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WTA Week of Sept 08 - 14

Hong Kong Open Women's Singles Final Sunday Sept 14

1-Sabine Lisicki beat 3-Karolina Pliskova  7-5 6-3


Quebec Open Women’s Singles Final Sunday Sept 14

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat 1-Venus Williams 6-4 6-3

Daily Updates

Lucic-Baroni Upsets Venus Williams, Wins Quebec Title

Photo Pascal Ratthe - September 14, 2014 Quebec City, Canada - Mirjana Lucic-Baroni kept her 2014 revival ‎going on Sunday afternoon, defeating Venus Williams in straight sets to win the Coupe Banque Nationale in Québec City - her first WTA title in 16 years and four months, a record for the biggest gap between winning WTA titles.


Coming in off a sensational run to the fourth round of the US Open, which included the best win of her career against the No.2-ranked player in the world, Simona Halep, Lucic-Baroni carried that momentum into Québec City this week, not dropping a set en route to her first WTA semifinal since Wimbledon in 1999, then going one step further by reaching her first WTA final since Bol, Croatia in 1998.


And with some big serving and ferocious hitting off the ground Lucic-Baroni took it to an even higher level against the No.1-seeded Williams, falling behind 3-1 early on but then storming back to win in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, throwing her arms in the air in celebration after winning match point.


The 16-year, four-month gap between Lucic-Baroni's last victory at Bol and this one is the longest gap between titles in WTA history, bettering Kimiko Date-Krumm's previous record of 13 years and one month, which she set between winning WTA titles at San Diego in 1996 and Seoul in 2009.


Williams didn't come away empty-handed, reaching her milestone 75th WTA final (she's now 45-30 in those). She also has more match wins in Canada than in any other country this year with nine. There was more magic later in the day for Lucic-Baroni.


Alongside Lucie Hradecka she won the doubles title, beating Julia Goerges and Andrea Hlavackova in the final, 6-3, 7-6(8). It was her first WTA doubles title since Tokyo [Pan Pacific] in 1998 - 16 years and seven months ago.

Lisicki Rallies to Capture Hong Kong Open, def Pliskova in Final September 14, 2014 Hong Kong - She'd come close to defeat a few times earlier in the tournament, and in the first set of the final things were going completely in the other direction, but Sabine Lisicki never stopped believing and won her first WTA title in over three years at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open.


Lisicki had some near-escapes during the week, rallying from 6-3, 4-2 down to beat Monica Niculescu in the first round and coming from a break down in the third against Francesca Schiavone in the semifinals too, but her start in the final against Karolina Pliskova was probably the most worrying of all, as Pliskova came out swinging for the fences and stormed out to a 5-1 lead in the first set.


But with some inspired play the No.1-seeded Lisicki turned the match right around, winning seven games in a row - and 12 of the next 15 - to make it past the No.3-seeded Pliskova, 7-5, 6-3.


Lisicki won her fourth WTA title, her first three coming at Charleston in 2009 and Birmingham and Dallas in 2011. She had been to three finals since that last title in Dallas - Pattaya City, Memphis and, of course, Wimbledon, all in 2013 - but she got back on the winning track here this week.

Tashkent Open Women’s Singles Final Saturday Sept 13

3-Karin Knapp beat 1-Bojana Jovanovski  6-2 7-6(4)

Quebec Open Women’s Singles Semifinal Saturday Sept 13

1-Venus Williams beat 4-Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-3              

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat 5-Julia Goerges 6-4 5-7 6-2

Hong Kong Open Women's Singles Semifinal Saturday Sept 13

3-Karolina Pliskova beat Alison Van Uytvanck 6-1, 4-6, 6-4

1-Sabine Lisicki beat Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 3-6, 6-2

Knapp Wins Maiden WTA Title in Tashkent September 13, 2014 Tashkent, Uzbekistan - The career turnaround of Karin Knapp hit another high point on Saturday, as the former Top 40 player - who has had a series of serious health and injury problems over the last several years - beat Bojana Jovanovski for the first WTA title of her career at the Tashkent Open.


The No.3-seeded Knapp didn't drop a set all week and continued that in the final, cruising in the first set then taking a 65-minute second set to topple the top-seeded Jovanovski, 6-2, 7-6(4).


Having shown a ton of promise during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, highlighted by her first WTA final at Antwerp in 2008 and setting a career-high of No.35 shortly afterwards, Knapp had some major struggles the following years, first having to get surgery for a longstanding heart condition and taking an extended break from the tour later that year, and then several struggles with her knee.


But Knapp came full circle in 2013 - having fallen as low as No.616 a few years before, she returned to the Top 40 at the end of the year, going as high as No.39. And though she hasn't been able to go any higher in 2014 she does now have something she never had before - the first WTA title of her career.


But while Jovanovski wasn't able to cross the finish line, another WTA Rising Star was - Aleksandra Krunic captured the doubles title in Tashkent earlier in the day alongside Katerina Siniakova, cruising past Margarita Gasparyan and Alexandra Panova in straight sets in the final, 6-2, 6-1.

Lisicki Meets Pliskova in Hong Kong Final September 13, 2014 - Sabine Lisicki closed in on her first WTA title in over three years with a hard-fought win over Francesca Schiavone at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open.


In stark contrast to Friday's near-torrential rain, there was barely a cloud in the sky when Lisicki and Schiavone stepped out onto Centre Court on Saturday afternoon. Early on, though, the outlook looked fairly grim for Lisicki, who was forced to fend off a flurry of break points as she struggled to get to grips with the Italian's baseline guile.


After such a bright start, it came as something of a surprise when it was Schiavone that buckled first, twice double faulting to surrender her serve to love in the sixth game. This lapse in concentration proved costly, a ruthless Lisicki serving out for the set.


The setback only seemed to fire up Schiavone further and she finally got the reward her early efforts deserved with a break at the start of the second set. Despite handing back this advantage immediately, the former French Open champion was not to be denied, reeling of the final three games to eventually get her hands on the set.


However, Lisicki showed some resilience of her own to summon up a devastating display of baseline aggression in the decider. Having slipped an early break behind, the German turned the match on its head, a sequence of 12 straight points helping her run out a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 winner.   


In the other semifinal, No.3 seed Pliskova was given a real scare before finally seeing off Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Pliskova looked to be cantering into her third final of the season when she took the first set in barely half an hour. However, Van Uytvanck, who was appearing at this stage of a WTA event for the first time, came roaring back to take the second and then move 4-2 ahead in the third.


A brilliant sequence of points, finished off with a wonderfully improvised lob, helped Pliskova break back, before striking once more in the final game to complete the escape act.

Venus Williams, Lucic-Baroni to Vie for Quebec City Title September 13, 2014 – Quebec Ctiy, Canada - Mirjana Lucic-Baroni's 2014 renaissance continued as she outdid Julia Goerges to reach her first WTA final in more than 16 years at the Coupe Banque Nationale.


After taking the first set, Lucic-Baroni fell behind 5-2 in the second, clawing back to 5-all but eventually dropping it, 7-5. But she regrouped quickly in the third, storming out to a 5-1 lead and, after the No.5-seeded Goerges held serve one last time, Lucic-Baroni served it out, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. Lucic-Baroni blasted her ninth ace of the match on match point.


Having already been in her first WTA semifinal since Wimbledon in July 1999, Lucic-Baroni is now through to her first WTA final since Bol in April 1998. She won that title in Bol - if she wins on Sunday, the 16-year, four-month gap will be the longest ever gap between WTA titles. Kimiko Date-Krumm currently holds the record with 13 years and one month (from 1996 San Diego to 2009 Seoul).


Awaiting Lucic-Baroni in the final is No.1 seed Venus Williams, who had a less complicated time in the second semifinal of the day, taking out the No.4 seed, Shelby Rogers, in straights, 6-3, 6-3.


Williams was originally up 6-3, 5-1, but Rogers wouldn't let it go that easily - she held at love in the next game then broke serve from double match point down in the next game. Williams even fell behind 0-30 when trying to serve it out for the second time - but the former No.1 won four points in a row to end it.


Williams has beaten Lucic-Baroni in both of their previous meetings, but in their only meeting in the last 12 years, Lucic-Baroni pushed Williams hard to close her out in Florianopolis, Brazil last year.

Hong Kong Open Women's Singles Quarterfinal Friday Sept 12

1-Sabine Lisicki beat Zheng Saisai 6-4 6-3            

3-Karolina Pliskova beat 5-Zheng Jie 6-1 6-3

Francesca Schiavone beat 7-Jana Cepelova 6-2 6-2     

Alison Van Uytvanck beat Jarmila Gajdosova 6-4 6-2


Tashkent Open Women’s Singles Semi-final Friday Sept 12

1-Bojana Jovanovski beat Nigina Abduraimova 6-4, 7-5

3-Karin Knapp beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 6-3


Quebec Open Women’s Singles Quarterfinal Friday Sept 12

1-Venus Williams beat Lucie Hradecka 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(3)

5-Julia Goerges beat Andrea Hlavackova 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-2

4-Shelby Rogers beat Tatjana Malek 6-4, 6-2

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat Sesil Karatantcheva 7-5, 6-0 

Venus, Lucic-Baroni Gain Quebec Semifinals September 12, 2014 Quebec City, Canada - As though reaching the fourth round of the US Open weren't enough, a run that included the best win of her career over World No.2 Simona Halep, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni has followed it up with another great result in Québec City - her first WTA semifinal in more than 15 years.


Taking on Sesil Karatantcheva, a fellow former wunderkind, Lucic-Baroni was tested early on - the two held tightly to their service games through the first 10 games, with Lucic-Baroni the first one to almost crack, facing four break points in her 5-all service game. But from that fourth break point she won 14 points in a row to tuck away the opening set and jump out to an early lead in the second set.


Lucic-Baroni would win eight games in a row from 5-all first set to run away with it, 7-5, 6-0. With the win, her first WTA semifinal since Wimbledon in 1999 - more than 15 years ago. Up next for Lucic-Baroni is No.5 seed Julia Goerges, who rallied from a set and 4-2 down and fired a total of 13 aces to get past Andrea Hlavackova in two hours and 45 minutes, 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-2.


The other two quarterfinals took place in the night session, beginning with No.1 seed Venus Williams winning a night-time nail-biter against an extremely in-form Lucie Hradecka, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(3).


Hradecka put some impressive power on display - not just her huge serve, which produced seven aces in the match, but also some huge hitting off the ground, her flat, two-fisted groundstrokes painting the lines and corners as she pushed Williams to the limits, even coming within two points of victory with the seven-time Grand Slam champion and former World No.1 serving at 5-6, 0-30 in the third set. But Williams won five points in a row from 2-3 in the tie-break to seal the deal.


Awaiting Williams in the semifinals is No.4 seed Shelby Rogers, who beat Tatjana Maria, 6-4, 6-2. Williams and Rogers will also be playing each other for the first time.

Lisicki Sets Hong Kong Semifinal Clash vs Schiavone; Pliskova Tops Zheng Jie September 12, 2014 Hong Kong - Sabine Lisicki overcame Zheng Saisai and the worst of the Hong Kong weather to advance to her first WTA semifinal of the year.


Due to torrential rain, play did not begin until the early evening and even when the players did finally make it on court, they were held up several more times by further showers. However, if these interruptions bothered Lisicki, it did not show, as she delivered a typically aggressive performance to overpower Zheng, 6-4, 6-3.


Meeting Lisicki for a place in the final will be Francesca Schiavone, who rolled back the years to brush aside Jana Cepelova, 6-2, 6-2, in little over an hour.


On the other side of the draw, WTA Rising Star Karolina Pliskova proved too strong for Zheng Jie. Like Lisicki, the Czech seemed unflustered by both the rain and the late start, breaking five times to run out a 6-1, 6-3 winner.  Next up is semifinal debutante Alison Van Uytvanck, who defeated Jarmila Gajdosova, 6-4, 6-2. Pliskova and Van Uytvanck have already met once this year, on the clay of Nürnberg.

Jovanovski, Knapp in Tashkent Final September 12, 2014 Tashkent , Uzbekistan - Defending champion Bojana Jovanovski finally ended local wildcard Nigina Abduraimova's adventure at the Tashkent Open with a hard-fought semifinal win on Friday.


Abduraimova has captured the imagination of her compatriots this week, upsetting a succession of higher-ranked opponents, including No.4 seed Lara Arruabarrena, to reach the semifinals of a WTA event for the first time. And for a period in the second set against Jovanovski, it looked like her improbable run would carry on into the weekend. However, it was not to be, the Serb eventually subduing Abduraimova - and a partisan crowd - before closing out a 6-4, 7-5 win on her third match point.


On the other side of the draw, No.3 seed Karin Knapp defeated the week's other surprise package, Lesia Tsurenko, 6-3, 6-3. For Tsurenko, the exertions of two rounds of qualifying and three tough main draw matches finally appeared to catch up with her, as she struggled to handle Knapp's pace from the baseline. A run of three straight games midway through the second set briefly raised hopes of a Tsurenko comeback, but Knapp rode out the storm to reach her first WTA final in six years.

Tashkent Open Women's Singles Quarterfinal Thursday Sept 11

Lesia Tsurenko beat Ksenia Pervak 4-6 6-4 7-5            

1-Bojana Jovanovski beat Urszula Radwanska  4-6 6-4 6-3    

3-Karin Knapp beat Olga Govortsova 7-5 6-2                

Nigina Abduraimova beat Akgul Amanmuradova 6-3 6-3

Quebec City Women's Singles Second Round Thursday Sept 11

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat 9-Timea Babos 7-6(3) 6-2          

Andrea Hlavackova beat 2-Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3 3-6 6-3

1-Venus Williams beat Olga Savchuk 6-1 6-2

Lucie Hradecka beat Barbora Krejcikova 3-6, 7-5 6-2

Hong Kong Open Women's Singles Second Round Thursday Sept 11

Alison Van Uytvanck beat 2-Daniela Hantuchova 3-6 6-2 6-4

5-Zheng Jie beat Zhang Kai-Lin 6-1 6-4                        

3-Karolina Pliskova beat Monica Puig 6-3 6-4   

7-Jana Cepelova beat Zhu Lin 6-1 6-

Venus Williams into Quebec Quarterfinal September 11, 2014 Quebec City, Canada - A record Coupe Banque Nationale crowd came out to see Venus Williams on Thursday night, and she didn't disappoint, overpowering Olga Savchuk to reach the quarterfinals.


After losing serve in the first game of the match, the No.1-seeded Williams reeled off 10 straight games to build a 6-1, 4-0 lead. She had a slight hiccup in the second set, dropping the next two games, but she regrouped quickly to win, 6-1, 6-2, blasting a massive forehand winner on match point.


Williams was lethal on her serve - she blasted nine aces, one of which was clocked at 125mph. And of particular note was the turnout. A crowd of 2,625 came out for the match, a record for the Coupe Banque Nationale, surpassing the previous record of 2,615 set during the quarterfinal between Eugenie Bouchard and Kristina Mladenovic last year. The capacity of center court is 2,758.


The other seeds in action were both bounced, with No.2 seed Ajla Tomljanovic losing a two hour grinder against Andrea Hlavackova, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni rallying from 5-2 down in the first set and eventually getting past No.8 seed Timea Babos in straights, 7-6(3), 6-2.


The only other match saw Lucie Hradecka rally from 6-3, 2-0 down to beat Czech qualifier Barbora Krejcikova, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2. Hradecka is Williams' next opponent - the two have never played.

Quebec City Women's Singles Wednesday Sept 10

R2: 4-Shelby Rogers beat Asia Muhammad 6-7(5) 7-6(2) 7-6(5)

R2: Tatjana Maria beat Madison Brengle 4-6 6-4 6-0      

R1: Andrea Hlavackova beat Paula Kania 6-3 6-0

Tashkent Open Women's Singles Second Round Wed Sept 10

Ksenia Pervak beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 7-6(3)           

Lesia Tsurenko beat 2-Irina Begu 3-6 6-1 7-6(3)        

Urszula Radwanska beat 5-Donna Vekic 6-3 6-3            

Olga Govortsova beat 6-Misaki Doi 4-6 6-3 6-3            

Akgul Amanmuradova beat Lyudmyla Kichenok 6-1 6-2   

1-Bojana Jovanovski beat Alla Kudryavtseva 7-6(6) 3-6 6-3

Nigina Abduraimova beat Alexandra Panova 2-6 6-3 6-4 

3-Karin Knapp beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-3

Hong Kong Open Women's Singles Second Round Wed Sept 10

1-Sabine Lisicki beat Grace Min 6-1 6-1                               

Francesca Schiavone beat Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3 4-0 ret.

Jarmila Gajdosova beat Kiki Bertens  4-6 6-1 6-4              

Zheng Saisai beat 6-Yanina Wickmayer 6-4 6-2                         

R1: 2-Daniela Hantuchova beat Zhang Ling 6-1 6-4

Hong Kong Open Women's Singles First Round Tues Sept 9

1-Sabine Lisicki beat Monica Niculescu 3-6 7-6(3) 6-1     

7-Jana Cepelovabeat Chanelle Scheepers 6-2 6-1     

Francesca Schiavone beat 4-Christina Mchale 6-4 5-7 6-2        

Zhu Lin beat Kristyna Pliskova 1-6 6-3 6-3           

Alison Van Uytvanck beat Katarzyna Piter 6-2 6-1           

Kimiko Date-Krumm beat Johanna Larsson 6-3 6-3               

5-Zheng Jie beat Misa Eguchi 6-1 7-6(5)                       

Zhang Kai-Lin beat Pauline Parmentier 6-0 6-3                

Zheng Saisai beat Duan Yingying 7-6(1) 7-5                    

6-Yanina Wickmayer beat Elizaveta Kulichkova 6-4 6-4       

3-Karolina Pliskova beat Polona Hercog 2-6 6-4 6-3

Jarmila Gajdosova beat Luksika Kumkhum  7-6(3) 6-2       

Monica Puig beat Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-1 6-1

Lisicki Reaches HK Quarterfinals September 10 2014 Hong Kong - Sabine Lisicki was worlds away from her first round form in her second round match at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, taking just 40 minutes to beat Grace Min, 6-1, 6-1.


The No.1-seeded Lisicki, who had to rally from 6-3, 4-2 down to beat Monica Niculescu on Tuesday, never faced a break point and lost just 17 points against a shellshocked Min under the lights.


Awaiting Lisicki in the quarters is Zheng Saisai, who upset No.6 seed Yanina Wickmayer, 6-4, 6-2. Two more second round matches took place, with Australian qualifier Jarmila Gajdosova rallying from 4-2 down in the third set to beat Kiki Bertens, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, and Francesca Schiavone advancing past Kimiko Date-Krumm by a 6-3, 4-0 scoreline when the Japanese stopped with a shoulder injury.


Earlier in the day the last first round match was played, with No.2 seed Daniela Hantuchova making it past Zhang Ling, a wildcard from Hong Kong, 6-1, 6-4. Zhang actually looked like she was about to push the match to a third set, racing out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and even holding a point for 4-0 - but Hantuchova clawed back, winning six of the next seven games to close the encounter out.

Venus Wins Opener in Quebec September 10 2014 Quebec City, Canada - Venus Williams made a winning start at the Coupe Banque Nationale on Tuesday night, sneaking out a tight first set then cruising past Canadian wildcard Francoise Abanda. After a little bit of a slow start, falling behind 3-1 in the first set, the No.1-seeded Williams found her range and managed to get past the 17-year-old, who idolized her when she was growing up, 7-5, 6-3.


The second night match followed a similar pattern, with Irina Falconi storming out to a 4-1, double break lead, but No.2 seed and WTA Rising Star Ajla Tomljanovic reeling off 11 of the next 12 games to move safely through, 7-5, 6-1. Tomljanovic actually won 10 points in a row from 4-1 down.


There were mixed results for the seeds in action during the day session though, with No.3 seed Kristina Mladenovic rallying from 4-1 down in the first set and 3-1 down in the second to beat Naomi Broady, 6-4, 7-5, and No.8 seed Timea Babos coming from a break down twice in the third set to beat Romina Oprandi, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, but Lucie Hradecka blasting 14 aces - including three in a row at one point, and the 14th one on match point - to take down No.6 seed Michelle Larcher de Brito, 7-6(4), 6-1.


Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Melanie Oudin and qualifiers Olga Savchuk and Barbora Krejcikova also won. Lucic-Baroni is coming off one of the best tournaments of her career, reaching the fourth round of the US Open - her second time reaching the second week of a Grand Slam after her famous run to the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1999. This time, though, she scored the biggest win of her career along the way, stunning World No.2 Simona Halep in the third round before succumbing to Sara Errani.

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