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WTA Shot Of The Month: Flipkens

WTA Shot Of The Month: Flipkens

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

September was packed with plenty of amazing shots – we narrowed it down to the five best.

In the end, it was Kirsten Flipkens, who played a key role in the rally Agnieszka Radwanska won to clinch August’s Shot Of The Month, after showing off more of her signature variety at the Korea Open in Seoul. On her way to beating Kristyna Pliskova in three tough sets, the Belgian pulled out all the stops to beat her powerful opponent, including a behind-the-back backhand stab to pass Pliskova at net.

Click here to watch all of September’s finalists.

Kirsten Flipkens

Final Results for September’s WTA Shot Of The Month

1. Kirsten Flipkens (47%)
2. Agnieszka Radwanska (39%)
3. Simona Halep  (6%)
4. Caroline Wozniacki (4%)
5. Angelique Kerber (3%)

2016 WTA Shot of the Month Winners

January: Caroline Wozniacki
February: Agnieszka Radwanska
March: Agnieszka Radwanska
April: Monica Niculescu
May: Simona Halep
June: Agnieszka Radwanska
July: Simona Halep
August: Agnieszka Radwanska

How it works:

Five shots are selected by
Winner is then determined by a fan vote on

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WTA Player Of The Month: Kvitova

WTA Player Of The Month: Kvitova

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova arrived at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open not having reached a final since finishing runner-up at last year’s BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. By the end of the week, the two-time Wimbledon winner had not only won her first title in over a year, but also put herself in position to make a sixth straight Singapore appearance.

“The beginning of the season wasn’t really great,” she said after winning her second Wuhan title in three years. “I don’t think that I changed anything, like, special. I mean, I was trying to feel better on the court since Montréal.

“I think the turning point was during the Olympic Games when I won the bronze medal and it was kind of a boost. I did feel much relaxed, and with the confidence it’s always nicer to play. I’m kind of the player who needs the confidence to play the best game.”

After defeating young American Madison Keys in the Bronze Medal match at the Olympic tennis event, Kvitova brought that form into the second week of the US Open, where she lost to eventual champion and future No.1 Angelique Kerber to start the month.

Less than four weeks later, Kvitova turned the tables on Kerber in what many considered to be the best match of the year, and dropped five more games in her next two matches against Simona Halep and Dominika Cibulkova to win the title.

“The second part of the season, for sure it’s better. It’s not the best, but it’s still better. So I’m really satisfied how everything is going. I’m healthy. I love to play tennis. I do have motivation.”

That motivation appears to be paying off as she remains in contention to return to the WTA Finals, and it certainly helped her earn her the mantle of September’s WTA Player of the Month!

Final Results for September’s WTA Player Of The Month

1. Petra Kvitova (55%)
2. Caroline Wozniacki (34%)
3. Naomi Osaka (11%)

2016 WTA Player of the Month Winners

January: Angelique Kerber
February: Carla Suárez Navarro
March: Victoria Azarenka
April: Angelique Kerber
May: Garbiñe Muguruza
June: Serena Williams
July: Simona Halep
August: Monica Puig

How it works:

Finalists are selected by
Winner is then determined by a fan vote on

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Svitolina Upsets World No.1 Kerber In Beijing, Konta Continues Singapore Charge

Svitolina Upsets World No.1 Kerber In Beijing, Konta Continues Singapore Charge

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

BEIJING, China – Elina Svitolina continued her impressive end to the season by upsetting World No.1 Angelique Kerber in the third round of the China Open on Thursday.

Watch live action from Beijing on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

A mature display saw Svitolina hold her nerve at the end of both sets to close out a 6-3, 7-5 victory and book a quarterfinal meeting with Daria Gavrilova.

“I was just trying to be really focused on every ball, and of course try to win,” Svitolina said in her on-court interview.

Earlier this week, Kerber suggested that she was feeling the strain of a hectic schedule that has now seen her play 35 matches since the start of July. However, against Svitolina she battled away until the last saving a couple a couple of match points in the final game.

Svitolina, who also beat then-No.1 Serena Williams at this summer’s Olympics, continued to be the aggressor and was rewarded when Kerber sent a forehand sailing wide at the third time of asking.

“I was trying to think about my next step, what I should try to do,” Svitolina added. “I tried to make my first serve and concentrated on the next shot, but still I was a little bit shaky!”

Johanna Konta

Elsewhere, Johanna Konta continued her own impressive recent run of form with a tense victory over No.5 seed Karolina Pliskova.

Konta, who reached the fourth round of the US Open and the quarterfinals last week in Wuhan, is making a late bid to reach the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Depending on other results, a run to the final could elevate her to a qualification spot and she moved one step closer to that rarget by overcoming Pliskova, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(2). 

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3 Takeaways From Svitolina’s Win Over World No.1 Kerber

3 Takeaways From Svitolina’s Win Over World No.1 Kerber

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

BEIJING, CHINA – No.19 Elina Svitolina scored her second win over a reigning World No.1, beating Angelique Kerber 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals of the China Open. She’ll play Daria Gavrilova for a spot in the semifinals.

Three takeaways from Svitolina’s solid win:

1. Mental focus was the key to Svitolina’s win.

Svitolina is a fiery player and she’s never been shy about wearing her emotions for all to see. The frustration can mount quickly for the 22-year-old, but she’s slowly learning to let go. That could be the key to unlocking another level in her game.

“Today was a good win for me,” Svitolina told reporters. “The way I played was really good. I was going for my shots, sometimes just staying with the ball, not missing in important moments.

“I think I’m moving in a good way. Playing against top players, this is the main goal. I try to really stay on their level and then get better.”

Just two months ago, Svitolina knocked out then No.1 Serena Williams from the Olympic tennis event. Now she avenged her Montreal loss to Kerber to score another win over a No.1. Svitolina’s young career continues to have its ups and downs but she remains a frustrating player to face because at her best, she isn’t going to give you free points. You have to earn every single one, and when you’re not at your best that can prove very difficult.

Elina Svitolina

“The main thing is to just stay in the moment, to think about the plan, about the match, what is my next step, next action,” Svitolina said. “So I try to really don’t think about [playing a No.1]. If I think too much, I lose my way.

“Of course, Angelique or Serena, they’re not letting you play your game. If you’re out for even two, three seconds, they just going to do winners. They are there all the time. They’re not letting you go.”

Kerber had a break lead in both sets but she would finish just 2 for 11 on break points in the match. On the key points, Svitolina stood tall, worked her defense in and out of the corners, and made Kerber hit the extra ball. In Montreal, Svitolina grew easily frustrated when Kerber’s counter-punching skills resulted in impossible gets. On Thursday, Svitolina shrugged them off and got back to work.

“The main thing was just mentally to be focused,” Svitolina said. “Even if you play a good point against her, she can play some amazing shot back. Still you need to be, Next point, don’t eat yourself from inside. This is really important when you play against her because sometimes she gets some balls which is, like, unbelievable, playing amazing shots from down the line.”

Svitolina’s run in Beijing puts her in solid position to qualify for the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai at the end of the season. Svitolina played the inaugural event last season and she’s looking forward to returning.

“The atmosphere is great there,” she said. “It’s like the second after Singapore. So there’s always motivation. Just 12 players there. It’s really special to play there. It’s still a big, big tournament. It’s really special for me.”

2. Kerber’s China swing bore little fruit.

After winning her second major title at the US Open and rising to World No.1 for the first time in her career, Kerber’s run through China was a frustrating one, bowing out in the third round at both the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open and the China Open. That’s not the consolidating run the German was looking for, especially as she was trying to lock up the Year-End No.1 ranking before the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

The good news for Kerber is there was no pattern through both losses. She had the bad luck of running into an on-fire Petra Kvitova in Wuhan and the two played a grueling, high-quality match that may go down as the match of the WTA season. She was the only player to take a set off Kvitova last week and she walked away with her head held high.

The loss to Svitolina was far more worrisome, though much of Kerber’s erratic play could be chalked up to the right leg injury she carried into the match. She refused to use the injury as an excuse for her loss and said she did not believe the injury to be serious, but it was evident she was unable to play her physical, counter-punching game against Svitolina. The Ukrainian played her solid game-style perfectly and forced Kerber to go for too much to terminate points. On this day the World No.1 missed more than she made.

“I think it was up-and-down match,” Kerber said. “I played a few games really good and then I did a lot of easy mistakes. She was moving good. She brings a lot of balls back. I think that was the key, why she beat me at the end.”

Angelique Kerber

3. Kerber’s pre-Singapore dilemma.

Kerber is currently entered as the top seed in the Hong Kong Open next week. On one hand, playing the event would give her a chance to earn points towards the year-end No.1 ranking and a good run there could boost her confidence heading into Singapore.

On the other hand, the most important thing for Kerber is to play the WTA Finals healthy. She has come into the event sputtering in the past, having exhausted herself with last minute pushes to qualify, and she has never qualified out of the round robin stage of the event. With so much on the line in Singapore, it’s a tough choice for Kerber.

“It’s right after the match, so I don’t know exactly with my leg or whatever,” Kerber said when asked if she would play Hong Kong. “But it’s still in my schedule.”

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

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Zhang Stuns Halep To Reach China Open Quarterfinals

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

BEIJING, China – World No.36 Zhang Shuai thrilled Chinese fans with a dominant upset over the No.4 seed Simona Halep to become the first Chinese woman to reach the quarterfinals of the China Open since Li Na in 2013.

Watch live action from Beijing on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

In a rematch of their Australian Open encounter – where Zhang shocked Halep in the first round on her way to her Cinderella run to the quarterfinals – Zhang similarly seemed to have all the answers against her No.5-ranked opponent. Undaunted by playing in front of her home crowd, she needed just 58 minutes to advance 6-0, 6-3.

“I feel I played much more better today than in Australia Open because I have more confidence,” Zhang said after the match. “Especially because we are in the China Open, my favorite tournament, so I’m really happy.”

The key to Zhang’s victory was keeping Halep out of position, leaving the Romanian always a step behind in rallies. As a result Halep struck twelve winners but 23 unforced errors, compared to Zhang’s neat and tidy nine winners and just three unforced errors. Halep’s serve also put her in trouble – she hit six double faults during the match.

For Zhang, the win brings together a full circle moment; at this stage last year, a No.191-ranked Zhang considered retiring from tennis after losing in the first round. Her family convinced her to play one last tournament, the Australian Open, and the rest has been a steady rise to the top.

“Last year I was feeling really down. I was feeling really sad. I felt I was working hard but never won, never play good, never play well,” Zhang reflected.

“This year everything change. I am feeling much more confident on court. When I want to go cross-court, the ball go cross-court. When I want to go down the line, they go down the line. I can control everything on court.

“I feeling everything working, yeah. Feeling good. I like this tennis.”

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