October 31, 2009

Sony Ericsson Championships - FINAL (Sunday)

[2] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [7] Venus Williams (USA)
Serena leads Head-To-Head 12-10
Match airs on ESPN2 @ 10am EST
Match airs on TENNIS Channel 2pm EST

Williams Sisters lose SEC Doubles Semifinal

(Walking Wounded)

Venus and Serena Williams lost their semifinal match to Spaniards Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 2-6, 6-4, 10-8 after a champions tiebreaker. The Williams Sisters will play each other for the Sony Ericsson Championship title tomorrow. Will Serena win the title for the 2nd time or will Venus?

Serena in SEC Final as Wozniacki retires

Serena Williams, 2001 Sony Ericsson champion and new world No.1 advanced to the SEC Final when Caroline Wozniacki was forced to retire. Serena took the first set 6-4 and Wozniacki was up 1-0 in the second set before calling it quits. Danish teenager Wozniacki came into the tournament carrying a left thigh strain struggled with cramps in the round-robin stage. A stomach strain forced to her to quit. "Caroline is a great fighter and a new face on the tour," said Serena, who has now won all four matches here including a three-set group win over her sister. "I wasn't playing great. I think it's hard to play well against a player who's injured and is so nice. She's been struggling throughout the entire tournament," Serena said. "She's just an incredible fighter to come out here today and put up an effort."

Serena played her semi-final with a tightly-bandaged left thigh. With fitness worries on her mind, Serena earlier pulled out of next weekend's Fed Cup final between the US and Italy. Wozniacki, the US Open runner-up, admitted it was a match too far. "I felt pain in my stomach muscle. I also had problems serving. But today after a while, the serve went over and also when I was hitting just regular groundstrokes, I started feeling it," she said. "So it was just too much for me to keep playing."

Serena withdraws from Fed Cup

WHITE PLAINS, New York (AP) - The U.S. Tennis Association says Serena Williams has pulled out of the team that will face Italy in the Fed Cup final. USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier tells The Associated Press on Saturday that Williams informed United States captain Mary Joe Fernandez she won't play in the Nov. 7-8 matches. Vania King replaces Williams on the roster, joining surprise U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin, Liezel Huber and Alexa Glatch. Fernandez had announced this week Williams would play Fed Cup for the first time since 2007.

Williams leads active women with 11 Grand Slam singles titles and is unbeaten in Fed Cup singles play. She is in this weekend's semifinals at the season-ending WTA championships in Doha, Qatar.

October 30, 2009

Sony Ericsson Championships - Doubles Semi

Semifinal Saturday
Venus/Serena (USA) vs Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez
4th Match of the Day on Center Court
Match airs on the TENNIS Channel at 1:30pm EST
* (Match time may be subject to change) *

Sony Ericsson Championships - Semifinal

Semifinal Saturday
[2] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [4] Carolina Wozniacki (DEN)
Serena leads Head-To-Head 1-0
3rd Match of the Day on Center Court
Match airs on the TENNIS Channel @ 11:30am EST

October 29, 2009

Serena demolishes Dementieva in SEC RR3

Serena Williams clinched a spot in the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Championships after beating Elena Dementieva 6-2, 6-4 for her third straight win in the group phase. Williams was broken to trail 2-1 in the first set but then won seven straight games to take control of the match. She converted her third match point when Dementieva sent the ball into the net. Serena has already secured the year-end No. 1 ranking after Dinara Safina pulled out of the tournament with a back injury.

This was by far Serena's most definitive match of the three that she has played. She struck the ball with such authority and power that the first set was over before Dementieva knew it. Serena's serves and returns were jaw dropping and she played an overall clean game. Her movement was phenomenal, even though her left thigh was heavily taped. The second set was much closer as it appeared Dementieva was slowly coming to terms with Serena's game (which was full of power, precision and purpose). Serena put tremendous pressure on Dementieva's serves and returns. I was truly impressed with Serena for she let her play match her new top notch ranking. Most impressively, in 3 consecutive days Serena defeated French Open Champion - Svetlana Kuznetsova, SEC defending Champion - Venus Williams and Olympic Gold Medalist - Elena Dementieva. Wow!!

Serena's Match Stats:

1st Serve Percentage: 62%
Aces: 6
Double Faults: 1
Winners: 28
Unforced Errors: 13
Break Points Won: 5/10
Match Time: 1hr 34min

October 28, 2009

Day 3: Round Robin - Sony Ericsson Championships

Round Robin - Day 3
[2] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [5] Elena Dementieva (RUS)
Serena leads Head-To-Head 6-4
2nd Match of the Day on Center Court
Matches air on the TENNIS Channel 10am - 4:30pm EST

Serena stops Venus! Dinara withdraws from SEC

Serena defeated Venus and Dinara Safina withdrew from the Championships with a back injury. Safina’s tearful exit after just two games of her first group match against Jelena Jankovic meant 11-times grand slam champion Serena was assured of ending the year as the #1 player in the world for the first time since 2002 (even before she beat sister Venus later in a midnight thriller). Serena’s opening round-robin victory against Svetlana Kuznetsova on Tuesday meant she held a 75-point lead over Safina in the rankings and though the Russian gained 70 just for walking on court against Jankovic, the battle was over.

Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Serena virtually sealed her place in the semi-finals here with a 5-7 ,6-4, 7-6 defeat of Venus to go top of Maroon Group. When told of Safina’s misfortune during a courtside interview, Serena looked genuinely shocked. “It’s a great feeling (to be world number),” the 28-year-old said. “But Dinara is such a great player that she must be really hurt because she never gives up. It’s a shame for the tournament because it would have been great if we had both got through to the final.”

The 22nd career meeting between Serena and Venus was overshadowed by news of Safina’s injury but it still produced some scintillating passages of play with both players at full tilt throughout the two-hour-41-minute contest. In a topsy turvy decider Venus stormed back from 5-3 down and had a matchpoint at 6-5 only for Serena to force a tiebreak. A stray cat briefly broke the tension in the tiebreak but it was Serena who showed her claws at the death, punching a magnificent backhand down the line to earn two match points before converting at the first opportunity with an ace. The Williams sisters' first match of the year came in Dubai, where Venus won to go ahead 10-9 in the rivalry; but Serena has won three in a row since then, at Miami, Wimbledon and now here, to surge ahead in the series, 12-10.

October 27, 2009

Day 2: Round Robin - Sony Ericsson Championships

Round Robin - Day 2
[2] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [4] Venus Williams (USA)
Serena leads Head-To-Head 11-10
3rd Match of the Day on Center Court
Matches air on the TENNIS Channel 10am - 4:30pm EST

I think Serena will win tomorrow," Svetlana Kuznetsova said. "You never know what will happen when they play each other, but probably Serena."

"I'm not playing Venus tomorrow, I'm playing an opponent," Serena said. "That's how I want to look at it. Just another opponent who wants to beat me."

Serena to lead US Fed Cup Team

Serena Williams is back on the U.S. Fed Cup team for the first time since 2007. Surprise U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin is also on the roster announced Tuesday by the U.S. Tennis Association for the Nov. 7-8 final against host Italy. Williams leads active women with 11 Grand Slam singles titles and is 4-0 in Fed Cup singles matches over her career.

Her sister Venus is not on the team. Top-ranked doubles player Liezel Huber and Alexa Glatch round out the roster. U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez says she strongly believes her team can win the Fed Cup title, something the country hasn't done since 2000.

Serena defeats Svetlana Kuznetsova at SEC

DOHA, Qatar (AP) - Serena Williams overcame Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (6), 7-5 in the group stage of the Sony Ericsson Championships on Tuesday, improving her chance of ending the year as No. 1. Williams saved two set points in the tiebreaker despite a sore right ankle and made the decisive break for 6-5 in the second before serving out the match at love. "I really wanted it for myself," Williams said. "I just let go and relaxed." Serena connected on 11 aces and 0 double faults.

Kuznetsova, the French Open champion, led 6-4 in the first set tiebreaker but Williams erased the first set point with a return winner and the second with an ace — after a Hawkeye challenge to overturn the line judge's call that the serve was out. After trading breaks early in the second, Kuznetsova had a game point on serve at 5-5 but double-faulted twice to give Williams a break opportunity, which the Wimbledon and Australian Open champ converted with a return winner. Williams played with tape on both ankles, and needed to have the right one treated and retaped after the first set. "I rolled it in the tiebreaker, and I was like 'Oh no!"' Williams said. "But it turned out well."

This was Serena's third time playing Svetlana this year. Serena previously defeated Svetlana at the Australian Open and lost to Kuznetsova at the French Open. Serena will play her sister Venus on Wednesday and can secure a spot in the semifinals with a win. Aside from a winner's check of up to $1.55 million, Dinara Safina and No. 2 Serena Williams are also vying for the year-end No. 1 ranking. Safina's margin is so slim that the player who performs best here will end 2009 atop the list.

October 26, 2009

Day 1: Round Robin - Sony Ericsson Championships

Round Robin - Day 1
[2] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [3] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
Serena leads Head-To-Head 5-2
3rd Match of the Day on Center Court
Matches air on the TENNIS Channel 10am - 4:30pm EST

October 25, 2009

Sony Ericsson Championships TV Schedule

Tuesday, Oct. 27th - TENNIS Channel (Round Robin) 10am - 4:30pm (LIVE)
Wednesday, Oct. 28th - TENNIS Channel (Round Robin) 10am - 4:30pm (LIVE)
Thursday, Oct. 29th - TENNIS Channel (Round Robin) 10am - 4:30pm (LIVE)
Friday, Oct. 30th - TENNIS Channel (Round Robin) 10am - 4:30pm (LIVE)

Saturday, Oct. 31st - TENNIS Channel (Doubles Semi) 7:30am - 8:30am (LIVE)
Saturday, Oct. 31st - TENNIS Channel (Singles & Doubles Semi) 9:30am - 3:30pm

Sunday, Nov. 1st - TENNIS Channel (Doubles Final) 12pm - 1:30pm (LIVE)
Sunday, Nov. 1st - ESPN2 (Singles Final) 12pm - 2pm (Taped)
Sunday, Nov. 1st - TENNIS Channel (Singles Final) 2pm - 4pm (Taped)


* All matches repeat nightly on The TENNIS Channel (8pm - 2am) *

Doha: The Elite 8

Dinara / Caroline Wozniacki / Victoria Azarenka / Jelena Jankovic

Serena / Svetlana Kuznetsova / Elena Dementieva / Venus Williams

FORMAT: The singles event at the Sony Ericsson Championships, which features eight players, begins as a round robin event, with four players in each pool. Over the first four days of competition, each player meets the other three players in their pool, with the Top 2 in each pool of four moving on to the semifinals. The first-placed player in the White Group meets the second-placed player in the Maroon Group, and vice versa. The winners of each semifinal meet in the championship match.The doubles event at the Sony Ericsson Championships, which features four teams, is a single elimination draw, beginning with the semifinal round.

Kim (Clijsters) speaks on Serena / US Open Semi

The tirade against the lineswoman was more than six weeks ago and Serena Williams' future is still undecided, but her opponent in that infamous US Open semi-final, Kim Clijsters, thinks the persecution should stop. Clijsters would not be drawn on the merits of the foot-fault rule or comment on the ITF's investigation into Williams' behaviour, which could see her suspended from one or two Grand Slam events. The next major on the calendar is the 2010 Australian Open (January 18-31) and Williams is the defending champion.

Clijsters knows she and the American are now inextricably linked in one of tennis's most bizarre moments. But she does not want to see her friend hounded over a moment of madness and frustration, for which she has already paid a price, both personally and financially. "I really hope people can move on from talking about the incident at the end of the match, not only for my sake but Serena's too," Clijsters told The Australian.

"She's a great champion. You don't win 11 Grand Slams in singles unless you are and, apart from the ending, we played some terrific tennis that day. "I always enjoyed playing her. I always count her as a friend. She's a very funny girl in the locker room." It is that kind of grace and sense of fair play in Clijsters' make-up that has endeared her to fans worldwide.

October 24, 2009

Q&A w/ Stacey Allaster

Q & A With Stacey Allaster (Chairwoman and chief executive of the WTA Tour)
By: Christopher Clarey

Q. I realize Serena’s situation with the incident at the United States Open is continuing. It’s still being investigated by the International Tennis Federation, but do you believe a potential one-Slam suspension is draconian?

A. I don’t want to comment on what decision they might make. But what I will say is, look, Serena Williams is a great champion, and she’s been a terrific ambassador and role model for the sport of women’s tennis for her entire career. And the U.S. Open situation is an isolated incident for which Serena has acknowledged that it was a mistake and she has apologized for it.

October 22, 2009

Serena to play Barbados Tennis Exhibition

Eleven-time Grand Slam champion and world number one tennis player Serena Williams will play in Barbados next month at the Wildey Gymnasium for the country’s biggest ever exhibition game. Williams will be joined by US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki, the world number five in a mixed doubles game with two locally-based players. Details of the high-profiled event were released by director of the Barbados Invitational Tennis Exhibition (BITE) Barry Gale today during a press conference confirming the participation of the two top players at the Sugar Hill Resort in Westmoreland.

Titled “Tennis pon de rock”, the two-day event, beginning on November 28, opens with a fantasy camp for Barbados’ best junior players with the two tennis stars before they take the court later that day to play in their last singles match of the season. “The two will definitely be going for it even though it’s an exhibition,” noted event organiser Kodi Lewis, who expects both women to play at a high level. “There’s always that level of competitiveness, even in an exhibition setting, so it should be highly competitive.” Tickets for both days’ events are expected to go on sale from this weekend.

Serena relinquishes #1 ranking on Monday

You may be asking, "what in the world is going on?" The #1 ranking seems like that fruitcake that gets passed around during Christmas, it looks nice but no one really wants it. Let me explain why Serena will lose her current #1 ranking. As you may or may not know, Serena has a 5 point ranking lead over Dinara Safina. As of Monday, October 26th, the points earned during the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships will be removed from the ranking total.

So what happened during last year's Championships? Here goes:

During last year's season ending Championships, Dinara lost each of her three matches. She was defeated by Elena Dementieva 6-2, 6-4, beaten by Venus Williams 7-5, 6-3 and blitzed by Serena Williams 6-4, 6-1. Even with these losses (and not one win during the entire SEC), Dinara gained 210 WTA Ranking Points. On the other hand, Serena defeated Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-1 but lost to Venus Williams in Round 1 5-7, 6-1, 6-0. Serena gained 370 points towards her WTA Ranking.

So there you have it. Serena has a larger point total being removed from her WTA ranking as of Monday, which allows Safina to regain the #1 ranking. That being said, the race to end the year at #1 is still very close and very much alive. Depending on the other's performance, we might see yet another change in the #1 ranking. Will Safina get comfortable in the WTA Penthouse or will Serena evict her?

Serena on Jay Leno Show (10/20/09)

Serena to play Advanta WTT Smash Hits

Serena Williams is bringing her top-ranked game to Baton Rouge

Williams, who reclaimed the number one world female tennis ranking two weeks ago, will play in Advanta WTT Smash Hits, a charity event co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King, on Dec. 8 at LSU's Maravich Assembly Center. Event officials also announced the addition of rising U.S. standout Devin Britton, who captured the 2009 NCAA singles title as a freshman at the University of Mississippi.

Williams and Britton join an all-star lineup that includes Andy Roddick, Lindsay Davenport, Anna Kournikova, Tommy Haas, Liezel Huber and local favorite Chanda Rubin of Lafayette. The 17th annual Advanta WTT Smash Hits is a charity tennis event that raises funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and Baton Rouge area AIDS charities. Captained by King and John, the Smash Hits players will form two teams and play the World TeamTennis format. John will also participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event. Haas and Roddick are expected to face off in the evening’s men’s singles showdown.

Reserved tickets are $30, $65 and $100, and are available through the LSU Box Office or by calling 800-960-8587. Tickets can be ordered online at SMASH HITS.

October 16, 2009

Serena's on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (Tonight)

Serena will be a guest on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE tonight. Other guests include Dr. Drew Pinsky (Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew) and musical guest Eric Church. Check your local listings for time and station.

October 15, 2009

Serena to play Sydney International in January

Women's world number one Serena Williams is almost certain to play next year's edition of the Sydney International. Williams remains the subject of an International Tennis Federation investigation into her outburst at the US Open in August. But tournament director Craig Watson says he expects the reigning Australian Open champion to be cleared to play. "I don't think Serena would do that again," he said.

"I think that was an unfortunate incident and we're looking forward to having her play in Sydney again. "At the moment we're focused on her coming. I've been in communication with her people as late as yesterday and all indications are from them that they're on track to arrive in Sydney."

Williams will be joined in the women's draw by defending Sydney champion and world number five Elena Dementieva of Russia and world number eight Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. "Sydney is a good place to kick off the year," Williams said. "It's a great warm-up for the Australian Open."

October 14, 2009

More TV: Serena on Conan O'Brien TONIGHT

Serena is scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien tonight. Other guests include actor Ken Jeong and musical guest Rascal Flats. Check your local listings for time and station.

October 13, 2009

Serena to appear on Tavis Smiley Show

Serena will be a guest on the Tavis Smiley Show on Wednesday, October 14, 2009. Check your local listings for time and station.

October 12, 2009

She's BACK....(at #1)

As of today, Serena has secured the keys to the WTA Penthouse for the fourth time in her illustrious career, she's back at #1. Serena has replaced Dinara Safina, who held the position for 25 consecutive weeks since April 20. Williams is spending her 73rd week (overall) at #1, having held the top ranking for 57 weeks from July 8, 2002 to August 10, 2003; four weeks from September 8, 2008 to October 6, 2008; and 11 weeks from February 2 to April 19, 2009. Safina's second round exit at the China Open gave Serena an opportunity to recapture No.1, which she secured by defeating Ekaterina Makarova in the second round.

"2009 has been a very good season for me during which I enjoyed some of the best wins of my career," Williams said. "Attaining the world No.1 ranking makes me want to work even harder and is ultimately the icing on the cake." "Serena has achieved great results this year, impressing everyone with her gritty performances, especially at the Grand Slams. Regaining the world No.1 ranking has been a goal of Serena's and she has worked very hard all year. I congratulate her on achieving this feat for the fourth time in her career," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Tour.

The 28-year-old American has had a stellar 2009 season, winning two Grand Slam singles titles (Australian Open and Wimbledon) and posting solid results at the other two Slams, falling to eventual champions at both (to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros and to Kim Clijsters in the semifinals of the US Open). She held No.1 for 11 weeks earlier this year from February 2 to April 19. A finalist at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Williams has nine wins over Top 10 opponents this season and is the Tour's prize money leader for 2009 with $4,586,486 (through October 5).

Earlier this year in February, Williams became the first professional female athlete to eclipse the $23-million mark in any professional sports league and surpassed Lindsay Davenport ($22,144,735) as the all-time prize money leader on the Tour. In addition to her success in singles, Williams has also won four doubles titles this year with sister Venus, including three Grand Slams (Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open) as well at Stanford. Williams turned professional at the age of 14 in November 1995 and played her first tournament in Quebec City, Canada.

In her 14-year career she has won every major title at least once for a total of 11 Grand Slam singles titles, becoming only the fifth woman, other than Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf, to achieve such a feat. Of the current players, only her older sister, Venus Williams, comes close to such an achievement, with seven Grand Slam singles titles to her name. Williams has won four Australian Opens (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009), one French Open (2002), three Wimbledons (2002, 2003, 2009) and three US Opens (1999, 2002, 2008). Also, Williams has won two Olympic golds, playing doubles with Venus at Sydney in 2000 and at Beijing in 2008, and is the owner of 34 singles and 17 doubles titles.

October 8, 2009

Nadia knocks Serena out of China Open

World number two Williams battled back several times but was unable to overcome Russian 13th seed Nadia Petrova, who won in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5). The 28-year-old Williams looked lethargic in the first set, with her ground strokes sailing long and her serve broken twice to hand the 27-year-old Russian the early lead. But the American bounced back in the second, putting a bit more pace on her shots and dictating play from the backcourt to gain a break late in the set and even the match.

In the deciding third set, Williams missed a golden opportunity to pull ahead at 4-4, blowing three break points on Petrova's serve. But she cranked up her serve to send it to a tiebreak. Petrova took an early 5-2 lead, but Williams battled back one final time before the Russian could close it out. Despite the loss, Williams will nevertheless take over the number one ranking from Russia's
Dinara Safina when the new WTA list is issued on Monday.

October 7, 2009

China Open: 3rd Round (Thursday)

3rd Round
[2] Serena Williams (USA) vs Nadia Petrova (RUS)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 6-1
5th Match of the Day on Center Court
Not before 7:00pm (7:00am EST)

October 6, 2009

Serena: "I have earned the #1 ranking"

BEIJING, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Serena Williams was in no doubt who deserved to top the women’s tennis rankings after wresting the number one spot back from Dinara Safina at the China Open on Tuesday. The American had made no secret of her incredulity that Safina, without a grand slam title to her name, should hold the top spot ahead of the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion.

The Russian’s loss to the 226th-ranked Chinese wildcard Zhang Shuai on Monday evening left Serena with the straightforward task of beating world number 55
Ekaterina Makarova, which she did with ease. “I think I’ve earned it,” the 28-year-old told reporters after her 6-3 6-2 victory. “I won two grand slams, and I should have got more. But you know what, I’m just excited to have those two, which is great. “I just played consistent for all the year. I felt like especially the beginning of the year I did well. I was bothered a little bit by injury but I kept fighting. “I kept showing up and doing the best I could do. Sometimes there were unfortunate losses, but I really tried. And I think at end of the day that’s what matters.”

Serena has made frequent jokes about what she thought was the unfairness of ranking, most notably after her Wimbledon triumph. So did she feel vindicated that she will be back at the top of the list when they are issued on Oct. 12? “I definitely feel better,” she said. “I’d be lying if I sat here and said I didn’t. “But I just feel like I would say the ranking will come, you know, I’m not focus on being number one. And I would rather have won the titles that I have won this year, as opposed to have the ranking. “But fortunately now, for next week at least, I have it.”