April 20th, 2014
The French send the U.S. out of the World Group I for 2015 behind singles wins by France’s Caroline Garcia over Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, and Garcia winning the doubles with veteran Virginie Razzano over the doubles-challenged Keys/Stephens. France was 1-12 against the U.S. entering the tie.
March 30th, 2014
Notes: Serena is shooting for her third Charleston title in a row…Surprising lack of floaters…(10) Maria Kirilenko vs. (Q) Bencic could be interesting…Wildcards went to Melanie Oudin, Nadia Petrova, and Shelby Rogers…Qualifying to the main draw were Swiss Belinda Bencic. Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, Aussie Jarmila Gajdoeova, Russian Alla Kudryavtseva, Portugal’s Michelle Larcher de Brito, American Grace Min, the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko, and China’s Zheng Saisai…Notable pulls from the event were Alize Cornet, Casey Dellacqua, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands…Former champs in the field are Serena Williams (2013,’12,’08), Stosur (2010), Jankovic (2007), Nadia Petrova (2006), and Venus Williams (2004).
February 3rd, 2014
Russian tennis was crumbling even before legendary captain Shamil Tarpischev bailed out last year in favor of new Russian captain Anastasia Myskina. The iron-handed Tarpischev always seemed to pull together the top Russians, as evident by Fed Cup titles in four of five years from 2004-08. But over the last few years, due to payout squabbles and changes in the Russian sports hierarchy, Russian Fed Cup has become a joke. All the top Russian players have again blown off this tie for Mother Russia, and the rookie captain Myskina now has at her disposal Victoria Kan (ranked No. 160), Irina Khromacheva (240), Valeria Solovyeva (247), and Veronika Kudermetova (689) in her first tie as captain. Good luck with that. Australia will post with their top player and former Slam winner Sam Stosur, in addition to Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty, and will ease into the semifinals. This is an “F” on the watchability report card.
January 15th, 2014
“She played exactly like Martina Hingis, I feel,” Na said of the Swiss Bencic. “It’s very tough to play a decent player I never see before, because I cannot get any information.
September 27th, 2013
Eight of the Top 10 take to the court in Beijing, with play starting on Saturday…Six current or former No. 1s in the field…Tough starts go to (3) Radwanska vs. Keys 2nd rd., (14) Ivanovic vs. Pennetta, (2) Azarenka vs. Petkovic (winner to likely face former world No. 2 Kuznetsova), (5) Errani vs. Flipkens, (13) Lisicki vs. V.Williams likely 2nd rd., and (4) Li vs. Hantuchova…Wildcards went to Francesca Schiavone, Venus Williams, and China’s Zhang Shuai and Zheng Jie…Pulling from the event were Martina Hingis (from doubles citing personal reasons) Marion Bartoli (retirement), Jamie Hampton (left ankle), Ekaterina Makarova, Romina Oprandi, Nadia Petrova (left hip), and Maria Sharapova (right shoulder)…The Williams sisters took a doubles wildcard…Former champs in the field are Azarenka (2012), Radwanska (2011), Wozniacki (2010), Kuznetsova (2009,’06), Jankovic (2008), Maria Kirilenko (2005), and Serena Williams (2004)…No player has ever won back-to-back singles titles in Beijing.
September 22nd, 2013
Tough openers for (4) Simon after a bye vs. the winner of Karlovic-Tomic, and (7) Nieminen vs. the Dutch riser Sijsling…Wildcards went to three dudes whose names you can’t pronounce…Pulling from the event were Ivan Dodig, Andy Murray (back surgery), and Tommy Robredo…Gasquet beat Simon in last year’s final…Returning champs in the field are Gasquet (2012) and Simon (2009).
July 27th, 2013
Notes: Three former No. 1s among the seeds…No Williams sisters but plenty of Top 10ers and floaters…The Top 4 seeds receive opening-round byes…Tough openers for (1) Azarenka after a bye against Pennetta or Schiavone, (4) Vinci after a bye likely against the veteran Mattek-Sands, (7) Ivanovic vs. Cibulkova, (5) Stosur vs. the rolling Lepchenko, and (2) Radwanska after a bye likely vs. the veteran Hantuchova…Wildcards went to American Allie Kiick, France’s Virginie Razzano, and Stosur…Pulling from the event were Marion Bartoli, Kirsten Flipkens, Bojana Jovanovski, Kristina Mladenovic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova…Martina Hingis and Hantuchova received a wildcard in doubles…Cibulkova beat Bartoli in the final last year…Returning champions in the field are Cibulkova (2012), Radwanska (2011), and Kuznetsova (2010).
June 28th, 2013
“I think I just played stupid,” Stakhovsky said. “It would be I think the exact word of showing how I should not play Jurgen, and I should have realized that somewhere in the end of the second set. I should mix up. I should never play the same shot against Jurgen. He was returning much better today than Roger. I’m just a little disappointed that I got so blinded by the game I produced with Roger that I kept going with the same game I played against Jurgen, which was just not right.”
March 21st, 2013
“My attitude is that it always feels better when you’re No.1,” Williams opined. “There’s nothing like when they announce you and they say, ‘The No. 1 player in the world.’ So for me it definitely gives me a little bit more confidence, I think a little bit more pep in your step. It’s just a great feeling.
March 20th, 2013
“I tried to be ready for Indian Wells but my ankle wasn’t ready, so I had to wait another few weeks,” Na said. “I really wanted to be 100 percent ready to come back to the court, because otherwise it would be dangerous. I’ve been really looking forward to coming back. I feel like I had another off-season just now.”