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2014 FRENCH OPEN DAY 9: American Sloane Stephens Heavily Out Matched Against Romanian Simona Halep

Monday, June 2, 2014

Romania’s Simona Halep, the highest seed left in the women’s singles, outwitted the American 15th seed, Sloane Stephens, to reach the quarter-finals at the French Open with a 6-4, 6-3 victory on Monday.

Stephens made too many unforced errors as Halep, the fourth seed, won through to meet either the 27th-seeded former champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, or the Czech 23rd seed, Lucie Safarova.
With Romania’s tennis legend Ilie Nastase watching from the stands, Halep worked the angles to unsettle Stephens, who struggled behind her serve throughout.

Halep, who made her only previous grand slam quarter-final appearance at this year’s Australian Open, prevailed on the first match point when Stephens, the last American in the singles, sent a forehand long.

Halep’s game was far from perfect but she seized her chances, converting all six break points she had.

“I think I managed very well the match,” said Halep, who won the juniors’ title at Roland Garros in 2008. “I opened the angles. I wanted to make her run a lot on court. I think I played aggressive. I dominated the match, I think. I didn’t serve very well but I tried to return better and I did.”
Stephens was often on the back foot and sometimes went for unlikely winners in attempts to regain the advantage during long rallies.

“It was a tough match obviously but she has played pretty consistent over the last, say, nine months,” said Stephens, who has reached the last 16 in her last six grand slam appearances.

“It’s always tough playing someone who is really consistent and has a lot of confidence and just plays a solid game.”

 AP Photo/Michel Spingler
Source:  The Guardian

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2011 U.S. OPEN DAY 4: Madison Keys' Momentum Halted By Safarova

Thursday, September 1, 2011

 Madison Keys, USA

NEW YORK (AP) — American teenager Madison Keys showed her youth late in her second career Grand Slam match, repeatedly blowing leads in a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 loss to 27th-seeded Lucie Safarova at the U.S. Open on Wednesday.

In her debut Monday at a major tournament, Keys — a 16-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla. — became the youngest player since 2005 to win a match at Flushing Meadows. At 455th, she was the lowest-ranked woman in the field this year.

"I must say, she's a very good player for her age," the 24-year-old Safarova said, adding that Keys is playing "for sure, top-50 level."

Keys certainly opened the match that way, racing to a 5-0 lead en route to taking the opening set.

"I didn't feel very well on court at the beginning and was making a lot of easy mistakes," Safarova said. "She surprised me."

Keys went up a break in the second set before letting that edge slip away. And in the third set, she twice broke Safarova, only to give that lead back in the following game.

By the end of the match, Keys actually had won more total points than Safarova, 106-100.

"A lot of ups and downs," said Safarova, who equaled her best U.S. Open showing by getting to the third round.

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US OPEN SERIES ROGERS CUP: Serena "Don't Call It A Comeback" Williams Into Semifinals

Saturday, August 13, 2011

American Serena Williams during quarterfinal match against the Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova, CZE
 (Reuters) - A battle-tested Serena Williams booked her spot in the semi-finals of the Toronto Cup on Friday after overcoming a sluggish start to grind out a 4-6 6-3 6-2 win over Czech Lucie Safarova.

Williams, whose 11-month layoff with injury and health problems ended in June, was a shadow of herself in the first set but rallied with raw power and shot-making to wrap up the match without losing serve in the last two sets.

"I could have had a better chance in the first set but I lost some key points," Williams, who won the Stanford Classic last month and is on a nine-match winning streak, told reporters.

"It was all about maybe one or two points here that would've made a difference and some silly double faults that didn't make sense."

The third set went with serve until Williams broke world number 32 Safarova in an intense fifth game in which she unleashed several loud screams to get herself going.

The vocal strategy seemed to pay off as she wrapped up the match without conceding another game.

The former world number one, unseeded here because of her long layoff, faces her toughest test yet against Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who has not lost a set en route to the semi-finals and is the highest seeded player left in the draw.

Azarenka ended Kazakh qualifier Galina Voskoboeva's surprise run with a clinical 6-1 6-2 victory.

Photos by Getty Images

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It Was A Stretch, But Venus Was Up For The Challenge

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams 2009 French OpenVenus Williams, USA (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Black Tennis Pro's Lucie Safarova 2009 French OpenThursday morning brought back the suspended match of the French Open's Wednesday night session between American Venus Williams and the Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova. When the match was called due to darkness, Safarova was up one set 77-65.

Safarova continued her aggressive game this morning, a lesser player than Venus would probably have fallen. Venus defended her turf like the pro that she is. She was all over Court Suzanne Lenglen running down Safarova's shots.

Venus eventually had to save both a break and a match point to finally toss Safarova out of there. She took the final two sets 6-2, 7-5.

"Yesterday, I think I did too many things wrong. She just was firing for every shot and making them. Obviously, with the delay, there was a lot of things to think about beforehand, what I could do different, and just tried to be as aggressive as I could.

"The last two sets, you know, it was close. But these kind of matches are really rewarding, and she was playing well. But I felt like I deserved it."

Go Venus, Go Venus, Go Venus!!!!

I'm loving these shots that the photographers are getting of Venus in action:

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams 2009 French Open(Photo by Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams 2009 French Open Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams 2009 French OpenBlack Tennis Pro's Venus Williams 2009 French Open

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Venus Down A Set To Safarova As Night Suspends Play

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams 2009 French OpenVenus Williams, USA
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

On Court Suzanne Lenglen Wednesday night American Venus Williams and the Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova had to shut down their one-set match for the night due to darkness.

When the match was called for the evening Safarova had taken the first set 77-65.

Venus will have to wrap this one up in straight sets if she is to continue her quest ... she's done it a thousand times.

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Venus Opens Play In Rome With 3-Set Win

Monday, May 4, 2009

Venus Williams, USA
(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

ROME (AP) — Venus Williams needed three sets to win her opening match at the Italian Open on Monday, beating Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

"I was OK with the match being a little longer," Williams said. "I just I want to hit balls. In a way it's not too bad to go three sets. "

She appeared to take control of the clay-court match in the first set, firing eight aces and as many winners in 28 minutes.

However, the American's service levels dropped and Safarova started playing her powerful groundstrokes deeper in the second set. Williams was broken in the third game and was unable to break back with Safarova serving out to win the set.

In the deciding set, the fourth-seeded Williams held serve in a crucial third game after saving four break points. She went on to break in the following game, as a forehand by the 22-year-old Czech went wide, and then again to close out the match.

Both players had 22 winners, but Safarova had 33 unforced errors, seven more than Williams.

"We both played aggressive," Williams said. "She's just going for every shot, for the lines."

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