Pauline Parmentier

WTA Strasbourg Day 5 recap and photos: Francesca Schiavone, Alize Cornet to meet in finals

By Romana Cvitkovic

Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm is in Strasbourg, France covering the WTA Internationaux de Strasbourg tournament live all week. The singles and doubles finals are set and will feature Italian Francesca Schiavone against Alize Cornet, and the number 1 doubles seed of Nicole Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova taking on number two seed Olga Govortsova and Klaudia Jans-Ignacik.

RESULTS – FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012
Singles
[W] Alize Cornet d. Pauline Parmentier 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
[2] Francesca Schiavone d. Sloane Stephens 7-5, 6-1

Doubles
[1] Nicole Grandin/Vladimira Uhlirova d [4] Timea Babos/Su-Wei Hsieh 0-6, 6-2, 12-10

Check back tomorrow for finals coverage direct from center court by our photographer Rick Gleijm! Scroll down for today’s full gallery of over 70 photos.

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WTA Strasbourg Day 3 recap and photos: Francesca Schiavone, Sloane Stephens reach quarterfinals

By Romana Cvitkovic

Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm is in Strasbourg, France covering the WTA Internationaux de Strasbourg tournament live all week.

The second round was underway with victories by Francesca Schiavone, Anabel Medina Garrigues, and American Sloane Stephens.

Schiavone made quick work of Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic with a solid 6-1, 6-2 win in just an hour. Medina Garrigues fought a tougher battle against Su-Wei Hsieh and won in two tiebreaker sets, 7-6(9), 7-6(2). Stephens beat a former juniors player foe in three rollercoaster sets, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and saved 10-of-14 break points.

Other winners include French players Pauline Parmentier and wildcard Alize Cornet, qualifier Alexandra Panova, Japanese player Ayumi Morita and Swede Johanna Larsson who brought number eight seed Tamira Paszek of Austria tumbling out of the tournament.

Likewise, the doubles semifinals are set:

[1] Grandin/Uhlirova (RSA/CZE) d. Chang/Chuang (TPE/TPE) 75 64
[2] Govortsova/Jans-Ignacik (BLR/POL) d. Gámiz/Hermoso (VEN/MEX) 62 75
[4] Babos/Hsieh (HUN/TPE) d. Naydenova/Pereira (BUL/BRA) 63 64
Cadantu/Keothavong (ROU/GBR) d. Adamczak/Bengson (AUS/AUS) 63 63

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ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2012
CENTRAL Start at 11:00 am
1. Ayumi Morita vs. Sloane Stephens
2. Johanna Larsson vs. Francesca Schiavone (NB 1:00 pm)
3. Anabel Medina Garrigues vs. Alizé Cornet (NB 3:00 pm)
4. Pauline Parmentier vs. Alexandra Panova

COURT 1 Start at 2:00 pm
1. Cadantu/Keothavong vs. Govortsova/Jans-Ignacik

Check back each day to catch all new action direct from the courts by our photographer Rick Gleijm! Scroll down for today’s full gallery of over 90 photos below.

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Strasbourg day 1 roundup and photos

By Romana Cvitkovic

Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm is in Strasbourg, France covering the WTA Internationaux de Strasbourg tournament live all week. Main draw action kicked off today with top seed Sabine Lisicki on court, as well as number eight seed Tamira Paszek. The last day of qualification also concluded today. Full results and photo gallery below.

Top seed Sabine Lisicki toppled in the first round of the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Monday, as she was defeated by French player Pauline Parmentier, 6-4, 6-4. Eight seed Tamira Paszek survived a second set bagel to come back and win in three against Alberta Brianti, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4. Converting on only 4 of 15 break points, the Austrian barely held her first serve in the second set.

Elena Baltacha also saw her time in Strasbourg cut short by another French player, Stephanie Foretz Gacon, with a score of 6-4, 6-0 for Foretz Gacon. Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei came out victorious over Irina Camelia-Begu of Romania, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1. Both women struggled to hold their second serve in the first set, with Begu continuing to struggle for the rest of the match, winning only 7 of her 32 second serves.

The last day of qualification also wrapped up with a few surprises. Number eight seed Mirjana Lucic of Croatia ousted the top seed Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain in a tough two-and-a-half hour battle, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. 18-year-old American Lauren Davis fought back from a set down to claim the win over Mandy Minella, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Number two seed Alexandra Panova defeated Stephanie Dubois, 6-3, 6-4, as Anastasija Sevastova ousted Lenka Jurikova, 6-0, 6-1.

Check back each day to catch all new action direct from the courts by our photographer Rick Gleijm! Scroll down for the full gallery below.

***

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012

CENTRAL start 11:00 am
Alexandra Panova vs. Mona Barthel
Anabel Medina Garrigues vs. Anna Tatishvili (tbc; NB 12.00hrs)
Alexandra Cadantu vs. Francesca Schiavone
Sloane Stephens vs. Maria Kirilenko
Alizé Cornet vs. Olga Govortsova (NB 17.30hrs)

COURT 1 start at 11:00 am
Mandy Minella vs. Lucie Hradecka
Timea Babos vs. Anastasija Sevastova
Marina Erakovic vs. Ayumi Morita (tbc)
Virginie Razzano vs. María José Martínez Sánchez
Cadantu/Keothavong vs. Minella/Parmentier

COURT 2 start at 11:00 am
Johanna Larsson vs. Lauren Davis
Mirjana Lucic vs. Anne Keothavong
Shahar Peer vs. Aleksandra Wozniak
Brianti/Foretz Gacon vs. Gámiz/Hermoso
Babos/Hsieh vs. Perrin/Shamayko

COURT TBA Not Before 5:00 pm
Jurikova/Kucova vs. Adamczak/Bengson (NB 17.00hrs)

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Sabine Lisicki, Maria Kirilenko, Pauline Parmentier practice in Strasbourg

By Romana Cvitkovic

Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm is in Strasbourg, France covering the WTA Internationaux de Strasbourg tournament live all week. Check back each day to catch all new action direct from the courts! Today’s set highlights main draw players Sabine Lisicki, Maria Kirilenko, Pauline Parmentier and Shahar Peer as they hit the practice courts over the weekend.

Set in picturesque Strasbourg, the tennis club itself is set across the street from European Parliament and is the last stop on the red clay prior to next week’s Roland Garros. The players are gearing up for the start of main draw matches on Monday, with wildcard and #1 seed Sabine Lisicki taking on French player Pauline Parmentier on center court. Over the weekend, players were seen training hard on the courts among adoring fans and the venue is sure to only get more crowded. Only time will tell to see which lady will hold up the trophy this year, after defending champion Andrea Petkovic was unable to play due to injury.

With the temperature expected to be near 80* degrees all week, it’s sure to be a great tournament for fans and players!

***

ORDER OF PLAY – MONDAY, MAY 21, 2012

CENTRAL start 11:00 am
M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) vs M Lucic (CRO) – Qualifying – Final Round

Not Before 12:30 PM
E Baltacha (GBR) vs S Foretz Gacon (FRA)
[1] [WC] S Lisicki (GER) vs P Parmentier (FRA)
[4] A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs A Tatishvili (GEO)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
M Minella (LUX) vs L Davis (USA) – Qualifying – Final Round
S Hsieh (TPE) vs I Begu (ROU)
[8] T Paszek (AUT) vs A Brianti (ITA)
[6] M Erakovic (NZL) vs A Morita (JPN)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
A Panova (RUS) vs S Dubois (CAN) – Qualifying – Final Round

Not Before 12:30 PM
J Hampton (USA) or L Jurikova (SVK) vs A Sevastova (LAT) – Qualifying – Final Round
S Aoyama (JPN) / H Chan (TPE) vs [2] O Govortsova (BLR) / K Jans-Ignacik (POL)
A Naydenova (BUL) / T Pereira (BRA) vs S Stephens (USA) / J Woehr (GER)
K Chang (TPE) / C Chuang (TPE) vs A Vrljic (CRO) / K Woerle (GER)

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Maria Kirilenko to the next round after Navarro retires

So the main tournament has started after the qualifications this weekend.  Maria Kirilenko reaches the second round in Luxembourg after her opponent Carla Suarez Navarro retired in the in the third set trailing 3-0.   Kirilenko will now meet Iveta  Benesova of Czech who beat Pauline Parmentier of France in three sets 6-3 3-6 2-6.

In other tournament news,  Tamira Paszek defeated Ekatarina Makarova  6-2 6-2 while Anabel Medina Garrigues double bageled wildcard entry Anne Kremer of Luxembourg to reach the second round.

Meanwhile Sabine Lisicki has withdrawn from the Luxembourg tournament because of illness leaving Julia Goerges the only German left in the draw after Andrea Petkovic withdrew due to injury.

Extra pics of the All Access Hour with Victoria Azarenka, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Flavia Pennettai.

PARMENTIER Pauline (FRA) 6 3 2
BENESOVA Iveta (CZE)           3 6 6

SUAREZ NAVARRO Carla(ESP) 6(5) 6 0 ret
KIRILENKO Maria (RUS)              7 3 3

MAKAROVA Ekaterina (RUS) 2 2
PASZEK Tamira (AUT)             6 6

KREMER Anne (LUX)                           0 0
MEDINA GARRIGUES Anabel (ESP) 6 6

Photos credit © Rick Gleijm

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WHERE IS BRITISH WOMEN’S TENNIS?: 25 YEARS SINCE ANNABEL CROFT’S BRITISH WIN

Today, April 28, 2010, marks the 25th anniversary of the last fully British female to win a WTA Tour singles title (Monique Javer won a WTA Tour singles title in 1988 but was only half British). On 28th April 1985, 18-year-old Annabel Croft of Great Britain, ranked No. 83 at the time defeated world No. 7 Wendy Turnbull 6-0, 7-6(5) to win the Virginia Slims of San Diego and her first WTA Tour Title, causing much excitement amongst the British press. The young British hopeful never rose to expectations caused by this victory and failed to win another title before quitting her professional career in 1988.

I doubt this statistic will bring a smile to the already frowning LTA reeling from the recent government report on their expenditure. But who within the British camp is remotely ready to step up and claim the next WTA tour singles title?

British No. 1, Elena Baltacha has certainly had a wonderful start to the year rising to a ranking high of No. 59, memorably beating world No. 10 Li Na in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells only to lose in the next round to Alicia Molik. She is currently training in preparation for the WTA event in Rome and it remains to be seen if she can produce back to back performances throughout the course of a tournament to win her first WTA title.

Britain’s Anne Keothovong and Katie O’Brien both won their first round matches of the Grand Prix De Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Morocco. Keothovong recovered from an embarrassing second set performance to defeat France’s Julie Coin to win 6-3, 0-6, 6-4, but her form this year after being forced out of the game for six months due to a knee injury has hardly given enough evidence to suggest enough consistency to flip the coin of British tennis fortunes in the near future. Fellow Brit, O’Brien defeated France’s Pauline Parmentier 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and commented “I was really pleased to come through my first match of the year on clay, especially as I haven’t had ideal preparation. I only started hitting on the clay a few days ago, as I was stranded in South Africa for six days where there weren’t any clay courts. I had to take five flights over two days to get to Fes, but I’ve recovered well, all considered. I’m now looking forward to tomorrow’s match against Renata Voracova. I lost to her last year in three sets on the clay, so I’m aiming to get my revenge.” She received more good news when it was confirmed that she had been given the key to a main draw entry in the French Open following the withdrawal of Sania Mirza. Out of the three, O’Brien is the less likely to emulate Croft’s singles victory considering her lack of victories over top ranked players.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old Laura Robson recently reached the semifinals of the $50k event in Alabama after winning five consecutive matches in the USA, battling to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over the world No. 144 Sophie Ferguson of Australia in the quarterfinals; an excellent indication of the consistency of Robson throughout a tournament considering she also came through two matched in the qualifying rounds. She also went on a fine run to the quarterfinals in the doubles with fellow Brit Heather Watson. Could Robson be the one to break the 25 year wait?

Robson’s achievements in Alabama have seen her rise an impressive 46 places to a career high of No. 269 in this week’s WTA singles rankings. She also sits at No. 103 in doubles, another career high due to her great run of form that saw her reach the semi finals in doubles at the $25k event in Osprey, Florida the week before. I have a feeling we may need to wait a little while longer for our young star to win a WTA singles title, however perhaps she will be the one to bring home a Grand Slam too; we can only dream.

Melina Harris is a freelance sports writer, book editor, English tutor and PTR qualified tennis coach. For more information and contact details please visit and subscribe to her website and blog at http://www.thetenniswriter.wordpress.com and follow her twitter updates via http://www.twitter.com/thetenniswriter.   She is available for freelance writing, editing and one to one private teaching and coaching.

ANA IVANOVIC BEATS SCARY SPICE IN MIAMI

Ana Ivanovic participated in the Sony Ericsson  Glam Slam Match 2010 that featured Jay Sean, Novak Djokovic and  Mel “Scary Spice” B. Ivanovic, who recently dropped out of the top 50 of the WTA Tour, won the match in the closing minute of the match.

“Sony Ericsson always come up with such imaginative ideas to promote the tournament here in Miami and it was a lot of fun taking part in this event. Miami is an exciting tournament, with lots going on both on and off the court, and I think that both the fans and players really appreciate that.”

More good news for Ana is that she survived the first round in Key Biscane beating qualifier Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-3 in her opening match at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Enjoy the photos and videos of the exhibition match:

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US OPEN DARLING MELANIE OUDIN BACK ON TRACK?

Is Melanie Oudin, the darling of last year’s U.S. Open, finally back on track? The 18-year-old Georgian busted out of a six-match losing streak to be the heroine of the U.S. Fed Cup team’s 4-1 upset win over France over the weekend.

Oudin beat France’s Julie Coin 7-6 (3), 6-4 on indoor clay in Lievin, France to clinch victory for the United States and send Captain Mary Joe Fernandez’s squad into the semifinals against Russia in April in the United States.

Oudin gave the USA a 2-0 lead on Saturday when she beat Pauline Parmentier of France 6-4, 6-4.

Since her celebrated run to the quarterfinals of the 2009 US Open, Oudin has registered only a paltry 1-6 record, losing her last six matches entering this Fed Cup series. Her two match wins against France was her best win streak since she beat in succession at the US Open Russians Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova, before losing to eventual finalist Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the quarterfinals. Her U.S. Open success earned her media opportunities on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” among others but not many more match victories.

Will her inspired effort in France lead to more success on the WTA Tour?

Mondays With Bob Greene: They Should Have Picked Me In The First Place

STARS

Rafael Nadal beat Nicolas Kiefer 6-3 6-2 in Toronto, Canada, to win the Rogers Cup

Dinara Safina won the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles, California, by beating Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-2

Nicolas Devilder beat Bjorn Phau 7-5 6-0 to win the Porsche Open in Poznan, Poland

Sara Errani won the Banka Koper Slovenia Open, defeating Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3 6-3 in Portoroz, Slovenia

Filippo Volandri beat Potito Starace 5-7 6-4 6-1 to win the San Marino Cepu Open in San Marino

SAYINGS

“I win on every surface, no? I win on grass, on hard, on indoor, and on clay, too. So if I am playing my best tennis I can win on every surface, no?” – Rafael Nadal, after beating Nicolas Kiefer to win the Rogers Cup.

“I haven’t changed anything this year. I just try to practice hard every day and the results are starting to come.” – Sara Errani, who won the Slovenia Open for her second title in three weeks.

“The hard court season just started so it is not the end of the world, but I wish I could have started better. I’ve got to regroup and look forward.” – Roger Federer, after losing his opening Roger Cup match to Gilles Simon.

“I was playing like I was in a dream. I just saw the ball and hit it as hard as possible.” – Gilles Simon, after beating Roger Federer 2-6 7-5 6-4 in Toronto.

“Some points were very close and I didn’t make them. I think I shouldn’t look only at my game today, I should see the whole week in general. I think this was a big step forward for me. This is how I have to look at it.” – Nicolas Kiefer, after losing to Nadal in Toronto.

“In one of those super tiebreakers, it’s pretty much anyone ballgame.” – Mike Bryan, who with his brother Bob led the match tiebreaker 6-3 before losing the Toronto final to Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic 6-2 4-6 10-6.

“Hopefully my time will come. It’s not the end of the world.” – Jelena Jankovic, whose semifinal loss kept her from gaining the world number one ranking.

“It was a perfect match. I have nothing bad to say. My coach said it was the best match I ever played.” – Dinara Safina, after crushing Victoria Azarenka 6-3 6-1 in a quarterfinal match at Los Angeles.

“Before it was all golf, golf, golf. I probably practice more tennis than golf now.” – Greg Norman, who finished third in the British Open shortly after marrying tennis legend Chris Evert.

“It’s been suspended. The Tour will evaluate the results of the testing period and make a decision as to whether to adopt on-court coaching or not.” – WTA Tour spokesman Andrew Walker.

“I’m for it but they wanted more opinions. The results weren’t convincing enough and some of the younger players don’t know what they want, so we need more time to see how they feel.” – Player Council representative Patty Schnyder on the WTA Tour suspending on-court coaching.

“It’s a little distracting when you have coaches walking on court and most of them are parents. That’s what I didn’t like about it. On the other hand, it worked perfectly for me.” – Nadia Petrova, about the on-court coaching.

STUNNED

Bob and Mike Bryan led 6-3 in the match tiebreak at the Rogers Cup before Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic won the final seven points to capture their third straight doubles title. It was the third time this season the top two doubles teams have clashed, the Bryan brothers winning the Masters Series Rome, with the Canadian/Serbian team capturing the Masters Series Hamburg. It was the first time Nestor had won the Canadian title since 2000. Simonjic’s best previous finish was the quarterfinals two years ago with Fabrice Santoro.

STOPPED

Jelena Jankovic’s bid to become number one in the world was derailed by Dinara Safina in the semifinals of the East West Bank Classic. If she had reached the final, Jankovic would have replaced fellow Serbian Ana Ivanovic as the world’s top-ranked female player. Safina moved up one spot, from ninth to eighth, in the WTA Tour rankings.

STREAKING

No player has been hotter on the WTA Tour lately than Dinara Safina. She was down match point before beating qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva in the round of 16 at the East West Bank Classic. Then she lost a 4-2 opening set lead in the semifinals before winning five of the final six points in the tiebreaker and dominating the second set to knock off Jelena Jankovic 7-6 (3) 6-1. That victory put Safina in her fourth final in her last five tournaments, including the French Open, and she easily won that by beating Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-2. The Russian moved up in the rankings from number nine to number eight, and she improved her match record to 22-3 since the start of May. Eight of her 22 wins have come against top-ten players.

SHAKY START

Gilles Simon was the latest stumbling block for Roger Federer. The Frenchman upset the world’s top-ranked player 2-6 7-5 6-4 to hand the Swiss player his second straight defeat. It was Federer’s first match since his five-set loss to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. Federer appeared to be in great shape, winning the first four games of the match before losing to Simon. Then Federer and fellow Swiss Stanislav Wawrinka, preparing for the Beijing Olympics, lost their second-round doubles match to Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes 6-4 6-4.

SWISS CHEESE

With his victory in Toronto, Rafael Nadal is ready to overtake Roger Federer for the world number one ranking. Federer has held the top ranking for a record 234 weeks, but his commanding 1,445-point cushion at the start of this year is now less than 300 points. “Every player wants to be number one,” Nadal said. “I would love to be number one, but I am number two right now. I’m very happy to be number two, because with my titles, with my points, in a normal situation I would have been number one before. … Because if I am number two, it’s because in front of me there is amazing player like Roger.”

STEPPING IN

John McEnroe has come to the rescue of the United States Tennis Association. In March, the USTA prepared a series of commercials to promote the 10-tournament summer season known as the U.S. Open Series. The commercials featured the world’s top players and former player Justin Gimelstob. But Gimelstob unleashed a tirade against former WTA Tour player and model Anna Kournikova, and although he has since apologized, the USTA decided to kill the ads. Along came McEnroe, who shot new footage that was inserted into the existing ads. “They should have asked me in the first place,” McEnroe said. “The U.S. Open has always been close to my heart. I grew up in Queens.”

STRANGE PAIRING

Fans at the Tanga Cement tennis championships in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, complained about one first-round match, charging unfair pairings. Sebastian Mtupili, who is more than 30 years old, beat ten-year-old John Njau 6-0 6-0. Players from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Tanzania competed in men’s and women’s singles and doubles, and veterans, but there was no lower age limit for those entering the tournament. The singles winners each received USD $1,000.

SIDELINED

A knee injury is keeping Venus Williams on the sidelines this week. The Wimbledon champion withdrew from the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Montreal, Canada, because she did not want to risk aggravating the tendinitis in her knee ahead of the Beijing Olympics, according to tournament director Eugene Lapierre. Also pulling out of the tournament was Tatiana Golovin, who has been sidelined since injuring her back at a tournament in Germany in May.

Serena Williams pulled out of the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles, California, because of her left knee. That came a few days after she withdrew from the semifinals at Stanford, California, with the same injury. “I’m working hard to be ready for the Olympics and U.S. Open,” Serena said.

SWITCHING SPOTS

Who will be seeking gold in tennis at the Beijing Olympics is a work in flux. Mary Pierce withdrew because of injury and was replaced by Amelie Mauresmo, who also withdrew. So Pauline Parmentier will play both singles and doubles for France. Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine will replace the injured Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands.

STRONG COMEBACK

Chung Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung had to rally to win their seventh WTA Tour doubles title. The Taiwanese pair trailed 6-2 4-2 in the final of the East West Bank Classic before fighting back to defeat Eva Hrdinova and Vladimira Uhlrova 2-6 7-5 10-4 (match tiebreak). The top seeded team in the tournament, Chan and Chuang have now won two titles at the Tier II level or above. Their first five titles came at the Tier III and IV level. They won a Tier I event at Rome earlier this year.

SANCHEZ VICARIO TO WAIT

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario will have to wait two years for her latest honor. The Spanish star had to miss her induction into the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame when acute gastroenteritis forced her to cancel her plans to travel to Montreal and instead remain in Spain for treatment. Sanchez Vicario, who won the Canadian tournament in 1992 and 1994, retired as a player after the 2002 season and has since become a tennis analyst for Spanish television. She also is tournament director for a women’s event in Barcelona, Spain.

Boris Becker was on hand in Toronto where he was inducted into the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame during the men’s event. Becker won the tournament in 1986.

SIGNALS, PERHAPS

When an eight-year-old girl playing her first junior tennis tournament questioned a number of line calls, officials became suspicious. After they checked, Anastasiya Korzh was ejected from the tournament when she was found to be wearing a radio earpiece under her headband, linked by a cord to a receiver under her shirt. Korzh’s father said he was using the earpiece only to help his daughter keep score in the under-10 tournament.

SUSPENDED

No more on-court coaching for players on the WTA Tour. The controversial initiative, which was never used at the Grand Slam tournaments, has been suspended by the women’s tour, which will evaluate the results of the testing period and make a decision whether or not to bring it back.

SOUTHERN-BOUND

Carlista Mohammed of Trinidad and Tobago will be taking a lot of hardware with her when she travels to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she is on a full tennis scholarship. The 18-year-old Mohammed recently won the women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles titles at the 2008 Evian National Tennis Championships in Trinidad and Tobago. She also won the singles titles at both the Citi-Tranquil and South Open Classifieds tournaments. “It feels really good to be leaving with everything,” said Mohammed, who will be majoring in linguistics with a minor in sports psychology at Southern University.

SINGING HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Eleven tennis players would love to celebrate their birthday with a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. The players who will turn a year older during the Beijing Games, and their birthdays, all in August, are: Roger Federer, Switzerland, Aug. 8; Kateryna Bondarenko, Ukraine, 8; Pepa Martinez, Spain, 12; Nicolas Lapentti, Ecuador, 13; Alona Bondarenko, Ukraine, 13; Lu Yen-Hsun, Chinese Taipei, 14; Robin Soderling, Sweden, 14; Chan Yung-Jan, Chinese Taipei, 17; Liezel Huber, United States, 21; Nicolas Almagro, Spain, 21; and Olga Govortsova, Belarus, 23.

STILL GOING

Kimiko Date-Krumm has continued her amazing return to pro tennis by reaching the finals in singles and doubles at the USD $25,000 Miyazaki tournament in Japan. She won the singles, beating Kyung-Yee Chae of Korea 6-3 6-2, but lost the doubles in a match tiebreak 4-6 6-3 10-7.

Jelena Dokic also was a winner in her latest stop on the comeback trail. She captured a USD $25,000 ITF tournament in Darmstadt, Germany, beating Michelle Gerards of the Netherlands 6-0 6-0 in the final.

SANCTIONED

Frantisek Cermak of the Czech Republic and Michal Mertinak of Slovakia have been suspended and fined by the ATP for betting on tennis matches. Cermak was banned for 10 weeks and fined USD $15,000, while Mertinak received a two-week suspension and a $3,000 penalty. Both were doubles winners earlier this month. Cermak teamed with Roger Wassen to win in Amersfoort, Netherlands, while Mertinak won in Umag, Croatia, with Petr Pala. The ATP said neither player placed bets on his own matches, and the independent hearing officer found no evidence of any intent to affect the outcome of any matches wagered upon.

SAMPRAS SELLS

After dropping his asking price by USD $2 million, Pete Sampras sold his home in Beverly Hills, California. The former tennis star reportedly dropped the price from $25 million to $23 million for the two-story house that has five bedrooms and twelve bathrooms. There is a detached guesthouse, a separate gym and a tennis court. The main house includes a home theater and the master bedroom suite has his-and-hers bathrooms.

SEARCHING FOR DOLLARS

Georg von Waldenfels, head of the German Tennis Federation, told a court that the ATP Tour’s planned tournament restructuring would have a devastating effect on the annual men’s clay court event in Hamburg. The first witness in a federal trial held in Wilmington, Delaware, von Waldenfels said the ATP’s plan to move the Hamburg tournament from May to July and downgrade it to second-tier status would make it difficult to attract top players to Germany since a July date would come when the top players are gearing up for the North American hard court season that leads up to the U.S. Open. The German federation has filed suit claiming the ATP’s tournament restructuring violates antitrust laws by attempting to monopolize player commitments and tournament sanctions in men’s professional tennis.

SMELLY SPOT

The bird carcass causing a stink at a tennis tournament in Vancouver, British Columbia, will be staying right where it is. The dead heron fledgling likely fell out of a nest in the tree and died, dangling several meters (yards) above a path between tennis courts at Stanley Park. City parks board chairwoman Korina Houghton said the bird won’t be removed because doing so could disturb the large colony of endangered great blue heron nesting in the trees above, one of the largest colonies in the Canadian province.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Toronto: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic beat Bob and Mike Bryan 6-2 4-6 10-6 (match tiebreak)

Poznan: Johan Brunstrom and Jean-Julien Rojer beat Santiago Giraldo and Alberto Martin 3-6 6-3 10-5 (match tiebreak)

San Marino: Yves Allegro and Horia Tecau beat Fabio Colangelo and Philipp Marx 7-5 7-5

Los Angeles: Chan Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung beat Eva Hrdinova and Vladimira Uhlrova 2-6 7-5 10-4 (match tiebreak)

Portoroz: Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual beat Vera Dushevina and Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 6-1

SITES TO SURF

Cincinnati: www.cincytennis.com

Cordenons: www.euro-sporting.it/challenger

Vancouver: www.vanopen.com

Montreal: www.rogerscup.com

Stockholm: www.nordiclightopen.com

Graz: www.stennismasters.at

Segovia: www.teniselespinar.com

Los Angeles: www.countrywideclassic.com

Vale do Lobo: www.grandchampions.org

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$2,450,000 Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, Cincinnati, Ohio, hard

$135,000 Internazionali del Friuli Venezia Giulia, Cordenons, Italy, clay

$100,000 Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, Vancouver, Canada, hard

WTA TOUR

$1,340,000 Rogers Cup, Montreal Canada, hard

$145,000 Nordea Nordic Light Open, Stockholm, Sweden, hard

SENIORS

s Tennis Masters, Graz, Austria, clay

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$525,000 Countrywide Classic, Los Angeles, California, hard

$125,000 Open Castilla y Leon, Segovia, Spain, hard

WOMEN

$100,000 ITF event, Monterrey, Mexico, hard

SENIORS

Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD, Vale do Lobo, Portugal, hard

Mondays With Bob Greene: US Olympic Team Struggles

STARS

Juan Martin del Potro won the Austrian Open in Kitzbuhel, Austria, by beating Jurgen Melzer 6-2 6-1

Gilles Simon beat Dmitry Tursunov 6-4 6-4 to win the Indianapolis Tennis Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana

Fernando Verdasco captured the ATP Studena Croatia Open by beating Igor Andreev 3-6 6-4 7-6 (4) in Umag, Croatia

Albert Montanes downed Steve Darcis 1-6 7-5 6-3 to win the Dutch Open Tennis in Amersfoort, Netherlands

Aleksandra Wozniak beat Marion Bartoli 7-5 6-3 and won the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California

Pauline Parmentier won the Gastein Ladies 08, beating Lucie Hradecka 6-4 6-4 in Bad Gastein, Austria

Goran Ivanisevic won the inaugural Turkcell Legends Cup in Istanbul, Turkey, defeating Fernando Meligeni 6-4 6-4

Mara Santangelo beat Jelena Kostanic Tosic 6-3 6-1 to win the Circolo Tennis Biella in Biella, Italy

DAVIS CUP

Americas Zone

Group IV: Costa Rica and Haiti are promoted to America Zone Group III in 2009

Europe/Africa Zone

Group II Playoffs: Finland beat Luxembourg 3-2; Hungary beat Greece 5-0; Egypt beat Morocco 3-2; Slovenia beat Tunisia 4-1 (winners promoted to Group I in 2009)

Group II: South Africa beat Denmark 5-0; Monaco beat Algeria 5-0; Portugal beat Cyprus 5-0; Ukraine beat Ireland 3-1 (winners meet September 19-21)

SAYINGS

“It’s another dream for me. In two weeks I played ten matches and won all of them. This week I didn’t lose a set.” – Juan Martin del Potro, after winning his second straight tournament.

“I’ve always dreamt about winning an ATP title. This moment is very special for me.” – Albert Montanes, who snapped a nine-year drought by capturing his first ATP tournament title in Amersfoort, Netherlands.

“I don’t know what’s happening. I guess I make them run too much or something.” – Aleksandra Wozniak, a qualifier from Canada who won the Bank of the West Classic. Her semifinal opponent, Serena Williams, retired in the second set with a knee injury, while her opponent in the final, Marion Bartoli, had a sore left hip and was limping badly late in the match.

“It was hurting in practice … and during the match it was getting worse. After I got off the court it was really swollen. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to heal.” – Serena Williams, who retired from her semifinal match at the Bank of the West Classic with a left knee injury.

“It’s really disappointing for me. I was able to play some really great tennis to be able to be in the final.” – Marion Bartoli, after a sore left hip hampered her play in the Bank of the West Classic final.

“It was a perfect week. It was a very difficult week because of all the rain, but when you have a tougher week like this, the victory is much bigger.” – Pauline Parmentier, who won the Gastein Ladies, her second WTA Tour singles title.

“It makes me feel old. But it is great to come back so many years and establish a consecutive run I can be proud of. It’s fun to be part of such a great sport for so long.” – Patty Schnyder, who will be competing in her 50th Grand Slam tournament at this year’s U.S. Open.

“Serena is an athlete who transcends the sport a little bit. She has world-wide popularity. She’s the Williams sister I can beat. I didn’t want to play Venus.” – Patty Schnyder, who is 3-7 against Serena Williams and 0-9 against Venus.

“We were unlucky at the French Open and unlucky at Wimbledon, but we’re going to learn from those losses. The Slams are what we play for.” – Liezel Huber, after she and Cara Black won their sixth doubles title of the year at the Bank of the West Classic.

“She is Serena Williams. I didn’t have much to lose. I pretty much gave it all. I don’t think she really expected me to play that well.” – Michelle Larcher de Brito, a 15-year-old who won the first set before Williams won the match 4-6 6-3 6-2.

“I just tried to put the ball inside. Nothing more. I don’t know why I lost the second set and won the third set 6-love.” – Gilles Simon, after beating Benjamin Becker 7-5 3-6 6-0.

“In tennis anyone can win a match. Last year everyone here thought it would be (James) Blake and (Andy) Roddick in the final. Instead it was me and (Canadian) Frank Dancevic.” – Dmitry Tursunov, at the Indianapolis Tennis Championships, where he lost in this year’s final to Gilles Simon.

“I blew it. I feel bad for the team because we were winning so big.” – John McEnroe, who lost in both singles and doubles and his New York Sportimes World Team Tennis squad fell to the Washington Kastles 18-17 in overtime.

“I heard you wanted me to play doubles here, but you never asked me. I would have, so that’s your bad.” – Brad Gilbert, to Seascape head tennis pro Rick Kepler about playing in the Comerica Challenger in Aptos, California.

“She’s going to get a taste of what green grass is like on the golf course rather than at Wimbledon.” – Greg Norman, talking about his new wife, Chris Evert, as he prepared to play in the British Open golf championships, where he finished tied for third.

STILL STANDING

Aleksandra Wozniak was still standing when the rest of the field limped off the court at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California. “I just keep playing aggressive and doing what I needed to do to win,” said Wozniak, who became the first Canadian to win a WTA Tour singles title in 20 years by beating Marion Bartoli 7-5 6-3 in the final. Wozniak, a qualifier, won her semifinal when top-seeded Serena Williams pulled out with a knee injury while trailing in the second set. In the final, Bartoli was slowed by a sore left hip and was limping badly late in the match. The last Canadian to win a WTA title was Carling Bassett in 1987. Wozniak became the third qualifier to win a tournament this year and the first to do it in a Tier II tournament, one with more than USD $600,000 in prize money.

STRUGGLING

The United States women’s Olympic tennis team will go hobbling into Beijing. Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport both withdrew from the East West Bank Classic with right knee injuries, and Serena Williams retired from her semifinal match at the Bank of the West Classic with a swollen right knee. Venus hasn’t played a tournament since defeating sister Serena and winning her fifth Wimbledon title earlier this month. Davenport’s injury has caused her to withdraw from four tournaments in seven weeks. All three say they plan on playing in Beijing.

SKIPPING THE OLYMPICS

Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, Stefan Koubek of Austria and Karin Knapp of Italy are among the latest withdrawals from the Beijing Olympics because of injuries. Tsonga will be replaced by Michael Llodra, Chris Guccione of Australia will take Koubek’s place, and Mara Santangelo will replace her Italian teammate in the women’s singles at Beijing.

SET FOR FLUSHING

When Roger Federer begins the drive for his fifth consecutive US Open men’s singles title, Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal will also be in the chase. The field will include three other former US Open champions: Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin. Federer is attempting to become the first player in the Open Era to win five straight US Opens and become the first to win that many in a row since Bill Tilden won six US Championships from 1920-25.

Five past champions have entered the US Open women’s singles – Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The reigning French Open champion, Ana Ivanovic, heads a group that includes 99 of the top 100 women. Only Akiko Morigami of Japan, who is ranked number 98 in the world, did not enter the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. Morigami recently underwent knee surgery.

SECOND STRAIGHT

Juan Martin del Potro liked his first ATP title so much he went right out and won a second. The 19-year-old Argentine won his first career tournament at Stuttgart, Germany, beating Richard Gasquet in the final. Then he zipped through the field at Kitzbuhel, Austria, downing local favorite Jurgen Melzer 6-2 6-1 in the title match of the Austrian Open. Del Potro becomes just the second player this year to win ATP tournaments in consecutive weeks. Rafael Nadal has done it twice. Melzer was the first Austrian to reach the Kitzbuhel final since Thomas Muster was runner-up to Albert Costa in 1995.

SUCCESS, FINALLY

When Albert Montanes beat defending champion Steve Darcis 1-6 7-5 6-3 at Amersfoort, Netherlands, it was the first time the Spaniard had won an ATP tournament in nine years on the tour. Ranked 63rd in the world, Montanes was in his fourth career final, all coming on clay courts.

STAYING PUT

Rogers Communications Inc. will continue to be the title sponsor for the Rogers Cup in both Toronto and Montreal at least through 2011. Tennis Canada and Rogers Communications announced a three-year renewal of the title sponsorship, which began in 2000 with the WTA Tour event. Rogers Cup is now the name for both the men’s and women’s events in Canada, with the two rotating between Toronto and Montreal annually. This year the men are in Toronto and the women in Montreal. Rogers Communication is also involved in grassroots tennis in Canada.

SUPER TEEN

Alexandra Krunic of Serbia made her debut in professional tennis a winning one. The 15-year-old entered the USD $10,000 International Tennis Federation Women’s Circuit event in Prokuplje, Serbia, as a wild-card entry. She completed the week by defeating qualifier Tanya Germanlieva of Bulgaria 6-4 6-1 in the final to claim the title, having dropped just one set in the tournament.

SET FOR BEIJING

Devin Mullings has been playing tennis for Ohio State, where he just finished his junior year. At the Beijing Olympics, he will be representing his country, the Bahamas, where he will be playing doubles with one of the top doubles players in the world, Mark Knowles. “He’s won the French Open and the U.S. Open in doubles. And he’s been to the Olympics, so that’s a huge thing for me to be able to use his experience during the matches,” Mullings said of Knowles. “I just want to compete well. It would be great to win a few rounds or get to the medal stages.”

SUSPENDED

The NCAA suspended Texas Southern University’s tennis program and placed the school’s athletic programs on probation for four years. The school got a jump on the NCAA by dropping its tennis program and firing tennis coach Alberto Rojo Jimenez, the 2006 Southwestern Athletic Coach of the Year, and athletic director Alois Blackwell. The NCAA report said that TSU’s tennis team was struggling until Jimenez started recruiting international players, many whom he promised full scholarships. According to the NCAA, Jimenez knowingly provided USD $19,000 in impermissible aid to 22 players to help cover their tuition, fees and other expenses.

SELECTED

Jane Brown Grimes, the current United States Tennis Association (USTA) president and chairman of the board, heads a class of six inductees into the USTA Middle States Hall of Fame. The inductees’ contributions to the sport of tennis will be celebrated at the 2008 Hall of Fame Induction dinner and auction set for October 24 in Mendenhall, Pennsylvania. Besides Brown, who represents the USTA on the Grand Slam Committee and on the International Tennis Federation’s Fed Cup Committee, other inductees are Edward D. McQuillin, Rose Weinstein, George K. Wills, Ann Paley Hoffmann and Wallace F. Johnson. Hoffmann and Johnson are being inducted posthumously.

SIGHTS ON BEIJING

Seven of the top ten singles players signed up to play doubles at the Rogers Masters in Toronto. With the Beijing Olympics close at hand, Roger Federer will team up with fellow Swiss Stanslas Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal will join forces with fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo, Nikolay Davydenko and fellow Russian Igor Andreev will pair up, as will Great Britain brothers Andy and Jamie Murray. The doubles draw in Toronto will also include the top five ATP doubles teams.

SENIOR VEEP

Peter Johnston has landed on his feet. Just three months after his 15-year career at Tennis Australia ended, Johnston has taken a senior management position with the WTA Tour. He will be the women’s tour’s senior vice president of competition and member relations and will be based in Florida.

SERVE CHAMPION

Jerica Coley, who just finished the 10th grade in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the first female winner of the First Serve National Student Athlete Competition. Academic grades and results at junior tennis tournaments were tabulated to come up with the top male and female First Serve Student Athletes of the Year, with each receiving USD $5,000 scholarships and a trip to the US Open to meet their favorite players. Julian Haerie of St. Petersburg, was the top male in the first year of competition. Coley’s scholarship funds were a gift from the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

SCHEDULE READY

Davis Cup in 2009 will be played March 6-8, with the World Cup quarterfinals set for July 10-12, the semifinals September 18-20 and the final on December 4-6. The 2009 Fed Cup competition begins February 7-8 with the semifinals April 25-26. The final of the women’s competition will be held November 7-8. The International Tennis Federation will hold the draw for the 2009 first-round pairings September 23 in Madrid, Spain.

SEARCHING FOR DOLLARS

James Blake has begun the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund to support cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City. Blake said his goal was the raise USD $1 million in the next year through various fundraising initiatives, including a charity tennis exhibition, the J-Block merchandise program and individual and corporate contributions. The fund is named in memory of the player’s father, Thomas Blake Sr., who died of gastric cancer in 2004. To date, the fund has raised more than USD $500,000.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Kitzbuhel: Victor Hanescu and James Cerretani beat Lukas Arnold Ker and Olivier Rochus 6-3 7-5

Indianapolis: Ashley Fisher and Tripp Phillips beat Scott Lipsky and David Martin 3-6 6-3 10-5 (match tiebreak)

Amersfoort: Frantisek Cermak and Rogier Wassen beat Jesse Huta Galung and Igor Sijsling 7-5 7-5

Umag: Michal Mertinak and Petr Pala beat Carlos Berlocq and Fabic Fognini 2-6 6-3 10-5 (match tiebreak)

Stanford: Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva 6-4 6-3

Bad Gastein: Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka beat Sesil Karatantcheva and Natasa Zoric 6-3 6-3

SITES TO SURF

Toronto: www.rogerscupmen.com

Poznan: www.porscheopen.pl

San Marino: www.atpsanmarino.com

Los Angeles: www.eastwestbankclassic.com

Portoroz: www.sloveniaopen.sl

Cincinnati: www.cincytennis.com

Cordenons: www.euro-sporting.it/challenger

Vancouver: www.vanopen.com

Montreal: www.rogerscup.com

Stockholm: www.nordiclightopen.com

Graz: www.stennismasters.at

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$2,615,000 Rogers Cup, Toronto, Canada, hard

$100,000 Porsche Open, Poznan, Poland, clay

$100,000 San Marino CEPU Open, San Marino, clay

WTA Tour

$600,000 East West Bank Classic presented by Herbalife, Los Angeles, California, hard

$145,000 Banka Koper Slovenia Open, Portoroz, Slovenia, hard

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$2,615,000 Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, Cincinnati, Ohio, hard

$135,000 Internazionali del Friuli Venezia Giulia, Cordenons, Italy, clay

$100,000 Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, Vancouver, Canada, hard

WTA TOUR

$1,340,000 Rogers Cup, Montreal Canada, hard

$145,000 Nordea Nordic Light Open, Stockholm, Sweden, hard

SENIORS

s Tennis Masters, Graz, Austria, clay