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2015 Wimbledon Championships


Serena Wins Wimbledon & Serena Slam 2

12th July, 2015

LONDON -- There was no shortage of drama, especially right at the start and right at the end, but Serena Williams outdid Garbine Muguruza in straight sets for her sixth Wimbledon, 21st Grand Slam title and second Serena Slam - her self-stylized name for a Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam.

Playing in the first Grand Slam final of her blossoming career, the No.20-seeded Muguruza came out on fire, breaking in the very first game of the match then holding for 2-0. And she held onto that break for a few more games - she extended that 2-0 lead to 3-1 and even 4-2, just a few games from the set.

Serena Williams Serena Williams
But the No.1-seeded Williams came alive from there, winning five games in a row to build a 6-4, 1-0 lead, and then, after Muguruza held to even it up, 1-1, she reeled off four straight games for a 5-1 lead.

It wasn't over at all - Muguruza clawed back, winning the next three games to close the gap to 5-4, but Williams summoned up one last break of serve to clinch the match and the championships, 6-4, 6-4.

The finalists met the BBC's Sue Barker for the traditional on-court interviews after the match.

"I'm very happy and proud to be playing in front of this amazing crowd," Muguruza said of her first Grand Slam final. "I love to play on big courts, and a Grand Slam final is just a dream come true for me. But I also want to say congratulations to Serena. She's showing us she's still World No.1."

"Garbine played so well," Williams said. "I didn't even know it was over - she was fighting so hard at the end. Congratultions - don't be sad, you'll be holding this trophy very, very soon, believe me! I can't believe I'm standing here with another Serena Slam. It's really cool. And the crowd helped me through it - I heard all the 'I love yous' and I love you more! It's such an honor. It feels so good."

Serena Slam 1 was the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in 2002 and Australian Open in 2003, Serena Slam 2 the US Open in 2014 and Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2015.

Williams' 21 total Grand Slam titles is second-most in the Open Era, after Steffi Graf's 22, and third-most all-time, after Margaret Court's 24 and Graf's 22. She's just the second woman all-time to win four or more Grand Slam titles in a row twice - Graf also accomplished the feat twice in her career.

And at 33 years and 289 days, the World No.1 is also the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam title in the Open Era, beating Martina Navratilova's record of 33 years and 263 days at Wimbledon in 1990.

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Another Pliskova rises, upsets continue

2nd July, 2015

LONDON -- Kristyna Pliskova wrapped up an upset-filled day on Thursday, picking off Svetlana Kuznetsova under fading light in the last match of the day at The Championships.

Playing the last match on Court 1, Pliskova rallied from a set down to take out three-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist Kuznetsova, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, to reach the third round of a major for the first time. Her twin sister, No.11 seed Karolina Pliskova, was taken out a day earlier by CoCo Vandeweghe.

Svetlana Kuznetsova Svetlana Kuznetsova
But Kuznetsova wasn't the only seed to go out on Thursday by any means. No.17 seed Elina Svitolina fell to Casey Dellacqua, 7-6(3), 6-3, No.25 seed Alize Cornet lost to Belarusian qualifier Olga Govortsova, 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-1, and then the big one - No.8 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who had been a semifinalist at two of the last three majors, was bundled out by Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-2, 7-5.

Makarova is the third Top 8 seed to fall, joining No.3 seed Simona Halep and No.7 seed Ana Ivanovic.

All the other seeds won, most notably No.2 seed Petra Kvitova, who overpowered Kurumi Nara, 6-2, 6-0, No.5 seed Caroline Wozniacki, who almost let a 5-1 second set lead slip but closed out Denisa Allertova, 6-1, 7-6(6), No.10 seed Angelique Kerber, who broke a head-to-head tie against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 7-5, 6-2, and No.13 seed Agnieszka Radwanska over Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-0, 6-2.

No.15 seed Timea Bacsinszky, No.18 seed Sabine Lisicki, No.20 seed Garbine Muguruza, No.21 seed Madison Keys, No.28 seed Jelena Jankovic and No.31 seed Camila Giorgi were also winners.

Lisicki rallied from a set and a break down to beat Christina McHale on Centre Court, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1. "Experience always helps you," Lisicki said. "I didn't play a good first set and I knew it. So I knew I could do much better than that. I was just focusing on the things I could do better rather than the balls that I missed. At that point I started finding my range and hit the ball better and better from there."

Keys won a very tight two-setter against fellow up-and-comer Elizaveta Kulichkova, 6-4, 7-6(3). "The way she was going for her shots was really, really surprising," the American WTA Rising Star said. "In tight moments she just kept going for it, and she never really gave me a free point on big points. That was kind of surprising - but I was just really, really happy I was able to get through it."

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Kuznetsova beats Siegemund for opening round win

30th June, 2015

LONDON -- The former world number two, Svetlana Kuznetsova, a three-time quarterfinalist at the All England Club, arrived on Court 18 for her debut this year having lost in the first round of the event the last two years. Ahead of her, Laura Siegemund, a 27-year-old journeywoman whose best ranking was achieved last week at 127. It was the German's debut at the Wimbledon main draw.

The 33 minute first set was opened with a love hold from Siegemund, but that ended up being the only game won on her serve in the frame. As Kuznetsova held for 1/1 shortly after, the German rebounded from a 15-40 deficit, only to lose the game anyway.

The next game, in which the Russian consolidated the break, started a streak of breaks of service in the first set. The world 128 was broken again, but she broke right back. The German held game points in the seventh set, but Kuzentsova ended up winning the game.

That trend carried on until the tenth game. With Siegemund serving with her back against the wall down 3/5, she gifted away the set on a double-fault.

The second set was no more consistent. After a pair of holds to start the affair, a couple of backhand winners by the German and two unforced errors from Kuznetsova's racket combined to hand the German the first break. However, Siegemund was broken right after, despite going up 40-15 in the game.

The fifth and sixth games went the loser's way, as she got up 4/2 on the set with Kuznetsova serving. The 30-year-old Russian claimed then the next sets, finishing the match on Siegemund's game, breaking for the win from 15, putting final numbers to her 6/3, 6/4 win.

In the second round, Svetlana Kuznetsova faces Czech Republic's Kristyna Pliskova, currently ranked No. 134, who beat Smitkova in an all-Czech affair in round one. This is going to be the first meeting between the two.

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Wimbledon 2015 draw: Serena and Venus on collision course

27th June, 2015

LONDON -- The women's draw for Wimbledon 2015 was released on Friday morning and at first glance it appears to be quite the tough proposition for world no. 1 Serena Williams if she is to capture a sixth Wimbledon title.

Neither Ana Ivanovic, Williams's projected quarterfinal opponent, nor Maria Sharapova - her projected semifinal opponent - are very threatening to the world no. 1, who opens against Margarita Gasparyan.

But Williams could meet her older sister Venus, who also possesses five Wimbledon titles and often plays her best at the All England Club, in the round of 16. Venus plays steady Madison Brengle in the first round.

Serena Williams Serena Williams
Should Serena face and beat Venus, she will face the winner of an intriguing section of the draw in the quarterfinals. Seventh seed Ana Ivanovic, a former semifinalist at Wimbledon, is the projected opponent with tenth seed Carla Suarez Navarro also in the frame, but neither play very well on grass. Ivanovic faces Belinda Bencic, the Swiss teenager who reached the final of the Topshelf Open on grass two weeks ago, in the third round while former world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka - a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2012 currently seeded low due to injury - will be strongly tipped to make it out of this section of the draw and face Serena in what could be a classic clash.

In the semifinals, Williams is seeded to meet fourth seed Maria Sharapova, a Wimbledon champion in 2004. But Sharapova hasn't made it past the round of 16 at Wimbledon since 2011 and there are some dangerous players in her section.

Sharapova opens against British wildcard Johanna Konta and could potentially face Daria Gavrilova, who beat her earlier this year, in the third round. Flavia Pennetta or Andrea Petkovic - neither of whom play particularly well on grass - could await in the fourth round but it is the quarterfinals which promise to be difficult. Sixth seed Lucie Safarova, who beat Sharapova on her way to the French Open final a few weeks ago and made the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014, is projected to await with Sloane Stephens, Coco Vandeweghe and Karolina Pliskova also among potential quarterfinal opponents for Sharapova.

Defending champion Petra Kvitova has what looks like a much simpler route through the draw. The second seed, who pulled out of this week's Aegon International due to illness, opens against the Netherlands' Kiki Bertens and could face Jelena Jankovic, or British wildcard Laura Robson, in the third round. Former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, French Open semifinalist Elina Svitolina and former Wimbledon semifinalist Tamira Paszek (a qualifier this year) are among potential fourth-round opponents.

In the quarterfinals, Kvitova is seeded to meet eighth seed Ekaterina Makarova, an underrated and dangerous player, with 2014 Eastbourne champion Madison Keys and 2014 Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard also in that part of the draw.

Last year's semifinalist Simona Halep, the third seed, is in the same quarter of the draw as Caroline Wozniacki (with that quarter providing Kvitova's potential semifinal opponent). Third seed Halep opens against Jana Cepelova and could meet Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round, with French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky or 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki among potential fourth-round opponents.

Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki, meanwhile, has her sights set on making the quarterfinals of Wimbledon for the first time. The Dane, who is competing on Friday in the semifinals of the Aegon International, faces Zheng Saisai in the first round and could meet hard-hitting Camila Giorgi - a champion on grass at the Topshelf Open two weeks ago - in the third round, with Birmingham champion Angelique Kerber a potential fourth-round opponent.

As it stands, the projected semifinals would see Serena facing Sharapova while Kvitova took on Halep. But Wimbledon always produces a slew of upsets.

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