LAS VEGAS, Nev., (Oct. 2, 2010) – Sorana Cirstea has played on the grandest stages in tennis, including the All-England Club at Wimbledon and Roland Garros at the French Open. But the 20-year-old Romanian told the Lexus of Las Vegas Open tennis fans there was no place she would have rather been on Saturday than Las Vegas.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Roland Garros or wherever, it’s just a pleasure to play before all these wonderful people,” said the No. 3 seeded Cristea, after her 6-3, 6-4 win over her countrywoman and top-seeded Edina Gallovits in the semifinals of the USTA $50,000 Pro Circuit event being held at the Red Rock Country Club in Summerlin.

Cirstea, who lives in Las Vegas a quarter of the year training with the Adidas group led by Darren Cahill and Gil Reyes, will meet American Varvara Lepchenko in today’s final. Lepchenko, the No. 2 seed, beat No. 4 Mirjana Lucic in similar fashion, 6-3, 6-4, in the first semifinal on Saturday.

Cirstea controlled the match opening up a 5-1 second set lead with her popping first serve and consistent groundstrokes. “She is tough to play because she is such a good friend,” Cirstea said of the 25-year-old Gallovits, who she now holds a 3-0 career head-to-head against, including a straight-set win over her in the first round at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships.

Cirstea has dropped just one set in the tournament, which came in the first round against American Irina Falconi. “After I survived that first round I started feeling more confidence,” she said.

The lefty Lepchenko got her revenge against Lucic, who beat her last week in the semifinals at the Albuquerque, N.M., Pro Circuit event. In that match, Lepchenko was actually up a set and a break before letting Lucic back in the match which Lucic ultimately won, 1-6, 7-5, 6-1. “I did start to remember about last week when I was up 3-0 and 4-1 in the second set,” Lepchenko said. “I just had to keep reminding myself to stay aggressive.”

A native of Uzbekistan, Lepchenko currently resides in Allentown, Pa. She has lived in the United States since 2001 after receiving political asylum and became a U.S. citizen in 2007.

In the doubles final on Sunday at 11 a.m., wild cards Falconi and Maria Sanchez will face No. 4 seeds Lindsay Lee-Waters and Megan Moulton-Levy.

Saturday’s Semifinal Singles Results

wc: wild card

Varvara Lepchenko, U.S. (2), def. Mirjana Lucic, Croatia (4), 6-3, 6-4

Sorana Cirstea, Romania (3), def. Edina Gallovits, Romania (1), 6-3, 6-4

Sunday’s Finals Order of Play

Stadium Court Starting at 11 a.m.

Irina Falconi, U.S. / Maria Sanchez, U.S. (wc), vs. Lindsay Lee-Waters, U.S. / Megan Moulton-Levy, U.S. (4)

Followed by Varvara Lepchenko, U.S. (2), vs. Sorana Cirstea, Romania (3)

The tournament title sponsor is Lexus of Las Vegas with the presenting sponsor Hand Surgery Specialists of Nevada. Thank you to all the members who sponsored the tournament, including Dan Jackson with Raymond James, Kate Lowe of State Farm. Dwain Frazier of All State, Rob Weisbord of CW Las Vegas, Keith Brille of Women’s Specialty Care and Dr. Jeffrey Ng, .MD, among many others.

For additional event and ticket information, please visit



Year                Winner                                                Runner-up

2009                Regina Kulikova (RUS)                      Aniko Kapros (HUN)

2008                Camille Pin (FRA)                               Asia Muhammad (U.S.)

2007                Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)                 Akiko Morigami (JPN)

1999                Erika de Lone (U.S.)                           Hila Rosen (ISR)


Year                Winner

2009                Aniko Kapros (HUN) – Agustina Lepore (ARG)

2008                Melinda Czink (HUN) – Renata Voracova (CZE)

2007                Victoria Azarenka (BLR) – Tatiana Poutchek (BLR)

1999                Erika de Lone (U.S.) – Annabel Ellwood (AUS)


SINGLES: Prize Money               Points

Winner                         $7,315                         70

Runner-up                   $3,990                         50

Semifinalist                 $2,185                         32

Quarterfinalist             $1,235                         18

Round of 16                $760                            10

Round of 32                $475                            1

DOUBLES:                   Prize Money (per team)

Winner                         $2,660

Runner-up                     $1,425

Semifinalist                 $760

Quarterfinalist             $380

Round of 16                $285

USTA Pro Circuit

With 94 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed on the USTA Pro Circuit for approximately $3.2 million in prize money and valuable ATP and WTA Tour ranking points. Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jelena Jankovic are among the top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit. The USTA Pro Circuit is world-class tennis administered on the local level and played on local tennis courts as part of the fabric of communities nationwide — an opportunity for current and new fans to experience the excitement and intensity of the professional game in their neighborhood.

Defending Champion Serena Williams Captures 4th Wimbledon Title and 13th Grand Slam

[CHICAGO] – Serena Williams made her presence known as she defended her Wimbledon title to Vera Zvonareva of Russia during the final match on Saturday.

The match was all about Serena’s well known power game as she defeated Zvonareva in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. “It feels incredible to defend my title here at Wimbledon,” Serena said after her victory. “Vera is such a great competitor but I knew that if I stuck to my game, I had a good chance of winning.”

With her [K] Blade Team racket, the 13 time Grand Slam champion held strong throughout the entire tournament and did not drop a set over two weeks at the All England Club. Serena knows that her powerful serve gives her an advantage on any opponent and hit 9 aces Saturday, taking her tournament total to a Wimbledon record- 89.

This title gives Serena her 4th Wimbledon in the span of eight years and her 13th Grand Slam overall. She is back at world No.1 and certain to stay at the top, where she has reigned for 110 weeks altogether. Serena currently stands as world No.1 at both singles and doubles, only the sixth woman in history to do so.

With this 13th title, Serena surpasses Billie Jean King’s 12 Grand Slam title record, and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova are Williams’ next goal, with 18 majors each. “Honestly, I’m just doing what I can and working hard,” Williams said. “These great champions give me the motivation to reach my goals.”

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Federer and Roddick to do it once more

A familiar face will be standing in Roger Federer’s way if he plans to make tennis history in Sunday’s Wimbledon final- his seventh straight.

American Andy Roddick made his first final at the All England Club since losing for a second straight year back in 2005 to Federer. After the five-time Wimbledon champ disposed of German Tommy Haas in a close three sets, the 26 year-old Roddick showed great form in besting England’s new hope Andy Murray- winning a tight four setter 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5).

Tremendous match by Andy in a Davis Cup atmosphere with most of Centre Court pulling for the 22 year-old Scot to finally erase the demons. Unfortunately, they’ll have to wait another year for him to try to become the first Great Brit to win there since Fred Perry (1936).

That was due to Roddick, who played arguably the finest match of his career outslugging Murray from the baseline while also being the aggressor winning 64 percent from the net (48 of 75) including a gutsy volley winner that saved a set point in the third breaker. It turned out to be the difference along with his powerful, accurate serve with him making 75 percent of first serves and winning 77 percent. Murray didn’t serve poorly by any means but only made 52 percent first serves even though he won a higher percentage (83).

The difference was a more focused Roddick was better on the bigger points. What was most impressive is that he came up with the kind of hitting from both sides of the racket we haven’t seen with him remaining steady hitting through the backhand while producing some sizzling crosscourt forehands to take control of points.

All the more stunning was that Murray outaced Roddick 25-21 and even finished with 12 more winners (Murray-76, Roddick-64) in what was one of the cleanest matches you’ll see. There weren’t many mistakes as Roddick had 24 unforced errors while Murray committed 20. This was just pure tennis with both guys competing at a very high level.

That Roddick stayed with the plan attacking the net with vigor when he had the opportunity proved to be the difference. He really picked his spots well and stuck his volleys. Sure. Murray passed him a bunch with some mesmerizing shots that make you believe he’ll be winning slams soon enough. Maybe even at this year’s U.S. Open. But the constant pressure from Andy made it tough on the best returner in the game.

That along with the huge serving kept the his 22 year-old younger foe from taking firm control. Each man broke twice with both able to trade 6-4 scores the first two sets. In the third’s opening game, Roddick dugout of love-40 frustrating Murray, who was broken a few games later. But with Andy serving for the set, he tightened and Murray broke back getting it to a tiebreaker. But the 2009 leader didn’t break saving set point with a mishit volley winner and then claiming the set on a well played point to pull within one of his third Wimbledon final.

The fourth set was even more dramatic with neither big man cracking as each held serve with more pressure on Roddick staying in the set twice to force another breaker. Early in it, he got a minibreak when Murray misfired drawing groans from the crowd. But the feisty Scot fought back coming up with a huge backhand crosscourt winner to save one match point. But just when it seemed he’d get it back even, a hustling Roddick got a wicked first serve back eventually getting in the point.

When the opportunity arose, he took it hitting a big forehand cross approach which a scattering Murray hit short into the net, giving the emotional American a date with destiny.

To be honest, the last couple of years, I didn’t know if I’d ever get a chance to play for another Grand Slam title,” Roddick said holding back tears while model wife Brooklyn Decker cheered on her man. “Now I get to. It’s just a dream.

“If he serves like that, he’s got a chance against anyone,” Murray acknowledged after seeing his head-to-head record versus Roddick slip to 6-3.

Now, he’ll be the last one standing in the way of history with Federer looking to eclipse former American great Pete Sampras by capturing a record 15th grand slam. A year after Rafael Nadal broke his heart, can he do it against a close rival who he’s lost just two matches to in 20 times?

“I’ve had plenty of time to study his game, to understand his game,” Federer said. “He’s always played me also quite differently every single time.”

“Obviously you can’t really say enough to kind of signify what Roger’s career has been to this point,” Roddick said while appropriately adding:

“I’d love to delay it for another Grand Slam.”

It will be Federer’s 20th career Grand Slam final. Will it be lucky this Fourth of July weekend?

I’m very proud of all the records I’ve achieved, because I never thought I would be that successful as a kid. You know, I would have been happy winning a couple tournaments and maybe collecting Wimbledon,” the 27-year-old Federer said.

“It’s quite staggering.”