July 27th, 2014
Notes: Solid field with four Top 10ers and two unseeded Slam champs…The Top 4 seeds receive opening round byes, with tough starts for (5) Ivanovic vs. Lisicki, (4) Azarenka after a bye likely vs. (WC) Venus, (3) Kerber likely vs. Vandeweghe, (7) Suarez Navarro vs. Puig, and (2) Radwanska likely vs. Garcia…Wildcards went to Americans Kristie Ahn and Venus, and Azarenka…Pulling from the tournament were Sara Errani and Petra Kvitova…Cibulkova beat Radwanska in last year’s final…Venus is 2-4 in Stanford finals…Martina Navratilova (5-4) has reached the most Stanford finals in the tournament’s history…Returning champs in the field are Cibulkova (2013), Serena Williams (2012-11), Azarenka (2010), and Venus Williams (2002,’00).
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May 11th, 2014
World No. 1 Serena Williams is the top seed this week at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, otherwise known as the Italian Open, but she may not even set foot on the clay after withdrawing from Madrid last week with a thigh injury.
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).
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February 16th, 2014
Notes: One of the toughest 28-draw fields of the year with seven Top 10 players among the seeds, and more dangerous floaters than seeds…Challenging starts for (1) Serena after a bye vs. the Kleybanova-Makarova winner, (5) Jankovic after a bye vs. the Stephens-Safarova winner…
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 26th, 2014
Notes: Strong field with four Top 10ers…Tough starts for (1) Sharapova after a bye likely facing Hantuchova, (2) Kvitova after a bye likely meeting Cornet, and (8) Flipkens vs. the defending champion Barthel…Wildcards went to Caroline Garcia, Petra Kvitova and Kristina Mladenovic…Pulling from the tournament were Dominika Cibulkova, Ana Ivanovic, Kaia Kanepi and Lucie Safarova…Returning champs in the field are Barthel (2013), Kerber (2012), and Kvitova (2011).
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December 28th, 2013
Nadal opens against Rosol who famously ousted him at Wimbledon a couple years ago…Other tough starts for (4) Berdych vs. Dr. Ivo, and (2) Ferrer vs. the pesky Dolgopolov…Ferrer beat Nadal last week at the Abu Dhabi exhibition, eventually losing in the final to Novak Djokovic…Nadal has never won Doha in five appearances…Ferrer has never won in three appearances…Murray making his first ATP appearance since back surgery…In last year’s final Gasquet beat Davydenko…Returning champs in the field are Gasquet (2013), Davydenko (2010), and Murray (2009-08).
October 12th, 2013
Tough starts go to (1) Gasquet vs. either Baghdatis or Evgeny Donskoy, (5) Istomin vs. Russian (WC) Andrey Kuznetsov, and (7) Sousa vs. Stakhovsky…Seeds making their debuts at the event are Gasquet, Sousa and Mannarino…Russians have won the event 14 times since 1990…Last year Seppi beat Thomaz Bellucci in the final…Notable pulls from the event were Nikolay Davydenko (wrist) and Stan Wawrinka…Returning former champs in the field are Seppi (2012) and Tipsarevic (2011).
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.
August 18th, 2013
Notes: Will Isner pull out after his draining run in Cincinnati? Probably…Not a lot of floating talent, and all 16 seeds receive first-round byes…Potentially tough opening-round match-ups for seeds after byes include (11) Nieminen vs. (WC) Fish, (9) Melzer vs. the rising Dutchman Sijsling, and (5) Paire vs. Blake…Other wildcards went to Berdych, Spain’s Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, and Belgian Romain Bogaerts…Pulling from the event were Carlos Berlocq, Nikolay Davydenko, Marcel Granollers, Tommy Haas, Albert Ramos, the doping-suspended Viktor Troicki, and Horacio Zeballos…Isner is the two-time defending champion, last year beating Berdych in the final.