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Cibulkova Defeats Radwanska In Epic

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, England – Dominika Cibulkova upset No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in a rollercoaster encounter on No.3 Court to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

In a match that had more momentum shifts than there were rain delays in the opening week, it was Cibulkova that eventually hauled herself across the finishing line, firing a forehand into the corner to close out a 6-3, 5-7, 9-7 victory in exactly three hours.

“My winners were the difference. Today was, I would say, the most physically tough, it was the toughest match for me I would say my whole career,” Cibulkova said. “I felt really, really tired when the match was going on.

“But I was just fighting for every single ball. And especially when you have an opponent that doesn’t give you any free gifts, you just know that you have to earn every single point. It takes so much energy. It’s even tougher mentally. Today was just amazing, amazing match.”

This was the latest installment in an increasingly dramatic rivalry; in Indian Wells this spring Radwanska came from match point down to triumph, before Cibulkova gained revenge following tight battles in Madrid, then Eastbourne.

However, for the first hour or so it looked like Cibulkova was on course for an unexpectedly straightforward triumph. Bullying the No.3 seed from the baseline, she eased through the opening set and then broke for a 5-4 lead in the second.

Just as she had a few rounds earlier against Ana Konjuh, Radwanska’s best tennis came with her back firmly against the wall, fending off a match point before expertly making her way into the net to break back. A few games later and they were locked at one-set all.

Radwanska continued this charge at the start of the decider, threatening on Cibulkova’s service games while whistling through her own. Cibulkova, though, was the first to break, doing so to love in the seventh game with a drop shot that would have made her opponent proud. 

Eager not to be outdone, the Pole showcased her own artistry at the net to draw level immediately. The drama, though, was only just beginning.

After weathering a series of torrid service games, Radwanska got an unexpected glimpse of the finishing line at 6-5 when Cibulkova wilted at the end of yet another energy-sapping exchange. Cibulkova responded superbly, summoning another blistering forehand to wipe out the match point.

A few games later the Slovak was on the brink once more, and this time Radwanska had no answer, watching a 56th winner sail past to end her Wimbledon dream for another year.

Cibulkova, meanwhile, advances to the quarterfinals for the second time in her career, There she will face Elena Vesnina, the winner of an equally absorbing encounter with Ekaterina Makarova, 5-7, 6-1, 9-7.

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Vesnina Claims First Quarterfinal Berth

Vesnina Claims First Quarterfinal Berth

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, Great Britain – Elena Vesnina bested her good friend and doubles partner Ekaterina Makarova in a 5-7, 6-1, 9-7 thriller to make her way to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

The pair of unseeded Russians battled it out on Court No.3, weathering a mid-match rain delay during their two-hour-and-forty-seven-minute contest. Vesnina kept her margins cleaner, firing 52 winners to 30 unforced errors against Makarova’s 31 winners and 24 unforced errors. Vesnina was also ruthless at the net, winning 85 percent of her 26 net points.

With the victory, Vesnina also notched her first ever WTA-level win over Makarova, having lost in straight sets in each of their previous six encounters.

Next up for the Russian is Dominika Cibulkova, who edged past No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in an epic three sets earlier in the day.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Pavlyuchenkova Dashes Vandeweghe Hopes

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova knocked out last year’s quarterfinalist CoCo Vandeweghe in a commanding 6-3, 6-3 win. Pavlyuchenkova kept the American’s powerful serve in check throughout the match, allowing her just three aces and 49 percent of first serve points. She struck 13 winners to seven unforced errors against Vandeweghe’s 18 and 22.

The Russian, who’d previously never made it past the third round at the All-England Club, is now into the quarterfinals of Wimbledon for the first time.

Her reward? A matchup against defending champion and top seed Serena Williams.

“I just find out from my coach that I’m going to play the winner of Serena or Svetlana,” Pavlyuchenkova said afterward. “I have no clue actually what part of the draw I’m in and stuff like that.

“I’m still sort of like happy with the match I just won. It’s tough to talk about Serena or anyone.” 

Yaroslava Shvedova

Shvedova Books Venus Showdown

Yaroslava Shvedova, No.96 in the world, dealt a round of 16 upset to the No.28 seed Lucie Safarova, dispatching the Czech in a comfortable straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. With the win she moves into the quarterfinals of Wimbledon for the first time.

The Kazakh’s strong serving proved to be the difference; she fired off seven aces and won 81 percent of points behind her first serve. Shvedova also didn’t face a single break point all match long and converted on three of the thirteen chances she brought up against Safarova.

Up next, she’ll face the five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams for the first time.

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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Venus Rises Into Quarterfinals

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, Great Britain – No.8 seed Venus Williams recovered from a slow start to knock out Spanish rival Carla Suárez Navarro, 7-6(3), 6-4, to reach her first Wimbledon quarterfinal since 2010.

The former No.1 has had a busy fortnight thus far at the All England Club, surviving tense matches with Donna Vekic, Maria Sakkari, and Daria Kasatkina just to reach the second week. All that play – plus doubles with sister Serena – appeared to leave the American reeling to start against Suárez Navarro, who raced ahead by a double break.

Williams eventually got her footing, breaking the No.12 seed as she served for the opening set and, despite another ill-timed rain delay, managed to escape with the first set tie-break, eventually clinching victory in one hour and 35 minutes.

Playing consistent tennis from all areas of the court, the five-time Wimbledon winner struck 24 winners to 20 unforced errors and ventured to net 21 times – winning 14 of those points, and five of six in the second set.

“It was so tough for me,” said Suárez Navarro after the match. “On the grass today, I didn’t feel really good. I mean, it was difficult in another courts. But, yes, I have the opportunities or the chance to win more points with her second serve, but I didn’t take it. That was the big problem for me.:

Standing between Venus and her first Grand Slam semifinal since 2010 is World No.96 but former No.25 Yaroslava Shvedova, winner of the infamous Golden Set at the 2012 Championships over Sara Errani. Shvedova took out her second seed of the fortnight by ousting No.28 seed Lucie Safarova, 6-2, 6-4.

More to come…

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Vote: Wimbledon Best Dressed

Vote: Wimbledon Best Dressed

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Wimbledon 2016 is all about elegance, exposing the most sophisticated side of women’s tennis fashion. Marija Zivlak of Women’s Tennis Blog narrowed down the richness of this year’s whites to the Top 5 styles and now it’s your turn to tell us your thoughts — vote for your favorite outfit in the poll below the article!

Nike

When you have that champion’s mentality, you want to excel in everything and Serena Williams has done just that, coming to the tournament as world number one and reigning champion only to also take the unofficial top position when it comes to WTA fashion at the grasscourt Grand Slam.

The NikeCourt Premier Dress impresses with the graceful half turtleneck, a new silhouette in Williams’ attire, while the pleated skirt with two tiers in back brings a flash of flirty vibrancy to the all-white look. The racerback, featuring a bonded zipper, is a tried-and-true design that enables optimal range of motion.

Adidas

Stella McCartney made sure that last year’s Wimbledon runner-up and newly-crowned French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza looked the part, indulging in laser-cut holes that have been the standout visual characteristic of her clothes in recent months. The Spaniard’s adidas Fall Stella McCartney Skirt is a feminine cut with high-performance Climacool technology, 3D fabric and ventilation channels that ensure ultimate comfort in intense matches and hot weather conditions. The adidas Stella McCartney Core Tank is equipped with Climalite moisture management, while added visual appeal and functionality are provided by the curved mesh panel at upper back.

EleVen By Venus

Venus Williams decided to impress with a less-is-more approach, sporting a simple cap-sleeve EleVen dress from the Club collection. The clean design features discreet contrast binding at waistband, while when it comes to performance it boasts moisture-wicking properties, superior breathability, as well as protection from UVA and UVB rays.

EleVen By Venus

Keeping her outfit subdued, the five-time Wimbledon champion caused a fashion earthquake with her hairstyle — a huge braided bun on top of her head, whose strawberry red highlights play with the tournament’s classic white tradition.

Adidas

After the French Open zebra clothes that will remain one of the most eye-catching tennis collections ever, adidas stepped on the Wimbledon grass absolutely toned down, not only complying with the tournament’s strict clothing guidelines, but also not experimenting with cuts and silhouettes, opting for a timeless sporty design and clothes that captivate with their technological advancements.

The no-frills Climachill collection instantly seduces all those who want high-performance apparel in the traditional aesthetics package. The ensembles worn by Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep, as well as the dress worn by Ana Ivanovic, are all equipped with innovative fabrics and active cooling technology that lowers the body temperature and provides an instant chilling sensation on contact.

New Balance

Heather Watson stole the show at the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party presented by Dubai Duty Free, wearing an olive green latex dress designed by Brett Mettler, and the Brit made sure to also look her best in action at the prestigious lawns. The New Balance Spring Tournament Tank features mesh trim at neckline that nicely matches the hem of the skirt from the same collection. Wearing the top tucked in, Watson exposed the skirt’s engineered elastic waistband with cutouts. The tank’s sleek spaghetti straps in the Y formation have been New Balance’s choice pretty much throughout the 2016 season.

Now it’s time for you to tell us who is your Wimbledon fashion favorite!

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By The Numbers: Wimbledon Last 16

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Who is the lowest-ranked player left in SW19? Whose famous footsteps is Serena Williams looking to follow? And how many hours has her indefatigable sister spent on court?

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Wimbledon Monday: Manic Match-Up

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

It’s one of the most glorious days of the tennis season: Wimbledon’s manic Monday. All eight fourth-round battles will take place at SW19 and we’re previewing them right here at WTATennis.com, courtesy of contributor Chris Oddo.

Monday

Round of 16

[1] Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. [13] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #14)
Head-to-head: Williams leads, 9-3
Key Stat: Williams earned her 300th Grand Slam win on Sunday, which is second-most in WTA history.

After a tough second round scuffle with Christina McHale, six-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams pushed past Germany’s Annika Beck on Sunday in 51 minutes to set up a heavily anticipated round of 16 battle with Svetlana Kuznetsova. Pleased with Sunday’s form, Williams says the McHale challenge has set her up nicely for the challenges ahead. “I think the McHale match really helped me,” she said. “To be honest, I felt like losing that first set so tight and her playing better than she’s ever played in her life really helped me to realize that I can play better and I can lift my game.” And of her Day 7 walk in the park past Beck? “It gives me a lot of confidence,” she told reporters on Sunday. “I know what it takes to win these tournaments. It’s just about now just doing it.” Kuznetsova’s confidence is also buoyed by her upset of Williams this spring in Miami. “It’s a great thing to play Serena in Wimbledon,” she said of facing the world No.1 on Monday. “I’m really happy about it. She will be the favorite, but I enjoy playing those kind of matches. I will just try to do my best.” Will her best be good enough to shock Centre Court on Day 8, or will Williams move a step closer to an elusive 22nd Grand Slam title on Monday?

Pick: S. Williams in three

[27] CoCo Vandeweghe (USA #30) vs. [21] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS #23)
Head-to-head: Vandeweghe leads, 1-0
Key Stat: Pavlyuchenkova has won three matches consecutively on grass for the first time in her career.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova looked stunning in her straight-sets takedown of Timea Bacsinszky on Sunday; CoCo Vandeweghe was in fine form during her straight-sets victory over Roberta Vinci on Sunday. Which one of these two powerhouses can keep it rolling on Manic Monday? Vandeweghe has had more success on the grass in general. The American has now won 11 of 12 on the surface this summer and has taken all six sets she has played at Wimbledon. A quarterfinalist last year, Vandeweghe will be the favorite heading into this tilt, but if Pavlyuchenkova’s current form holds we could be in for a high-octane scuffle. “It’s going to be a totally different animal,” Vandeweghe said of facing the hard-hitting Russian just 24 hours after facing slice-and-dicey Roberta Vinci. “She beat a tough player in Bacsinszky. We’ll see what happens when I wake up Monday morning.”

Pick: Vandeweghe in three

[3] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #3) vs. [19] Dominika Cibulkova (SVK #18)
Head-to-head: Radwanska leads, 7-5
Key Stat: Cibulkova has won eight matches in a row.

The 13th meeting between Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova should be a cracker. The pair have played three times in 2016 and all three tilts have gone the distance with Cibulkova winning two including their last meeting at the Aegon Classic just a few weeks ago. That victory has springboarded the Slovakian to some of her greatest success on grass – she took the Birmingham title and has reached the second week at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011. Can Cibulkova keep it going against a former Wimbledon runner-up who has her eyes on another deep run here in London? Or will the crafty Radwanska be the one to finally cool Cibulkova off?

Pick: Radwanska in three

Ekaterina Makarova (RUS #35) vs. Elena Vesnina (RUS #50)
Head-to-head: Makarova leads, 6-1
Key Stat: In her 42nd major, Elena Vesnina will bid to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.

Doubles partners and compatriots will battle to end each other’s singles runs on Day 8, as Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina meet for the eighth time. The matchup has favored Makarova, who has had the more distinguished singles career, but both players have shown good form at SW19. Makarova took out two-time champion Petra Kvitova on Day 6 and bounced right back on Sunday to defeat Barbora Strycova. Vesnina, meanwhile, has yet to lose a set at Wimbledon and has won six of seven on grass this season.

Pick: Makarova in two

[5] Simona Halep (ROU #5) vs. [9] Madison Keys (USA #9)
Head-to-head: Tied, 1-1
Key Stat: At 21 years of age, Keys is the youngest player remaining in the draw.

Skipping the grass tune-ups may have been the best thing for Simona Halep. Not only did she give herself time to get her Achilles injury ready, she also had ample time to gain comfort at Wimbledon, both with the surroundings and with the surface. She says she wanted to keep playing after pulling out of Birmingham with an injury, but her coach urged her to come to Wimbledon and start preparing for the Championships. “I wanted to play Eastbourne but Darren [Cahill] told me I have to come here to practice,” she told reporters on Saturday. “It’s better to get used to this club. It was a good idea. I came here very early, and I practiced every day, hard practices.” Will that practice pay off when she meets rising American Madison Keys on Monday? Keys proved to be a Wimbledon warrior in week one, twice coming through in three sets to reach the second week for the second consecutive year.

Pick: Halep in three

[4] Angelique Kerber (GER #4) vs. Misaki Doi (JAP #49)
Head-to-head: Kerber leads, 4-0
Key Stat: Doi is the first player from Japan to reach the fourth round at a major since Wimbledon 2006 (Sugiyama).

Misaki Doi is a name that holds a special place in Angelique Kerber’s heart. Kerber had “one leg on the plane” in Melbourne before rallying in the second-set tiebreaker to finish off Doi in three sets at this year’s Australian Open. So much changed for Kerber after that fateful first-round match. She won her first major title two weeks later and has reached as high as No.2 in the rankings. After flaming out of Roland Garros in the first round, Kerber is looking to continue to build on that Melbourne success by pushing further at Wimbledon. Doi, meanwhile has already reached further than she’s ever been before at the Championships. She took out Anna-Lena Friedsam in the third round to reach the second week of a major for the first time. Can the 25-year-old avenge her four career losses to Kerber with one career-defining win on Monday?

Pick: Kerber in three

[8] Venus Williams (USA #8) vs. [12] Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP #12)
Head-to-head: Tied, 3-3
Key Stat: Venus Williams is the oldest player to reach the round of 16 at a major since 1994 Wimbledon (Navratilova).

Back in the second week at Wimbledon for the 14th time, 36-year-old Venus Williams will attempt to take the next step of what could be a run for the ages. But standing in her way is an energized Carla Suárez Navarro, a player not known for grass prowess but nonetheless improving on the surface with each passing year. Williams and Suárez Navarro’s seventh meeting promises to be a battle—they’ve split the previous six. Does Williams have enough in the tank to forge ahead despite having to play three sets in each of her last two matches? One thing’s for certain: she’s up for the challenge. “Of course, I want to win,” Williams said. “There are 128 people in this draw who theoretically are here to win. But you have to do the right things at the right time. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to push myself to be right there.”

Pick: V. Williams in three

[28] Lucie Safarova (CZE #29) vs. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ #96)
Head-to-head: Shvedova leads, 3-0
Key Stat: Safarova is back in the second week of a major for the first time in a year.

Lucie Safarova is finally reclaiming the form that saw her reach her first Grand Slam final and claim a spot in the Top 10 for the first time in 2015, after a long period of illness and injury. Is she ready to take the next stop and reach the last eight at Wimbledon for the second time in the last three years? She’ll have to get past Yaroslava Shvedova to get there. The Kazakh owns an unblemished lifetime record against Safarova, and will be high on confidence after an upset of Sabine Lisicki on Day 6.

Pick: Safarova in three

By the Numbers:

4 – Number of Russian players in the round of 16 at Wimbledon, most at Wimbledon since 2009. There are also four Americans remaining. Eight other countries have a single representative.

11-1 – Coco Vandeweghe’s record on grass this season.

33 – Number of three-set matches played in the first three rounds at Wimbledon out of a possible 112.

123 – Fastest serve of the tournament, produced by Serena Williams during her Day 7 win over Annika Beck.

7 – Players to have reached the round of 16 without the loss of a set (Cibulkova, Doi, Halep, Kerber, Pavlyuchenkova, Vesnina, Vandeweghe).

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Vandeweghe Joins Russians In Week Two

Vandeweghe Joins Russians In Week Two

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, Great Britain – The first to play on this rare People’s Sunday at the Wimbledon Championships, No.27 seed CoCo Vandeweghe clinched a spot in the second week for the second year in a row, ousting No.6 seed Roberta Vinci, 6-3, 6-4.

Vandeweghe reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at this very tournament one year ago, and has only gotten more comfortable on the grass courts since, winning a second Ricoh Open title and reaching the semifinals of the Aegon Classic with a win over World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska.

She played another emphatic match against the Italian on Centre Court, dropping just four points behind her first serve and hitting 21 winners to 17 unforced errors to earn the upset in just over an hour.

Along with the Williams sisters and Madison Keys, Vandeweghe became the fourth American woman to reach the second week at this year’s Championships.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Pavlyuchenkova Propels Into Round Four

Standing between the American and a second straight Wimbledon quarterfinal is No.21 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who surprised No.11 seed and 2015 quarterfinalist Timea Bacsinszky, 6-3, 6-2.

Heading into the Wimbledon fortnight, the Russian had never been past the third round, and hadn’t won back-to-back matches on grass since 2012, but overcame tough battles against Hsieh Su-Wei and Yulia Putintseva to play some of her best tennis against Bacsinszky to claim victory on her 25th birthday.

Maintaining a positive winner to unforced error differential at 24 to 20, Pavlyuchenkova had a stellar serving day of her own, winning 82% first serve points and missing just 14 first serves in the one hour and 18 minute encounter. The two-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist and former World No.13 lost her only previous match with Vandeweghe back at the 2014 Miami Open, though the match was played over two tight sets.

Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Vesnina

Makarova Meets Vesnina In Singles Face-Off

Backing up her big win over two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in an endlessly rain-delayed second round, Ekaterina Makarova showed no signs of a let down against 2014 Wimbledon quarterfinalist and Aegon Classic runner-up Barbora Strycova, knocking out the No.24 seed, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the fourth round.

Makarova’s superb start to the 2015 season had been derailed by a lower leg injury; unseeded at a major tournament for the first time in four years, the Russian veteran has played phenomenal tennis since reuniting with doubles partner Elena Vesnina at the Mutua Madrid Open.

It’s only right then, that the two have a full circle moment in the round of 16 at the All England Club. In the midst of her own singles reurgence, Vesnina began the year playing Grand Slam qualifying after 40 straight main draw appearances, but after a season of solid wins over Simona Halep, Venus Williams, Belinda Bencic, and Caroline Wozniacki, the Russian veteran is back in the Top 50 and into the second week of a major for the first time since the 2013 Australian Open.

Vesnina has never beaten her doubles partner in a WTA match, losing 12 straight sets to Makarova – including four in their two 2015 matches.

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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Santina Sails Into Third Round

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, Great Britain – Defending champions Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza eased into the third round of Wimbledon with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Japanese pair Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato.

After a tense two-set win in their much-anticipated first round on Saturday, Hingis and Mirza were far more efficient on People’s Sunday, needing just 52 minutes to advance past Hozumi and Kato, who were broken a combined five times out on the No.3 Court.

The first players to qualify in singles or doubles for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global and winners at the All England Club one year ago, the co-World No.1s next face the unseeded duo of Christina McHale and Jelena Ostapenko. Fresh off her near win over top seed Serena Williams in singles, she and Ostapenko sealed the deal against No.14 seeds Vania King and Alla Kudryavtseva – who upset Hingis and Mirza a few months ago at the BNP Paribas Open – 6-1, 6-4.

On the other half of the draw, No.2 seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic recovered from a disatrous start to dismiss Zhang Shuai and Peng Shuai, 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 on No.14 Court.

The French pair are riding a eight-match winning streak at major tournaments, having just captured their maden Grand Slam in women’s doubles at Roland Garros, but survived a titanic tussle agains the Chinese veterans, who managed to engineer 11 break points against Garcia and Mladenovic, but only converted four in the one hour and 43 minute epic.

Up next for the pair are either No.14 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja or Gabriela Dabrowski and María José Martínez Sánchez, who have yet to play their second round match.

Of the Top 4 seeds in action, only sisters Chan Yung-Jan and Chan Hao-Ching failed to advance on Sunday, as the No.3 seeds suffered an unexpected loss to Serbs Jelena Jankovic and Aleksandra Krunic. Set to play doubles together at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Jankovic and Krunic’s preparation got a big boost when they were able to survive the Chans, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

Standing between them and a spot in the quarterfinals are Anna-Lena Groenefeld and former No.1 Kveta Peschke, who has recently returned to the game after over a year away.

Among the last to finish were No.4 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, who each won their third rounds in singles earlier in the day. Despite a second set hiccup, Makarova and Vesnina managed to dispatch British wildcards Anna Rae and Jocelyn Smith, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. Due to the inclement weather and singles obligations, the Russians were playing just the first round of doubles, and will need to get past Annika Beck and Yanina Wickmayer in order to match Santina and the French.

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