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2012 US OPEN: Tennis Is Indeed A Game, But Serena Williams Is Not Playing!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Serena Williams, USA after defeating American Coco Vandeweghe on Day 2 of the 2012 US Open.

Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams continued the fine form that signified a stellar summer by defeating compatriot Coco Vandeweghe in a rematch of their Stanford final. The younger Williams sister advanced to the second round 6-1, 6-1 in less than an hour on a day in which Venus also won.

In the first set, Serena cruised to a 6-1 score in 24 minutes, benefitting from five double faults off her opponent’s otherwise big-serving game. Additionally, the top-ranked American struck nine winners, while converting all three of her break point chances.

After the match, the No. 4 seed discussed the windy conditions and reflected on her performance. "I mean, the match was so weird, the conditions were so tough, I couldn't really play my game. She couldn't really play her game. It's not the best opportunity to grade yourself."

With the win tonight, Serena’s record in first round Grand Slam matches improved to 48-1, having lost at the Roland Garros in the opening round earlier this year.

Early in the second set, Serena, last year’s runner-up to Samantha Stosur, consolidated on the tremendous play in the first to break Vandeweghe’s serve for a 2-1 lead. She wasted little time afterwards, wrapping up the match on her second match point after reeling off four more games.

With the win, Serena improved her record at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to 59-9, having won three titles in her career, including her first back in 1999.

Coming into the match Tuesday night on Arthur Ashe, Serena took titles at Wimbledon and the Olympics by winning a gold medal over Maria Sharapova at the All England Club. In doing so, Serena became the first tennis player to win the career “Golden Slam,” or claiming all four majors and a gold medal, in both singles and doubles. With the series of title wins, Serena notched a 19-match winning streak, which was eventually snapped in Cincinnati by surprise 2011 US Open semifinalist Angelique Kerber.

With five titles to her credit this year, Serena also leads the number owned by active players at 44 total.

Source:  usopen.org
Photo by: Getty Images

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WIMBLEDON DAY 4: Serena Advances Once More - Slow And Steady Just May Win The Race

Thursday, June 23, 2011

American Serena Williams on Day 4 of 2011 Wimbledon Championships
Photos by © AELTC/ J.Buckle

Simona Halep
WIMBLEDON - Though still some way short of her awesome best, the defending champion Serena Williams is safely through to the third round at the 125th Championships following a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over the 19-year-old Romanian Simona Halep.

Another layer of the rust accumulated during her 49-week absence from the game was shaken off as Williams gradually warmed to her task, converting an erratic start into a rousing finish.
Unusally for a title holder, Williams was required to play outside the two main courts, though the No.2 is of course a show court, and an impressive one at that.

This is the first Wimbledon appearance for Halep, the former Junior Roland Garros champion who stands at No.58 in the world rankings after zooming up more than 100 places in the past year. Though she stands only 5ft 6in she makes up in power and pace what she lacks in height. In the opening set she ran Williams relentlessly from side to side and led 3-1 when the American dropped serve on her ninth unforced error in just four games.

Halep's deep, accurate services kept Williams very much on the back foot until in the seventh game, when Halep took a tumble attempting a sharp turn and damaged her left leg. An extended break ensued while a trainer was summoned to treat the injury and although the teenager eventually resumed, the edge had disappeared from her game and her speed. Still, she clung on to her lead and jumped for joy when she closed out the set after 37 minutes.

Subsequently there was not a lot for Halep to be joyful about. Having seen the warning, Williams duly heeded it, tightened her own game and took control, at one point bellowing "C'mon, fight".

Though she landed only 39% of first serves on target in the second set, Williams won it with ease in 42 minutes, levelling the match with a net cord that dropped dead on the Romanian's side of the net. With Halep now demoralised and unrecognisable as the eager youngster who had started so brightly, the third set was embarrassingly one-sided.

But the better players awaiting Williams deeper into the draw will have noted that she required four match points to wrap up the win and committed 19 unforced errors.

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FRENCH OPEN: The Monfils Dazzle Dampened By Federer

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Frenchman Gael Monfils walks off court after losing quarterfinal match to Roger Federer.

Just one day after the French Open's No. 9 seed, Frenchman Gael Monfils put on an incredible display of tennis in his defeat of  Spaniard David Ferrer, the beat was turned around and Monfils was made to dance... to the tune of Roger Federer. Switzerland's tennis wonder put on a clinic for which Monfils could not find a response.

Roger Federer celebrates QF win.
Monfils had chances in the match, but could never get enough distance between him and Federer in set or seize any type of real momentum in the match on a windy day on Philippe Chatrier. He did lead 3-1 in the first set and the crowd pulled for him with all their worth, but he was inconsistent with his serve and off the ground, barely winning over 51 % of his service points and committing a whopping 53 unforced errors while nailing only 24 winners.

"My biggest weak point was I couldn't serve at all. It was serious handicap," Monfils said. "With more serves I would have been more dangerous."
The 2009 Roland Garros champion had chances to steamroll through the third set, but Monfils hung tough and forced it into a tiebreaker. But there, Federer committed only one unforced error. He whacked two forehand winners to open sudden death and then closed Monfils out with a big serve and a forehand down the line.

"He changes the pace, and he changes the pace so quickly," Monfils said. "This hurts. He's the only one almost to hurt you that much, that quickly. All of a sudden he strikes the ball."

"Roger is always present and has a lot of ambitions still," Monfils said. "But Novak plays so well, it's going to be an incredible match. I'll be the first one to watch it."

Photos by AFP/©FFT

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FRENCH OPEN: Go Gael!!! Monfils Prevails In 5 Sets, Into Quarterfinals

Monday, May 30, 2011

Frenchman Gael Monfils celebrates 5-set win over Spaniard David Ferrer.

ROLAND GARROS - Gael Monfils has a flair for the dramatic, and the last French contender in the men's singles certainly provided plenty of excitement in a charged-up 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 1-6, 8-6 win over Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer on Monday.

Monfils needed four match points to close the match out, but even though the Spaniard is known as one of the toughest men on tour, the 24-year-old out-gutted him when it mattered most.

He fought off a break point in the 13th game of the final set and after flubbing his first two match points with nervous ground strokes and watching Ferrer nail a flying down-the-line forehand winner on the third, Monfils played a brilliant final game and took the match with sliding forehand winner. The Parisian went wild, as did the sell-out crowd on Suzanne Lenglen.

"It's one of my best matches of my career," Monfils said. "Every time I have a tough fight here and I play five-setters here."

Rocky Road

The match was suspended for darkness after three hours on Sunday with Monfils leading 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 0-2. He had twisted his ankle in the final game but, after a rocky fourth set where he was not moving comfortably at all, he recovered nicely in the fifth.

Ferrer, who was attempting to reach his first Roland Garros semi-final, said that failing to convert the break point at 6-6 in the decider was crucial in the outcome of the match. "Maybe a bit of a stress and anxiety," said Ferrer. "I had three forehands that were off the court and also I was not perhaps focusing enough. I had this break point which unfortunately I couldn't control. I wanted to win this point, but I didn't do it."

Monfils had spent two months battling a wrist injury in the winter and early spring, but has been a force at Roland Garros almost regardless of his condition. He seems to have set up residence at Suzanne Lenglen court where he has pulled off some monumental victories.

"I don't know if it's my favourite court - I like them both - Chatrier and Lenglen," he said. "But whatever the time, whatever the court, whenever I'm in Roland, I love playing."

Big Test To Come

Monfils will face no.3 Roger Federer in the quarter-finals on Tuesday, to whom he lost in the semi-finals in 2008 and in the quarter-finals in 2009. While he knows that he has a huge task ahead, Monfils did score a win over the Swiss great last autumn in Bercy.

"It's a different match altogether," he said. "People don't talk about Roger a lot, but he's had very easy wins against all his opponents since the beginning of this tournament. So it's going to be a very difficult match, even more difficult than the ones I played in the past.

"It does matter for me, knowing I managed to beat him here in [Bercy]. It's going to be favourable because it's going to help me relax more. This is something I knew in the past, but I also thought he played better than I did. I was also younger in my head, so it's going to be a bit different this time."

Photos ©FFT

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FRENCH OPEN: Monfils Takes A Tumble As Play Is Suspended For The Night

Sunday, May 29, 2011

 Frenchman Gael Monfils
(Photo by Clive Brunskill /Getty Images)

Spaniard David Ferrer
ROLAND GARROS - 9:30 p.m. Play Suspended - But what drama before. Monfils took a tumble at deuce on his own service, twisting the front of his left foot as he got caught up in the clay. Ferrer asked if he was ok, LaMonf gave him the thumbs up, got up, served and Ferrer broke. So we'll come back tomorrow at 2-1 Monfils in sets, but Ferrer serving at 2-0.


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Roland Garros 2011: Getting To Know Dustin Brown

Saturday, May 28, 2011

German Dustin Brown, 2011 French Open
Photo ©FFT

Dustin Brown is one of those players who doesn't quite fit the mould. After recently playing under the Jamaican flag, the German world number 109 hired best friend and car-crash survivor Daniel Puttkammer to be his coach as he prepares for his first ever French Open appearance.

With his red vest and flying dreadlocks, 26-year-old Dustin Brown looks slightly out of place training out on court no.14. Complete with shaved head and baggy basketball shorts, Coach Daniel Puttkammer strikes an equally unorthodox figure, so it is hardly surprising the pair have built up a reputation on the tour for standing out from the crowd. Puttkammer admits the accusation: "It's true, but Dustin's the one who's really different. With the way he looks and plays on court, he's got something new. Dustin likes being a showman, not just for the fans, but for himself. He needs it. And tennis needs more people like him!"

The player with the huge talent, big attitude and frequent outbursts also goes by the nickname Dready, and he also pleads guilty as charged. "I like getting people worked up, I like feeling the energy from the stands. I feed off it. It's good, because I get the feeling that's what the French crowd likes."

After making it to the quarter-finals in Johannesburg and Newport, and defeating Stanislas Wawrinka in Munich this year, Brown, ranked world no.109, now feels he is ready to break through into the highest echelons of the game. It is even written on his website: "A man with the desire to do something… can do anything!"

"Dready" and his camping car

That has been Brown's motto from an early age, and the 26-year-old has shown remarkable determination on his path to the ATP circuit.

After learning the game in Jamaica, Brown criss-crossed Europe in a camping car for years in search of ranking points. According to his coach, who is also his best friend, "He had no support, no money. It was rough."

Puttkammer and Brown met at a tennis academy near Hanover. At the time, 18-year-old Puttkammer was one of the top 100 players in Germany, dreaming of a professional career. That dream was shattered one fateful day, when the youngster was involved in a terrible car crash, tore his spleen and ended up with three litres of blood in his stomach. "I nearly died. The doctors said it was a miracle," he explained. Three weeks of hospital and a year of physiotherapy later, he picked up his racket, but not where he left off...

A reunion of old friends

Meanwhile, Dready was making progress. After taking the Futures tournaments by storm in his camping car, he progressed to the Challengers and entered the top 100 with something approaching flamboyance. It was then, in September 2010, that he decided to put his prize money to good use and give his old friend Puttkammer a call. "I'd never had a coach before, and I thought maybe it was time to get one," recalls Dustin. "Who better to call than an old friend?"

Puttkammer's dream is now becoming reality - even if it is vicariously. "It's great to experience this with Dustin. And two pairs of eyes are better than one. I see things he doesn't see. He has so many strong points, it's easy to build an arsenal. No-one is faster than him when he hits off one of his cannonballs. He just needs to be more consistent."

Brown's racket speed is out of this world, and his volley more than acceptable. He has a feel for the game, and always gives it everything. Now he just needs to keep his focus, and with a tough match against Argentinean Leonardo Mayer on Monday, he will be put to the test. "After that, the draw is open - anything's possible," says Dready. For this very Jamaican German, it is about living up to his motto.

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Roland Garros 2011: Getting To Know Sloane Stephens

American Sloane Stephens, French Open 2011 
Photo ©FFT

Smiles and easy conversation go hand in hand for Sloane Stephens. The Floridian with the sunny disposition has qualified for her first main singles draw in a major event. As luck would have it, not only is it a Grand Slam, it is also her favourite tournament. "Americans usually don't like clay but I like it a lot. Also, here, I have to share my good moments with my worst moments and that stays with you," explains Sloane. For example, this year "it's my high school prom, which breaks my heart. I am missing so many important events, but I guess the more I miss, the better it is for my career"

Patience and confidence

Two years ago, Sloane had to deal with the death of her father who had been absent from her life until she was 13 years old, and this has made her even more sensitive to missing important family events. "I am missing my brother's baseball games, which makes me sad but that's the way it has to be," she confides.

After studying at Evert Academy, she decided to concentrate on her tennis and is now coached by former pro Roger Smith, who like her is a doubles specialist (Sloane has three wins in the juniors at Grand Slams). She is new on tour and approaches everything with excitement, like talking to the media ahead of her first round tie against Elena Baltacha. She answers questions with humour and an ease that lets one imagine that she would be just as comfortable doing stand-comedy up on a stage as she is hitting her two-handed backhand on the French clay.


Being confident does not mean that Sloane Stephens is not realistic. She is a fan of Kim Clijsters and the Williams Sisters, and the Belgian recently complimented the world no.138. Sloane simply talks about patience and hard work. "Fulfilling my potential may take time, but it will happen. There is a lot of pressure and expectation, but this is true for all the other young American players. Right now, no one really believes in us, and we know it. I also know that when I start having good results, the same people will say that they supported me from the start and they knew I could do it." She is travelling with her aunt, who she says is "my good luck charm because since she's been with me in Europe, I haven't lost."

Stephens certainly does not shy away from telling things like they really are. "I'm on a mission, but so are all of my friends because we all have to face the critics. In the US, no one believes in us and some have even questioned our work ethic. Some even say that there is no hope for professional women's tennis in the medium term..." said Stephens, firmly but without losing her trademark smile. "I'm really happy though," she continues, as well she might be after winning the 50,000 dollar tournament at Reggio Emilia on 15 May. She is reaping the rewards of a "really intensive week of work in Barcelona with Francis Roig (one of Rafael Nadal's coaches) in early May". Stephens has now entered the big leagues, but "one thing is certain, and that's that I'll be home on 4 July to celebrate the holiday with my family." In the meantime, she will have settle for going out to dinner with her aunt in Paris, with a thought for her father, as always since September 2009.

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Seen On The Scene: Tony Parker At The French Open

Tony Parker, captain of the French basketball team is a big tennis fan.  He spent the day on Friday at the French Open.  
Photo ©FFT

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FRENCH OPEN DAY 6: Monfils In... Tsonga Out

Frenchman Gael Monfils celebrating after defeating Belgian Steve Darcis on day 6.

An nearly perfect day for French players turned a little cloudy when Stanislas Wawrinka came back from two sets down to stun Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-7)(3), 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-3.

Before that, Gael Monfils had crushed Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 and Richard Gasquet dispatched Thomaz Bellucci 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Those two wins bookmarked a fantastic effort by their WTA counterpart Marion Bartoli, who edged Julia Goerges in three sets.

Unfortunately for the partisan home crowd, it was not to be for Tsonga, who played so well in the first two sets against the flying Swiss, controlling the match with a booming serve down the tee, a big forehand and effective net approaches. Wawrinka began to play more inside the court from the third set onwards however, cutting off hard balls to his one-handed backhand, serving big himself and staying strong in forehand rallies.

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga grimaces as he loses to Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka

He broke Tsonga to 5-3 in the final set when the Frenchman erred on a forehand, and then he won the contest on his third match point with a screaming inside-out forehand winner. Tsonga said that Wawrinka simply zoned on him in the last three sets. "I felt that he was making no mistakes at all. If I wasn't hitting the ball very strong and putting it in the corner, I would not win a single point," the no.17 seed said. "And then the ball didn't bounce anymore, so I hit the ball as hard as I could. I couldn't make any winning points. The one who loses the third set is in a much more difficult situation. I put everything in the battle in the third set to try and close the match. That's what tennis is about. It's a mental thing, and today he clearly was stronger than I was throughout the match… He simply played a superb match."

2008 semi-finalist Monfils played a near-faultless match against Darcis, despite the fact that, as is often the case at his home tournament, he is coming in lacking in match practice due to illness and injury.

"It was not easy in terms of my game," said the no.9 seed. "And now this is a new week, a new tournament. Of course I'll play against stronger players. Otherwise, I'll perhaps change the way I play a little. I'll have to be much more aggressive, but apart from this, I'm happy."Monfils knows that against David Ferrer in the Round of 16, he faces a tussle against an accomplished clay courter. "I'll turn the page immediately, because as I told my coaches, I think I have survived. I've lived on what I know - how to defend myself on the court. But next week I'll have to go up a level and enhance my performance. Even today I was not totally relaxed when I was hitting the balls - I was not fluid enough in my forearms. The winning shots were not good enough. Too many of these little things that I don't have at present (if I want) to go further."

Photos ©FFT

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French Open 2011




Stephanie Foretz Gacon, FRA defeated by Heather Watson, GBR
66-78, 1-6

Sloane Stephens, USA defeated by Elena Baltacha, GBR
5-7, 2-6


Raquel Kops-Jones, USA and Abigail Spears, USA
defeated by
Kristina Barrois, GER and Johanna Larson, SWE
1-6, 6-3, 1-6

Stephanie Foretz Gacon, FRA and Claire Feuerstein, FRA
defeated by
Yung-Jan Chan, TPE (13) and Monica Niculescu, ROU (13)
6-2, 4-6, 1-6



Gael Monfils(9), FRA defeated Bjorn Phau, GER
4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-0

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(17), FRA defeated Jan Hajek, CZK
6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Dustin Brown, GER defeated by Leonardo Mayer, ARG
6-3, 65-77, 2-6, 2-6




Gael Monfils(9), FRA defeated Guillaume Rufin, FRA
6-3, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(17), FRA defeated Igor Andreev, RUS
6-3, 77-64, 6-3




Gael Monfils(9), FRA defeated Steve Darcis, BEL
6-3, 6-4, 7-5

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(17), FRA defeated by Stanislas Wawrinka(14), SUI
6-4, 77-63, 65-77, 2-6, 3-6




Gael Monfils(9), FRA vs. David Ferrer(7), ESP

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French Open Day 5: Yes Monfils, I Too Felt Exactly Like That When You Lost

Friday, May 28, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils French Open Day 5Gael Monfils, France
(Photos by Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images)

Monfils, Monfils, Monfils! What happened?

I personally saw you lose your match and still I ask, what happened???

Frenchman Gael Monfils's match against Italy's Fabio Fognini began totally going Monfils's way. The first two set were competitive, but owned by the Frenchman ending at 6-2, 6-4.

Then some kind of weird vibe began to creep onto the court and Monfils slowly stopped playing his game, and responding to Fognini's.

The match was halted on Wednesday at 5-5 in the fifth. With all of the back and forth drama, I still thought 'no way Monfils loses this match.'

Both players were unhappy with the decision to stop the match, but returned in the same fashion. Fognini closed the match out with a 2-6 4-6 7-5 6-4 9-7 win.

What did Monfils have to say afterwards? "I lost, that's all. I am disappointed, I lost... but I like Fabio. He beat me fair and square."

Major bummer. Check out other results here.

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Monfils Gets Penciled! Thanks To Facebook Friend Agé Monky

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils Drawing by Agé Monky

No Reprints Without Permission of Agé Monky

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French Open Day 2: Monfils And Serena Get The Job Done

Black Tennis Pro's French Open Day 2 Gael Monfils and Serena WilliamsGael Monfils, FRA and Serena Williams, USA
(Photos by Matthew Stockman/Patrick Kovarika/AFP/Getty Images)

Black Tennis Pro's French Open Day 2 Serena Williams
American Serena Williams had a slow start getting it together during the morning rounds of day 2 at Roland Garros - it was just one of those days. On the flip side, it really doesn't matter what kind of day she's having, the younger Williams sister will typically find a way to win... and she did.

After waking up and finding some rhythm, Serena pulled off a 7-62, 6-2 win over Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele.

Post match Serena said, “I definitely didn’t feel good about it. At least I won. I think I’m still in the tournament. That’s what matters.”

When you get right down to it, that's all that matters.

Black Tennis Pro's French Open Day 2 Gael Monfils
Frenchman Gael Monfils had a few bumps in his 6-3, 7-5, 65-77, 6-2 quest for victory over Germany's Dieter Kindlmann, but nothing dramatic. It appears that Kindlmann came with a bit more game than Monfils may have anticipated.

In his post match interview Monfils said, "Well, I'm happy I won ... I'm really happy I won because I was really nervous. My game is not as good as it used to be because, well I didn't know the guy. I could have finished it earlier but, the positive thing about it is I won."

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French Open Wild Cards

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gianni Mina, France

Here are the wild cards for the men's and women's singles draws at the 2010 French Open.

The eight wild cards for the men's singles:

Carsten Ball, AUS*
David Guez, FRA
Nicolas Mahut, FRA
Gianni Mia, FRA
Josselin Ouanna, FRA
Laurent Recouderc, FRA
Edouard Roger-Vasselin, FRA
Ryan Sweeting, USA*

The eight wild cards for the women's singles:

Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro, FRA
Claire Feuerstein, FRA
Stéphanie Foretz, FRA
Jarmila Groth, AUS*
Mathilde Johansson, FRA
Christina McHale, USA*
Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
Olivia Sanchez, FRA

* Agreements have been reached with the Australian and US Tennis Federations, meaning that a wild card is attributed to a player from each of these countries in the men's and women's singles.

Source: 2010 Roland Garros

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Sloane Stephens and Shenay Perry Qualify For BNP Paribas Open Main Draw

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Sloane Stephens BNP Paribas Open Main DrawTwelve women, including Americans Shenay Perry and Sloane Stephens, booked their places in the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open after winning their second-round qualifying matches on Tuesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Perry went the distance against Chinese Taipei’s Chang Kai-Chen, withstanding 16 aces off her opponent’s racquet to earn a 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(2) win in two hours and 15 minutes. The 25-year-old Perry, currently ranked No. 103, will be making her fourth appearance in the main draw. She made her best showing in 2006, when she reached the third round before falling to Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic.

Sixteen-year-old Stephens, a wild card entry in the qualification draw, cruised past Spaniard Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-1, 6-3. The 623rd-ranked Stephens is making her debut at the BNP Paribas Open. She enjoyed success in juniors last year, reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros and the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

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Fed Cup: Shenay Perry Joins 2010 Roster And Blogs From France

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Shenay Perry 2010 US Fed Cup Team2010 United States Fed Cup Team
(L-R) Captain Mary Joe Fernandez, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Shenay Perry, Melanie Oudin and Liezel Huber.

The U.S. Fed Cup Team is in Lievin, France this week to open its 2010 season against the French team. U.S. Captain Mary Joe Fernandez is leading a team of Liezel Huber, Melanie Oudin, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Shenay Perry in what the team hopes will be the first victory on the way to the 2010 Fed Cup crown. During the days leading up to the competition on February 6-7, different team members will be blogging each day about practicing, their daily adventures, team bonding and more. After Huber started the week off, Perry follows in the second blog as she talks about the first team practice, the clay court and playing Charades. Check back each day to see who is writing next!

Black Tennis Pro's Shenay Perry US Fed Cup Team Blogs From FranceShenay Perry - February 3, 2010

Hi Everyone! After Liezel's great leadoff blog yesterday, it is my turn today. The entire team has now arrived here in Lievin – we got here yesterday – and today was the first day of team practice, which I thought went pretty well. It was short this morning but we did do a few two-on-ones so it was a good, productive hit. I hit with both Melanie and Liezel and we did a few one-on-one circuit drills as well when one of us took a break.

This is the first time I have played Fed Cup since 2006 and my first with Mary Joe as captain but for me the team had already meshed before we even got here. This was the first day we have all been together but Bethanie and I both attended the same tennis academy as teenagers so we have been friends for a long time and I know both Melanie and Liezel pretty well. So I think it is going great so far with our team bonding.

Today was my first day out on the clay court at the stadium. It is indoors, which is a good thing since it poured rain yesterday and today. I think the surface is pretty similar to the one at Roland Garros. It plays a little quick, which I think will be good for us, and it had some good bounces for a clay court. As a whole, I feel all right on clay, I guess my results speak for themselves as I have played pretty decently on clay in my career. As long as I have the results, I feel comfortable!

I know the team has a tradition of playing Charades and/or Pictionary during Fed Cup week and I am a little nervous about it. I am just hoping someone will pick me for her team and if they do that I do not get booted for being too bad! I have heard there are plans in the works to play tonight for the first time so it looks like I will probably be forced into it. Wish me luck!


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France And the U.S. Lose Final Hopes For French Crown

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 French Open SemifinalGael Monfils, France
(Photo by Getty Images)

PARIS (AP) — Getting into a groove at the French Open, Roger Federer is two victories from completing a career Grand Slam and tying Pete Sampras' record for major titles.

After three consecutive so-so performances, Federer was challenged only fleetingly in the quarterfinals Wednesday at Roland Garros before beating 11th-seeded Gael Monfils of France 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-4.

Federer reached the semifinals for the 20th consecutive Grand Slam tournament, extending his own record.

"I felt some pressure before this match," Federer said. "I was very nervous, because I thought it would be very difficult."

He did face two break points in the opening game of the match, and another at 5-5 in the first set — but saved each of them.

Then, in the tiebreaker, Monfils held a set point at 6-5, but again Federer held steady, and the Frenchman sent a backhand wide to make it 6-all. Two points later — a service winner and a volley winner by Federer — the set was over, and so, essentially, was the match.

"Maybe I took too many risks at the beginning," the second-seeded Federer said, "but I was worried about his forehand."

"Today," Monfils said, "he didn't miss a lot."

Is Federer the favorite?

"He still has two tough matches if he wants to win, but I think he can do it," said Monfils, who lost to Federer in last year's semifinals in Paris. "He should be very motivated to win, so, yeah, why not?"

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams 2009 FrenchSerena Williams, USA
(Photo by Getty Images)

PARIS (AP) — One shot by Serena Williams sent Svetlana Kuznetsova to the court in a messy spill that left her covered with clay.The resilient Russian was down but not out. She squandered a big lead in the second set Wednesday but ended Williams' 18-match Grand Slam winning streak in the French Open quarterfinals, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5.

Williams, seeded second, was seeking her third successive major title and the 11th of her career.

The No. 7-seeded Kuznetsova faced a set point serving at 5-6 in the first set but erased it with a slam and won that set. After her tumble in the second set, Williams rallied three points from defeat to even the match, then took a 3-1 lead in the third.

Kuznetsova mounted the final comeback and broke serve in the last game when Williams pushed a backhand wide.

The seesaw struggle was this close: Midway through the third set, each player had won 100 points.

The Russian won with high-risk tennis, whacking winners into both corners and sometimes choosing angles that surprised Williams. Kuznetsova showed lots of variety, too — when she hit a crosscourt lob, Williams staggered helplessly as she watched the ball land beyond her reach.

Williams was sometimes betrayed by uncertain footwork on the clay, which led to repeated errors on her forehand side down the stretch.

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Posted by Shelia
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Monfils Treats Roddick To A Late Show

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gael Monfils, France
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Black Tennis Pro's Andy Roddick 2009 French OpenAt Roland Garros Monday evening on Court Philippe Chartrier Frenchman Gael Monfils was on FIYYA!!

Monfils put on a shot making precision spectacle as American Andy Roddick spent more time getting a bad attitude than getting the job done. While Roddick was griping about not being able to see the ball, Monfils was amassing 45 winners and 17 aces. Roddick topped out at four aces which is, of course, sub-par for him.

Roddick was also cut off at the knees with Monfils' drop shot. Monfils burned him time and time after time... ugly.

"He covers so much ground," Roddick said. He served really big, and he served really big at the right times."

Then there was the punk conversation from the commentators about the crowd support for Monfils, and that Monfils was inciting the crowd in an unsportsmanlike manner. What the hell? If the crowd goes off and terrorizes one of the players, blame it on the crowd, but don't act like Monfils is doing a damn thing wrong soaking up the support of his fans. What a bunch of whining!

After the match Monfils said, "The crowd did a good job supporting me. At times, I asked them to wake up and try to bury Andy. They responded, and I think he was a bit annoyed. As for Andy, I apologize for that."

Of the matter Roddick said, "It's certainly his right. It's his advantage to use."

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils and Andy Roddick 2009 French OpenBlack Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 French OpenGael Monfils, France
(Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images)

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The French Down One Potential Victor As Tsonga Is Eliminated

Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2009 French OpenJo-Wilfried Tsonga, France

Black Tennis Pro's Juan Martin Del Potro 2009 French OpenFrance still has a chance for a champion, and it all rests on the shoulders of Gael Monfils as Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga went down on Monday to Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro 6-1, 65-77, 6-1, 6-4.

At Roland Garros on Court Philippe Chartrier, Del Potro was powerful, accurate and never let up on Tsonga. In contrast, Tsonga's game was nowhere near as polished as it has been in his previous matches and his serve was off as well.

There was very little opportunity for Tsonga to prevail.

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Serena Rolls Into Quarterfinals On A Drama Free Match

Monday, June 1, 2009

Serena Williams, USA

In just under an hour American Serena Williams enjoyed a nice quite drama-free match at Roland Garros today. The "Henin" effect was not in effect.

Serena breezed onto Court Philippe Chartrier, defeated Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-2 and experienced no controversy, all in only 53 minutes.

Serena said that she was suffering from a bug but felt a bit better. She also stated that her leg had finally begun to feel better also.

Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova is Serena's next opponent.

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