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Streaking Santina Hit St Petersburg

Streaking Santina Hit St Petersburg

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Top-ranked doubles team and WTA co-No.1s Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza brought their 36-match winning streak to the St. Petersburg Ladies Tophy, adding to their total with a first round win over Jelena Ostapenko and Evgeniya Rodina, 7-5, 7-5.

“We didn’t know how to play them that well in the beginning,” Hingis said in their post-match press conference. “We lost an opportunity at 3-2, 40-0 to go up and close out the match, and they came back to play a couple of really good games – especially Ostapenko, who hit some really great shots.

“I think it was great experience for them to play a match like that, and also for us to get into the tournament. I’m definitely happy we didn’t have to play a deciding set. It’s always nice to close out in straight sets; it makes us that much stronger.”

Hingis and Mirza haven’t lost a match since last August at the Western & Southern Opent, their now-37-match winning streak having taken them to titles at the US Open, BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, and the Australian Open – with only the French Open standing between them and a possible “Santina Slam.”

“The streak that we’re on is amazing,” Mirza said. “To be honest, we knew we could play good, but not this good. We’re surprising ourselves as well, and we just want to keep going.

Asked about the media’s fascination with their streak, the longest since Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova won 44 straight matches in 1990, Mirza didn’t mince words.

“We’re counting, also.”

“Yes, we are,” Hingis added.

For Hingis, the partnership with Mirza marks her second to truly capture the imagination of the tennis world, the first being her late-90s domination with Russia’s own Anna Kournikova – still a popular topic in the St. Petersburg press room.

Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova

“She was a great player, a team player, and we had great times for those two years,” Hingis said, speaking about their two Australian Open victories in 1999 and 2002.

“She kind of was the one who started this Russian Armada – or Russian generation – along with Elena Likhovtseva. She was definitely the one who you could aim for and be like, go around the world and live the ‘Russian-American dream.’ I loved playing with her.

“We stay in touch, especially during the Miami event; we always try to see each other. I follow what she’s doing; she follows me.”

Mirza too fondly remembers the ‘Spice Girls’ of the women’s doubles circuit.

“At that time I think TV was not as evolved as it is today, combined with the computer, so it was not so easy to get to see matches all the time. But everybody knew Martina Hingis, everybody knew Anna Kournikova, and everybody knew that this partnership was winning a lot, and probably was one of the best doubles teams to play.

“She’s not that much older than me,” she added with a laugh. “Only five years; it’s just that she’s been around for such a long time!”

Another partnership Hingis looks forward to exploring involves fellow Swiss Roger Federer, who agreed to play mixed doubles with her at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I waited 10 months, and maybe after winning a lot with Sania, and becoming No.1 again and winning three mixed titles, I was hoping that would be persuasion enough to partner up.”

‘SanTina’ next face an all-Russian pair for a spot in the quarterfinals and Win number 38: rising Russian star Daria Kasatkina and Elena Vesnina, Mirza’s former doubles partner.

“We played together for a long time; she’s a very good friend of mine, and we’ve known each other since we were 13 years old.

“I have a feeling that the crowd will be behind them because she’s quite popular here, but hopefully there will be some people supporting us.”

Asked if they foresaw their partnership transcending to other endeavors, Hingis said they planned to let their racquets do the talking.

“We’ll stick to tennis; that’s what we do best.”

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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Ivanovic Safely Into St. Petersburg SFs

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Ana Ivanovic moved confidently in the semifinals of the St. Petersburg Ladies Open with a 6-1, 7-5 win over qualifier Kateryna Kozlova.

Watch live action from St. Petersburg & Kaohsiung this week on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

In her opening round match Ivanovic took a while to get into her groove, but against Kozlova she hit the ground running, reeling off five straight games to pocket the opening set in 23 minutes. Kozlova, who was appearing the quarterfinals of a Premier event for the first time, gave a better account of herself in the second, battling back from 5-3 down before eventually succumbing.

Meeting Ivanovic for a place in the final will be another of the draw’s more established names, Roberta Vinci. And Vinci needed to draw on all her experience to see off Timea Babos in an absorbing encounter, 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(4).

Babos was in command for much of the final set – leading 5-3 and then 4-2 in the tie-break – but was unable to find the decisive blow. The decisive moment came in the 10th point of the tie-break when Vinci skipped around a second serve only to flash a forehand fractionally wide.

The Hungarian’s relief was short-lived, though, Hawk-Eye adjudging the ball to have clipped the outer edge of the sideline. This successful challenge took the No.2 seed to match point, which she converted when Babos sent a weary forehand sailing beyond the baseline.

“It was a long match, a tough match. Timea has a great serve – always 190km/h. Tough for me to return,” Vinci said. “I was 5-3 down at the end, but I stayed focused and won a great match today.

“In those moments you have to stay positive and don’t think about the score. In the end she was probably a little bit nervous, and a little bit tight, she missed some easy balls and I won.”

Vinci has lost six of her previous nine meetings with Ivanovic, although the two have not crossed paths for a couple of years.

“Ana is a great player. Of course it will be a difficult match. But I’m in the semifinals, nothing to lose, just enjoy! I will try my best – I need to be aggressive every single point. We will see.”

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Can Kerber Overtake Serena At US Open?

Can Kerber Overtake Serena At US Open?

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

The WTA World No.1 Ranking will be on the line at this year’s US Open. Can Serena Williams extend her stay atop the WTA Rankings and make history?

Only 21 players have occupied the No.1 ranking since the computer rankings were introduced in November 1975. Will we see a new player take hold of the No.1 spot for the first time in three years?

wtatennis.com breaks down the No.1 scenarios ahead of the US Open:

Serena Eyes Another Record: Williams enters the US Open as the WTA World No.1-ranked player, a distinction she has held since February 18, 2013. Through the two weeks at the US Open, Williams will extend her streak to 186 consecutive weeks, tying the WTA record for most consecutive weeks at No.1 held by Stefanie Graf (186 weeks, August 17, 1987 through March 10, 1991).

Williams currently holds a 190-point advantage over Kerber in the rankings. However, to break the record, Williams will need to at least reach the semifinals and possibly advance further. Williams is defending 780 points at the US Open as she advanced to the semifinals last year before Roberta Vinci stopped her run.

Serena Williams

As Kerber progresses, though, Williams will need to advance further:

–   If Kerber reaches the quarterfinals at the US Open, then Williams will need to reach the final to have a chance at keeping the No.1 ranking.
–   If Williams wins the US Open, she will secure the No.1 ranking, regardless of any other results.
–   A championship match showdown between Williams and Kerber, the Top 2 seeds, would see the winner walk away not only with the trophy, but the No.1 ranking.

Williams’ ranking points have come from seven tournaments in the last 52 weeks – 2015 US Open (780), Australian Open (1300), Indian Wells (650), Miami (120), Rome (900), Roland Garros (1300) and Wimbledon (2000).

What Will It Take For Kerber To Become World No.1?: Angelique Kerber is bidding to become the 22nd player to hold the WTA World No.1 Ranking since the computer rankings were introduced in November 1975. The German came within one win of unseating Williams at No.1 in Cincinnati, but fell short in the final against Karolina Pliskova.

Last year, Kerber lost to Victoria Azarenka in the third round at the US Open and as a result is only defending 130 points in Flushing Meadows.

Kerber will have a 460-point advantage from the start of the tournament. An early exit would not necessarily prevent her from moving to No.1.

Angelique Kerber

Kerber consistently has reached the final four at the tour’s biggest events with six finals appearances this year, winning the title at Australian Open and Stuttgart, finishing as runner-up at Brisbane, Wimbledon and Cincinnati. (She also reached the final at the Olympic Games, although that does not count towards ranking points). As a result, Kerber’s ranking has been on a steady incline after finishing 2015 at No.10.

Muguruza Also Has A Chance: One of three Grand Slam champions this year, Muguruza will need to reach the final at the US Open to have a chance of overtaking the No.1 ranking. Should she win her second Grand Slam title of the year, the Spaniard would take claim to the No.1 spot unless Kerber also reaches the final.

First Grand Slam Title Could Vault Radwanska To The Top: To have a chance at moving to No.1, Agnieszka Radwanska would need to win the US Open, although if she is able to win the title in New Haven this week, a run to the finals could potentially be enough.

WTA World No.1 Ranking Scenarios 

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