October 9th, 2014

Friday Tennis Blog: Serena Done for 2014? U.S. Women Rolling in Asia

Friday Blog

serena asiaSERENA’S YEAR OVER? — Just as Serena Williams had captured the US Open, shored-up the No. 1 ranking and was being touted as perhaps the GOAT (Greatest of All Time), her 2014 season may have come to a premature end. Pulling out of the China Open with a knee injury, she was scheduled for an MRI, with the possibility of missing her remaining tournaments, including the WTA Championships. “It throbs just sitting, standing,” she said. “I felt it mostly serving because I’m landing on my left knee. That was really killer for me.” Bad news for Serena could be good news for her BFF Caroline Wozniacki, who is hovering at No. 9 in the 2014 standings, attempting to crack the Top 8-player field. The number crunchers also say that Maria Sharapova could take the year-end No. 1 ranking if Serena sits out. Serena meanwhile is planning on hosting The Serena Williams Ultimate RUN South Beach on Dec. 14 in Miami for charity, and in January will represent the U.S. at the Hopman Cup in Australia. Serena is expected to provide news on the knee in the coming week.

gators 2013 fall invitationalUF TO DEFEND TOC CLUB TITLE IN HILTON HEAD — Last year the University of Florida club tennis team made its first-ever appearance at the USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational in Hilton Head, S.C., and came home with the title (and an automatic bid to the Tennis on Campus National Championships). This year they find themselves in the role of defending champions when the 2014 TOC Fall Invitational features 48 co-ed intramural and club tennis teams at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center. Last year the Gators defeated the University of Virginia 23-18 in the World TeamTennis scoring format. “This is our first time here but we’ve been to nationals and we are used to playing in these high-pressure matches,” said UF captain Adam Decker after defeating Virginia, which was appearing in its third straight final. “In this format every game counts and we knew Virginia was going to be very tough to beat.” Following the tournament, schools will continue to compete within the USTA’s 17 regional sections, looking to finish their season by advancing to the Tennis on Campus National Championships in Surprise, Ariz., on April 10-12.


Florida’s Sachia Vickery, who won the USTA Australian Open wild card in 2013, making her first appearance at the event

WILD CARD CHALLENGE TO DETERMINE AUSSIE OPEN ENTRANTS — Both up-and-coming American players and veterans looking to get back on track will have a chance to reach the 2015 Australian Open main draw via the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge which will go through Florida in November. Point totals from two of three Challenger-level events will determine which men’s and women’s players will receive the USTA-allocated wild cards for next January’s Australian Open. Women’s events will be in Macon, Ga. (week of Oct. 20); New Braunfels, Texas (week of Oct. 27); and Captiva Island, Fla. (week of Nov. 3). Men’s events will be in Charlottesville, Va. (week of Oct. 27); Knoxville, Tenn. (week of Nov. 3); and Champaign, Ill. (week of Nov. 10). This year the rising star Taylor Townsend, the women’s winner of the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, was a top story at the French Open, reaching the third round. Veteran Robby Ginepri won the 2014 men’s French Open wild card. All tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. The format replaces the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs, an elimination tournament that was held since 2006 for the women and 2007 for the men.

American Women Rolling at 3 WTA Events

U.S. women remain alive at all three WTA events on tour this week in Asia, making a strong push into the weekend.

No. 4-seeded Coco Vandeweghe was upset on Thursday by up-and-coming Croatian 16 year old Ana Konjuh 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 at the Japan Women’s Open in Osaka, but two other Americans remain. On Friday No. 2-seeded Madison Keys will face Thailand’s unseeded Luksika Kumkhum, and No. 8 seed Lauren Davis will meet No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina.

Madison Keys

Two Americans remain at the Tianjin Open in China, and they will face each other on Friday when No. 4 seed Varvara Lepchenko squares off against No. 6 Alison Riske.

Qualifier Madison Brengle is the lone American remaining at the Generali Ladies Linz in Austria, and on Friday she will meet No. 7 seed Karolina Pliskova.

The final two Americans remaining at the Shanghai Rolex Masters in China made their exits on Thursday when No. 13 seed John Isner and unseeded Jack Sock were defeated.

Isner was upset 6-3, 6-4 by Spnaiard Feliciano Lopez, while Sock fell to France’s Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-4.

The Friday quarterfinals in Shanghai will see (1) Novak Djokovic vs. (5) David Ferrer, (3) Roger Federer vs. Benneteau, (6) Tomas Berdych vs. Gilles Simon, and Lopez vs. Mikhail Youzhny.

They Said It

Jack Sock (left) and John Isner

Jack Sock (left) and John Isner

“I’m a massive fan of Chipotle obviously and it started at the junior US Open when I ate there 18 nights in a row like a weirdo.”
— American Jack Sock speaking to Sports Illustrated

“I think what has caused this to be an issue is the word ‘league.’ This is just a series of glorified exhibitions. I actually don’t have a problem with it. It’s very light entertainment. It’s no problem that players can go and play in it. They’re not going to be playing at 100 percent.”
— ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode on the International Tennis Premier League in November-December featuring a number of top ATP and WTA players

“They have their Weibo account and every day they post pictures, take selfies having delicious food, they’re traveling and having fun. They were even criticized by officials from the [Chinese tennis federation] for not working hard — that’s the real situation here.”
— Chinese tennis writer Renjie Liu on China’s struggle to produce top male players

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(times subject to change)

TV multi colorFriday
1-9am — ATP Shanghai (live), Tennis Channel
10:30am-2:30pm — WTA Tianjin (delay), Tennis Channel

4:30-7am — ATP Shanghai (live), Tennis Channel
8-10am — ATP Shanghai (live), Tennis Channel
10am-2pm — WTA Tianjin (delay), Tennis Channel
2-6pm — WTA Osaka (delay), Tennis Channel

4:30-7:30am — ATP Shanghai (live), Tennis Channel
10am-noon — WTA Tianjin (delay), Tennis Channel
noon-2pm — WTA Osaka (delay), Tennis Channel