki-American put up stern resistance in the second set, which lasted nearly an hour.

If Serena and Venus, who is seeded 18th, do meet in the semi-finals, they will resume the game’s greatest friendly rivalry. Since they first played each other on the tour in 1998, in the second round of the Australian Open (Venus won in two sets), they have met 25 times. Serena leads 14-11 overall and 6-2 in slams. This is the 29th time the sisters have made the fourth round of the same slam.

Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova hold the all-time record for Open era slam matches with 14. It is unlikely, given their ages and career patterns, that the Williams sisters will get close to that number but the girls who hit their way out of a ghetto with their tennis rackets have reignited interest in one of the game’s remarkable stories. Venus, at 34 a year older than Serena, said later: “The years go by so fast. It’s definitely been a lot of work and a lot of learning and a lot of perseverance. It will continue to be that for me. Just have to come to terms with it.

“We talk about all the players we see that aren’t playing any more. We just can’t figure out how we’re still here. When you walk on that court, there is no such thing as age, height, any of that stuff. It’s really an even playing field. It’s a matter of can you get the ball in? Can you win the point or not? It doesn’t matter, any of these variables. That’s what they are: variables.

“I’ve been motivated by Serena since day one, since 1998 or 97 actually. She’s always been someone that anyone can learn from: the way she faces her life, the way she is fearless on the court. I probably take it a lot more to heart because she’s my sister and we’ve had the fortunate relationship, to be able to motivate each other and grow from each other. I don’t think I could have done the things I’ve done without her.”

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AO Day 4: Two Frenchmen And An American Lady Into Round 3 - Monfils, Tsonga And Venus Advance

Thursday, January 20, 2011

After some very complicated early rounds, both Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils of France and the lone American female Venus Williams, have all advanced to the third round of the 2011 Australian Open.

Seven-time grand slam winner Venus Williams literally survived the onset of an injury during her second round match against Sandra Zahlavova of the Czech Republic. After losing the first set and in obvious severe pain that caused her to scream several times, Venus continued with the second and third sets of the match digging deep into her mental and physical tennis reservoirs to not only survive, but to actually eventually thrive and win the match 66-78, 6-0, 6-4. It was definitely a nail biter to watch.

Post match Venus stated, "I wasn't very happy, to say the least ... I mean, with an injury like that, you just don't know what to expect. I think what keeps me going is knowing that when I'm healthy I play really, really well and knowing that I have so much good tennis in my body keeps me motivated."

The two Frenchman had to take five to win their first round matches. Tsonga and Monfils both lost the first two sets of their first round matches, and though they had to battle it out to prevail in the remaining three sets, both gentlemen rose to the occasion.

Tsonga and Monfils opted for a lot less drama in their second round matches against Italy's Andreas Seppi and Portugal's Frederico Gil. Tsonga greatly shortened his match time and defeated Seppi in close straight sets, 6-3, 77-61, 77-65. Monfils shortened his match by one set to defeat Gil in four, 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.

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James Blake Out Of Wimbledon On Day One: "I Just Haven't Been As Confident"

Monday, June 22, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake 2009 Wimbledon Day 1James Blake, USA
(Photo by Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

Black Tennis Pro's Andreas Seppi 2009 Wimbledon Day 1WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — James Blake is finding it tough to pinpoint why he keeps losing matches he thinks he should win.

Once ranked in the top 10, once a fairly regular participant in the second week of major championships, Blake is now on a three-match losing streak at Grand Slam tournaments. The American's latest setback came Monday at Wimbledon, where the 17th-seeded Blake was beaten 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (5) by 50th-ranked Andreas Seppi of Italy.

"I still feel like I can play with anyone in the world, but it's just, for some reason lately, it's been very inconsistent," Blake said. "I've been doing all the training. I've been doing all the conditioning. I'm fit as I've been. I just haven't been as confident, I guess. Maybe that's just from not winning a lot of matches."

He also bowed out in the first round at the French Open last month, following a fourth-round exit at the Australian Open in January.

There were chances to get back into the match against Seppi. He held one set point in the third, leading 6-5, but missed a forehand long to end a 23-stroke exchange. Blake then took a 5-0 lead in the tiebreaker, before Seppi won the match's last seven points.

"I don't think I've ever done that before," said Seppi, who never has made it past the third round at a Grand Slam tournament. "I didn't think I would win that tiebreaker."

Blake thought he might be ready for a run at Wimbledon after reaching the final at the Queen's Club tuneup tournament on grass.

"I know I still have the ability," said Blake, who reached No. 4 in the rankings in November 2006 and is a three-time major quarterfinalist. "It's just frustrating, because it's happening at big tournaments where I'm having my not-so-good performances."

His best shot is his forehand, but Seppi neutralized that by repeatedly drawing Blake into backhand exchanges.

"Backhand-against-backhand is to my advantage. It's not like his backhand is all that strong," Seppi said. "I played more aggressively than usual, especially on his serve. If you let him take the initiative, especially on his forehand, he's very dangerous."

Not on this day. And not lately on tennis' top stages.

"I've had a lot of success, a lot of wins, but I still want more. That's why it's tough to accept nowadays, because I know I've done that and I know what it feels like to win and to go deep in Slams and to win tournaments, and I just haven't had that feeling lately," said the 29-year-old Blake, who was born in Yonkers, N.Y, and lives in Florida. "I definitely want it back, and I hope I have it enough times before I retire that I won't miss it as much when I retire."

He beat Seppi in their two most recent meetings, but the Italian wasn't intimidated when he found out Blake would be his first-round opponent. Seppi originally was drawn to face No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro, but the bracket was changed after defending champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the tournament.

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