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Serena Tops SI's Fashionable 50

Serena Tops SI's Fashionable 50

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

On Tuesday Sports Illustrated released its inaugural Fashionable 50, a list of athletes that a panel of sports and fashion experts evaluated as most fashionable, and WTA’s Serena Williams proudly stands in the Top 10. SI’s experts took into account not only what, where and why the athletes pick certain clothes for their on-court and off-court appearances, but their overall involvement in the world of fashion: designer collaborations, presence at fashion shows, investments in fashion, endorsements and other partnerships, social media activities, etc. Guest contributor Marija Zivlak of Women’s Tennis Blog breaks down Serena’s most iconic fashion moments.

Serena Williams
The 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in West Hollywood, California

When it comes to tennis, Williams is firmly holding on to her No.1 ranking, but the 21-time Grand Slam champion’s fashion dominance is just as fierce and commanding, so it comes as no surprise that SI’s experts ranked her at number four of the Fashionable 50.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams at the 2004 US Open

From her beginnings on the professional circuit to this day, Williams has stood out both with her powerful game and daring fashion. We still vividly remember the colorful beads Williams wore as a teenager back in the 90s, while now at 34 years of age Williams is still pushing the boundaries, be it with animal prints, provocative designs, or simply with the way she pulls of even the simplest outfits.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams at the 1998 US Open

When Williams finishes sweeping past her opponents, she embraces haute couture for runway and red carpet appearances. The look that SI singled out in their Fashionable 50 list is the provocative lingerie-style lace dress from the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award ceremony.

Serena Williams
Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award ceremony, December 2015

Williams is not only a consumer of stunning clothes, the tennis legend has been active in the fashion world with her Serena Williams Signature Statement Collection for HSN, which she proudly presented at New York Fashion Week in September 2015, with Vogue’s Anna Wintour and other celebrities sitting in the front row. The collection revolves around fringe and leather motifs, while Williams herself described it as “a little bit retro, romantic, and extremely innovative.”

Serena Williams
Serena Williams presenting her collection at New York Fashion Week in September 2015

In an interview for Vogue, Williams talked in more detail about the clothes that bear her name: “I want [my customers] to feel empowered. I want them to feel beautiful. The collection works on every size person. You should [be able] to look good and feel good and love who you are and, at the same time, be stylish.”

Serena Williams
Serena Williams at the 2014 US Open

Serena earned her place in the prestigious Top 10 of SI’s Fashionable 50, but two other WTA stars also made the list: Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova with her 2014 French Open trophy

Described as “red carpet stunner” by SI, Sharapova is known for her sophisticated taste, comprehensive business sense that has a lot to do with stylish clothing, numerous fashion show appearances, and let’s not forget her work with Nike that produced a number of memorable tennis dresses.

Venus Williams

Venus Williams at the 2015 Miami Open

Venus, on the other hand, has managed to grow her athletic apparel line EleVen so much that now it competes with sports apparel giants, largely owing to her fashion degree from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, as well as her work ethic and innate wish to succeed that brought her all the tennis successes in the first place.

Visit Sports Illustrated’s Fashionable 50 for a complete list of the world’s most stylish athletes. The new issue of SI hits newsstands on Wednesday, April 13.

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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Cibulkova: WTA Comeback Player Of The Year

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

SINGAPORE – Dominika Cibulkova has been named the 2016 WTA Comeback Player Of The Year.

The Slovak was one of the brightest players on the tour in 2014 as she reached three finals, including the Australian Open, her first Grand Slam final appearance. Cibulkova, however, narrowly missed out on qualifying for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global in 2014, and endured a frustrating start to the 2015 season. She elected to undergo surgery on her Achilles in February forcing her to miss three months of action. During her absence, her ranking dropped outside the Top 50.

But she didn’t stay there long, and in 2016 Cibulkova has rediscovered her form, returning to the Top 10 and qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore for the first time in her career thanks to tournament wins at the Katowice Open, the Aegon International Eastbourne and the Generali Ladies Linz.

Her achievements have been recognized as she received 26 votes for WTA Comeback Player Of The Year award, ahead of Anastasija Sevastova (12), Elena Vesnina (11) and Vania King (1).

WTA Comeback Player Of The Year Winners
2016: Dominika Cibulkova
2015: Venus Williams
2014: Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
2013: Alisa Kleybanova
2012: Yaroslava Shvedova
2011: Sabine Lisicki
2010: Justine Henin
2009: Kim Clijsters
2008: Zheng Jie
2007: Lindsay Davenport
2006: Martina Hingis
2005: Kim Clijsters
2004:
Serena Williams

Complete listing of the historical WTA Awards.

 

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Kerber, Radwanska Lead Red & White Groups In WTA Finals Round Robin Draw

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

SINGAPORE – The Elite Eight were placed into a pair of round robin groups at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Top two seeds Angelique Kerber and Agnieszka Radwanska headline the Red and White Groups, named for the colors in the Singapore flag.

Check out all the need-to-know information on where the Top 8 were placed:

Red Group

(1) Angelique Kerber (GER #1)
~ 2016 Titles: 3 (Australian Open, Stuttgart, US Open)
~ 2016 Record: 59-17
~ Best Grand Slam result in 2016: Won Australian Open and US Open
~ WTA Finals history: 4th appearance in five years (2-7 record)
~ H2H vs Red Group: 12-9 (4-4 vs Cibulkova, 3-4 vs Halep, 5-1 vs Keys)

(3) Simona Halep (ROU #4)
~ 2016 Titles: 3 (Madrid, Bucharest, Montreal)
~ 2016 Record: 44-16
~ Best Grand Slam result in 2016: Quarterfinalist Wimbledon, US Open
~ WTA Finals history: 3rd consecutive appearance (4-4 record – 2014 finalist)
~ H2H vs rest of Red Group: 10-7 (2-3 vs Cibulkova, 4-3 vs Kerber, 4-1 vs Keys)

(6) Madison Keys (USA #7)
~ 2016 Titles: 1 (Birmingham)
~ 2016 Record: 46-15
~ Best Grand Slam result in 2016: R16 Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open
~ WTA Finals history: Making debut in 2016
~ H2H vs rest of Red Group: 5-9 (3-0 vs Cibulkova, 1-4 vs Halep, 1-5 vs Kerber)
~ Thoughts on her draw: “Everyone here has been playing really well and has had a great year. So, no matter who you’re playing, it’s going to be a tough match. We’re all looking to end the year on a high note.”

(7) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK #8)
~ 2016 Titles: 3 (Katowice, Eastbourne, Linz)
~ 2016 Record: 50-19
~ Best Grand Slam result in 2016: QF Wimbledon
~ WTA Finals history: Making debut in 2016
~ H2H vs rest of Red Group: 17-20 (3-2 vs Halep, 4-4 vs Kerber, 0-3 vs Keys)
~ Thoughts on her draw: “It’s a tough group, but both groups are, and so it’s hard to choose one or the other! But it’s my first time here, and so I hope to have a good start, and we’ll see what happens.”

White Group

(2) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #3)
~ 2016 Titles: 3 (Shenzhen, New Haven, Beijing)
~ 2016 Record: 51-16
~ Best Grand Slam result in 2016: Semifinalist Australian Open
~ WTA Finals history: 6th consecutive appearance, 8th overall (9-12 record – 2015 champion)
~ H2H vs rest of White Group [with Konta]: 11-4 (2-0 vs Konta, 3-4 vs Muguruza, 6-0 vs Pliskova)
~ H2H vs rest of White Group [with Kuznetsova]: 13-16 (4-12 vs Kuznetsova, 3-4 vs Muguruza, 6-0 vs Pliskova)

(4) Karolina Pliskova (CZE #5)
~ 2016 Titles: 2 (Nottingham, Cincinnati)
~ 2016 Record: 42-20
~ Best Grand Slam result in 2016: Finalist US Open
~ WTA Finals history: Making debut in 2016
~ H2H vs rest of White Group [with Konta]: 8-8 (5-1 vs Konta, 3-1 vs Muguruza, 0-6 vs Radwanska)
~ H2H vs rest of White Group [with Kuznetsova]: 4-7 (1-0 vs Kuznetsova, 3-1 vs Muguruza, 0-6 vs Radwanska)

(5) Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP #6)
~ 2016 Titles: 1 (Roland Garros)
~ 2016 Record:34-18
~ Best Grand Slam result in 2016:Won Roland Garros
~ WTA Finals history: 2nd consecutive appearance (3-1 record – 2015 semifinalist)
~ H2H vs rest of White Group [with Konta]: 6-8 (1-2 vs Konta, 1-3 vs Pliskova, 4-3 vs Radwanska)
~ H2H vs rest of Greatest Eight [with Kuznetsova]: 6-7 (1-1 vs Kuznetsova, 1-3 vs Pliskova, 4-3 vs Radwanska)
~ Thoughts on her draw: “Basically, I don’t really care who’s in my group, because all matches here are tough and a battle. I’ll just be prepared to fight.”

The eighth and final spot in the White Group will be filled by Johanna Konta or Svetlana Kuznetsova, if the latter wins the Kremlin Cup

——–
(8) Johanna Konta (GBR #9)
~ 2016 Titles: 1 (Stanford)
~ 2016 Record: 44-21
~ Best Grand Slam result in 2016: Semifinalist Australian Open
~ WTA Finals history: Making debut in 2016
~ H2H vs rest of White Group: 8-14 (2-1 vs Muguruza, 2-8 vs Pliskova, 4-5 vs Radwanska)

(8) Svetlana Kuznetsova (#9)
~ 2016 Titles: 1 (Sydney)
~ 2016 Record: 41-20 (entering Moscow SF)
~ Best Grand Slam result in 2016: R16 Roland Garros, Wimbledon
~ WTA Finals history: 6th appearance in singles (3-12 record – would be first appearance since 2009)
~ H2H vs rest of White Group: 13-5 (1-1 vs Muguruza, 0-1 vs Pliskova, 12-4 vs Radwanska)

Click here to relive an exiciting draw ceremony, broadcast on Facebook Live:

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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA – Reigning French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza brought No.10 seed Elina Svitolina’s 15 match winning streak to an emphatic end with a 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-0 victory at the BNP Paribas Open to book an intruiging match-up with No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

“I think it was a very difficult match today,” she said in her post-match press conference. “It was like a test, because she has been winning, like, 15 matches in a row, and she just getting to Top 10, as well.

“I was, like, okay, it’s going to be a tough match and she has a very difficult game, as well. I’m pretty happy about my match. It wasn’t easy at all.”

Svitolina has quickly become the player to beat after back-to-back titles at the Taiwan Open and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships – with wins in Fed Cup in between – helping her become the first Ukrainian women to crack the Top 10.

Muguruza, by contrast, came to the California desert with question marks after a left achilles injury forced her to retire from her opening round in Dubai, and was a set from defeat against 17-year-old wildcard Kayla Day on Sunday.

Still, the Spaniard raced out to a 5-2 lead to start and survived a late surge to hold off Svitolina in the ensuing tie-break.

“I felt like I almost had to control the match. Not really the second set. I think she played very good in the second set. But in that first set, I started very well, and I knew that that match can turn around so easily, you know. It’s going to be a battle.

“I accept it that she came back. Then I kept fighting until the tie-break, and it was, like, two points’ difference!”

Undeterred, the Ukrainian youngster took the momentum from the end of the first set into the second, roaring to a decider, dropping just five points on her first serve and converting all three break points to level the match.

“Today was a bit of a mental struggle,” Svitolina told WTA Insider. When I woke up this morning, I was feeling tired, and I needed to fight through the fatigue. It was up and down, but I needed to fight through it and I was feeling like I did the right things, and that I had my chances throughout the match.

“But there are a lot of positives I can take from a match like this, and I can be proud of myself that I’d been able to fight through so many days like today. I’ve had some incredible matches and I can be proud of those and move forward.”

The first three games of the final sent would go to deuce, but Muguruza would win each one and never looked back, converting the bagel on her second match point.

“I think I can play in a number of different ways. And today I knew it was going to be difficult, because even though you try different things, you are playing against a Top 10 player and you can, you know, not win.

“I was just trying to do my game today, basically, because I think that was the way to win.”

Up next for Muguruza is Czech nemesis Pliskova, who has won their last five matches of their head-to-head after losing their first meeting at the 2013 French Open.

The pair most recently played ta Fed Cup, where the No.3 seed triumphed in straight sets, though Muguruza pushed Plisova to three sets in their round robin match at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

“I think it’s one of the toughest matches I can have now. I think she’s playing very good. She has been very consistent, and I have been watching her.

She has her game, which is very aggressive with good serve. So I’m just going to go out there and try to do my game, try to be concentrate. I know it’s a tough match.

“I cannot do more than give it all there.”

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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

And then there were eight! It’s quarterfinal time at the BNP Paribas Open and the top half of the draw will get things started. We preview all of today’s action right here at wtatennis.com.

Wednesday, Quarterfinals

[3] Karolina Pliskova (CZE #3) vs. [7] Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP #7)
Head-to-head: Pliskova leads, 5-1
Key Stat: Muguruza ended Elina Svitolina’s 15-match winning streak with a three-set victory over the Ukrainian on Tuesday.

It was a typically hot sunny day in the California desert two years ago when Garbiñe Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova met in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open. There was an air of what could be surrounding the two rising talents as they slugged serves and pounded groundstrokes while a relatively small crowd looked on. Two years on, both players are stars that are firmly entrenched in the Top 10. Muguruza is a Grand Slam champion and has played in two major finals and Pliskova was last year’s US Open runner-up. Everything we thought these fantastic young ball strikers could be, they are becoming, and they will go toe-to-toe on Wednesday in a match that is sure to be very important for both. But likely more so for Muguruza, who lost to Pliskova on that day in 2015 and has lost to the Czech five times consecutively, and in total. They have had a few close battles, and Pliskova has dominated the Spaniard a few times, but Pliskova does seem to be inside Muguruza’s head a bit at this point in time.

That said, Muguruza is eager for the challenge, knowing that Pliskova has become one of the game’s premier power brokers and understanding what a win against her could mean for her confidence. “I think it’s one of the toughest matches I can have now,” she said. “I think she’s playing very good. She has been very consistent, and, yeah, I have been watching her.”

Can the Spaniard finally shake free of the player that has become her nemesis and make a strong statement about her form in 2017? Or will it be Pliskova who again hands Muguruza another disappointing loss on a grand stage?

Pick: Pliskova in three

[19] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS #21) vs. [8] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #8)
Head-to-head: Kuznetsova leads, 5-3
Key Stat: Pavlyuchenkova already has three Top 10 wins in 2017, two more than she had all of last season.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is hoping for the hat trick when she squares off with her compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova for the third time in three months on Wednesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The 25-year-old took the first two meetings in straight sets, reversing run of dominance for Kuznetsova that saw her beat Pavlyuchenkova four times in their first five encounters. But the Pavlyuchenkova we see today is not the same player we have seen in previous years. The talent, yes it’s similar, but there is more seriousness about her craft, and this is what she believes has made the difference for her this week. “I’m 25. I’ll be 26 in July,” she told reporters after her three-set victory over No.5 seed Dominika Cibulkova on Tuesday. “The time is going quick, you know. Tennis life is kind of short. I feel like if it’s not now, then after it’s too late… I just am going to take my chances, try my best, work hard consistently, and see where it can bring me.”

But will Pavlyuchenkova’s newfound sense of purpose be enough to propel her past Kuznetsova for a third consecutive time? Kuznetsova too is a vastly improved player from where she was a few seasons ago. Last year she returned to the Top 10 for the first time in six years and thus far in 2017 she has shown no signs of slowing down. Expect Kuznetsova to come out determined to take the power back from Pavlyuchenkova.

Pick: Pavlyuchenkova in three

By the Numbers:

2009 – Pavlyuchenkova reached the semifinals at Indian Wells on her debut in 2009. This is her first trip back to the quarterfinals since.

2008 – After reaching back-to-back Indian Wells finals in 2007 and 2008, Kuznetsova had not returned to the quarterfinals until this season.

26 – Number of wins that Kuznetsova has earned at Indian Wells, against 13 losses.

152 – Karolina Pliskova’s ace total for 2017. She leads the tour and has 11 in three matches thus far at Indian Wells.

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Kerber: “My Game Plan Is Going For It”

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

SINGAPORE – How did Angelique Kerber come away the winner of the three-set epic against Dominika Cibulkova in her BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global opener?

On this installment of My Performance, Kerber explains how keeping a positive mentality – and staying aggressive – helped power her to victory in the two-hour-and-seventeen-minute thriller.

Another key to Kerber’s victory: her composure during the big moments, as SAP revealed in this Stat Of The Day.

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