Monday, May 5, 2014

Elena Baltacha

Elena Sergeevna Baltacha (14 August 1983 – 4 May 2014) was a British professional tennis player. Being a four-time winner of the Aegon Award, she was also a long-term British No. 1, a position she held intermittently from 2002 to 2012.[1] However, due to her absence from competition, due to knee surgery,[2] she dropped down the world rankings and at the time of her retirement, on 18 November 2013, she was ranked as the world No. 221 and British No. 6. Her career high ranking of World No. 49 was achieved in September 2010.[3]

Over the course of her career she won eleven ITF singles titles (five $25,000, two $50,000, two $75,000 and two $100,000) and four ITF doubles titles (all $25,000). She was also a runner-up in three ITF events in singles and four in doubles.

In 2010, Baltacha had victories over top 10 players, including two victories over Li Na and one against Francesca Schiavone, who at the time was the reigning French Open champion. In 2011 Baltacha won her most highly ranked tournament on the ITF tour, winning the 2011 Aegon Nottingham Challenge.

Baltacha died from liver cancer on 4 May 2014, aged 30. :(

 One of Bally’s proudest moments, for sure. She was a dedicated member of GB’s Fed Cup team, and participation in the 2012 Olympics for GB meant so much to her.

 The 5th and final day of the EBAT official trip to The National Tennis Training Centre in Scotland, it ended with a very special occasion, Elena was being made an honouree Doctor at the University of the West of Scotland. Elena and our two young players were given VIP status and it was an opportunity for Sofiya and Justice to show everyone that the academy prides itself on not only developing high quality tennis players but also well rounded and very polite children, they did not let any of us down.
 After the very special ceremony the team enjoyed a VIP lunch with all the dignitaries, again the girls showed what it means to be an EBAT girl, politeness and the ability to feel confidence in scenarios like this, the dignitaries were fantastic helping the girls to relax, even at one point setting up a moch autograph session.
 The day ended with a great social to the cinema and another evening of hospitality from the Baltacha family.

 Elena Baltacha was born 14 August 1983 and died Sunday 4th May 2014
She represented Great Britain for 11 years in the international team competition Fed Cup
She was a proud member of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games, playing singles and doubles

She spent 132 weeks as British No.1 in singles between Dec 2009 - June 2012
Her highest singles ranking was 49, achieved in September 2010
She won 11 ITF Pro Circuit singles titles
In Grand Slams, she reached the 3rd round of Wimbledon in 2002 and competed as recently as the 2013 Championships
She reached the 3rd round of the Australian Open in 2005 and 2010
Her last competitive tournament was the 2013 US Open

 Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis

angel goodbye

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Petra Kvitová

Petra Kvitová was born to Jiří Kvita and Pavla Kvitová in Bílovec, Czech Republic (in 1990, still Czechoslovakia). Her father Jiří introduced her to tennis. During her childhood, she admired Czech American player Martina Navratilova. Kvitová trained in her hometown Fulnek until the age of 16, and was then encouraged by an instructor to pursue a professional career in tennis
Petra Kvitová (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpɛtra ˈkvɪtovaː]; born 8 March 1990) is a Czech professional tennis player. Known for her powerful left-handed shots and variety, she has won eleven career singles titles. She reached her career-high ranking of world no. 2 in October 2011, and is currently ranked world no. 6. Her current clothing sponsor is Nike.

Kvitová won the 2011 Wimbledon Championships and the 2011 WTA Tour Championships singles titles, beating Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka respectively, becoming the first Grand Slam event winner of either gender born in the 1990s, and the third player to win the WTA Championships in her first attempt. She has also reached the semifinals of the 2012 Australian Open and the 2012 French Open, losing on both occasions to Maria Sharapova.

Kvitová is known for her fast left-handed serves. At the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, she had 36 aces, the third-most of any woman.[6] She hit 222 clean winners and another 12 winners, a record. She is also noted for her heavy forehand and backhand and is capable of creating sharp angles. She also possesses notable variety and timing, and is known to make up for her lack of speed by playing close to the baseline. Due to her high-risk, aggressive style of play she is known to produce a high number of unforced errors in matches

 Name: Petra Kvitova
Birth Date: 8 March 1990
Birth Place: Bilovec, Czech Republic
Height: 1.83 metres ( 6 ft. 0 in. )
Weight: 70 kilos ( 154 lbs. )
Plays: Left Handed
Residence: Fulnek, Czech Republic
Country: Czech Republic
Kvitová began 2008 by upsetting Anabel Medina Garrigues in France and former world no. 1 Venus Williams in Memphis, reaching the second rounds of both tournaments.[9] She reached the fourth round of her first Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, in which she lost to Kaia Kanepi in three sets, having defeated Akiko Morigami, Samantha Stosur and then-World No. 12 Ágnes Szávay en route. She advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2008 Zurich Open as a qualifier, thus placing her in the top 50 for the first time.[9]

Kvitová won her first career title in the 2009 Moorilla Hobart International, defeating Alona Bondarenko, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Virginie Razzano, and Iveta Benešová. After suffering consecutive first-round losses in the Australian Open (to Victoria Azarenka), the Open GDF Suez, and Dubai, she reached the third round in Indian Wells, losing to eventual champion Vera Zvonareva.[10] She withdrew from the 2009 French Open due to an ankle injury and lost in the first round of Wimbledon. At the 2009 US Open, she defeated then-world no. 1 Dinara Safina in the third round in three sets, before losing to eventual semi-finalist Yanina Wickmayer in the fourth round. Kvitová was ranked 71 places lower than Safina at the time. At the Generali Ladies Linz, Kvitová reached her second final of the year, losing in straight sets to Wickmayer.[10]

She reached the semifinals of the 2010 Cellular South Cup, and lost to eventual champion Maria Sharapova.[11] She went on to reach the semifinals of the 2010 Wimbledon Championships, defeating Sorana Cîrstea, Zheng Jie, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, and Kaia Kanepi, before losing to then-world no. 1, defending and eventual champion Serena Williams, in straight sets. She was then guaranteed to reach the top 30 for the first time. Following Wimbledon, she suffered five consecutive first round defeats in her next five tournaments before breaking a six-match losing streak at the 2010 US Open, when she defeated Lucie Hradecká, and Elena Baltacha, before losing to defending and eventual champion Kim Clijsters in the third round; having led 3–0 in the first set, Kvitová lost the next twelve games in a row

 Kvitová started 2011 by winning her second career title at the Brisbane International, defeating Andrea Petkovic in the final, and also earning wins over third seed Nadia Petrova and fifth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. With the win, she achieved the ranking of world no. 28.
Kvitová was the 25th seed at the 2011 Australian Open, where she lost a quarterfinal match to Vera Zvonareva. Her strong run ensured that she would reach a new ranking of world no. 18.
In Paris, Kvitová won her second title of the year by defeating newly crowned world no. 1 and 2011 Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters in straight sets. Once again, Kvitová's ranking rose to a new high of world no. 14. She led the Czech Fed Cup team to the final round, with semifinal wins over Yanina Wickmayer and Kirsten Flipkens
She won the title at the 2011 Mutua Madrid Open, defeating Alexandra Dulgheru, Chanelle Scheepers, second seed Vera Zvonareva, Li Na, and Victoria Azarenka.[16] She made her top-10 debut after the tournament at world no. 10. The following week, because Jelena Janković failed to defend her points in the 2011 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Kvitová moved one place up to no. 9.[13]

Kvitová was the ninth seed at the 2011 French Open. She defeated Gréta Arn, Zheng Jie, and Vania King in straight sets, before losing to eventual champion Li Na in the fourth round, despite leading 3–0 in the deciding set.[17]

Kvitová won her first Grand Slam title as the eighth seed at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships. She defeated Alexa Glatch, Anne Keothavong, 29th seed Roberta Vinci, 19th seed Yanina Wickmayer, 32nd seed Tsvetana Pironkova, and fourth seed Victoria Azarenka on the way to the final, where she beat fifth seed Maria Sharapova in straight sets.[18] She became the first left-handed female player to win the singles title since Martina Navratilova in 1990, the first Czech player to win a Grand Slam singles title since Jana Novotná won Wimbledon in 1998, and the first Grand Slam tournament winner of either gender to be born in the 1990s.[19][20]

 Kvitová at the US Open

Following Wimbledon, Kvitová lost to Andrea Petkovic during two matches of the US Open Series. She was then upset by Alexandra Dulgheru at the 2011 US Open, becoming the first Grand Slam champion to lose in the first round of the following Grand Slam without winning a set.[21]

Kvitová's form improved at the 2011 Toray Pan Pacific Open, where she lost to Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals, thus reaching the world no. 5 ranking.

At the 2011 Generali Ladies Linz, she beat Rebecca Marino, Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, Daniela Hantuchová, Jelena Janković, and Dominika Cibulková to collect her fifth title of the season.[13]

She won the 2011 WTA Tour Championships in Istanbul, becoming the third player to win the title in her first attempt.[22] During the round-robin matches, she beat Vera Zvonareva, Caroline Wozniacki, and Agnieszka Radwańska in straight sets, putting her through to the semifinals. Her next opponent was Samantha Stosur, whom she beat to reach the final—a match against Victoria Azarenka for the world no. 2 ranking, which Kvitová won in three sets.[13] She concluded 2011 by helping the Czech Republic team win the Fed Cup and was named WTA Player of the Year and ITF Women's World Champion.

 At the beginning of 2012, Kvitová was widely expected to reach the world no. 1 ranking.[24][25] She stated that attaining the position "would be nice", but that her priority was to improve her game.[24] Kvitová opted not to defend her title and ranking points in Brisbane, choosing instead to participate in the Hopman Cup exhibition with Tomáš Berdych. The pair went on to win the title, defeating France in the final. She won all of her singles matches at the event, defeating Tsvetana Pironkova, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Caroline Wozniacki, and Marion Bartoli.[26] Her next tournament was the 2012 Apia International Sydney, where she lost in the semifinals against Li Na. At the 2012 Australian Open, Kvitová was the favourite for the title. She defeated Vera Dushevina, Carla Suárez Navarro, Maria Kirilenko, Ana Ivanovic, and Sara Errani to advance to the semifinals, where she lost in three sets to Maria Sharapova, having been a break up in the third set.[26]

She continued her long run of wins in singles matches indoors (32 straight matches) with her four victories in Fed Cup against Germany and Italy in 2012, scoring hard-fought wins over Julia Görges, Sabine Lisicki, Francesca Schiavone, and Sara Errani.

In Indian Wells, Kvitová lost in the third round to Christina McHale in three sets. In Key Biscayne, she exited in the second round after losing in three sets to Venus Williams. At the 2012 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, she convincingly defeated Francesca Schiavone and Angelique Kerber. However, she lost in the semifinals to Maria Sharapova in a tight two-setter.[26] At the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open she was the defending champion, but lost in the second round to Lucie Hradecká. Her next clay-court tournament was the 2012 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, where she lost in the quarterfinals to Angelique Kerber.

Kvitová was seeded fourth at the 2012 French Open. She advanced to the semifinals for the first time in her career, after defeating Ashleigh Barty, Urszula Radwańska, Nina Bratchikova, Varvara Lepchenko, and Yaroslava Shvedova. There she lost to Maria Sharapova, the eventual champion. [27]

 Kvitová at Wimbledon Championships

Defending champion Kvitová's Wimbledon journey came to an end after she was overwhelmed in straight sets by four-time and eventual champion Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.[28]

Kvitová competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics for the Czech Republic where she reached the quarterfinals. There she lost to Maria Kirilenko.

Kvitová won the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada by defeating Marion Bartoli in the 3rd round, Tamira Paszek in the quarterfinals, Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals and Li Na in the final. Kvitová had her first two top 10 wins of the year at the Rogers Cup over Bartoli and Wozniacki. She played the Western & Southern Open where she reached the semifinals losing to Angelique Kerber. She won her second title of the year in New Haven, where she defeated Lucie Šafářová in the quarterfinals, Sara Errani in the semifinals and Maria Kirilenko in the final. She also secured the win in the total US Open Series. Coming into the US open series Kvitová had 3 wins and 7 losses against top 20 players, but was able to improve that record to 9 wins and 8 losses following her win in New Haven. At the US Open she lost in the fourth round to Marion Bartoli.[29]

On 24 October 2012. Kvitová was forced to withdraw from the 2012 WTA Tour Championships in Istanbul with a virus.[30] She helped the Czech team to defend its Fed cup title, going 1–1 in singles matches against Serbia in the final. Before Czech Republic won 3–1 in the series through Lucie Šafářová.
 Kvitová was seeded eighth at the Australian Open. She drew former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the first round and won in three sets, before suffering another early exit, losing to Laura Robson in the second round after leading 3–0 in the final set
Kvitová was awarded a wildcard into the 2013 Open GDF Suez following a poor Australian summer which netted just two wins from three tournaments.[32]

In Fed Cup, Kvitová and the rest of the Czech team met Australia and she started with a win in singles over Jarmila Gajdošová and followed it up with a three-set victory over Samantha Stosur, saving a match point in the process. This won the Czech Republic the tie and sent them to a semi-final tie against Italy where she lost against Roberta Vinci in straight sets and beat Sara Errani in 3 sets. Despite that the Czech team lost against the Italian team.

She won her first title of the year in Dubai, where she beat Sara Errani in the final. Followed it up with a final on clay in Katowice where she lost against Roberta Vinci.

 Kvitová at the Southern California Open

After Katowice, she played in Stuttgart, beating Annika Beck 7–5 6–7 6–3 and Julia Görges 2–6 7–6 6–2 before losing 3–6 5–7 to Li Na in the quarter-finals. Her struggles on clay continued in Madrid, where she beat Yanina Wickmayer 4–6 7–5 6–4 then lost 6–2 2–6 3–6 to wildcard Daniela Hantuchová. Kvitová's next tournament was Rome – after receiving a bye in the first round, she struggled past Sabine Lisicki 6–4 0–6 7–5 before losing to Sam Stosur 5–7 6–2 1–6.

At the French Open, Kvitová beat Aravane Rezaï 6–3 4–6 6–2 in the first round and Peng Shuai 6–4 6–3 in the second round. She was defeated in the third round by current world number 54 Jamie Hampton in a match where she struggled 1–6 6–7 (6–8).

At the US Open, she fell in the third round to Alison Riske, causing her to drop out of the Top 10 for the first time since 2011.

At the 2013 Toray Pan Pacific Open, she won her second title of the season, defeating Venus Williams in the semifinals and Angelique Kerber in the final. She will return to the Top 10 as of this win.

She then defeated Li Na in the quarterfinals of the China Open before losing to Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals. She made the semifinals of the WTA Tour Championships and ended the year as World No. 6.

Petra Kvitova started her season by playing 2014 Hopman Cup with her boyfriend Radek Stepanek hoping to have a good 2014 season where she had successful results in 2012 by playing Hopman Cup. She won all her singles matches.
 Kvitova next played at 2014 Apia International Sydney. She beat Christina McHale 6–1, 6–0, than another Czech and friend Lucie Šafářová 7–6, 6–2. In the semifinals, she was stunned by No.107 and qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova in straight sets 4–6, 3–6.
 In the 2014 Australian Open, she succumb against No.87 Luksika Kumkhum in three sets 2–6, 6–1, 4–6 despite breaking her service game at 5–3.
 Then she was registred in tournament 2014 Open GDF Suez, but she withdrewed because of respirotary illness. Because of that, she could not competite in 2014 Fed Cup against Spain.
 Now she is playing in 2014 Qatar Total Open. In the second round, she hilariously edged Venus Williams 6–2, 2–6, 7–6 (9-7), when Venus had a break point for leading 5-1 and Petra saved one match point in tie-break. In the third round she will play again against Lucie Šafářová.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis (born 30 September 1980) is a Swiss former professional tennis player who spent a total of 209 weeks as World No. 1.[2] She won five Grand Slam singles titles (three Australian Opens, one Wimbledon, and one US Open). She also won nine Grand Slam women's doubles titles, winning a calendar year doubles Grand Slam in 1998, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title.

Hingis set a series of "youngest-ever" records before ligament injuries in both ankles forced her to withdraw temporarily from professional tennis in 2002 at the age of 22. After several surgeries and long recuperations, Hingis returned to the WTA tour in 2006. She then climbed to world number 6 and won three singles titles. On 1 November 2007, Hingis announced her retirement from tennis after testing positive for cocaine during Wimbledon in 2007. She denied using the drug, but decided not to appeal the imminent ban.[3][4]

In June 2011, she was named one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future" by Time.[5] In 2013 Hingis was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame

Martina Hingis Childhood and early career

Hingis was born in Košice, (then part of Czechoslovakia, now in modern Slovakia), to accomplished tennis players[7] Melanie Molitorová and Karol Hingis. Molitorová was a professional tennis player, who was once ranked tenth among women in Czechoslovakia, and was determined to develop Hingis into a top player as early as pregnancy.[8] Her father was ranked as high as nineteenth in the Czechoslovakian tennis rankings. Hingis's parents divorced when she was six, and she and her mother relocated around a year later to Trübbach in Switzerland.[8] Her father, who continued to live in Košice as a tennis coach, said in 1997 that he had seen little of his daughter after the split.[9]

Hingis began playing tennis when she was two years old and entered her first tournament at age four.[10] In 1993, 12-year-old Hingis became the youngest player to win a Grand Slam junior title: the girls' singles at the French Open.[11] In 1994, she retained her French Open junior title, won the girls' singles title at Wimbledon, and reached the final of the US Open.[12]

She made her professional debut in October 1994, two weeks after her 14th birthday. She ended the year ranked World No. 87,[12] and in January 1995, she became the youngest player to win a match at a Grand Slam tournament when she advanced to the second round of the Australian Open

Grand Slam success and period of dominance

In 1996, Hingis became the youngest Grand Slam champion of all time, when she teamed with Helena Suková at Wimbledon to win the women's doubles title at age 15 years and 9 months.[14] She also won her first professional singles title that year at Filderstadt, Germany. She reached the singles quarterfinals at the 1996 Australian Open and the singles semifinals of the 1996 US Open. Following her win at Filderstadt, Hingis defeated the reigning Australian Open champion and co-top ranked (with Steffi Graf) Monica Seles in the final at Oakland. Hingis then lost to Graf at the year-end WTA Tour Championships.

In 1997, Hingis became the undisputed World No. 1 women's tennis player. She started the year by winning the warm-up tournament in Sydney. She then became the youngest Grand Slam singles winner in the 20th century by winning the Australian Open at age 16 years and 3 months (beating former champion Mary Pierce in the final). In March, she became the youngest top ranked player in history. In July, she became the youngest singles champion at Wimbledon since Lottie Dod in 1887 by beating Jana Novotná in the final. She then defeated another up-and-coming player, Venus Williams, in the final of the US Open. The only Grand Slam singles title that Hingis failed to win in 1997 was the French Open, where she lost in the final to Iva Majoli. She won the Australian Open women's doubles with Natasha Zvereva.

 Hingis (right) in 2002, with doubles partner Anna Kournikova.

In 1998, Hingis won all four of the Grand Slam women's doubles titles, only the fourth in women's tennis history to do so,[15] (the Australian Open with Mirjana Lučić and the other three events with Novotná), and she became only the third woman to simultaneously hold the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles. She also retained her Australian Open singles title by beating Conchita Martínez in straight sets in the final. Hingis, however, lost in the final of the US Open to Lindsay Davenport. Davenport ended an 80-week stretch Hingis had enjoyed as the No. 1 singles player in October 1998, but Hingis finished the year by beating Davenport in the final of the WTA Tour Championships.

1999 saw Hingis win her third successive Australian Open singles crown as well as the doubles title (with Anna Kournikova). She then reached the French Open final and was three points away from victory in the second set before losing to Steffi Graf. During the match, Hingis had infuriated an already partisan crowd by arguing with the umpire over several line calls. In the second set, she crossed to the other side of the net to inspect her own ball mark, thereby incurring a mandatory one-point penalty. She was also booed for taking a bathroom break early in the final set, and twice delivering underhand serves. After the match, Hingis rushed from the court in tears, and only returned to the court for the trophy ceremony after being comforted by her mother.[16] Following the French Open, Martina revealed at Wimbledon that her mother was no longer her coach.[17] After a shock first-round 6–2, 6–0 loss to Jelena Dokić at Wimbledon,[18] Hingis bounced back to reach her third consecutive US Open final, where she lost to 17-year-old Serena Williams. Hingis won a total of seven singles titles that year and reclaimed the No. 1 singles ranking. She also reached the final of the WTA Tour Championships, where she lost to Lindsay Davenport.

In 2000, Hingis again found herself in both the singles and doubles finals at the Australian Open. This time, however, she lost both. Her three-year hold on the singles championship ended when she lost to Davenport. Later, Hingis and Mary Pierce, her new doubles partner, lost to Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs. Hingis captured the French Open women's doubles title with Pierce and produced consistent results in singles tournaments throughout the year. She reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon before losing to Venus Williams. Although she did not win a Grand Slam singles tournament, she kept the year end No. 1 ranking because of nine tournament championships, including the WTA Tour Championships where she won the singles and doubles titles.

Martina Hingis Personal life

Hingis has dated Spanish golfer Sergio García and English footballer Sol Campbell.[52][53] She was briefly engaged to Czech tennis player Radek Štěpánek, but split up with him in August 2007.[54] She has also dated former tennis players Magnus Norman, Ivo Heuberger and Julian Alonso.[55] In March 2010, Hingis announced that she was engaged to marry Andreas Bieri, a Swiss attorney,[56] but the engagement was later broken off.[57]

On 10 December 2010 in Paris, she married then-24-year-old Thibault Hutin, an equestrian show jumper whom she had met at a competition the previous April.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka (Belarusian: Вікторыя Фёдараўна Азаранка, Russian: Виктория Фёдоровна Азаренко; born 31 July 1989) is a Belarusian professional tennis player and is the current World No. 1.[3] She won the 2012 Australian Open singles title, becoming the first Belarusian player to win a Grand Slam in singles. Her other achievements include winning the Bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, the 2007 US Open with Max Mirnyi, the 2008 French Open with Bob Bryan and the gold medal in the mixed doubles at the 2012 London Olympics with Max Mirnyi.