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PORTUGAL, September 12, 2018 (News Wires) - Umpire Carlos Ramos has made his first public statement since the US Open, saying he was "good" despite the firestorm of controversy that followed his officiating of last weekend's women's final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka.

The 47-year-old Portuguese handed out three code violations to runner-up Williams on Saturday, prompting a heated on-court argument with the 23-times Grand Slam champion and sparking a debate about sexism in tennis.

"I am good, under the circumstances," Ramos was quoted as saying in Portugal's Tribuna Expresso.

"It's an unhappy situation but a la carte refereeing doesn't exist.

"Don't you worry about me!"

Ramos, who told the newspaper that he had avoided walking the streets of New York on Sunday to avoid any "complicated situations", confirmed he would be back in the chair on Friday in Zadar, Croatia.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF), which on Monday issued a statement describing Ramos as one of the most respected umpires in tennis, has appointed him to officiate the semifinal of the Davis Cup, the international men's team event, between Croatia and the United States.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) and Women's Tennis Association (WTA) both publicly backed the allegations of sexism levelled at Ramos after Saturday's match.

Williams was fined $17 000 and docked a point and a game for three code violations during the match, including breaking a racket and verbally abusing the umpire.

NEW YORK, September 1, 2018 (News Wires) - Serena Williams crushed older sister Venus 6-1 6-2 in a shockingly subdued third round clash at the US Open to stay on track for a record equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

The meeting between the famed tennis siblings had been hyped as the biggest night of the US Open but turned into a flat, uninspired spectacle as Serena simply outclassed her sister.

The only moment of suspense in a contest all but devoid of drama came in the second game when Serena rolled over on her ankle, drawing gasps from the sellout crowd.

Serena was able to continue but at the first changeover called a medical timeout and had her ankle heavily strapped.

In the end, though, the only pain being felt was by Venus, who suffered the equal worst defeat in 30 matches against her sister.

"This was my best match since my return. I've worked really hard for it ... and hopefully everything will keep paying off," Serena said in an on-court interview.

"I roll my ankles a lot so I just wanted to get it taped as tight as I could for the rest of the match and see how I feel tomorrow."

Seven times a Grand Slam winner, Venus held her opening serve but it was all downhill from there as a ruthless Serena swept through the next seven games to take the opening set in a breezy 31 minutes and a 2-0 lead in the second.

The sellout crowd that surrounded Arthur Ashe Stadium was kept waiting to enter as world number one Rafa Nadal and Russian Karen Khachanov battled inside in a breath-taking clash that set the bar high for the main event.

The buzz was electric as the stadium filled and continued to build as the sisters arrived on the court under spotlights and rock music giving the contest the full big event treatment.

Meanwhile, Rafa Nadal has feasted on Russian opposition in the past but Karen Khachanov nearly served up a major U.S. Open upset, forcing the world number one to rally for a breathless 5-7 7-5 7-6(7) 7-6(3) third round win.

Not since 2011 has Nadal lost to a Russian but his string of 16 victories stretching back to 2011 looked ready to end along with his U.S. Open title defence when big-hitting Khachanov came out with guns blazing.

The 27th seed kept up the pressure throughout a four hour, 23 minute thriller that was the Spaniard's longest ever match at Flushing Meadows.

"I am very happy to be through in a very tough situation," Nadal said in an on-court interview.

After coasting through his first two matches, Nadal appeared poised for another uneventful day against a 22-year-old he had beaten four times without dropping a set.

That run came to a halt when the Russian took the opener by pounding eight aces past a misfiring Nadal, including one to clinch the set.

The Spaniard found himself in an even deeper hole when Khachanov collected the early break in the second, putting Nadal on the ropes down a set and a break 5-4.

No player in tennis, however, is more dangerous than Nadal when threatened and, with Khachanov serving for a 2-0 lead, the 17-times Grand Slam champion's famous survival instincts kicked in and he snatched a clutch break.

Rain began to fall while Nadal celebrated, forcing a delay as the Arthur Ashe stadium's retractable roof was closed and providing the defending champion with an opportunity to regroup.

NEW YORK, August 30, 2018 (News Wires) — Get ready for the latest Grand Slam installment of Williams vs. Williams. One big difference this time: The superstar siblings will be meeting in the third round at the U.S. Open, their earliest showdown at a major tournament in 20 years.

Serena Williams set up the highly anticipated matchup at Flushing Meadows by hitting 13 aces and overwhelming 101st-ranked Carina Witthoeft of Germany 6-2, 6-2 in a little more than an hour in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night.

Hours earlier, across the way at Louis Armstrong Stadium, Venus Williams did her part with another straight-set victory, eliminating 40th-ranked Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-4, 7-5.

"Unfortunately and fortunately, we have to play each other. We make each other better. We bring out the best when we play each other. It's what we do," Serena said. "I think we're used to it now."

When they play Friday, it will be their 30th tour-level encounter — plus, of course, all those times when they traded shots from across the net as kids in California, then on practice courts all around the world. It's also soonest the sisters have played each other at any Grand Slam since their very first tour match, all the way back at the 1998 Australian Open. Venus won that one. But since then, it's been the younger Serena who's grown dominant.

The reason this match comes so early is that their rankings are not what they've been in the past. Serena is No. 26, playing in only the seventh tournament since she was off the tour for more than a year while having a baby. Even though the U.S. Tennis Association bumped her seeding up to reflect her past success, it still placed her at No. 17. Venus, meanwhile is No. 16.

"It's so young in the tournament," Serena said. "We would have rather met later."

She leads the series 17-12, including 10-5 at majors.

Both have been ranked No. 1. They have won a combined 30 Grand Slam singles trophies, 23 by Serena. They own eight U.S. Open singles championships, six by Serena.

They've played each other in the finals of all four Slams, including at the US Open in 2001 (when Venus won) and 2002 (when Serena did).

"It's incredible what they've done. I mean, amazing really. Obviously there's been other siblings that have had fantastic careers in tennis, but none anywhere close to what they've managed to achieve," said three-time major champion Andy Murray, whose first major since hip surgery ended with a four-set loss to No. 31 Fernando Verdasco. "I'd be surprised if anything like that ever happens again."

Defending champion Rafael Nadal followed Serena into Ashe and wasn't really troubled at all, other than when he received a warning for letting the 25-second serve clock expire — something he figured was really his opponent's fault. Either way, Nadal shrugged off that third-set distraction and finished off a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Canada's Vasek Pospisil.

Two other past men's champions won — Juan Martin del Potro, who beat Dennis Kudla of the U.S., and Stan Wawrinka — as did 2017 runner-up Kevin Anderson, and No. 11 seed John Isner.

Two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza built a big lead but gave it away and was stunned 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 by 202nd-ranked Czech qualifier Karolina Muchova in a match that ended after 1 a.m. on as Wednesday turned to Thursday.

Seeded women who advanced earlier on another day with the temperature topping 95 degrees (33 Celsius) included No. 7 Elina Svitolina, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova, No. 15 Elise Mertens, No. 19 Anastasija Sevastova and No. 23 Barbora Strycova, all in straight sets.

During her post-victory news conference, which came long before Serena set foot on court against Witthoeft, Venus clearly had little interest in entertaining questions about the possible all-in-the-family match.

"It's early in the tournament, so both of us are going to be looking forward to continuing to play better," Venus said. "Obviously, it's definitely a tough draw."

Later, when a reporter tried to steer the conversation back to Williams vs. Williams, Venus offered this admonishment about the topic: "You're beating it up now."

She was ever-so-slightly more forthcoming during her on-court interview, joking, "The last time we played, at the Australian, it was two against one," a reference to the fact that Serena was pregnant when she beat Venus in the 2017 Australian Open final.

"At least this time," Venus told the crowd, "it'll be fair."

Serena looked much more impressive Wednesday than her sister did, but the levels of competition were also different.

Of the 82 points that went Venus' way, only 13 came via her own winners. Giorgi had 29 winners, but also 41 unforced errors and 28 forced errors.

Serena, meanwhile, put together a 30-10 edge in winners, then declared her serve much better than it's been of late.

Soon enough, her thoughts were on her next match and a certain, rather familiar, foe.

"I never root against her, no matter what. So I think that's the toughest part for me: When you always want someone to win, to have to beat them," Serena said. "I know the same thing is for her."

OHIO, August 15, 2018 (News Wires) - Eighth seeded Petra Kvitova used her precision serve to overpower Serena Williams 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in their second round match on Tuesday night in Cincinnati.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion won her first round match over Daria Gavrilova in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, on Monday, but appeared to run out of gas in the third set against Kvitova.

Just two weeks ago, Williams suffered the worst defeat of her career in San Jose when she was crushed 6-1, 6-0 in 51 minutes by world No 39 Johanna Konta.

"I'm still at the very beginning. You know, this is a long comeback. I just began. Definitely at the very, very beginning," Williams said. "I'm getting there, and I'm going to just continue to work hard, and hopefully I'll start winning more matches."

Czech ninth seed Karolina Pliskova made a personal breakthrough as she beat Agnieszka Radwanska for the first time after seven previous straight-sets losses to the Pole, winning 6-3, 6-3.

"It was a tough round for me because I've never beaten her, never even taken a set," said Pliskova. "I was so happy when I won the first set because I thought, 'Finally, one set for me.'"

Australian 16th seed Ashleigh Barty defeated Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 7-5, while 14th-ranked Elise Mertens topped Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-2.

Roger Federer began his US Open preparation with a comprehensive 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Peter Gojowczyk in a first ATP Cincinnati Masters appearance since 2015.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion who turned 37 last week, is pacing his tennis year to maintain the longevity of his career, playing a limited schedule and missing events when he feels the need to rest.

He has missed the last two editions through injuries.

The defeat of the 47th-ranked German began his run for a possible eighth title at the tournament. It took just 72 minutes.

The contest was the first for the Swiss since losing to Kevin Anderson in five sets in the Wimbledon quarterfinals on July 11.

Eighth seed Dominic Thiem was forced to withdraw without hitting a ball due to illness.

The Austrian has played just one losing match last week in Toronto on the hardcourts since making a late switch from post-Wimbledon clay.

Nick Kyrgios served 39 aces, including one to save match point, to power into the second round with a dramatic 6-7 (2/7), 7-5, 7-6 (11/9) win over Denis Kudla.

Last year's losing finalist finally saw off the American on his sixth match point.

The Australian will next face Croatian Borna Coric, who beat Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 6-3.

But Kyrgios admitted that his chronic hip problems are starting to become a worry.

"This year has been tough. I started the year very well. Then obviously I hurt my elbow. Then I had an ongoing hip injury," he said.

"We have been definitely thinking about the options with my hip. There is only so much you can do before you have to, I guess, get surgery or something like that.

"Right now I'm just managing it. Obviously I'm feeling my right knee because I'm favouring my left side of my body a little bit.

"I'm just trying to get through it. The physio has been helping me. I've been doing rehab every day. I'm doing everything I can.

"As long as I can serve, I have a good chance to win still."

The 23-year-old has struggled since Wimbledon, retiring from his second-round match against Cameron Norrie in Atlanta before losing at the first hurdle to Stanislas Wawrinka in last week's Rogers Cup.

But the world number 18 dug deep against Kudla after losing a first-set tie-break, saving three break points in game 11 of the second set, before levelling the match on his third set point and winning a thrilling deciding breaker.

Weekend Toronto finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas ran out of gas in a 7-5, 6-3 loss to Belgian 11th seed David Goffin.

South Korea's Chung Hyeon rallied past a struggling Jack Sock for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory.

Chung handed the slumping American an eighth straight defeat, with Sock's last win coming in the opening round at Rome three months ago.

Unseeded Milos Raonic advanced past Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-3 at the combined ATP event, the last major tune-up prior to the US Open on August 27.

CINCINNATI, August 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Former world number one Serena Williams looked sharp in her return to the hardcourts after a week-long break, soundly defeating Daria Gavrilova 6-1 6-2 to advance to the second round of the Cincinnati Masters.

Williams, who made the Wimbledon final last month but withdrew from last week's Rogers Cup in Montreal for personal reasons, cracked eight aces and was never broken as she dispatched the 24-year-old Australian.

“I realised after Wimbledon that this is a journey for me,” the 36-year-old Williams said.

“It's going to come and I'm taking it one day at a time. I'm just fortunate to be back here on these courts playing tennis. Everything is truly amazing.”

Next up for the 23-times grand slam champion is a second-round clash today with two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, who had a first round bye.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus came from behind to defeat Johanna Konta 4-6 6-3 6-4 in their first round tussle.

Konta had 10 double faults and was broken four times by the 20-year-old, who will face big-serving ninth seed Karolina Pliskova today.

US Open finalist Madison Keys and former world number one Victoria Azarenka also advanced.

Keys, the 11th seed, fired 13 aces as she eliminated fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6 6-7(3) 6-4.

Azarenka, working her way back up the world rankings from her current number 87 after the birth of a son, overcame Carla Suarez Navarrao of Spain 6-7(5) 6-2 6-4.

Azarenka will meet sixth seed Caroline Garcia in the second round.

MONTREAL, Canada, August 5, 2018 (News Wires) - Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from WTA tournament in Montreal citing “personal reasons,” organisers said on Sunday.

“Of course, we are disappointed that Serena will not be joining us,” tournament director Eugene Lapierre said in a statement Sunday, noting that despite the 23-time Grand Slam winner's absence, all of the top 10 players in the world are in the draw for one of the key tune-ups for the US Open.

With Williams' withdrawal, Germany's Tatjana Maria gains direct entry into the draw.

She'll face France's Alize Cornet in the first round on Monday.

The winner of that match could face fourth-seeded Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber in the second round.

Williams, 36, battled back from life-saving surgery after giving birth to daughter Olympia in September, reaching the final at Wimbledon, where she was beaten by Germany's Kerber.

On Tuesday, Williams endured the most lopsided defeat of her WTA career when she fell 6-1, 6-0 to Briton Johanna Konta in San Jose, California.

“I have so many things on my mind that I don't have time to be shocked about a loss where I clearly wasn't at my best,” Williams said after that defeat.

 

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