Posts Tagged ‘Carla Suarez Navarro’

Aces and Faults: Spaniards rule the clay courts in Houston

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Fernando Verdasco secured his first ATP title since 2010 in Houston. (Pat Sullivan/AP)

Fernando Verdasco secured the title at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships — his first title since 2010. (Pat Sullivan/AP)

Aces and Faults recaps the week in tennis. Last week, players from Spain and France ruled the tours, winning titles in Houston; Katowice, Poland; Bogota, Colombia and Casablanca, Morocco. 

Trophy Winners

Fernando Verdasco: Has it really been four years since Verdasco won an ATP title? The Spaniard snapped his six-match losing streak in ATP finals by defeating countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 7-6 (4) to win the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston. This was Verdasco’s fourth clay title and his first since winning the Barcelona Open in 2010.

More importantly, Spain’s talent on the clay courts was in full display in Houston. Verdasco and Almagro faced off in the first-ever all-Spain final in Houston, and Verdasco reached the doubles finals with partner David Marrero. Watch out for the Spaniards as we approach the clay-court season.

Highlights from his win:

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  • Published On Apr 14, 2014
  • Watch List: John Isner targets Houston, Sloane Stephens heads to Bogota

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    John Isner beat Nicolas Almagro in the Houston final last year to win his first clay-court title. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

    John Isner beat Nicolas Almagro in the Houston final last year — his first clay-court title. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

    The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. After the non-stop hard court grind over the last six weeks through the Middle East, Indian Wells, Miami and Davis Cup, this week offers a slight breather before the European clay court season begins in earnest. With most of the top players taking a break this week, there’s nothing but opportunity at the four tournaments.

    U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships

    [Complete Draw]

    John Isner, who now sits at a career-best No. 9, will try and defend his title in Houston as the top seed in a field that includes an array of Spanish clay court specialists, including Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco. Last year’s win was Isner’s first clay court title.

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  • Published On Apr 07, 2014
  • BTB Awards: Memorable action photos

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    The Beyond The Baseline awards are our look back at the best — and worst — of the tennis season. Today we present some of our favorite action shots. Click here for our complete archive of year-end awards.

    Novak Djokovic

    Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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  • Published On Dec 06, 2013
  • Simona Halep vs. Sloane Stephens: Who improved the most this year?

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    Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens

    Simona Halep (left) won six titles, while Sloane Stephens did her damage at the Slams. (Koji Watanabe/Getty Images; Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

    Simona Halep won the WTA’s Most Improved Player Award, beating out Sloane Stephens, Kirsten Flipkens, Jamie Hampton, Jelena Jankovic, Carla Suarez Navarro and Alison Riske. Halep’s incredible season made this choice by the media seem like a no-brainer to me.

    However, Matt Cronin of Tennis.com sparked some discussion when he tweeted that Stephens should have won.

    So who should have won the WTA’s Most Improved Player award — Halep or Stephens?

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  • Published On Nov 25, 2013
  • 2013 BTB Awards: WTA shots of the year

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    The Beyond The Baseline awards are our look back at the best — and worst — of the tennis season. Today we highlight some of the best shots of the year from the WTA Tour. Full disclosure: Agnieszka Radwanska could have made up 80 percent of this list. She hit more than her fair share of jaw-droppers this year. Click here for our complete archive of year-end awards.


    Agnieszka Radwanska’s twirling, no-look backhand flick against Kirsten Flipkens at the Sony Open.

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  • Published On Nov 19, 2013
  • Photos: Best of the U.S. Open, Part II

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    Rafael Nadal

    Rafael Nadal is seeking his second U.S. Open title. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images for the USTA)

    The U.S. Open is into the homestretch. The women’s quarterfinals are set after Victoria Azarenka rallied to beat Ana Ivanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday in a match that was pushed back from Monday because of a rain delay. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are looking to secure their spots in the quarterfinals later in the day.

    It’s been an eventful week since we last visited the photo wire. Roger Federer admitted that he “self-destructed” in his fourth-round loss to Tommy Robredo; rain and humidity wreaked havoc; Serena Williams solved Sloane Stephens; five over-30 men made the fourth round, the most since 1982; and four women who are either unseeded or seeded outside the top 15 advanced to the quarterfinals. Through it all, the title favorites remain, meaning that the rest of the second week should be a doozy.

    Here are some of our favorite pictures from the last week at the U.S. Open.

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  • Published On Sep 03, 2013
  • French Open Day 6 matches to watch

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    Gael Monfils will take on Tommy Robredo, who has enjoyed a strong clay season to date. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    Gael Monfils will take on Tommy Robredo, who has enjoyed a strong clay season to date. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    Here are the storylines and matches to watch on Day 6 of the French Open. Play begins at 5 a.m. ET. Click here for the order of play.

    Storylines

    Roger Federer and the French on Chatrier: How many of the five French players scheduled for Court Philippe Chatrier on Friday will walk out a winner? Marion Bartoli, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Jeremy Chardy, Julien Benneteau and Virginie Razzano will wave the tricolore, with Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova appearing on center court as well. Sharapova’s second-round match against Genie Bouchard — she’s French-Canadian, so the theme still works — was suspended Thursday with Sharapova leading 6-2, 4-2 (second match). But the highlight match features Benneteau, who tries to extend his winning streak against Federer to … two (third match). The 31-year-old Frenchman stunned Federer 6-3, 7-5 on an indoor hard court in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in February. The Swiss great is poised for revenge.

    “Now, you can’t say I never beat him or I never played him before,” Federer said after his second-round match, “but it’s true when I play against him he makes it difficult for me, and I have some problems and I have to find a solution.”

    That solution may just be the surface itself. Benneteau has challenged Federer on quick indoor courts and grass. But a best-of-five on clay? No chance.

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  • Published On May 30, 2013
  • Report Card: Busy week off the court

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    Sloane Stephens

    Sloane Stephens lost in the first round of the Madrid Open — part of an eventful week for the 20-year-old. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

    The Report Card hands out grades for the week in tennis. Last week, off-court drama overshadowed some tremendous on-court performances.

    Sloane Stephens: C-minus. I don’t know what pushed Stephens to go nuclear in her recent interview with ESPN The Magazine, where she detailed her deteriorating relationship with Serena Williams. This wasn’t a case of an unsavvy youngster running her mouth without anyone around to check her. Stephens’ mother cautioned her twice during the interview, but the 20-year-old just couldn’t help herself and used the opportunity to vent. Hey, I’m all for that. The last thing fans and media want is a player to take a page out of the Crash Davis handbook (link contains strong language) and give predictable answers that reveal nothing about her character or her thinking.

    The return of ‘Serena Fridays’ on Twitter

    What wasn’t clear to me from the story was whether Stephens understands her own role in concocting the mentor-protege narrative that she blames the media for blowing out of proportion. Stephens has spoken glowingly of Williams in various interviews, telling the media that the two “talk all the time” and that Serena has been “a really great influence” on her career. “I love her to death,” Stephens said of Williams before facing her at the Brisbane International in January. She may not acknowledge it, but Stephens was happy to sell the story until all of a sudden she wasn’t and then blamed everyone else for the myth-making.

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  • Published On May 06, 2013
  • Daily Bagel: McIlroy follows Wozniacki at Australian Open from afar

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    The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.

    • Video: Carla Suarez Navarro pulled off the early upset of the tournament Tuesday, knocking out No. 7 Sara Errani, a quarterfinalist last year. She did it with the help of this sick diving volley. Boris Becker would be proud.

    • Looks like Rory McIlroy was up at 3 a.m. in Abu Dhabi to watch Caroline Wozniacki’s comeback victory over Sabine Lisicki.

    • As Steve Tignor writes, the highly anticipated first-round match between Roger Federer and Benoit Paire turned out to be a dud.

    In the third set, the Frenchman commenced clown time in earnest—a drop shot overhead was soon followed by a two-handed forehand return, which, inevitably, led to volley hit (and missed) from between the legs. Along the way, Paire may have set the record for the worst challenge of all time, a joke query of a second serve that landed four feet long. It was one of the Frenchman’s eight double faults over the course of a very short match.

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  • Published On Jan 15, 2013


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