Saturday, September 27, 2014

Martina Hingis & Flavia Pennetta win first doubles crown together in Wuhan China



WUHAN, China - Martina Hingis and Flavia Pennetta continued their late charge for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, winning their first WTA doubles title as a team at the Premier-level Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open with a victory over Cara Black and Caroline Garcia.

Hingis and Pennetta looked fresh early on, and understandably so - they only played two full matches in four rounds going in, winning one by retirement and another by walkover. And both of their wins came in straight sets, too. The No.6-seeded Swiss-Italian combo stormed out to a 6-4, 5-3 lead.

The No.8-seeded Black and Garcia came alive from there, though. They fought off four match points en route to sneaking out the second set, 7-5, and built all kinds of leads in the ensuing match tie-break, like 4-1, 6-3, and - after losing those leads - even bringing up two match points up 9-8 and 10-9.

But Hingis and Pennetta fought both of those off, including a fantastic Pennetta backhand volley into the corner on the second one, and with one last big serve they closed it out, 6-4, 5-7, 12-10.

Hingis and Pennetta's best results in four previous tournaments together were runner-up finishes at Eastbourne and the US Open, and they finally made it fifth time lucky here with their first WTA doubles title as a partnership. It was Hingis' 39th individual WTA doubles title and Pennetta's 16th.

And so their late push for the WTA Finals in Singapore continues - currently No.12 on the Road To Singapore doubles leaderboard, they will move just outside the Top 8 after this tournament. And with the Top 8 qualifying for the WTA's crown jewel event, they're coming alive at just the right time.

Hingis and Pennetta, both former World No.1s in doubles, spoke to the crowd after their win.

"We got a little bit tight in the end of the second set, but that's normal in a final," Pennetta said. "It was just amazing to play doubles with Martina again. She's a great partner and a great person.

"Our first time in Wuhan was amazing. Everything was perfect. We really enjoyed our week."

"First, I want to say Xie Xie Wuhan," Hingis - who was saying thank you - started her speech with, drawing cheers from the crowd. "I really want to thank everybody for coming out here for the final.

"There aren't many places I can say I'm coming to for the first time in my 20 years of playing. And I really loved this tournament. I really enjoyed every moment. It's just been a fantastic week.

"The city is really pretty and it was just a wonderful event."

Hingis and Pennetta will now head to Beijing for the China Open, where they are the No.8 seeds.

Well how about that!. They are an awesome team. 

Nice job, congrats ladies!. 

On the women's singles side at the China Open Petra Kvitova won against Eugene Bouchard which was disappointing.

But hopefully Bouchard will figure out Kvitova in the future.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Martina Hingis sad over Li Na's retirement from the sport

Tokyo, Sep 19: Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis said on Friday that Li Na’s retirement was a loss to world tennis, crediting the Chinese star with raising the game’s profile in her home country.
“It’s a sad day for Chinese tennis and for the global sport in general,” Hingis, who won the five singles and nine doubles Grand Slam titles, said in Tokyo after hearing about Li’s decision during the WTA Pan Pacific Open. ”I have good memories playing her,” said the 33-year-old. Hingis beat Li in the 2007 Australian Open fourth round.
Hingis said it was “sad” because the next WTA tournament was to be played in Li’s hometown of Wuhan next week, immediately followed by the big-money China Open in Beijing.
“There is so much more tennis which has moved tournaments to China, (there has been) development on the women’s side of the tour to have the tournaments there,” she added. China now hosts six women’s tour events. The Women’s Tennis Association upgraded the China Open in Beijing last year to become Asia’s only event combined with a men’s tour. The event is also one of the WTA’s top four tournaments.
The Wuhan Open is making its debut this year by replacing the Pan Pacific Open on the WTA’s second tier known as Premier 5. The Tokyo event now belongs to the so-called Premier-700 calendar.
Hingis made her second comeback from retirement in July last year but just as a doubles player. In the US Open doubles final two weeks ago, she teamed with Italian Flavia Pennetta and finished runners-up to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. She teamed with 17-year-old rising Swiss star Belinda Bencic, who reached the US Open quarter-finals, in the doubles at the Pan Pacific Open but bowed out in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Martina Hingis & Belinda Bencic early exit from Tokyo

Tokyo: Former world number one Martina Hingis and rising star Belinda Bencic ended their first time together as a dream doubles team for Switzerland in the Pan Pacific Open second round Thursday.

They bowed to the top-seeded pair of Zimbabwe`s Cara Black and Sania Mirza of India 6-4, 6-2 after winning their doubles debut match against Japan`s Rika Fujiwara and Taiwan`s Hsieh Shu-Ying 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.

But the Swiss duo, who have known each other for years despite the nearly 17-year age gap, said they might team up again in WTA events in China in the coming weeks, depending on how Hingis` usual partner Italian Flavia Pennetta recovers from a recent right-foot injury.

Hingis and Bencic broke Black`s serve in the third and seventh games of the first set. But they could not hold their service right after each of the games. They lost their serve in four games in the second set of the hour-long match.

"In the second set, we were falling apart. But in the first set, we definitely had chances," said Hingis, who turns 34 at the end of this month and has won five Grand Slam singles titles and nine doubles titles.

"It was a lot of fun to bring one of the best teams to have to play their best tennis," smiled Hingis, who made her second comeback from retirement in July last year but only as a doubles player.

Partnered by Pennetta, she lost to Russia`s Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the US Open final in New York two weeks ago.

Bencic, 17, currently ranked 34th in the world and who reached the US Open singles quarter-finals in only her fourth Grand Slam appearance, said: "It was fun to play with Martina."

"If we have used the chances, maybe we`d look a little bit different. A bit unlucky as I made some stupid mistakes."

Hingis said earlier Bencic was just four years old when she first met her. Her mother Melanie Molitor has trained Bencic for 10 years along with the youngster`s father Ivan.

Recalling the "momentum and challenges here and there" in the match, Hingis said: "To be on the same side with Belinda, I really enjoyed it. Hopefully we`ll do better."

Hingis is ranked 20th in the world doubles ranking and Bencic 255th.

Both of them will compete at the top-flight $4.5 million China Open starting in Beijing on September 29 and the low-tier $250,000 WTA event in Tianjin in the week of October 6. Hingis is also booked for another WTA event in China -- the Wuhan Open next week.

About another possible pairing with Bencic, Hingis said, "It depends on how we are going to do with Flavia (Pennetta) in the next two tournaments in China."

"There is Tianjin, so that would be another possibility."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Martina Hingis & Belinda Bencic win first doubles together in Tokyo

Former world number one Martina Hingis and rising star Belinda Bencic made their debut as a dream doubles team for Switzerland Tuesday, winning their first match together at the Pan Pacific Open.
Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Hingis, 33, and 17-year-old Bencic, who reached the US Open quarter-finals two weeks ago, combined to oust Rika Fujiwara of Japan and Taiwan`s Hsieh Shu-Ying 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.
The all-Swiss pairing was announced as a wild card only last week after Hingis`s usual partner Flavia Pennetta of Italy pulled out of the $1 million tournament with a right-foot injury.
With Pennetta, Hingis reached the US Open final but her bid for a 10th major doubles title was denied by the Russian pairing of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
Hingis, whose mother Melanie Molitor has trained Bencic for 10 years along with the youngster`s father Ivan, said she was committed to play with Pennetta at least until the end of this year. But a regular pairing with Bencic may be possible in the future.
"We`ll see. Maybe in the future there will be other opportunities for us to do this and that will be great," Hingis said.
The second-round opponents for the Swiss duo will be either the top-seeded pair of Zimbabwe`s Cara Black and Indian Sania Mirza or unseeded Casey Dellacqua of Australia and American Lisa Raymond.
"We had to figure out each other and what our strengths and weaknesses are and how to win matches," Hingis said of the first set.
"I think we got better throughout the match today. We`re really proud of that. We have now next steps to take."
Bencic said, "In the beginning I didn`t play that good. Then I came more into the match and Martina was helping me good."
"There was no reason to be really nervous," said Bencic, who has known Hingis since she was only four years old.
There were moments of great doubles play by the Swiss.
Leading 5-4 in the first set, Hingis`s backhand drop shot from the net hit cross court at set point after Bencic served.
On Hingis`s service, Bencic`s sharp passing shot landed inside a corner to put the team ahead 5-1 in the second set.
In the singles first round, sixth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia beat Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-3 and eighth-seeded Carla Suarez of Spain outlasted Japan`s Kurumi Nara 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.
The top four seeds, including world number eight Angelique Kerber of Germany and eighth-ranked and US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, took a bye into the second round.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Roger Federer takes Switzerland into 2nd Davis Cup final

SWITZERLAND 3, ITALY 2

Venue: Palexpo, Geneva, SUI (hard - indoor)
Switzerland advanced to its second Davis Cup final on Sunday, courtesy of its greatest player.
Roger Federer recorded his 55th match win of the year in beating Italian Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(4) in the first reverse singles rubber, to give Switzerland an unassailable 3-1 lead in Geneva.
The World No. 3 struck 33 winners, including 11 aces, for victory in just under two hours. It maintained his perfect 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Fognini.
Switzerland will travel to France for the Davis Cup final, to be held 21-23 November.
Federer has a 37-7 record in singles rubbers for Switzerland, including Friday's 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Simone BolelliStan Wawrinka beat Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in the second singles rubber on Friday. Fognini and Bolelli beat Marco Chiudinelli and Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the doubles rubber.
In 1992, Switzerland — featuring Marc Rosset and Jakob Hlasek — finished runner-up to United States, made up of Andre AgassiPete SamprasJim Courier and John McEnroe, in the Davis Cup final.
Andreas Seppi won the dead rubber against Swiss Michael Lammer 6-4, 1-6, 6-4

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Martina Hingis & Belinda Bencic wild card doubles entries at Toray Pan Pacific in Tokyo

Former world No. 1 Martina Hingis of Switzerland has been granted a wild-card entry into the doubles competition at the upcoming Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, organizers announced Friday.
The 33-year-old Hingis has been paired with 17-year-old and Swiss compatriot Belinda Bencic, who made the singles quarterfinals at the recent U.S. Open, for the tournament which starts Monday at Ariake Tennis Forest Park.
Hingis retired for a second time in 2007 and returned to the sport last year. She and partner Flavia Pennetta of Italy made the final at the U.S. Open, where they lost to the Russian duo of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
Hingis has won 43 WTA singles titles, including five Grand Slams, and 38 in doubles in her career.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Roger Federer & Stan Wawrinka give Switzerland the lead in Davis Cup

SWITZERLAND 2, ITALY 0
Venue: Palexpo, Geneva, SUI (hard - indoor)
Switzerland is one win away from reaching the Davis Cup final for the first time since 1992 after Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka both recorded straight-sets wins on Friday in Geneva. The host nation leads Italy 2-0 after Federer defeated Bolelli 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 and Wawrinka followed up a with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Fabio Fognini.

Federer and Wawrinka have the chance to seal victory for Switzerland when they join forces in Saturday’s doubles. 

Victory marked Federer’s 36th Davis Cup singles win; his last defeat came in the 2012 first round against the United States’ John Isner. It was also his 600th hard-court win and an ATP World Tour-best 55th tour-level win of the season.

"I just stayed with him really," said Federer, reflecting on the first set. "I served well myself. It ended up going to the tie-break, which I thought was the right thing. In the tie-break, I really think I served well throughout. The margins were small in the first set. 

"In the second set I was finally able to get the break; that broke the deadlock for me a little bit. I was able to play with the lead which is always easier. I'm just happy overall how it went. It's important to get that first point and that was the most important part."

Wawrinka clinched his 20th Davis Cup singles win as he fired 16 aces converted six of his nine break points to defeat Fognini in 90 minutes. The 29-year-old Wawrinka improved to a 4-1 lead in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Fognini.