Rafael Nadal Pledges AUD $250,000 for Australia Bushfire Relief Efforts During Rally for Relief

Rafael Nadal is swinging for a cause…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star was among some of tennis’ biggest names gathered in Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday to raise funds for Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.

Rafael Nadal Rally for Relief

Raising nearly 5 million Australian dollars ($3.5 million), Nadal, Serena WilliamsNovak DjokovicRoger FedererCaroline Wozniacki and a number of up-and-coming stars at the Rally for Relief gave the capacity crowd of more than 15,000 fans the opportunity to see the lighter side of the competitive sport.

Nadal and the gang volunteered their time for the cause. On several occasions, volunteer fire personnel took to the court to play against the tennis stars.

Australian’s Nick Kyrgiosplayed a role in kick-starting the wave of relief. His Twitterpledge of $200 per ace throughout the Australian summer inspired colleagues into action, prompting Tennis Australiato announce the Rally for Relief evening.

During the event, Federerand Nadal announced they’d contribute 250,000 Australian dollars to the cause.

Kyrgios said he “got goose bumps” when the figure was announced after his one-set match with Federer on the night.

“It’s been an emotional couple of weeks. I just wanted to send a message. … I was eating dinner and wrote a tweet … and it kind of exploded,” he said on court after the event. “When I was back home in Canberra, I couldn’t even go outside [due to the smoke].”

Federer said he and other players were only too happy to help out a nation in which he spends nearly one month of the year.

“It’s been hard to watch,” Federer said. “As you get it through the news, you don’t know how bad it is, but then you get here and speak to the people affected, it’s difficult. I’m always happy to help and lend my money and do my fair share.”

Garbiñe Muguruza: The Highest Paid Latina Athlete in the World

Garbiñe Muguruza is the highest-paid Latina athlete…

Forbes has released its list of the 10 Highest-Paid Female Athletes, with the 24-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan professional tennis player and former world No. 1 making the cut.

Garbiñe Muguruza 

Muguruza comes in at No. 4 on the list, behind Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens.

Muguruza, who won her second Grand Slam at Wimbledon last year, earned 11 million during the tracking period.

Muguruza’s title at the All England Club meant a big bonus from sponsor Adidas and also helped her land a deal with Rolex. Evian signed Muguruza this year for a multiyear, global marketing campaign. Other sponsors include BabolatBeats by Dre, Maui Jim sunglasses and Caser Seguros insurance.

In all, the 10 highest-paid female athletes banked $105 million from prize money, appearances, royalties and endorsements in the 12 months ending June 1, 2018. The tally is down 4% from last year and 28% from five years ago. Blame the retirements of popular endorsement stars like Li Na, Danica Patrick and Ana Ivanovic. Another dent: The off-court income of Maria Sharapova, who was the top-earning female athlete for 11 straight years, is still down more than 50% after the fallout from her 16-month suspension for taking a banned substance. Sharapova ranks fifth this year at $10.5 million.

Here’s the complete list:

1, Serena Williams — Total earnings: $18.1 million
2. Caroline Wozniacki — Total earnings: $13 million
3. Sloane Stephens — Total earnings: $11.2 million
4. Garbine Muguruza — Total earnings: $11 million
5. Maria Sharapova — Total earnings: $10.5 million
6. Venus Williams — Total earnings: $10.2 million
7. P.V. Sindhu — Total earnings: $8.5 million
8. Simona Halep — Total earnings: $7.7 million
9. Danica Patrick — Total earnings: $7.5 million
10. Angelique Kerber — Total earnings: $7 million

Monica Puig Defeats World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki at the Miami Open

She may have started the match slow, but Monica Puig didn’t let that stop her from dispatching one of the tournament’s top seeds at the WTA Miami Open

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican tennis player shrugged off an opening set bagel to rally past World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki 0-6 6-4 6-4 in the second round on Friday.

Monica Puig

It was Wozniacki’s fastest exit at the Miami Open. She appeared to be headed to an easy victory after winning the first set in less than 30 minutes before it all went south.

Puig broke Wozniacki’s serve in the second set to take a 4-2 lead and closed it out to even the match, and Puig, ranked No. 82 in the world, then earned an early break in the decisive set to go ahead 2-0 and held on for the victory.

Puig, who won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games, clinched the win with a blistering forehand winner on the second match point.

She now faces Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the third round.

Caroline Garcia Advances to Seminals at the WTA Finals

Caroline Garcia is making the most of her first WTA Finals appearance…

In her WTA Finals debut, the 26-year-old part-Spanish player advanced to the semifinals on Friday when top-ranked Simona Halep lost to Elina Svitolina.

Caroline Garcia

Garcia defeated Caroline Wozniacki 0-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the early Red Group match, giving both 2-1 records. Wozniacki had already advanced, but Garcia had to wait. When Svitolina beat Halep 6-3, 6-4 later in the day, the top-ranked Romanian was eliminated and Garcia was through as the group winner.

In the semifinals, Garcia will play Venus Williams and Wozniacki will face Karolina Pliskova.

Garcia, playing at a career-high No. 8 ranking after winning back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing, is the only one of the eight players who didn’t have a chance to end the season with the top ranking.

“It was kind of weird, actually, to be here,” Garcia said. “I qualified last minute, two weeks before. I really wanted to keep improving, play every single match and get experience. That’s why I think I won these two matches.

Garbine Muguruza Advances to Semifinals at the Pan Pacific Open

Garbine Muguruza is two wins away from her next WTA title…

The 23-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player and Wimbledon champion advanced to the semifinals of the Pan Pacific Open by beating Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-4 Friday.

Garbine Muguruza

A rare double-fault by the top-seede Muguruza allowed Garcia to pull even at 3-3 in the second set, but she broke back in the next game.

Playing in her first tournament since earning the No. 1 ranking, Muguruza will next face Caroline Wozniacki.

The former top-ranked player advanced when Dominika Cibulkova was forced to retire with a right thigh injury while trailing 3-6, 7-6 (5), 3-1.

Also, Angelique Kerber upset second-seeded Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (5), 7-5. The seventh-seeded Kerber took advantage of several unforced errors by the Czech player and won with a powerful cross-court shot on her fifth match point.

Kerber will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinals. The Russian beat Barbora Strycova 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

Muguruza Defeats Caroline Wozniacki to Reach the Wimbledon Quarterfinals

It’s a little splendor in the grass for Garbine Muguruza

The 21-year-old Venezuelan-Spanish professional tennis player upset former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round at Wimbledon, reaching the last-eight at the prestigious All-England Club for the first time in her career.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza, seeded No. 20, defeated No. 5 seed Wozniacki in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.

Both players had opportunities in a tight opening set, but it was Muguruza that took hers, claiming the solitary break when the Dane framed a forehand beyond the baseline. Despite a lapse in concentration at the start of the second, Muguruza displayed her growing maturity by wrestling back the momentum, producing a brilliant game – including one inspired backhand lob – to break for a 5-4 lead, then holding her nerve to serve out the match in a fraught final game.

“It means a lot because I haven’t played a lot matches on grass, so I didn’t know how to prepare for Wimbledon,” Muguruza said. “I think it’s like the third time I play here. So for me was something new. That’s why it’s special.

With the win, Muguruza becomes the first Spanish woman to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon since Conchita Martinez – who was announced as the new Spanish Davis Cup captain on Monday – in 2001.

Muguruza’s victory means it’s guaranteed that the Wimbledon ladies’ finalist from the bottom half of the draw will be ranked outside the top 10.

Muguruza next faces Swiss No. 15 seed Timea Bacsinszky after she fought back from a set down to beat Romanian Monica Niculescu 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.

The other quarterfinal match in the bottom half will be contested on Tuesday by big-serving American Madison Keys and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska.

Muguruza Reaches Wimbledon’s Round of 16 with Upset Win Over Angelique Kerber

Garbine Muguruza has pulled off an All-England Club upset…

The 21-year-old Venezuelan-Spanish tennis player dismissed former Wimbledon semifinalist Angelique Kerber in three sets in a third-round match on Saturday.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza is no stranger to causing a Grand Slam shock, having claimed the biggest scalp of them all in beating Serena Williams at the French Open last year.

But she had no Wimbledon track record to speak of, making a 7-6 (14/12) 1-6 6-2 victory over German 10th seed Kerber particularly impressive.

The tie-break that settled the opening set on Court Two was finally won when Muguruza put away a drive volley and then, on the next point, pressured Kerber to plant a forehand wide.

The setback didn’t deter Kerber, who swiftly leveled the match, but she then let her playing standards slip in the decider, and dropped serve twice on her way out of the tournament.

Muguruza, whose only Wimbledon win in two previous visits came against Britain’s Anne Keothavong in 2013, has Caroline Wozniacki in her sights after the Dane breezed through to the last 16.

Their clash on Monday was confirmed by Wozniacki’s 6-2 6-2 victory against Italian Camila Giorgi on Court One.

Wozniacki, the former world number one, has never been beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon, and will be aiming to avoid a fifth defeat at that stage when she tackles Muguruza.

Muguruza Storms Into Brazil Cup Semifinals

Garbine Muguruza is one step closer to reaching the Brazilian Cup finals…

The 20-year-old Venezuelan-Spanish rising tennis star defeated qualifier Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-2, 6-7 (1), 6-3 to reach the semifinals at the tournament taking place in Florianopolis, Brazil.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, will next will play Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, who defeated sixth-seeded Alexandra Cadantu of Romania 6-3, 6-3.

In January, Muguruza defeated former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open to reach her first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, top-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro advanced to the Brazil Cup semifinals Thursday after No. 5-seeded Monica Niculescu of Romania retired with an apparent right ankle injury.

Niculescu had been struggling to move around the court and at one point lost eight games in a row before pulling out while trailing the Spaniard 4-6, 6-0, 4-1.

The 15th-ranked Navarro will now play third-seeded Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic.

Muguruza Beats Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open to Reach Her First-Ever Grand Slam Quarterfinals

Garbiñe Muguruza has taken down a former world No. 1 player at the Australian Open to earn a spot in a Grand Slam quarterfinals for the first time in her career…

The 20-year-old Spanish/Venezuelan professional tennis player defeated No. 10 seed Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a third round match at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

Garbiñe Muguruza

The little-known Muguruza, who moved up to a career best No. 38 in the world rankings after winning her first career WTA singles title at the Moorilla Hobart International earlier this month, stormed back after losing a close first set with some serious sharp-shooting and aggressive play on the court. In the end, Muguruza ended up hitting twice as many winners as Wozniacki.

At one point, Muguruza was up 5-1 in the decider. Her nerves kicked in, allowing Wozniacki to win two straight games. But Muguruza composed herself to serve out the game, set and match.

“I was really nervous (because) it’s the third round and it was a great player (I was playing), but I was only thinking to be aggressive,” said the Spaniard in her post-match on-court interview. “I worked really hard this pre-season, so I think this is the reward for working so hard.”

Muguruza is now 2-0 against Wozniacki. She defeated her 6-2 6-4 on the hardcourts in Miami early last year at their only previous meeting.

Muguruza, who beat No. 24 seed Kaia Kanepi in the opening round in what’s only her fourth grand slam appearance, next faces Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals.

The feisty Latina is considered one of the rising stars in women’s tennis, fit and sharp after rehab and recovery from right ankle surgery after Wimbledon that sidelined her for the rest of 2013.