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Kasatkina Sets Up Halep Showdown

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MIAMI, FL, USA – Daria Kasatkina continued her productive trip stateside with victory in a see-saw encounter against Kateryna Bondarenko on the first day of the Miami Open.

Watch live action from Miami this fortnight on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

In the opening months of 2016, Kasatkina has been making great strides up the rankings, gatecrashing the Top 40 for the first time after her quarterfinal run in Indian Wells.

The young Russian carried this form into the early stages of her first-round meeting with Bondarenko, breaking three times to wrap up the first set in 27 minutes. When she then broke in the opening game of the second, a routine victory looked on the cards.

However, such thoughts were soon parked as Bondarenko capitalized on some uncharacteristically sloppy mistakes to level to contest in emphatic fashion. In the decider Kasatkina struck first, before exhibiting tremendous poise to hold onto her own serve in a titanic sixth game and close out a 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 victory.

“I started the match well, but in the second set I started to give her some chances and she came back,” Kasatkina said. “It was really tough to get the momentum back, but I did it and I’m very happy because it’s my first time in Miami.”

Twelve months ago, Kasatkina, then ranked well outside the Top 200, had just qualified for an ITF Circuit event on the other side of Florida, in Palm Harbour. Since then her rise has been rapid, but the 18-year-old is eager for the perks of an even loftier ranking: “Nothing really changed – because I’m still not seeded! It’s just a ranking. If I was seeded I would get a bye, but it’s one more match I have to play.”

Her reward is a meeting with No.5 seed Simona Halep on Thursday. “She’s great player for sure so it will be difficult, but I will watch matches with my coach and we will talk about how to play her.”

Among the other early winners were Barbora Strycova, Teliana Pereira and Zhang Shuai. Strycova needed less than an hour to see off Anna-Lena Friedsam, 6-2, 6-0, while Zhang was nearly as swift in dispatching junior Wimbledon champion Sofya Zhuk, 6-1, 6-2.

In the tournament’s opening match on Grandstand, Pereira had more difficulty winning her all-Brazilian clash with Beatriz Haddad Maia, eventually prevailing 7-6(2), 6-1.

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Flipkens Halts Robson Comeback

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MIAMI, FL, USA – Kirsten Flipkens weathered a strong start from wildcard Laura Robson to ease through to the second round of the Miami Open.

Watch live action from Miami this fortnight on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

Robson, whose bright career has been derailed due to injury woes since 2014, has been edging her way back onto the WTA in the past few months, and she put up a strong challenge against the No.65-ranked Flipkens, a finalist earlier this year at the Abierto Monterrey Afirme.

The 22-year-old Brit came out firing, grabbing an early break to race ahead to a 3-0 lead and allowing Flipkens to win just two points. The Belgian finally got on board and after three consecutive breaks, she held serve to level the score at 4-4. They hung tight and, despite Robson bringing up three set points, Flipkens held her nerve to send it into a tiebreaker.

This time it was Flipkens who grabbed an early lead to go up 3-0, and though Robson was starting to mount a comeback, Flipkens fired off five straight points to take the opening set.

After seeing her monumental effort come up short, Robson had nothing left in the tank to withstand Flipkens’ second-set dominance, and the Belgian reeled off four straight games to clinch the match 7-6(4), 6-2.

Earlier in the day, No.664-ranked Peng Shuai, whose career was similarly derailed due to injury, is back to her winning ways after a win over Van Uytvanck 6-3, 7-5. It’s Peng’s first victory since February 2015 in Dubai, and just her second singles match since last year’s French Open.

Nicole Gibbs and Madison Brengle, a pair of Americans, also advanced to the second round in straight sets. Brengle dispatched the always dangerous Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-3, while Gibbs backed up her Indian Wells dream run with a straightforward win over Yulia Putintseva, 6-4. 6-2.

Also through to the second round are Zarina Diyas, Lesia Tsurenko, Margarita Gasparyan and Danka Kovinic. 

 

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WTA Travel Guide: Miami

WTA Travel Guide: Miami

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

WTA Travel Guide

¡Bienvenido a Miami!

Known for the weather, Art Deco architecture, pristine beaches, all-night parties on South Beach and cigar shops on Calle Ocho, Miami is a leading destination for travelers from all over the world.

The stars of the WTA leave the desert and head towards the beach for the second Premier Mandatory of the year and to compete for the chance to be crowned champion of the 2016 Miami Open.

Miami-resident Monica Puig has joined in on the fun for this edition of the WTA Travel Guide: Miami and gives you her recommendations for must-sees and must-dos in the Magic City.

WATCH THE MATCHES

Within the bright lights and big city of Miami, nestled on the island town of Key Biscayne, the Miami Open offers the perfect combination of world-class tennis and a premier entertainment experience.

New to this year’s event is the Taste of the Miami Open, where fans can sample a variety of dishes from celebrity chefs and local restaurants. If you’re looking to hop aboard the food truck trend, check out one of the three food trucks on site providing a variety of culinary offerings. Click here for all of the delicious dining options for you to sample during your visit.

Qualifying runs March 21 – 22, with matches beginning at 10:00am. Main draw is March 22 – April 3, with day sessions beginning at 11:00am. Night sessions begin March 23 and start at 7:00pm. Looking for tickets? Click here.

WHERE TO STAY

One of the most visited cities in the world, there is no shortage of first-class hotel accommodations for you to choose from when visiting Miami.

For a true luxury beach escape with convenient access to the Miami Open, the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne is the place to stay. With a 20,000 square-foot spa, four restaurants, access to water activities on Biscayne Bay and the largest tennis facility of any Ritz Carlton property in the Cliff Drysdale Tennis Center, there is no shortage of ways to entertain people of all ages.

If you’re looking to venture off Key Biscayne, the Four Seasons Miami offers 221 deco-inspired rooms in the heart of the sophisticated neighborhood of Brickell. With two pools, and free access to Equinox gym and more than 100 fitness classes offered each week, the Four Seasons can ensure you stay active after a day of watching the world’s best athletes.

The JW Marriott Marquis not only provides guests with the opportunity to eat at celebrity Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant db Bistro Moderne, but also a chance to explore two floors worth of entertainment including the indoor Mariano Bartolome Indoor Golf School with a simulator, a virtual bowling alley and a NBA-approved basketball court.

Included on Travel + Leisure’s “500 World’s Best Hotels 2015” the Epic Hotel, guests can enjoy boutique-style accommodations but with big-city luxury. Relax by the pool or enjoy Miami nightlife at Lit Lounge.

The Conrad Hotel offers beautiful minimalist designed rooms, with a bar on the 25th floor to give guests a panoramic view of the city. Rooftop tennis courts and a pool, as well as a 24-hour fitness center are all excellent options if you’re looking to be active during your stay.

WHERE TO EAT

Miami offers seemingly unending culinary options, but here are a few of our favorite for your dining pleasure.

For a true taste of Latin America, head to Coya Restaurant for traditional Peruvian food and bespoke pisco cocktails.

If you’re looking to experience the informal Japanese dining style called izakaya, visit Zuma Restaurant in the heart of downtown, for modern Japanese flavors.

In the beautiful neighborhood of Coconut Grove, Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar and Latam Grill is known for their fresh Ceviche Spoon Bar, as well as their take on modern Mexican food. They also offer a well curated selection of South American wines and a signature cocktail list.

Voted OpenTable’s Diners Choice Award for Most Vibrant Bar Scene in Miami, Bulla Gastrobar specializes in Spanish and Catalan dishes. The casual dining experience stays true to providing diners with the chance to sample the most popular tapas in Spain without leaving Coral Gables.

Named Ocean Magazine’s “Best Place to Brunch in Midtown,” Apeiro Kitchen & Bar features Mediterranean cuisine gives diners the opportunity to enjoy lunch, brunch, happy hour or dinner both in a rustic indoor and outdoor setting.

MONICA PUIG‘S FAVORITE SPOTS

Although she was born in Puerto Rico, Monica Puig calls Miami home and is one of the few players who has the opportunity to play an event in front of her hometown crowd. When she isn’t on court, here are a few of her favorite must-see spots in Miami:

Monica Puig - WTA Travel Guide

The beach is my happy place. There are so many beautiful beaches in Miami. Click here for a great list of all sandy spots you can visit.

My favorite activity when I’m at home is to go out to eat with my family. For traditional Cuban food, I love Sergio’s for a healthy and fast breakfast. For a great meal in Coral Gables, my go-to spot is Hillstone. They have amazing spinach dip and ahi tuna tartare and then after dinner you can walk the famous Miracle Mile for more shopping and bars. If you’re craving an awesome steak dinner, I love Morton’s, located in the Financial District.

Monica Puig  Monica Puig

Miami has no shortage of amazing shopping. When I’m not at the beach or on court, I love going to the Miami Design District to check out the high-end stores. For great outlet shopping, Dolphin Mall is the place to go, with stores like Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus all at discount prices.

And finally, don’t forget to come out and cheer me on during my matches at the Miami Open. See you there!

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USANA & The WTA's Desert Aces

USANA & The WTA's Desert Aces

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

The 2016 Aces For Humanity campaign was launched by USANA and the WTA at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells this year, where every ace hit by a WTA player at Premier-level events translates into a donation to the USANA True Health Foundation, whose mission is to provide the most critical human necessities to those who are suffering or in need around the world. For every ace hit by any player the WTA donates $5, and for every ace hit by a USANA Brand Ambassador, it’s $10.

USANA Brand Ambassadors Caroline Wozniacki, Eugenie Bouchard, Samantha Stosur, Kristina Mladenovic, Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens, Monica Puig, Zheng Saisai and Alizé Cornet (who did not play in Indian Wells) have hit 42 of the 489 aces so far – raising a grand total of $2,655 over the fortnight.

Read more about the campaign here and see below to find out who’s hit the most aces so far!

WTA USANA Aces For Humanity 2016


#AcesForHumanity Fan Giveaway

It’s simple: before each WTA Premier tournament guess how many total aces will be hit.
Next up is the Miami Open in Miami. Last year there was a total of 411 aces hit. It’s now your turn, take your best guess of how many will be hit in the desert this year.

How To Enter:
• Follow @WTA and @USANAFoundation on Twitter and before each WTA Premier tournament tweet the number of aces you predict will be hit during the whole tournament (Singles, Main Draw)
• Include the hashtag #AcesForHumanity
• Miami deadline is March 23rd at 11:59pm ET
• The winner will be announced April 4th

Aces For Humanity is a joint WTA and USANA initiative that benefits the USANA True Health Foundation, which provides critical human necessities to those in suffering or in need around the globe.

For full rules on how to enter, click here.

 USANA Aces For Humanity 2016

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Miami Tuesday: Let Battle Commence

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MIAMI, FL, USA – The Miami Open gets underway on Tuesday, with a couple of inter-generational battles headlining the order of play on Grandstand and Court 1.

Tuesday, First Round

Grandstand
[WC] Laura Robson (GBR #504) vs. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL #65)
Head-to-head:
 Flipkens leads 1-0
When Laura Robson came off court nursing her wrist following a humbling first-round defeat to Kirsten Flipkens at the 2014 Australian Open, even in her worst nightmares she cannot have envisaged what was to follow. Two years of injury woe have derailed one of the game’s brightest young talents, leaving her kicking her heels at home as junior and domestic rivals have stepped into the limelight. Using her protected ranking at Indian Wells, Robson played well for a set before losing to eventual quarterfinalist Magdalena Rybarikova.

In Miami, she renews acquaintances with Flipkens, whose similarly anachronistic game could stymie the Brit’s search to rediscover her competitive groove. Since reaching the quarterfinals at Miami, semifinals at Wimbledon and coming within touching distance of the Top 10 in 2013, Flipkens has been forced to battle her own demons. Having dropped out of the Top 100 last year, the Belgian has been enigmatic this time around, promising showings in Auckland and Monterrey punctuated by several early exits.

Court 1
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR #59) vs. Daria Kasatkina (RUS #36)
Head-to-head:
first meeting
With superb groundstrokes, excellent movement and an impressive temperament, Daria Kasatkina has all the tools to make it to the top of the game. This much was obvious when she shocked Venus Williams in the opening week of the new season to make the tennis world really stand up and take notice. Since then Kasatkina has gone from strength to strength, reaching the third round at the Australian Open, the semifinals at St. Petersburg and, just last week, a quarterfinal at Indian Wells.

On her Miami debut, she takes on Kateryna Bondarenko, another upwardly mobile player – albeit at a very different stage in her career. Since returning to the tour following the birth of her first child a couple of years ago, Bondarenko has been making up for lost time, building on a strong finish to 2015 with credible showings at several big events, highlighted by her run through qualifying to the fourth round at Indian Wells.

Also on court…
Preceding Robson and Flipkens on Grandstand will be a couple of home hopes, Madison Brengle and Nicole Gibbs, who take on Camila Giorgi and Yulia Putintseva, respectively. On Court 1, Barbora Strycova faces Anna-Lena Friedsam, and Margarita Gasparyan meets Annika Beck.

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