May 25th, 2018
Friday Tennis Blog: American Draws at French Open; Serena Unseeded; More
IT’S ALL THINGS SERENA ENTERING PARIS
Serena Williams hasn’t played a match since a first-round loss in March at the Miami Open, but on the cusp of the beginning of next week’s French Open, she remains — well, everywhere.
She attended the royal wedding last weekend, then crushed at the beer pong table at the wedding reception. This week Roger Federer said she remains the best tennis player — ever — man or woman. Next Wednesday will be episode five, the series finale, of “Being Serena” on HBO (episodes 1-4 will be shown prior on HBO 2).
The French Open draw was released yesterday, and the controversially unseeded Serena will open against another unseeded player before likely facing a line-up of seeds in every round (see draw preview for the American players below) as play begins on Sunday.
WAIT LEAGUE GIVES TO THE USTA FLORIDA FOUNDATION
The WAIT league (Women’s Amateur Invitational Tennis) is one of the largest tennis leagues in Florida, numbering more than 1,200 players in the Orlando area. The non-profit also serves the community at large through several fundraising activities.
The WAIT league donates to charities in the Florida community that “exemplify our mission and values,” and in May donated approximately $2,800 to the USTA Florida Section Foundation, applauding the foundation’s “noble work and valuable contribution to our community.” The league’s A/B divisions came together to make the donation from their Boots & Bandana’s Banquet.
“We are extremely honored that the WAIT A/B league would choose to us as their selected charity to donate to. We’re look forward to using the donation to continue changing lives through tennis as a way to honor their players that made this possible,” said USTA Florida Section Foundation Executive Director Alexis Johnson.
Join other organizations and individuals in supporting the Florida tennis community. Visit www.USTAFloridaFoundation.com to get a “Play Tennis!” specialty license plate, sign up as a volunteer, or find other ways to help get kids and adults playing tennis.
Some of the top WTA players are supporting Serena Williams receiving a seeding at the Grand Slams after returning from the birth of her first child — because what seeded player would want to play an unseeded Serena Williams in the first round? Wimbledon is considering it, but the French Open has already said no…Gluten-free sugar-free everything-free Novak Djokovic dropped in on a Johanna Konta interview with a cooking request, but the Brit didn’t know what she was getting into…Caroline Wozniacki reached the No. 1 ranking then felt an emptiness…Summertime is almost here, time to get the kids involved in a local tennis program through Net Generation…A high school coach in South Dakota filed a restraining order against the state tennis tournament after one of his doubles teams was disqualified…Former (and current) tennis bad boy Ilie Nastase isn’t slowing down at age 71, managing to get arrested twice in one day this week…The USTA has a new vacancy for head of men’s tennis…American Denis Kudla has qualified at the French Open, with two prospective American qualifiers on the women’s side entering the final round of play…Andy Murray is investing in an “AirBnb for tennis,” which will “make the sport more accessible and affordable at the grassroots level.”…Five Florida summer tennis camps will be receiving a special visit from USTA Florida during the #SummerOfNetGeneration.
Riske Rewarded with Quarterfinal Berth at WTA Nurnberger
Unseeded American Alison Riske is into the quarterfinals at the WTA’s Nurnberger Versicherungscup in Germany after Thursday defeating Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Putintseva in the previous round had put out top-seeded American Sloane Stephens in a third-set tiebreaker.
Riske on Friday will face No. 6 seed Sorana Cirstea of Romania.
The 27-year-old Riske broke a four-match losing streak coming into Nurnberger and is into her first WTA quarterfinal of the year. Her previous best result this year was at the Miami Open where she qualified before beating No. 7 Caroline Garcia en route to reaching the third round.
Tough American Draws at the French Open
The American contingent as a whole received some brutal draws when the French Open men’s and women’s pairings were released on Thursday.
Americans drew the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds on the women’s side, and the top two American seeds on the men’s side face countrymen, including No. 12 Sam Querrey against rising star Frances Tiafoe. Unseeded Serena Williams’ early path includes No. 17 seed Ashleigh Barty in the 2nd round, No. 11 Julia Goerges in the 3rd round, and former No. 1 and No. 6 seed Karolina Pliskova or former No. 1 and No. 28 seed Maria Sharapova in the 4th round.
Serena and sister Venus have also taken a doubles wild card.
Here is a look at the 1st round American match-ups:
(9) Venus Williams (USA) vs. Qiang Wang (CHN)
(10) Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. qualifier
(13) Madison Keys (USA) vs. Sachia Vickery (USA)
(15) Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Laura Siegemund (GER)
Alison Riske (USA) vs. (1) Simona Halep
Danielle Collins (USA) vs. (2) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) vs. (16) Elise Mertens (BEL)
Sofia Kenin (USA) vs. (21) Naomi Osaka (JPN)
Madison Brengle (USA) vs. (25) Anett Kontaveit (EST)
Vania King (USA) vs. (31) Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU)
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Kristyna Pliskova (CZE)
Taylor Townsend (USA) vs. Myrtille Georges (FRA)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) vs. Johanna Larsson (SWE)
Bernarda Pera (USA) vs. Elena Vesnina (RUS)
Jennifer Brady (USA) vs. Amandine Hesse (FRA)
Christina Mchale (USA) vs. qualifier
(9) John Isner (USA) vs. Noah Rubin (USA)
(12) Sam Querrey vs. Frances Tiafoe (USA)
(14) Jack Sock (USA) vs. qualifier
Steve Johnson (USA) vs. (25) Adrian Mannarino (FRA)
Ryan Harrison (USA) vs. Max Marterer (GER)
Jared Donaldson (USA) vs. Nicolas Jarry (CHI)
Tennys Sandgren (USA) vs. qualifier
Taylor Fritz (USA) vs. qualifier
They Said It
“I would like to see that [rule] change. It’s such an incredible effort for a woman to come back from physically, emotionally…There’s just another whole dimension to the travel, to the experiences, to the emotions to the physicality of every single day.”
— Maria Sharapova on WTA players not receiving a protected seeding along with a protected ranking when returning from pregnancy, in the case of Serena Williams
“Serena Williams is being punished for having a baby. That’s the only way to see the decision not to give her a seed for the French Open, her first major tournament since giving birth to daughter Olympia in September.”
— Nancy Armour, writing for USA Today
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want them to be professional players, but I would like them to play recreationally.”
— Roger Federer on encouraging his children to play tennis, speaking to the Wall Street Journal
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(EST, times subject to change)
7am — WTA Strasbourg (live), beIN Sports
8am — ATP Geneva (live), Tennis Channel
11am — ATP Geneva (delay), beIN Sports
noon — French Open qualifying (delay), Tennis Channel
7am — ATP Geneva doubles final (live), Tennis Channel
8:15am — WTA Strasbourg singles final (live), beIN Sports
9:30am — ATP Geneva singles final (live), Tennis Channel
10am — ATP Lyon singles final (live), beIN Sports
11:30am — Tennis Channel Live at Roland Garros (live), Tennis Channel
5am — French Open (live), Tennis Channel
3pm — French Open (replay), Tennis Channel