Serena not savouring torrid 2014 season

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Bad year: Serena gives up on 2014.

By her own stand­ards, Serena Wil­liams’ 2014 season so far has been a bad one.

So bad that she’s already look­ing ahead to next year and isn’t focusing on the upcoming US Open, which kicks off on August 25.

The American world No1 failed to advance past the fourth round in any of the three majors this sea­son, and despite her capturing a fourth title of the year in Stanford last week, Williams was unable to see her year in any positive light when she was questioned after her semi-final loss to her sister Venus in Montreal.

“I haven’t been able to get into the quarter-finals of a grand slam this year,” said Serena, who is the defending champion at this month’s US Open.

“At this point, really just looking forward to next year, to be honest.”

Serena then bristled at a report­er’s follow-up question about pos­sibly overlooking the US Open and how this affects her motivation for the upcoming grand slam.

“You’re looking at it way too deep,” she shot back. “You’re mak­ing a mountain out of a molehill. I am just saying I’ve had a really disappointing season, especially in grand slams,” she added. “So I am not going to put any pressure on myself.”

Williams has a bye in the first round at Cincinnati this week, and will face the winner of the clash between Sam Stosur and a qualifier. 

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Tsonga slays Federer to win the Toronto Masters

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Back to where he belongs: Tsonga’s victory moves him back into the top-10 following a five-month absence.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made an emphatic return to the world’s top- 10 as he overpowered Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6 (3) to lift the Rogers Cup in Toronto for his second career ATP Masters 1000 title.

Tsonga, who entered the tour­nament with a 0-7 record against top-10 opponents in 2014, beat four top-10 players in a row en route to his sensational win – an unprece­dented feat at a Masters event since 2002 – to become the first-ever Frenchman to win the Rogers Cup.

The 29-year-old, who dropped out of the top-10 five months ago, will be ranked No10 when the new rankings come out today. He was No15 entering the tournament in Toronto.

Tsonga became just the seventh active player to win multiple ATP Masters 1000 titles and he broke the Big Four’s stranglehold on the trophy in Canada, which was won by one of Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray for the past 10 years.

He denied Federer a record-extending 300th Masters 1000 match win and a season-leading 45th victory of 2014.

Tsonga faced zero break points throughout the one hour 47 minute match and dropped just two points on his first serve.

“I would like to thank Roger for all that he has done for tennis, for us – you’re just an amazing guy. I have a lot of respect for you. For me it can’t be a good win without you today,” said an elated Tsonga after the win.

“Two years ago I had a big prob­lem here with my knee but now it’s the past and today I have the trophy and I’m just so happy.

“It’s going to stay in my heart for­ever.”

Tsonga was more comfortable on serve but both players continued to hold for the first 11 games of the match.

The first break point came in the twelfth game when Federer sent a down the line backhand wide and Tsonga pounced on the opportu­nity, attacking with his backhand to draw the error from the Swiss, roar­ing a loud “allez” as he grabbed the opening set.

Tsonga got a break point in the sixth game of the second but Federer came up with an ace to save it and held for 3-3. The 33-year-old saved four more break points in a marathon eighth game as he charged to the net and volleyed in command to hang on for 4-all.

But Tsonga was unfazed by his squandered opportunities and he got his first match point two games later. Federer saved it though, send­ing his opponent left and right with some sharp-angled groundstrokes. He finally held for 5-5, yelling out loud in relief and soon forced a tie­break.

Tsonga got the first minibreak in the seventh point on a long back­hand from Federer. An 11th ace from the Frenchman put him wit-hin two points from victory ,and he got three more match points with some serve-and-volley action. He only needed one though, as Federer netted a backhand.

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Federer brushes Lopez aside to set up Toronto final with Tsonga

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Marching on: Federer will contest his 120th career final in Toronto against Tsonga.

Roger Federer put on a command performance on Saturday to reach his fifth career Canadian final as he defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4 at the Toronto Masters.

The Swiss second seed and two-time champion in Canada will take on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after the Frenchman rolled over rising star Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3.

Tsonga, seeded 13th and loser to Federer in two previous finals, will be playing his first final in Canada, while Federer moved into his 120th career final.

Federer stayed in total control from the opening point against Lopez, who was treated in the second set for an apparent neck problem. The 32-year-old Spaniard has now lost all 11 of his matches with Federer, who will be looking for an 80th career trophy when he plays Tsonga.

"I'm happy to be playing in such good form," said Federer, who turned 33 on Friday and lost just four points in serve in the first set. "I'm super-happy to be in the final.

"The key to the match was always the big serve. I had to focus on my own and then try to create chances. I started well from the get-go.

"I could tell Feliciano was tired, he's played a lot of tennis this week. The second set was maybe not of the highest quality, but I was seeing the ball very well.

"The final will be exciting, Jo has been playing well. I know what's ahead of me, I have my work cut out if I want to win the trophy."

Federer improved his 2014 record to 44 wins and eight defeats as he bids for a third title of the season after Dubai and Halle. He is only a month removed from the Wimbledon final.

The winner fired 13 aces and never faced a break point while forcing Lopez to save nine of 11 break points. The 29-year-old Tsonga will face off for his second Masters 1000 shield on Sunday. He claimed a Masters win at Paris Bercy in 2008, but lost in Paris and London in two other finals to Federer.

"I'm feeling good, I've been waiting for this moment since a couple of years now. I've always believed it myself during all these years, and all those weeks where I was losing," he said. "Finally I get a little reward (with the victory), it's good for me. It will for sure make me stronger, keep my motivation at the highest level."

Tsonga spent fewer than 90 minutes in dispatching 23-year-old Bulgarian Dimitrov, the youngest member of the ATP Tour's top 10 who stands eighth in the world and is tipped as one of the stars of the future.

The Frenchman took victory on his second match point after a tie in which he struck seven aces, saved all four break points he faced and fired 22 winners as he broke his opponent three times.

Tsonga needed to work for three-quarters of an hour to win the opening set against a player he beat three times in 2011. Tsonga earned a break for 5-4 in the opener and claimed the set after a marathon final game in which he saved four break points.

In the second set, the Frenchman got on top 2-1 and then broke again in the final game to post his 29th win of the season against 13 losses.

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