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2012 US OPEN: Venus Williams Easily Advances To Second Round

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Venus Williams, USA waves to the crowd after defeating fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

It was a slow start for Venus Williams on Arthur Ashe stadium Tuesday afternoon, but once the two-time champion found her groove, there was no stopping her.

Unseeded here for just the third time in 14 appearances, the elder Williams advanced to the second round with a decisive 6-3, 6-1 win over fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Williams fell down early to Mattek-Sands after holding game points in the first game, losing that and the second to trail 2-0. The 31-year-old then kicked into high gear, at one point rolling off 12 straight points to help her build a 5-2 lead.

Serving for the first set at 5-3, Williams belted three straight aces to lead 40-love, and then closed the set off with a service winner to complete it in just 29 minutes.

It wasn’t much different in the second—sans a slow start—for Venus. She broke to begin the set and continued with deep, penetrating groundstrokes to go up 4-1, her serve cooperating well but giving Mattek-Sands plenty of trouble.

Mattek-Sands called for the trainer at 4-1 down in the second, but it only seemed to be delaying the inevitable. Williams won the next two games with ease, closing out the match in just 62 minutes.

Williams had won all three of their previous encounters, including here three years ago in the second round. Mattek-Sands, once ranked as high as No. 30, needed a wildcard to get into the Open after a series of injuries had dropped her ranking to No. 212 this year.

Venus improved her record in the first round of Slams to 53-4, having lost in the opening round of Wimbledon against Elena Vesnina just two months ago. But she has appeared rejuvinated this summer, getting to the third round at the Olympics and then making a run to the semifinals at Cincinnati, losing to eventual champion Li Na.

Two years ago Venus made an inspiring run to the semifinals here, losing in dramatic fashion to Kim Clijsters, the eventual winner. In the second round Venus will face Angelique Kerber, the German who took her out at the Olympics in two tiebreak sets and was a surprise semifinalist here a year ago.

Source: usopen.org
Photos by: Getty Images

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2012 U.S. OPEN: Li Na And Rain Prove Too Much For Britain's Heather Watson

Monday, August 27, 2012

Heather Watson of Great Britain against Na Li of China on day one of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Two months after becoming the first British woman for 10 years to reach the third round at Wimbledon, Heather Watson lasted just 81 minutes on the first day of the US Open here yesterday.

The 20-year-old from Guernsey, who was overpowered 6-2, 6-3 by China's Li Na, held on until mid-afternoon thanks only to a lengthy rain delay.

If Watson took advantage of a favourable draw at the All England Club – her first two opponents were both ranked outside the world's top 50 –fortune was not on her side here. Li, the world No 8, has been the outstanding player on the north American hard-court circuit this summer, reaching the final at Montreal and then winning at Cincinnati to secure her first title since last year's French Open.

She had too much firepower for Watson, who never looked like threatening the 30-year-old Chinese in the way she had troubled Maria Sharapova last year, when the Briton went within six points of causing one of the shocks of the tournament. Striking the ball beautifully from the back of the court, Li cracked 28 winners to Watson's 10 and broke serve five times.

At least it will not be the end of the tournament for Watson, who is playing doubles here with New Zealand's Marina Erakovic. They have won two doubles titles together this summer, in Stanford and Dallas.

"I'm happy with how I played," Watson said afterwards. "I even feel I played better today than I did last year against Maria. I don't think it was Maria's best match last year, but today Li Na was on another level. She was hitting winners off balls I wouldn't think you could hit winners off, hitting lots of lines. She had a really high first-serve percentage and she just played better tennis. She played like a Grand Slam champion."

source: The Independent
photos by: Getty Images

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Venus Not Able To Handle Hantuchova

Thursday, June 16, 2011

American Venus Williams agonizes as match against Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova slips away

EASTBOURNE, England - Venus Williams' WTA comeback came to an end on a windy Thursday afternoon in Eastbourne, as she was outrallied by Daniela Hantuchova in the quarterfinals of the AEGON International, 62 57 62.

Williams, who had missed four and a half months of action due to hip and abdominal injuries, came back strong, beating No.11-ranked Andrea Petkovic in her first match back and No.18-ranked Ana Ivanovic in her second. But the No.25-ranked Hantuchova was in too much of a groove, winning 12 of her last 15 matches. Just a day before, she upset French Open champion Li Na, too.

"Obviously this is a great win and it's nice to be able to continue my good form from Paris and Birmingham," Hantuchova commented after the match.

More impressive: Hantuchova beat Williams for the first time in 11 tries.

"I was not thinking about our other matches at all. I was just focusing on my game today," she added. "I had a good win yesterday and I wanted to build on that. But I still feel there is a lot of room to improve. I'm not where I want to be yet, but I feel like I'm on the right way, which is pretty exciting for me."

"The wind didn't make it very predictable, but I give her credit for hanging in there. On a day like today, you have to just hang in there," Williams said. "I think Daniela had a lot of motivation - we've been playing I don't know how many years, and I am sure she has wanted a win against me for a long, long time."

Williams showed some flashes of the fighting spirit that has taken her to seven Grand Slam titles and the No.1 ranking, one minute facing a point for a 62 52 deficit and the next minute tucking the second set away. But the final chapter of the match was all Hantuchova - from 2-all in the third, she won 16 of 21 points.

"It wasn't the best luck today, but I feel good about my preparation," Williams said. "More than anything I was able to get a lot of great competition. This has been ideal. I would have liked to win here, but there are positives here too."

Hantuchova commented on the return of both Williams sisters to the WTA: "It's nice to see them back. I think they're great for the game. I was really looking forward to the match today and really pleased I was able to make it through."

Photos by Getty Images

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AEGON International: Wednesday Preview Includes Serena vs. Zvonareva

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

American Serena Williams and Russian Vera Zvonareva scheduled for play on Wednesday in Eastbourne.

It's Wednesday at the AEGON International which means it's second round singles time at Devonshire Park.

The standout match is the women's top seed Vera Zvonareva against the unseeded American wild card Serena Williams. Yesterday Williams, the world No.26, recovered from a slow start to defeat Tsvetana Pironkova 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in her first match since she won the Wimbledon title in 2010. Her opponent in that Wimbledon final, almost 12 months ago, was none other than Vera Zvonareva and it was a one-sided win for Williams who took it 6-3, 6-2.

However times have changed. Before yesterday, due to a serious foot injury and blood clots on both lungs, the former world No.1 had not played. Zvonareva, meanwhile, has maintained her form and is currently sitting at No.3 in the world rankings. The Russian came past Britain's Heather Watson yesterday, winning 6-3, 6-3 and will relish the opportunity to get her revenge on the younger Williams sister.

Serena's older sister, Venus, starts the proceedings on day five as she takes on Ana Ivanovic in the first match of the day on Centre Court. The pair have met on seven occasions with Williams winning six of them.

Third on Centre Court is the men's top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who brushed aside Denis Istomin yesterday, 6-2, 7-5, and he plays Radek Stepanek after the Czech player defeated Britain's Colin Fleming in round one.

Speaking of Brits, Elena Baltacha takes on third seed Victoria Azarenka first on Court 1 and James Ward will play a one set shootout against Janko Tipsarevic after their match was called to a halt at one set all yesterday.

With Schiavone, Hantuchova, Li Na and Kvitova also in action, as well as a doubles appearance from British duo Heather Watson & Anne Keothavong it promises to be another entertaining day of tennis in Eastbourne.

Photo by Getty Images
Source AEGON International

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The Grace Of Growth: Serena Wins AO Title No. 5

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin 2010 Australian Open FinalSerena Williams, USA, 2010 Australian Open Singles Champion
(Photos by Paul Crock/AFP/Getty Images)

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin 2010 Australian Open FinalWhat a blessing...

In taking her fifth Australian Open singles title and twelfth grand slam title today, American Serena Williams showed a grace of composure that can only come with personal growth. The benefits of which were clearly on display during this tournament.

Serena was asked how special it was to now tie with Billie Jean King for twelve majors overall, "It's so cool, finally I... that was my goal, but I didn't want to say it was my goal, but you know now to even be mentioned in the same breath as her is awesome."

"So now I'm focused on doing what she was able to do off the court because she's such an amazing person."

Serena's 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 defeat of Belgian Justine Henin came at the end of a tournament within which Serena's injuries and apparent fatigue seemed as if they would overcome her ability to compete well with each successive match. Yet during each match you could see Serena continually composing herself, conserving energy where she could and being as precise as possible with every shot.

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin 2010 Australian Open FinalI must admit, seeing Serena in such a state and knowing the battles that she and Henin have waged in years gone by, I had great concern over her ability to be successful in this final. At the same time, Serena's quarterfinal match against Belarusian Victoria Azarenka and semifinal match against Li Na presented a new depth of fortitude that allowed her to prevail in spite of any physical ailings.

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin 2010 Australian Open FinalThat same determination enabled her to press forward even after losing the second set to Henin. When asked how she was able to get the momentum back on her side after losing the second set Serena said, "Well I thought, you know, I just got to man up, you know, this is my chance and no matter what I just have one more set, just get through it and... I did."

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin 2010 Australian Open FinalAsked about how she was physically able to make this final push after the doubles win yesterday Serena said, "Honestly, I don't know. I was just thinking okay Serena you can have some days off, just get through it and I did. And I just, was so happy to win, it was shocking."

Congratulations Serena, you truly earned this title and we celebrate with and for you.

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin 2010 Australian Open FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin 2010 Australian Open FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin 2010 Australian Open FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin 2010 Australian Open Final
Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin 2010 Australian Open Final

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AO Day 10 - Quarterfinals: Can You Say TSONGAAAAAAAAA!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams vs Li Na 2010 Austrial OpenVenus Williams, USA

Let's start with one of my favorite Americans, Venus Williams... it was such a rough day at the office, to say the least, for her and her fans. Venus came out and whipped all kinds of tennis beat down on China's Li Na in the first set, to the tune of 6-2, it was merciless.

At the end of that set it pretty much became a foregone conclusion that Venus would more than likely be headed for a meeting with younger sis Serena in the semifinals. Then, the very weird and strange occurred, the second set.

Somehow, someway... Venus managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it was an unbelievable spectacle. Not only did her game fall apart right before our very eyes, Li Na was playing like she had just discovered tennis also. And yet she... won? With a score of 2-6, 7-6(7/4), 6-2 Li Na joined the elite of the grand slam semifinal.

There was truly no real winner of this match, only an outcome, it was depressing. Somebody please cue up the song "Mama said there'll be days like this..."

It was so difficult to watch Venus so out of sorts in an element of her life where she knows such perfection.

Post match Venus said that it was a bit early to really make a determination of what went wrong, but when asked about returning she stated, “Absolutely [I’ll be back]. I really love this tournament ... Like I said so many times before, if I would have, you know, kind of gotten involved in what people said I would have never left the ghetto. So here I am playing pro tennis, playing well. The sky's the limit in this sport.”

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka Australian Open 2010Serena Williams, USA

Next up was American Serena Williams who very unfortunately appeared to be continuing what big sister Venus started, defeat. Although there was a very distinct difference in the matches. Serena's opponent, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, came to play. Unlike Li Na, Azarenka's game was on point and taken to Serena with everything necessary from the onset. Azarenka was a real force in the first and second sets, so long as Serena didn't utilize her super powers.

Down a set at 4-6 and 0-4 in the second set as well, it looked as if the Williams sisters were history at the 2010 Australian Open. And then, unfortunately for Azarenka, Serena opted to use her super powers: conviction, iron will and absolute refusal to go down without a fight.

Once invoked, we saw Serena turn Azarenka's well-earned lead slowly chipped away until Serena had taken the second set in a tie-break. We all knew that it all over for Azarenka at that point. Primarly because we've seen Serena do this time and time and time again. It was a thing of beauty.

In the post match interview Serena said, “I’m surprised. I’m just happy to still be here. I didn’t expect to win when it was 0-4. I was like, ‘oh well, at least I’m still in the doubles’.”

When asked about Venus's loss she said, "Yeah, I just try not to think about it too much. It was obviously on my mind. Just tried to do what I could ... obviously I was incredibly disappointed. Yeah, just try not to deal with it."

Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Novak Djokovic 2010 Australian OpenJo-Wilfried Tsonga, France

What can you say, what can you say, what can you say? Tsongaaaaaaaaaaa!

Wow... what a performance, and boy did we need it after the first three quarterfinal matches. This lived up to every expectation and more. Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Serbian Novak Djokovic provided a well contested, great shot making, fabulous rallies, down to the wire match - great stuff.

In a re-match of the Australian Open 2008 final – which Djokovic won in four sets – Tsonga recovered from a disastrous third set before gaining confidence against his increasingly ragged opponent, triumphing in five sets for the second match in a row by a scoreline of 7-6(8), 6-7(5) 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Novak Djokovic 2010 Australian Open
Speaking on court after the match, Tsonga said that he felt like he could keep going. “I think I was just in a good form, I might be better than him (in the end). He played unbelievable in three first sets, he was amazing. Finally I won, and I am happy with that.”

Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Novak Djokovic 2010 Australian Open

Tsonga will take on world No. 1 Roger Federer in the semi-finals after the Swiss champion ousted No. 6 seed Nikolay Davydenko in four sets earlier on Wednesday. Tsonga said he was hoping to use the crowd’s energy to assist him during the daunting assignment.

“Yeah, I will be ready, I hope you (the crowd) will cheer for me a bit,” he joked.

“It’s going to be tough, because he’s the best player ever.”

Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Novak Djokovic 2010 Australian Open

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Serena Takes Out China's Li Na At The Bank Of The West Classic

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Bank Of The West Classic Round 1American Serena Williams
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

STANFORD, Calif. — "Shhhh," hushed Serena Williams when asked about the rankings system in women's tennis that seems askew with public perception. "They already think I'm No. 1."

The computer, however, says otherwise.

Despite winning three of the last four majors, No. 2 Williams sits behind Dinara Safina of Russia by a substantial 1,742 points. Safina supplanted Williams atop the rankings in April but has never won a Grand Slam title.

That rankings dissonance continued to spark debate at the Bank of the West Classic here as Williams geared up for her first event since winning a third Wimbledon title.

"The only thing that gets under my skin is that everyone keeps talking about it and so now people know that I'm not No. 1," laughed Williams, who opened her summer hardcourt campaign Tuesday night with a 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) victory against Li Na of China.

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The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Opens

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Porsche Tennis Grand PrixLight display during 2008 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix opening ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

Black Tennis Pro's Porsche Tennis Grand PrixLight display during 2008 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix opening ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

Black Tennis Pro's Porsche Tennis Grand PrixSerena Williams held her Jack Russell Terrier, Jackie, as she arrived at the airport in Stuttgart.

Black Tennis Pro's Porsche Tennis Grand PrixSerena in Porsche Arena talking to media.

Black Tennis Pro's Porsche Tennis Grand PrixVenus Williams got into Stuttgart with her Yorkshire Terrier, Harold.

Black Tennis Pro's Porsche Tennis Grand PrixDinara Safina in Porsche Arena talking to media

Black Tennis Pro's Porsche Tennis Grand PrixLi Na with a fan.

Vera Zvonareva signing authographs.

Getty Images
Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

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A Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On At The Beijing Olympics

Friday, August 15, 2008

BEIJING (AP) — James Blake could shrug off the three match points he failed to convert, and even the misfire on an easy forehand that would have given him a berth in the Olympic final.

What stuck in his craw was the notion his opponent didn't play fair.

Blake came up one shot short Friday, losing in the semifinal to Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 4-6, 7-5, 11-9. Afterward he accused Gonzalez of failing to fess up on a disputed point two games before the finish.

"I've spoken all week about how much I've enjoyed the Olympic experience, how much I love the spirit of it," Blake said. "That's a disappointing way to exit the tournament, when you not only lose the match, but you lose a little faith in your fellow competitor."

Actually, the No. 8-seeded Blake remains in the tournament. A first-time Olympian at 28, he'll play for a bronze Saturday as the last hope for a U.S. medal in men's or women's singles.

Gonzalez, seeded 12th, will play in Sunday's final against Rafael Nadal, who clinched his first Olympic medal by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

Venus and Serena Williams won twice to reach the semifinals in doubles, but the U.S. team lost its other matches. Top-seeded Mike and Bob Bryan were beaten in the semifinals by Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, 7-6 (6), 6-4. The Swiss team clinched at least a silver — the first medal for Federer in the three Olympics he has played.

Americans Lindsay Davenport and Liezel Huber were eliminated in the doubles quarterfinals.

The incident that upset Blake occurred with Gonzalez serving at 8-9 in the final set. On the first point, Blake hit a backhand passing shot long but contended the ball ticked Gonzalez's racket before landing, as TV replays confirmed.

Blake appealed in vain to the chair umpire, and said Gonzalez should have conceded the point. Blake went on to lose the game to make it 9-all.

"Playing in the Olympics, in what's supposed to be considered a gentleman's sport, that's a time to call it on yourself," Blake said. "Fernando looked me square in the eye and didn't call it."

Gonzalez said he was uncertain whether the ball hit his racket.

"I didn't feel anything," Gonzalez said. "I mean, it's just one point. There is an umpire. If I'm 100 percent sure about it, I mean, I will give it. But I'm not sure."

Blake described Gonzalez as a great player who does everything in his power to win, "usually" within the rules.

"Whatever he wants to say is fine," Blake said. "Whatever is going to get him to have some sleep tonight, then that's fine."

New No. 1 Jelena Jankovic lost in the women's quarterfinals to No. 6 Dinara Safina of Russia, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. Safina won her 14th match in a row and will play Li Na of China in the semifinals Saturday.

The other women's semifinal will be an all-Russian matchup between No. 5 Elena Dementieva and No. 9 Vera Zvonareva.

Nadal came to Beijing assured of earning the No. 1 ranking for the first time next week, ending Federer's 4 1/2-year reign. Now the Spaniard is one win from adding an Olympic title to the French Open and Wimbledon championships he has already claimed this year.

It was after midnight when Nadal closed out his latest victory in dramatic fashion. On match point he scrambled to retrieve two overhead slams by Djokovic. When the flustered Serb shanked a third overhead, Nadal collapsed to the hard court in jubilation.

"When I arrived here, I didn't expect for sure to be in this final. I arrived very tired," Nadal said. "But when the week is coming, I felt better and better. I'm very happy to have this experience in my life."

Federer, eliminated in singles Thursday by Blake, kept alive his bid for a medal by winning a rain-interrupted match with Wawrinka over Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes of India 6-2, 6-4. Six hours later the Swiss team defeated the Bryan brothers.

"Having beaten the best in the world and going for gold, it's an incredible scenario," Federer said. "This is a big moment in my career."

The Williams sisters, both eliminated in singles Thursday, completed a suspended second-round doubles match and beat Ayumi Morita and Ai Sugiyama of Japan, 7-5, 6-2. The Williamses then defeated Zvonareva and Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-0.

Davenport and Huber lost to Anabel Medina Garriguez and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain 5-7, 7-6 (6), 8-6.

Blake and Gonzalez played the first match on center court, and there was tension between them as early as the second set, when Gonzalez slammed an easy forehand at his opponent's head from point-blank range.

Blake glared at Gonzalez, who apologized. Afterward Blake said he was upset only in the "heat of the moment."

As for the later point of dispute, the match wouldn't have reached that stage had Blake converted one of his three match points after Gonzalez fell behind 5-6, love-40 serving in the final set.

At 10-9 it was Gonzalez who struggled to convert match points, but on the fifth one he smacked a service winner for the victory.

"It was really one or two points, and who played those one or two points better," Blake said. "Today he did at the end."

After beating Federer, Blake showed no sign of an upset hangover. He served well, winning 15 consecutive service points at one stretch, and repeatedly negated the big-swinging Chilean's forehand by pinning him deep in baseline rallies.

Blake even pulled off a nifty trick shot, retreating to retrieve a lob and hitting a back-to-the-net, between-the-legs forehand. Gonzalez was so startled he dumped an easy forehand into the net.

Three times in the second set, Blake was two points from victory. But the best opportunity came in the third set, when he went for a winner on his first match point and sailed a forehand long.

Gonzalez then hit four winners in a row to hold for 6-all, and eight games later he was thrusting his arms to sky after clinching a medal.

Photos Getty Images

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