With Sugarpova, Maria Sharapova Looks to Sweeten the World of Candy

Throughout her tennis career, the 25-year old Maria Sharapova has not been sweet to her opponents, winning four Grand Slam titles, including the 2012 French Open. But Sharapova is looking to be a lot sweeter to many, as she launches Sugarpova, a premium candy line that reflects her fun, fashionable, sweet side.

I had a chance to ask Maria about Sugarpova and how it began. “I can’t take credit for coming up with the name. I was having a meeting with my manager who had met with Jeff Rubin, who is pretty influential in the candy business, and they had started talking about it. Originally, it was something I was going to be a part of, then I thought…I really want to own this”, Maria said. “I guess I can say it started because I have been part of so many little things in my career, been a part of collaborations and collections. It came to a point where I really wanted to invest my own money into something, make all final decisions” Sharapova continued.

Sugarpova offers a bit of luxury, and aims to interpret classic candies in her own signature style. She hopes to bring a new level of quality to the candy world through fun, unexpected types, shapes and names. Some of the names include Smitten Sour, Flirty, and Cheeky.

Sugarpova is already off to a good start, as Sharapova mentioned that the candies are sold out. What should people expect from the brand in the future? “I do hope it goes into chocolate and caramels and all that, but for my body I really hope not” she said with laughter. Sharapova has enjoyed the sweet taste of success on the court, and, with Sugarpova, off the court as well.

Maria Opens Up

FLUSHING MEADOWS – Maria Sharapova is back to being the front on star of tennis. She is crushing her opponents, while acting like the starlet we all know and love.

After she dispatched Mallory Burdette today – in a match where she thought she would be booed – the 25 year-old started to reflect on her career with the up and comers, like Laura Robson and Sloane Stephens making names for themselves, while Kim Clijsters is retiring to motherhood.

“Well, I’ll tell you, when I was 18 or 19, if someone told me I was going to be playing at 25, which was seven years from then, I’d be like, Stop, this is ridiculous.  You’re crazy,” she said.  “But here I am at 25 years old.  Although I didn’t play for nine, ten months in my career, I’m 25, and I feel like I have so many more years left.  I still wake up in the morning and feel like I can be better and motivated.  I have energy and I’m healthy.”

And she has a legit chance to win her second US Open and start on a second career slam, after winning the French Open this year to gain her first. After being injured with a bad shoulder, Sharapova looked like a has been in recent years, but the strength and skill has returned.

That makes for interesting topics from the mercurial Russian, who at times can seem somewhat arrogant. But that’s her nature and she doesn’t mean to be mean.

In fact she had some kind words to say about her competitors and because of her experience; Sharapova offers some unique insight about each of them.

First there’s Robson , who Sharapova said she knew for years.

“Laura was someone who was obviously throughout the years ‑ I think she won junior Wimbledon, and she’s someone that I think a lot of people expected to do well at an early age,” Sharapova said. “I mean, this is definitely her breakthrough tournament, her breakthrough Grand Slam where she’s been playing extremely well.

“I’ve practiced with her a few times.  Played her at the Olympics and last year at Wimbledon.  She has a big game, and also a lefty, which adds to her strength.”

And then there is Stephens, the young American who many have been comparing to the next coming of Venus Williams. Stephens is the daughter of former NFL running back John Stephens who played for the New England Patriots.

“I played against her in Miami,” Sharapova said.   “I don’t remember the score, but she’s a great athlete.  Moves so well.  I watched a little bit of her match yesterday.  She’s a great fighter and, you know, was able to come back from that match.

“Obviously that’s the newer generation, and I’m somewhere in the middle there. “

Sharapova also had kind words to say about Clijsters, who was sent home by Robson on Wednesday and into retirement.

“I was very fortunate to play a lot of matches against Kim and follow her career,” she said.   “I mean, she was such a great athlete, a great competitor.  We always had really tough battles against each other. It was amazing to see her career unfold.  The way she came back after, you know, becoming a mom and having that dedication and, you know, that fire again, it was pretty incredible.

“It showed how much she loved the sport and how much passion she had for it.”

With all of this going on – and let’s not forget Andy Roddick – it’s easy to forget Sharapova, but she easily won her first three matches, especially today against Burdette, 6-1 6-1.

Seeded No. 3, Sharapova is feeling pretty good about herself.

“I didn’t know too much going into this event because I hadn’t played on hard in a few months,” Sharapova said.   “I think that made me extra focused, and I wanted to really get going from the beginning and be aggressive.

“Yeah, took a little bit of a break after Wimbledon and went home.  I think I kind of recharged a little bit.  Certainly feel a lot more energy than I did maybe after the French.”

She’s going to be tough and someone to watch out for next week.

Maria Sharapova Transcript

Q.  How do you feel going into this tournament winning in Cincinnati?  Must have given you a lot of confidence.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I came into Cincinnati, you know, asking to play a lot of matches for myself, as many as I could at that tournament.

It was great to win the tournament.  I beat some really good opponents, played some good matches.  You know, the final was a little whacky, but I just managed to win that one.

Yeah, it’s great.  Obviously coming into the Open it’s great to have a title under your belt.

 

Q.  How different are you this year compared to last year at the same time for the US Open?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I’m seeded higher.  I’ve won two titles this year.  You know, I feel like my tennis is at a much better level than it was last year.  Yeah, I’m a better player, definitely.

 

Q.  How do you expect to deal with the expected hurricane in the next 24 hours?  What are your plans and what are your thoughts about being here for this?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I’m a Florida girl so I’m used to this stuff.  (Laughter.)

I think everyone’s a bit overreacting about everything, but of course you have to take precaution and all that.  But, I mean, where are we gonna go?  All hundreds of us?

So I just hope that our hotel is nice and tough and sturdy, you know.  That’s all we can do, right?

 

Q.  What do you know about Heather Watson?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Not too much.  I’ve never played her before.  I saw a little bit of her matches in the past I think at Wimbledon her first rounds.  Yeah, she’s someone that’s up and coming, and those are sometimes dangerous because they’re quite fearless when they go on the court, don’t have much to lose.

It’s not too often that you play an opponent you haven’t played against before, so, yeah, it’s not an easy first round.

 

Q.  You had experience of that obviously at Wimbledon against another British youngster in Laura Robson.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Uh‑huh.

 

Q.  Sort of a similar situation?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I guess, but they’re two different players.

 

Q.  In the (Head) advertising you were on the court with Djokovic or it’s…

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah.  I was there watching it happen.

 

Q.  You always say you enjoy the process, but now that the process is paying off, where is your level of enjoyment in competing right now?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, it’s a lot more enjoyable when you’re winning more matches, that’s for sure.

Actually it’s a lot easier to go out on the practice court.  I mean, even when you take a few losses it’s a little bit easier to shrug them off because you know you have that level.  You just need maybe sometimes a little time or just a few things to click to get it back.

Whereas when you haven’t had it for a while, you kind of are trying to find it, trying to find it.  You play one good match, and then, Do I have it now?  Do I feel it?  It’s definitely different.

 

Q.  Coming to a tournament now, fourth seed, obviously people think you’re one of the favorites here.  Do you feed off that?  Does it give you confidence coming into a tournament like this?  Do you feel a bit more pressure now that you’ve got more of an X on your back?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I mean, to be honest, I have been seeded a lot lower and I’ve still been one of the favorites, so it’s not anything new for me that people expect me to do well.

 

Q.  How do you look back now on your run to the final at Wimbledon?  What do you come out of that tournament with?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I mean, my opponent played a really unbelievable match.  You know, I had my chances, and it’s quite important in tennis to take them.  She was able to find an answer, you know, in things that I kind of challenged her with.

It was a really great match for her at a big stage.  That’s the only way you can really look at it.

 

Q.  She hasn’t had a great summer since then.  Is that pretty normal when you come off a great breakthrough win like that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, it’s not easy, that’s for sure, especially after your first one, definitely.

Yeah, I think she’s a good enough player to find her form back here.

 

Q.  In all the time since your shoulder problems, how would you compare how you feel now with the process which was discussed earlier?  Getting over that, the surgery, everything till now, what is your feeling now compared to all the times since then?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, it’s just great to still be a tennis player.  I’ve said this many times.  I’m very fortunate to do what I do, obviously, to do it at a high level and to win tournaments and to win big matches obviously.

It gives you tremendous amount of confidence and delight that the work you’ve put in, you know, is paying off.  It’s the time that you spend away from the courts, the time that people don’t see what you put into the sport of trying to get back there.  Just to play a match, and then do it over and over again, not many people experience that feeling, see it.

So to be able to prove to yourself that you’ve put in that work and there you are at that stage again, giving yourself these opportunities to win Grand Slams again, it’s a good feeling.

 

Q.  But your level of play now and your level of confidence, how would you compare it with all the time since your shoulder problem?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I just feel like this year I’ve improved.  Last year I felt like I would play a couple good matches and then I’d play a bad match.  I didn’t have that sense of consistency, and that’s something I felt like something that has changed this year.

 

Q.  Do you have any memories of working out with Freddy Adu at IMG?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No.

 

Q.  Somebody was doing something on him and said you guys might have crossed paths for a couple weeks.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think we worked out at the same facility in Florida, but I don’t think I’ve ever ‑‑ I mean, I sure hope I wasn’t doing a soccer workout.

 

Q.  Just one of those questions we needed to ask.  Were you in the city at all this morning?  Could you characterize the mood here?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  This morning?

 

Q.  Yeah.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I left pretty early.  I left at 8:00 a.m., so I’m not really sure if everyone was sleeping in New York on a Saturday morning or if it’s the hurricane effect.  But it was pretty quiet.

 

Q.  You were talking about your chances and things like that.  When you see the news that somebody like a Kim Clijsters is not playing, what goes through your mind?  Do you feel like it opens up another alley?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I can’t really think like that.  I don’t think that’s a mindset of a winner, to be honest.  You’ve got to be ready to face anyone at any given moment.  It’s obviously unfortunate that she can’t come back as a defending champion.

But on the other hand, you know, she is the one that has the memory of holding up that trophy last year.  It’s I have been in that position before.  It’s definitely tough, there is no doubt about it, to not be able to defend such a big title.  It’s sometimes the adversity that we’re faced with.

Aussie Kim Going For The Aussie Win

When we last saw Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva in a Grand Slam, Clijsters had the upper hand with a 6-2, 6-1 demolition in route to her second Grand Slam title in a row.

Yet, now the two are playing in the Semifinals at the Australian Open, Aussie Kim isn’t taking any chances.

“Uhm, I think I was playing well at Wimbledon,” Clijsters said after her Quarterfinal win over Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-3 7-6. “I won the first set. I kind of just, you know, dropped my game a little bit. She’s a player who will be very consistent throughout a whole match, will not really mix her game up tremendously. She’ll always give you the same kind of thing. I think she did that really well.

“At the US Open I don’t think she played her best tennis in the final, and I was able to just really take advantage of that. I played really well in the beginning of the points, moved her around. Yeah, so, I mean, there were obviously two different matches, also I think from her side and also from my side.

“It will be tough. There will be a lot of rallies, long rallies I think. But I’ve always enjoyed playing my matches against her. They’ve always been a lot of fun. They’ve been, like I said, like physical and just kind of what you expect coming up for a semifinal.”

Clijsters is playing very well at Melbourne, not dropping a set and trying to get a Major outside of the US Open. Back in Flushing, she pinpointed Melbourne as her best chance, because the surface is similar to the one in Queens and he play this past week and a half has proved it.

But she face opponents below her ranking and if everything goes according to plan, the world’s most famous mother will have to face the No. 2 seed in Zvonareva and the No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

But number’s don’t bother her.

“I don’t feel like I’m No. 3 in the world. I don’t think about a number,” she said. “I mean, it’s a number. I just try to be the best Kim out there whenever I play, and it’s not about numbers. I mean, obviously we want to do well. We all want to win.

“But, you know, I remember when I first became No. 1. It was something when I was young. It was like, Wow, to be No. 1 in the world. When you actually get to it, It’s like, Oh, that’s it?

“So it’s a number, and it’s something that you obviously don’t get given for free. You have to work very hard to get to that. But, uhm, yeah, like I said, it’s just a number.”

And if everything goes by the numbers, Clijsters will be on track for her first non-US Open Grand Slam No. 1 in the next few days.

WILD-CARD ALEXA GLATCH BEATS WASHINGTON; VEGAS’ ASIA MUHAMMAD UPSETS NO. 5 SEED ON DAY 2 OF LEXUS OF LAS VEGAS USTA WOMEN’S $50,000 PRO CIRCUIT EVENT

LAS VEGAS, Nev., (Sept. 29, 2010) – Alexa Glatch doesn’t know if she’ll ever play at 100 percent physically again, but she reported on Wednesday that the bulging disk injury in her lower back felt “a thousand times better” than one year ago.

That’s good news for Glatch and bad news for her future opponents, including the rest of the Round of 16 singles field remaining at the Lexus of Las Vegas Open where Glatch beat Mashona Washington, 6-3, 6-4, in the first round on Wednesday at the Red Rock Country Club.

Also on Wednesday, Las Vegas’ Asia Muhammad, 19, opened up play upsetting No. 5 seeded Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia, 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-3.

Muhammad meets American Lauren Albanese in a second-round match Thursday on Stadium Court not before 3:30 p.m. Muhammad beat Albanese in the same round last year at this event before she fell in the quarterfinals.

“It feels great playing in front of the hometown crowd,” Muhammad told the crowd. “I get some home cooked meals and see a lot of familiar faces.”

Glatch, 21, made a move from the beach (Newport) to the mountains (Parker, Colo.) at the end of last year and was hoping her new surroundings would do her career some good. Currently ranked No. 269 in the world, Glatch has always been a talented player who many feel hasn’t yet reached her full potential.

“My back is feeling pretty good now,” said Glatch, who is being coached by Ryan Segelke and has a fitness trainer she’s working with outside of Denver. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be 100 percent. It hasn’t been the best year for me. I played three events and then the U.S. Open. We’ll see how it goes from here.”

In one of the more entertaining matches of the day, No. 3 seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania downed former Georgia Tech All-American Irina Falconi, a qualifier, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Also advancing was No. 4-seeded Mirjana Lucic of Croatia, who beat Camila Giorgi of Italy, 6-2, 6-4.

Wednesday’s First-Round Singles Scores

q: qualifier; wc: wild card

Alexa Glatch, U.S. (wc), def. Mashona Washington, U.S., 6-3, 6-4

Mirjana Lucic, Croatia (4), def. Camila Giorgi, Italy, 6-2, 6-4

Sorana Cirstea, Romania (3), def. Irina Falconi, U.S. (q), 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

Edina Gallovits, Romania (1), def. Petra Rampre, Slovakia, 7-6 (3), 6-3

Heidi El Tabakh, Canada, def. Madison Brengle, U.S, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3

Kimberly Couts, U.S., def. Brittany Augustine, U.S (q), 6-1, 6-1

Julie Ditty, U.S. (q), def. Ashley Weinhold, U.S. (q), 6-0, 6-3

Valerie Tetreault (Canada) (8), def. Ekaterina Shulaeva, Canada, 6-3, 6-3

Abigail Spears, U.S., def. Laura Siegemund, Germany, 6-1, 6-4

Lindsay Lee-Waters, U.S., def. Shelby Rogers, U.S., 4-6, 6-3, 6-0

Anna Tatishvili, Georgia (6), def. Amra Sadikovic, Switzerland, 6-2, 6-2

Asia Muhammad, U.S. (wc), def. def. Mariana Duque-Marino, Colombia (5), 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-3

First-Round Doubles Score

Alexandra Mueller, U.S. / Ahsha Rolle, U.S., def. Liga Dekmeijere, Latavia / Varvara Lepchenko, U.S., 6-3, 6-1

Thursday’s Order of Play

Stadium Court Starting at 10 a.m.

Chelsey Gullickson, U.S. (wc), vs. Abigail Spears, U.S.

Followed by Sorana Cirstea, Romania (3), vs. Julie Ditty, U.S.

Followed by Heidi Tabakh, Canada, vs. Mirjana Lucic, Croatia (4)

Lauren Albanese, U.S., vs. Asia Muhammad, U.S., (wc)

Court 2 Starting at 10 a.m.

Lindsay Lee-Waters, U.S., vs. Varvara Lepchenko, U.S. (2)

Followed by Kimberly Couts, U.S., vs. Valerie Tetreault, Canada (8)

Followed by Christina Fusano, U.S. / Courtney Nagle, U.S. vs. Lindsay Lee-Waters, U.S. / Megan Moulton-Levy, U.S. (4)

Followed by Madison Brengle, U.S. / Amra Sadikovic, Switzerland vs. Irina Falconi, U.S. / Maria Sanchez, U.S. (wc)

Court 3 Starting at 10 a.m.

Anna Tatishvili, Georgia (6), vs. Alexa Glatch, U.S. (wc)

Followed by Edina Gallovits, Romania (1), vs. Alexandra Mueller, U.S. (wc)

Followed by Stephanie Foretz Gacon, France / Alexa Glatch, U.S., vs. Alexandra Mueller, U.S. / Ahsha Rolle, U.S.

The following is a tentative schedule of events supplementing the tournament:

COMMUNITY EVENTS

  • Thursday Sept. 30 – High School Day, 6-8 p.m. (Free general admission for ages 15-18).
  • Friday, Oct. 1 – Volkl/Becker Racquet Day, 6-8 p.m.

USTA Members Day ($10 off admission for all current USTA members)

  • Saturday, Oct. 2 – Super Semifinal Saturday; USTA Ladies League Luncheon.

For additional event and ticket information, please visit www.lexuslvopen.com

LAS VEGAS PAST CHAMPIONS

Singles

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)

Doubles

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)

PRIZE MONEY

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.

Tennis King Meets British Prince

With Prince William on hand to watch Roger Federer cruise into the third round, you have to wonder, who was more excited to see whom?

Although, not every day a member of the Royal Family comes around, the World’s No. 1 has met his share of stars and celebs over the years. And frankly, earlier in his career he said he was more nervous when his family came around.

“[It] used to be my friends and parents early on,” Federer said after his straight sets Second Round win over Victor Hanescu, 6-2 6-3 6-2. “Then it goes other athletes, actors and musicians, Royal Highness. Just moves on. So I’ve had plenty. Obviously depends on the situation. Obviously having legends of the game watching, for me, is very nice always.

“But then, of course, where he comes from, you know, he knows tennis, and Wimbledon’s big, you know. So for me it was very ‑‑ I mean, a big honor that he came to watch me.”

Federer was able to chat with the Prince for a few minutes although he didn’t divulge everything, the Swiss Master did say, “he looked really happy coming to a sports venue. I think he’s had a very busy schedule the last few days. He shook a lot of hands, and I knew mine was one more. From what I’ve heard, I think he met Serena and myself, and came to watch my match.”

Even if Prince William was happy, for Federer this was just another day at the office. After getting a scare and not playing sharp in his first round match against Igor Andreev, he looked in control against Hansecu, pretty much cruising though out the hour and 39 minute match. With a first serve percentage of 82% (40 of 49), eight aces to just one double fault, the best player in the world looked pretty sharp.

“Against, let’s say lower‑ranked players outside of top 10, you do sometimes in the rally get a second chance; whereas against top players it’s pretty obvious how you going to play,” Federer said.

“That’s how my two opponents played. They know they have to step it up and not give me a chance in the rally. That’s why it’s dangerous for me to play against all these guys. They take huge cuts at the ball and nothing to lose. And if they win they are heroes, and if they lose, it’s an incredible experience.”

“From my standpoint, it obviously depends also on how the opponent plays. Today I was willing to go for more points and rallies where I decided I not to miss and only go for it if I’m perfectly set up. I think the tactic worked tonight.

“For the next round opponent, I definitely have to adjust my tactics again.”

And for the third round, Federer will be playing 31st seed Albert Montanes of Spain, who beat France’s Stephane Robert in five sets, 4-6 6-7 2-6 3-6 2-6.

It’s Czink Against Safarova in the Final

QUEBEC CITY, Quebec – It’s a battle of No. 4 vs No. 5 in the Bell Challenge finals as Lucie Safarova takes on Melinda Czink in the finals.

First up was the Russian. Safarova, who fought off eight break points in her 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 8 seed Julia Goerges.

“I’m really happy because this is my first final this year,” Safarova said. “I feel like I’m playing pretty good and you always feel good when you’re winning.”

“I’m a little tired now, but I will be fine for the final tomorrow. I just hope I’ll be ready to play my best against either one of my potential opponents.”

Then came Czink who beat local favorite and No. 3 seed Aleksandra Wozniak in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. It was the fourth victory in four tries over the Canadian for Czink, two coming in ITF competition and now two on the WTA tour.

Yet, Czink was fresh for her match, since her quarterfinal only went one set as defending champion Nadia Petrova had to retire due to an illness.

The finals for the $225,000 tournament happens tomorrow.

Sweet Caroline Smiles To The Semis

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Although America’s Sweetheart is out, “Sweet Caroline” is still plaing music at the Open. And with Melanie Oudin going home, Caroline Wozniacki becomes the story in Flushing.

The attractive 19 year-old from Denmark, has slowly been improving and now has reached her first Semifinals at a Grand Slam. She is just soaking in every minute as she emerges into the tennis spotlight.

“It’s an amazing feeling, especially when you’re playing at night,” she said. “Playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 23,000 people watching you going on the court, I mean, you cannot really describe the atmosphere. It’s just magical. It’s amazing.”

What was amazing was how this cool Scandinavian came in with a game plan against the sentimental favorite Oudin. Instead of playing her game, she stayed back and let the 17 year-old’s inexperience come out. The result was a 6-2, 6-2 win and a trip to meet Yanina Wickmayer in the Semifinals.

“Yeah, today definitely I was like, I have to get as many balls back as possible and try to make her run,” she said. “Keep her on her backhand, but also, you know, make her run on her forehand. That was my goal, and I think it was a good way to play the match today.”

Even with Oudin on the court, it’s are to root against this attractive 19 year-old because of her sunny disposition. Her million dollar smile lights up the room as she graciously speaks about her opponents.

And that includes her Semifinal partner Wickmayer. Both player each other in juniors and Wozniaski says they are friends. Although she won’t let anything else out of the bag.

“I’ve tried not to watch too much tennis while I was here,” she said. “I mean, I watched Melanie’s matches because they were shown a lot. She’s a young player coming up, so I wanted to see her play. But I haven’t seen Yanina playing too much this tournament, but I know her really well from the juniors and we’ve played each other growing up.

“So, I mean right now I’m just so happy I’m in the Semifinals. I’m just going to enjoy a day off tomorrow, and I’ll talk to my dad who is also my coach about the strategy. But right now, I don’t really have any.”

One thing she will be doing is trying to stay positive and not let anything get to her. Against Oudin, Wozniacki just tried to stay positive through the whole match, which allowed her the easy victory.

“Today especially today it was important for me just to keep positive, try to just fight for every point,” she said. Because I knew if I show her too much emotions she will pick it up straightaway. I’ve seen that before in her matches. I mean, the crowd helped her through, as well. So today was just important, just to keep positive, keep fighting for every point.”

Off the court, Wozniacki just tries to keep it cool. Right now she doesn’t have a boyfriend, yet has a sense of humor about it. Earlier today Wickmayer joked to the Belgian press that there were 2000 boyfriends out there for her.

Not so in Denmark apparently.

“I haven’t read the newspapers in Denmark, but I’m sure they can find a boyfriend for me,” she said. “I don’t have any real boyfriends right now, and usually I keep to one.”

Don’t worry though with her style, looks and personality, Sweet Caroline should have no problem finding the right man.

Murray Ready For Open Run

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Believe it or not, the US Open is a lot easier then Wimbledon for Andy Murray. I New York, the second seeded player can be more relaxed, compared to the scrutiny he gets in London.

“Yeah, it’s normal,” said Murray, who hopes to finally win a Grand Slam this year after losing to Roger Federer in straight sets in the 2008 Finals. “It’s not like you sort of get followed around. People are not sort of following you back to the hotel whereas back home, you know, you can get people waiting outside your house or following you to dinner if you want to go out. It’s not like that here. So it makes it easier to relax away from the court.”

It’s on the turf at Arthur Ashe where Murray looks to make his mark. Last season he was the surprise of the tournament, rising up from sixth seed to challenge Frederer for the title. Yet, much like many opponents, the now five time champion swatted away his 22 year-old opponent.

“If you watch Roger playing against anyone, if leave the ball in the middle of the court against him, you give him enough second serves to attack,” Murray said. “He comes forward against anyone.”

Now the page has turned and Murray is looking for the elusive slam, which he said “is the one thing he wants to do in tennis.” Although he was the hometown favorite during Wimbledon, the tennis star lost to Andy Roddick in the semifinals in four sets.

But just two months later, Murray has a chance to make his mark in New York, and even though he was the clear favorite in London, he knows the Flushing crowd will support him.

“Obviously at Wimbledon, the support that I has has been great over the past few years, but I have also had great support here,” he said. “I’ve played some of my best matches here and last year had a very good run.”

If Murray plays Federer again it will be in the final. Although he fared well against the best player in the world, he most recently lost to the Swiss native during the Cincinnati Master semifinals last week.

“I started off a bit sluggish and hit balls in the middle of the court,” he said. “I’ve given him too many opportunities in the first set.”

That’s too weeks away and Murray will have to go through the tough last summer tournament first. He faces Latvian Ernests Gulbis in the first round.

Hopefully no one follows him around.