Nadal played great at Monte Carlo, but will he stay healthy?


These days, you never know how Rafa Nadal will play on court because over the past nine months, he was hurt all the time. Even in the first three months, in 2018, he could barely play. 

However, in Monte Carlo, he looked pretty healthy. But at 100 percent? It was hard to tell until he walked on the court, he was ready to play for hours, he ran fast, he crushed the ball, so heavily, and he was so confident. He must have been so happy that he was playing in the clay again. 

In Monte Carlo, he won five matches to win the title, and he did not lose a set. He won 10 sets (60 games), and he only lost 21 games. That is damn good. He blew out Dominic Thiem, he pushed Grigor Dimitrov into the ground, and out muscled Kei Nisihikori 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Nadal: the best clay courter, ever.

But will he stay healthy over the next two months? He has to, because if he gets hurt again, the 31-year-old will have to go back to the drawing board. I would think that he has to be very careful this season. In 2017, on clay, he dominated, but after he won Roland Garros for the 10th time, he went down pretty quickly. His knees where shot. He cannot beat himself again as he beats up everyone else in the spring, clay-court season. 

Nadal is playing in Barcelona this week, which he has won many times. It should be tough, though, as he could face Nishikori again, in the third round, and possibly, in the quarters. He could play against the 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic or against Feliciano Lopez. They are all long-time veterans, but regardless, Nadal has always known how to be patient. Plus, now, he can move forward and attack.

Djokovic has been really struggling, even though he showed some resurgence in Monte Carlo, but he will be super consistent again. It will take a few more months, though. He won’t go away.  

Here is a good comparison, according by the ATP, of Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic:

Grand Slam titles/losses:
RF 20/72 
ND 12/52
RN 16/51

In the ATP 1000s: 
RF 27 titles
ND 30 titles 
RN 31 titles

The ATP Finals:
RF 6 titles 
ND 5 titles
RN 0 titles

Total “Big 3” titles:
RF 53
ND 47
RN 47

By the end of the year in late November for the ATP Finals at the 02 Arena on indoor hard courts, Nadal’s knees are pretty shot. Maybe in seven months, Nadal will be 100 percent, healthy wise. He hopes. 

Nadal, Djokovic: back on track in Monte Carlo


Rafa Nadal won easily in Monte Carlo, crushing Aljaz Bedene 6-1 6-3. He loves clay — he is an addict — and when he walks on the court, he is already locked in. In the last 10 years, he rarely — and I mean rarely — loses. That’s it. He is the best clay court ever, hands down, but he gets hurt a lot, so now, he is vulnerable. However, this week, if he is healthy, he is the favorite. But, there will be some close matches.  
 
Novak Djokovic finally played well, and it has taken a year — or two years — the Serbian has said. He was pretty lost at Indian Wells and Miami. In Monte Carlo, over the last three days, he is faster, comfortable, and powerful.

Will it last? I would think so, but he has to be patient because the 12-time Grand Slam champion isn’t there yet. He beat Borna Coric 7-6(2) 7-5, which was huge, because Coric has been very confident over the past two months. Coric is very steady, and the same goes with Djokovic. They played for two-and-a-quarter hours, but the Serbian reached back and nailed it.

Good for Marin Cilic, who beat Fernando Verdasco 6-3 7-6(4). Verdasco does like clay, but Cilic is up and down. However, one this day, he was calm and, when he had the opportunity, he moved forward. His first serve is massive, and his forehand is gigantic. But to win it at Monte Carlo? I cannot see that.

Way to go by Kei Nishikori, who bested Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2. Nishikori really wants to play as much as he can, but he does get hurt a lot, so he has to be careful….

That is a great win by the Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, who blew out Diego D. Schwartzman 6-2 6-1 in the second round. He has an amazing backhand. … Canadian Milos Raonic is still in there despite nagging injuries. Hopefully, his arms are better, and he won’t think about how sore it is. He is a terrific player, but he doesn’t love clay. On grass and the hardcourts, sure, he can go very deep in the summer. But in the spring, he cannot win in the big events. Including Monte Carlo.

The Davis Cup preview: USA, Italy, France, Spain, Germany & more

John Isner must be thrilled, winning Miami, his best two consecutive weeks ever. But now, it is time for Davis Cup. In Nashville, against Belgium, the Americans are a huge favorite, with teammates Jack Sock, Sam Querrey, Steve Johnson and Ryan Harrison. They are playing indoors, which will probably be pretty fast on the hard court. If they play decently, the USA will win, hands down.

Any of the five guys can win it in the singles, given that Belgium are pretty slim. The very good David Goffin isn’t playing because he is still hurt. The two singles player, Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore, will play, and they will have a small chance to win. Bemelmans is very decent, but he is not that great.

American captain Jim Courier has chosen Isner and Querrey for singles. On Friday, Isner will face De Loore, and Querrey versus. Bemelmans. On Saturday, it will be Sock and Harrison in doubles against a pair of unknown Belgium players.

Courier is darn smart, so if the players listen to what he says, they will move on, quickly.

In Spain, Rafa Nadal will be playing in Valencia against the Germans. On Wednesday, the No. 1 Nadal hadn’t decided whether he would play on Friday, but he decided to. He will face off against Philipp Kohlschreiber. He appears to be very excited, which is great, but over the past three months, he has been hurt, significantly. Hopefully, he won’t pull out again. As the fans say, ‘Pray.’

Before that, it looked like Pablo Carreno Busta was going to play, but he became injured. (Everyone gets injured, right?) He pulled out, so David Ferrer has brought him in, and will play the flashy No. 4, Alexander Zverev. The one-time Roland Garros finalist Ferrer loves to grind, and while Zverev likes to chase the balls and whack-em, he cannot get lose his cool, just like he did when he lost in the Indian Wells final against Isner. He must focus. Zverev and Kohlschreiber need to be on fire and enthusiastic. It should be a great contest.

Here is another terrific tie: home team Italy versus France on clay, in Genoa. Fabio Fognini is certainly playing in singles, and the captain Corrado Barazzutti chose Andreas Seppi. It will be a very tight match, either way. The French captain Yannick Noah choose the No. 11 Lucas Pouille and Jeremy Chardy, who played pretty well in the past month. Teu have to chop it around and mix it up anywhere you want to. A toss up overall?  You bet.

Croatia is a serious favorite against Kazakhstan, with Marin Cilic and Borna Coric leading the pack. Coric is playing much better than he did last year.

MORE NOTES
Charleston, South Carolina is a terrific area, near the great water. On court at the Volvo Car Open on green hardcourts, they slide a lot, and on occasion, they fall down. But they get back up, wipe up your towels, and run. Some of the top players don’t come much anymore, but still, there are some very good players, like the US Open finalist Madison Keys, who has struggled this season, but she is trying. She beat Lara Arruabarrena and then on Thursday, she beat the some-times good Camila Giorgi. Not bad. She needs to win a lot this week, because very soon, here comes the European clay. There, she has to hustle a lot…
Brit Jo Konta is really struggling and she lost against Fanny Stollar 6-3 6-4. She is 7-6 this season and now she is ranked No. 22. She has to get back on track…
The ‘other’ Kristyna Pliskova shocked the No. 10 Petra Kvitova 1-6, 6-1, 6-3. The next day, she upset Elena Vesnina. On fire, huh?

Kvitova can look great, or she can fold. She needs to rest for a while. At least a few weeks. … One more good win: American Bernarda Pera upset Sara Errani. Another American is on the rise.

Miami final: John Isner can bounce Alexander Zverev

Here goes John Isner, playing fantastic again. The same goes with Alexander Zverev, who was reeling during the first three months, but now the No. 3 is calmer and he is hitting it close to the lines.

Isner was totally locked in against Juan Martin del Potro is the semis. As always, his first serve is massive, and his forehand is big and gutsy. His backhand is still medicore, but he can nail it down the line when he wants. Also, he is 6 foot 10 and he isn’t that fast, but he is sharp at the net.

The German Zverev won two ATP World Tour Masters 1000s, snagging Rome and Canada in 2017. He also has a huge first serve, is pretty quick, and can go crosscourt, down the line and put in a few good dropshots. He has beaten Isner three times, in 2016 in Shanghai, and last year, in Miami (7-6 in the third) and Rome. The 20-year-old has had a solid event in during the past 10 days, beating David Ferrer, Nick Kyrgios, Borna Coric and Pablo Carreno Busta, without dropping a set. He could be a little bit cocky, but over the past six months, he has learned that he cannot play perfect all the time. He had to push it back and figure it out. 

Over the past few days, Zverev was very good, sprinting side to side and when he was way off the court, he can nail it for a winner. He was totally pumped up.

Isner not only defeated the red-hot del Potro, he also jumped over Marin Cilic and  Hyeon Chung. The American has never won an ATP 1000, but he has come close. He is 32-years-old and I am sure he will continue in the next four years. But, when you are in the final at the ATP 100s and/or the Grand Slams and have such a rare opportunity, you have to grab it. 

While Zverev is a better player than Isner, he will drop down a bittoday and Isner will win it in three tough sets.

Ostapenko vs. Stephens: Are they the future No. 1s?


We have all watched Stephens over the past eight years, at the Slams, playing bad at times, and playing great. Last year, we watched Sloane during the summer, after she came back due to her foot surgery. She didn’t play for nine months. It took her a couple months or so to be more comfortable, and then, she knew she was ready to leap. 

She won the 2017 US Open, showing strength, super speed and lethal shots. During the rest of the year, she failed quickly, because her body was tired and she needed to take a long rest. 

She did not, and in the beginning of 2018, she was shaky. But once again, her legs are strong, she began to be a little more aggressive, and she rarely missed. So now, she is right there again, cool, calm and collected.

Even though Ostapenko is ranked No. 5, the elder Stephens is the favorite over the 20-year-old Ostapenko. Without question, the American has matured. Now, she can be funny and real. 

Ostapenko is very young, and she will grow, but even so, she is an excellent player already. She is just a huge hitter, with her forehand and backhand. She hits so many winners, which is terrific, but when she is off, she also has numerous errors. Over the past 10 days, though, she was on it, not only running fast, but being more consistent and a little more patient. She is learning. Last year, she won Roland Garros on pure power. The fans were pretty surprised that the Latvian was so confident and she loved to slide on the clay. Just like Stephens, Ostapenko skidded in the first couple months. But here in Florida, she was patient and thoughtful.

Both of them can crack their backhands and forehands, crosscourt and down the line. There serves are so-so, but they can jump on the second serves and whack-em. 

They are certainly showing that they are here now, and both of then want to reach No. 1 this year. When? Hard to say, but Ostapenko is already in the top 5 and Stephens is in inching to the top 10. So, in a few more months, if they maintain their composure, they could be right there.

Who will win? They have to go into the third sets. Ostapenko will swing away, but Stephens will bring it back, and back, and back. Sloane will pick up a Premier Mandatory trophy. 

John Isner vs. Juan Martin del Potro: Coming down to the wire?

Finally, John Isner is back again. I mean, in the last nine days, he woke up in Miami. Prior to that during the past two and a half months, he was sadly down. He only won two matches, and he lost time and time again. Very early.

But after he played Indian Wells, he talked to his coach, and his friends, and they said, ‘C’mon, you are better than that. Don’t be so nervous and be  so depressed on court. When you get start the match, make sure to shake it off, even if you whiff. This is your life. You are 32-years-old now so it is time to believe in yourself, because in another five years, you might retire. So go to it.’”
He did and in the last three days, he played extremely well, knocking out the  No. 3 Marin Cilic, and the young rising Hyeon Chung in straight sets.

Isner and Cilic have been around for a very long time. Cilic has played pretty well in 2018, but he has not been terrific. So Isner hit some huge serves, his big forehand, and he was very patient. When he beat Chung fairly easily, he returned pretty decently, which is surprising, because over the past decade, Isner  rarely broke. But he did on Wednesday.

So now he will face Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine won Indian Wells, and when he arrived in Miami, he said he was very tired and he wasn’t sure whether he can last. But he has, overcoming Milos Raonic in three very long set, 7-6 in the third.  The Canadian Raonic was right there, but he hesitated, or he just missed it. As Delpo said, I can go for my shots, anytime I want,  because I am riding the waves. He sure is.

They will play on Friday with Isner against Del Potro. Last year, they played each other twice, in Canada,  with Juan winning 7-5 7-5, and in Paris Bercy,  John won 6-4 6-7 6-4.

All of those contests were on hardcourts, and they will do it again in Florida. Obviously, del Potro is favored, as he has won the 2009 US Open, and almost two weeks ago, he won his first ATP 1000 in California. He is simply cracking the ball.

If Isner can crush it when DelPo hits a second serve, he might have a chance to break him. However, if he doesn’t, then he will go down in straights set. But if he does, he can go into the third set and then, who knows?   Obviously, Del Potro is favored, as he has won the 2009 US Open, and almost two weeks ago, he won his first ATP 1000 in California. He is simply cracking the ball.

If Isner can crush it when DelPo hits a second serve, he might have a chance to break him. However, if he doesn’t, then the American will go down in straights set. But if he does, he can go into the third set and then, who knows?

Rising Borna Coric outlasts Shapovalov

The young 21-year-old Borna Coric has played so much better in the past month. Last year, he was all over the place, but now, he doesn’t get so angry and throw his rackets. No, when it is in to it, he just walks over and he refocuses.

On Tuesday, he edged Denis Shapovalov, 7-6 4-6 6-4. The Canadian was very enthusiastic, but he also can be pretty pissed off when he misses a shot or two. Coric has changed a few things, but really, he is just so steady and acurrate. For sure, he needs to come into the net a little bit more, but he can run forever…

 Alexander Zverev looked terrific against Nick Kyrgios and he won it 6-4 6-4. The tall Zverev is finally  becoming more happy, consistent, and he just rips the ball from both wings. He won Rome and Canada last year so clearly, when he is feeling good, he can beat anyone. I mean, everyone. But it is fairly early so if he wants to win Miami, he needs to breath and be more smart.
Kyrgios is hurt again. He has been hurt all the time this season, and a good amount last year, too. He is a damn good player when he feels healthy, but when he is not, he struggles. Who knows when he will play again…

The American Frances Tiafoe outlasted Tomas Berdych on Tuesday, but then he had to play again and he lost against Kevin Anderson. Tiafoe has had a terrific six weeks, and hopefully, he will continue to practice. We will see much more in the coming months…

Here comes a wild match tonight: Milos Raonic vs. Juan Martin del Potro. Raonic looks healthy, and JMDP is on fire and I mean he is totally smoking. Del Potro won Indian Wells, and he recently said that he is pretty tired, but he is locked in and he is not missing the tiny balls. Still, Raonic  wants to take him out, badly. He is going to have to return extremely well or he will lose in straight sets…
 
Talk about Vika Azarenka who is launching. She overcame  Katarina Pliskova 7-5 6-3. Her serve has improved — a little — her backhand can go anywhere she goes, and she is super optimistic at the net. She can win the title again, but she has to dig deep for hours to do it…

She will face Sloane Stephens in the semis on Thursday. Just like Azarenka, she is hopeful and self-assured. She is super steady,  she can really run and mix it up, which is why she destroyed Angie Kerber. However, against Azarenka, she has to attack early and keep it deep, or she will do down. Or perhaps Stephens can were her down in the third set. Perhaps.  

Federer lost, but you cannot win every time

Over the years, there are lost moments when the players go down hard. On Saturday in Miami, the great Roger Federer lost against Thanasi Kokkinakis 3-6 6-3 7-6(4) in a dramatic three-setter.

The Swiss has won so many times against everyone, but this time, he was out of bounds. On the past 14 months, Federer has been spectacular, but you cannot win every week. That is impossible. So now, he has decided that he will not play on clay once again, meaning that Federer won’t return on court on the grass in mid June. That is almost 3 months when he won’t be there, when the fans will be a little upset —or really upset — but perhaps they can watch some other people play. Yes, everyone knows that Federer has so much variety, and intelligence, but that doesn’t mean he is the only talent on tour with some great players. So, if you have an opportunity, watch pro tennis on TV, on the internet, or at the tournament. That would be nice.

You have to like Kokkinakis, the Aussie, who stunned Federer. Yes, Federer did not play great, but so what? The very young Kokkinakis nearly retired, but he did not, he recovered. He practices all the time. So, when he went on court, he was ready for battle. He served huge, returned pretty welland smoked his forehand. If he stays healthy, he will be a force the rest of this year.

No. 1 Simons Halep went down to Aga Radwanska. Stunned? I am not. The Pole is a very, very fine player when she is healthy and motivated. She has been on tour for more than a decade. She has come close to winning a major, but she hesitated too often. Her forehand is pretty mediocre. Still, maybe she can change it in the next couple of years, because if she cannot, then the former No. 2 Aga will not grab a Grand Slam. 

But, in Florida, she can make some noise, if she manages to knock out Vika Azarenka on Monday, who is rising fast. Radwanska has to push her back and run down shots because when Azarenka is on top of the ball, she can totally rip it, down the line and cross court. Another note: If Azarenka can play every month this season, she will go right back into the top 5. 

So what about Halep? She is a true grinder, and never gives up, which is good. But mentally, she gets upset and confused. Being No. 1 is terrific, but at this point, she has to find a way to win a Grand Slam. Somehow. However, she does love clay, so maybe she can take a deep breath and get on the Roland Garros winner’s stand. 

Here’s a fantastic match on Monday: Sloane Stephens against Garbine Muguruza. Both of them has won Slams, both of them love rallies. Ashleigh Barty is rising all the time. I bet she will crack the top 10 soon. … Finally, the frequency injured Nick Kyrgios came back. He will face Fabio Fognini and the Italian wants to yank him around. … So you like long matches? If you do, Jack Sock will face Borna Coric. Sock now comes into the net quite a bit, which can be good, but he has to put it away because Coric is getting better all the time.

Verdasco: ‘Hopefully and stay for few more years on the tour’

The 34-year-old Fernando Verdasco took down the No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov and eventually, lost in Indian Wells to Taylor Fritz. On the plus side, he says that he is not ready to retire now. The former top 10 Verdasco reached the ’09 Australian Open against Rafa Nadal, losing in five incredible sets, that lasted more than five hours.

After he rests and goes on vacation Verdasco, wants to walk on the court and begin hitting again. He is playing Miami this week, and he is hoping that he will be hitting the ball next week, too.

“Tennis was always my life since I’m a baby. I always love this sport. I always love to play,” Verdasco said. “Of course, you always have some crisis in your life that, you like to play but maybe you just want to go on a beach and just relax some days with friends. But, actually, when I’m away for maybe a week, maybe 10 days, I miss it. And then I just want to go back to the court, to the gym, and work and try to keep improving and working hard to stay in the top level and being able to fight against the best players in the world, no? Now I’m 34 and I have to fight against players with 21, 22, 23 (of age) that that they are much younger. They have much less miles or kilometers in his legs.”

Verdasco admits that one of the reason he lost to Fritz is because he didn’t go for the lines often enough. He can be steady, and aggressive, but there have been some matches when he backed off.

“I was sometimes losing matches because, in the important moments with my serve, I was just kind of like not pushing. But just playing with first serves maybe 100 miles, and maybe I need to serve 125, 130, 135 sometimes, even if I miss.” Verdasco said. “But that’s what really makes you improve, and sometimes you have to take the risk. One match with Andy Murray, fourth round in Australia when I did semifinals, the fifth set against him, I start serving, 130 all the time. And, I surprised his return, because he was waiting for me wide, wide, wide, and then I start to do T hard, and many free points I got. Is not easy with pressure. And, hopefully, I will still have time to improve in more things and stay for few more years on the tour.”

Verdasco has always had a huge forehand, and his first serve, but his backhand has been mediocre. The Spaniard continues to work on it, to mix it up and hit it reasonably deep.
 
“My forehand was always there, or feeling good. The backhand, sometimes not that regular or maybe hurting that much. So, maybe I have to work my footwork to try to play with my forehand as much as possible. Backhand be aggressive. Changing, mix it up, high, low, slice. … It depending on who you play. Everything change about that. You try to change your game to hurt him, and at the end you’re hurting yourself because you’re not doing what you know how to do the best. So, in the end, it’s kind of like confusion because you lose because you don’t know what you’re doing on the court. That’s the worst feeling when you jump on court and you lose doing that.”

Miami notes
Vika Azarenka crushed CiCi Bellis in the first round. Azarenka admitted that she was pretty nervous, but once she went on court, she immediately locked in. Can she win Miami once again? It is a little early, but you never now with her. She faces Madison Keys in the next round. Keys has to get going. Azarenka already has.

Monica Puig took down Sam Stosur 6-3, 6-4. Puig loves Miami, where she lives.

Katarina Pliskova will face Ekaterina Makarova on Thursday. The Czech has to keep her head down because during some days, she doesn’t focus. The same thing goes with Makarova, but both of them are very good.

Roger Federer, who let the final against Juan Martin del Potro at Indian Wells slip away, says after Miami is done, he will decide whether to play Roland Garros. Now that would be nice to have play the Slam he didn’t play last year. Here are two very good matchups in doubles: John Isner/Donald Young v. Kyle Edmund/Nenad Zimonjic; Zverev brothers vs. Santiago Gonzalez/Verdasco.

Situation normal: Roger Federer is in control

INDIAN WELLS – Once again, Roger Federer is a seriously favorite to win another huge title. It is possible that someone will play perfectly, and the Swiss is a little bit off, and at the third set, the guy hits the lines all the time while Federer cannot keep his first serve in, and soon enough, he will get frustrated and he will miss point after point. 

Not these days, though. However, even though Federer has won 20 Grand Slams, and 97 victories overall, there have been losses. All the great champions have a few in the “L” column.

So this week, Federer can lose, but who exactly can run past Roger?
He will face Jeremy Chardy on Wednesday and while the Frenchman is pretty wily, he won’t be able to out-hit him, especially with the forehand. In the quarters, Federer would face either Hyeon Chung or Pablo Cuevas. The young Chung likes to be on the big stage, so he will put together some intense rallies, but in the end, Federer will confuse him. Unless …

One more terrific match coming up Wednesday is American Taylor Fritz versus Borna Coric. That is almost a tossup, but Coric is more driven this year. … How about this: Dominic Thiem and Gail Monfils retired. Nick Kyrgios and Kei Nishikori pulled out last week. Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are all injured and couldn’t come, while Grigor Dmitrov and Alexandra Zverev both lost. Wow, is playing tennis that difficult for everyone?

Federer and DelPo talk about worrying Djokovic 
Many of the top American players are hurt, and couldn’t come to compete at Indian Wells, and a few retired — important players, too. But at least three very significant guys are here: Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and the former No. 1 Novak Djokovic. The Serbian lost early. He had a ton of unforced errors and, as he said, he was very shaky. He hadn’t played for months, but he really wanted to get back on court and swing away.  H  is struggling mentally, but that doesn’t mean that he will panic forever. He just has to be patient.  

Here is Federer’s take on Djokovic’s situation: “When you do come back, it’s like, ‘Oh, those break points; oh, those deuce points; those 30-all points; 15-30s; first point of the game.’ Where normally, when you’ve played a lot of matches, you just rock up, you hit a good serve, play a good point, 15-love, you just move along with the score.

“But you put extra effort to manage all that’s happening in your head. I feel like when you do come back from injury or when you haven’t played in a long time, it just takes extra effort. That’s probably also what he’s also feeling. And maybe was tired in the end a bit because, the focus you need to have is greater. Look, still such early stages for Novak coming back and the first one after surgery. He’s only going to get better from here. He knows that. We all know that. But it was nice to see him playing again.”

Del Potro has been there, too. Over the last eight years, he was in and out all the time. Multiple surgeries, leaving, coming back, winning, some big wins and some mediocre losses. He could have retired, but he has not. He is still very good, and he might be able to win a major again, but as he says, it can be difficult. Del Potro says that Djokovic just has to be patient,
 
“It’s not easy to come back and play good tennis, as everybody expect Novak’s game. And mentally you must be strong enough to deal with these kind of losses in this big of tournaments,” del Potro said. “It’s only time to get where he deserve to be. And if his body feels good, the tennis come along and the confidence come along, too. But is not easy to deal with this kind of frustrations after injuries or when you always be the favorite to win a tournament, you come here and you lose in first round. Is not easy. But he’s strong enough to deal with that, and I love him and I want to see him in the top positions very soon.”

The Women
No. 1 Simona Halep was very happy after beating Qiang Wang in straight sets, and she joked a lot in the press conference.
On Monday, she actually watched Serena and Venus Williams playing each other. Some people almost never watch the matches, but many of the players stop and watch the famous Williamses. Their matchups are pretty darn intense.
“I’m the world No. 1 in this moment, but I just watched the best player in the world,” Halep said. “I just do what I feel. I felt to come because I admire a lot the sisters.”
 
Venus knocked down Serena in straight sets on Monday, as the younger sister couldn’t control her ground strokes. Venus was pounding the ball very deep and hard. Plus, she was running well. 

On Tuesday, Venus rose up again, beating Anastasija Sevastova. Serena is gone, so Venus has an opportunity to win it all, but most of the very good players still left. Like Karolina Pliskova, who beat the 16-year-old American Amanda Anisimova in straight sets. Anisimova is already tall and strong, so watch her, if you get a chance. She does need a few more years to improve, but she is already very talented. “I think this will change a little bit in the future, but for sure the game is good and not really any weakness,” Pliskova said. The Czech will play the Japanese Naomi Osaka, who lives in the United States. What a basher.