TennisSaturday, January 4, 2014
Serena Williams beats Sharapova in Brisbane semis
BRISBANE, Australia — Serena Williams extended her winning streak against Maria Sharapova to 14 matches with a 6-2 7-6 (9-7) semifinal victory yesterday to earn a shot at back-to-back Brisbane International titles.
The defending champion will play second-seeded Victoria Azarenka in today’s final, and will be favoured to retain the title that kicked off her stunning 2013 season that included 78 wins from 82 matches and 11 titles.
Williams said she’d need to vastly improve her first-serve percentage — which sunk to 40 in the semifinals — to beat Australian Open champion Azarenka, who overcame a shaky serve and another case of the nerves to beat former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic 1-6 6-3 6-4.
On the men’s side, top-seeded Roger Federer coasted to a 6-1 6-1 win over Marinko Matosevic of Australia and moved into a semifinal against No. 8 Jeremy Chardy of France.
Second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan reached the semifinals with a 6-4 5-7 6-2 win over Marin Cilic of Croatia and will next play former No. 1-ranked Lleyton Hewitt, who cruised past Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-4 6-2.
Both Williams sisters will be playing finals today, with Venus Williams to face Ana Ivanovic in the title match at the WTA tournament in Auckland, New Zealand.
Venus Williams got a walkover into her first final since October 2012 when Jamie Hampton withdrew from their semifinal with a right hip injury. Ivanovic beat third-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-2 7-6 (7-3).
At the Hopman Cup, France clinched a place in the final against Poland with a victory over winless Spain.
Alize Cornet beat Anabel Medina Garrigués 6-2 6-2 before Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sealed the victory by defeating 194th-ranked Daniel Muñoz de La Nava 6-4 6-7 (7-9) 6-2.
The Czech Republic took a 3-0 win over the United States after John Isner withdrew ahead of his singles match and Sloane Stephens retired with a left wrist problem after losing the first set 6-3 to Petra Kvitova.
In Doha, Rafael Nadal reached the final of the Qatar Open by coming from behind to beat German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 4-6 6-2 6-3.
Nadal is looking for his first title in Doha and will face Gaël Monfils of France, who only needed 55 minutes to dispatch Florian Mayer of Germany 6-3 6-2 in the other semifinal.
In Chennai, India, Stanislas Wawrinka earned his 300th win on the ATP tour as he breezed past Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 6-2 6-1 to reach the semifinals of the Chennai Open. Wawrinka will next play fifth-seeded Vasek Pospisil of Canada, who beat local favourite Yuki Bhambria 6-3 6-3.
In the other quarterfinals, seventh-seeded Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin saved eight break points to beat Dudi Sela of Israel 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-0, while sixth-seeded Marcel Granollers of Spain ousted No. 4 Benoit Paire of France 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5).