August 31, 2009

Serena defeats Glatch; Advances to 2nd Round

NEW YORK (AFP) - Serena Williams got the defense of her US Open title off to a low-key start with an untroubled 6-4, 6-1 first round win over fellow American Alexa Glatch on Monday. Although never in danger, the 27-year-old second seed blew hot and cold in an error-strewn match that seldom rose above the ordinary. Both players struggled to cope with the gusty conditions. Williams jumped out into a 5-1 lead in the first set before allowing 19-year-old Glatch to close up to 5-4. Her strong serving then came to her rescue as she moved a set ahead.

Glatch, who failed to win a single match in the US hardcourt season prior to Flushing Meadows, held serve to open the second set, but two games later she was broken as Williams stepped up the pace. There was no way back for Glatch as Williams romped away to a comfortable win. Williams has won three of the last four Grand Slam titles and a fourth US Open win here in two weeks time would give her 12 in total, equalling the mark of her childhood idol Billie-Jean King.
INTERESTING STATISTIC: Serena has NEVER lost in the 1st Round of a Major - She's a perfect 40-0.

August 30, 2009

US Open - 1st Round (Monday)

1st Round
[2] Serena Williams (USA) vs Alexa Glatch (USA)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 1-0
3rd Match Of The Day at Arthur Ashe Stadium

August 29, 2009

2009 Arthur Ashe Kids' Day Photos

Venus and Serena: 2008 U.S. Open Quarterfinal

The TENNIS Channel is scheduled to air the blockbuster 2008 U.S. Open quarterfinal between Venus and Serena Williams on Sunday, August 30th at 12:30AM (EST). The evening crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium was treated to a performance with endless plot twists – Venus led both sets, 5-3, yet ended up losing both in tiebreakers (7-6, 7-6). The main reason for this turbulence was Serena, who saved all 10 set points she faced, including eight in an incredibly tense second set.

Serena participates in Arthur Ashe Kids' Day

Arthur Ashe Kids' Day will air on the CBS network Sunday, August 30th, at 12pm EST. This year's lineup includes funnyman Will Ferrell and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks who will sing her new hit "Battlefield." Also performing are Pop Rock music rising stars Honor Society and Usher protégé Justin Bieber. There will be exciting tennis matches and contests with former US Open champions Serena Williams, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova plus Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters, James Blake and Novak Djokovic. The popular tennis and music festival, which includes interactive games, musical entertainment and tennis clinics, will be hosted by television personalities Susie Castillo and Quddus.

U.S. Open: Serena seeks 12th Major Title

In one breath, Serena Williams says she considers herself the favorite at the U.S. Open. In the next, she says she doesn't want to be touted as the woman to beat at the year's last Grand Slam tournament, which begins Monday. At one point, Williams says she has no target number for major titles. At another point, she says she really was hoping to surpass Monica Seles' nine major singles championships and now that Williams has 11, she wants to catch Billie Jean King's career count of 12.

"I used to never look at numbers. But the more I get, the more numbers I look at," Williams said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I want to get back to where I don't look at numbers." Perhaps Williams is simply saying the first thing that comes to mind. Perhaps she's really not sure how she feels. Or perhaps she's working on her acting chops during interviews and news conferences. This much is clear: There have been two very different tennis players who have shown up under the name "Serena Williams" the past 12 months.

Check out these statistics dating to the start of the 2008 U.S. Open:

Grand Slam Tournament Serena Williams is 25-1, for a .962 winning percentage, with three titles at the past four major championships, including a year ago at Flushing Meadows; she is 9-1 against top-10 players at majors in that span.

Lesser Tournament Serena Williams is 21-11 (plus one walkover), for a .656 winning percentage, with zero titles at her past 12 nonmajor events; she is 3-5 against top-10 players at nonmajors in that span. The contrast in numbers is far less pronounced for older sister Venus, but she, too, tends to play her best on the sport's biggest stages. Venus ranks second to Serena among active women with seven major titles.

"The Williams sisters just take it to another level when they are playing the Slams," observed Martina Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles. "The Williams sisters look at it as an opportunity," added Navratilova, part of Tennis Channel's announcing team at the U.S. Open. "They don't put that much pressure on themselves when they play the other tournaments. It's sort of like warmups. "Compare that to someone such as Dinara Safina, who is No. 1 in the WTA rankings and seeded No. 1 at the U.S. Open, ahead of No. 2 Serena Williams and No. 3 Venus Williams. Safina is 0-3 in Grand Slam finals over her career; she has, however, won three other titles in 2009.

Ask the younger Williams about the key to defending her championship at Flushing Meadows and she insists that she can't allow any shred of pressure to creep into her thoughts. "I have to be really relaxed. Last year, I was super relaxed, and super calm. I just enjoyed every moment," she said. "That's where I need to be again. "Williams certainly knows what it takes to succeed at major tournaments, but there have been dips in performance at those events, too. For a while, she drew criticism for spending too much time pursuing outside interests and not enough time honing her game. On the other hand, Williams' forays into fashion and acting helped turn her into something of a brand.

She is not merely a sports star; she is a celebrity. That's why she was invited to unveil a wax figure of herself Thursday at Madame Tussauds New York. That's why she was asked to make a guest appearance on Shaquille O'Neal's reality TV show. That's why she has an autobiography coming out next week. That's why she has nearly 1 million followers on Twitter. That said, Williams is at her best - and is as good as it gets - when she has a racket in her hand, particularly at Grand Slam tournaments these days. "I'm happy where I'm at, and I feel like I have several hundred more years to play," said Williams, who turns 28 in September. "Hopefully I'll win more."

Serena throws pitch @ Yankee Stadium

Serena threw the ceremonial first pitch before the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox baseball game Friday, August 28th at Yankee Stadium in New York.

August 28, 2009

Serena talks fashion w/

No All-Williams Final at U.S. Open

Serena and Venus Williams have met in eight Grand Slam finals, but the U.S. Open won't feature No. 9. The No. 2-seeded Serena and No. 3 Venus are in the same half of the U.S. Open field announced Thursday, meaning they could only face each other in the semifinals.

“It is a shame. They're the people to beat. They rise to the occasion at the big ones, especially Serena,” John McEnroe, three-time U.S. Open champion and part of the tournament announcing team, said. In July, Serena beat Venus at Wimbledon for her 11th Grand Slam singles title — four more than Venus owns. Serena also leads 6-2 in major finals and 11-10 overall in professional matches.

Serena's 2009 U.S. Open Dress

Serena Williams attends the Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and John McEnroe Challenge on the streets of Manhattan on August 26, 2009 in New York City.

Roger and Serena: 2008 US Open Champions

Defending U.S. Open Champions, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, pose for photographs during a news conference to promote the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Serena's been waxed @ Madame Tussauds

Serena Williams unveiled her life-sized wax figure in New York City at Madame Tussauds on Thursday, August 27. Serena participated in the design of her wax figure by getting with the Madame Tussauds studio artists in Paris at the French Open. The wax figure is wearing a replica of the outfit which Serena wore during the 2004 U.S. Open, a Nike denim tennis skirt, with a black Nike sports top and sports shoes.

Williams Sisters @ DIRECTV / ESPN EVENT

Venus and Serena Williams attend the DIRECTV ESPN US Open Experience promoting DIRECTV’s mosaic coverage of the US Open. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for DirecTV)

DIRECTV / ESPN U.S. Open Experience (pics)

Serena gives Luke Jensen a "high five" (Murphy Jensen in background)

Serena and John McEnroe

Serena and Murphy Jensen

Serena and John McEnroe

August 26, 2009

Williams Sisters and Miami Dolphins

Serena and Venus Williams pose for a photo while displaying their Miami Dolphins jerseys after it was announced the tennis stars had become minority owners of the NFL football team, during a news conference in Davie, Fla., Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009. No. 11 for Venus, No. 89 for Serena. EleVen is Venus' clothing line; 8-9 is the birthdate of their half sister, Yetunde Price, who died in a 2003 shooting. The sisters are the first female African-Americans to hold an ownership stake in an NFL franchise, the Dolphins said. The league has no African-American majority owner.

We are thrilled to have Venus and Serena join the Dolphins as limited partners," said owner, Stephen Ross. "They are among the most admired athletes in the world and have become global ambassadors for the game of tennis. Their addition to our ownership group further reflects our commitment to connect with aggressively and embrace the great diversity that makes South Florida a multicultural gem."

August 25, 2009

Serena's on The Tom Joyner Morning Show (8/26)

Serena sent out a Twitter Update ("tweet") stating that she will be on the Tom Joyner Morning (Radio) Show on Wednesday, August 26th at 5:27am CT (6:27am ET). Serena will be discussing her new book, "ON THE LINE." Tune in! The book has a release date of September 1st but I have seen it already being sold in bookstores, namely Barnes and Noble.

Serena's on SHAQ vs. (TONIGHT)

EPISODE DESCRIPTION: "Shaq VS Misty & Kerri" Shaquille O'Neal will challenge women's beach volleyball gold medal Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh to a 2-on-2 match at the Hermosa Beach volleyball courts in Hermosa Beach, CA, in the next installment of "Shaq VS," the new competition series starring NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal, airing TUESDAY, AUGUST 25 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Coached by Olympic gold medalists in beach volleyball Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, and teamed with Rogers, who is the 2005-2008 AVP Best Defensive Player, Shaq, given his height and leaping ability, will be a formidable force. In addition Shaq will visit and train with his friend, Serena Williams, to understand the psyche of female athletes and prepare himself for the final volleyball challenge that will not have a handicap and will be played straight up to the finish.

August 24, 2009

DIRECTV / ESPN US Open Experience 8/26

On the eve of the year’s last grand slam tennis event, the 2009 US Open, Bryant Park will be the epicenter of the tennis world when DIRECTV and ESPN roll out the hard courts for the DIRECTV ESPN US Open Experience – a free tennis exhibition and USTA clinic featuring some of the biggest names in the sport that will be open to the public.

The lawn will be transformed into two regulation US Open tennis courts for exhibition matches between USTA pros, including Venus and Serena Williams; former pros – turned TV commentators the Jensen brothers; the World’s current No. 1 Men’s doubles team the Bryan brothers; and James Blake. Between 9am – 10am and 1pm – 4pm, park visitors will have the chance to play against local pros for a chance to take on James Blake and another tennis star.

Tennis Magazine: U.S. Open Preview - Serena

She's won three out of the last four majors. How long can Serena Williams stay dominant?

Serena Williams is the best player in the world, no matter what the rankings say. How long can that continue? Considering Williams' weak-minded competition, it could be a very long time.

Williams is about to turn 28, and there isn't a young player on the tour who has the physical skills, mental fortitude or nasty disposition it will take to displace her at the top. The defending U.S. Open Champion and the best player of her generation has proven time and again that desire is her biggest weapon, and that when she wants something, no one can take it from her, not even her older sister. She remains, after all these years in the sport, without equal.

The one true challenge for Williams is her fitness. She has stayed healthy this season and played a full schedule outside of the majors, yet she clearly isn't in the same condition she was back in 2002, when it took a miracle to beat her. For now, she looks to be in good enough shape to keep three-quarters of the major hardware in her possession for another year. After that, who knows. One thing is for sure though: If a 32-year-old Serena Williams wants to make herself into a champion again, she will. (Article by: Tom Perrotta - p. 36 / Tennis Magazine).

August 23, 2009

Dementieva defeats Serena at Rogers Cup

Elena Dementieva reached the Toronto Cup final with a clinical 7-6 6-1 win over world number two Serena Williams on Saturday to avenge a pair of grand slam defeats by the American. Williams, who dashed Dementieva’s dreams on her way to winning this year’s Australian Open and Wimbledon titles, was swept off the court by the fourth seed.

“I was really waiting for this match after Wimbledon,” Dementieva told reporters. “It’s always interesting to play Serena, especially looking for revenge after Wimbledon. “No matter if I’m playing a grand slam or another tournament I’m expecting a tough match against her. “I realize I have to play my best or I’m going to be out.”

The match produced little of the drama seen in their memorable Wimbledon semi-final, which Williams won after an 8-6 third-set thriller. Second seed Williams, who had faced only one break point all week, was broken three times in the opening set, which was won 7-2 in a tiebreak by Dementieva. In a stunning collapse, Williams was 5-3 up and serving for the first set but only held her serve once more in the match.

“I probably should have won but I didn’t,” said Williams. “I can’t say I was especially feeling the fire, the burn, but obviously I wanted to do well. “I really hope to have another go at her at the U.S. Open because I learned a lot from today’s match.”

August 21, 2009

Rogers Cup: Semifinal Saturday

[2] Serena Williams (USA) vs [4] Elena Dementieva (RUS)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 6-3
2nd Match Of The Day on Stadium Court
Not before 3:00pm EST

Serena sails into Rogers Cup Semis

Second-seeded Serena Williams was an easy quarterfinal winner Friday at the $2 million Rogers Cup, a U.S. Open tune-up. The former world No. 1 Williams waltzed past Czech qualifier Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-2 in 57 minutes on the hardcourts at Rexall Centre. The powerful American swatted seven aces and never faced a break point en route to victory.

CHECK OUT THESE STATS: Serena served at 71% for the match; won 83% of her 1st serves, 100% of her 2nd serves and was 75% on break point conversion!

The reigning Wimbledon, Australian Open and U.S. Open champion Williams will face fourth-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva in Saturday's semifinals.

August 20, 2009

Rogers Cup: Quarterfinal (Friday)

[2] Serena Williams (USA) vs Lucie Safarova (CZE)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 2-0
3rd Match Of The Day on Stadium Court

Serena defeats Alona Bondarenko at Rogers Cup

Serena Williams defeated Alona Bondarenko 6-1, 6-4 in third round action at the Rogers Cup and advances to the quarterfinals. Williams will face the winner of the match between Zheng Jie and Lucie Safarova. The second-ranked Williams is the highest-seeded player left in the tournament after No. 1 Dinara Safina lost Wednesday. Serena won 79% of her first serves and 55% of her second serves. She also had 3 aces to match her 3 double faults. Serena converted 4 of 10 break point opportunities and was broken once.

August 19, 2009

Rogers Cup: 3rd Round (Thursday)

3rd Round
[2] Serena Williams (USA) vs Alona Bondarenko (UKR)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 1-0
2nd Match Of The Day on Stadium Court
Not before 1:00pm

Serena wins opening match at Rogers Cup


Other seeds faltered, but Serena Williams served notice she's serious about the Rogers Cup. Williams made short work of Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-3, 6-2 in an evening match tonight in the $2 million tournament the Rexall Centre at York University. Despite the lopsided score, it was an entertaining match as Shvedova put up some fight early in the second set. But as if to put an exclamation point on her ultimate domination, Williams finished a glorious running forehand down the line winner with splits any gymnast would be proud of, pumping her arm when the shot landed to put her up 5-2 in the second set.