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From around the world

Suárez Navarro Survives Svitolina

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

BIRMINGHAM, England – Carla Suárez Navarro snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on another rain-interrupted afternoon at the Aegon Classic Birmingham.

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Trailing 5-3 in the final set, Suárez Navarro’s three-day wait to complete her first-round match looked like it would end in disappointment. However, with the rainclouds gathering overhead once more she produced a rousing finale to triumph, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5.

Originally scheduled for Monday, the players did not make it on court until Tuesday, splitting the opening two sets before the last of the day’s showers brought play to a halt with the Spaniard leading 2-1 in the decider.

A sluggish start on Wednesday, though, saw Svitolina take the first three games to build a seemingly insurmountable lead. As Suárez Navarro struggled to find her rhythm – and footing – Svitolina stretched this advantage, coming within two points of victory when serving for the match only to be denied by her opponent’s late show.

In two of the other matches carried over from the previous day, British wildcards Naomi Broady and Tara Moore suffered close losses. Tamira Paszek broke in the penultimate game to end Moore’s spirited effort, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, while Daria Gavrilova eventually defused Broady, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Over on Centre Court, No.4 seed Belinda Bencic’s tournament came to an unfortunate end as a thigh injury forced her to retire from her match with Irina-Camelia Begu. Bencic required treatment after a tumble in the first set and despite bravely battling on eventually admitted defeat trailing 6-4, 4-3.

“I slipped during the first set and injured my thigh. I tried to play on but unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish the match,” Bencic said. “It’s not ideal but being healthy in the long term is the top priority so I had to do the sensible thing.”

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Jankovic Slips Past Mertens In Mallorca

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MALLORCA, Spain – Jelena Jankovic survived more than one scare at the Mallorca Open, where she found herself battling back from a love set down to advance 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 against Elise Mertens for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Watch live action from Birmingham and Mallorca this week on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

“It was a very, very tough match,” Jankovic said afterwards. “I played against a young opponent who came through qualies and has done quite well recently. She’s played a lot of matches on grass and so she’s quite confident.”

Playing against the Belgian qualifier for the first time, Jankovic couldn’t find a way to make Mertens uncomfortable as her opponent ripped winner after winner and put the No.2 seed down 0-6 in 28 minutes.

“I was playing everything that she likes, because also I don’t know her game very well,” Jankovic said. “I didn’t know the way she plays or her style. I’ve just seen a little bit of her match yesterday, and she played very differently against me which was a surprise for me.”

The former No.1 found her rhythm in the second and third set. Although Mertens broke to start the second set, Jankovic quickly replied in kind and did a bit of problem-solving to expose the weaknesses in the 20-year-old’s game. From then on, it seemed almost inevitable as Jankovic grabbed the next two sets to complete her comeback.

Despite her dominating performance in the last half of the match, Jankovic herself never seemed comfortable on the grass throughout the match. Despite winning a title in Birmingham in 2007, grass has never been the Serb’s favored surface, evidence by her many slips and tumbles today.

“It’s not easy, on this surface,” Jankovic said. “I can play well on grass, but I just think it’s more mental for me than anything else. Maybe I just put it into my head that I don’t like the surface. Because I fell a few times, I became scared to move freely.

“I was scared to move and was a little bit tentative. On other surfaces I move without thinking and hit my shots, but here, once I fell down I became so scared. But that happens to everyone, and I just have to fight and keep playing.”

Jankovic will need to find her nerve on this surface again in her quarterfinal with Sorana Cirstea, who moved past Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-4.

“I think on grass, the most important thing is mentality, because everything goes so quick,” Cirstea said. “If your mind is off for a few seconds, straightaway they can break you. One break can mean one set.

“Here it’s so important to stay focused every single point, it takes more energy. Even if the matches are shorter, it’s a lot on the mental side.”

Also moving on are Mariana Duque-Mariño, who dealt a huge upset to grass-court stalwart Sabine Lisicki, toppling her 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. No.8 seed Eugenie Bouchard also tumbled out, falling to Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-3.

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Venus' Golden Olympic Omen

Venus' Golden Olympic Omen

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Venus Williams, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and fashion designer, is preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics in the most Venus way possible: by designing her own Team USA tennis outfit to be worn in the competition.

Venus Williams

The special edition EleVen By Venus dress will be worn on a very special occasion: the 2016 Rio Olympics will be Venus’ fifth Olympic Games, a feat which matches a record set by Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario of most Olympic appearances by a female tennis player.

Here’s her impressive Olympic resume, which spans an incredible 12 years and counting:
2000 Sydney – Singles: Gold medal, Doubles: Gold medal
2004 Athens – Singles: R16, Doubles: R1
2008 Beijing – Singles: Quarterfinals, Doubles: Gold medal
2012 London – Singles: R16, Doubles: Gold medal

With her four gold medals across singles and doubles, Venus is also among the most decorated tennis Olympians. She’s tied with Serena for most gold medals, and sits one medal behind the all-time record set by Kathleen McKane.

Most Olympic Medals (all women’s tennis disciplines):
Kathleen McKane – 1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze
Serena Williams – 4 gold
Venus Williams – 4 gold
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario – 2 silver, 2 bronze

With the Rio Olympics being staged on hardcourts, Venus looks set to add to her gold medal haul. She’s already got one hardcourt title under her belt at the Taiwan Open in Kaohsiung earlier this year. And odds are that she’s also going to be competing in doubles with her sister, which brings up another good omen for Venus: the Williams sisters have never lost an Olympic doubles event while partnered up.

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WTA Trio Crack SportsPro List

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Last month, SportsPro unveiled it annual list of the world’s 50 most marketable athletes. Once again, the WTA was well represented with three players making the cut.

French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza led the way, entering the list at No.14 on the back of her recent exploits. Joining her is fellow new entrant Sania Mirza and last year’s No.1 Eugenie Bouchard.

Muguruza first burst onto the scene two years ago when she inflicted a humbling second-round defeat on defending champion Serena Williams at Roland Garros. Since then her star has grown, a Wimbledon final appearance laying the foundations for a brilliant second half of 2015. The 22-year-old hit her first bump in the road at the start of the current season, before a spectacular return culminating in her Paris triumph.

Viewed by many as the sports next big crossover star, Muguruza has seen sponsors come flocking – BBVA Bank, Maui Jim, adidas and Babolat are among her current portfolio – capitalizing on the decade-long quest to find a female icon to join Rafael Nadal atop the pedestal of Spanish tennis.

Life has not been quite so rosy for the new generation’s other great young hope, Eugenie Bouchard. However, following a turbulent 2015 campaign, the green shoots of recovery have begun to sprout.

Success on the court and charisma off it fuelled the Canadian’s initial rise to prominence, and now unburdened by the weight of expectation that hung around her neck for much of 2015, she has begun to climb back up the rankings. The qualities that first attracted Nike, Babolat, Coca-Cola and others remain, and her reunion with childhood mentor Nick Saviano is sure to hasten her return to tennis’ top table.

Mirza, on the other hand, has had no shortage of success over the past 12 months, her all-conquering partnership with Martina Hingis – the duo have won three of the past four Grand Slams – thrusting her back into the spotlight.

A superstar in her homeland for the best part of a decade, the Indian, whose contracts include adidas, Sahara India and Tata Tea, is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations and was flagbearer at the 2012 Olympics.

Since SportsPro released its inaugural list in 2010, WTA players have been near ever-presents at the top of the pile, Caroline Wozniacki, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens all featuring down the years.  

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Caroline Wozniacki’s Berry Berrylicious

Caroline Wozniacki’s Berry Berrylicious

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

It’s no secret that Caroline Wozniacki has a sweet tooth, so when we asked her to share with us her recipe for a pre-match snack we weren’t surprised that was berry sweet.

Caro’s pre-match smoothie is easy to make – just five delicious ingredients plus ice and water – and it makes a great on-the-go snack or a quick, nutritious breakfast.

Here’s everything you need to make Caro’s Berry Berrylicious:

USANA Pre-Match Snacks

USANA is the Official Vitamin & Supplement Supplier of the WTA, and over 170 Athletes – including 8 out of the Top 10 and 15 out of the Top 20 use USANA products. Former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, Samantha Stosur, Eugenie Bouchard, and Madison Keys are among several USANA ambassadors, and 2016 marks the 10th Anniversary of the USANA-WTA partnership.

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