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Australian Open: The Seeds

Australian Open: The Seeds

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MELBOURNE, Australia – There were some major moves on the new WTA Rankings this week – Agnieszka Radwanska going from No.5 to No.4, Angelique Kerber from No.10 to No.7, and Victoria Azarenka from No.22 to No.16 after winning her first WTA title since 2013 at the Brisbane International.

With Top 4, Top 8 and Top 16 seeds so critical at majors, those moves couldn’t have come at a better time, as these rankings are the ones the seeds are made from for the first major of the year.

With that, here are the projected seeds for the Australian Open:

(1) Serena Williams (USA #1)
(2) Simona Halep (ROU #2)
(3) Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP #3)
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #4)
(5) Maria Sharapova (RUS #5)
(6) Petra Kvitova (CZE #6)
(7) Angelique Kerber (GER #7)
(8) Venus Williams (USA #10)
(9) Karolina Pliskova (CZE #11)
(10) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP #12)
(11) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI #13)
(12) Belinda Bencic (SUI #14)
(13) Roberta Vinci (ITA #15)
(14) Victoria Azarenka (BLR #16)
(15) Madison Keys (USA #17)
(16) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #18)

(17) Sara Errani (ITA #19)
(18) Elina Svitolina (UKR #20)
(19) Jelena Jankovic (SRB #21)
(20) Ana Ivanovic (SRB #22)
(21) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS #23)
(22) Andrea Petkovic (GER #24)
(23) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #25)
(24) Sloane Stephens (USA #26)
(25) Samantha Stosur (AUS #27)
(26) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS #28)
(27) Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK #29)
(28) Kristina Mladenovic (FRA #30)
(29) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU #31)
(30) Sabine Lisicki (GER #32)
(31) Lesia Tsurenko (UKR #33)
(32) Caroline Garcia (FRA #34)

** Flavia Pennetta (ITA #8) and Lucie Safarova (CZE #9) would have been seeded but are not competing at the Australian Open due to retirement (Pennetta) and bacterial infection (Safarova).

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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

CHARLESTON, SC, USA – The unseeded Jelena Ostapenko put together a dominating performance to oust 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets and move into the Volvo Car Open semifinals.

At 19 years old and ranked No.66, Charleston-debutante Ostapenko was the youngest and lowest-ranked player left in the draw. But she backed up her results to reach the second Premier-level semifinal of her career with the 6-2, 6-4 victory.

It feels amazing to be in the semis here,” Ostapenko told press after the match. “First time I’m in Charleston, and today was a tough match because Caroline is such a great player.

“I just tried, and I think it was not bad.”

Ostapenko was dictating from the start against the former World No.1, fearlessly changing the direction of the ball and firing off winners from every angle. After an edgy few opening games as both players acclimated to the tricky, windy conditions, it was the Latvian who kicked into gear, breaking three times to reel off six games in a row and snatch up the opening set and start the second with a break to the good.

Wozniacki earned the break straight back with some rock-solid returning, but found herself down again a couple of games later as Ostapenko outpaced her to bring up a 3-2 lead. Wozniacki saved three match points as the teenager served for the match – she was even a point away from making it 5-5 – but Ostapenko wouldn’t be denied. She kept up the pressure and broke through Wozniacki’s defense, booking her spot into the Charleston semifinals after an hour and twenty-six minutes.

I just knew before the match that I have to stay aggressive all the time and still be consistent,” Ostapenko explained. “And I tried not to step back, just to be like play in the court all the shots.And I think that’s helped me today.”

Despite winning just 51% of her first serve points, the Latvian backed it up by firing 40 winners against Wozniacki’s 14, outweighing her 26 unforced errors to Wozniacki’s six. And the Dane will surely rue her missed opportunities – she only converted one of the five break chances she created, while Ostapenko converted four of eight.

I really tried my best out there,” Wozniacki reflected in post-match press. “I was trying to grind everything down. I tried to change the pace when I had the opportunity, but I mean if she played like this every day, then she would be No.1 in the world.

“She really played well. She went for her shots. Everything was going in. She was hitting the lines. Everything that could go her way today was going her way.

“All I could do today was try my best, try my hardest to fight and try and get somewhat of a grip on it, but you know, it is what it is sometimes.”

The loss also denies Wozniacki a return to the upper echelon of the WTA rankings – she needed to reach at least the Charleston semifinals to guarantee herself a spot inside the Top 10.

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Can Azarenka Win The Australian Open?

Can Azarenka Win The Australian Open?

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MELBOURNE, Australia – Victoria Azarenka’s revival at the Brisbane International, where she stormed to her first WTA title in almost two and a half years without losing a set, couldn’t have come at a better time, with her favorite Grand Slam – the Australian Open – just a matter of days away.

She’s hoping her journey back to the top of the tennis world will continue at the Happy Slam.

“I’m excited to follow my journey. I’m excited to live my journey,” Azarenka said. “It’s a great feeling. Stay in the moment, be present – I’m really enjoying this moment. I think it’s precious. So I just want to enjoy that and see how I feel tomorrow, see what I want to do, and just try to keep going.

“The focus is still very much on Melbourne. I’m going to do everything I can to prepare and feel the most comfortable to start the tournament. I can’t wait to be in Melbourne. I love the city.”

After three blockbuster seasons – she finished 2011 at No.3, 2012 at No.1 and 2013 at No.2 – the injury bug bit Azarenka hard, limiting her to just nine tournaments in 2014 and 14 in 2015, and at one point pushing her as far down as No.50 in the world, her lowest ranking since all the way back in 2007.

But the Brisbane title propelled her from No.22 to No.16 on this week’s WTA Rankings, not just guaranteeing her a Top 16 seed for the Australian Open, but her highest ranking since August 2014.

The former World No.1 isn’t calling this a comeback, though. “I don’t think there’s a name for it,” she told reporters in Brisbane. “I think it’s more for you guys to put as a headline. For me, it’s like you’re reading a book, and you just turn the page. That part of it was over – you just flip the page.

“I think that’s really exciting. And I can’t wait to read the next page.”

That next page will be written at the Australian Open, and it’s her best Grand Slam for a reason – she won her first two Grand Slam titles there in 2012 and 2013, beating Maria Sharapova and Li Na in those two finals, respectively, and even through her injury-marred seasons since then she still made it deep, reaching the quarterfinals in 2014 (falling to Agnieszka Radwanska) and the fourth round in 2015 (falling to Dominika Cibulkova). She’s also won 35 of her last 39 matches in Australia, period.

And given she’s been Serena Williams’ toughest match-up the last few years – she’s the last player to beat the World No.1 in a final, at Cincinnati in 2013, and she pushed her to three sets in all three of their meetings in 2015 – could a rejuvenated Belarusian be the one to stop Williams Down Under?

Tell us what you think: Can Azarenka win a third Australian Open crown this year?

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Bouchard, Vesnina Go To Celine Dion Show

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MONTRÉAL, Canada – For the players taking part in the 2016 Rogers Cup, it was more than just ranking points and prize money at stake in the competition: there was an extra prize up for grabs for the tournament winners.

Though Roberta Vinci didn’t reach the final (and we didn’t get to hear her sing), plenty of WTA players were in attendance on to see Celine Dion’s triumphant return to Montréal, where she was kicking off the first of 10 concerts in the city.

Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova, who teamed up to win the Rogers Cup trophy in doubles, didn’t miss the chance to see the singer live, making sure to record every moment.

The tournament’s other champion, Simona Halep, who featured in both the singles and doubles finals, was too exhausted to make the show. She wasn’t too cut up about it though, having already seen the Queen of Pop live a few months ago.

Q. If you make the final, you get tickets to a concert tonight.

SIMONA HALEP: You think I’m able to go? I have one more match. I saw Celine in March when I was in Vegas. I will see her soon, but not tonight.

Meanwhile, Canada’s No.1 Eugenie Bouchard was at the concert, too, and she nabbed the ultimate selfie with her iconic countrywoman before the show began.

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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MONTERREY, Mexico – World No.1 Angelique Kerber battled past Carla Suárez Navarro in two sets to return to the Abierto GNP Seguros final for the second time, 7-6(6), 6-1.

Kerber will face three-time champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final, a rematch of the pair’s 2013 final here in Monterrey which saw the Russian defeat Kerber to claim her third title.

“It’s a completely new year, so I will not think about my last final here,” Kerber joked in her post-match press conference. “It was three years ago, and anything is possible. I’m going out there tomorrow to try to play my best tennis and try to win the match.”

Playing in her first Monterrey day session match of the tournament, Kerber had to contend with the different conditions as well as the determined Suárez Navarro.

The Spaniard came into Monterrey with just one victory all season long after shoulder injury kept her off the courts for much of 2017, but she brought her best tennis against the World No.1 in the opening set.

She stayed calm despite Kerber opening up a double break lead, climbing back from 1-4 down to 4-4. They traded breaks once more and sent the match to a tiebreak, where Kerber finally emerged victorious after a string of marathon rallies.

It was more comprehensive for the World No.1 in the second set, though, as she raised her level to outhit Suárez Navarro and find winners from every angle. She started the set with another double break lead to go up 5-0.

Despite the Spaniard managing to get on board late, she couldn’t stem the tide as Kerber powered through to her second Monterrey final – and her first final of 2017.

“I think we both played on a really high level today,” she said. “It was a really tough match. It’s always tough to play against her, I know this because I’ve played her in a lot of tough battles in the past.

“I tried to stay focused, especially in the beginning of the second set, and I’m happy to be in the second final here.”

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Insider Podcast: Sweet Win For Simona

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MONTRÉAL, Canada – Simona Halep capped off a strong week in Canada by winning her third title of the season, beating Madison Keys, 7-6(2), 6-3, to win the Rogers Cup. Her win over Keys extended her current win streak to 10 matches and moves her up to No.3 in both the rankings and the Road To Singapore leaderboard.

Hear from Halep as she discusses her week in Montreal, her plans for the upcoming weeks without the Olympics, and why she never, ever, skips a good dessert.

On doing double duty: “It was very different because I’m not used to playing doubles. I got a little bit tired in the end. But it also helped me to play some doubles matches because I practiced the return, the serve. That helped me a lot in singles; I had tough opponents there. It’s been a great week in both singles and doubles. I am dead, but I have a few days break, and I will be fresh against for Cincinnati.”

On managing frustration on court: “My physio Dragos is new and he doesn’t know tennis very well. He asked Darren during the match where I had a set and 5-0, ‘Why is Simona angry at this moment?’ I don’t know how to answer, because it happens. It’s coming from inside where I get frustrated because I’ve missed a ball. I always want perfection; I know that doesn’t exist, but I’m looking for it a lot anyway. I don’t know if I’ll ever find out why I do this, but if I do, I will change it because I really want to change this and be more patient and positive with myself.”

On the summer hardcourts: “I think I play better tennis on hardcourts here at the US Open Series because the courts are faster and I started to play well on this surface. I feel more confident because I had a great result last year at all the tournaments, so I’m looking forward to the next tournament because I feel confident that I can win some more matches. I just have to be careful with my body, to take a rest and recover, and then to work again.”

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News | WTA Tennis English

News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

CHARLESTON, SC, USA — It was a whirlwind week for Daria Kasatkina in Charleston, as the teenager claimed her first career WTA title at the Volvo Car Open on Sunday – but the weekend of firsts wasn’t over for the Russian until she participated in the annual champion’s photo shoot.

Telling WTA Insider that clay has given her “all the best emotions [she] ever had,” the 2014 junior French Open champion set out on the town with her new trophy and coach Vlado Platenik for some celebratory photos in downtown Charleston after claiming the green clay crown.

Check out all of Kasatkina’s off-court trophy shots, courtesy of the Volvo Car Open:

Daria Kasatkina

Daria Kasatkina

Daria Kasatkina

Daria Kasatkina

Daria Kasatkina

Daria Kasatkina

Daria Kasatkina

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