2017 French Open Women’s Semifinals: How to Watch

Leave a comment

The 2017 French Open returns to NBC Sports on Thursday, with a clash between tournament darlings preceding a matchup of ranked contenders in the women’s semifinals at Roland Garros.

Timea Bacsinszky  faces off against Latvian teenager Jeļena Ostapenko in the first match of the day, before Karolína Plíšková battles Simona Halep in a meeting between the second- and third-ranked women in the field. Coverage begins at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app.

WATCH: 2017 French Open women’s semifinals (Thursday at 11 a.m. ET)

The match between Bacsinszky and Ostapenko is the culmination of an historic run in the tournament for both women, with the 30th-ranked Bacsinzky defeating Venus Williams in the fourth round. The unranked Ostapenko is competing in her first Grand Slam semifinal after taking down Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals.

In the second match of the day, Halep will look to return to the women’s final at Roland Garros, where she lost a three-set match to Maria Sharapova in 2014. Plíšková is also seeking redemption in a Grand Slam final after losing to Angelique Kerber at the US Open final in 2016.

Who: Timea Bacsinszky vs. Jeļena Ostapenko and Karolína Plíšková vs. Simona Halep

When: Thursday, 11 a.m. ET

Where: NBCSN and the NBC Sports app

Muguruza upsets No. 1 Pliskova, reaches Cincinnati final

AP Photo
Leave a comment

MASON, Ohio — Garbine Muguruza reached her first Western & Southern Open final with a 6-3, 6-2 upset of defending champion Karolina Pliskova on Saturday.

The Wimbledon champion will meet on Sunday the winner of the later semifinal between Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens.

The final will be the first on American soil for Muguruza, who lost to Pliskova in last year’s W&S semifinals. The Spaniard had lost six straight matches against Pliskova since winning their first in 2013.

Muguruza clinched the win when the top-ranked Pliskova sailed a forehand long on the fifth match point. Pliskova, who played part of one match and all of another on Friday after rain forced postponements on Thursday, had 28 unforced errors to Muguruza’s 13.

Muguruza was coming off playing the tournament’s longest match, a 2-hour, 45-minute three-set win over Svetlana Kuznetsova on Friday. That followed a 2-hour, 18-minute win over Madison Keys on Thursday, when she fought off three match points.

Muguruza took charge early on Saturday, breaking Pliskova in the first and last games of the first set.

She gained a second-set edge with a backhand winner on break point for a 4-2 lead before closing it out in 1 hour, 19 minutes.

Surprise 2009 US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin retires

AP Photo
Leave a comment

Melanie Oudin is retiring from professional tennis, eight years after her captivating run to the U.S. Open quarterfinals as a teenager.

The 25-year-old American announced her decision in a series of posts on Twitter on Friday.

“Tennis has given me so much and I will always be grateful,” Oudin wrote. “It wasn’t exactly the entire career I had dreamed of, but in life things don’t always go as planned.”

Oudin has dealt with a series of health problems in recent years. Those included a diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis (rab-doe-my-OL-uh-sis), a muscle-damaging condition which may be caused by intense exertion, in 2013, and a procedure to address occasional episodes of an accelerated heartbeat the following year.

She has not played a professional match since entering lower-level ITF tournaments last season.

“Unfortunately, since the end of 2012, I have been struck with numerous health issues and injuries. I would work so hard to come back after being out, and then something else would happen,” Oudin wrote. “It has definitely taken a toll on me mentally and physically over the last five years or so.”

Oudin has been ranked as high as 31st but is now outside the top 400.

She won one WTA singles title, on grass at Birmingham, England, in 2012, and teamed with Jack Sock to win the U.S. Open mixed doubles championship in 2011. Oudin also was a member of the U.S. Fed Cup team.

At the 2009 U.S. Open, as an unseeded and unknown 17-year-old from Marietta, Georgia, the 70th-ranked Oudin pulled off a series of stunning results, upsetting four higher-ranked women – including Maria Sharapova and Beijing Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva – to become the youngest quarterfinalist at Flushing Meadows since Serena Williams in 1999.

The vivacious teen whose shoes were stamped with “BELIEVE” during those magical, memorable two weeks in New York closed her three-tweet message to fans and others Friday with that very same word, in all capital letters for emphasis.

“I will definitely miss competing. … I am very proud of how I always competed with lots of heart throughout my whole career,” she wrote.

“I am sad to leave the sport I know and love,” Oudin said, “but I am very optimistic about what the future holds for me.”

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis