Serena Sweeps Hopman Cup Singles Ahead Of Slam Record Bid

Serena Williams of the US hits a return against Katie Boulter of Britain during their women’s singles match on day six of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth on January 3, 2019.
PHOTO: TONY ASHBY / AFP

 

Serena Williams completed a clean sweep of her singles matches at the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth on Thursday as she prepares for her bid to make Grand Slam history at the Australian Open.

The winner of 23 Slam singles titles, Williams was made to work a little harder than expected by young Brit Katie Boulter in the United States’ final group tie but prevailed in straight sets to make it three victories from as many outings.

However, the 37-year-old’s perfect singles record this week wasn’t enough to keep the USA in contention at what is expected to be the last Hopman Cup, where she has twice been a winner.

Williams and Frances Tiafoe were already eliminated after losing their opening two ties.

Watched by her daughter Alexis Olympia, Williams’ 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) win over the 97th-ranked Boulter followed victories over former top 10 player Belinda Bencic and Greece’s Maria Sakkari earlier in the week.

Currently ranked 16th, Williams needs just one more Grand Slam singles title to equal the record of Australian Margaret Court, but hasn’t won a major since the Australian Open in 2017.

She gave birth to her daughter in late 2017 and was beaten in the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year.

It was at the latter that she had a major meltdown during her loss to Naomi Osaka.

With the Australian Open in Melbourne less than two weeks away, Williams dropped just one set in her singles matches, although at different times she seemed to be troubled by a right shoulder problem and had both ankles strapped.

Her form was patchy across the three matches, but Williams said the round robin format of the event was ideal preparation for Melbourne.

“It was definitely good to play three singles matches here, not to mention the mixed,” she said after her singles match.

Williams cruised through the first set against Boulter, but found a more competitive opponent in the second.

Not for the first time this week, the frustration of the American grew as Boulter was able to match her for winners, with the Brit claiming an early break in the second game.

Williams immediately broke back, but then enjoyed a slice of good fortune when her forehand dropped over the net on a Boulter break point in the fourth game.

The set remained on serve until the tie-break, which Williams dominated.

In the men’s singles, the struggling Tiafoe led 5-3 in the first set, but won just one more game in losing 7-6 (7/4), 6-0 to Cameron Norrie.

The Brits claimed the tie with victory in the mixed doubles.

AFP

Kvitova Survives Knife Attack

Petra KvitovaTwo-time Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova, has been injured by a knife-wielding attacker, believed to be a burglar, at her home in the Czech Republic.

Kvitova, 26, was stabbed in the left hand when she tried to defend herself but it has been confirmed that the injuries are not life-threatening.

She was attacked on Tuesday morning in the town of Prostejov in the east of the country, which is home to a national tennis academy.

The Wimbledon champion took to twitter to share her ordeal in the attack.

Prostejov police spokesman, Frantisek Korinek, said the attacker, who was aged about 35, escaped from the house and a manhunt is underway.

There is no suggestion she recognised her attacker, who she described on social media as an ‘individual with a knife’.

Earlier, Kvitova withdrew from the Czech Republic team in January’s Hopman Cup mixed-team tennis tournament in Australia because of a foot injury.

Serena Fit To Defend Australian Open Title

Serena World number 1, Serena Williams says she is fit for the Australian Open despite recent injury worries.

Serena failed to complete any matches at the recent Hopman Cup due to left knee inflammation, leading to reports that she is not in good physical condition for the first grand slam of the year, but the 34-year-old insists she is ready to defend her title.

“No, I’m at 120, 130 per cent right now,” Williams said.

“This week and the weeks leading up have been a lot of work. I actually wanted to have an easy day today but in my mind ’easy’ is just two hours of really intense working out.”

She added: “It’s actually really fine. I don’t have any inflammation anymore. It’s just that I needed some time to get over that little hump.”

Serena, who is gunning for her 7th title at Melbourne Park, could face Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals in an earlier-than-scheduled sequel to the pair’s title clash last year

“I always seem to have a tough draw, so it’s fine. Doesn’t matter who I play. At some point you have to play everyone,” Williams said. “That’s how it always works out. So that’s what it is.”

Serena Williams To Start 2016 Season At Hopman Cup

serenaWorld number 1, Serena Williams, will launch her 2016 season at the Hopman Cup in Australia.

Serena reached the final of the mixed team event in 2014 with American compatriot, John Isnerto, kicking off a superb season where she won the Australian, French Open and Wimbledon, to take her Grand Slam singles haul to 21.

Williams has not played since her shocking semifinal defeat to Italian Roberto Vinci at the US Open in September which ended her bid for a rare calendar Grand Slam.

She pulled out of two events in China earlier in October, as well as the WTA finals in Singapore, citing the need to rest after a year spent carrying injuries.

Williams will be joined in the January 3-9 Hopman Cup field by Briton, Andy Murray and controversial Australian, Nick Kyrgios.

Marion Bartoli left Jarmila Gajdosova in tears after routing the Australian 6-0 6-0 as France eased to a 3-0 Hopman Cup victory in Perth, Australia.

Marion Bartoli

Spain overcame China 2-1 and the winner of Thursday’s France-Spain clash will be guaranteed a place in the final of the mixed-team event.

Bartoli was in imperious form to blast Gajdosova off court in 52 minutes in a match broadcast on prime-time television in Australia.

Gajdosova was angered during the first set when pro-Bartoli sections of the crowd cheered her errors and the world number 33 cried during the final games and again as she left the court.

Bartoli’s team mate Richard Gasquet secured victory for France with a 6-2 5-7 6-1 win over Lleyton Hewitt, his first ever singles victory over the Australian.

Gasquet and Bartoli then overcame Gajdosova and Hewitt 6-3 6-4 in the dead mixed doubles rubber