Monday, September 26, 2016

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza battle for #1 ranking in Wuhan

Mirza's No.1 Ranking Under Siege By Swiss Miss: In the high-profile split between former co-No.1s Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis, it was Mirza who retained custody of the No.1 ranking after she and new partner Barbora Strycova ousted Hingis and CoCo Vandeweghe in the final of the Western & Southern Open.

Mirza and Strycova have lost just once since pairing up in Cincinnati, reaching the quarterfinals of the US Open and taking home a second title at the Toray Pan Pacific Open. Adding 470 points to their Road to Singapore leaderboard total, the pair could yet qualify for Singapore in their own right, giving Mirza the opportunity to pick between Hingis and Strycova should both teams finish inside the Top 8.

Heading into Wuhan, Mirza has enjoyed an uninterrupted reign atop the WTA doubles rankings since April 13, 2015 (77 consecutive weeks, including week of Sept 26th).

But Hingis has another chance to take back the top spot, which she shared with Mirza for 31 weeks between January and August. In opposite halves of the draw, Hingis - seeded No.6 with Vandeweghe - will have to at least the final to have a chance, and could have another battle royale for the No.1 ranking should she and Vandeweghe meet Mirza and Strycova (seeded No.3) in the championship match.

Both teams received byes into the second round; Hingis and Vandeweghe will begin their tournament against Aleksandra Krunic and Katerina Siniakova, the latter of whom previously paired with Barbora Krejcikova to end Hingis and Mirza's bid for the Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam at the French Open. Mirza and Strycova will play wither Arantxa Parra-Santonja and Anastasia Rodionova, or Gabriela Dabrowski and María José Martínez Sánchez in their opening round.

French Reunite In Asia: Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic anchor Hingis and Vandeweghe's section of the draw as top seeds in Wuhan, and are playing for the first time since narrowly losing the US Open final to Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova.

Garcia and Mladenovic have already qualified for Singapore, but will be likely looking to retain match rhythm not only for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, but also the Fed Cup final, which the pair were cleared to play after an issue with the FFT. Their first opponents will be either Irina-Camelia Begu and US Open mixed doubles champion Laura Siegemund or Christina McHale and Peng Shuai.

No.7 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka are the French pair's first possible seeds and projected quarterfinal opponents; the Czechs are coming off their first title together in 2016 at theCoupe Banque Nationale, which helped them reach No.5 on the Road to Singapore leaderboard.

Bucie In Hingis' Quarter: Speaking of Mattek-Sands and Safarova, the pair's US Open title helped launch them into the Top 8 on the RTS leaderboard at No.7, and could shore up a second straight Singapore appearance with solid performances in Asia.

Seeded No.5 in Wuhan, the two open against the unlikely wildcard pair of Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko, and could play the all-Chinese duo of Han Xinyun and Zhu Lin before facing projected opponents Hingis and Vandeweghe.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Martina Hingis to play in WTA Guangzhou Open

World No.8 Roberta Vinci of Italy and multiple Grand Slam winner Martina Hingis will be the star attractions in the Guangzhou International Women's tennis tournament which will be held here on September 17-24.

Defending champion Jelena Jankovic will come to the tournament for the fourth time, and aims to be the first player to retain her title in the history of the Guangzhou open, reports Xinhua.

Sara Errani, who jointly with Vinci holds the women's tennis doubles Grand Slam title, will also attend the event for the second consecutive year.

Also in the doubles, 'Swiss princess' Hingis is set to play again this year.

The Guangzhou Open, one of the oldest international professional women's tennis tournaments in China, was founded as a WTA International tournament in 2004.

A total of $225,000 in prize money, in addition to 280 points in the world rankings, are up for grabs at the tournament.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stan "The Man" Wawrinka U.S. Open Champion!

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Three Grand Slam finals. Three Grand Slam titles. Stan Wawrinka etched his name in the record books with his first US Open crown, stopping top seed and two-time champion Novak Djokovic 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday.

Wawrinka has risen to the occasion in big matches in recent years, moving to 3-0 in major finals and extending his staggering win streak in tour-level finals to 11 straight. All three Grand Slam title runs have included wins over the World No. 1 in the final, having previously defeated Rafael Nadal for the 2014 Australian Open crown and Djokovic in the Roland Garros final last year.

"This is amazing," said Wawrinka during the trophy presentation. "I came here without expecting to win it. When I stepped on the court, I tried to win every match. I did everything today against Novak. The crowd and atmosphere was something I've never had before. It's an amazing night."

With the win, Wawrinka secured qualification for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, joining Djokovic and Andy Murray at The O2 in London. He will be making his fourth consecutive appearance at the season finale, having reached the semi-finals in each of the past three years.

Wawrinka, who fired 46 winners, including three aces, while saving an impressive 14 of 17 break points, prevailed after three hours and 55 minutes. After Djokovic took the first set in a tie-break, the Swiss showed his true mettle, breaking the defending champion early in the second, third and fourth sets. His steely resolve was on full display as he maintained his composure throughout the encounter, eventually triumphing on his second match point. Wawrinka is now 15-6 at the US Open when dropping the opening set.

"Today I was trying to stay with him," Wawrinka told the assembled media following the match. "I was trying to be tough with myself, trying not to show anything, not to show any pain, not to show any cramps, not to show anything. I was suffering on the court, but I'm happy and proud with what I have achieved today.

"There is no secret. If you want to beat the No. 1 player in the world, you have to give everything. You have to accept to suffer and you have almost to enjoy to suffer. Because I think this Grand Slam was the most painful, physically and mentally that I ever played."

Won First Three Major Finals (Open Era)


Stan Wawrinka
2014 Australian Open, 2015 Roland Garros, 2016 US Open

Roger Federer
2003 Wimbledon, 2004 Australian Open, 2004 Wimbledon

Gustavo Kuerten
1997 Roland Garros, 2000 Roland Garros, 2001 Roland Garros

Stefan Edberg
1985 Australian Open, 1987 Australian Open, 1988 Wimbledon

Bjorn Borg
1974 Roland Garros, 1975 Roland Garros, 1976 Wimbledon

Jimmy Connors
1973 Australian Open, 1974 Wimbledon, 1974 US Open

Wawrinka became the fifth man in the Open Era to win multiple major singles crowns after turning 30, joining Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors. The 31-year-old is the oldest Grand Slam champion since Agassi at the 2003 Australian Open and also became the first man to win his first three majors at different events since Agassi.

Moreover, Wawrinka is the first US Open champion to save a match point en route to the title since Djokovic in 2011. He turned aside one against Daniel Evans in a five-set third round victory.

Djokovic was bidding for his third US Open title and 13th at the major level. The Serbian's 21st Grand Slam final is second-most in history, only behind Roger Federer (27). He still owns a sizeable 19-5 lead in their growing FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.

"He definitely deserves to be mentioned in the mix of top players," Djokovic said about Wawrinka. "He's been around for so many years and he plays best in the big matches.

"I lost my nerves in the important moments. He kept his cool. I think that's what decided the match. I just didn't capitalise at all on my opportunities. I had plenty of them. It was a terrible conversion of the break points. Just terrible from my side.

"In matches like these, if you don't use the opportunities, the other guy comes and takes it. And that's what he did. That's why I said he was more courageous, because he stepped in and played aggressive where I was waiting for things to happen."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Martina Hingis & Coco Vandeweghe fall short of final at U.S. Open

NEW YORK, NY, USA - Top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic eased into the US Open final with an impressive straight set win over Martina Hingis and CoCo Vandeweghe on Thursday afternoon.

Entering the tournament on the back of a disappointing summer, Garcia and Mladenovic have improved with each contest, raising the bar again to sweep aside Hingis and Vandeweghe, 6-3, 6-4, on Grandstand.

Garcia and Mladenovic received an early wake-up call when they were broken to love in the third game. However, their response was as swift as it was emphatic; a run of four straight games took them to the brink of the set, which they duly closed out with an ace.

Twelve months ago, Hingis won the title in New York alongside then-partner Sania Mirza. Yet neither her guile nor Vandeweghe's vaunted power was able to derail the flying Frenchwomen in the second set.

Earlier this year at Roland Garros Garcia and Mladenovic rode a wave of public support all the way to a maiden Grand Slam title, and for a period in the second set they scaled even greater heights, surging 5-2 ahead. A late wobble held up their progress momentarily, before serving out victory at the second time of asking.

The disappointment for Hingis was twofold: defeat denied her the chance to usurp Mirza at the top of the rankings. Garcia and Mladenovic, meanwhile, move on to a final against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova after they upset No.5 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, 6-2, 7-6(4), in the first semifinal.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Kim Clijster's to be inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame next year

On Thursday evening, Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova produced some of the finest tennis of their respective careers to move within touching distance of US Open glory.

Around the same time they were adding the finishing touches to impressive victories over Flushing Meadows favorites Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams, one of the tournament's most popular champions received her nomination to join the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

At the dawn of the millennium Kim Clijsters battled it out with Amélie Mauresmo, Martina Hingis,Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati, Justine Henin and the Williams sisters for domination of a golden era in women's tennis.

After years of playing the role of bridesmaid, on September 10, 2005, Clijsters finally enjoyed her own big day, defeating Mary Pierce in the US Open final to lift her maiden Grand Slam title.

Despite being just 22 at the time, this victory had been a long time coming; Clijsters, and her entertaining brand of athletic, all-court tennis had been entertaining crowds since she slid onto the scene as bubbly teenager in the late 1990s.

The Belgian's big breakthrough came a few years later, in 2001, where she reached the final in both Indian Wells and the French Open. Unfortunately for Clijsters, both occasions ended in runner-up speeches, a scenario that would become all too familiar over the coming years as she lost out in four further major finals.

Once she had rid this monkey from her back in 2005, though, there was no looking back. Clijsters won three further Slams - all of which came after the birth of her first child - and a whole host of other silverware to prove once and for all that nice girls can indeed finish first.

"I'm very honored to be on the ballot for International Tennis Hall of Fame induction," Clijsters said. "The women who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame are great champions who I have always admired. It's an honor to be considered to be part of that incredible group of athletes, and I'm grateful for this acknowledgement of my career."

Tennis journalists and authors will cast their votes in the ballot over the coming months, culminating with an announcement early next year of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2017. The Class of 2017 Enshrinement Ceremony will be hosted on Saturday, July 22, 2017 during the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Martina Hingis & Coco Vandeweghe through to U.S. Open doubles semis

Martina Hingis and CoCo Vandweghe haven’t even finished their second tournament together, but they appear to have already clicked as a team.

Competing in just their sixth match together, the No. 6 seeds moved into the semifinals with a dominant win over No. 16 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, 6-1, 6-2. Hingis is in the final four for the third consecutive year, having finished runner-up in 2014 with Flavia Pennetta and winning in 2015 with Sania Mirza. Vandeweghe is into the semis for the second straight year, having previously achieved the feat last year with Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

Vandeweghe’s doubles prowess this year is particularly noteworthy because she only occasionally played doubles until last summer. But she sees a very clear reason why the new partnership with the Swiss Miss is working.

“The fact that she’s Martina Hingis,” laughed Vandeweghe. “We mesh really well on and off the court. She picks up where I’m lacking and she’s on my case, so there’s not a lot room for me to lose myself mentally.”

Hingis and Mirza made headlines last month by ending their doubles partnership, despite co-holding the No. 1 WTA doubles ranking and winning three Grand Slams together in the past 12 months. When it came time for Hingis to find another partner, the 1997 US Open singles champion immediately thought of Vandeweghe after playing against her on several occasions.

“She has a huge serve and huge shots, so she sets you up really nicely at the net. A lot of times, it feels like I have to just hit one volley,” said Hingis. “I’m used to being with someone who hits big from the baseline and that’s what I want. Two Martinas wouldn’t be the best thing out there.”

Their plan to get matches before the US Open at the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Cincinnati didn’t quite go according to plan, with a series of walkovers bringing them to the semifinals without playing a single point. They lost in the final to Mirza and Barbora Strycova, which also saw Hingis drop the No. 1 ranking to her former doubles partner.

But Mirza-Strycova fell in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, meaning Hingis only needs to win one more match at the US Open to reclaim the top spot. Should she regain it, the Swiss star that she and Vandeweghe have the chemistry as a team that will enable her to keep it.

“I felt that we always had potential. It was just question of being solid for entire sets and entire matches, so it was nice to be able to hold that for 90 minutes today,” said Hingis. “I feel like my role is almost trying to get her to calm down and make her realize that even a shot with 80 percent of what she’s capable of is still a damn good shot.”

Just weeks shy of her 36th birthday, Hingis said she had no plans to stop playing and is still in the peak of her doubles career.

“When you change partners, everybody gets excited. It gives you new energy and new motivation. That’s what keeps you going,” she said. “I love the challenge. Matches like today that are almost perfect … why wouldn’t you keep going?”

Martina Hingis knows how to pick her partners, proving she can be a good asset to just about anyone :).

Monday, September 05, 2016

Martina Hingis battles through with new partner to reach U.S. Open doubles quarter-finals

NEW YORK, NY, USA - Martina Hingis and CoCo Vandeweghe continued to strengthen their fledgling partnership with a hard-fought win over Xu Yifan and Zheng Saisai at the US Open on Sunday.

As in the previous two rounds, Hingis and Vandeweghe did not have things all their own way, coming from a break down in the final set to see off their Chinese opponents, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, in a little over two hours.

"It was an early break so we knew we had a whole set to play. Obviously after losing the second [set] it wasn't the greatest situation," Hingis said about their rousing finish. "I mean, they played really well in that first game too - they kept it away from me and made a lot of returns on CoCo's serve."

The No.6 seeds looked well set for a smooth passage into the quarterfinals when they took the first set and then moved 3-1 ahead in the second. "I think it was more frustrating to lose the second set because it was kind of there for us to take it," Hingis added. "But, I mean, this happens, and it's not a surprise for a tennis player to be broken in the first game after losing the momentum.

"But we were right back on it and I think that was the key; we broke them right back and then won a couple of tight games."

Vandeweghe is playing only her second event alongside Hingis - they teamed up to reach the final in Cincinnati - and admits the unison was not an expected one: "I got a call from and unusual number and the only reason I answered it - because I usually don't pick up numbers I don't know - was that it was such a bizarre number, plus whatever, so I knew it had to be some tennis player!

"I was just at home and Martina asked if I wanted to play Cincinnati and US Open. I told her that I already had two partners but let me think about it, and I almost felt a little big headed for telling her, 'Let me think about it'. I told my coach and he told me I was crazy to even think about it. I just enjoyed my time at home to let her sweat it out before calling back!"

Also advancing were a couple of more established pairs, including top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, who had few problems defeating Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato, 6-2, 6-3. No.5 seeds and recent Olympic champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina were made to work somewhat harder, fighting back to defeat Vania King and Monica Niculescu, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Another team battling back from a slow start were wildcards Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend. Taking on No.3 seeds Timea babos and Yaroslava Shvedova, the young Americans looked well out of their depth for the opening 20 minutes only to produce a stunning turnaround to eventually triumph, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.

The decisive moment came at 3-3 in the final set, Muhammad and Townsend harnessing the energy of a partisan crowd to break in a marathon game before repeating the trick a few games later to complete the unlikely upset. Their reward is a meeting with compatriot Bethanie Mattek-Sands and her partner Lucie Safarova, after they saw off No.8 seeds Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Martina Hingis & Leander Peas out of U.S. Open mixed doubles

NEW YORK -- Leander Paes and Martina Hingis saw the defence of their US Open mixed doubles title end in the second round at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.

The pair, who completed a career Grand Slam in mixed doubles at the French Open earlier this year, led 8-4 in the match tiebreaker but lost 7-6 (1), 3-6, 13-11 to American duo CoCo Vandeweghe and Rajeev Ram on Court 5.

This marks the end of Paes' US Open campaign after he exited the men's doubles tournament partnering Andre Begemann on Saturday.

There was progress though for Rohan Bopanna and his partner Gabriela Dabrowski, who beat Lukasz Kubot and Andrea Hlavackova 5-7, 6-3, 10-7.

The Indo-Canadian pair will now meet unseeded duo of Robert Farah and Anna-Lena Grönefeld in the quarterfinals.

Elsewhere, Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova moved on to the third round of the women's doubles after a 6-2, 7-6(5) win over Viktorija Golubic and Nicole Melichar.

The 7th seeded pair will now meet unseeded Nicole Gibbs and Nao Hibino next. If they win, a potential clash with top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic await them in the quarterfinals.