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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 05:31 AM   #1936
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Re: Sloane Stephens

Azarenka wins 6-1, 6-4 but I think Sloane did frustrate her a bit in the second set...

Overall, Sloane put up a good fight in the 2nd set. It certainly is a respectable showing against the #1 ranked player. I think it will give Sloane more confidence in the future against Azarenka.
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 05:33 AM   #1937
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Re: Sloane Stephens

Im so happy for sloane. The fact that she made it to the semi finals in a slam is just an amazing achievement. Shes still young and has a whole lot to improve. We will see a future top 10 player. Maybe not soon but possibly later.
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 05:35 AM   #1938
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Re: Sloane Stephens

Sloane Amazing tournament though
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 05:44 AM   #1939
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Re: Sloane Stephens

What is Sloane's next tournament?
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 06:17 AM   #1940
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Re: Sloane Stephens

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Originally Posted by V-MAC View Post
What is Sloane's next tournament?
Fed Cup vs Italy on clay, provided that she gets chosen for the team. Then she's entered in Doha.

I don't know if she even signed up for qualies in Dubai, but her ranking was too low to get into the main draw. I assume that she'll probably try to request a WC though....
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 12:47 PM   #1941
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Re: Sloane Stephens

Great tournament for her. Looking forward to how she does the rest of the year.
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 01:56 PM   #1942
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Re: Sloane Stephens

Quote:
Originally Posted by tie_breaker View Post

Vika just lost complete respect from millions of fans worldwide. What she doesnt realize is that the worst is still yet to come.

She is going to get the wrath of the Aussie fans on Sat night. Every point Li Na wins will be cheered loudly and Vika is going to get Boo'ed big time. Not sure how she is going to hold up.

For some old timers, this match will remind me of McEnroe v/s Lendl at the FO final in 1984. The fans turned on Mac on one of his line call outbursts in the 3rd set when he was 2-0 up in sets and he never recovered. That loss still devastates him.

Mentally this is going to take a major toll on Vika moving forward. Very poor sportsmanship.
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The sad thing about it is the announcer said she left because of a chest pain and knee injury, which constituted the ten minutes, but when Azarenka spoke after the match she didn't even mention those injuries. Through stupidity she admitted to having choked and not being able to catch her breath because play was becoming to overwhelming! The crowd didn't like her admission either because her applause was at a minimal! She cheated Sloane and admitted to it! Mental strategy is part of the game and just because yours break down that does not mean you can take a medical timeout (in her case two fake ones) and undermine your opponent on their serve! She's a cheat, an admitted one and I hope Li Na kicks her a@@!
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Serena and Azarenka knew that this 19 year old had their number and became cowards. Serena tweets her ankle for sympathy when she called a t/o for her back and told everyone it was her back that hurt. Azarenka claimed chest pains and stress (a panic attack) because Sloane staved off 5 match points at the same time she kicked it into gear and whipped that nasty Williams waste! Now both of them are trying to save face. Sloane will be back to finish the job on Azarenka and beat Serena into submission. Count on it!
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Li Na, PLEASE do the tennis world a favor and give the CHEATER a 6-0 6-1 BEATDOWN!
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Faking an injury because a younger player was going to come back and kick her butt....shes a fake...again now we have Azeranka...T'eo...Armstrong...THEY ALL THREE SUCK..NO TALENT...they should have kicked her off the court..then she could go to the hospital for her being scared of losing...My heart goes out Sloan...she has pure class...pay back is a b&#$()....Azeranka....I hope Li NA WOOOOOOOOOOOOPS UR #$%$ZZZZZZ!!!!!!!
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"Azarenka disappeared into the dressing room for nearly 10 minutes..."

This "rule" has to change...It is not fair to the opposing player...If a player leaves the court more than three minutes, they need to be docked a point or two. Then they will think about how "injured" they are.

There must be some penalty to be paid, even for "legitimate" injuries, otherwise this charade will continue to go on.

We all know that in sports like football, players fake injuries to get a free timeout for the team late in the game for strategic reasons. I believe Azarenka pulled this phony injury which she later attributed to "stress" after the match to gather herself, yet Sloane Stephens was left waiting.

Azarenka was losing momentum while Stephens was gaining in the match, yet this was precisely the time she (Azarenka) came down with her "stress injury" as told to the post-match interviewer on ESPN. Azarenka couldn't even identify what was actually wrong with her on the court, physically. I guess Azarenka was building her alibi in case she lost to Stephens.
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I was hoping for a nice quiet final between Sloane and Li. Now, a loud grunting CHEATER just crashed the party with fake injuries, Panic Attacks!
To save face, WTA should Fine & DQ Azarenka for FAKING Panic Attacks as injuries.
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It was unethical, out and out so, on the part of Azarenka to have taken such a long medical
time-out after being unable to finish the match on his serve and score. True she won the
semis match in straight sets but she should have been honest about the way she played
and won the match. It is not ethical at all to disturb the concentration of one's opponent
that too a teen age sensation in such a way. But then Azarenka was keen to enter the
final and retain the title particularly when she knew that her bete noire, Serena, who
had defeated her at US Open even though training 3-5 was out of the way. Champions
do not try to win their matches by dubious means.
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you can't take medical timeouts for panic attacks and get xanax, like azarenka did, that's illegal
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since when does omg I might lose, constitute a medical break. and 10 minutes! I needed time to relax? not cool.
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I think people will have serious issues about the medical timeouts granted to Azarenka.
The timing was inappropriate, vacating the court for a lengthy delay when the opponent is about to serve. This had 'gamesmanship' written all over it, and I'm astonished that officials granted the 'request' - 2 consecutive 5-min. medical time-outs, while Stephens (who by then had momentum) was left cooling her jets. (Although one wonders why she didn't move around to keep fresh - and where was her trainer, her coach?) At this juncture of the tournament AND the match, the time-out was a brazenly calculated move, (which Azarenka herself admitted at the press conference afterwards, claiming a panic attack), and of questionable legality.
Aussie crowds aren't stupid, they're MAD for sports, but they also know a scam when they see one, and the dispirited applause after the match was mute testament to a tarnished victory. I think the stench of this incident will linger ...

"Stephens' Aussie run ends in controversy"

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/azarenk...0680--ten.html

I was amazed about these comments that were posted from this article in Yahoo!Tennis.
It was also reported that former men's number four Jonas Bjorkman took to social media about the controversial medical time-out.
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 02:12 PM   #1943
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Re: Sloane Stephens

http://tennis.si.com/2013/01/24/vict...stralian-open/

(from this article)

Asked after the match why she needed the medical timeout, this was Azarenka’s response:

“Well I almost did the choke of the year right now. At 5-3 having so many chances, couldn’t close it out. I’m glad I could just turn it around. I just felt a little bit overwhelmed realizing that I’m one step from the final and nerves got into me for sure.”

Choke? Overwhelmed? Nerves? I’m not sure any of those constitute illnesses that justify a medical timeout. In fact, not too many people did. Here’s how former players, commentators and pundits reacted to this perceived piece of gamesmanship:




@RosenbergTennis

azarenka better post a picture of something swollen asap



@TennisReporters

Vika said she was having chest pains, couldnt breathe, thought was having 'heart attack.' Sounds like a panic attack. Major controversy



@gregcouch

Bad look for women's tennis when the No. 1 player pulls stunt like that.



@5livetennis

Tennis has a lot to answer for right now. The world number one basically admits she left the court because she choked and was overwhelmed.



@cbfowler

Ever heard a player basically admit she/he was nervous and thus invented 2 injuries to get a 10 minute time out? Rule change needed.



@PatrickMcEnroe

So let me get this straight. She had a lot of nerves and that's why she left the court. Unbelievable



@jon_wertheim

Not sure if it's weirdly admirable or horrifying arrogance/cluelessness that Azarenka unapologetically admitted to gamesmanship


@dougrobson

MJF on ESPN calls it "disconcerting" and "a veteran move." I'd call it a move, but not veteran. #ausopen
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 02:15 PM   #1944
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Re: Sloane Stephens

Quote:
Originally Posted by tie_breaker View Post
http://tennis.si.com/2013/01/24/vict...stralian-open/

(from this article)

Asked after the match why she needed the medical timeout, this was Azarenka’s response:

“Well I almost did the choke of the year right now. At 5-3 having so many chances, couldn’t close it out. I’m glad I could just turn it around. I just felt a little bit overwhelmed realizing that I’m one step from the final and nerves got into me for sure.”

Choke? Overwhelmed? Nerves? I’m not sure any of those constitute illnesses that justify a medical timeout. In fact, not too many people did. Here’s how former players, commentators and pundits reacted to this perceived piece of gamesmanship:




@RosenbergTennis

azarenka better post a picture of something swollen asap



@TennisReporters

Vika said she was having chest pains, couldnt breathe, thought was having 'heart attack.' Sounds like a panic attack. Major controversy



@gregcouch

Bad look for women's tennis when the No. 1 player pulls stunt like that.



@5livetennis

Tennis has a lot to answer for right now. The world number one basically admits she left the court because she choked and was overwhelmed.



@cbfowler

Ever heard a player basically admit she/he was nervous and thus invented 2 injuries to get a 10 minute time out? Rule change needed.



@PatrickMcEnroe

So let me get this straight. She had a lot of nerves and that's why she left the court. Unbelievable



@jon_wertheim

Not sure if it's weirdly admirable or horrifying arrogance/cluelessness that Azarenka unapologetically admitted to gamesmanship


@dougrobson

MJF on ESPN calls it "disconcerting" and "a veteran move." I'd call it a move, but not veteran. #ausopen


Interviewed by Tom Rinaldi for ESPN, Azarenka said she couldn’t breathe.

“That game, I don’t know, I had chest pain. It was like getting a heart attack or something out there. I just needed to make sure it was okay because I really couldn’t breathe.”

Stephens said the break didn’t put her off, though it can’t be denied that she came out flat in that final service game. Stephens, who shares the same agent as Azarenka, dismissed the incident but said she planned to talk to Azarenka about it. Oh boy. The American was asked if she thought players were abusing the medical timeout system.

“No, I don’t think so. Like, there’s a certain thing in the locker room that tells you like if you take more than six a year or something that they’ll start charging you. That’s a good rule. But the whole time I’ve been on the WTA Tour I’ve never had a medical timeout, so I don’t know how it feels. I don’t know what they do. I don’t even know what you say. Honestly, I don’t even know how you would call the trainer to the court.”

Stephens’ coach, David Nainkin thought otherwise. ”I thought it was very unfair — cheating within the rules,” he told USA Today. “It was unsportsmanlike. I don’t think you should be able to leave the court before the opponent serves for 10 minutes for whatever reason. You’d better have something pretty good. I think there’s a gray area in the rule book that shoudn’t be allowed. End of story.”

After she had some time to gather her thoughts and, perhaps, realize there was a tsunami size wave of criticism coming her way, Azarenka told reporters in a later press conference that the medical timeout was for her rib and back and that she regrets not taking it earlier.

“I had been struggling a little bit throughout the whole match, from the second set, my back,” she said. “And it just kept getting worse. I should have, you know, called the trainer a little bit earlier before that when I got to the point that I couldn’t really breathe and had to go off court. So there was a little bit of my bad. But just a rib got locked and kept getting worse. I had to have it adjusted. I really had to go and take that medical timeout.”

Azarenka didn’t violate any clear-cut rule. She was within her rights to call a medical timeout if she felt short of breathing or was suffering from some injury that required medical treatment. But as is so often the case in tennis, it’s not about what’s written in the rulebook but “the spirit of the rule.” Calling a medical timeout because you got nervous? Laughable. Calling it to disrupt the rhythm of a match that’s slipping away from you? Bush league. Calling one to ice a rookie opponent before she’s set to serve to stay in the match? The stuff of juniors. Certainly not becoming of the world No. 1.

Yet we have to stop and think of the risk of the alternative. Here, given Azarenka’s response to questions about the medical timeout after the match it seems fairly clear that she didn’t have an injury. She had shortness of breath. I can sit here and speculate and say that shortness of breath was the result of her choking away five match points and panicking, but what if it wasn’t? What if it was a legitimate medical illness? Think of the liability involved if a player ignores those symptoms and collapses on court, as Azarenka did at the 2010 U.S. Open.

Azarenka will get blasted for this. She deserves it. It was a tough situation, but I’ve seen plenty of matches where a struggling opponent will suck up their injury for the remainder of the set and then, if they lose that set, call the trainer. Perhaps that’s an idiotically noble thing, but players earn respect in the locker room for those moves.

Azarenka may have earned a free pass this time if she didn’t have a history of players questioning her ill-timed injuries, whether it’s Agnieszka Radwanksa saying Azarenka’s questionable injuries were “not a good image for women’s tennis” or Maria Sharapova’s subtle but constant harping on her penchant for over-exaggerating injuries. The fact is, Azarenka has never earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her claims about her health. This was just one more incident that adds fuel to the fire.
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 02:50 PM   #1945
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Re: Sloane Stephens

OMG...the title says it all

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/spor...-1226561256416


Having seen the match, I thought that Azarenka was clearly playing better than Sloane and I am not really sure that Sloane had enough momentum to win the match, given the score, if there wasn't the controversial medical time-out.


When Sloane defeated Serena, I thought that Sloane was playing better than she did against Azarenka and I thought that Azarenka was playing better against Sloane than Serena. Although controversial, I am not certain whether it impacted the outcome of the match.

My only disappointment was that Sloane seemed very flat after the medical time-out and it did seem she lost the momentum she had and any chance to come back in the 2nd set, being down a break. I would have just liked to see the match be extended to the 3rd set, because it would have been
a good test for Sloane to have that opportunity to raise her level of play and upset Azarenka with a come from behind victory.

We will never know if that was possible and perhaps Azarenka operated within the rules but it is apparent that gamesmanship is an issue and now Azarenka loses credibility, meanwhile Sloane gets alot of respect, not only for responding like a true profession, but more of a veteran than Azarenka.
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 04:21 PM   #1946
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Re: Sloane Stephens

What an amazing tournament! A GS Semi Final is fantastic! The first of many
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 04:28 PM   #1947
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Re: Sloane Stephens

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What an amazing tournament! A GS Semi Final is fantastic! The first of many
I agree!

She can go into her other tournaments with SO much confidence now!
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 06:35 PM   #1948
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Re: Sloane Stephens

Great tournament for you Sloane and great fight in the second

Hope you are full of confidence now!!
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 10:48 PM   #1949
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Re: Sloane Stephens

Wat is up with all the haters Our girl Sloane is getting now on Tennis Forum in GM, Calling her a FLuke, and saying she just Hyped up too much Haters going Hate, that how u know u made it I guess
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 11:13 PM   #1950
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Re: Sloane Stephens

Even in loss, Stephens shows why future is bright

Sloane Stephens leaves Australia with newfound fame and a ranking in the world's Top 20.
By Matt Cronin, special to USTA.com

MELBOURNE—One month ago, U.S. teenager Sloane Stephens arrived in Australia merely hoping to show that all her diligent work in the offseason had been worth it and that she could play a consistent brand of tennis she hadn't always displayed in 2012.

After reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open, where she took a closer-than-it-looked 6-1 6-4 defeat to world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka on Thursday, Stephens left the grounds as the world’s 17th-ranked player and as one that, health allowing, will surely have a major influence on the tour in the next decade.

Stephens did not play her best match on a hot day against Azarenka, but it might have been too much to ask her to back up a shocking upset of 15-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams with another stunner over the defending champion—and under 24 hours later, no less.

She’s a tough girl with a world-class game, but she still has growing to do. However, the WTA’s top players know this: Sloane Stephens is a player to watch.

"Stirring ’em up. Gotta keep them on their toes," Stephens said to a small group of U.S. reporters after her defeat. "I guess I have to be doing something right. Got all these things happening."

Had Azarenka not taken a 10-minute medical timeout after blowing five match points in the ninth game of the second set, Stephens may have been able to climb back in the contest. But she never moved from her chair while waiting for Azarenka to return, and after she got down 4-5, she did not have a great service game and was broken to lose the match.

"I was thinking about the service game," she said of her time spent waiting. "Nothing too mind-boggling. I’ve had a lot of medical timeouts the last week, so I just kind of did the same thing. Just kind of sit there, look and see what [USTA coach] David [Nainkin] was doing. I do the same thing all the time. I don’t get up and serve, none of that."

Stephens said Azarenka's medical timeout had nothing to do with why she lost, saying, "I love Vika, and we share the same agent. We actually are pretty good friends. I'm sure I'll see her, and we'll talk about it."

The 19-year-old took it to Serena when she needed to in the quarterfinals but allowed the steady and hard-hitting Azarenka to consistently take it to her in the semis. By the time she dug into the match, it was too late. Perhaps in her next big tournament it will be different, and considering that she won 10 of her 13 matches in Australia, there’s no reason to think she will be mentally folding anytime soon.

"Next time it will be different because I won’t be nervous about missing," she said. "I’ll just go out and play my game, try to mix it up and stay within myself. Sometimes it’s just not your day, it’s not meant to be, and today it just wasn’t supposed to happen. You just have to take it and learn from it and, hopefully, next time go out there and give them hell."

Stephens did not have any "Oh wow" moments before the semifinals. She made a huge splash in the Australian press, at home and possibly across the globe after she beat Serena, but it was a short period between that win and when she went on court against Azarenka, so she didn’t have time to come to terms with her newfound celebrity status.

But she realizes that had it been the US Open where she reached the semis, her star would have lit up the sky,

"It would be like, ‘Oh my God, you’re going to be in Vogue now.’ It would be just a whole other decision," she said. "But this is so far from home. Mom’s not here. It’s just me and David, so it’s just different. But still it’s a great week making the semifinals."

Stephens will now head to her Los Angeles home to hang out with her family and friends. She has made herself available for the U.S.’s Fed Cup tie against Italy in Rimini, Feb. 9-10, and will cross the pond that week if she’s selected to the team. She’ll then play Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami.

She doesn't expect any major life changes ahead, even though she’s already had a major impact on the tennis circuit.

"Nothing changes. I’m still the same person," she said. "I’m going to go to one of my hairstylists’ wedding on Saturday. So just keep the same thing going."
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