CHICAGO (September 9, 2012) – Wilson Racquet Sports (www.wilson.com), the official ball and stringer of the US Open, was omni-present at the women’s singles’ final with WTA no. 4 Serena Williams playing fellow Wilson player and world no. 1, Victoria Azarenka. Williams, fresh from her Olympic gold medal and playing with her Wilson Blade Team, continued her momentum with a hard fought win over Azarenka, playing with her Wilson Juice 100. Winning her 15th career Grand Slam and fourth US Open title, Williams defeated Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

Williams, who lost only 19 games in six matches leading into the final, took the first set with a dominating serve and precise groundstrokes. Azarenka broke Williams’ serve twice in the second set to level the score to one set apiece. The 23-year old Belarusian came out strong in the third, breaking Williams’ serve to lead 2-1 before Williams reversed the lead by breaking right back. Williams’ win here caps off a steady string of wins, sweeping Wimbledon and the Olympics.

“It’s incredible to win in front of a home crowd,” said Williams. “I felt their energy the entire match and thank all my fans for their support. Vika didn’t make it easy for me — she played a tough match, but I was able to hold on and achieve what I came here to do.”

This is Williams’ 45th WTA career title and tenth victory over Azarenka in their last 11 meetings, all played with Wilson rackets. Williams has won more major titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles than any other active player, male or female and is the second woman ever to win a Golden Slam.

“Serena showed incredible focus and we couldn’t be more proud,” said Renaud Vallon, global tour director of Wilson Racquet Sports. “She is incredibly passionate and shows the next generation what it takes to win.”

The Wilson Blade Team flex and pinpoint accuracy make it the racket of choice among top professionals, including Serena and her sister Venus. The larger head size provides more punch, while the lighter weight gives players greater maneuverability for hitting big shots with increased control. The Wilson Juice 100 features Amplifeel™, Wilson’s proprietary handle system, designed to increase power and spin for hard-hitting players.

Wilson won the US Open mixed doubles final with Bruno Soares and Ekaterina Makarova defeating Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski 6-7(8), 6-1,12-10 in a tiebreak. Soares played with his Wilson Six.One 95 and Ekaterina played with her Wilson Tour BLX. Wilson also swept in juniors with Filip Peliwo (Wilson Blade 98) and Samantha Crawford (Wilson Tour BLX) winning the boys and girls finals respectively, and Kyle Edmund (Six.One 95) and Gabby Andrews (Wilson Juice 100) securing victories in the boys and girls doubles finals.

Wilson owns more Grand Slam titles than any other racket brand.

About Wilson: Wilson Racquet Sports is a division of Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sports equipment and owned by Amer Sports. Wilson designs, manufactures and distributes sporting goods throughout the world and focuses on making technologically advanced products which help players of all levels perform better. For more information, visit www.wilson.com.

Vera Zvonareva Qualifies For WTA Championships-Doha 2010

ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Today, Russia’s Vera Zvonareva became the second singles player to qualify for the season-ending WTA Championships–Doha 2010, set to take place for the third year in a row at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from October 26-31.  In Doha, Zvonareva will join Caroline Wozniacki and the doubles teams of Flavia Pennetta/Gisela Dulko and Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik who qualified earlier.  The world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams will compete for the coveted WTA Championships title and a share of the $4.5 million in prize money.

“I’m thrilled to be going back to Doha.  I’ve been at the year-end WTA Championships for the past couple of years and I am very happy that I have been able to compete there for three years in a row now,” said World No.4 Zvonareva.

“Vera has had the best season of her career, highlighted by reaching back-to-back Grand Slam finals in addition to a career-high ranking of World No.4,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA.  “After last season plagued by injuries, Vera’s worked incredibly hard to recover and get back to the top of the sport and it’s fantastic that she will finish a great year at the WTA season finale in Doha.”

Zvonareva will make her fourth appearance at the prestigious year-end WTA Championships, having debuted in Los Angeles in 2004, in addition to her three consecutive trips to Doha, where she finished as a runner-up to Venus Williams in 2008.

Zvonareva has enjoyed a breakthrough 2010, highlighted by back-to-back Grand Slam final appearances at Wimbledon (l. to S. Williams) and the US Open (l. to Clijsters).  Zvonareva is currently ranked a career-high World No.4.  Zvonareva also won her 10th career title at the PTT Pattaya Open (Pattaya), and reached the final at the Family Circle Cup (Charleston, l. to Stosur) and the Rogers Cup (Montreal, l. to Wozniacki), making her one of three players this season to reach five finals (Sharapova, Wozniacki).

Zvonareva’s interests outside of tennis include involvement in numerous charitable organizations in addition to currently studying for a degree in International Relations and Economics at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  She enrolled in this program in 2007 while being sidelined from tennis with an injury.  Earlier this year, Zvonareva became a supporter of the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, an organization fighting the debilitating disease affecting young girls.

RACE TO THE WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – DOHA 2010 (as of the week of September 27, 2010)

Caroline Wozniacki** 5615 1 Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta** 7186 1
Serena Williams 5355 2 Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik** 5921 2
Kim Clijsters 5295 3 Serena Williams/Venus Williams 5500 3
Vera Zvonareva** 5173 4 Lisa Raymond/Rennae Stubbs 4704 4
Venus Williams 4985 5 Vania King/Yaroslava Shvedova 4527 5
Samantha Stosur 4567 6 Nuria Llagostera Vives/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 3676 6
Jelena Jankovic 4033 7
Francesca Schiavone 3952 8
Justine Henin 3415 9
Elena Dementieva 3327 10
Victoria Azarenka 3196 11
Li Na 3091 12
Shahar Peer 2965 13
Agnieszka Radwanska 2831 14

** Denotes player/team has already qualified

Davydenko Dumped by Gasquet

Sixth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko became the highest-seeded man to fall from the US Open field in suffering a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 second-round setback to Richard Gasquet on the Grandstand court. The two-time US Open semifinalist had a visceral response to his loss —  Davydenko is prepared to get trashed.

Actually, the 29-year-old Russian is ready to toss his racquets in the trash. Davydenko, who endorses Dunlop and wears Dunlop apparel has been playing with his old, unmarked Prince frame, but vowed to throw those in the garbage and actually begin playing with Dunlop in his next tournament.

“I talked to my brother and I will change all my racquets,” Davydenko said after the match. “I will completely change to Dunlop and throw all of my (old) racquets in the garbage.”

While the frames will take the fall for the lose, Davydenko, who missed 11 weeks after breaking his left wrist in Indian Wells and has won back-to-back matches just once since launching his comeback in June in Halle, concedes his issues may be more mental than physical or technical.

“I don’t know if it’s a wrist problem or a head problem,” Davydenko said, stretching his legs out before him and staring down at his shoelaces for a moment. “After my injury, I play everything bad. I change from 18-string Prince to play 16-string during hard courts to try to get more control and top spin, but I have no confidence, no baseline game.”

In addition to an equipment change, he’s contemplating a head change.

“Maybe I need to go somewhere to change my brain,” Davydenko deadpanned.

It was the first meeting between the pair in five years and while Davydenko hugs the baseline, takes the ball earlier and theoretically should be able to take the first strike in rallies it was Gasquet who took control in the baseline rallies in registering his second top 10 win of the season and first since he claimed his sixth career title beating Fernando Verdasco in Nice.

The 38th-ranked Frenchman has top 10 talent, who reached the US Open round of 16 in both 2005 and 2006, will play either No. 26 seed Thomaz Bellucci or big-serving Kevin Anderson for a place in the fourth round.

Asked to assess Gasquet’s level of play, Davydenko sounded stumped.

“It’s tough  for me to say because I cannot return first serve. He was just pushing me back in the middle with high balls and I was destroying myself.”

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Prince Congratulates Tour Team Member Maria Sharapova on First WTA Tour Title Since Return From Surgery

10/03/09 – Bordentown, NJ – When the new WTA tour rankings are released on Monday, a familiar name will once again be in the top 20. After being sidelined by shoulder surgery for nine months, Maria Sharapova made her return to tournament tennis in May with her new Prince O3 Speedport Black racquet in hand. Since then, she has made a steady climb back up the rankings and has now captured her first tour title since the comeback.

Sharapova reeled off five consecutive games to reach a 5-2 lead over current world #8 Jelena Jankovic, before Jankovic retired the match due to injury, to win the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

“We want to congratulate Maria on her title in Tokyo and all she has already accomplished during her comeback,” said Linda Glassel, VP of Marketing at Prince. “Getting over shoulder surgery is no small feat, for any athlete, and we are proud to continue to work and supply Maria with the most technically advanced product to not only help her get her back to #1 in the world, but raise her game to new heights.”

“It’s great to have that adrenaline again. It’s funny to win trophies again after thinking I might never be able to hit a tennis ball again,” said the three-time Grand Slam champion, Sharapova. “But I’m back and I’m hungry. I can be better than before and win more Grand Slams.”

The win marks Sharapova’s 20th career title and first since Amelia Island in April of 2008. It was Sharapova’s second final in her last three tournament appearances.

Sharapova is one of more than 20 ATP and WTA touring pros currently using the Prince O3 Speedport Black. Prince’s performance racquet line features racquets with the Company’s ground-breaking O-technology – easily identifiable by the large, visible ports along the racquet frame.
For more information about the O3 Speedport Black, other models in Prince’s performance racquet line or any other categories, visit www.princetennis.com