US Open [11.09.2014]
First of all, apologies for the lack of updates during the US Open. However, while we were away, Sara had a really good tournament in New York. She made the quarterfinal, her 2nd Grand Slam quarterfinal this year, and the first time since 2012 that she made the second week of a Slam other than at Roland Garros. In the quarterfinal Sara lost to eventual finalist Caroline Wozniacki.
No doubt the most special win of the tournament was the 3rd round, where Sara beat 7-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams. It was a special match, with a very special scoreline. Sara won the first set 6-0, and lost the second set with the same scoreline. After these two sets where the winner of the set didn't lose a game, the third set was the complete opposite. It was very close and in the end a tiebreak had to decide the winner of the match. Sara won the tiebreak 7-5 and hence also the match: 6-0 0-6 7-6 (5).
Because of her good tournament at the US Open, Sara moved up to #12 in the WTA rankings this week, and she's once again the best Italian in the ranking.
Of course you can find all the pictures from the US Open in our photogallery.
Sara's next tournament will be the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo next week.
Montreal Champions! [11.08.2014]
The singles tournament in Montreal didn't go as Sara would have wished (she lost 1-6 5-7 to Sabine Lisicki in the first round, but the doubles tournament went very well. Sara and Roberta won their 5th title of the season, and their 21st title together! For both of them it was also the 24th title of their career.
This week Sara will play in Cincinnati. She's the 14th seed, and plays qualifier Yanina Wickmayer in the first round. Of course she and Roby are 1st seed in the doubles draw, they have a bye in the first round.
Sara also announced a new partnership with Kia.
After a week weeks off the court, Sara returns to the WTA Tour today. She plays the Premium 5 tournament in Montreal, as 13th seed. In the first round, she plays against Sabine Lisicki from Germany.
Of course Sara and Roberta are first seed in the doubles tournament. They have a bye in the first round.
For the first time in their career, Sara and Roberta are Wimbledon champions!! In the final on saturday they beat Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in less than an hour, 6-1 6-3. The victory is special for many reasons: it's their first win at Wimbledon (though they've both won tournaments on grass before, they never went beyond the quarterfinals at Wimbledon), it means they have completed the Career Slam (won all Grand Slams at least once), and it means they're back at #1 in the rankings!
"It's unbelievable", said Sara after the match. "I mean, we have no words to tell you what this means for us." And, "Of course, we were thinking about this. We were thinking about it all day, all through the morning." She also acknowledges they played a very good match. When asked about the reason behind their success, Sara cited their friendship as the main reason they play so well together: "We are like a big team, spending a lot of time all together with our families and our coaches. We are really a big team. Not only for doubles, but also when we are playing singles. I think this is very important. We know how to help the other and we know each other. This is also important when you go on the court, but also I think we both play very good tennis and this helps, of course!"
There was not much time to enjoy the Wimbledon win; Sara is already playing her next tournament this week: the Nürnberger Gastein Ladies on the clay of Bad Gastein. She'll start this tournament against qualifier Katerina Siniakova from the Czech republic. Because Roberta plays in Bucharest this week, there'll be no doubles this week.
For the first time in their career, Sara and Roberta made the semifinal at Wimbledon! The second round was a very tough match, played over two days, where they saved 6(!) matchpoints before beating the Kichenok twins 6-7 7-6 6-1. The third round was somewhat easier: a 7-5 6-3 win against Aoyama/Voracova. And today, our Cichis won their quarterfinal against the strong Australian team of Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua: 6-4 3-6 6-0.
Their semifinal opponents will be either Andrea Hlavackova and Jie Zheng or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova.
All the pictures from this doubles run are in our photogallery.
Wimbledon 1st week [29.04.2014]
Unfortunately just like last year, Sara lost in the first round of Wimbledon. The match was closer than the match against Puig last year, and Sara even had a matchpoint, but after the match got suspended at 1 set all, Carolina Garcia prevailed the next day in the 3rd set.
However, Sara and Roberta started the doubles tournament well with a 6-2 6-2 over Jelena Jankovic and Alisa Kleybanova. In the 2nd round they'll play againd Lyudmyla and Nadiia Kichenok.
Of course you can find all the pictures from Wimbledon in the photogallery.
On monday, the third Grand Slam of the year, and the only one on grass, is starting: Wimbledon! Sara is 14th seed and plays French talent Carolina Garcia in the first round. Earlier this year Garcia won their only previous meeting, in Madrid.
The doubles draw has also been released. Sara and Roberta are second seed and play Jelena Jankovic and Alisa Kleybanova in the first round.
You can check out the full draws on this link.
Roland Garros [09.06.2014]
With a loss in the quarterfinal against Andrea Petkovic, and a loss in the doubles final to Hsieh/Peng, it may not have been the end to Roland Garros that Sara (and all of us) wished for, but nevertheless, she had another really good tournament in Paris. Now it's on to the grass in Eastbourne and Wimbledon, before Sara returns to the clay for a week in Bad Gastein.
With a strong win over world #7 Jelena Jankovic, Sara is once again in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros! The match was very hard fought, especially the first set. This took no less than 81 minutes, and Sara let a 4-1 lead (with a double break) slip, before taking the set in a tiebreak. The second set was a little easier; 6-2 to Sara. "It was an unbelievable tough match today", said Sara after the match. "All the points were very tough. The crowd was very loud, it was hard to stay focused. I'm so happy to get through to the quarterfinals again!"
In the quarterfinal Sara will play against Andrea Petkovic. The head-to-head is tied at 1-1, both matches having been played on the clay in Madrid. However, Sara won the most recent meeting, a 2 sets win earlier this year.
The WTA site, the Roland Garros site and ubitennis have all written reports about the match. On the Roland Garros website, you can also watch a part of Sara's pressconference from today. Finally, of course all the pictures from today are in the photogallery.
4th round [01.06.2014]
Sara continues to do well at Roland Garros. In the third round yesterday, she beat Julia Glushko with a great scoreline: 6-0 6-1. There was even a moment in the match where Sara won 21 (!) points in a row! In the 4th round Sara will play against 6th seed Jelena Jankovic.
Sara and Roberta are already through to the quarterfinal in doubles, after beating Andrea Petkovic and Magdalena Rybarikova in three sets today. Their quarterfinal opponents will be either Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua or Kristina Mladenovic and Flavia Pennetta.
You can find a lot of pictures from Roland Garros in our photogallery.
Roland Garros [29.05.2014]
It has been a good first week for Sara at Roland Garros. In singles she is in the third round after a hard-fought win over Madison Keys in the first round, and an easier win over Dinah Pfizenmaier in the second round. In the third round Sara will play against Julia Glushko from Israel.
Good start also in doubles as Sara and Roberta won their first round match 6-1 6-3 today.
It wasn't the end of the tournament Sara had wished for yesterday, as she got injured in the singles final. She was playing well as she had been all week, but 3-5 down to Serena Williams, she pulled a muscle in her leg and had to call the trainer. Even though she did come back on court, it was obvious she couldn't move as well as before, and the rest of the match she wasn't able to trouble Serena, who won the title with a 6-3 6-0 win.
Sara also went back on court for the doubles final, but after a few games it was obvious she just couldn't play and at 0-4 she was forced to retire.
After the doubles match, Sara said she only went back on court after the injury time out for the amazing public in Rome, and for Roberta Vinci, who had some problems herself earlier the week and also didn't retire from the tournament.
Today Sara went to the hospital for an MRI, which revealed she has a 2nd degree strain in a muscle in her thigh. She has to rest and rehab for two days, and then hopefully she will be able to start playing again. Fingers crossed she will be ready for Roland Garros next week!
As always, ubitennis has posted a collection of articles from Italian media, while the WTA site has posted several videos with highlights and interviews from Rome. Finally, of course you can find all the pictures in our photogallery!
Sara's amazing week in Rome continued today, as she won both her semifinals! She played a great match in singles against Jelena Jankovic, winning 6-3 7-5 and hitting 23 winners and only 11 unforced errors in the process! In the singles final, at 1.30PM tomorrow, Sara will face world #1 Serena Williams. She has never beaten her before, but no doubt the amazing crowd in Rome will inspire her!
In doubles, Sara and Roberta continued their comfortable run, as they beat Goerges/Groenefeld 6-2, 6-1. They'll face Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the final tomorrow.
Of course you can find plenty of pictures in the photogallery!
It's been a great week so far for Sara in Rome: she is in the semifinals in singles ánd in doubles!
While the wins in doubles have come rather comfortably, this has not been the case in singles. In the first round, Sara had to call the trainer for breathing problems, but once she overcame those, she beat Chanelle Scheepers 7-5 6-3. The second round was probably the easiest match of the tournament, as she beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-2 6-3 in a match in which Sara hit 20 winners, and only 6 unforced errors. The third round, against Petra Cetkovska was a bit tougher, but with a 6-4 7-6 win, Sara avoided a 3rd set.
Finally, today in the quarterfinal, Sara played against world #2 Na Li. She had never beaten a player from the top 3 before, but this changed today. In a great match, Sara beat Li 6-3 4-6 6-2, showing her usual big fighting spirit in the third set. "It was an unbelievable match, the crowd helped me so much!", said Sara after the match. Surely, the crowd will help her again tomorrow when she meets Jelena Jankovic in the semifinal!
After winning the doubles title in Madrid, it's now time for one of the most important tournaments of the year for Sara: Rome! Sara is 10th seed and plays qualifier Chanelle Scheepers in the first round. The first seed she can meet is Angelique Kerber, 7th seed.
In doubles, Sara and Roberta are 2nd seed and have a bye in the first round.
You can check the full Rome draws on the WTA site.
Of course you can find all the pictures from Madrid in the photogallery - including some exclusive ones!
3rd round [06.05.2014]
After a solid win over Andrea Petkovic (7-5 6-1) in the first round and a relatively easy win over compatriot Francesca Schiavone (6-3 6-1) in the second round in Madrid, Sara is through to the 3rd round, where she'll play against Caroline Garcia or Maria Kirilenko.
Tomorrow Sara and Roberta will start their doubles tournament, against Kuznetsova/Stosur.
After a good week in Stuttgart, and a week off after that, Sara is back on the court at the Premium Mandatory tournament in Madrid. It's a very strong field, where Sara is 10th seed. She'll play against Andrea Petkovic in the first round.
The doubles draw is also very strong, but as 2nd seeds, Sara and Roberta have a bye in the first round.
After the disappointment in the Fed Cup last weekend, Sara is having a good week so far in Stuttgart. It's obvious she's happy to be back on her favourite surface, as can be seen by the two solid wins she's scored in singles, and the two easy wins in doubles.
In singles, Sara beat Klara Koukalova 6-3 6-4 in the first round, and Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-3 in the second round. Sara played well in both matches, and finished both matches with a positive winner/unforced error ratio. The next round will likely be tougher though. She'll play against Carla Suarez Navarro, and even though Sara leads the head to head 6-3, many of the matches have been close, especially recent matches.
In doubles, Sara and Roberta are in the semifinal already, after comfortable wins against Goerges/Groenefeld and Mircic/Thorpe (6-2 6-2 in both matches).
Fed Cup and Stuttgart [21.04.2014]
This weekend the semifinals in the Fed Cup were played. Italy played the Czech Republic in Ostrava. Home advantage was a major factor, as the Czechs put down a fast indoor hardcourt, a surface on which they proved to be superior to the Italians this weekend. Sara played the first match of the tie, and lost 4-6 1-6 to Lucie Safarova. Italy also lost the other 3 matches of the weekend, and won't be defending their title in november; it will be a final between the Czech republic and Germany.
This week the clayseason is starting, at an indoor claytournament in Stuttgart, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Sara is 8th seed and in the first round she has a chance to take revenge for the Fed Cup weekend as she plays Czech Klara Koukalova in the first round. In doubles, Sara and Roberta are the top seed, and they play Groenefeld/Goerges in the first round. You can check the full draws here and here.
Of course you can also find some pictures from the Fed Cup weekend in the photogallery.
Sara is in the quarterfinals in Charleston after wins over Kiki Bertens and Shuai Peng. In the 2nd round Bertens had to retire after Sara won the first set 6-3. The second round was a lot tougher. There were breaks back and forth, and Sara had to save a setpoint in both sets, but took them both in a tiebreak.
Her quartfinal opponent will be either Belinda Bencic or Elina Svitolina.
A few weeks ago Sara was wondering where all the clay tournaments were and now they are finally starting. There are 5 claycourt tournaments on Sara's schedule for the upcoming 2 months (and one more in july), starting next week on the green clay of Charleston, at the Family Circle Cup.
Although Sara will drop out of the top 10 next week (for the first time since she made the Roland Garros final in 2012), she is still 3rd seeded at the Family Circle Cup and will receive a BYE in the first round. Her first opponent will be either Paula Ormaechea or a qualifier. The full draw is available here.
Of course there are some pictures from Miami in our photogallery.
3rd round loss [23.03.2014]
After a good win in the 2nd round, unfortunately Sara is out of Miami after a tough loss in the 3rd round. She fought really hard in her loss against Ekaterina Makarova, but in the end the Russian won 6-3 2-6 6-4.
Sara and Roby are also out of doubles, after an equally tough match against Muguruza/Suarez Navarro: 6-7 6-1 10-12.
Sara's next tournament will be in Charleston next week, the first tournament of the clay season.
Sony Open Tennis - Miami [18.03.2014]
The draw of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells has been released. Sara is 9th seed, and has a bye in the first round. In the second round she will play fellow Italian Karin Knapp or a qualifier.
In doubles, Sara and Roberta are 3rd seed and they will play Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro in the first round
3rd round [11.03.2014]
Unfortunately Sara lost in the third round of Indian Wells to Eugenie Bouchard; 3-6 3-6.
Sara's next tournament is another mandatory event, the Sony Open Tennis in Miami.
2nd round win [07.03.2014]
With a fairly routine 6-1 6-1 win over Canadian Sharon Fichman, Sara is in the 3rd round of Indian Wells. Though Sara got broken once in both sets, her win was never in danger as Fichman couldn't hold serve once.
Unfortunately the doubles tourmament didn't start as well. Sara and Roberta lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur in the first round.
Indian Wells [04.03.2014]
Apologies for the delay in updates, we were experiencing some problems with the website. But we're back now!
The draw of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells has been released. Sara is 9th seed, and has a bye in the first round. In the second round she will play Shahar Peer or a qualifier. You can check the full draw here.
The doubles draw has not been released yet.
For the third year in a row, Sara and Roberta are in the final of the Australian Open! After losing the final in 2012 and winning the title last year, on friday they will have the chance to win their 2nd title in Melbourne - and their 4th Grand Slam title overall.
The quarterfinal against Cara Black and Sania Mirza was a very hardfought match. Sara and Roberta won 6-2 3-6 6-4 after being 4-1 and a double break behind in the third set. The semifinal was a little easier: 6-1 6-4 against Peschke/Srebotnik, whom they had never beaten before!
In the final on friday our Cichis will play against Makarova/Vesnina, and there is a lot on stake: not only the first Grand Slam title of the year, but also the #1 ranking. If Sara and Roberta win, they keep the #1 ranking, if Makarova/Vesnina win, Vesnina will take over the top spot.
After wins over Barthel/Moulton-Levy (7-5 6-2) and Kanepi/Voracova (1-6 6-1 6-1), Sara and Roby are in the third round at the Australian Open. Their opponents in the third round will be either Adamczak/Rogowska or Goerges/Zahlavova Strycova.
Of course all the pictures from Melbourne are available in the photogallery.
1st round loss [13.01.2014]
Unfortunately Sara lost in the first round of the Australian Open, 3-6 2-6 to Julia Goerges from Germany.
Despite the loss, the Australian Open isn't over yet. Sara and Roberta will try to defend their doubles title from last year. They are first seed and will play Barthel/Moulton-Levy in the first round. You can check the full doubles draw here.
Quarterfinal in Sydney [07.01.2014]
Sara is in the quarterfinal of the Premier tournament in Sydney. In the first round she won the Italian derby against Roberta Vinci, 6-4 6-2. In the second round Sara beat Lauren Davis, 7-5 6-2.
In the quarterfinal, Sara will play against Tsvetana Pironkova from Bulgaria. Sara won their only previous meeting (in Brisbane in 2009) in three sets.
Of course you can find all the pictures from Shenzhen and Sydney in the photogallery.
Sara started the year with a second round in Shenzhen. After a hard-fought win over Saisai Zheng, in the first round, she lost in three sets to Vania King in the second round.
Fed Cup champion! [06.11.2013]
Last weekend Italy won their 4th Fed Cup in the last 8 years! In the final they beat Russia 4-0. With 2 wins, Sara played a vital role in the tie. Though Russia didn't play with their best team, the first match was really tough - after more than 3 hours Roberta Vinci beat Alexandra Panova 5-7 7-5 8-6. Sara then beat Irina Khromacheva 6-1 6-4, to give Italy a 2-0 lead after the first day. On sunday, Sara played against the Russian #2, Alisa Kleybanova, and won 6-1 6-1, to clinch the Cup for Italy. After the celebrations on court, Flavia Pennetta and Karin Knapp sealed the perfect tie for Italy by winning the 'dead' doubles rubber as well.
You can find all the pictures from the weekend (from the draw ceremony, the matches and the celebrations) in the photogallery. All the articles from Italian media about saturday (including an interview with Sara's coach Pablo Lozano) are here, and the articles about sunday are here.
Now the 2013 season is officially over for Sara, and what a season it has been again! She'll have a few weeks off now before starting the preparations for 2014.
Out of Istanbul [27.10.2013]
After she lost against Victoria Azarenka, Sara also lost her second match in Istanbul, 3-6 6-7 to Na Li. However, despite not having a chance to go through to the semifinals anymore, Sara beat Jelena Jankovic in the last round robin match: 6-4 6-4. Most importantly, the injury she sustained during the first match in Istanbul didn't hinder her too much, she was able to move as well as always.
In doubles, Sara and Roberta played their semifinal against Makarova/Vesnina. Unfortunately they lost 6-4 5-7 3-10.
The WTA Championships were the last regular tournament of the season, however Sara is not done yet! Next weekend the Fed Cup final will be played in Cagliari. Sara, Roberta, Flavia Pennetta and Karin Knapp will face the Russian team of Alexandra Panova, Alisa Kleybanova, Irina Khromacheva and Margarita Gasparyan.
In the photogallery you can find all the pictures from Istanbul, both on- and offcourt. On Curiosi di Sport you can read a nice interview with Sara from Istanbul. And of course the WTA site has posted several videos with interviews and highlights of the matches.
Close loss [22.10.2013]
Sara's first match in Istanbul was a close match, but unfortunately she lost 6-7 2-6 to Victoria Azarenka. In the first set it was very close. Sara took a lead but with her great return-game Azarenka came back in the set and won it in a tiebreak. In the tiebreak of the first set, Sara felt a pain in her calf, which continued to give her problems in the second set. Even though she kept fighting, this meant that the second set wasn't as close as the first.
"Sara played a great match," said her brother Davide after the match, "not only in the first set. Towards the end of the tiebreak she got cramps. She continued to play but obviously it did not get better and at some points in the second set she had difficulties playing. We hope it's nothing serious and she can play tomorrow."
In the photogallery you can find pictures from the match today.
The last tournament of the year, the WTA Championships, will start in Istanbul on tuesday. The tournament features the best 8 players in the world and Sara has qualified for singles as well as doubles for the second year in a row. The doubles draw has not been released yet, but in singles Sara is in the white group, where she will meet Victoria Azarenka, Na Li and Jelena Jankovic. Het first match is on tuesday, at 5PM local time, against world #2 Victoria Azarenka.
In the photogallery you can find pictures from sundays draw ceremony and mondays All Access Hour. During the all access hour, Angelica Fratini did a very nice interview with Sara, which you can read here. On youtube, you can watch Sara at WTALive, and you can watch the draw ceremony.
WTA championships [08.10.2013]
By making the quarterfinal in Beijing last week Sara qualified for the WTA's year end championships in singles, as well as in doubles! This makes Sara the first Italian player to qualify for the WTA Championships two years in a row. Even more impressively, she is the first player since the institution of the round robin format in 2003 to qualify for the Championships in singles and doubles (in the same year) twice, and only the fifth player in history to do so!
The Gazzetta dello Sport posted an interview with Sara today, where she talks about qualifying for the WTA Championships and her struggle with pressure earlier this year, among other things.