Serena Williams Steamrolls the Competition

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Serena Williams has been playing some of the best tennis of her career over the last three months. Williams won Wimbledon in July and a few weeks later won the gold medal in Women’s Singles at the 2012 London Olympics. She also added Women’s Double’s gold with her older sister Venus. Next up for Serena was the US Open.

Through the first four rounds of the 2012 US Open, Williams has defeated Coco Vandeweghe, 6-1, 6-1, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 6-2, 6-4, Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4, 6-0, and Andrea Hlavackova, 6-0, 6-0. Serena has won an incredible 20 straight games, and is the favorite going into the round of eight.

When asked what her play through the first four rounds means, Serena responded “it says I’m focused.” Serena, always critical of her game, said “I feel like today I am getting more comfortable with the court and comfortable with the conditions…I like to play better during the second week.” Fitting, because the best players are the only ones playing in the second week and Serena is not only one of the best of this era, but of all time.

Not everything has gone perfect for Serena, as she and older sister Venus were defeated Monday night in Doubles by Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. Venus also lost in the second round to Angelique Kerber in front of a boisterous crowd that included actress Vivica Fox. With the singles and doubles losses, Venus Williams is now done for the 2012 US Open, but don’t be surprised if she hangs around to see her younger sister play.

Serena, who is 30-years old, and Sloane Stephens, 19, who has been compared to Serena on the court, have forged a friendship recently that is somewhat of a mentor/mentee relationship. But you would be surprised at who plays what role. “I think she’s more my mentor than anything,” Williams said in an interview after her win over Vandeweghe in the first round. Serena had some more compliments of Stephens on and off the court. “I think she’s an amazing player. She’s playing so smooth. She looks like she gives no effort when she plays.”

Serena continued to talk about Sloane’s on-court performance, adding “I hope I can teach her some things, and hopefully she’s able to do it. I think that we can kind of feed off each other. She can teach me some things, maybe how to be calm on the court.”

Off the court, Serena had even more praise. “I think she’s a great person. She’s always encouraging me not to be single,” Serena said with a smile. Williams was later asked if she thinks Sloane has the potential to be the next superstar on and off the tennis court. “I think she has a great smile, a beautiful face. I think she has such a wonderful personality and attitude. So yeah, I think it’s totally possible.”

Earlier in the day, after her first-round, upset win over Francesca Schiavone, Stephens was asked some questions about Serena as well. “We’re really good friends. We just have a really good relationship. I felt like I knew her in a past life or something, I don’t know. It’s so strange” Sloane said.

One thing that makes Serena Williams so great is her confidence. When asked if she believes in her heart if she is the best player in the game, she responded “Of course I believe that. I think there are a number of players on this tour, a few players who believe that. I don’t think we would be playing if we didn’t believe that.”

Perhaps some of Serena’s confidence has rubbed off on Sloane. When asked if Sloane Stephens will be to be the next superstar in tennis, she simply, and confidently, replied “She is.” With a winning smile, a great personality and confidence to match, many are hoping that Sloane Stephens is the next superstar in the tennis world, and with a mentor like Serena Williams, she is well on her way.

Serena Williams will face Ana Ivanovic Wednesday (rain permitting) for a chance to go to the semifinals of the US Open Wednesday. Ivanovic defeated Stephens in the third round for the second year in a row, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2, and Stephens will definitely be cheering her mentor on.

Tokyo (Mon): Date Krumm Downs Sharapova

TORAY PAN PACIFIC OPEN
Tokyo-JPN
September 26-October 2, 2010
$2,000,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Monday, September 27, 2010
Singles – Second Round
(3) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Alona Bondarenko (UKR) 64 61
(6) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Olga Govortsova (BLR) 62 63

Singles – First Round
(10) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Agnes Szavay (HUN) 34 ret. (left thigh strain)
(11) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 64 64
(WC) Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) d. (12) Maria Sharapova (RUS) 75 36 63
(13) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 57 75 64
(14) Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 62 75
(Q) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (15) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 75 64
Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) d. (Q) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 63 60
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 63 62
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) d. (WC) Kurumi Nara (JPN) 46 62 61
Sara Errani (ITA) d. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 63 62
Julia Goerges (GER) d. Dinara Safina (RUS) 61 57 62
(Q) Coco Vandeweghe (USA) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 64 76(6)

Order of Play – Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Lucie Safarova vs. Victoria Azarenka
2. Sara Errani vs. Vera Zvonareva
3. Elena Dementieva vs. Yaroslava Shvedova
4. Daniela Hantuchova vs. Kimiko Date Krumm (NB 17.00hrs)
5. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Greta Arn

Court 1 (from 10.30hrs)
1. Kateryna Bondarenko vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
2. Flavia Pennetta vs. Maria Kirilenko
3. Francesca Schiavone vs. Alexandra Dulgheru
4. Samantha Stosur vs. Julia Goerges
5. Kirilenko/Petrova vs. Peschke/Srebotnik (after suitable rest)

Court 2 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Andrea Petkovic
2. Marion Bartoli vs. Ana Ivanovic
3. Coco Vandeweghe vs. Aravane Rezai
4. Chan/Huber vs. Goerges/Rodionova (after suitable rest)

Court 3 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Roberta Vinci vs. Tsvetana Pironkova
2. Shahar Peer vs. Kaia Kanepi
3. Errani/Medina Garrigues vs. Peer/Peng (after suitable rest)
4. Garbin/Schiavone vs. King/Shvedova (after suitable rest)

Court 4 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez vs. Raymond/Stubbs
2. Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova vs. Hsieh/Kleybanova (NB 13.00hrs)

Tokyo (Sun): Pennetta Outclasses McHale

TORAY PAN PACIFIC OPEN
Tokyo-JPN
September 26-October 2, 2010
$2,000,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Sunday, September 26, 2010
Singles – First Round
(16) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 75 75
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (Q) Christina McHale (USA) 63 61
Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. (LL) María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 63 67(5) 61
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. Melanie Oudin (USA) 64 64
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Angelique Kerber (GER) 63 63
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (Q) Chang Kai-Chen (TPE) 26 61 63
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 76(8) 62
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Gisela Dulko (ARG) 63 61
Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. (Q) Iveta Benesova (CZE) 64 75
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 62 60
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. (WC) Ayumi Morita (JPN) 63 75
(Q) Greta Arn (HUN) d. (Q) Laura Robson (GBR) 64 63

Doubles – First Round
(WC) Azarenka/Safina (BLR/RUS) d. Bacsinszky/Vinci (SUI/ITA) 57 63 119 (Match TB)

Order of Play – Monday, September 27, 2010
Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Yaroslava Shvedova vs. Kurumi Nara
2. Kimiko Date Krumm vs. Maria Sharapova
3. Olga Govortsova vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
4. Alona Bondarenko vs. Jelena Jankovic (NB 17.00hrs)
5. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Ana Ivanovic

Court 1 (from 10.30hrs)
1. Marion Bartoli vs. Yanina Wickmayer
2. Lucie Safarova vs. Victoria Azarenka
3. Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Agnes Szavay
4. Julia Goerges vs. Dinara Safina

Court 2 (from 10.30hrs)
1. Shahar Peer vs. Timea Bacsinszky
2. Nadia Petrova vs. Roberta Vinci
3. Coco Vandeweghe vs. Klara Zakopalova
4. Polona Hercog vs. Aravane Rezai

Court 3 (from 10.30hrs)
1. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova vs. Sara Errani
2. Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez vs. Raymond/Stubbs
3. Errani/Medina Garrigues vs. Peer/Peng
4. Alexandra Dulgheru vs. Ekaterina Makarova

Court 4 (NB 15.00 hrs)
1. Garbin/Schiavone vs. King/Shvedova (after suitable rest)
2. Kirilenko/Petrova vs. Peschke/Srebotnik (after suitable rest)

Seoul (Fri): Szavay Dethrones Date Krumm

HANSOL KOREA OPEN
Seoul-KOR
September 20-26, 2010
$220,000/International
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Friday, September 24, 2010
Singles – Quarterfinals
(1) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 62 61
(5) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 61 62
(8) Agnes Szavay (HUN) d. Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) 62 67(3) 63
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. (WC) Dinara Safina (RUS) 75 63

Doubles – Semifinals
(4) Grandin/Uhlirova (RSA/CZE) d. Date Krumm/Morita (JPN/JPN) 61 75

Doubles – Quarterfinals
Goerges/Hercog (GER/SLO) d. Brianti/Gallovits (ITA/ROU) 64 26 1210 (Match TB)
Jans/Peers (POL/AUS) d. (WC) Kim/Lee (KOR/KOR) 16 62 107 (Match TB)

Order of Play – Saturday, September 25, 2010
Centre Court (from 12.00hrs)
1. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Agnes Szavay
2. Nadia Petrova vs. Klara Zakopalova
3. Goerges/Hercog vs. Jans/Peers

Williams Sisters in Doubles Finals

The Williams sisters aren’t only dominating women’s singles but also doubles. Earlier today, they advanced to the women’s doubles final by posting a hard fought three set win over the Russian team of Alisa Kleybanova and Ekaterina Makarova, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-2.

Serena- who plays Kim Clijsters tomorrow for a place in the singles final- teamed up with big sis Venus to advance to their first Open doubles final since 1999. Having won Wimbledon together, the dynamic duo will make their 10th appearance in a slam final putting a perfect 9-0 record on the line against the winner between tomorrow’s other semi featuring top ranked Cara Black and Liezel Huber or No.3 rated Australian tandem Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs.

“Hopefully, that’s a record that won’t end yet,” Serena said who’s hoping for the same end result that saw her sweep both titles at Wimbledon. “We really want this. I’m sure whoever we play really wants it, too.”