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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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Kerber Prevails In All-German Encounter

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, England – No.4 seed Angelique Kerber booked her place in the last 16 of Wimbledon with a straight set victory over Carina WItthoeft on Saturday.

While her title rivals labored, Kerber has quietly gone about her business in the opening week, continuing her unfettered progress with a 7-6(11), 6-1 win over fellow German Witthoeft.

An evenly contested first set looked to be going Kerber’s way when she broke in the 11th game. However, Witthoeft hit straight back, capitalizing on a series on uncharacteristic errors from the No.4 seed. This fighting spirit was evident in the tie-break, too, a series of winners helping her fend off four set points before a relieved Kerber converted at the fifth time of asking.

The second set was a more stop-start affair, Kerber taking a couple of rain delays in her stride to secure a fourth-round meeting with Misaki Doi.

Kerber is through to the second week at the All England Club for just the third time in her career, and despite finding herself in a wide-open section of the draw will not be looking beyond Doi. At this January’s Australian Open, the German came from match point down to defeat Doi en route to the title.

“I am expecting a really close match. She is a lefty, as well. We never played on grass before. I think this is also a little bit different than to Australia,” Kerber said about her rematch with Doi. “But I know that she is a tough opponent. I was match point down in Australia.

“But I will try not to think about who I’m playing. I will go out there trying to play my game like always, and let’s see.”

There were also hard-fought wins for Sloane Stephens and Timea Bacsinszky in a couple of the rain-affected second-round matches. Resuming midway through the final set, No.18 seed Stephens held her nerve to see off Mandy Minella, 3-6, 7-6(6), 8-6.

Meanwhile, Bacsinszky, the No.11 seed, came out all guns blazing against Monica Niculescu, reeling off six straight games to close out a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory.

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Cibulkova Outguns Bouchard

Cibulkova Outguns Bouchard

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Dominica Cibulkova

LONDON, Great Britain – No.19 seed Dominika Cibulkova moved on to the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011 after a comprehensive win over former finalist Eugenie Bouchard.

“Today I was 100 percent sure I could win and I stayed calm, played brave in tough situations and went for my shots,” Cibulkova said afterwards. “The things I’ve been working on, especially the serve have really helped me.”

Cibulkova smelled success early on, getting the first break in the fourth game of the match. Despite facing break points in her opening service game, the Slovak’s speed around the court and powerful groundstrokes, especially off the forehand wing, were clicking together and she was able to see off the challenge.

She held three set points on her serve at 5-3 when Bouchard finally roared back to get her first break of the match. Her delight was short lived, however, as Cibulkova put away the set on her next chance.

Bouchard got broken once more in the second for a 4-1 lead to Cibulkova and her frustration was clear, receiving a point penalty for throwing her racquet after yet another of her usually-reliable groundstrokes sailed long.

“I definitely was a bit emotional out there,” Bouchard said. “It’s frustrating to feel like you’re not playing your best tennis at Wimbledon. You know, sometimes when I get it out, I can turn it around and play a bit better. It didn’t really happen this time, though.”

After an hour and twenty-six minutes, Cibulkova became the first player in the top half of the draw to punch her ticket into the fourth round, and she celebrated the occasion with a mighty roar of elation.

Despite hitting 24 winners to Cibulkova’s 17, it was Bouchard’s unforced error count that cost her in the important moments, hitting 16 to Cibulkova’s 19. The Canadian also failed to capitalize on her break point chances, converting just one of four while Cibukova put away three of nine.

With the victory, Cibukova has now won eight matches in a row on grass courts, a streak extending back to her run to the title at the grass court tune up event in Eastbourne. Cibulkova also grabbed her first win over Bouchard, having lost to her in three sets in both of her previous matches.

This marks the first time since Cibulkova’s quarterfinal run in 2011 that she’s reached the second week at Wimbledon, and she awaits the winner between Agnieszka Radwanska and Katerina Siniakova.

“It’s all coming together,” Cibulkova said. “Here we are, I won Eastbourne and now I’m in the fourth round here and it feels great. I just want to keep going.”

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Radwanska Dazzles Against Siniakova

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, Great Britain – No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska dug deep from her bag of tricks to see off Katerina Siniakova in a straight sets tour de force, needing just 63 minutes to advance to the fourth round 6-3, 6-1.

Radwanska put on a clinic on the No.3 Court against Siniakova, who at 20 years old was the youngest woman left in the draw. Against the big hitting Czech, Radwanska employed her famous ability of drawing out her opponent’s errors with her signature mix variety and anticipation, running Siniakova ragged all along the court.

The first set unfolded as a tightly-contested affair with Radwanska bringing up and converting the only break point for a lead at 4-2. She struck early on in the second set, frustrating Siniakova with a drop shot after pushing her out far behind the baseline.

Radwanska grabbed the second break of the second set at 4-1 when she fetched a wide-angled return with a vicious forehand loaded with sidespin, then calmly put away the next shot at the net. Siniakova was forced to hit one more ball as her would-be winners were returned time and time again.

Siniakova clawed to her first break point of the match at 5-1, but it was calmly brushed aside as the Pole looked locked in, breaking Siniakova once more and crushing a swinging crosscourt forehand pass to move on to the second week of Wimbledon for the eighth time in her career.

Cibulkova awaits Radwanska in the fourth round after the Slovak put away former finalist Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets earlier in the day.

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Cibulkova's Nose For Success

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

With two titles and a couple of runner-up finishes to her name, no one can deny that Dominika Cibulkova has a nose for success in 2016. Quite literally in fact.

Tennis players are a superstitious bunch, and Cibulkova is no different. However, her pre-point ritual does not involve ball bouncing, lines or adjusting bottles. No, instead before serving Cibulkova gets a good whiff of the ball she is about to use.

It is a quirk that has not gone unnoticed, and ahead of her third-round meeting with Eugenie Bouchard the BBC’s Rishi Persad investigated just how sophisticated the Slovak’s sense of smell is…

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Schiavone Gives Up Her Olympic Wildcard

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, Great Britain – Francesca Schiavone has already struck gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, winning her seventh career title in the year’s first clay event at the Rio Open back in February. Despite dipping out of the Top 100, the former French Open champion was still expected to return to Brazil for the Olympic Games with a wildcard typically reserved for Grand Slam champions.

However, earlier today the Italian announced via her Facebook page that she won’t be wearing the Azzurri in Rio this year, deciding instead to give up the wildcard.

Here’s Schiavone’s statement, translated to English:

Here at Wimbledon I have received notice of the wild card for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. It is news that has made me happy. However, I made a decision not to accept it because at this stage of my life, with the important decisions that are in front of me about the development of my career, I need to focus and prioritize my personal projects. This is why I won’t be in Rio. A choice that cost me but I’m proud to have worn the blue jersey in three editions of the Games. In August I will be in front of the television to cheer on all the Azzurri.

The WTA veteran has been a fixture at the Olympics for the past 12 years, competing in the past three editions of the Games. Her best result came in the form of a run to the quarterfinals in Athens back in 2004. In the 2008 Games in Beijing she reached the third round while in 2012, when the Olympic tennis event was held at the All England Club, she made the second round.

Schiavone’s decision to give up her wildcard means that another spot has opened up for a player seeking to head to Brazil later this summer. In the meantime, click here to find out who has already qualified for Rio 2016.

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People's Sunday Tickets On Sale

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

As a result of the first week rain delays the All England Club is putting on sale 22,000 tickets for the Middle Sunday. Find out how to buy them here…

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