2009 WTA Tour - LA WOMEN'S TENNIS
CHAMPIONSHIPS Held at the Home Depot Center, Carson, Ca.
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STOSUR, SHARAPOVA SURGING
Sam Stosur (AUS)
By Kelly Richards
CARSON, CA - Pumped after
her huge win over tennis’s top player Dinara Safina, China’s
petite powerhouse Jie Zheng came out swinging in the
quarterfinals at the Los Angeles Women’s Tennis Championships
The tennis titan who stands at just 5’4” and ranked 23rd in the
world quickly took the lead in the first set before her opponent
Australia’s Samantha Stosur could say 4-1. Stosur was able to
regroup, but not enough to save the set. Zheng won 6-4.
Stosur said she had problems taking out the Chinese serve, which
for a pro is relatively slow clocking around 70 mph. “Her serve
is the slowest part of her game. But her ground strokes are as
hard as anyone’s.” Most of the other women players on the tour
are hitting serves between 95 and 105 mph.
The dynamo from down under wasn’t about to stay down. After a
frustrating start in the second set, which looked as if it was
going to be a repeat of the first, Stosur decided to fight fire
with fire and take some of the pace off the ball. She knew what
she had to do after losing to Zheng the last and only time
they’ve played earlier this year in Dubai.
“She loves pace and the harder you hit it at her the harder she
hits it back,” said Stosur. “I tried to calm down and stop
missing the easy balls and the slow second serves.”
By the 6th game of the second set, Stosur said she gained
confidence. She had three break points at love but only needed
one to tie the set 3-3.
Zheng said, “After (I was up) 3-1, she played unbelievable. She
serves like a man very high (kicker.) (It was) hard return.”
Ranked 19, Stosur took control with a quick hold and break to
lead 5-3. Serving for the set, she sent two screamers down the
line to win 6-3.
Zheng said she was prepared for Stosur’s strong serves and
forehands but not for her backhands which were “unbelievable.”
The beginning of the third set was a different story. Zheng
could not keep pace with the energized Aussie. Serving up 5-4
and 40-Love, Stosur quickly ended the match with a huge overhead
Last week, Stosur had one of the biggest wins of her career
beating Serena Williams at Stanford. “Anytime you can beat
anyone in the top ten, it’s a good winner.”
She has always been a stellar doubles player with two Grand Slam
and 22 tour titles under her belt. Now, Stosur says she wants to
add a singles title to her resume as well.
Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Shaky Serves For Sharapova
How many times can you double fault in a match and still win?
If you’re Maria Sharapova, the answer is 13.
She double faulted away three games in the second set handing
Poland’s Urszula Radwanska the lead on a silver platter . But
the 18-year-old couldn’t hold on to it. Sharapova won the match
“I made a lot more errors than I wanted to,” said Sharapova. “In
the second set, it just kind of went off.
Maria gave her #71 ranked opponent a lesson in grace under
pressure. Even when she was down, she never acted down. There
was no racket dropping. No hitting the ball in anger. No temper
At 22, Sharapova had to totally change her
serve. But apparently it’s still a work in progress. ESPN
commentator and former tennis great Pam Shriver said the problem
is the toss. It’s too high. She said Maria is hitting the ball
as it’s dropping, not at the apex.
USTA National Coach Tom Gullikson said Sharapova has an
abbreviated serve because of her shoulder problems and as a
result can’t get enough racket speed and rhythm.
Sharapova’s coach Michael Joyce advised her courtside to extend
and swing. He suggested substituting second serves for the
“I created so many bad habits,” she said. “Eventually it’s going
to work itself out.”
But, whatever the issues with her serve, the rest of her game is
And Maria’s fans are there. The crowd at the Los Angeles Women’s
Tennis Championship was firmly behind Maria, rooting for the
former number one to make it back to the top.
Sharapova advances to the semi finals Saturday at the Home Depot
Sorana Cristea (ROU)
to Semi-Final with Victory Over Radwanska
It’s hard enough to play a long match in the hot Southern
California sun. It’s even harder when you’re in pain. But for
Romania’s Sorana Cirstea it was worth the agony.
The 19-year-old relied on her serve to beat Agnieszka Radwanska,
the 8th seed at the Los Angeles Women’s Tennis Tournament in
Carson, California. 7-6, 1-6, 7-5. Yet every step she took was
In the neck to neck battle for the first set, Cirstea says she
landed wrong on her right heel and aggravated her plantar
fasciitus, an inflammation along the bottom of the foot. She
said she developed it last week changing from the more forgiving
grass and clay surfaces to the hard court.
Ranked 28th in the world, Cirstea won the first set in a
tiebreaker, but she couldn’t keep pace in the second. She lost
badly 1-6. Three times she called for the trainer to work on her
foot, the limit allowed in tour competition.
“I had to fight the pain,” Cirstea said. “To stay in the game I
tried to finish the points earlier.” She said she was able to
continue because the trainer assured her she wouldn’t injure her
By the third set, Cirstea regrouped. She held serve to win the
first game. Tied 4-4 in the 9th game, Radwanska had two break
opportunities and took the lead 5-4. But as they say, it ain’t
over till it’s over.
Serving for the match, the Pole double faulted giving Cirstea a
golden opportunity to tie the set. At break point, Radwanska
slipped in the middle of the court and the game winning ball
sailed over her head. It’s 5-5.
In the next game, Radwanska’s knee appeared to be hurting after
her fall when she takes yet another tumble, this time tweaking
her ankle. Cirstea holds, taking the lead 6-5.
Fatigue from the two and a half hour match and heat set in. The
12th game is full of errors. Balls hit long, balls hit wide,
balls hit into the net. The game goes to several deuces.
Finally, Cirstea is sure a ball called out by the linesman is
actually in and challenges the call. She wins both the challenge
and the match.
RESULTS - FRIDAY, AUGUST 7,
Sorana Cirstea, Romania, def. Agnieszka Radwanska (8), Poland,
7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 7-5
Samantha Stosur (13), Australia def. Jie Zheng (14), China, 4-6,
Maria Sharapova, Russia def Urszula Radwanska, Poland 6-4, 7-5
Flavia Pennetta (10), Italy def Vera Zvonareva (2), Russia 6-4,
About the Tournament
The LA Women’s Tennis Championships presented by Herbalife, in
its 39th year, is one of the most historic events in women’s
tennis and is being held for the sixth consecutive year at The
Home Depot Center. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Premier event
offers prize money of $700,000 to the 56-player singles and
16-team doubles draws. The distinguished tournament champions
list includes Dinara Safina, Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams,
Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert,
Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, all of whom have also
been ranked No. 1 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour during their
The LA Women’s Tennis Championships presented by Herbalife is
part of the prestigious Olympus US Open Series, which links nine
summer hard-court tournaments to the famed U.S. Open. This
year’s tournament marks the sixth year players competing in the
U.S. Open Series tournaments will be vying for bonus prize money
at the U.S. Open. Players competing in the “summer season” of
tennis at the participating Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments
will receive Olympus U.S. Open Series points, which will
ultimately earn the series winner the opportunity to double her
U.S. Open prize purse.