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WTA Bad Gastein Gallery: Beck, Hlavackova, Martic, Rus and More

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The Nurnberger Gastein Ladies WTA tournament this week in Austria has featured some great talent and stories, and the last of the second round as well as the quarterfinal action was no exception. Players such as Annika Beck, Karin Knapp, Arantxa Rus, Petra Martic, Mandy Minella, Yvonne Meusburger and more took the court the past two days.

Gallery by Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm.

WTA Bad Gastein Gallery: 1970s-Themed Player’s Party with Beck, Minella, Martic and More

Nurnberger Gastein Ladies Player's Party 1970s

(July 17 2013) In honor of the 40th anniversary of the WTA Tour, players of the Nurnberger Gastein Ladies tournament paid an homage to the decades in a 1970s-themed player’s party. The ladies really took to the event with glam, bold patterns, bandanas, and even peace sign necklaces.

Check out all the players, including Annika Beck, Mandy Minella, Aranxta Rus, Petra Martic and much more in the gallery below!

WTA Bad Gastein Gallery: Beck Advances, Petkovic & Bertens Beaten

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(July 16, 2013) It was a hot and eventful day at the Nurnberger Gastein Ladies tournament in Austria on Tuesday, as fourth-seed Andrea Petkovic lost a three-hour battle against Petra Martic, while fellow German and No. 2 Annika Beck routed Shahar Peer in straight sets. (Gallery at bottom)

Results - Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Singles – First Round
(2) Annika Beck (GER) d. Shahar Peer (ISR) 75 63
Petra Martic (CRO) d. (4) Andrea Petkovic (GER) 67(5) 75 63
(Q) Viktorija Golubic (SUI) d. (5) Kiki Bertens (NED) 62 62
(6) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) d. Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) 61 64
Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) d. Maria Joao Koehler (POR) 62 64
Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. (Q) Michaela Honcova (SVK) 62 62
Estrella Cabeza Candela (ESP) d. Tadeja Majeric (SLO) 61 63
Mandy Minella (LUX) d. (LL) Dia Evtimova (BUL) 62 26 63
Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) d. Eleni Daniilidou (GRE) 63 61
(WC) Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) d. Tereza Mrdeza (CRO) 64 63
(WC) Lisa-Maria Moser (AUT) d. (Q) Elena Bogdan (ROU) 76(6) 26 64

Doubles – First Round
(4) Hrdinova/Peer (CZE/ISR) d. Begu/Svitolina (ROU/UKR) 57 75 119 (Match TB)
Curovic/Scholl (SRB/USA) d. Honcova/Perrin (SVK/SUI) 63 63
Klemenschits/Klepac (AUT/SLO) d. Bogdan/Naydenova (ROU/BUL) 60 36 101 (Match TB)
Barrois/Daniilidou (GER/GRE) d. (WC) Barthel/Beck (GER/GER) 63 46 104 (Match TB)

What to Watch in the WTA This Week: Bastad and Bad Gastein Previews

Serena says hello to her new favorite surface.

Simona Halep brings a remarkable winning streak in pursuit of a fourth straight International title.  This week, a bit more competition might await her than at the three others.

Bastad:

Top half:  The second-ranked Maria Sharapova spent a brief holiday in Sweden this month, but world No. 1 Serena Williams will mix at least some business with pleasure.  One would not have expected to see Serena at an International event on clay rather than her usual US Open Series stop at Stanford.  But her undefeated clay record this year will go on the line against an overmatched group of opponents—on paper, at least.  Sure to collect a huge appearance fee in Bastad, Serena may or may not play with her usual intensity at a tournament that means nothing to her legacy.  The top-ranked junior in the world, Belinda Bencic, stands a win away from facing the top-ranked woman in the world shortly after earning the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon.  Serena’s own disappointment on those lawns may motivate her to bring more imposing form to Bastad than she would otherwise.

The player who came closest to defeating Serena on clay this year, Anabel Medina Garrigues, might await in the quarterfinals.  On the other hand, Medina Garrigues won just two games from projected second-round opponent Dinah Pfizenmaier in Palermo last week.  Also suffering an early exit there was Lara Arruabarrena, a Spaniard who shone briefly this spring.  Arruabarrena joins Lesia Tsurenko among the women vying with third seed Klara Zakopalova for the right to face Serena in the semifinals.  At a similar level of tournament in 2009, Zakopalova outlasted a diffident Serena on the clay of Marbella.

Bottom half:  Grass specialist Tsvetana Pironkova holds the fourth seed in a quarter free from any dirt devils.  Almost anyone could emerge from this section, perhaps even one of Sweden’s top two women.  Johanna Larsson will meet Sofia Arvidsson in the first round, an unhappy twist of fate for home fans.  The lower-ranked of the two, Arvidsson has accumulated the stronger career record overall.

Riding a 15-match winning streak at non-majors, Simona Halep seeks her fourth title of the summer.  She went the distance in consecutive weeks just before Wimbledon, on two different surfaces no less, so an International double on clay would come as no great surprise.  One aging threat and one rising threat jump out of her quarter as possible obstacles.  After reaching the second week of Wimbledon, Flavia Pennetta may have gained the confidence needed to ignite her stagnating comeback.  Assigned an opening test against clay specialist Alexandra Dulgheru, young French sensation Caroline Garcia looks to unlock more of her potential.  And Serena’s notorious assassin, Virginie Razzano, cannot be discounted entirely.

Final:  Serena vs. Halep

Bad Gastein:

Top half:  To be frank, this tournament boasts one of the least impressive fields on the WTA calendar (if “boasts” is the proper word).  On the bright side, Bad Gastein should feature some competitive, unpredictable matches from the first round to the last.  The only top-50 woman in the draw, Mona Barthel will seek her third final of 2013 but her first on clay.  Barthel wields more than enough power to hit through the slow surface, but her patience can be ruffled in adversity.  Her most notable pre-semifinal challenge might come from Kiki Bertens, who won a small title on clay last year.  Barthel has dominated their history, though, including a victory this year.

As she builds on an encouraging Wimbledon, Andrea Petkovic holds the fourth seed in a tournament near home.  Her family traveled with her from Germany before the draw ceremony, images of which appear elsewhere on this site.  A finalist on clay in Nurnberg last month, Petkovic drew one of the tournament’s most notable unseeded players in her opener, Petra Martic.  Just as injuries have undermined Petkovic for many months, mononucleosis has hampered Martic’s progress.  But her balanced game and keen feel for the ball still emerges, making her a greater threat than other players in the section.  Palermo semifinalist Chanelle Scheepers, who solved Martic there, might test Petkovic’s consistency.  Nor should one ignore elite junior Elina Svitolina in the draw’s most compelling section.

Bottom half:  Romanians enjoyed strong results last week, highlighted by Halep’s extended winning streak and semifinals from Alexandra Cadantu and Victor Hanescu.  This week, third seed Irina-Camelia Begu seeks to echo the success of her compatriots as she rebounds from a first-round loss in Palermo.  While her only career title came on a hard court, Begu reached two clay finals in 2011, her best season so far.  Near her stands home hope Yvonne Meusburger, who surprised by reaching the Budapest final.  The star-crossed Arantxa Rus simply hopes to halt the longest losing streak in WTA history, although she has drawn a seeded opponent in Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor.

Yet another rising German, second seed Annika Beck has reached the quarterfinals or better at three International tournaments on clay this year.  Beck can look forward to a second-round meeting with doubles specialist Lucie Hradecka with resurgent Italian Karin Knapp awaiting the winner.  Knapp returned to the top 100 when she exploited an imploding section of the Wimbledon draw to reach the second week.  Her skills suit clay less smoothly than some of the women around her, such as Palermo semifinalist Cadantu.

Final: Petkovic vs. Beck

What to Watch in the WTA This Week: Palermo and Budapest Draw Previews

Sara Errani heads home to her favorite surface.

 

The sunny island of Sicily hosts the more notable of the two small women’s tournaments in the week after Wimbledon.  Palermo will host both of the leading Italian stars, who eye one more chance to capitalize on their best surface.

Palermo:

Top half:  Bounced from Wimbledon in the first round, Sara Errani returns gratefully to clay after a one-match grass season.  The world No. 6 took a wildcard into one of her home tournaments, where she has won two titles.  In search of her second 2013 title defense, Errani can look ahead to a second-round meeting with fiery Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.  Two other clay specialists join her in a section filled with hyphenated names.  Mariana Duque-Marino impressed with her shot-making during a tight loss to Marion Bartoli at Roland Garros, while Silvia Soler-Espinosa has become a fixture of Spain’s Fed Cup team.

Neither of the most intriguing players in the second quarter has a seed next to her name.  Two of the Italians in this section emerged from irrelevance at Wimbledon and will hope to dazzle their compatriots.  Both Flavia Pennetta and Karin Knapp reached the second week on grass, their least effective surface, despite rankings outside the top 100.  The evergreen Anabel Medina Garrigues, who bageled Serena Williams in Madrid, could meet Pennetta or Knapp in the quarterfinals.  Much less intriguing are the two Czech seeds, Klara Zakopalova and Karolina Pliskova.  Still, Zakopalova reached the second week at Roland Garros last year, for the slow conditions suited her counterpunching style.

Bottom half:  Unfortunate to draw Maria Sharapova in her Wimbledon opener, Kristina Mladenovic gained some consolation by winning the mixed doubles title with Daniel Nestor.  Almost overnight, she travels to Palermo as the third seed.  Mladenovic will have some breathing room as she adjusts from one surface to another, situated in an especially forgiving section.  Young French star Caroline Garcia might face Irina-Camelia Begu in a second-round contrast of styles.  A quarterfinal between Garcia and Mladenovic could offer some insight onto the future of women’s tennis in France after Bartoli.

Second seed Roberta Vinci joined Pennetta and Knapp in the second week of Wimbledon but struggled in the first week and fell heavily to Li Na.  All the same, Vinci remains within striking distance of the top 10 at the age of 31 while continuing to shine in doubles with Errani.  This Italian veteran could meet Wimbledon surprise Eva Birnerova, who almost reached the second week as well.  The canny Lourdes Dominguez Lino then would confront Vinci in a battle of traditional clay specialists.

Final:  Errani vs. Vinci

Budapest:

Top half:  The Hungarian Grand Prix does not look particularly grand this year with not a single entrant from the top 25.  Leading the pack is Lucie Safarova, whose 2013 campaign has lurched from signs of hope to unmitigated disasters.  Safarova has defeated Samantha Stosur twice this year and reached a clay semifinal in Nurnberg, but she won one total match at three more important clay events in Stuttgart, Madrid, and Paris.  Ripe for an upset, she might fall victim to the promising Petra Martic.  Despite a horrific start to 2013, Martic recaptured some of her form at the challenger level and reached the third round of Wimbledon, where she won a set from Tsvetana Pironkova.  South African No. 1 Chanelle Scheepers holds the other seed in this section.

Doubles specialist Lucie Hradecka will look to bomb her way through a section that includes young German star Annika Beck.  The fourth seed in Budapest, Beck reached a quarterfinal and a semifinal at International events on clay earlier this year.  Perhaps she will have gained inspiration from her compatriot Lisicki’s breakthrough at Wimbledon.  Lara Arruabarrena won a challenger earlier this year and gained attention for reaching the fourth round of Indian Wells, where she upset Vinci.  The 80th-ranked Spaniard will hope to outlast erratic fifth seed Johanna Larsson with her consistency.

Bottom half:  Probably the favorite for the title, third seed Simona Halep seeks to extend a ten-match winning streak at non-majors.  Even before that romp through Nurnberg and s’Hertogenbosch, Halep reached the semifinals at the Premier Five event in Rome.  That quality passage of play should have primed her for a deep run in Budapest, although the heavy serve of home hope Timea Babos could pose an intriguing threat.  Seventh seed Maria Teresa Torro-Flor would meet Babos before Halep, hoping to build on clay victories over Francesca Schiavone and Daniela Hantuchova this spring.

Finishing the clay season in style, Alize Cornet won a title in Strasbourg and took a set from Victoria Azarenka in Paris.  She will look to rebound from a massive collapse against Pennetta at Wimbledon against Hradecka’s doubles partner, Andrea Hlavackova.  The faded Shahar Peer joins an alumnus of the Chris Evert Tennis Academy, Anna Tatishvili, elsewhere in the section.

Final:  Unseeded player vs. Halep

 

WTA Katowice Gallery: Kvitova, Vinci Rout the Competition, as Beck Reaches First Semifinal

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KATOWICE (April 12, 2013) — Friday at the BNP Paribas Katowice Open quarterfinals saw the remaining two seeds, No. 1 Petra Kvitova and No. 2 Roberta Vinci, get by their respective opponents, Petra Martic and Karolina Pliskova. Young German Annika Beck defeated qualifier Maria Elena Camerin and reached her first WTA semifinal with a second set bagel. Similarly, qualifier Alexandra Cadantu rallied back to defeat lucky loser Shara Peer in three tight sets.

All ladies’ quarterfinal action in the gallery below by Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm.

WTA Katowice Monday Gallery: Opening Ceremony with Goerges, Lisicki, Kvitova and more

Petra Kvitova

KATOWICE (April 8, 2013) — Main draw play of the BNP Paribas Katowice Open kicked off today with not only first round matches, but also the Opening Ceremony as well as a doubles exhibition match which featured Poland’s top doubles players pairing up with top wheelchair players, Marcin Matkowski partnering with Kamil Fabisiak while Mariusz Fyrstenberg teamed with Albin Batycki.

Full WTA Monday Results below:

SINGLES – FIRST ROUND
Petra Martic (CRO) d Elina Svitolina (UKR) | 6 (2) – 7 | 6 – 3 | 6 – 2 |
[3] Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) | 7 – 6 (2) | 6 – 2 |
Annika Beck (GER) d Marta Domachowska (POL) | 6 – 3 | 7 – 5 |
Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) d [8] Laura Robson (GBR) | 5 – 7 | 7 – 6 (7) | 6 – 1 |
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor (ESP) | 6 – 1 | 3 – 6 | 6 – 0 |

SINGLES – QUALIFYING – FINAL ROUND
Maria Elena Camerin (ITA) d Katarzyna Piter (POL) | 6 – 2 | 6 – 4 |
[2] Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) d Raluca Olaru (ROU) | 6 – 0 | 6 – 0 |
Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) d [3] Shahar Peer (ISR) | 6 – 4 | 6 – 1 |
Jill Craybas (USA) d Irina Buryachok (UKR) | 6 – 3 | 6 – 2 |

DOUBLES – FIRST ROUND
R Olaru / V Solovyeva (ROU/RUS) d M Linette / K Piter (POL/POL) | 6 – 4 | 6 – 1 |

WTA Bad Gastein – Cornet prevails over Wickmayer, as Goerges and Craybas take doubles title

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By Romi Cvitkovic

Although the WTA tournament in Bad Gastein started off with days of rain, the tournament ended in tears of joy for one of its winners, Alize Cornet. In just her second career title, she dispatched of Yanina Wickmayer 7-5, 7-6(1) in just over two hours.

“It has been four years I haven’t won a singles title, so it’s just happiness now. I’m so happy,” Cornet said. “It’s been a super week. I really love this tournament. I love the people here and I feel everybody loves me as well. I’m not Austrian, but I feel like I’m Austrian when I’m here. It’s my favorite tournament … What more can I ask for than winning it?”

After struggling for most of the season, Cornet made a breakthrough in Stuttgart this April, blasting through the qualification rounds before retiring to Maria Sharapova in the second round. She then bested her results by losing in the finals of Strasbourg to Francesca Schiavone in two tights sets.

The doubles final featured the standout duos of Julia Goerges and Jill Craybas defeating Petra Martic and Anna-Lena Groenefeld, 6-7(4), 6-4, 11-9. Although Goerges was the number one singles seed and Martic the fifth seed, both fell out in the first round only to enjoy Bad Gastein a little longer and meet in the doubles finals.

Check out the full gallery of the singles and doubles matches, as well as both awards ceremonies. All photo credit to Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm.

WTA Bad Gastein – Martic goes paragliding as Cornet and Wickmayer setup finals showdown

Petra Martic paragliding in Bad Gastein

Full singles results from the Nurnberger Gastein Ladies WTA tournament in Austria. Check out the full gallery below, including on-court action shots and a paraglider ride with Petra Martic!

Quarterfinals:
[7] Alize Cornet d. Estrella Cabeza Candela 6-1, 6-2
[3] Ksenia Pervak d. [Q] Chichi Scholl 6-4, 6-1
Mandy Minella d [8] Johanna Larsson 1-6, 6-2, 6-2
[2/W] Yanina Wickmayer d. Yvonne Meusburger 6-3, 6-2

Semifinals:
[7] Alize Cornet d. [3] Ksenia Pervak 6-2, 6-2
[2/W] Yanina Wickmayer d. Mandy Minella 7-6(3), 6-3

WTA Bad Gastein gallery – Petra Martic ousted by local favorite Yvonne Meusburger

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By Romi Cvitkovic

The WTA tournament in Bad Gastein has been getting surprised with seeds crashing out just as much as the rain delaying play. And today was no different.

In a rain-interrupted Wednesday, fifth-seeded Petra Martic who had just come off of her career-best showing at a Slam by making the fourth round of the French Open last week, was ousted by local favorite Yvonne Meusburger who saved four match points to win with a score of 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(5).

Another seed, number three Ksenia Pervak saved five match points during her 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) victory against opponent Lara Arruabarrena-Veci.

Sixth-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu was forced to three sets and saved six-of-eight break points in the final set to beat her German opponent, Kathrin Woerle, 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.

Eighth-seeded Johanna Larsson also defeated qualifier Jana Cepelova, 6-4, 7-6(1).

16-year-old Austrian wildcard Barbara Haas saw her WTA tournament debut come to an end as she was defeated by qualifier Dia Evtimova, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. Still active on the juniors circuit while reaching the finals of $10,000 ITF tournaments, expect to see the name “Haas” (no relation to Tommy Haas, supposedly) appear again in the future.

Other results:
Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) d. (WC) Nicole Rottmann (AUT) 6-2 6-3
Jill Craybas (USA) d. Nina Bratchikova (RUS) 7-5 6-3
(Q) Chichi Scholl (USA) d. Zuzana Ondraskova (CZE) 6-3 6-0

Check out the day’s matches in our full gallery below by Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm!

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