French Open: Djokovic and Nadal progress while Raducanu gets eliminated
(Tennis news) French Open’s defending champion Novak Djokovic and 21 time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal progressed to the third round of Roland Garros with relative ease. The World Number 1 Serbian defeated Alex Molcan 6-2 6-3 7-6, hitting 40 winners and 10 aces on Court Suzanne-Lenglen while Rafael Nadal overcame France's Corentin Moutet 6-3 6-1 6-4, securing his 300th Grand Slam victory and 107th of the French Open.
Carlos Alcaraz also secured a narrow victory at the French Open after surviving a match-point during a five set game. The Spaniard has been the in-form player in 2022 and defeated his countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 6-7, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4. Alcaraz, who is 15 years younger than Ramos-Vinolas, saved the match point in the 10th game of the fourth set to take it on a tiebreak and went on to rally after a poor start to the fifth and final set to win it 6-4. He will face Sebastian Korda in the next round.
In other results, Alexander Zverev defeated Sebastian Baez 2-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 7-5 in a match that lasted for three hours and 36 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier. The German struggled against Baez and had to be at the top of his game to secure passage into the next round where he will face Brandon Nakashima of the United States.
Speaking after the match, Zverev said “I said to him that how he feels now is the worst you're going to feel on a tennis court. It was such an incredible match. I know how it feels, as I lost the US Open final by two sets to love up. I was two points away from winning it and I lost 7-6 in the fifth. You always get better from it. I wish him nothing but the best, he's an unbelievably great kid and he's going to do a lot of great things in this sport."
In the women’s category, Emma Raducanu was knocked out from the 2nd round of the French Open after losing to Aliaksandra Sasnovich 3-6 6-1 6-1. The Belarusian tennis player will now face Angelique Kerber in the third round while Raducanu will shift her attention to the grass-court season. In other results, Maria Sakkari was also knocked out of the Roland Garros after a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) defeat to Karolina Muchova while Coco Gauff overcame Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-1 7-6 (7-4).
Novak Djokovic progresses to the semi-finals of the Italian Open
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic secured his 999th career victory with a straight sets victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Serbian triumphed over his Canadian opponent 7-5 7-6 (7-1) and will now face Casper Ruud for a spot in the finals after the Norwegian won 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 against Denis Shapovalov.
Speaking after the match, Djokovic said “I thought it was high-level tennis. He did ask me to raise the level and I had to play consistently well. I thought I could have finished the job earlier... but credit to him for fighting back. Amazing atmosphere as well tonight. I know Felix well. He's been around the top of the men's game for quite a few years. He's got a lethal serve, honestly... He's hitting his spots in the box incredibly well with the serve, and it was not easy for me at all to return. He's also returning well, he's moving well. He's a very complete player.”
In the other semi-final, Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on Alexander Zverev after the pair defeated Jannik Sinner and Chilean Cristian Garin. Tsitsipas won 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, with Zverev, who is ranked third, progressing 7-5 6-2. In the women’s category, reigning champion Iga Swiatek will take on Aryna Sabalenka after defeating Bianca Andreescu 7-6 (7-2) 6-0. The result meant that Swiatek extended her winning streak to 26 matches while Sabalenka beat Amanda Anisimova 4-6 6-3 6-2.
In other results, Ons Jabeur upset World Number 4 Maria Sakkari 1-6 7-5 6-1. She will play Daria Kasatkina, who defeated 6-4 3-2 against Jil Teichmann after the Swiss tennis player was forced to retire due to a thigh injury.
Emma Raducanu defeats Martincova in maiden Billie Jean King Cup match
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu won her first senior professional tennis match on clay at her Billie Jean King Cup debut after defeating Czech Republic's Tereza Martincova 7-5 7-5. The result ensured that Britain ended the first day at 1-1 as Marketa Vondrousova defeated Harriet Dart 6-1 6-0 earlier in the day.
Having not played a professional tennis match on clay since the French Open Juniors in 2018, the 19 year old put up an impressive display to save a set point at 4-5 in the opening set and fought back from 1-4 down in the second set to win the match. Speaking after her victory, Raducanu said “This one means so much to me. It's my first Billie Jean King Cup match and to represent my team on a clay court, in my first professional match on clay, it's really amazing. We're still in this, we're still in this battle and it's all to play for tomorrow."
The 19 year old was under significant pressure after Dart lost in 55 minutes to Vondrousova. Raducanu saved a set point after dropping serve in the eighth game and took the first set with a run of three straight games. However, her performance dipped at the start of the second set, resulting in the teenager going two breaks down at 0-3 and 1-4. Raducanu eventually fought back, winning six of the last seven games.
Raducanu said “The team had my back 100 percent, as we had Harriet's back this morning. It's amazing to be in a team competition when everything is so individual in this sport. I'm really cherishing the memories I'm gaining this week." This is just the third win Raducanu has managed this season and Martincova is the highest-ranked player she has beaten since her semi-final victory over Maria Sakkari at the US Open. The winner of the Qualifiers will progress to the finals while the losers will compete in the Play-Offs for the 2023 Qualifiers.
Taylor Fritz wins Indian Wells title after defeating Rafael Nadal
(Tennis news) American tennis player Taylor Fritz ended Rafael Nadal’s 20 game unbeaten streak to claim his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the Indian Wells. Both players were guilty of errors as Fritz took the first set while the pair ended up in a tiebreak for the second, with neither player having lost in that situation throughout the tournament. However, the 24 year old World Number 20 won the match 6-3 7-6 (7-5), becoming the first American to win the tournament since Andre Agassi’s victory in 2004.
Speaking after the match, Fritz said “This is just one of those childhood dreams you just think would never come true. I can't even describe how ridiculous it is how I could play today. I have never experienced worse pain in my life before a match. If I knew it was going to be that bad, I wouldn't have come out here. I took a couple of change-of-direction steps and screamed and honestly I was trying to act tough because I had cameras on me. We did a lot of work leading up to the match and I went through a rollercoaster of emotions before the match thinking there's no way I could possibly play today."
Fritz’s ankle injury almost ruled him out against Nadal in the finals and the Spaniard was also not feeling at his best, picking up a chest issue in the three set semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal said “When I'm breathing, when I'm moving, it's like a needle all the time inside. I get dizzy a little bit because it's painful. It's a kind of pain that limits me a lot. It's not only about pain, I don't feel very well because it affects my breathing. More than sadness for the loss, (it's) something that I accepted immediately and even before the match ended. I'm suffering a little bit, honestly."
The 35 year old has already decided not to play in the Miami Open and will be taking a short break before the beginning of the clay court season next month. Speaking after his defeat, Nadal said “I wanted to make it perfect before clay. It has been very, very, very beautiful. Honestly I am sad because of the way I was not able to compete. It's tough to have these feelings every day, but in the final it's very, very ugly. But I am not the kind of person that goes down or goes very high emotionally depending on the moment. I am normally stable, putting everything in perspective.
"Of course, the last two months have been amazing, unforgettable and very emotional. I enjoyed things that I never thought I could live again a few months ago. Now is the moment to try to solve this problem as soon as possible, try to start on clay. The thing that worries me is about what's going on there, what I have to do now to recover and how long it's going to take."
In the women’s category, Poland's Iga Swiatek defeated Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-1 to lift the title. Speaking after the match, the World Number 2 said “We've already started a pretty cool rivalry and I think it's going to last a few more years so it's pretty exciting. We're going to play many more finals. Today was pretty crazy because of the conditions. My team did an amazing job." Meanwhile, Sakkari said “Obviously it wasn't my day. There's not much I can say about the way I played. Clearly it was windy. We were both struggling with our serves in the beginning of the match. (But the) wind is never an excuse because wind is for both of us."
Anett Kontaveit snaps Jelena Ostapenko’s winning streak in Doha
(Tennis news) Anett Kontaveit put an end to Jelena Ostapenko’s 9 match winning streak in the semifinals of the Qatar TotalEnergies Open. Kontaveit has now reached 7 finals in the last 6 months and will face Iga Swiatek in the championship match. The Estonian will play her second career WTA 1000 final and her first one in 4 years. Kontaveit made the breakthrough early on in the match as she was carried forward by the Latvian’s 20 unforced errors to take the first set.
In the second set, the 26 year old began with a 3-0 lead as Ostapenko started her fightback with fiery winners from the forehand and backhand. The unforced errors came down and Kontaveit looked in trouble at 5-4 when saving two breakpoints in which one was a lucky net cord. In her second matchpoint, the world number 7 secured a straight set victory to advance to the final match. Kontaveit defeated Ostapenko 6-1, 6-4.
"She can outplay anyone, and then she might not find the consistency sometimes, so you have to be ready for that," Kontaveit added in the press conference. "I was trying to play a consistent match and just do my best on my serve and hold on to it, especially in the second set when I was broken. Sometimes when she's on fire, her returns are unplayable and it's just very difficult.
Iga Swiatek had never taken a set off Maria Sakkari in their previous three meetings, the pair had met a few months in the WTA finals where Sakkari only lost 6 games on her way to victory. This time not only the Polish player got her first victory over the 26 year old but also picked up a straight set win to reach the final stage at Doha. The 20 year old was down 1-3 but with constructive net play and strong backhands she outsmarted Sakkari who clearly was more powerful.
In the second set, the world number 8 managed to hit flat groundstrokes as the top seed could not bring out as much defense from the first set. Although Sakkari broke early in the match, there was no chance for taking a lead with Swiatek responding immediately and it was the 2020 Roland Garros winner who emerged victorious. Swiatek defeated Sakkari 6-4, 6-3.
"Really excited," Swiatek said in her post-match press conference. "For sure I showed consistency throughout the whole tournament, and I'm really happy that I could keep my level of tennis at a really high level."
Swiatek topples seed at Doha, Ostapenko extends winning streak
(Tennis news) Iga Swiatek reached the last four for the first time at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open in Doha. Swiatek had lost her only previous meeting against Aryna Sabalenka but this time it was a formidable performance as she will face Maria Sakkari for a place in the final.
The top seed lost the first three games of the match, she seemed motivated even though she was down 2-4 as there was no halt on celebrations. The 20 year old on the other side was not very vocal when winning points as a clenched fist was more than enough, Swiatek had steady groundstrokes which was not fast but was very effective. Sabalenka did crush some of the groundstrokes but it came to use once or twice in a game.
In the second set, the world number 2 took the first three games with her hard hitting groundstrokes which affected her rival’s game for the first time in the match. Sabalenka’s sliced strokes were consistently getting hit for winners by Swiatek even from her backhand, the Belarusian could not never anticipate where the ball was going to go after slicing it. The world number 8 started hitting more and more winners as the match went in her favour as she took the next 6 games for the win. Swiatek defeated Sabalenka 6-2, 6-3.
"This match is going to give me a lot of confidence," Swiatek said in her post-match press conference. "I'm very happy that tactically I did a great job, and my mental game was also on point. That's the most important thing for me, because from the beginning I wanted to be aggressive and to be focusing on myself and on my game."
Jelena Ostapenko was playing against Garbine Muguruza for the 5th time in her career and had only one victory which was in 2017. Ostapenko had only taken two sets in their previous meetings but was on a 8 match winning streak that started at Dubai and it did continue at Doha. There were rarely long rallies in the match as it was either a winner from Ostapenko or an unforced error from her as it was the Latvian who ended most of the rallies.
In the first set, the Spaniard was struggling to stop Ostapenko from attacking every possible ball as there was a slight comeback from Muguruza when she took 2 straight games. Other than the minor lag there was nothing to block the 24 year old who finished the set by hitting 2 return winners. In the second set, there was no fight from the former world number 1 as Ostapenko gave no chances to survive her onslaught. In total, the world number 13 hit 39 winners in the match while Muguruza hit 5 of them. Ostapenko defeated Muguruza 6-2, 6-2.
Kontaveit inches closer to Novotna’s record after St. Petersburg title
(Tennis news) Anett Kontaveit won her fourth straight indoor title by beating Maria Sakkari in the final at St. Petersburg. Kontaveit was facing Sakkari for the 13th time, the pair had 6 wins apiece but the Estonian now has the lead by winning the last three matches. The second seed is now a win away from equalling Jana Novotna’s winning streak of 21 matches in 1994, Kontaveit can become the 6th player since 1989 to have 21 consecutive wins indoors.
The world number 9 was off to a lightning fast start with a 5-2 lead but Sakkari came back with all her might to take the set. The top seed took the lead in the second set by winning the first two games but Kontaveit did not lose grip and leveled the scores. There were no further service breaks until the 11th game as the Greek player saved a set point and took it to a tiebreaker. In the tiebreak, the former world number 6 did not stumble in taking the lead with her returns as she won the set.
In the final set, last year’s Ostrava runner up took a 4-1 lead as she had a second chance to win the title. For the third time in the match, there was a change in the end as Kontaveit was only a game away from losing the match at 5-3 but hit a forehand passing shot which gave her the break at 5-5. This time there was no exchange of comebacks as Sakkari will have to wait a few days for her second career title. Kontaveit defeated Sakkari 5-7, 7-6(7-4), 7-5.
When asked about her record breaking indoors streak, "Yeah, I'm not sure what to say about that," Kontaveit told WTA Insider after the match. "I like to hit the ball. Indoors there's no wind, there's no sun, there's nothing that's affecting you. But I think that would also help everyone else. So I don't know. I don't know what it is. I can't really put my finger on it."
Kontaveit has now moved three places up for a career best number 6 in the rankings, Sakkari went down one place as she is now ranked 8 and is four points below Garbine Muguruza. The Dubai Duty Tennis Championships will begin from today as the players get ready for a tightly packed tour this month. The first WTA 1000 event of the season, Qatar Totalenergies Open will begin next week.
Kontaveit looking to extend indoor winning streak at St. Petersburg
(Tennis news) Anett Kontaveit has now won 18 consecutive indoor matches with a win over Belinda Bencic at St. Petersburg. The momentum kept shifting from one player to another in the opening set as Kontaveit started with a 3-0 lead and Bencic took it from there by winning the next 5 games. The Swiss was a game away from winning the set and was a point away in the tiebreak but untimely errors gave the 2nd seed the set. In the second set, the Estonian again had a lead by taking the opening four games as the 5th seed took the next two but could not create any breaks further. Kontaveit defeated Bencic 7-6(9-7), 6-2.
"It was a very competitive match today," said Kontaveit. "I think the momentum changed quite a few times in the first set, but I was very happy with the way I fought, and no matter the score I was trying to stay the same and keep a positive mindset. I think that was the key for me today."
Jelena Ostaopenko will be eager to stop Kontaveit’s indoor match winning streak in the semifinal. Ostapenko was surprisingly overpowered by Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the opening set of the match, the world no 71 did lose the set but her groundstrokes seemed to be more deadly. In the second set, the world number 25 started by taking a 4-2 lead but from there on Sasnovich came back from the bottom and took the set as the match now took a turn.
In the third set, the Latvian saved 11 of the 12 breakpoints as the 27 year old lost 16 of the 21 breakpoints in the match. Ostapenko didn’t look too happy as she won the match after a double fault by Sasnovich. Ostapenko defeated Sasnovich 7-6(7-5), 4-6, 6-3.
Maria Sakkari reached her first semifinal of the season with a comeback victory against Elise Mertens. Sakkari was down 2-4 in the first set as Mertens kept her on the go, the world number 7 had set points at 5-4 but the Belgian was too ambitious to let her lead go in vain. In the tiebreak, the top seed saved three setpoints and went on to win the marathon set. In the second set, it was the Greek who took 5 lightning quick games as she was about to bagel her opponent but it was avoided with strong service returns. The 6 time tour winner saved three match points but fell in the fourth one when a backhand return went wide. Sakkari defeated Mertens 7-6(9-7), 6-2.
Irina-Camelia Begu reached her fourth career semifinal on tour with a win over Tereza Martincova. Irina-Camelia won the first breakpoint in the 7th game of the match with a stunning backhand winner of a long rally which was just needed to win the set. Martincova’s groundstrokes were concentrating on creating angles while the 31 year old was hitting straight but it reached the deep end of the court. In the second set, the world number 42 had three breakpoints but wasn’t able to convert any and lost two games of her serve to give the Romanian an unassailable lead. Irina-Camelia defeated Martincova 6-4, 6-2.
Irina-Camelia ends 5 match losing streak against Kvitova at St Petersburg
(Tennis news) Irina-Camelia Begu advanced to the quarterfinals at St Petersburg for the first time in her third attempt. She had last played the event in 2018 where she lost to Petra Kvitova in the fourth round. It was a spot on victory for the Romanian as she finally got a victory against Kvitova in their 6th career meeting. The world number 23 was down 2-0 in the first set but the fiery service returns gave her ground to cover, she had chances at 3-4 but the 31 year old did not let the lead go in vain. In the second set, the former world no 2 was beaten by flawless groundstrokes as Kvitova lost 7 straight games to lose for the first time against Irina-Camelia . Irina-Camelia defeated Kvitova 6-4, 6-0.
Elena Rybakina had to withdraw from the fourth round due to illness, she was set to face Tereza Martincova. Irina-Camelia will play against Martincova for a place in the semifinals.
Jelena Ostapenko reached her first quarterfinal in 3 months as it took her less than an hour to beat Andrea Petkovic. Ostapenko hit 40 winners in the match as Petkovic could only win three games in total. The 24 year old used her groundstrokes, slowed down the rallies with her slice and used the lob to hit winners all around the court. Both players shared 2 victories in their last four meetings as two of them have come due to mid match retirements, this time it was utterly impossible for the 34 year old to outperform the Latvian. Ostapenko defeated Petkovic 6-1, 6-2.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich reached her first quarterfinal at a WTA 500 in 4 years as she beat Jaqueline Cristian in straight sets. Sasnovich had reached the season opening Melbourne Summer 2 as a qualifier and will now face Ostapenko for a place in the last four. The Belurasian broke serve 6 times in the match as Crisitan could only do it twice, the 27 year old only lost two points of her first serve in the second set. Sasnovich defeated Cristian 6-2, 6-3.
The quarter finals has two high intensity clashes, Maria Sakkari will play against Elise Mertens and Anett Kontaveit will battle Belinda Bencic. Kontaveit seems to be the favorite as she is riding on an indoor 17 match winning streak and Sakkari seems to be the one in form as she will look to win a second career title.
Sakkari to face Mertens for semifinal spot at St. Petersburg
(Tennis news) Maria Sakkari delivered a serving lesson against Ekaterina Alexandrova in their round of 16 at St. Petersburg. Sakkari only lost 2 points on serve in the first set as Alexandrova could only win 9 points in the second set, the world number 7 did not face a single breakpoint in the match. The Greek player will face Elise Mertens for the 8th time for a place in the semifinals. Sakkari defeated Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4.
Mertens needed multiple setpoints in the first set against Petra Martic as the 8th seeded had minor hiccups in the end. Martic hit a few successful dropshots in the beginning of the match but Mertens took the lead and faced defiance beginning from the sixth game when she had three setpoints. The Croatian won the next three games as the set moved farther for her opponent, after finally winning the set it was Martic’s turn to level scores in the second set.
A perfect backhand dropshot by the 31 year old gave her the lead in the opening game, the world number 26 responded by hitting defensive lobs from the baseline and finishing with a sudden down the line winner. Mertens defeated Martic 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Belinda Bencic followed Sakkari’s path as she breezed past Kaja Juvan in an hour and 20 minutes. Bencic dominated the rallies from the baseline as Juvan lost six games in the first set, in the second set the Slovenian had a chance to fight back with a serve break but the Swiss broke back. In the tie break, 5th seed took the charge with her forehand as she hit multiple forehand winners to secure four matchpoints. Bencic defeated Juvann 6-1, 7-6(7-2).
Anett Kontaveit was facing Sorana Cirstea for the 6th time and only once had the match gone to a three setter. Kontaveit maintained her perfect winning record against the 31 year old by hitting strong crosscourt groundstrokes, most of which came in the first set. In the second set, the world number 9 was down 3-4 but the returns of serve gave her a second chance in the set. The Romanian’s serve went down in 10th game as she couldn't win a point and after saving two match points it was a 6th consecutive defeat for Cirstea. Kontaveit defeated Cirstea 6-4, 7-5.
Kontaveit will face Bencic in their third career head to head meeting in the quarterfinals, the Estonian hasn’t lost a set in their previous two meetings and is the favourite to advance to the last four.
Kvitova and Ostapenko ease into round 16 at St. Petersburg
(Tennis news) Petra Kvitova had won the title here in 2018, she was facing Jule Niemeier in their first career meeting. The left hander always had the control of the match from the beginning as she opened up with a 2 game lead and was constantly hitting return winners off Jule’s serve. Kvitova served four aces in a row to win the first set and took the first 3 games in the second set. The 31 year old went on to win the match in an hour and 9 minutes. Kvitova defeated Jule 6-2, 6-1.
In another big hitting match, Jelena Ostapenko only conceded 5 games in her first round match against Xinyu Wang. Ostapenko groundstrokes were too fast for Wang to cover as the Latvian took the first set without any setdowns. In the second set, the world number 25 was not able to hit her strokes similar to the opening set and was down 0-2. After breaking serve, Ostapenko was back in form as her strokes were again causing trouble and even hit a forehand down the line to avoid a 1-3 deficit. The former world number 5 served out the match with a rocket serve as her opponent could only touch it with the edge of her racquet. Ostapenko defeated Wang 6-1, 6-4.
Maria Sakkari dug her way out against Anastasia Potapova in the opening match at St. Petersburg Open. Potapova was exhausted after her energy was almost spent in the opening five games of the match as she hit 7 winners in the first three games. Sakkari was done 1-4 but took the opportunity as her opponent looked tired and won the next 5 games to take the set. In the second set, the top seed took the first two games while the Russian was slowly recovering and had three chances at 4-3 to break serve but lost them all to end the match. Sakkari defeated Potapova 6-4, 6-4.
"I managed to find a way to win, which is the most important thing, to give myself another chance tomorrow to play a lot better," Sakkari said afterwards. "I just found solutions when I was down in the score, just tried to make more balls than her and tried to make her feel a little uncomfortable than usual."
Tereza Martincova maintained her composure while pulling off a comeback against two time semifinalist Vera Zvonareva. Martincova’s patience was tested in the first set as the rallies were long and Zvonareva seemed to have the perfect winner at the end of the rally. The 27 year old looked out of place after losing the first set but in the second set she created chances with riskier shots and won 5 continuous games to level the score. In the final set, the 37 year old was down 0-2 and a point away from 0-3 when she hit a perfect forehand drop shot after pushing her opponent in the far end of the court. It was 4-4 as the junior player did not stumble, the world number 42 broke serve to take the lead and won the match. Martincova defeated Zvonareva 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Sakkari seeking chances to enter top 5 at St. Petersburg Open
(Tennis news) The third WTA 500 event is set to start today as the players come back after the opening Grand Slam of the year. Maria Sakkari, Anett Kontaveit and Elena Rybakina are the top three seeds at the event as 2018 Champion Petra Kvitova will be playing as a wildcard. Here are the top four players to watch out for at the St. Petersburg Open.
The world number 7 has so far played in two events since the start of the season. At Adelaide International 1 she lost to Shelby Rogers in the fourth round and in the Australian Open she lost to Shelby Rogers in the fourth round. Sakkari has a shot to enter the top 5 with a title and beat her previous best of rank 6. The Greek player has won one title in her career which came three years ago and needs to make an impact in Russia. She lost to Julia Georges in the opening round in 18,19 and in 2020 she reached the semifinals.
Kontaveit had the right start to the year by reaching the semifinals at Sydney but lost in the second round at Australia. The Estonian player needs to bring her season ending form of last year to the start of this season. She will be participating at the event for the first time and will face Jil Teichmann in the opening match.
One of the tallest players on the WTA tour, Rybakina stands 6 foot tall and is currently on her career high number 12 in the rankings. The 22 year old already has played 9 matches from three tournaments this season and reached the finals at Adelaide International 1, she defeated Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinal and lost to Ashleigh Barty in the final. The Russian born player beat Emma Raducanu with the loss of just one game at Sydney and had to retire mid match at Australia against Shuai Zhang due to a left thigh injury. Rybakina was the runner here two years ago and beat Maria Sakkari in the semifinal.
Mertens will be playing in the main draw for the second time at St. Petersburg Open and is playing the event after a 5 year gap. The 26 year old reached the fourth round at Sydney and in Australia lost to eventual runner up Danielle Collins. The Belgian was ranked 12 four years ago, at present she has slipped down to 26th. Her 6th title came last year by beating Caroline Garcia, Elina Svitolina and Kaia Kanepi in the final.
Zverev, Sakkari, and Badosa go down in straight sets at Australia
(Tennis news): The men’s draw of the 2022 Australian Open saw world number 3 Alexander Zverev failing to progress beyond the fourth round. It was also the same for Maria Sakkari and Paula Badosa as three top 10 players made their way out of the competition.
In men’s singles, Denis Shapovalov made his third career Grand Slam quarterfinal when he beat Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the fourth round. Shapovalov had never made it past the third round since making his debut at Australia 4 years ago, this was also their first career meeting in a Grand Slam. Shapovalov got an early break in the first set and in the second was two points away from losing it but got it right in the tiebreaker. Zverev was also seen breaking his racket in between the match as the German will have to wait a few more months to get a shot for his first major. Shapovalov defeated Zverev 6-3, 7-6(7-5), 6-3.
“I think off the ground I was playing really well, really feeling my shots off both wings,” said Shapovalov. “I played pretty smart today, it felt like things were going my way early on. I lost a little bit of momentum mid-way in the second set but fought well to come back and just kind of rolled with it after.”
Jessica Pegula got her first victory over Maria Sakkari in their third ever meeting in the fourth round. The world number 8 had never progressed past the fourth round of the Australian Open and it did not change this year too when Pegula made her 2nd consecutive quarter final at Australia. The 21st seed had a close call in the first set as she lost set points in the 8th game but at the tie break she won 7 points as Sakkari was at 0. In the next set, it only took 40 minutes for Pegula to win 34 points and one break of serve to fight against Ashleigh Barty in the next match. Pegula defeated Sakkari 7-6(7-0), 6-3.
"It was a little hot out there today, so I didn't really want to kind of play a lot of long points," Pegula said after her win. "I thought I really had to step up and be aggressive when I had the chance to. Luckily I was able to capitalize on that pretty well today and play a pretty clean match, I think.
Madison Keys made the quarterfinals at Australia for the first time in four years as she defeated Paula Badosa in their first ever career meeting. Keys had last reached the last eight here in 2018 and will be aiming for a second semifinal after reaching the last four in 2015.
The world number 51 took a 4-1 lead in the first set as the Spaniard held her serve in the last few games but could not break her opponent’s serve. Keys won the first three games of the match until Badosa held her serve and then again there was 3 in a row by Keys to end the fourth round battle in an hour. Keys defeated Badosa 6-3, 6-1.
Azarenka and Rogers record huge wins at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) Day 3 and 4 of Adelaide International 1 saw three top 10 players exit early as Ashleigh Barty and Iga Swiatek are the only players left from the top 10. Barty is also playing the doubles event alongside Stormy Sanders.
Victoria Azarenka beat Paula Badosa as the Spaniard became the highest ranked player to exit the event. Azarenka played a well controlled game as she had more winners and less unforced errors than Badosa who had defeated her in the final of the Indian Wells last year. The former world number 1 did not face a break point in the second set and she took the last three games to win the match. Azarenka defeated Baodosa 6-3, 6-2.
"Honestly, it's been the most chaotic pre-season I've ever had. I was actually really nervous before the tournament, I felt really unprepared. For me to come out here and produce this type of tennis really makes me proud of the competitor I am" said Azarenka.
Barty had to toil in the court for two hours as she was up against Cori Gauff. The first set saw Gauff serving well and only gave away one breakpoint while winning 4 of them. In the second set, Barty was defending points under pressure as Gauff lost 5 of the 6 breaks which gave the lead to Barty. The world number 1 only needed to break Gauff twice as she took the second set and the last set drained the teenager’s energy. Barty defeated Gauff 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
World number 100 Kaja Juvan recorded the biggest win of her career when she defeated world number 2 Aryna Sabalenka. Juvan was 0-2 behind in the first set and was a point away from losing the set but won 2 consecutive points to take the set. Sabalenka served 7 double faults in the first set and it became worse as she went on to serve 11 more in the next set which resulted in Juvan taking 5 games on the roll for a first top 10 win in her career. Juvan defeated 7-6(8-6), 6-1.
"I really enjoyed the first set. I love when matches get tight, when it's competitive and when it's a really tight fight. I was feeling a little bit sorry at some points because I knew she's not doing the best with the serve and we all know how that feels at one point," Juvan said.
Shelby Rogers repeated her Wimbledon win against Maria Sakkari as Sakkari became the third top 10 player to exit the event. Rogers and Sakkari were having a go at each other in the first set but in the second set there was not much left as Sakkari dominated to level the score. In the final set, two breaks for Rogers made sure she was ahead of Sakkari in the final lap to reach the quarterfinals. Rogers defeated Sakkari 7-6(8-6), 2-6, 6-4.
Ashleigh Barty, Maria Sakkari leading the charge at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) The first WTA event of the season has started and all the top players are lined up for a tight start. This is the second year that the Adelaide International 1 has been held as the inaugural edition was in 2020. The WTA 500 event will help the players for the 2022 Australian Open as they get used to the hardcourts in Australia. Leylah Fernandez had been a machine on wheels at the US Open and will get the pedal going from the start of the season. Here are the top four players to watch out for in the event.
The world number one and the defending champion Ashleigh Barty is the favourite to take the title again as the winds are blowing in her favour. The 25 year old had a great season in 2021 and will look to start the year with a deep run in the opening week. The hardcourts will make sure the Australian feels right at home and prep her up for the major. Barty has chances of playing Cori Gauff in the next round and has a bit of dirt in her parth.
Sakkari has already started her season campaign with a win in the opening round. The third seed had lost in the fourth round to Donna Vekic the last time she played here but this time she is much more determined to make it to the peak. Sakkari has grown a lot in the past 12 months and with her powerful groundstrokes can break new grounds. She can face Shelby Rogers in the next round and has a smooth passage next.
The Spaniard is new to the top 10 but not new in beating top ranked players. She will look to start 2022 with a victory and has already proven herself in bigger tournaments. Badosa has a tough opening match against Victoria Azarenka and even if she overcomes her will mostly face Petra Kvitova. Two important victories in the opening matches will give her the confidence for the final rounds. Badosa played 32 events which was the most by a top 20 player and can take heavy load without breaking down.
Svitolina is one of the most experienced players at the event. The 27 year old has been one of the top ranked players over the past few years and needs to have a breakthrough in the start of the season to keep the flow running for the next few months. Svitolina is playing at the event for the first time, the Ukrainian needs 13 more victories for 400 career victories and will get her form running against Anastasia Gasanova in the opening round tomorrow.
Angelique Kerber looking to repeat glorious past in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Angelique Kerber is one the few active players with multiple Grand Slam titles in singles. Kerber was last ranked world number 1 in July 2017 and four years later she is ranked 16th but has been in the top 50 since 2010. It will be her 19th year on tour when she enters the 2022 season and is one of the senior most players on tour.
The 33 year old won a title after 3 years at Homburg beating her old rival at Petra Kvitova in the semifinal for the seventh time. The two had faced for the first time in 2012 at Stuttgart Open after which they have played 15 times including thrice this year. Kerber played 46 matches and only lost 16 of them as most of them came at the first half of the season.
Kerber had lost 8 of the first fourteen matches at the start of the year including first round losses at Roland Garros and Australian Open. In the first 10 events of the season she reached the quarterfinals once, she had reached the last eight at her first event of the season at Grampians trophy defeating Ons Jabeur in the fourth round.
The left hander reached the final at Homburg which was the first she went beyond the quarterfinals in the 2021 season. After winning the title, she went on to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon by beating Cori Gauff, Karolina Muchova on the way before losing to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty. Kerber then went on a vintage run by reaching the semifinals at Cincinnati by defeating Kvitova, Maria Sakkari, Elina Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko and then again lost to Barty in straight sets.
The three time Grand Slam winner then reached the fourth round until she was beaten by runner up Leylah Fernandez in a battle of attacking left handers. Kerber had beaten 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens in the previous round but could not defend against the rising star. She then reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells losing to Spaniard Paula Badosa. Kerber last played in November at Billie Jean Cup Finals losing to Belina Bencic in the opening match.
The former world number 1 last won a Grand Slam title in 2018 at Wimbledon. This year she reached the semifinal at the prestigious grass event showing that there is still a lot of fuel left in the tank. The German is known for her speed in the court, even though she has to compete against younger players; Kerber is still an attacking left hander who can use her forehand to give the opponents a tough time. The 2022 Australian Open will be her 15th appearance at the event and will be raring to go.
Also read: The rise of Paula Badosa in the 2021 season
The rise of Paula Badosa in the 2021 season
(Tennis news) Paula Badosa had a poor start to the 2021 season as she suffered a fourth round exit at Abu Dhabi and then lost in the first round at the Australian Open. Badosa was ranked 70 twelve months ago and made her top ten debut a month ago. Her rise on the WTA tour has been remarkable and is projected to go higher next year.
The Spaniard reached the semifinals at Lyon where she lost to qualifier Calra Tauson. Her first big jump came at Credit one Charleston Open, she reached the semifinals by beating Belina Bencic in the third round and upsetting Ashleigh Barty in the quarterfinals. Badosa then reached the last four again at the Madrid Open, she defeated Barbora Krejcikova and Bencic on the way before losing to Barty. Her clay dominance continued at the Serbia Open as she won her career first title, the 24 year old then backed it with a quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros as her rankings shot up.
Badosa climbed up 40 places in three months with four consecutive quarter final or better performances. The Roland Garros quarterfinalist then reached the fourth round at Wimbledon while picking up her first victory at the event, she went on to lose to Karolina Muchova in straight sets. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, in-form Badosa had to retire in the quarterfinal match against Marketa Vondrousova due to a heatstroke.
A shoulder injury during the Western and Southern Open forced Badosa to retire in the quarterfinal against Karolina Pliskova. An early exit at the US Open and Ostrava Open made her slip one place below in the rankings. The Indian Wells event was next as Badosa was playing in the main draw for the first time, she beat Cori Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova, Angelique Kerber, Ons Jabeur and set up a final with experienced player Victoria Azarenka. The final went on for three hours and it took two tie breaks as it gave Badosa her biggest title so far, the win pushed her into the top ten.
The 5 feet 11 inch player then reached the semifinals at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara which took her to 8th place in the rankings. Badosa defeated Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari before losing the final group stage match to Iga Swatiek. In the semifinal clash of the two Spaniards, Garbine Muguruza came out on top to reach the final and eventually win the title.
Badosa has been one of the top performers on clay this season. She will be one of the players to watch out for at Roland Garros and has not taken much time to enter the top ten rankings. The two time title winner has a powerful serve and groundstrokes which came into use at harcourts. Badosa is not afraid to take up chances, she will look to start the 2022 Australian Open with a thumping win and get warmed up for the clay season.
World No 4 Karolina Pliskova to miss 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Karolina Pliskova became the third player after Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu to miss the 2022 Australian Open. The Czech player had injured her hand during practice and said she would miss the events in January, Pliskova had announced in social media about her injury.
"Some days are worse than others," Pliskova said. "Unfortunately I will be out for a while and will not compete at my favorite tournaments in Australia. But time and belief can heal everything."
The 29 year old played 56 matches this year and won 37 of them. She had defeated Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Australian Open before losing to Naomi Osaka in the semifinals. This year she lost in the third round where she lost to another Czech player Karolina Muchova. She had reached the finals in Wimbledon where she lost to Ashleigh Barty in three sets, at the US Open she reached the quarterfinals and lost to Maria Sakkari in straight sets.
Pliskova has been the ace leader of the WTA tour from 2014- 2017, 2019 and also this year. She has served 400 aces per season six times and served 500 plus in 2015 and 2016. This year she had 410 aces as her height allows her to reach the power for the killer serve and it plays a key role on hardcourts. Pliskova hit a record 24 aces in her second round match against Amanda Anisimova at the US Open, it was the highest in a match at the event and 6th highest overall on the WTA tour. Pliskova is also 22 wins away from reaching 600 career wins and will be a milestone she is most likely to achieve on her comeback.
Pliskova will be missing a Grand Slam event for the first time since 2012 where she failed to qualify for the US Open. She had been playing in 35 consecutive Grand Slams which is the fourth highest, a record she shares with Caroline Garcia. Pliskova has reached the final once in Wimbledon and US Open, at Roland Garros and the Australian Open she has reached the last four.
In the 2017 season, she reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, US Open and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon. She became the world number one in July that year and held onto the position for 4 weeks till August. Pliskova has been in the top ten since 2017 until this year in June she was ranked 13 but came back into the top ten in a few weeks and now is ranked no 4.
Bianca Andreescu and Serena Williams to miss 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Bianca Andreescu has announced that she will not be competing in the 2022 Australian Open. The 2019 US Open champion said she wants a mental break and will take some time off the tour. She finished her 2021 season ranked No.46.
Bianca also had to miss the 2020 season due to injury, the former World No.4 played her first match after a year at the Australian Open in February. She was the runner up in WTA 1000 Miami Open in March and recorded wins against Garbine Muguruza and Maria Sakkari before retiring in the final against No.1 Ashleigh Barty. Andreescu is the second tennis player after Naomi Osaka to have announced a break in the tour citing mental health as this year the sports players have repeatedly focused on mental health.
"I want to give myself extra time to re-set, recover, and grow from this and continue to inspire by doing charity work, giving back and working on myself because I know by doing this, I will come back stronger than ever”, said Andreescu.
"I will therefore not start my season in Australia this year, but will take some additional time to reflect, train, and be ready for the upcoming 2022 tennis season."
Serena Williams also will not be seen at the Australian Open as she still needs time to recover from injury. The seven time champion also missed out the US Open this year, she last won the Australian Open in 2017 which also was her last Grand Slam title. Serena is only 1 behind Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles and is still a tough competitor in her 26th year on tour.
"While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete," Serena said.
"Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level."
Serena last played a match a few months ago at Wimbledon where she had to retire from the first round due to an injury. She reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and the fourth round at the French Open and totally played 17 matches this year. Bianca played 29 matches this year and her best performance in Grand Slams came at the US Open where she reached the fourth round; she last played at Indian Wells in October.
The US Open this year saw withdrawal of many top players as now the start of the next season has already seen withdrawals. The Australian Open is scheduled to start from 17th January.
Garbine Muguruza sets up final against Anett Kontaveit at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara
(Tennis news) Garbine Muguruza brought out the best in her in the semifinals against Paula Badosa at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara. Everything went right for Muguruza as she faced fellow countrywoman for the first time in her career and did not hesitate to give Badosa her second straight defeat at the event. Muguruza was the most experienced player in the draw after Karolina Pliskova and now has a chance to win her first WTA Finals.
Muguruza showed her experience on the tour as she did not give away any breakpoints in the whole match. Her strokes were pushing away Badosa’s chance of winning the match as there were winners all over the place and Badosa could not cover the lead. In the second set, Muguruza took the first three games to continue her domination in the match as Badosa could not recover from that point to end her season with a loss. Muguruza defeated Badosa 6-3, 6-3.
"I think it's the best match that I have played so far here in Guadalajara," said Muguruza, after her win. "It was a tough match facing another Spaniard in the semifinals. We've never faced each other before, so it was tricky.
Anett Kontaveit won the second semifinal against Maria Sakkari as she advanced to the final in her debut appearance at WTA finals. Kontaveit took the first set as her angles were absolutely brilliant, especially her cross court forehands which came every now and then. In the second set, Sakkari broke Kontaveit in the seventh game to take the lead and win the set. In the final set, Kontaveit broke Sakkari in the seventh game similar to the previous set scenario as she will play against Muguruza for the title. Kontaveit defeated Sakkari 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
"I still can't quite believe that I'm even here and I'm playing against the best players at such a prestigious tournament," Kontaveit said. "I'm just so proud of myself that I managed to do this and so happy to be competing at this level and just trying to take it all in."
In doubles, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova are into the finals for the second time after they beat Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Demi Schuurs in the semifinals. Barbora and Katerina will also look to chase the world number 1 ranking as they walk into the final. Barbora and Nicole defeated Nicole and Schuurs 3-6, 6-3, 10-5.
Wimbledon champions Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens made their way onto the final as they beat the Japanese pair of Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama. They only lost four games in the match and have already played against Barbora and Sinikova in the group stage in which they lost. Hsieh and Elise defeated Shibahara and Aoyama 6-2, 6-2.
Maria Sakkari secures semifinal berth at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara
(Tennis news) In the longest match of the tournament so far, Maria Sakkari certainly played her best against Aryna Sabalenka to secure the fourth spot in the semifinals at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara. Sabalenka was leading 5-3 when Sakkari found hope at an unexpected time as he broke Sabalenka’s serve and went to level the score. The first set went till tie break as Sakkari kept on testing Sabalenka who continued serving double faults as she lost the set.
In the second set, Sabalenka who was still processing the first set went on to miss two set points as it looked like the match was slipping away from her. The top seed was two points away from losing in the tiebreak as Sakkari kept spoiling her chances to take the set but Sabalenka set the court on fire with her groundstrokes covering her earlier mistakes to take the match to the final set. In the finale, Sabalenka took a 3-1 lead but this time it was Sakkari who came back just like in the first set to take the match as she roared after a 2 hour 45 minute ordeal. Sakkari defeated Sabalenka 7-6(7-1), 6-7(6-8), 6-3.
"I think it was a rollercoaster match from both of us," Sakkari said. "I was up for a break, then she was up for a break. It was just a matter of who took the chances. I think at the end I just played with my heart and fought well, just turned things around."
Iga Swatiek played her final match of the event as she beat Paul Badosa who had already secured the semifinal spot. The first set looked to go for a tiebreaker until Swatiek broke Badosa in the 11th game, setting up a breakpoint with a backhand winner and took the game with a mighty forehand. In the second set, Badosa took the lead from the start as the score was 4-2 when Swatiek again pulled out rocking groundstrokes to take the next four games to take the match. Swatiek defeated Badosa 7-5, 6-4.
"I think it was a really solid match for me," Swiatek said after her win. "I'm pretty happy that I had a chance to show my tennis finally, overcome all these factors around, just play the game. I really enjoyed myself today on court, which is really important for me. Also, I hope Paula, she's going to have the best result here. I'm going to be cheering for sure tomorrow.”
In doubles, Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens secured their second victory in three matches as they defeated Sharon Fichman and Giuliana Olmos. Sharon and Giuliana played their final match at the event as they ended the group stage with three losses. Hsieh and Elise defeated Sharon and Giuliana 6-4,7-6(7-3).
Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova are so far unbeaten as they picked up their third consecutive victory when they defeated Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk. Barbora and Katerina defeated Alexa and Desirae 5-7, 7-6(7-3), 10-7.
Karolina Pliskova out of semi final race at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara
(Tennis news) The most experienced player in the draw, Karolina Pliskova exited in the group stage for the first since 2016 at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara. Pliskova turned the match around against Barbora Krejčíková who also packed her bags as she returned without a win at the event. Barbora was off to a flying start in the opening set as she bagled Pliskova. In the second set, Barbora was leading 4-2 until Pliskova took the next four games without stumbling in between as the match went for a decider.
In the final set, Pliskova saved break points in the fifth and ninth game as both of them were holding their serve. Barbora missed crucial shots in the tenth game which handed Pliskova three match points and one final error from Barbora ended the match. Pliskova defeated Barbora 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Garbine Muguruza is now the only experienced player left in the draw as she beat the player in from Anett Kontaveit. Muguruza broke Kontaveit in the opening game as she missed a backhand at the net, Muguruza then maintained a two game lead but Kontaveit came back as she had a breakpoint to level the score 5-4 but could not do so as Muguruza took the set. In the second set, Muguruza took the first two games and maintained the lead till the end as she snapped a 12 match winning streak of Kontaveit and sealed a semifinal spot. Muguruza defeated Kontaveit 6-4, 6-4.
Paula Badosa also booked her semifinal spot with a win over Maria Sakkari. Badosa kept the rallies going as Sakkari went in for the winner in most of them which resulted in 49 errors by Sakkari. Badosa on the other hand had fewer winners than her opponent but had half the unforced errors as she picked up her second straight victory. The first set was as competitive as it could be as a tie breaker also seemed to go long but Badosa this time took the risk and went in for the shots. Badosa won the first four points and then closed out the set with a cross court forehand winner.
In the second set, two breaks in the first four games was all Badosa needed as she did not let the lead go to waste. Badosa kept taking more chances as she booked her place in the last four with a backhand winner. Badosa defeated Sakkari 7-6(7-4), 6-4.
Aryna Sabalenka kept her semifinal chances alive as she beat Iga Swatiek in a close three setter. Iga Swatiek joined Barbora and Pliskova in confirming their exit out of the semifinal race as she suffered her second loss in a row. Swatiek took the first set as Sabalenka gave away three break points which then resulted in four straight games as Swatiek won the set. In the second set, Sabalenka took five consecutive games as Swatiek struggled to defend her service as it called for a final set.
In the third set, both the players were holding their serve as Swatiek was two points away from winning the match at 5-4 but Sabalenka dived in to take the game and broke Swatiek in the final game as she will hope to join Badosa in the semifinals. Sabalenka defeated Swatiek 2-6, 6-2, 7-5.
In doubles, Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi overcame a disastrous first set to defeat Sharon Fichman and Giuliana Olmos 0-6, 6-3, 11-9. Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova booked their semifinal place by defeating Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-1.
Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Demi Schuurs also booked their semifinal spot by registering a victory over Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac. Although the seventh seeded pair of Jurak and Klepac took the second set to level the match, the third set was a complete domination of Nicole and Schhurs. Nicole and Schhurs defeated Jurak and Klepac 6-4, 3-6, 10-2.
Samnatha Stosur and Zhang Shuai departed with a win in their last match against Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara who were the first ones to qualify for the semifinal. Stosur and Shuai defeated Shuko and Shibahara 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.
Paula Badosa marks debut with thumping over top seed Aryna Sabalenka at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara
(Tennis news) Paula Badosa made a stunning entry into the Akron WTA Finals at Guadalajara by beating top seed Aryna Sabalenka on day two of the event. Sabalenka had a ruthless start as she hit winners left and right with even return winners which gave her a 4-2 lead but Paula along with new balls changed the whole match. Paula took the next four games to shock the world number two as she had many chances to take the set but now it was snatched from her.
Paula came back even stronger in the second set as she also made return winners as she broke down Sabalenka’s mental fortress. She went on to bagel Sabalenka, taking 10 consecutive games overall to win the match. Paula defeated Sabalenka 6-4, 6-0.
On being asked what changes she made after being 2-4 down in the first set Paula Badosa said: "In that moment maybe I was playing a little bit waiting for what could happen and didn't want to miss. Sometimes the more you doubt in these conditions, the more you miss. So in that moment I accept the moment.
"I wasn't happy with my service game. I said to myself, 'OK, now you have to be at her level, aggressive, because she was being very aggressive.' I wanted to play against her. Let's see how it goes. Even though maybe it could go well, it could go bad. That's what I did.
Maria Sakkari faced Iga Swatiek for the third time this year and is yet to lose against the 20 year old. Sakkari also is yet to lose a set against Swatiek as she has dominated all of the three meetings, Sakkari made history when she became the first Greek player to qualify at the event. She used her serve to get a threshold of the match as it helped her to win points in quick succession. In the second set, Sakkari had chances of breaking Swatiek but couldn’t do so but after a great defensive battle she finally broke Swatiek’s serve in the 7th game to take the lead and served out the match. Sakkari defeated Swatiek 6-2, 6-4.
"I think it was a very solid match from my side," Sakkari said in her post-match press conference. "Obviously my serve really helped my game. I felt quite good with the altitude. I could control my shots pretty well. I think every day I'll feel even better.
"I actually have a good game to play against Swiatek. All three times I played her, I played one of the best matches of the season. Like even today, I think I was very solid in these conditions.
In doubles, Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková made a winning start to the tournament as they defeated Sharon Fichman and Giuliana Olmos 6-4, 6-1.
Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Merten were down 4-1 and aso fended off set points in the opening set against Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk. The pair came back to make it 4 all, Guarachi and Krawczyk had set points at 6-5 but could not take the set as it went to a tiebreaker as Hsieh and Merten took the first set. In the second set, Hsieh and Merten took the baton early on with 3-1 lead and went on to break the pair to close out the match. Hsieh and Merten defeated Guarachi and Krawczyk 7-6(7-3), 6-2.
Aryna Sabalenka looking for first WTA finals Trophy win, Karolina Pliskova into her fifth attempt
(Tennis news) The Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara draw came out today as the top eight players of the season will battle each other for the season ending trophy. With the withdrawal of defending champion and world number one Ashleigh Barty, the field is set to host a first time winner this year. Iga Swiatek is the youngest in the field as she is 20 years old and Karolina Pliskova at 29 is the oldest in the draw. Paula Badosa, Anett Kontaveit, Barbora Krejcikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek are making their debut this year as Pliskova and Garbiñe Muguruza are the only ones who have participated earlier. The top four players to watch out for this time are given below.
Sabalenka is the top seed in the draw as she is the world number two. She started with a title victory at Abu Dhabi and also won the title at Madrid where she even bageled Barty in the final. Sabalenka also reached the semifinals at the US Open and Wimbledon while she fell at the fourth round of the Australian Open. French Open was the only slam where she made a exit before the fourth round exit, Sabalenka can finish out points in quickly and had excellent returns in the US Open.
With 45 victories and three titles, Barbora has been on top form the whole season. She is the only player this year to qualify in the doubles and singles at the WTA finals, Barbora won the French Open singles title along with the doubles title and also won the mixed doubles at the Australian Open. With her volley skills, Barbora has an attacking mode in the hardcourts and can trigger upsets in the draw.
Pliskova is the most experienced player in the draw as she makes her fifth consecutive attempt at the event. She has reached the last four since 2017 and will be eager to conclude the year with a title. Although she has not won any titles this year, Pliskova is currently leading the aces leaderboard with 364 aces this season. She reached the final at Wimbledon and reached the quarterfinals at the US Open. Pliskova will use her serve and is an efficient mover in the court who has one of the smoothest strokes on tour.
Anett had a magical run since August as she won four titles in the seven events she played and only lost two matches ever since. She has won 45 matches this year with 15 losses and became the first Estonian player to enter the top 10 in WTA. Anett is the one in form as she has won the last two titles which she entered.
Kim Clijsters returning after a decade, Emma Raducanu keen to make a mark again at Indian Wells
(Tennis news) The Indian Wells will be looking to welcome back action in the women’s field as the last few months have seen teenagers taking over the majors. The recently concluded US Open saw future stars battling for their maiden Grand Slams and this time almost all the top players will be present in the last 1000 series event in the WTA tour.
Pliskova is the top seed in the absence of Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka at Indian Wells. Her best performance came in 16,17 where she reached the semifinals and has reached the quarterfinals in the past two editions. Pliskova had reached the quarterfinals of the US Open losing to Maria Sakkari in straight sets and hasn’t been played ever since. She has secured the qualification for the year end championships.
Swiatek is making her entry into the main draw for the first time this year. She last played at the Ostrava Open a week ago and had reached the last four while losing to Sakkari. She won the title in Rome beating Pliskova in the final and did not drop a set while winning at Adelaide. She will be looking to qualify for the year end championships as she is currently placed seventh.
Elina has been featuring in the Indian Wells since 2013 and had reached the semifinals in the previous edition losing to eventual champion Bianca Andreescu. She played at Chicago three days ago while reaching the quarterfinals and will be in form when she plays here. Elina narrowly lost to Leylah Fernandez in the quarterfinals of the US Open as she will now look to gain points here and qualify for the year end championships where she is currently placed 12th.
Emma might still be in her US Open dream as she received a wild card to play at Indian Wells. The teenager has not won a tour title although she has a Grand Slam with her and would be even more special to win here at one of the most prestigious Masters 1000 events. She is currently ranked 22 and has a tiny bit of a chance to come close to qualifying for the year end championships. It will be her first 1000 points event and can give the audience another shock here just like did in Flushing Meadows where she did not drop a single set on the way to winning the title.
Teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez into the finals of the US Open
(Tennis News): In Women’s Singles, Emma Raducanu showed no intentions of slowing down in her semifinal match against Maria Sakkari. Emma has become the first qualifier to reach the Women’s Singles final in the Open era and she has won all her matches in straight games. Maria tried her best with her powerful groundstrokes but it proved futile as Emma somehow managed to get to them and even return with more power.
Raducanu got off to a fine start as she took the first five games and Maria could only watch as the teenager took the set with ever growing confidence. In the second set again Raducanu never really lost control as Maria tried everything. There was a 17 point rally as Maria was trying to hold off a breakpoint at 2-4 and it involved two overhead smashes at the net which Raducanu defended brilliantly even though Maria won the point, it summed up the whole match. Raducanu defeated Maria 6-1, 6-4.
Leylah Annie Fernandez had to reserve her best for the end as she beat Aryna Sabalenka in her semifinal match. Leylah was down 0-3 in the first set but played like a veteran and took it till tiebreak to take the set even though Sabalenka gave her a tough time. The World number 2 was not going to go down against Leylah without a fight as she took the second set, Sabalenka had strong winners to lift up her spirit from time to time.
Leylah at times could not reach some of the groundstrokes produced by Sabalenka as it was a display of raw power. Although Sabalenka kept hitting powerful strokes it also brought many unforced errors which gave the teenager a hold of the match. Leylah defeated Sabalenka 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 6-4.
Last time the US Open saw two teenagers in a final was in 1999 when Serena Williams defeated Martina Hingis in the final.
Novak Djokovic versus Alexander Zverev
Djokovic and Zvere have played three matches this year with Djokovic leading 2-1. But in their last meeting Zverev pulled off a historic victory against the World number one. All of their matches have gone till the final set this year and Djokvic is the favourite to win the clash against young German.
In this year’s US Open Zverev has only spent 8 hours on the court and Djokovic has spent over 12 hours on the court. The time difference will play a major role even though Zverev will be getting two days and Djokovic will get one day rest. Zverev wil try breaking the Serb physically and also try getting into his head. Djokovic showed visible frustration against Pablo Carreño Busta in the Bronze medal playoff even smashing his racket in the court.
Zverev will try to repeat what he had done in the Tokyo Olympics and if he does will be one of the biggest upsets in tennis history. Djokovic has been invisible this year and stopping him in the Grand Slams is a tough task especially on hardcourts, he has had slow starts this time but once he finds his form there is no chance that he can be beaten this time.
Daniil Medvedev versus Felix Auger Aliassime
Daniil Medvedev is one of the most successful players on tour other than the big three over the past few years. He is the first man other than the big three to hold either of the top two spots in the rankings since 2005 and looks to be the next world number 1.Medvedev has won three titles this year with the latest one being the Toronto Open. He also has 40 victories this year and 10 losses, Medvedev was also the runner up in this year’s Australian Open where Novak Djokovic prevailed in straight sets. He also reached the quarterfinals of the French Open where he lost to Stefanos Tsistipas, Medvedev has so far only lost one set in the tournament.
Medvedev is a very cool and calm player on the court and he does express his emotions a lot. He has a very unorthodox forehand and backhand which enables him to change the direction of the ball quickly. Even though he is tall, Medvedev moves around the court like a gazelle and also has fast serves. He returns far away from the baseline which has been very effective in recent matches. Medvedev has spent over 10 hours on court and looks to be the favourite.
Felix Auger Aliassime is one of the latest players to have come up in the big stages, he has had a decent year but reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in Wimbledon. Felix is quick around the court and has a stable backhand which comes to play during long rallies. Felix has spent over 14 hours on court and has had tough matches on his way to the semifinals.
Felix did have a great time in the grass courts but on the hard courts this year he has struggled a bit. But in the US Open he showed that he is ready for big time tennis and will look to preserve as much as stamina against Medvedev, Felix will try to finish the rallies quickly as Medvedev is a baseliner and doesn’t come to the net much. The match will be in Medvedev's favour if it goes too long as he has had a similar experience against Rafael Nadal two years back, Felix will try to create more chances early in the match and continue his record breaking run here.
In Men’s Doubles, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares defeated the pair of Filip Polášek and John Peers 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals. In the second semifinals Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey’s brilliant run came to an end as they lost to Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram. Rajeev and Joe defeated Querrey and Johnson 7-6(7-5), 6-4.
Also read: Novak Djokovic books semifinal showdown against Alexander Zverev at the US Open, Emma Raducanu breaks into the last four
Novak Djokovic books semifinal showdown against Alexander Zverev at the US Open, Emma Raducanu breaks into the last four
(Tennis News): In Men’s Singles, Novak Djokovic is now only two wins away from winning the Calendar Grand Slam. Djokovic has now beaten Matteo Berrettini thrice this year, all of them coming in the Grand Slams. Berrettini took advantage of Djokovic’s slow start to take the first set but that was it as Djokovic delivered a masterclass to take the three sets to set up a semifinal clash against Alexander Zverev. Djokovic defeated Berrettini 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Alexander Zverev put an end to Lloyd Harris’s fairytale run at the US Open. Harris had earlier beaten Reilly Opelka, Denis Shapovalov and Karen Khachanov on his way to the quarterfinals. Zverev was in no way threatened by Harris although in the first set Zverev had to bring out his top game. Zverev also came to the net and effectively used the volley to win points even at crucial stages. Zverev defeated Harris 7-6(8-6), 6-3, 6-4.
In Women’s Singles, Emma Raducanu is making sure she spends more time at the US Open as she beat Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinal. Emma has become the first Qualifier in the open era to make the semifinals at the US Open. Emma was down 1-3 in the first set as Belinda kept showering blows to take an early lead but then Emma came back with an inspiring performance as she took the next five games to take the set. Emma kept hitting better and better as the match went on and Belinda waved goodbye to the crowd. Emma defeated Belinda 6-3, 6-4
Aryna Sabalenka was on her usual attacking form when she beat Barbora Krejcikova in the Quarterfinals. Sablenka had reached the semifinals in Wimbledon this year and looks to win the Championship to reach closer to the number 1 ranking which she has been chasing for some time now. Barbora could not withstand her opponent’s shots in the first set and in the second set made a brief comeback but it was not enough as Sabalenka will play against Leylah Annie Fernandez in the semifinal. Sabalenka defeated Barbora 6-1, 6-4.
Maria Sakkari’s backhand was too powerful and accurate as it played a major role in her quarterfinal match against Karolína Plíšková. The rallies were short as tournament’s ace leader Pliskova could not match Maria’s serve and groundstrokes. Maria is the first Greek player to ever reach a US Open semifinal; she had reached the semifinal at the French Open earlier this year. Maria defeated Pliskova 6-4, 6-4.
Leylah Annie Fernandez versus Aryna Sabalenka
Leylah Annie Fernandez is the second youngest in the last four. The 19 year old produced a huge upset as she knocked out defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round. She also defeated 2016 champion Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, her powerful strokes and athleticism has served her well in the hardcourts.
Aryna Sabalenka is the world number two and has plenty of experience by her side. She is 6ft tall and uses that for her powerful serves and groundstrokes to beat the opponent. Aryna is also very ruthless and can hit winners from any side of the court; she has dropped only one set in the tournament. She won the doubles title here in 2019 and the Australian Open doubles this year and can use the serve and volley combination to beat the teenager. Aryna will also have the mental strength over her young opponent.
Emma Raducanu versus Maria Sakkari
Emma is having the time of her life as she is into the last four in her second Grand Slam. She has not dropped a set in the tournament and even in the qualifiers did not lose a set. She has grown physically stronger and has not been challenged so far in the tournament. She is the youngest player left in this tournament and in the third round was almost close to a double bagel against Sara Sorribes Tormo. Although she has less experience she certainly looks the favourite given her form in the past few days
Maria Sakkari is a strong server and has powerful groundstrokes to accompany her all-court style of play. She will look to use her experience against the 18 year old and put her under pressure, Maria will also look to use her backhand which was particularly useful against Pliskova. This will be Maria’s second career semifinal after reaching the semifinal at the French Open.
Emma Raducanu is the youngest of the four as she is only 18 years old and Maria Sakkari is the oldest as she is 26 years old. Of the four semi finalists, none of them have ever reached a Grand Slam final and we will be looking at a first Grand Slam winner at this year’s US Open.
Also read: Canadians Felix Auger Aliassime and Leylah Fernandez into the semifinals at the US Open
Emma Raducanu breezes past Shelby Rogers at the US Open, Matteo Berrettini seeks Wimbeldon revenge against Novak Djokovic
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Novak Djokovic was challenged initially in the start of the match by Jenson Brooksby. Jenson seemed not to be bothered by the World’s best player as he took the first set. The crowd went wild only to watch in despair as Djokovic took the next three as Andy Roddick, a former world number 1 and the champion here in 2003 tweeted perfectly about the match that First he takes your legs, then he takes your soul. Djokovic defeated Jenson 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Matteo Berrettini looked strong and fast as he took on World no 144 Oscar Otte in the fourth round of the US Open. Oscar had reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time and suffered blows from Berrettini, Oscar took the second set to add some mystery in the clash but it was soon put off as Berrettini close with an ace as he faces Djokovic for third time in a Grand Slam this year after the French Open quarterfinal and the Wimbledon final. Berrettini defeated Oscar 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Lloyd Harris reached his first Grand Slam Quarterfinal as he out performed Reilly Opelka in every aspect of the game. Harris even lobbed the ball over the 6 foot 11 inch American in the very first game of the match, even though Opelka took the first set Harris simply played better throughout the match. Harris even served more aces than Opelka in every set and in the final two sets Harris was seen toying with perfection as he did not commit a single unforced error and progressed to the quarterfinals. Harris defeated Opelka 6-7(6-8), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.
In Women’s Singles, Emma Raducanu took just an hour to knock out Shelby Rogers who had beaten Asheligh Barty in the previous game. The scoreboard was supposed to be the same but not in favour of Emma as she took the first set with a blazing forehand return winner. Emma just continued her A game in the second set as she was up 5-0 and Rogers somehow got one game off her. Emma defeated Rogers 6-2, 6-1.
Maria Sakkari reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the second time after reaching the semifinals of the French Open a few months earlier. Maria had to play a marathon match against 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu in the fourth round. Biana had the chance to settle the match in the second set tiebreak as she needed two points for a win but Maria took the set and took the last three games in the final set to finally finish out in the match in three and half hours. Maria defeated Bianca 6-7(2-7), 7-6(8-6), 6-3.
Barbora Krejčíková won her first Grand Slam in Singles this year at the French Open, She was facing Garbiñe Muguruza for the third time this year and Barbora had won their last meeting in the fourth round of the Cincinnati Open. In the first twelve points of the match, Muguruza could only win two points as Barbora raced off to a 3-0 lead. Muguruza came back with 3 continuous games but Barbora took the next three to take the first set and in the next set Barbora again took the first 4 games. This time there was a much stronger Muguruza as she took the next five games and even had two set points while Barbora was serving at 4-5. Barbora took it to a tie break as it was a close contest in the second set. Barbora defeated Muguruza 6-3, 7-6(7-4).
In Men’s Doubles, Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram defeated Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig in the fourth round as the Indian contention at the US Open came to an end. Joe and Rajeev defeated Rohan and Ivan 6-7(3-7), 6-4, 7-6(7-3). Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos did not face much trouble as they defeated Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Jonny O'Mara 7-5, 7-5 to go into the quarterfinals.
In Women’s Doubles, Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens continued their smooth run with a hat trick of straight set victories. Hsieh Su-wei and Mertens defeated Greet Minnen and Alison Van Uytvanck 6-0, 6-2 in the fourth round. Luisa Stefani and Gabriela Dabrowski had it rough in the start but eventually defeated Dayana Yastremska and Marta Kostyuk 6-7(5-7), 6-4, 6-2.
In Mixed Doubles, Marcelo Demoliner and Ellen Perez faced tough competition as they defeated Joran Vliegen and Andreja Klepač 6-7(4-7), 6-4, 10-5 to advance into the quarterfinals. Max Purcell and Dayana Yastremska only lost five games as they defeated Fabrice Martin and Yaroslava Shvedova 6-2, 6-3 to enter the semifinals.
Also read: Novak Djokovic four victories away from making history at the US Open, Leylah Fernandez knocks out Angelique Kerber in fourth round clash
Paire and Shapovalov battle in round three as Murray advances in Cincinnati
Cincinnati (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Denis Shapovalov will face Benoit Paire for a fourth time as the pair last met two years ago, this is the second time they are meeting in a Masters 1000 after their Madrid clash three years ago and Paire leads their head to head with two victories as the Canadian has one which was the first time they met in Madrid. Andy Murray started his Cincinnati Open in style as he defeated Richard Gasquet in straight sets to enter the third round. Alex de Minaur had to come back strong as he was bageled by Filip Krajinović in the first set but the young Aussie did not back down and took the next two sets to set up a third round encounter with Jannik Sinner. Jannik had earlier beaten Federico Delbonis in straight sets to proceed to the third round. Karen Khachanov beat Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-4 and will lock horns with Felix Auger Aliassime. Felix had to struggle a bit against Márton Fucsovics in the first set as it went till tiebreak, Fucsovics even had a set point at 5-4 only to be broken and in the tiebreak Felix took seven consecutive points to take the first set and in the second set he had it easy.
Also read: Cincinnati Open looks promising as two weeks left for the final Slam of the year
In Women’s Singles, Paula Badosa saved 5 matchpoints against Petra Martic in the second round. Martic had three match points while she was serving 5-4 and even Paula had two match points when she was leading 6-5 but both of them couldn’t finish it. It eventually led to the tiebreak with each one having more than one match points and finally after 2 hours and 34 minutes, Paula sealed with 10-9 in the tiebreak. With her heroics she will next face Aryna Sabalenka in the third round. Toronto Open winner Camila Giorgi will face Jessica Pegula for the second consecutive time as the pair met in the semifinals of the Toronto Open, Angelique Kerber had it easy against Maria Sakkari as she came out on firing with 6-2, 6-2 victory and will face Tokyo Olympics Bronze medallist Elina Svitolina in the fourth round. Coco Gauff will start her campaign against Hsieh Su-wei, an opponent twice her age. Simona Halep will also begin today she is up against Magda Linette who reached the semifinals in doubles of the Toronto Open.
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig are set to face Filip Krajinović and Fabrice Martin in their opening match. The American pair of Frances Tiafoe and Nicholas Monroe defeated Andrey Golubev and Andreas Miles 7-6(7-5),7-5 in the third round. They will be facing Toronto champions Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram for place in the Quarterfinals.
In the Women’s Doubles, Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani fresh off from their Toronto title will begin here by competing against Anna Danilina and Yarslova Shvedova in the third round.
Sania Mirza is back as this is her first event after the Olympics, she is paired up with Ons Jabeur and they will be up against Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Rybakina in their first match.