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Russian Tennis
CROUCHING TIGER
#103 Posted : Monday, January 06, 2014 9:08:22 AM(UTC)
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Makarova Trips Up Jankovic In Sydney...DAVAI

On her past two visits Down Under, Makarova has made it through to the last eight at the Australian Open, and on Monday she posted another notable result, knocking out World No.8 Jelena Jankovic in the first round of the Apia International Sydney.

Makarova was playing her first singles match in over four months after missing the back end of last season with a wrist injury. However, there was no sign of rustiness from the Russian, who needed little over an hour to defeat the No.4 seed, 64 62.

"We played in Cincinnati not a long time ago and it was a really tough match, and I lost against her in three sets," Makarova said. "Then I got injured and didn't play anything after the US Open, so it was tough to start again against such a great player.

"The wind made things not that comfortable, but I just really focused on every point because I know she's the sort of player who doesn't miss easy shots. I went on the court reminding myself that it would be a long match and I'd have to be very solid."

Next up for Makarova is former junior sparring partner Carla Suárez Navarro. The two have split their four senior encounters, although it was Suárez Navarro that held the edge in the early days.

"We were playing together in juniors a lot and I think I never beat her! She's a different player, she's Spanish, plays with a lot of spin and a one-handed backhand, so I think for me it will be interesting and I'm feeling fresh and want to go out there and fight," Makarova said...


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CROUCHING TIGER
#104 Posted : Monday, January 13, 2014 1:17:44 AM(UTC)
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...AND GOES ON...Makarova Edges Venus In Thriller AO DAVAI !!!

Venus Williams showed flashes of brilliance but in the end it wasn't the result she was after, falling to Ekaterina Makarova in a first round thriller at the Australian Open. Williams, who was just left out of the seedings at No.37 in the world, actually had a lot going for her going into the match - not only had she beaten Makarova in straight sets in both of their previous meetings, she was also a phenomenal 27-3 in her career against left-handed players at Grand Slams. And those stats seemed to be manifesting themselves early on in the match as Williams stormed through the first set, 6-2, and had a point to go up 5-4 in the second set - after dropping that second set she even had a 3-0 lead in the third. But Makarova kept clawing her way back and cutting down on her unforced, and after one last Williams error - her 56th of the match - Makarova came good, 26 64 64. "She played really well, and I think my level was just a little bit too up and down," Williams said. "I think my error count was a little high. I haven't looked at the stats yet, so I don't know what the errors were or what the first serve percentage was - I have to look at that and evaluate the match afterwards. "Losing any match is never any fun, especially in a major. I definitely wanted a different result." There was one silver lining though - she won over 80% of her points at net, 20 of 24 to be exact. "I have definitely been working on my volleys, and I think I was effective up there today," Williams said of her play in the forecourt. "I do like getting to the net. So I think that was a good step for me. "I think it's pretty natural for me to move forward," the former World No.1 added. It's my mindset. But I think for everyone you kind of sometimes get tentative, so everyone has to keep moving forward." And she was all class when asked about Makarova. "I have to give her a lot of credit. She was really determined and just kept playing hard. Anytime you're seeded, you really want to win the first round."



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#105 Posted : Wednesday, January 22, 2014 11:39:04 AM(UTC)
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Errani & Vinci: World No.1 On The Line...



The Australian Open doubles final will be a rematch of the French Open doubles final from last year, after Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci and Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina battled past some stern semifinal opposition on Wednesday.

Makarova and Vesnina, the No.3 seeds, were the first team to move through to the final, edging No.8 seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears, 75 36 63. Makarova and Vesnina came through when it really mattered during the match - they clawed out of a 4-1 hole to sneak out the first set, then finished strong too, reeling off three games in a row from 3-all in the third set to wrap up the victory.

Kops-Jones and Spears, one of the most successful doubles teams on the tour the last few years, were playing their first Grand Slam semifinal. Their previous best was two Grand Slam quarterfinals.

The No.1-seeded Errani and Vinci overcame a psychological block in their semifinal, beating No.4 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik for the first time in six career meetings, 61 64. Errani and Vinci came out firing - they stormed out to a 61 41 lead - and while Peschke and Srebotnik closed the gap to 5-4 in the second set and were up 30-0 in that game, the Italians made one last push to end it.

Peschke and Srebotnik, who have had some incredible results together - including winning Wimbledon in 2011 - reunited at the start of the 2014 season and are sure to be a threat throughout the year.

But this time it's Errani and Vinci and Makarova and Vesnina who will fight for Grand Slam glory, and both teams are Grand Slam champions as well - Errani and Vinci won the French and US Opens in 2012 and the Aussie Open last year, while Makarova and Vesnina won the French Open last year.

Errani and Vinci lead the head-to-head against Makarova and Vesnina, 4-2, but there's an asterisk there - that head-to-head was 4-0 a year ago, with the Russians closing in after wins in last year's French Open final (75 62) and in the semifinals of the WTA Championships in Istanbul (46 75 103).

There's another thing on the line - if Errani and Vinci win they'll stay co-World No.1s in doubles, but if Makarova and Vesnina win then Vesnina will become No.1 and Makarova will move to No.2.


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paul_pipkin on 1/23/2014(UTC)
CROUCHING TIGER
#106 Posted : Friday, January 24, 2014 10:05:53 AM(UTC)
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Errani & Vinci Re-Conquer Oz

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci edged Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina to not only keep the Australian Open in their pockets, but the co-World No.1 ranking too.

Makarova and Vesnina had beaten Errani and Vinci in their last two meetings and after splitting sets this time it looked headed the exact same way, as they stormed out to a 5-2 third set lead. But the No.1-seeded Italians never gave up, hiking up the aggression and reeling off five games in a row for a 64 36 75 victory, blasting a passing shot winner - their 29th winner of the match - on match point.

"It was very strange, very difficult," Errani said of the third set turnaround. "We went from 2-0 up in the third set to 5-2 down in the third set, and we weren't really playing very well at that time.

"But from there we knew we had to keep going and we were able to make it."

Errani and Vinci won their fourth Grand Slam doubles title together, having already conquered the French and US Opens in 2012 and the Aussie Open in 2013. In addition to that they will also keep their co-World No.1 doubles rankings now - if the Russians won, Vesnina would have ascended to No.1.

It was also Errani and Vinci's 17th overall WTA doubles title together. They won two in 2010 (Marbella and Barcelona), three in 2011 (Hobart, Pattaya City and Palermo), eight in 2012 (Monterrey, Acapulco, Barcelona, Rome, Madrid, Roland Garros, 's-Hertogenbosch and the US Open), three in 2013 (Australian Open, Paris [Indoors] and Palermo) and now one in 2014 (Australian Open). There's one more milestone - they each now have 20 WTA doubles titles each, including titles with other partners...


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paul_pipkin on 1/25/2014(UTC)
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#107 Posted : Saturday, February 01, 2014 3:39:50 AM(UTC)
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Sharapova & Pavlyuchenkova To Clash !!!

Two of the hardest hitters out there will meet in the semifinals of the Open GDF SUEZ, after Maria Sharapova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won two very different quarterfinals.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Paris all week here on wtatennis.com!

Pavlyuchenkova was the first to advance, coming within points of winning the first set but losing it, but then grinding for almost two and a half hours to beat No.4 seed Angelique Kerber, 57 63 76(3).

"I just tried to stay calm and keep playing my game," Pavlyuchenkova said. "After I lost the first set I was a bit more relaxed even, so it was easier to focus on my game and my technique, and on every point. I think I had too much emotion in the first set, but from the second set I felt much better.

"Making the semis here in Paris is special. It's such a nice tournament and I love being here."

Pavlyuchenkova says that one of the best moments of her career also came in Paris - reaching her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2011 French Open (where she fell to Francesca Schiavone).

"The quarterfinals of the French Open in 2011 was something very special for me, as well as doing it at the US Open that year too," she said. "I was only 19 and the Grand Slams are especially big for us.

"I'm working hard and I look forward to hopefully having more of those results in the future."

The former World No.13's win over World No.9 Kerber was the 14th Top 10 win of her career.

She'll have to bring her best out again in the next round as she faces the No.1 seed, Maria Sharapova, who swatted aside the challenge of No.8 seed Kirsten Flipkens in just 69 minutes, 62 62.

Sharapova beat Pavlyuchenkova in their only previous meeting, but it was a three set thriller in the semifinals of Cincinnati in 2010, with Sharapova originally leading by a set and a break, dropping the second set, then reeling off four games in a row from 2-all in the third set to close it out.

"We haven't played against each other in quite a bit of time," Sharapova said. "She's playing really well this year and had a great win today, so I'm sure she'll be really confident going into tomorrow.

"It's always tough to play another Russian but it's good to know one of us will be in the finals."....(I AGREE:)


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CROUCHING TIGER
#108 Posted : Saturday, February 01, 2014 1:20:48 PM(UTC)
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Pavlyuchenkova Outlasts Sharapova...DAVAI Nastya !!!

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova pulled off the third and biggest upset of her Open GDF SUEZ campaign on Saturday, outslugging Maria Sharapova in the semifinals of the Premier-level event.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Paris all week here on wtatennis.com!

Pavlyuchenkova, who had taken out No.7 seed Carla Suarez Navarro and No.4 seed Angelique Kerber in the last two rounds, rallied from a set down and an early break in the third set to beat the No.1-seeded Sharapova, 46 63 64. Sharapova hit back-to-back double faults on the last two points of the match.

"I'm very happy with my performance today," Pavlyuchenkova said. "Maria's so tough and she's always fighting until the end, so I'm happy I stuck with my game and kept fighting out there as well.

"I had to serve well - I had no choice today, because Maria has one of the best returns on the tour. We played a few years ago and she broke me a lot of times so that was a key for her to win again today, and I just tried to serve the best I could today. It was working, so I'm very happy with it."

Pavlyuchenkova is now one win away from the biggest title of her career. She has only been to one Premier-level final before, at Brisbane last year - falling to Serena Williams. She is 5-3 overall in WTA finals, the rest of those titles and finals all coming at International-level tournaments.

"I'm so happy to be in the final and to still be in the tournament," she said. "Even though all these matches were three sets, a win is a win, and I'll just go back and prepare for the finals now."

Also, Pavlyuchenkova's win over the World No.5 was her sixth Top 5 win. Her first five came at Indian Wells in 2009 (No.3 Jelena Jankovic), Tokyo in 2009 (No.3 Venus Williams), Beijing in 2009 (No.3 Venus Williams), the French Open in 2011 (No.3 Vera Zvonareva) and Brisbane in 2013 (No.5 Kerber).

Sharapova, who would have moved back to No.4 with the title this week, talked about the loss.

"I started the match really well, but as the match continued I wasn't doing the things that really helped me in the first set," she said. "I wasn't being aggressive, I wasn't in the court - she was playing with a lot of confidence in the match and I gave her that opportunity to play her game.

"She was serving really well out there. She just played a really good match today."


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paul_pipkin on 2/1/2014(UTC)
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#109 Posted : Sunday, February 02, 2014 5:59:35 AM(UTC)
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https://twitter.com/live...930644517306368/photo/1

CONGRATULATIONS Ekaterina...MOLODYETS :)


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paul_pipkin on 2/2/2014(UTC)
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#110 Posted : Sunday, February 02, 2014 6:27:28 PM(UTC)
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Molodyets & molodyets!

Pavlyuchenkova Wins In Paris

Makarova Conquers Pattaya City

- See more at: http://www.wtatennis.com/#sthash.qF0KWUSg.dpuf
"That's the way the world works... right now." --Maria Sharapova at 17
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CROUCHING TIGER on 2/3/2014(UTC), Alireza on 2/6/2014(UTC)
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