four aces

Clijsters continues winning ways; Jankovic survives as Ivanovic falls in Cincinnati

Former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters continued her remarkable comeback to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour with a second consecutive win over a Top 20 player, this time defeating world No. 20 Patty Schnyder, 6-2, 7-5, on Wednesday afternoon to advance to the third round at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati.

Quickly getting in front 3-0 in the opening set, Clijsters eventually took the opening set 6-3, backed by winning 15 of 16 first serve points and breaking serve twice in the 23-minute set.

“I’m very happy that I’m starting the matches off well,” said Clijsters, a winner of 34 career singles titles including the 2005 US Open. “

The 26-year-old Belgian continued showing the signs of consistent tennis and superb fitness that was clear during her first round triumph over No. 12 seed Marion Bartoli.

“The main thing I was happy with today was the first serve percentage was a lot better than in the first match,” said Clijsters.

Schnyder picked up her game in the early stages of second set, before Clijsters broke in the 12th game and never looked back.

“She just had a great start,” said Schnyder, who won the title in Cincinnati in 2005. “She’s striking the ball great. It was really tough to get the rallies going and to get some advantage in the rallies.”

Clijsters’ was able to win the match without facing a break point on her serve, while smashing four aces and only two double faults. Schnyder, who was making her fourth appearance in Cincinnati, falls to 2-6 lifetime against Clijsters.

Next up for the newest mother on tour, is a third round match-up against reigning Roland Garros champion and No. 6 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. Clijsters has dominated Kuznetsova in the past, winning six of seven meetings.

In other matches, No. 5 seed Jelena Jankovic saved two set points in the opening set tiebreak to edge past Russian wild card Maria Kirilenko, 7-6(6), 6-3, in one hour and 45 minutes. A match full of serving problems featured 13 service breaks and a combined 10 double faults.

“First match for me, it’s never easy,” said Jankovic, who finished the 2008 season as the top-ranked player in the world. “You know, I had trouble holding my serve, especially in that first set. I was returning well, but I wasn’t putting many first serves in, and kept playing with the second serve almost throughout the whole first set.”

Jankovic will next square off against No. 9 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus for a place in the quarterfinals. Azarenka stormed past Russian Anna Chakvetadze, 6-4, 6-2, in one hour and 21 minutes. Jankovic leads the head-to-head 2-1, winning both matches on hard courts in 2007.

Eleventh seed Ana Ivanovic’s struggles since winning the 2008 Roland Garros title continued, as she was bounced by in-form Melinda Czink, 7-6(6), 7-5. Ivanovic struggled with her ball toss for the second straight match, hitting 11 double faults and dropping her serve five times. The loss marked the second early exit in as many weeks, after losing in the third round last week to Samantha Stosur in straight sets in Los Angeles.

In the late match, No. 2 seed Serena Williams sailed past Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-3, 6-2. Williams, who won her 11th Grand Slam singles title earlier this summer at Wimbledon, smashed 12 aces, while dropping just three points on first serve. The Florida native was also able to break serve on three of six occasions. Williams will next clash with Sybille Bammer in the third round. Bammer won the only previous meeting in three sets in Hobart in 2007.

Other winners on Wednesday in Cincinnati:
No. 4 Elena Dementieva def. (Q) Yanina Wickmayer, 6-3, 6-3
No. 7 Vera Zvonareva def. Alisa Kleybanova, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5
No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki def. Aleksandra Wozniak, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Sybille Bammer def. No. 13 Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-0, 7-5
No. 14 Flavia Pennetta def. Agnes Szavay, 6-2, 6-2
Sorana Cirstea def. Anna-Lena Groenfeld, 6-3, 6-2
Daniela Hantuchova def. Alona Bondarenko, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4
Peng Shuai def. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchzez, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1

Federer Finally Wins French Open

Roger Federer defeated surprise finalist Robin Soderling 6-2, 7-6(1), 6-4 for his first French Open victory on Sunday and in the process cemented his place as the greatest tennis player of all time. Apart from it being his first win on the red clay of Paris, it gave Federer a career Grand Slam – a win at each of the four marquee events on tour and also tied him for the most Grand Slam tournaments of all time, a mark he now shares with Pete Sampras at fourteen apiece.

Previously defeated in three French Open finals against his great rival Rafael Nadal, everything went Federer’s way this time around as the world number two dominated his younger and less experienced opponent. He cruised in the opening set by breaking Soderling’s serve three times. Despite the fact that the second set produced no breaks, Federer dominated when it mattered by delivering four aces in the tiebreaker alone. An early break in the third set and it was all over in less than two hours.

Federer’s serve was lethal in the final, winning 85% of his first serve points, and 66% of his second serve points along with 16 aces. He also produced many unreachable balls with a drop-shot we have rarely seen him use as effectively in the past. Despite the weight of history on his shoulders, he only appeared nervous during the second set when a deranged fan managed to run onto the court and momentarily disrupt Federer’s path to victory. On this day it was Soderling who appeared quite uneasy in his first Grand Slam final. The Swede only delivered brief glimpses of the dangerous forehand he successfully used earlier in the week against the defending champion Nadal and a host of other dangerous clay court players. It was still a incredible week for Soderling who will rise to a career high ranking of 12 in the world.

After the match, an elated Federer fittingly received the winner’s trophy from former tennis great Andre Agassi – the last man to accomplish the career Grand Slam. Shedding tears of joy as they played the Swiss national anthem, it was apparent to all in attendance and to those watching at home just how much this moment meant for Federer. In a post-match interview with John McEnroe, Federer revealed that along with his initial Grand Slam win at Wimbledon in 2003, this win was the most satisfying.

After dealing with the momentous pressure to win that was left in the wake of Nadal’s fourth round departure, barely making it past Tommy Haas and Juan Martin Del Potro in tough five set matches, and playing his best tennis when it mattered against Soderling, his victory was just as satisfying for all who had the pleasure to watch.
Felicitations Roger!

The Bud Collins History Of Tennis Documents Ed Kauder’s 59 Aces at 1955 US Championships as All-Time Record

Ivo Karlovic came up short against Lleyton Hewitt and four aces shy of equaling the all-time ace record Sunday on the opening day of play at the 2009 French Open.

The 6-10 Croatian fired 55 aces in his 6-7 (1), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-3 first-round loss to Hewitt, nearly breaking the all-time match record of 59 aces, according to the book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS.

THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($35.95, 784 pages, New Chapter Press, www.tennistomes.com), the most authoritative compilation of the records and histories of tennis written by Bud Collins, the Hall of Fame tennis journalist, broadcaster and personality, documents American Ed Kauder as the holder of the record of striking the most aces in a match. Kauder fired 59 aces in a 6-2, 3-6, 9-11, 10-8, 6-0 first-round loss to fellow American Ham Richardson at the 1955 U.S. Championships at Forest Hills. Karlovic’s 55 aces stands as the second-most all-time tally and as the most aces in a match at Roland Garros.

THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS is the ultimate compilation of historical tennis information, including year-by-year recaps of every tennis season, biographical sketches of every major tennis personality, as well as stats, records, and championship rolls for all the major events. The author’s personal relationships with major tennis stars offer insights into the world of professional tennis found nowhere else. Among those endorsing the book include the two women who hold the Wimbledon record for most total titles – Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King – who both won 20 Wimbledon titles in their careers. Said Navratilova, “If you know nothing about tennis, this book is for you. And if you know everything about tennis-Hah!-Bud knows more, so this book is for you too!” Said King, “We can’t move forward if we don’t understand and appreciate our past. This book not only provides us with accurate reporting of the rich tennis history, it keeps us current on the progress of the sport today.” Also endorsing the book is author, commentator and Sports Illustrated contributor Frank Deford, who stated, “No tennis encyclopedia could be written by anyone but Bud Collins because Bud Collins is the walking tennis encyclopedia-the game’s barefoot professor. The only thing missing about the sport from his new edition is a section about Bud himself. But everything else is there-and it’s easy to open and use for the whole family.” Said Dick Enberg of CBS Sports and ESPN, “Did you ever see an encyclopedia walking? That’s Bud Collins (who sometimes runs, too). Plunge into his book and swim joyfully through the history of tennis. It’s all here.”

New Chapter Press is also the publisher of The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer and Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group.