October 27th, 2017

Friday Tennis Blog: Venus Closing on WTA Finals Title | Fed Cup | More

General News Adult Tennis News Pro Tennis

Americans Stephens, Vandeweghe Among WTA Elite

US Open winner Sloane Stephens and American compatriot CoCo Vandeweghe had break-out years, but came up just short of qualifying for the eight-woman WTA Finals field.

But next week the up-and-comers will get a shot at a year-end championship when they compete in the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, China, featuring the 12 highest-ranked women that did not qualify for the WTA Finals.

Also among the field will be last-year’s year-end No. 1 Angelique Kerber, France’s Kristina Mladenovic, and Russians Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina. “This signature event showcases top players along with up and coming stars, all joining together and celebrating their successes of the 2017 WTA season,” WTA CEO and Chairman Steve Simon said.



The U.S. Fed Cup team has won more titles than any other country, but will be looking to end a 17-year drought when it takes on Belarus on Nov. 11-12 in Minsk.

The U.S. has won 17 titles, with the Czech Republic the second-closest country with 10 titles. The Americans rolled to the final, in the semis ousting the defending-champion Czechs. Belarus is appearing in its first Fed Cup final since 1991 when Belarus separated from the USSR.

Team rosters have yet to be announced, so the U.S. will have to wait and see if the Belarus squad contains former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who has not played since Wimbledon due to a child custody dispute. The U.S. will be without doubles standout Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who has been sidelined since Wimbledon with a leg injury. “With all the U.S. girls playing so well, there are some tough decisions to be made,” said U.S. Fed Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi. “That’s a good problem to have but it’s a tough problem as captain.”



Maria Sharapova and Monica Puig traveled to Puerto Rico this week to help with the recovery effort after Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico’s Puig has raised more than $125K thus far to help victims, and Sharapova says she is donating proceeds from her “Sugarpova” candy company for the rest of 2017…Doubles world No. 1 Martina Hingis, who has won nine titles this year, announced her retirement at age 37 following the completion of the WTA Finals this week…Want to live in Serena Williams’ house? It’s yours for $12 million as she’s selling her L.A. digs…The USTA Pro Circuit’s $80K event in Macon, Ga., this week features former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and former Top 5 player Patty SchnyderJared Donaldson was the lone American to qualify for the ATP’s new Next Gen ATP Finals, featuring the Top 7 players 21 or under and one wild card player, to be held Nov. 7-11 in Milan, Italy…Roger Federer has the highest brand value of any athlete in the world according to the Forbes Fab 40 at $37.2 million…Florida junior tennis organizing legend Bobby Curtis turned 90 last weekend and the City of Miami issued a Bobby Proclamation…With two months to go in the season, can Broward County win a second consecutive USTA Florida League Championship Cup?


Venus Into WTA Finals Semis; Sock Alive at Basel

Photo: Ash Marshall

Venus Williams and Jack Sock are flying the American flag heading into the weekend, with Venus on Thursday posting a landmark result at the WTA’s year-end championships.

The No. 5-seeded elder Williams sister moved into the semifinals on Thursday at the WTA Finals in Singapore after defeating Garbine Muguruza 7-5, 6-4, eliminating the Wimbledon-winning Spaniard from semifinal contention.

“A win is a win, whether it’s like today or yesterday,” Venus said afterwards of facing elimination. “I’m pretty used to going home after you lose, so I knew what the stakes were.”

The No. 2 finisher in the White Group, Venus in the semifinals will meet the winner of the Red Group, which will be determined Friday between Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Caroline Garcia. Venus, the Australian and Wimbledon runner-up this year, is the only player in the WTA Finals field to have won the title, raising the trophy in 2008.

Sock is into the quarterfinals at the Swiss Indoors Basel, where on Friday the No. 5 seed will take on No. 3 seed David Goffin.


They Said It

“Originally, I thought I had one injury. It turned into four.”
— 19-year-old Floridian Tornado Alicia Black, who underwent hip and abdominal surgeries this week

“There were a few times where I almost forgot that I had to pick up my own balls. I realized that I really miss someone getting the balls, but it was OK.”
— Former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone, making a return from a leg injury at the USTA Pro Circuit event in Macon, Ga., speaking to The Telegraph

“I love the saying, you can only put 10 pounds of stuff in a 10-pound bag.”
Craig Boynton, coach of the Americans Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson, on injuries and the number of exhibition events being added to the men’s pro calendar, speaking to the New York Times


Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

4am — WTA Finals (live), beIN Sports
7am — ATP Basel, Vienna (live), Tennis Channel

4am — WTA Finals (live), beIN Sports
8am — ATP Basel, Vienna (live), Tennis Channel

7:30am — WTA Finals Final (live), beIN Sports
noon — ATP Basel, Vienna (live), Tennis Channel