WTA – Tokyo (Sat): Petrova Wins 12th & Biggest WTA Title

TORAY PAN PACIFIC OPEN
Tokyo, Japan
September 23-29, 2012
$2,168,400/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Singles – Final
(17) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 60 16 63

Doubles – Final
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. (4) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) 61 64

Final Facts
– Petrova wins her 12th and biggest WTA title, her previous two biggest coming at $1,340,000 Premier-level events at Charleston and Berlin in 2006 (this one was a $2,168,400 Premier-level event); she is now 12-11 lifetime in WTA finals
– With wins over World No.7 Sara Errani, World No.9 Sam Stosur and World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska this week, it is the first time Petrova has ever beaten three Top 10 players at the same tournament (and the only previous time she had beaten two at the same tournament was right here in Tokyo four years ago)
– Petrova was down 63 41 and a point from going down 63 51 against Errani in the quarterfinals (she ended up winning that match, 36 75 63)
– Petrova is projected to rise from No.18 to No.14 on the new rankings
– Radwanska is now 10-4 in WTA finals and is projected to stay at No.3
– Kops-Jones and Spears win their fifth WTA doubles title together; this is their second straight WTA doubles title together (they won Seoul last week) and their second Premier-level WTA doubles title together (they won Carlsbad this summer); Kops-Jones now has seven WTA doubles titles to her name and Spears nine

Final Quotes
Nadia Petrova: “After running out of gas in the second set, I don’t know where I found the strength and willpower to fight in the third set, but I did and it feels amazing. This is the biggest tournament I’ve ever won. It’s a great accomplishment. And at the beginning of the tournament I definitely didn’t expect to win the title, because of the back injury I’ve been struggling with. I’m so happy to be here right now.

“There are a few players who have won Grand Slams after 30, and I feel like I don’t want to walk away from tennis without accomplishing the same. I still find the will to wake up every morning and go on the court and try to improve with each day. If it’s meant to happen it will, but if it doesn’t, at the end of my career I’ll know I’ve done everything I could.”

Agnieszka Radwanska: “I’m disappointed – I wanted to win this title so much, and when you’re so close and feel you can make it, it’s always emotional if you don’t. But she was playing really well. Her biggest weapon is her serve, for sure, but also her return was very good today, and I had to serve really well myself to hold my serve. But overall I think those two shots were working really well for her today.”

Raquel Kops-Jones: “We were trying to contain ourselves after we won – we kind of wanted to dance. It’s not a Grand Slam, but for us it’s pretty close. We put in a lot of work this year and it’s our biggest win ever.”

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Laura Robson, the Surprise of the Open

FLUSHING, NY – Move over Andy Murray, there’s a new Brit in town.

Laura Robson has become the feel good story at this Open, after she won her third round against Na Li, 6-4 6-7 6-2 to advance to the fourth round.

And this comes after she sent Kim Clijsters into retirement.

Call her the Giant killer.

“When the draw first came out I wasn’t really looking past the first round,” the 18 year-old said. “ And then, you know, when I heard that I was playing Li Na after I played Kim, I didn’t really think anything.  I just knew that it was going to be an extremely tough match, which it was, and that she’s a great player.

“So I knew I had to play well; that’s what I did.”

So far in 2012, Robson seemed to take a step back. After making the second round last year at Wimbledon and the Open, she was one and done at the other majors this year.

But that isn’t stopping her here.

She fought Clijsters in straight sets, 7-6(4) 7-6(5), in the second round, sending the three time US Open champion into full time motherhood.

And now she took down Li, who was seeded ninth at the Open and many expected to make the second week.

“I have had a fairly tough draw, haven’t I?” she asked with a smile. “Well, you know, you have to beat who is in front of you.  That’s what I managed to do so far.  I think I play [Sam] Stosur now, who is defending champ.  That’s going to be really tough.  I’ve never played her before, so, you know, I’m going to just work hard tomorrow and recover as best as I can for the next one.”

Ah yes, the defending champ. That would be a tough matchup, but they said that about Clijsters and Li. In today’s match, Robson easily took the first set and then lost a tie break in the second to give Li life, even though she was up 3-1 at one point in the breaker.

Then in the third, she took control with a 6-2 cruising, putting her on the map. The funny thing she never gets down on herself, which many 18 year-olds do.

“I’m only 18, so if I was that negative, you know, last year or a year ago, then who knows what I’m going to be like in a few years,” Robson said. “But, no, I have always thought that I can play with the top girls.  Whenever I’ve practiced with, you know, Caroline or Maria, I’ve always felt that the level was there.

“It was just taking that onto the match court and keeping the level up for the whole match.  That’s what I have worked on.  Yeah, that’s been the biggest difference.”

Well maybe Murray can give her pointers now on handling on the British press. Well on second thought, the way she took care of them today, she will do just fine.

WORLD NO. 8 SAMANTHA STOSUR ENTERS FAMILY CIRCLE CUP

CHARLESTON, SC (October 12, 2010) – World No. 8 and defending champion Samantha Stosur has officially entered the 2011 Family Circle Cup.  Stosur, the first player to commit to the tournament, returns to Daniel Island where she set the event’s mark for the fastest championship victory on record by defeating Vera Zvonareva 6-0, 6-3, in just 52 minutes.  Marking the tournament’s 39th consecutive year, the Family Circle Cup, a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Premier event, will be held April 2-10, 2011 at the Family Circle Tennis Center in historic Charleston, South Carolina.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sam Stosur back to Charleston to defend her championship in April,” commented Eleanor Adams, Tournament Manager, Family Circle Cup.  “Since winning the Family Circle Cup, she has continued to post the best results of her singles career, and we’re so happy to have her return where that success began.  I know our fans will enjoy watching her take another shot at this title.”

Samantha Stosur, the 20th champion in the Family Circle Cup’s storied history, said, “I’ve always enjoyed competing in Charleston, and I really look forward to defending my title at this historic event.  The city is beautiful and the fans are very knowledgeable, so it’s always exciting to play this tournament.”

Building upon an impressive 2009 season that included her first title at Osaka and first appearance in the Top 20, Stosur is posting an even stronger year in 2010, illustrated by her Charleston victory, reaching the finals at Roland Garros, quarterfinal appearance at the US Open, career-high ranking at World No. 5 on July 5th, and a secured berth in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championships in Doha at the end of this month.  She is also climbing towards the $2 million earnings mark since January, the highest earning season of her career.  The 26-year-old Top-ranked Australian has over 300 career victories in both singles and doubles, and has amassed total career earnings of $6,098,833.

“Winning the Family Circle Cup has certainly been an important highlight of my career,” added Stosur.

Throughout her 12-year professional career, Stosur has made a prolific mark in doubles action, where she has held a World No. 1 ranking. She owns 22 doubles titles, including a Family Circle Cup title in 2006 with partner Lisa Raymond, as well as two mixed doubles titles. Stosur owns a title at every major, winning at the 2005 US Open and 2006 Roland Garros with partner Lisa Raymond, and mixed doubles titles at the 2005 Australian Open with Scott Draper, and 2008 Wimbledon with Bob Bryan.

Stosur is poised to make her fifth appearance in Charleston, where, in singles, she has notched a 6-3 record and $120,150 in prize money.  In doubles action, she has posted a 6-2 record and $35,100 in prize money.  Her total Charleston earnings amount to $155,250.  Fans can view Samantha Stosur’s official web site at www.samstosur.com.

Family Circle Cup Ticket Packages will be on sale very soon, and ticket patrons who buy early will be able to secure the best possible seats.  Fans can visit familycirclecup.com for ticket information and player commitment updates as the tournament approaches.

The Family Circle Tennis Center, home of the Family Circle Cup, is a public facility owned by the City of Charleston and operated by Meredith Corporation that also hosts a variety of additional events including concerts, festivals, tennis tournaments and other activities throughout the year.  The Family Circle Cup receives four days of live broadcast domestically on ESPN2, and is viewed internationally by over 25 countries, featuring over 140 hours of live and delayed global broadcast time, reaching 4.33 million viewers worldwide.  With over 21 million readers, Family Circle is one of the most widely read monthly magazines in America and is one of 14 leading subscription magazines owned by Meredith Corporation. The Tennis Center features a 10,200 seat stadium, Grand Lawn, 17 tennis courts lighted for night play, Pro Shop, and a full service event management staff capable of handling all aspects of an event including ticketing, operations, sales, marketing, public relations, and food & beverage.  For tickets or more info, call (843) 856-7900 or visit familycirclecup.com.

Mrs. Lynch Goes To The Semifinals

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – New York City may own Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and the deed to Arthur Ashe Stadium is in the name of the USTA, but for the last two years, Kim Clijsters owns the US Open.

No greater proof of that came than tonight as the defending Women’s Champion and current No. 2 seed fought off bad play and tough conditions to beat No. 6 seed Sam Stosur, 6-4 5-7 6-3, in their Quarterfinal matchup to improve to 19-0 over the past two years.

And how did Mrs. Lynch win it?

“I think by mentally just staying focused out there,” she said.  “You know, I felt that I was really reading her serve well in the return games.  I really felt that I was just ‑‑ even, you know, those heavy kick serves I felt I was getting into her backhand well, and, yeah, just made her go for some errors.

“Obviously she, you know, wasn’t serving great, either.  I just really felt that, you know, if I could just get that return deep, I felt that I was, you know, kind of in charge of a lot of rallies.”

It got so bad that Clijsters and Stocur could not hold serve on the first seven games of the third set. Part of it reason was the wind, as both players could not have that hard first serve land where they wanted it.

And part was because both players didn’t have their strong games out there, as both admitted after the match.

“Yeah, it was definitely tough conditions, windiest conditions I’ve played in all week, and probably the worst I’ve served all week, as well,” said Stocur, who had her highest finish at the Open of her career.  “Put those two things together, and you don’t hold serve for the third set and you lose.”

“I still didn’t play a good match, but I was obviously able to win it,” Clijsters said.  “That’s obviously, at the end of the day, what we try to do out here, is try to win the matches whether you play good or bad.

“Like I said, even after the match, I was like, How did I win this?  I didn’t feel like I was playing well.  Sam is a good player, you know, so I was just kind of ‑‑ yeah, talking to my coach and fitness coach and just, Wow, what just happened?  How did I win?”

Well it was just sheer guts and guile on Clijsters behalf. She was able to utilize her speed and eventually held serve in Game 8 of the third set. When that happened, it was all over. In fact, she then broke the Australian in the final game with the winner coming on an ace.

“Yeah, that’s probably all the frustration that comes out at the end,” Clijsters said.  “I’m like, I don’t like to hit one more rally.  I just want to finish it with a good shot.  Um, I don’t know.  It’s the rhythm.  It’s been frustrating.”

Clijsters now faces Venus Williams in the Semifinals on Friday. This will be a rubber match of their career head-to-head with both players winning six apiece. But Clijsters has won the last four matches, including the Round of 16 at last year’s US Open, 6-0 0-6 6-4.

But Mrs. Lynch is not taking anything for granted.

“I think obviously the way that she’s been playing and the way that she has mentally looked,” Clijsters said. “I think it’s maybe been even been good for her to have been away for that long, because she looks more hungry than ever.”

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – New York City may own Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and the deed to Arthur Ashe Stadium is in the name of the USTA, but for the last two years, Kim Clijsters owns the US Open.

No greater proof of that came than tonight as the defending Women’s Champion and current No. 2 seed fought off bad play and tough conditions to beat No. 6 seed Sam Stosur, 6-4 5-7 6-3, in their Quarterfinal matchup to improve to 19-0 over the past two years.

And how did Mrs. Lynch win it?

“I think by mentally just staying focused out there,” she said.  “You know, I felt that I was really reading her serve well in the return games.  I really felt that I was just ‑‑ even, you know, those heavy kick serves I felt I was getting into her backhand well, and, yeah, just made her go for some errors.

“Obviously she, you know, wasn’t serving great, either.  I just really felt that, you know, if I could just get that return deep, I felt that I was, you know, kind of in charge of a lot of rallies.”

It got so bad that Clijsters and Stocur could not hold serve on the first seven games of the third set. Part of it reason was the wind, as both players could not have that hard first serve land where they wanted it.

And part was because both players didn’t have their strong games out there, as both admitted after the match.

“Yeah, it was definitely tough conditions, windiest conditions I’ve played in all week, and probably the worst I’ve served all week, as well,” said Stocur, who had her highest finish at the Open of her career.  “Put those two things together, and you don’t hold serve for the third set and you lose.”

“I still didn’t play a good match, but I was obviously able to win it,” Clijsters said.  “That’s obviously, at the end of the day, what we try to do out here, is try to win the matches whether you play good or bad.

“Like I said, even after the match, I was like, How did I win this?  I didn’t feel like I was playing well.  Sam is a good player, you know, so I was just kind of ‑‑ yeah, talking to my coach and fitness coach and just, Wow, what just happened?  How did I win?”

Well it was just sheer guts and guile on Clijsters behalf. She was able to utilize her speed and eventually held serve in Game 8 of the third set. When that happened, it was all over. In fact, she then broke the Australian in the final game with the winner coming on an ace.

“Yeah, that’s probably all the frustration that comes out at the end,” Clijsters said.  “I’m like, I don’t like to hit one more rally.  I just want to finish it with a good shot.  Um, I don’t know.  It’s the rhythm.  It’s been frustrating.”

Clijsters now faces Venus Williams in the Semifinals on Friday. This will be a rubber match of their career head-to-head with both players winning six apiece. But Clijsters has won the last four matches, including the Round of 16 at last year’s US Open, 6-0 0-6 6-4.

But Mrs. Lynch is not taking anything for granted.

“I think obviously the way that she’s been playing and the way that she has mentally looked,” Clijsters said. “I think it’s maybe been even been good for her to have been away for that long, because she looks more hungry than ever.”