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Konta Registers First Wimbledon Win

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, England – British No.1 Johanna Konta took a lengthy rain delay in her stride to overcome Monica Puig and advance to the second round of Wimbledon for the first time in her career.

Displaying the poise that has characterized her rapid rise up the tennis ladder, Konta emerged onto a gloomy No.1 Court to close out a 6-1 7-5 victory.

Konta, who led 6-1, 2-1 when rain brought Tuesday’s play to a premature conclusion, was then forced to kick her heels for a further five hours as the wait for the skies to clear continued. When they did, the No.17 seed left her best tennis in the changing rooms as Puig pocketed the first three games.

Ranked No.36 and a semifinalist last week in Eastbourne, Puig represented as tricky an opening round opponent as Konta could have drawn. The Briton, however, was in no mood to extend her stay on court any longer than strictly necessary, reasserting herself in the baseline exchanges and drawing level when Puig sent a forehand long.

A few games later the Puerto Rican was serving to stay in the match. Sensing her moment, Konta went after her returns with added gusto, launching one beyond her sprawling opponent to close out a memorable victory.  

“I’ve worked my whole life, since I was eight years old, on becoming the best tennis player I could be,” Konta said “In that sense, I’ve been doing this for 17 years, so it didn’t exactly happen from one day to the next.

“I am very, very grateful for the experiences that I’ve had in quite a condensed, short period of time. I think that I am very grateful for that, enjoying that very much. Then again, also, the previous year where I had lost in the first round here, I had played some very, very good players. I always say I’m a firm believer in accumulating experiences. I’m most certain that if I hadn’t had those experiences, I wouldn’t have been able to deal with the example of today or the last few days.”

In the second round, Konta, who is the first British woman to be seeded at Wimbledon since Jo Durie in 1984, will now face former finalist Eugenie Bouchard.

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Bencic, Bouchard Book Round 2 Spots

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Belinda Bencic is back into the second round of Wimbledon after a solid victory over Tsvetana Pironkova; Eugenie Bouchard also grabbed a win over Magdalena Rybarikova.

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Kvitova Cruises Past Cirstea

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, Great Britain – Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova got her 2016 campaign off to a roaring start against Sorana Cirstea, zooming past the Romanian to claim her eighth first-round win and a spot in the second round.

Kvitova, the champion here in 2011 and 2014, is usually a regular face in the last stages of grass court tournaments and came to Wimbledon looking for a kick start to her sluggish season. The Czech has yet to reach a final and comes off a pair of Round of 16 exits at Birmingham and Eastbourne.

It all clicked together for Kvitova when she needed it to against the No.85-ranked Cirstea; she needed just 52 minutes to notch a commanding 6-0, 6-4 victory.

Cirstea got off to a dismal start as Kvitova immediately broke her to love. The Romanian’s new abbreviated service motion – an attempt to mitigate the shoulder injuries that have plagued her in the past years – seemed to have zapped her of power and left her serves vulnerable against the World No.10’s punishing returns.

Kvitova took the first set to love with a commanding ace after just 15 minutes. The numbers really emphasize how the Romanian struggled on her serve in the opening set: she won just 17% of points behind her first serve against Kvitova’s 89% and won one point in all of her service games.

Cirstea put the disappointing numbers behind her to finally hold serve and get her name on the scoreboard at the start of the second set. But when Kvitova gets on a tear, it’s hard to stop her, and despite Cirstea’s improved ball-striking she couldn’t find a way to pressure her opponent’s lefty serve. Kvitova took the lone break for a 3-2 lead and held on to it to close out the match 6-0, 6-4 and move into the second round.

Kvitova awaits the winner between Ekaterina Makarova and Johanna Larsson, whose match was delayed due to rain.

More to come…

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Wimbledon Asks: If This, Then What?

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

What would Garbiñe Muguruza and Petra Kvitova do if they could prank any player, if they could have any super power and if they could lift any trophy? Find out in Wimbledon’s If Series.

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WTA Stars Come Together For Turkey

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Led by Cagla Buyukakcay and Ipek Soylu, the WTA family shares their support for Turkey in light of the attack in Turkey; here are a collection of tweets from players, past and present.

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Wimbledon Wednesday: Lawn Movers

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

A rain-affected Tuesday means Wimbledon has some catching up to do, but second-round action nonetheless begins in earnest on Wednesday at the All England Club. We preview the key matchups and look inside the numbers here on, courtesy of contributor Chris Oddo.


Second Round

[5] Simona Halep (ROU #5) vs. Francesca Schiavone (ITA #111)
Head-to-head: Schiavone leads, 1-0
Key Stat: Schiavone snapped a three-year Wimbledon losing streak with her first round win on Monday.

Simona Halep has only won back-to-back matches at SW19 on one occasion, but that occasion was quite special because it led to an appearance in the semifinals in 2014. Can the Romanian, who has suffered from patchy form and a nagging Achilles injury in recent months, rekindle the magic on grass this year? Standing in her way will be one of the tour’s most revered veterans in Francesca Schiavone. The 36-year-old snapped a three-year Wimbledon drought on Monday with a straight set win over Anastasija Sevastova, but the challenge will be elevated on Wednesday when the Italian tries to win against a Top 10 player on grass for the first time. Halep had to skip Birmingham with injury, but she told reporters on Monday that despite her lack of match play on grass this summer, her extra practice time on the surface is starting to pay off. “I had many days practicing here,” she said. “I feel the grass. I feel the court. I feel the atmosphere here… I’m looking forward for the next round, and maybe I will play better after two days.”

Pick: Halep in two

[9] Madison Keys (USA #9) vs. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL #51)
Head-to-head: Tied, 1-1
Key Stat: Keys enters on six-match winning streak.

Madison Keys, American storm. The 21-year-old may possess a calm and easy going demeanor, but it’s clear to anyone that watches her play that she enjoys playing rock-n-roll tennis when she’s on court. She did that to great effect in winning the Birmingham title a few weeks back and she looked stunning in hammering her way past Germany’s Laura Siegemund on Day 1. But Keys knows her next test against the crafty Belgian Kirsten Flipkens will force her to problem solve a bit more. Will she prove up to the task? She says she’s ready. “It will be tough,” she told reporters on Monday, when asked about the challenge of facing the former Wimbledon semifinalist. “I played her in Miami. It was a tough match. She’s obviously done well on grass before and can be really crafty, is really good with dropshots and slices and mixing it up. That’s going to be a tough match. I think I’ll have to go in with a similar game plan as I did today.”

Pick: Keys in two

Sabine Lisicki (GER #81) vs. [14] Sam Stosur (AUS #16)
Head-to-head: Stosur leads, 5-2
Key Stat: Lisicki improved to 26-7 lifetime at Wimbledon with her win over Shelby Rogers on Monday.

Samantha Stosur holds the significant edge in the pair’s head-to-head, but Sabine Lisicki’s Wimbledon magic could play a role in the eighth meeting between these two hard-serving veterans. Stosur, making her 14th Wimbledon appearance, is well aware of the Lisicki aura at SW19. “I mean, it’s no doubt this is a tournament she feels very comfortable at no matter kind of what she’s been doing in the lead-up,” Stosur said. “I’m sure when she walks through the gates here she probably feels like she’s No. 1 in the world. You have to be aware of that and know she has a very big serve.” Lisicki has won just two of seven tilts against the Aussie, but she’s once again brimming with confidence and a certain je ne sais quoi at Wimbledon. “I really liked this place from the beginning,” she said. “I think in this place you feel the history. It’s just a magical place. When I come here, I just feel really special to have the opportunity to play here.”

Pick: Lisicki in three

Around the Grounds: Garbiñe Muguruza will look to continue her eight-match winning streak at major tournaments when she takes on world No.124 Jana Cepelova of Slovakia. Muguruza owns a 6-1 record against players ranked outside of the Top 100 at majors. Venus Williams will square off with Greek qualifier Maria Sakkari. World No.115 Sakkari won her first Wimbledon match on Monday; Williams owns 77 wins at the All England Club, second only to her sister Serena among active players. Karolina Pliskova will continue her quest to make the second week of a major for the first time when she meets Misaki Doi on Day 2. In 16 major appearances, Pliskova has only reached the third round three times.

By the Numbers:

8 – Number of Wimbledon finals that Venus Williams has played, winning five.

89 – Percentage of first-serve points that Stosur won in her Day 1 victory over Magda Linette.

18 – Number of American women that entered the main draw – most of any country.

122 – The speed of Sabine Lisicki’s fastest serve on Day 1, which was the fastest recorded by all players in action on Monday.

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Wimbledon Tuesday: Serena's Start

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Defending champion Serena Williams leads the charge as the top half of the draw takes to the grass on Day 2. We preview a busy slate at SW19 here on, courtesy of contributor Chris Oddo.


First Round

[1] Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. [Q] Amra Sadikovic (SUI #148)
Head-to-head: First Meeting
Key Stat: Williams is the last women to have won Wimbledon after saving a match point (2009).

Having failed to come away with the title in each of the last three majors, Serena Williams has dusted herself off and is ready to pursue Grand Slam glory at one of her favorite stomping grounds. Her first test will be against Swiss qualifier Amra Sadikovic, a 27-year-old who has only played six tour-level matches in her career. After briefly retiring from tennis, the Swiss has recently returned to the tour with a renewed sense of purpose. Williams, on the other hand, is hoping to log more matches than six this Wimbledon fortnight. The six-time champion owns a 79-10 lifetime record at SW19 and despite the fact that she’s bidding for a historical 22nd major title for the fourth time, the 34-year-old refuses to be bothered by externalities. “Honestly, I don’t feel any pressure,” Williams told assembled press on Sunday during her champion’s press conference. “I feel good and confident.” Williams arrived in London on Monday to give herself plenty of time to get reacquainted with the grass that she has prowled so efficiently since she made her first Wimbledon appearance in 1998. Despite having made the trek 17 times now, Williams says it’s always special. “It’s a unique experience,” she said. “You know, it’s just that one time a year you just get to get on this amazing, beautiful surface. It feels really good.”

Pick: Williams in two

[13] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #14) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (Den #45)
Head-to-head: Wozniacki leads 6-5
Key Stat: A three-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, Kuznetsova has not reached that far at the All England Club since 2007.

Two longtime rivals will meet for the 12th time and the first at Wimbledon on Tuesday when Caroline Wozniacki and Svetlana Kuznetsova lock horns in a highly enticing first-rounder. They are six years apart in age, and 31 spots separate them in the rankings, but in truth there isn’t a whole lot that divides these two, talent-wise. Wozniacki has slipped in the rankings due to an ankle injury that forced her out for two months this spring, but the Dane has put three events under her belt and is feeling much better about her form after a productive three weeks on the grass. “I feel like I’m getting closer to where I want to be,” she told the WTA Insider Podcast at Eastbourne, where she won two matches before falling in a tight three-setter to Monica Puig. Kuznetsova has had her moments in 2016, most notable her upset of world No.1 Serena Williams in Miami, but the Russian has lost her only match on grass to date in 2016.

Pick: Wozniacki in three

[10] Petra Kvitova (CZE #10) vs. Sorana Cirstea (ROU #85)
Head-to-head: Kvitova leads, 4-2
Key Stat: Two-time champion Petra Kvitova is one of three former Wimbledon champions in the draw.

Typically a grass juggernaut, Petra Kvitova encountered some turbulence on her favorite surface this summer when she was knocked out of Birmingham and Eastbourne in the round of 16. But the 2011 and 2014 champion has more than proven herself at Wimbledon, where she owns a 29-6 lifetime record and has produced some of her most electrifying tennis. That means it will take an exceptional effort from Romania’s Sorana Cirstea to challenge the Czech on Tuesday in a place where Kvitova has always been at her menacing best. In their lone Wimbledon meeting Kvitova eased past Cirstea in straight sets, but the world No.85 does own two victories over Kvitova and has undergone a bit of a revival of late, producing her best tennis since her breakout season in 2013 in the last six months.

Pick: Kvitova in two.

[7] Belinda Bencic (SUI #13) vs. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL #71)
Head-to-head: Bencic leads, 2-0
Key Stat: Pironkova is playing in her 43rd consecutive major at Wimbledon. It is the third-longest active streak behind Ana Ivanovic (47) and Jelena Jankovic (51).

Belinda Bencic loves playing on grass and excels on the surface; Tsvetana Pironkova loves playing on grass and also excels on the surface. What’s not to love about this highly anticipated first-round matchup between two talented players who win with touch and placement rather than power? Bencic defeated Pironkova in the first round at SW19 last year, and she will come in as the favorite on paper, but the Swiss has yet to find her top physical form after missing two months due to a back injury. After a semifinal in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Bencic had to pull out of her first match at Birmingham with an injury before being defeated in her first match at Eastbourne by Elena Vesnina. Pironkova has two deep Wimbledon runs under her belt (semifinals in 2010, quarterfinals in 2011) and will surely be hungry to gain revenge on Bencic on Tuesday.

Pick: Pironkova in three

Around the Grounds: Third seed and 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska will begin her 11th Wimbledon campaign with a first-round battle with Kateryna Kozlova of the Ukraine, who is making her Wimbledon debut. Great Britain’s Johanna Konta defeated Monica Puig in a third-set tiebreaker last year at Nottingham. They’ll meet again in the first round on Tuesday with Konta looking to win for the first time in four tries at Wimbledon.

By the Numbers:

137 – Svetlana Kuznetsova’s win total at the Grand Slam level, which is fourth-most among active players.

31-5 – Caroline Wozniacki’s record in first round matches at majors. The Dane has not dropped a first-rounder since 2012 Wimbledon.

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