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Konjuh Upsets Ostapenko In San Antonio

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

SAN ANTONIO, TX, USA – Ana Konjuh marked the opening day of the inaugural San Antonio Open by upsetting No.3 seed Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets.

Having fallen at the first hurdle in qualifying for Indian Wells, Konjuh made the five-hour journey to Texas with plenty to ponder. However, against Ostapenko she was full of positive intent, coming from behind in both sets to run out a 7-5, 6-4 winner.

Konjuh, like Ostapenko, was an outstanding junior, lifting the Australian and US Open trophies at 15. And the Croatian’s rise up the senior ranks has been swift, breaking the Top 100 by the end of 2014, before lifting her maiden WTA title the following summer, in Nottingham.

While progress has stalled somewhat in the opening months of 2016, she showed no shortage of fighting spirit against Ostapenko; in the first set she fended off a set point at 5-3 down and then overcame a 3-0 deficit in the second.

Ostapenko was not the only first-round casualty either. In the bottom half of the draw, Samantha Crawford recovered from match point down to defeat No.2 seed Irina-Camelia Begu, 2-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Elsewhere, there were rather more straightforward wins for Kirsten Flipkens and Tsvetana Pironkova. No.7 seed Flipkens survived a late scare to defeat Mariana Duque-Mariño, 6-3, 7-6(4), while Pironkova raced past Dellacqua, 6-1, 6-0, in just 43 minutes.

This week’s tournament is the first WTA event in San Antonio since the US Women’s Hardcourt Championships in the early 1990s. Also appearing at the recently renovated McFarlin Tennis Center are Daria Gavrilova and Yanina Wickmayer, both of whom begin their challenges on Tuesday.

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2017 WTA Calendar Announced

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – The WTA announced today its calendar for the 2017 season as well as a recent addition to the 2016 calendar.

Click here to check out the 2017 WTA Calendar!

The 2017 WTA season is comprised of 23 WTA Premier and 33 International events, with all roads leading to the season finale BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, followed by the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai. Beginning in 2017, WTA Media, together with WTA tournaments, will produce all main draw singles matches and the semifinals and finals of all doubles matches.

“The 2017 season promises to be the WTA’s most exciting year to date, building on the existing cornerstones of the women’s tour, said WTA CEO Steve Simon. “With more fans than ever accessing our sport to watch an unprecedented depth of player field, the WTA promises another intense race on the Road to Singapore in 2017,” Simon added.

Changes and additions to the 2017 calendar:
• St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy (Russia) and Taiwan Open (Kaohsiung): switch to week 5 (from week 6), beginning January 30
• Qatar Total Open (Doha): Premier event, switch to week 7 (from week 8), beginning February 13
• Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Premier 5 event, switches to week 8 (from week 7), beginning February 20
• Rio Open (Brazil): switches to week 8 (from week 7), beginning February 20.
• Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presented by HSBC (Acapulco, Mexico) switches to week 9 (from week 8), beginning February 27
• Abierto Monterrey Afirme (Mexico): switches to week 14 (from week 9), beginning April 3, after the Miami Open
• Jiangxi Open (Nanchang, China): switches to week 30 (from week 31), beginning July 24

Olympic Shifts:

• Bank of the West Classic (Stanford), Rogers Cup (Toronto), Western and Southern Open (Cincinnati) and Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies (New Haven): return to consecutive weeks, beginning July 31 after dates shifted in 2016 due to Olympic Games

Welcome Gstaad, Mallorca, and Louisville:

Ahead of 2017, a new addition to the 2016 calendar was announced March 11, the Ladies Championship Gstaad, Switzerland, which replaces the Nurnberger Gastein Ladies International tournament, held in Bad Gastein since 2007.

This year’s Gstaad event will be held July 9-17, the first women’s tennis event in Switzerland since the Zurich Open in 2008. The event couldn’t be returning to Switzerland at a better time, with Swiss tennis going through a golden era – both Belinda Bencic and Timea Bacsinszky are ranked inside the Top 20 and, International Tennis Hall of Famer, Martina Hingis is co-ranked at World No.1 in doubles.

The 2016 WTA calendar also introduces the Mallorca Open (June 13-19), a new addition to the grass court season, while the Louisville International Open in host city Louisville, Kentucky, USA, will offer an additional final hard court tune-up in August before the final Grand Slam of the year at the US Open.

Other changes in 2016, announced earlier this season, included February’s spectacular inaugural event in Russia, the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, as well as International tournament moves to Kaohsiung and Nanchang.

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Halep Breezes Past Makarova

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA – No.5 seed and 2015 BNP Paribas Open champion Simona Halep faced stiff opposition in rival and No.30 seed Ekaterina Makarova, but the Romanian laid down another comprehensive victory on a windy Sunday night to reach the fourth round, 6-2, 6-4.

The two began strongly on serve but Halep earned a crucial break in the sixth game and ultimately ran away with the opening set. Makarova had lost five games in a row when the Russian – a former Top 10 player who pushed Halep to three sets in their last meeting at the 2015 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships – broke back and continued to apply pressure throughout the second set before Halep broke for the match with her 16th and final winner.

“It was a tough match,” Halep told Andrew Krasny during her on-court interview. the wind was really bothering us, but I’m happy that I could win this match; I played a bit smarter, I think.

“I knew how to adapt for the wind,” she said later. “Just in one part of the court I had to hit a bit stronger, and the other with more topspin. I adjusted really well today and I’m really happy that I did it.”

Closing out the night session, Halep acknowledged the crowd, many of whom brought Romanian flags in support of the former World No.2.

“I want to thank everyone for staying; I know it’s difficult but thank you guys!”

Playing with renewed confidence, Halep has displayed the sort of form that took her to her career-high ranking and into the French Open final back in 2014. Struggling with illness and injury to start this season, Halep has felt fit and healthy since the end of the Middle East Swing and credits coach Darren Cahill with helping her adjust her mindset and firm up her tactics.

“I had tough matches this year where I couldn’t finish the match, so now I call Darren and he really helped me to finish the ball and be strong in the end and to believe that I can win and make a break.

“I’m not thinking about defending the title, but I’m really happy to be back here on Center Court. I really have great memories from last year and I believe that here I can come back with my game and with my confidence.”

Up next for the No.5 seed is Barbora Strycova; the Czech veteran has been one of the most consistent players this season with a run to the finals in Dubai and a second week showing in Melbourne; the two have split their only two previous encounters, but Halep triumphed in their most recent meeting at the 2014 China Open.

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Hot Shot Radwanska Impresses In IW

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA – World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska was nearly out of the BNP Paribas Open less that 48 hours ago, but the Pole rebounded in spectacular style on Sunday, dismissing Monica Niculescu, 6-2, 6-1, behind a barrage of her signature trick shots.

Down a match point to Dominika Cibulkova in the second round, Radwanska faced an opponent almost as wily as herself in Niculescu, splitting their last two encounters in the last year.

“I played her just two weeks ago in Doha, so that also helped,” Radwanska told the media in her post-match press conference. “I really know what to expect there. Of course she’s little bit different player than the others. Never easy. Always tricky opponent.

“I knew I would have to be patient. I think that’s the most important thing in that kind of matches. And really try to play my game. She can be really tough. Just very happy to win that match actually in those two quick sets.”

As quickly as the 87 minute match went, Radwanska still had time for some impressive play, leaving fans, media, and even Belinda Bencic begging for more:

“It’s just pretty much the reaction and things that I do on court. I think is the way I play,” the Pole said of her trick shots.

“I definitely have a couple of favorite ones. Also a couple of ones I play against Vinci in Doha; couple of ones as well from Singapore.

“Everything is just happening so fast and I always have like couple of them each tournament, so I am even forgetting what happen in last few months,” she said with a smile. “That would be good to have actually those highlights on internet that I can watch again and see what I did.”

Ask, believe, receive: check out some of those hot shots below:

Check out more of Radwanska’s shots here and here.

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