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Bank of the West CA; Citi Open Washington DC

Serena Defeats Kerber in BOTW Classic Final, Registers No.61 Career Title August 3 2014 Palo Alto, CA – World No.1 Serena Williams came back from 1-5 down deficit in the first set to rally past Angelique Kerber 7-6(1) 6-3 on Sunday to win the Bank of the West Classic crown.


Things looked dubious for her early on - Angelique Kerber, who was playing on a new breath of life after coming back from match point down to win her semifinal match, jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first set. But Serena Williams wasn't done - she wasn't even done with the set - and not before long she had the final, 7-6(1), 6-3, and her third Bank of the West Classic title.


Williams came into the tournament with some question marks - she was coming off earlier-than-expected losses at both the French Open and Wimbledon, and she was playing her first tournament of the summer hardcourt season. But after winning two of her first three matches back in straight sets, and showing her trademark resolve during her come-from-behind 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over an in-form Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals, there was no doubt that the 17-time Grand Slam champion and former No.1 was back.


Williams not only won her third Bank Of The West Classic title, but also her fourth WTA title of the year, more than anyone else on the tour. It was the 61st WTA title of the World No.1's career.

Kuznetsova Ekes Past Kurumi Nara in Final to Claim Citi Open Title August 3, 2014 Washington DC -  - Svetlana Kuznetsova captured her first WTA title in almost four years on Sunday, defeating WTA Rising Star Kurumi Nara in three sets to capture the Citi Open in Washington DC.


The No.6-seeded Kuznetsova didn't lose a set en route to the final, including in a dominant 6-3, 6-2 victory against No.2-seeded Ekaterina Makarova in the semifinals, and that trend looked like it was going to continue as she won seven straight games from 2-3 to build a 6-3, 3-0 lead against Nara.


Nara had won two of her matches this week from a set down, including rallying from a 6-0 first set blowout to win her semifinal, and she conjured up that same kind of magic again, sneaking out the second set, 6-4, and staying on serve with Kuznetsova through the first nine games of the third set.


But the comeback was silenced as Nara stepped up to serve at 4-5 in the third set. Kuznetsova pounced one last time, breaking Nara quickly and painlessly at 15 to polish off a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 triumph.


Kuznetsova's win put an end to almost four years of not winning a WTA title - her last WTA title came in San Diego on Sunday, August 8, 2010. "It feels like it's been too long," she said. "When you've won Grand Slams, not winning tournaments is hard, but you just keep trying your best every time you play.


The Citi Open is the 14th WTA title of Kuznetsova's career. Two of the former World No.2's WTA titles are Grand Slams, of course - the US Open in 2004 and the French Open in 2009. She has also been to two more Grand Slam finals, the 2006 French Open and 2007 US Open (falling both times to Justine Henin).

Bank of the West Women’s Singles Finals Sunday August 3

1-Serena Williams  beat 3-Angelique Kerber 7-6(1) 6-3


Citi Open Women’s Singles Finals Sunday August 3

6-Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Kurumi Nara  6-3 4-6 6-4

Serena Denies Petkovic, Sets BOTW Classic Final with Kerber August 2 2014 Palo Alto, CA - Not too long after winning a nail-biter against Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals on Friday night, Serena Williams went right back to winning on Saturday afternoon, showing some vintage form to dispatch Andrea Petkovic in the semifinals of the Bank Of The West Classic.


The No.1-seeded Williams rallied from a first set blowout on Friday night to cool off the No.5-seeded Ivanovic, and just 16 hours later she had to take the court again against the No.8-seeded Petkovic.


And early on it looked like maybe she was suffering the effects of the quick turnaround - she wasn't able to break through on the Petkovic serve, neither player losing serve through the first 11 games. And serving at 5-6, Petkovic dug out of a 0-40 hole and got to game point to go to a tie-break.


But that's when Williams pounced, winning three straight points to close out the set, 7-5, then storming through the second set at love, wrapping up a 7-5, 6-0 victory in just an hour and 17 minutes. Awaiting Williams in the final is either No.4 seed Angelique Kerber or Varvara Lepchenko, who played an all-lefty semifinal under the lights. Lepchenko is playing in her first Premier-level semifinal.


In the second semifinal match late Saturday evening, Germany's Angelique Kerber stormed back from the brink to outlast American Varvara Lepchenko 4-6 7-6(4) 6-2. The third-seeded Kerber was down a matchpoint and 4-2 in the tiebreaker before hanging tough to clinch the match after 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Bank of the West Women’s Singles Semifinals Saturday Aug 2

3-Angelique Kerber beat Varvara Lepchenko 4-6 7-6(4) 6-2

1-Serena Williams  beat 8-Andrea Petkovic 7-5 6-0  

Nara Rallies Past Erakovic, Will Play Citi Open Final vs Kuznetsova August 2, 2014 Washington DC - Kurumi Nara pulled off a rare kind of comeback in the semifinals of the Citi Open on Saturday, rallying from a 6-0 first set to reach the final of the International-level event.


For the first half hour it looked like one way traffic for Marina Erakovic. The New Zealander won the first set, 6-0, and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set. But Nara finally got on the board with a break of serve and eventually won six of the next eight games to sneak through the second set, 6-4.


Erakovic had her chances again in the third set, jumping out to another 2-0 lead and, after losing three straight games from there, winning two games of her own, and with Nara falling behind 0-30 on her service game at 3-4, she knew it would take one last momentum shift to pull the match out. And that's just what came - Nara conjured up that momentum shift, reeling off 12 points in a row to run away with it at the end, closing out the two-hour-and-six-minute marathon, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.


Erakovic had won one of their previous meetings by a 6-0, 6-0 scoreline before, and that entered into the young Japanese's mind. Nara is now through to the second WTA final of her young career, having reached her first on the clay of Rio de Janeiro earlier this year - there she defeated Klara Zakopalova for her first WTA title. She'll try to become the sixth Japanese to win multiple WTA titles, after Kazuko Sawamatsu, Etsuko Inoue, Naoko Sawamatsu, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Ai Sugiyama. Date-Krumm leads with eight.


Awaiting Nara in the singles final on Sunday will be No.6 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova who cruised past No.2 seed Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-2

Citi Open Women’s Singles Semifinals Saturday Aug 2

6-Svetlana Kuznetsova beat 2-Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-2

Kurumi Nara beat Marina Erakovic 0-6 6-4 6-4

Day Five

Serena Avoids Upset Try by Ivanovic; Petkovic Trips Venus in BOTW Classic August 1 2014 Palo Alto, CA - Andrea Petkovic edged Venus Williams in a dramatic three-setter on Friday to reach the Bank of The West Classic semifinals. Williams had taken out No.4 seed Victoria Azarenka the night before, and the after-effects of such a tough one seemed to be showing up early in this match, as the No.8-seeded Petkovic built a 6-1, 2-0 lead in less than half an hour. But the seven-time Grand Slam champion - and two-time Bank Of The West Classic champion - finally came alive, winning six of seven games to take the second set, 6-3.


Though she snuck out the second set, Williams still seemed to be playing catch-up in the third - Petkovic jumped out to a 3-1 lead, then Williams caught up to 3-all; Petkovic again jumped out to a 5-3 lead, then Williams caught up to 5-3. Petkovic's next burst gave her the match, though, as she won the next two games to finally close the former No.1 out after an hour and 49 minutes, 6-1, 3-6, 7-5. Next up for Petkovic is No.1 seed Serena Williams or No.5 seed Ana Ivanovic, who played later.


Earlier in the day an all-lefty semifinal was set, with Angelique Kerber and Varvara Lepchenko dominating a pair of WTA Rising Stars in straight sets. The No.3-seeded Kerber was the first to move through, breaking Garbiñe Muguruza in all seven of her service games - and allowing her only nine points in those seven service games - en route to a comprehensive 6-2, 6-1 victory in 56 minutes.


Lepchenko needed even less time on court, beating fellow American - and qualifier - Sachia Vickery in just 51 minutes for her 400th career match win, 6-1, 6-0. Lepchenko is now through to the second WTA semifinal of her career, her first coming at Seoul in 2012, and because Seoul was an International-level event and this is a Premier-level event, this is the best result of the American veteran's career.


In a late match, World No.1 and top-seed Serena Williams avoided an upset after rallying past No.5 seed Ana Ivanovic 2-6 6-3 7-5 in almost two hours of highly entertaining match. The 17-time Grand Slam winner served for the match at 5-4 but the former World No.1 Serb broke back to level at 5-5 in the third. Williams again immediately broke Ivanovic in the eleventh game then served out the match to book a place in the semifinals against her sisters conqueror Petkovic.

Makarova, Kuznetsova, Nara, Erakovic Complete Citi Open Semi-final Slate August 1, 2014 Washington DC - Kurumi Nara won an all-WTA Rising Star battle against Kristina Mladenovic to reach the Citi Open semifinals, where she will take on talented New Zealander Marina Erakovic.


Mladenovic, who had taken out No.1 seed Lucie Safarova earlier in the tournament, came out firing, breaking at love in the third game of the match en route to an early 3-1 lead. But Nara, who also took out one of the favorites earlier in the week - No.7 seed Madison Keys - went into overdrive from there, winning 11 of the next 12 games to cruise through in just an hour and 14 minutes, 6-3, 6-1.


Next up for Nara will be Erakovic, who ended the run of another WTA Rising Star, Bojana Jovanovski, reeling off six straight games from 3-4 in the first set to build a 6-4, 3-0 lead and never really looking back, eventually making it past the hard-hitting young Serb in an hour and 20 minutes, 6-4, 6-4.


The other semifinal will feature two of the four best Russians on the WTA - Ekaterina Makarova and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The No.6-seeded Kuznetsova was the first to advance though she didn't even have to hit a single ball, advancing via walkover when Vania King withdrew due to a right hip injury. In the highest-profile quarterfinal match-up of the day, the No.2-seeded Makarova edged No.5-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a one-hour, 47-minute two-setter, 7-6(3), 6-3. Pavlyuchenkova had her chances in the first set - she was two points from winning the set with Makarova serving at 4-5, 30-all, and she was also up 2-0 in the tie-break. But Makarova snuck it out and cruised from there.

Bank of the West Women’s Singles Quarterfinals Friday Aug 1

Varvara Lepchenko beat Sachia Vickery 6-1 6-0

3-Angelique Kerber beat Garbine Muguruza 6-2 6-1

8-Andrea Petkovic beat Venus Williams 6-1 3-6 7-5

1-Serena Williams  beat 5-Ana Ivanovic 2-6 6-3 7-5


Citi Open Women’s Singles Quarterfinals Friday Aug 1

6-Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Vania King w.o.

Kurumi Nara beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 6-1

Marina Erakovic beat Bojana Jovanovski 6-4, 6-4

2-Ekaterina Makarova beat 5-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6(3) 6-3

Day Four

Kerber, Muguruza, Ivanovic Advance in BOTW Classic; Venus Tops Azarenka July 31, 2014 Stanford, CA - No.3 seed Angelique Kerber shook off a forgettable second set to get past CoCo Vandeweghe in the second round of the Bank of the West Classic on Thursday.


First-time Stanford competitor Kerber was kicking off her North American hardcourt swing after a strong grass court season that saw her reach the final at Eastbourne and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, where she beat Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.


Kerber pulled out a tightly contested first set, but then did not even muster a game in the second set. However, with Vandeweghe serving up 40-0 in the first game of the third set, Kerber won five straight points to seize an early break and the momentum. She eventually got up 4-0 and went on to a 7-6(4), 0-6, 6-2 triumph.


In Washington DC, two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was one of three Russians to secure entry into the Citi Open quarterfinals on Thursday. The sixth-seeded Kuznetsova withstood comeback attempts by Kirsten Flipkens in each set, eventually winning eight of the last nine points from 5-5 in the second en route to a 6-4, 7-5 victory.


Next up for 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open champion Kuznetsova is Vania King, who converted on five of seven break points and saved five of six on her own serve in her 6-1, 6-3 defeat of fellow American Christina McHale.


An all-Russian quarterfinal between No.2 seed Ekaterina Makarova and No.5 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was also set. Up a set but down a break at 4-3 in the second set against Lauren Davis, Makarova broke, held and broke again to seal a 6-2, 6-4 triumph that saw her win 25 of 32 first serve points. Pavlyuchenkova broke serve in six of her nine return games and was a 6-3, 6-3 winner against Japanese qualifier Hiroko Kuwata, advancing to her first WTA quarterfinal since winning Paris [Indoors] in February.

Bank of the West Women's Second Round Thursday July 31

5-Ana Ivanovic beat Carol Zhao 6-1 6-1                   

3-Angelique Kerber beat Coco Vandeweghe 7-6(4) 0-6 6-2   

Garbine Muguruza beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-4 6-4

Venus Williams beat Victoria Azarenka 6-4 7-6(2)


Citi Open Women's Singles Second Round Thursday July 31

6-Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 7-5

Vania King beat Christina McHale 6-1, 6-3

2-Ekaterina Makarova beat Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-4

5-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Hiroko Kuwata 6-3, 6-3

Day Three

Serena Resumes Winning Ways; Radswanka Exits; Petkovic Tops Osaka in BOTW Classic July 30, 2014 Palo Alto, CA – - Serena Williams got back on the winning track Wednesday, outslugging WTA Rising Star Karolina Pliskova in her opening match at the Bank Of The West Classic, 7-5, 6-2. Williams' last two tournaments didn't yield the results she wanted - second round at the French, third round at Wimbledon.


Next up is either No.5 seed Ana Ivanovic or Canadian qualifier Carol Zhao, who play Thursday. While the No.1-seeded Williams made it through to the quarterfinals, No.2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska wasn't as fortunate, succumbing to heavy-hitting lefty Varvara Lepchenko in a marathon, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Lepchenko's win over the World No.5 was the American's first ever win over a Top 5 player.


The only other seed in action, No.8 seed Andrea Petkovic, was just too solid for Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka, cruising to a 6-2, 6-2 win. Osaka had beaten Samantha Stosur in the first round.


The only other match saw American qualifier Sachia Vickery come back to beat Monica Puig, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1. The 19-year-old Vickery is now through to the first WTA quarterfinal of her blossoming career.

Mladenovic Beats Townsend; Jovanovski Upsets Cirstea in Citi Open July 30, 2014 Washington DC - The top half of the Citi Open draw was left seedless after WTA Rising Star Bojana Jovanovski outlasted No.8 seed Sorana Cirstea in second round play on Wednesday.


Jovanovski was down a set and a break before turning the tide and winning the second set. She was in control throughout the third set, getting out to a 4-1 lead and breaking serve three times en route to her 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win - her third straight in her head-to-head with the Romanian.


Jovanovski has been a three set specialist of late, winning three of them en route to the Baku final last week, and winning two already this week - having barely edged Olivia Rogowska in her Washington DC opener on Tuesday. Jovanovski's quarterfinal foe will be Marina Erakovic, who was four of five on break points and saved all six on her own serve in her 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Shelby Rogers.


Also setting up a quarterfinal were Kristina Mladenovic and fellow WTA Rising Star Kurumi Nara. Mladenovic was a 6-3, 6-4 winner over American teen Taylor Townsend a day after surprising top-seeded Lucie Safarova. As for Nara, she was down a set and a break against Zarina Diyas, then reeled off 10 straight games before Diyas retired with a right elbow injury down 3-6, 6-2, 4-0.

Bank of the West Women’s Singles Second Round Wed July 30

1-Serena Williams beat Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-2

Varvara Lepchenko beat 2-Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3 3-6 6-4

Sachia Vickery beat Monica Puig 6-7(4) 6-2 6-1

8-Andrea Petkovic beat Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-2

R1: Daniela Hantuchova beat Paula Ormaechea 6-3 6-4


Citi Open Women's Singles Second Round Wed July 30

Bojana Jovanovski beat 8-Sorana Cirstea 4-6 7-5 6-3        

Kristina Mladenovic beat Taylor Townsend 6-3 6-4              

Kurumi Nara beat Zarina Diyas 3-6 6-2 4-0 ret.

Marina Erakovic beat Shelby Rogers 6-2 6-2

Mladenovic Stuns Top-seed Safarova; McHale Upsets Stephens in Citi Open July 29, 2014 Washington DC - Kristina Mladenovic hit her stride in the middle of the second set and went on to defeat No.1 seed Lucie Safarova in the first round of the Citi Open on Tuesday.


Both Safarova and Mladenovic came into this tournament in good form. At Safarova's most recent event, she went all the way to the Wimbledon semifinals for her best outing of the season and her best Grand Slam showing ever. Down a set and at 3-3 in the second, Mladenovic held serve, broke for the first time and held again to force a third set. Then on serve but down 2-1, she captured five of the next six games to seal her 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.


In those last two sets, Mladenovic fought off all seven break points she faced while breaking Safarova's serve three times. She withstood some strong serving by Safarova throughout the match, as the Czech fired 11 aces.

Citi Open Women’s Singles First Round Tuesday July 29

Kristina Mladenovic beat 1-Lucie Safarova 2-6 6-3 6-3

2-Ekaterina Makarova beat Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-1 

Marina Erakovic beat Kristyna Pliskova 4-6 6-2 6-4

5-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Virginie Razzano 6-2, 6-2

Lauren Davis vs. Shuai Peng

Christina McHale beat 4-Sloane Stephens 6-4 4-6 6-0

Heather Watson vs. Kirsten Flipkens

Bojana Jovanovski beat Olivia Rogowska 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-5 

Muguruza Ousts BOTW Defending Champ Cibulkova; Puig Upsets No.7 Suarez-Navarro July 29, 2014 Palo Alto, CA – No stranger to upset wins, WTA Rising Star Garbiñe Muguruza upended defending champion and No.6 seed Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic on Tuesday.


Cibulkova was playing for the first time since her third round loss to Lucie Safarova at Wimbledon. She usually plays her best on hardcourts, as all four of her WTA titles have come on the surface. The 20-year-old Muguruza was also playing for the first time since Wimbledon, where she lost in the first round to CoCo Vandeweghe.


Muguruza raced out to a 6-2, 3-1 lead but then Cibulkova found her form and rallied to win the second set. However, Cibulkova quickly regained the momentum in the third, taking a 4-1, two-break lead en route to her 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 victory.

Bank of the West Women’s Singles First Round Tuesday July 29

Monica Puig beat 7-Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3 7-5

Garbine Muguruza beat 6-Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 4-6 6-2

5-Ana Ivanovic beat Sabine Lisicki 7-6(2) 6-1

Carol Zhao vs. Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 1-0 ret.

Venus Williams beat Paula Kania 6-3 6-2

Coco Vandeweghe vs. Kristie Ahn 6-2, 7-5

Day One 

Stosur Upset by 16yr old Osaka in Stanford; Rogers Upsets Cornet in Citi Open 1st Rd July 28, 2014 Palo Alto, CA - Naomi Osaka's first WTA main draw match was an epic one, as the Japanese pulled off a huge upset of World No.19 Samantha Stosur in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic on Monday.


The 16-year-old Osaka came into this week ranked No.406, and her wins here in qualifying were her first at the WTA level. The 30-year-old Stosur was seeking to put a disappointing grass court season behind her, as she had lost her last three matches - including her Wimbledon opener. Her previous outings in Stanford had been up-and-down, including two semifinal showings and three losses in openers.


After dropping serve for the first time to lose the first set, Osaka stayed strong in taking a 5-3 lead in the second set. It was eventually settled in a tie-break, where down match point at 7-6, Osaka won three straight points to force a third set. This time Stosur took a 5-3 lead and this time Osaka rallied, taking the last four games of her two-and-a-half-hour, 4-6, 7-6(7), 7-5 victory.

In Washington DC, Shelby Rogers' terrific July continued with an upset of third-seeded Alizé Cornet in the first round of the Citi Open on Monday. The 21-year-old Rogers rallied from a 5-2 first set deficit and shook off a second set loss en route to a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 victory.


At her last event in Bad Gastein, Rogers went from qualifying all the way to her first WTA final, recording two Top 20 wins along the way. Though her defeat of World No.21 Cornet falls just short of another Top 20 win, Rogers was very proud of it nonetheless.


Rogers wasn't the only young American to pull off a surprise victory, as 18-year-old qualifier Taylor Townsend saved 11 of 12 break points on her serve in beating Julia Goerges, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. One seed did advance, as sixth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova was a 6-3, 6-2 victor over Polona Hercog.

Citi Open Women's Singles First Round Monday July 28

Hiroko Kuwata beat Alison Riske 6-0 7-5              

6-Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Polona Hercog 6-3 6-2

Vania King beat Francoise Abanda 6-2 6-0

Shelby Rogers beat 3-Alize Cornet 7-5 4-6 6-4

Kurumi Nara beat 7-Madison Keys 7-5 6-3

Zarina Diyas beat Alicia Black 6-4 6-0

8-Sorana Cirstea beat Bertens 6-4, 4-6, 6-3


Bank of the West Women's Singles First Round Monday July 28

Naomi Osaka beat Samantha Stosur 4-6 7-6(7) 7-5      

Sachia Vickery beat Zhang Shuai 6-1 6-2                   

Karolina Pliskova beat Kimiko Date-Krumm6-1 6-3

8-Andrea Petkovic beat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1, 6-4 final

Varvara Lepchenko beat Caroline Garcia 6-4 6-3

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