Tag Archives: serena

Robson proves she can advance to Wimbledon quarters

Laura Robson  Carine06 flickr

Laura Robson must quickly recover from her scrappy victory over Marina Erakovic and prepare for a gruelling fourth-round encounter with Kaia Kanepi this Monday, a match that will define her success at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

The British number one came through Saturday’s clash 1-6 7-5 6-3 but her performance was far from what the Court Two crowd expected from this promising 19-year-old. Having performed a masterclass of tennis just a day before the fans expected Robson to power through an opponent ranked 33 places lower than the world number 38 but early proceedings suggested this wouldn’t be the case.

Robson lost the first three games and was easily broken twice in the opening set as the Wimbledon home crowd’s expectations got to her. Her footwork on the baseline was off and she failed to make those powerful backhands that proved so significant during her routine victory over Mariana Duque the previous round.

Robson looked like a rabbit in the headlights and only after a sit down and introspective critique of her own game did she come out of her shell and prove just what potential she has to impress on the WTA. A close second set saw the Brit find her serving mojo and by the third there was only one player in it.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Robson has struggled with third-set confidence over the past two months but there was no lacking here as she thumped her opponent around the court, using that springing muscle in her backhand to carve open Erakovic.

Disappointing first-set stats

Disappointing first-set stats

Now into the last 16, the left-hander faces her toughest challenge yet in Kaia Kanepi, the Estonia world number 46 who breezed through the third round with an untroubled straight-sets victory against wildcard Alison Riske.

The last-16 tie is set to dominate Wimbledon’s headlines on Monday as British support gets behind their last remaining women’s star. Robson has the ability to overcome Kanepi with ease but how she handles the pressure will again come under scrutiny. The difference may even fall to who serves first in the match, for Robson struggled to recover in the opening set after going a game down so easily to the imposing Erakovic and only began her comeback when back level in the second.

She proved her mettle in the third set and that pressure visibly lifted. Her head was up and shoulders back that gave her the imposing, confident posture to reverse her fortunes. This was missing at Roland Garros and previous spring tournaments but that glimmer of class should see her through to the last eight.

Although hopes are high for Robson’s further advance, the quarters are as far as anyone can expect her to go, for Serena Williams lurks in the top side of the draw and is deserved favourite to win Wimbledon for a sixth time. Robson has the power to match Serena for about three shots a rally but her arm just isn’t developed enough to handle the 31-year-old’s punch.

Make no mistake, a Robson v Serena clash on Centre Court would be fitting for a tournament that has already seen major upsets this summer but we should not ask too much of a player so new to the Grand Slam game.

Photo: Carine06, flickr

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Serena Williams eases to Charleston title

Serena Charleston

Serena Williams won her third title of the season on Sunday after surviving a first-set scare to beat Jelena Jankovic 3-6 6-0 6-2 at the Family Circle Cup final in Charleston.

The victory puts Serena in good stead heading into the clay season, where she faces a tough few weeks in Monte Carlo and Madrid before heading into the summer’s first grand slam at Roland Garros.

Not that Serena had it all her own way under the North Carolina sunshine; Jankovic served with supreme accuracy to boss Serena in the opening set but couldn’t continue her momentum into the second, collapsing to the American’s power to lose six straight games.

Jankovic on serve

Jankovic on serve

The 2012 defending champion wowed the crowd with some impressive base-line rallies and was quick to pounce on Jankovic’s serves, especially in a match-turning second set.

Serena remained calm and collective into the third, broke twice and served out for the match in style with a strong serve-volley.

It was the third time the 31-year-old has won the Charleston title and her first clay title of the season. What was most impressive was not only her fitness – that has put her in good stead all week – but the fact she used the home crowd to her advantage with some fairly vocal performances after nailing crucial points.

The combination of power and momentum eventually did it for Serena – who beat her sister Venus 6-1 6-2 in the semis to reach her fourth final on the Charleston clay.

Match Summary:

Charleston 2013 final serena

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Serena v Venus – Williams rivalry returns at Charleston

Serena 1

American tennis fans are in for a real treat on Saturday afternoon as Serena Williams takes on bigger sister Venus for the first time in four years.

The siblings will clash in the 2013 Family Circle Cup in Charleston this weekend with a place in Sunday’s final at stake.

Serena is clear favourite after winning the Miami Masters just last week and has looked comfortable on the Charleston clay. On her first clay event of the season, the world number one hasn’t dropped a set and has reeled away in the last set in each of her three matches.

That sort of fitness and confidence should prove the difference against Venus, who has been pushed to three sets twice already this week. A 6-4 6-4 victory over Madison Keys will give her confidence but without a win over her sister in their last four meetings the ball is very much in Serena’s court.

Only once have the sisters met on clay – at the 2002 French Open – and Serena took the match 7-5 6-3. Expect her to do the same again without the aid of a tiebreak.

Photo: Jet Magbanua, flickr

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From Doha to Dubai – the rivalry continues

Azarenka

The rivalry between Victoria Azarenka and new WTA world number one Serena Williams continues this week as the pair gather up their tennis racquets following Sunday’s final in Doha and jet off to Dubai to compete yet again on the hard courts.

Just a day ago Azarenka got revenge on her adversary for pinching the number one spot, ousting Williams over three sets 7-6 2-6 6-3 to claim the Dubai Open crown. It was a strange moment on court, both players delighted and gutted at the same time with their week’s work.

Anyone who thought their rivalry was settled should wait until next weekend, when the pair will most probably meet again in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships – catchy title!

With each player heading up their own half of the draw, the chances of either name missing out on the final this coming Sunday are slim to none. Williams has arguably the tougher task – seeded second – and faced Marion Bartoli in the second round before an expected semi with Agnieszka Radwanska.

Azarenka, on the other hand, should cope well in the early stages and will likely meet Angelique Kerber in the semis – the German out of form at the moment having crashed out early at the Australian Open.

Those aches and sores from Melbourne are no doubt still hurting Azarenka but they must pale into insignificance compared to her loss of her WTA number one crown.

Although she can’t reclaim it on Sunday, she can nevertheless inflict another title triumph over Williams and set herself in good spirits heading into the rest of spring.

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Serena ends 2012 a true champion

Serena Williams produced a champion’s display of composed and clinical tennis to outmuscle Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-3 in the final of the WTA Championships on Sunday.

Williams, twice previous champion in 2001 and 2009, went unbroken through the entire game as her serve proved too much for Sharapova. Just two breaks were needed – both early in the sets – for Williams to reclaim the title she first won over a decade ago.

The performance paid homage to a player who has dominated the WTA circuit this season: winning Wimbledon, New York and Olympic singles titles. Indeed, 11 years since her debut WTA Championships victory, Williams has staked a real claim for the title of the best player women’s tennis has ever seen – so natural and cool-headed is she in major finals.

Williams made an early break in the fifth game of the first set, smashing home a rally to move 30-0 up before smoothly rounding off the game. The American kept true to her serve and despite spirited play from Sharapova when 4-5 down, the set went the way of Williams.

Into the second set and Williams continued her dominance, breaking Sharapova in game one with some enormous forehands to push through the break to 30. Once again the set went by serve with Williams confident enough to reserve any lung-busting running to her own games.

Indeed, it was Williams’ consistency that did Sharapova in the end. For all the Russian’s technique and wily ability to keep in points, she just could not match the groundstrokes of one of the circuit’s most persistent and powerful players.

So strong was Williams’ serve that her first deuce of the match only came in the eighth game of the second, where she suddenly appeared slightly lethargic. However, Sharapova was unable to capitalise on her opportunity and Williams powered through to go 5-3 up.

Maybe Sharapova knew it just wouldn’t be her day and having seen her first chance of breaking Williams taken away in such clinical nature, the confidence drained from her heading into her last service game.

Before the game Sharapova will have known the ominous record she has with Williams: a 2-9 deficit and without a win against the American since 2004. It was never to be in Istanbul on Sunday and Sharapova maybe knew it as she served out the last game.

Williams swatted an easy route through Sharapova’s early serves and quickly found herself with two Championship points. The 15-time Grand Slam champion needed no second chance, as a powerful return on 30-40 proved enough to overcome her opponent and take the WTA Championship crown.

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Serena and Sharapova into WTA final

Very few would begrudge Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova reaching the final of the WTA Championships, so good have the pair been all year. Indeed, the quality on court at Istanbul’s Saturday afternoon lived up to the raised standard of tennis both women have produced this season.

Williams qualified for the final after overcoming Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-1 in a somewhat one-sided semi on Saturday. Bar a dropped serve in the fourth game of the first set, her Polish opponent – often appearing exhausted on court – never seriously threatened Williams.

Meanwhile Sharapova took on world number one Victoria Azarenka in the second semi, taking the match 6-2 6-4. The Russian was in fine form during the first set and ran away with it before Azarenka had fully focussed on the match – maybe still suffering the hangover of playing gruelling matches in the week.

It was effectively over in the second when Sharapova held her serve at 4-1, battling through a 15-minute game that witnessed nine deuces.

Williams and Sharapova will face off on Sunday afternoon for the crown of WTA Champion – a title both have won in the past.

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WTA Champs stats prove it’s Serena’s title to lose

ImageSerena Williams is by far the form girl heading into next week’s WTA Championship finals in Istanbul, where the top eight players in the world meet at the curtain call event of the year.

With six tour titles adding to her Wimbledon, US Open and Olympics crowns this year, Williams has proven she is more than capable of continuing her dominance of the women’s game despite her lack of tour events.

Indeed, so good has Williams been that she heads into the WTA Championships with a 9-1 aggregate score over her seven other opponents. Only world number five Angelique Kerber has overcome Williams this season, and that was with the German playing above even her wildest expectations to win 6-4 6-4.

Williams should have no fear playing against Kerber or any of the other competitors in Turkey however, for her power and resilience on court has proved the crucial point in grinding down weaker opponents. Her 6-0 6-1 demolition of Maria Sharapova at London 2012 proved just how focussed Williams is and despite being up against the best in the women’s game she should have no problems bypassing the early rounds this October.

The full list of qualified competitors for the WTA Championships:

1) Victoria Azarenka – 10,190 points

2) Maria Sharapova – 9,115 points

3) Serena Williams – 7,900 points

4) Agnieszka Radwanska – 7,095 points

5) Angelique Kerber – 5,470 points

6) Petra Kvitova – 5,215 points

7) Sara Errani – 4,855 points

8) Li Na – 4,726 points

Photo:

ZankaM

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by | 19/10/2012 · 08:19