Johanna Konta takes on Naomi Osaka in the second round of the Australian Open.
Serena Williams discusses what ‘being Serena’ means in her post-match press conference at the Australian Open.
The 2016 Grand Slam season is in the books, but there is still plenty of tennis before the WTA’s grand finale at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Top tier tournaments in Tokyo, Wuhan, and Beijing will help determine the remaining spots for Singapore. Who has already qualified and who has the edge heading into the Asian Swing?
“With only 40 days to go until the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, the Road to Singapore is really heating up now with the best players putting in all their final efforts to secure a prized spot among the greatest eight,” said Melissa Pine, Vice-President of WTA Asia-Pacific and Tournament Director of the WTA Finals. “Women’s tennis is truly exciting at the moment and I am sure that this year’s WTA Finals will feature some of the most thrilling action on court. It is definitely going to be a great time for all the fans!”
Tournament Level: Tour Championships
Prize Money: $7,000,000
Draw Size: 8 main draw singles (round robin)/8 main draw doubles (knockout)
Main Draw Ceremony: Friday, October 21
First Day of Main Draw: Sunday, October 23, 5pm
Singles Final: Sunday, October 30, NB 7.30pm
Doubles Final: Sunday, October 30, 4pm
MUST FOLLOW SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS:
@WTA_Insider – WTA Insider, Senior Writer Courtney Nguyen
@WTAFinalsSG – The official tournament Twitter for the WTA Finals
Get involved in conversations with the official hashtags, #WTAFinals and #WTA.
OPENING DAY ACTION:
This year, fans can look forward to the new Family Day At The Tennis festivities which will complement the scintillating action on Center Court on opening day. Session 1 ticket-holders will be given a Family Day At The Tennis Passport which they can use to earn themselves incentives and prizes such as front-row tickets, fast-track access to special activities, and a meet and greet with WTA legends, while attempting various activities and challenges at the all-new Fan Village.
– Top 2 on the WTA rankings, Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber became the first two women to qualify for Singapore; leading the Road to Singapore leaderboard for most of 2016, Serena and Kerber contested two of the three Grand Slam finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon championships. The two will be making their 13th and fourth WTA Finals appearances respectively; Serena has won the title five times.
– By winning her second Grand Slam title at the US Open, Kerber moves up to No.1 on the Road to Singapore leaderboard.
– Three doubles teams have already qualified. Australian Open champions Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza were the first women to qualify for Singapore, followed by French Open champions Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. Olympic Gold medalists Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina became the third team to qualify after reaching the semifinals of the US Open.
– Hingis and Mirza are defending champions and plan to play Singapore despite splitting after the Rogers Cup, while Garcia and Mladenovic will be making their first apperance as a team after debuting in 2015 with different partners. By reaching the US Open final, the French will take over the No.1 ranking on the Road to Singapore leaderboard.
MAKAROVA AND VESNINA QUALIFY FOR SINGAPORE:
– Makarova and Vesnina were forced to withdraw from the WTA Finals last year, but have qualified twice before, reaching the finals in 2013. The Russians rode a 13-match winning streak into the US Open semifinals with a title at the Rogers Cup before Rio. Learn more about Makarova and Vesnina’s qualification story here.
SINGAPORE IN SIGHT FOR BUCIE?
– Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova were the second team to qualify for Singapore last year, but have played just six events in 2016 due to Safarova’s struggles with illness and injury. Still, the captured their their major title as a pair at the US Open, moving up to No.7 on the RTS leaderboard.
LOOKING AHEAD: THE ASIAN SWING
Six spots in singles and five spots in doubles will be decided during the WTA tour’s final stretch of the 2016 season. The first major tournament of the Asian Swing is the Premier-level Toray Pan Pacific Open, won by defending WTA Finals champion Agnieszka Radwanska last year. From there, the tour heads to China for back-to-back weeks at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open (won by Venus Williams) and the Premier Mandatory China Open (won by French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza).
Here is the current RTS leaderboard in singles and doubles; who will qualify next?
Watch Daria Gavrilova’s practice session at the Australian Open.
MELBOURNE, Australia – Six years after her four-hour epic against Francesca Schiavone at this very tournament, No.8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova came out on the winning side of Friday’s titanic three-setter against former No.1 Jelena Jankovic, 6-4, 5-7, 9-7, to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open.
“It was crazy,” Kuznetsova admitted in her inimitable way after the match. “I was up set and 4-1 with a double break. Then I found myself down 3-0 and 15-40 on my serve in third set.
“It was a bit insane, but it’s a tennis match, anything can happen; it’s never done until you shake the hand.”
Kuznetsova is no stranger to long matches in Australia, having narrowly lost to Schiavone, 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 in what remains the longest Grand Slam match in WTA history back at four hours and 44 minutes in 2011.
There were few signs from the outset that her encounter against Jankovic would approach that duration, as the Russian raced out to a set and double break lead, serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set. Jankovic turned the tables on Kuznetsova at the 11th hour to win the final three games of the second set and force a decider.
Serving second in the final set, the No.8 seed twice fell behind a break as Jankovic served for a 5-2 lead. Kuznetsova promptly broke back and earned a chance to serve out the match; not to be outdone, Jankovic leveled proceedings at five games apiece and kept things on serve until the fateful 15th game.
“It’s so tough, especially after three and a half hours of playing, that one of us had to lose,” Jankovic said after the match. “Unfortunately, it was me. I’m quite disappointed after such a battle, and it’s not easy to accept. I had my chances and I gave myself the opportunity to win the match.
“After 3-0, I wasn’t making as many first serves in; I don’t know if it was because I got tired spending a lot of hours out there. I haven’t competed much, and my percentage of first serves went down, so I couldn’t hold my serve for a while.
“I still have to work hard to get back to my best level, but at the end, Sveta was fitter than me in the end. I tried so hard, but I couldn’t move anymore and she was the one still standing.”
Svetlana #Kuznetsova is through after 3 hours and 36 mins #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/kMr2owinb5
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2017
The third time proved lucky for the three-time Australian Open quarterfinalist, who served out the win on her first match point after three hours and 36 minutes on court.
Up next for Kuznetsova is No.24 seed and compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who earned the biggest upset thus far on Day 5 by knocking out No.11 seed Elina Svitolina in three sets.
4R awaits Svetlana #Kuznetsova #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/qyd07fiQcp
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2017
MELBOURNE, Australia – The second week is about to get underway at the Australian Open, and World No.1 Angelique Kerber and French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza headlining Day 7 Down Under.
We preview all the day’s biggest matchups right here on wtatennis.com.
Sunday, Fourth Round
 Angelique Kerber (GER #1) vs CoCo Vandeweghe (USA #35)
Head-to-head: Kerber leads, 2-0
Key Stat: Vandeweghe is one of four Americans in the Round of 16.
After two tough matches to start her title defense, Kerber looked much stronger in an emphatic third round win over Kristyna Pliskova. The top seed faced down the Czech youngster’s intimidating serve by winning more than half of her points on return as she advanced into the second week for the second straight year.
Her next opponent is into the second week of a major tournament for just the second time in her career, as CoCo Vandeweghe recovered from 4-2 in the final set against Eugenie Bouchard to pull off the win. Vandeweghe hit 11 aces and won 85% of her first serve to topple the former World No.5, and will need a similarly efficient serving day against the defending champion.
Can Kerber keep her hopes of a third Grand Slam title alive?
Sorana Cirstea (ROU #78) vs  Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP #7)
Head-to-head: First meeting
Key Stat: Cirstea is enjoying her best Grand Slam finish since the 2009 French Open.
Muguruza’s first week in Melbourne could well serve as a microcosm of her ups and downs since winning her maiden major title last spring. While the Spaniard hasn’t dropped a set through three wins, she still had a scare halfway through her first round, when she took a medical timeout for fear of exascerbating the right thigh injury that forced her to retire at the Brisbane International.
Despite the hiccup, Muguruza has played her best tennis at a major tournament since last year’s Roland Garros, and will be a tough out for Cirstea, a former World No.21.
The Romanian appeared to be at the height of her career just three years ago when she roared into the Rogers Cup final, but a shoulder injury stunted her progress and led her to re-work her service motion. Winning her first matches in Melbourne since 2014, Cirstea bettered her previous best finish Down Under with wins over Irina Khromacheva, No.10 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, and an in-form Alison Riske.
Can Cirstea cause the first big upset of the second week?
Around the Grounds…
Starting off Day 7 on Rod Laver Arena is an all-Russian affair between No.8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and rival No.24 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who stunned No.11 seed Elina Svitolina in three sets. No.13 seed Venus Williams follows on Laver against qualifier Mona Barthel.
QUÉBEC CITY, Canada – Alla Kudryavtseva took out top seed and hometown favorite Eugenie Bouchard, 6-2, 6-3, to advance into her second WTA quarterfinal of 2016 at the Coupe Banque Nationale.
“The crowd was amazing; it was a sold out match today, and it was very nice to play singles in a full stadium,” she told WTA Insider after the match. “We started with some good points. I was in trouble in the second game, but I was able to come up with good shots on break points.
“From then on, I kind of rolled – talk about being in the zone! – I was hitting my shots very well, and it was just working. It was just electric and I love how engaged the crowd was – though sadly, they were engaged against me! But it was still nice to have the full house atmosphere, and by the end I really felt like they appreciated the level of tennis I was playing.”
Kudryavtseva has been ranked as high as No.56 in singles, and the doubles star has shown signs of possibly improving upon that career with a run to the quarterfinals at the Internationaux de Strasbourg and a quality week of wins at the Rogers Cup. But it all came together for the Russian as she headlined the night session in Québec City as she saved three early break points to roar out to a set and double break lead, clinching the match two games later – setting up match point with a screaming forehand winner – in just over an hour.
“I don’t get to play indoors as much anymore now that I don’t train as much in Russia. But I put some good hours in, playing two doubles matches, and I think that helped me get used to the surface, the Center Court, and being in the groove of the tournament – not having too much of a break between my first and second round singles matches.
“Things kind of worked, and isn’t it nice when things just work out?”
Up next for the Russian is American nemesis Lauren Davis, a qualifier who has won each of their previous three meetings – a stat about which Kudryavtseva is keenly aware.
“Horrible match-up for me! Horrible! She beats me every time! But every week is different, and every match is different, different surface – although, we have actually played indoors before.
“But I’m just enjoying my time on the singles court right now, coming off a big win. I just hope to bring a good level tomorrow, and I’m sure things will work out if I do that.”
Earlier in the day, France’s Oceane Dodin reached her first WTA quarterfinal with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Sachia Vickery, while Alison Van Uytvanck ended lucky loser Barbora Stefkova’s run in the second round, 6-4, 6-3. Finally, Jessica Pegula completed the quarterfinal line-up by defeating young Canadian hope Francoise Abanda, 7-6(2), 7-5.
Kudryavtseva sort avec le sourire après avoir battu Bouchard 6-2, 6-3 et Abanda rentre sur le terrain. #CoupeBN pic.twitter.com/dxySdHTLlo
— CoupeBanqueNationale (@CoupeBN) September 16, 2016
No.24 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova put together a dominating performance to upset her countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova and reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time.
Serena Williams reveals how she met her fiancé Alexis Ohanian in her Australian Open press conference.