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 8th, 2014
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal pulled from the event citing a stomach virus…Ferrer shooting for third title in a row…Wildcards went to Ferrer and Argentines Facundo Arguello and Guido Pella…Returning champs in the field are Ferrer (2013-12), Almagro (2011), Robredo (2009), and Monaco (2007).
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 4th, 2014
Notes: Sam Stosur still injured?…Tough draws for (3) Vesnina against the Puerto Rican riser Puig, and (5) Pennetta against the former No. 1 Venus…Venus on the small-tournament guarantee-cash circuit this year?…Wildcards went to Aussies Casey Dellacqua, Olivia Rogowska and Storm Sanders…Storm Sanders is an awesome sports name, period…Pulling from the tournament were Nadia Petrova, Ashleigh Barty and Stefanie Voegele…Vesnina in last year’s final beat Barthel…Returning former champs in the field are Vesnina (2013), Barthel (2012), and Jie Zheng (2005).
October 13th, 2013
Kerber failed to serve it out at 5-4, 40-0, then Ivanovic let two set points slip away serving at 6-5 — then two more set points at 6-4 in the tiebreak before Kerber won four straight points to secure the title.
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.
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).
August 28th, 2013
In a match where she simply would not go away, No. 296-ranked 17-year-old American qualifier Vicky Duval, who needed a wildcard to get into the qualifying, on Tuesday night defeated former US Open champ and No. 11 seed Sam Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in Flushing Meadows.
August 11th, 2013
How tough is the Cincinnati draw? Former Slam champ Svetlana Kuznetsova barely got in, while former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone didn’t, and has to play the qualifying.