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All faves through in Indian Wells 4th

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TENNIS – All of the favorites left in the women’s draw qualified for the quarter finals at the BNP Parisbas Open in Indian Wells. Giulio Gasparin

 

(6) Simona Halep def (18) Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 1-6, 6-4
The great streak of results from Halep continued as she edged past a determined Eugenie Bouchard to conquer her first ever Indian Wells quarter-final. The Romanian started really well and forced the young Canadian into the groove of her game, forcing her opponent to hit on the run and miss lots of balls.Bouchard reacted fiercely and forced Halep to step further from the baseline. The match suddenly turned around and Bouchard was in safe control as the 6-1 of the second set proves.

In the third set the Romanian managed to find a better aggression, but Bouchard was strong of the boost from the second set and was the first one to find a break to go 4-3 up.

The reaction of Halep was impressive, as her attitude in the next three games was way different, as she stepped in and found better pace and depth, forcing again the Canadian to miss. Not only she took the break back immediately, but went on conquering the next two as well as the whole match.

In the next round Halep will face Casey Dellacqua, who did non play her 4th round match, as Lauren Davis was forced to withdraw due to food poisoning.

(7) Jelena Jankovic def (10) Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1
The Serb stepped on court after the lucky escape against Magdalena Rybarykova, but her back injury seemed long gone as she dismantled the -little- resistance of the Dane, who had won all the last 5 matches between the two. Jankovic looked a little nervous at the beginning and fell 3-1 down in the score, but soon reacted and by finding nice pace and smartly varying her game she outplayed Wozniacki with ease. The former world number one, who was defending last year’s final, will now find herself out of the top 15 for the first time since 2008 -when she was 18. The next opponent for Jankovic will be Agnieszka Radwanska.
(2) Agnieszka Radwanska def (22) Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-3
Radwanska survived the scare of two set points in the first set, before finding the right track again and close in straight sets against a very positive Cornet.

The improvements showed by the French woman since the beginning of the season were all there during her match,  but in the end the solid and smart game of the Pole won her the match.

(1) Li Na def Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-4
Everything was simply working too well for the Chinese, as she played some sensational tennis to overcome the inform Canadian. The only flow one could find in Li Na’s performance is the need of 9 match points before closing, but as she acknowledged in the post match interview, Wozniak did not give up and fought very hard on each of them. In the next round Li Na will try to copy her performance from the Australian Open final, as she is set to face the same opponent: Dominika Cibulkova.

(12) Dominika Cibulkova def (8) Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-2
After the difficult few weeks following her triumphant run in Australia, Cibulkova is back to playing her highest level of tennis and this time it was Kvitova to fall. The Acapulco winner outplayed Kvitova, who once more proved to struggle on the American hard courts, but that does not diminish the almost perfect performance of the Slovak, who will try to avenge the loss in her first ever slam final.

(20) Flavia Pennetta def Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-1
The run of Maria Sharapova’s slayer fell short, as her more expert compatriot dismantled her hard hitting with smart and accurate shots. Pennetta, who was on the verge of retirement after an early unsuccessful comeback following a wrist injury in 2012, is living a second youth as she is winning match after match her way back to the elites of the sport.

Pennetta, who had lost her only previous encounter with Giorgi, will seek one more revenge in the quarter finals as she is to face Sloane Stephens, who defeated her on the home soil of Rome last year.

(17) Sloane Stephens def Alisa Kleybanova 6-3, 7-5
Stephens fought hard in her fourth round match, as despite closing in straight the match has been uncertain until the very last end.
The comeback from health issues of Kleybanova can still be considered on the right track, despite the loss to the young American. Especially given her good week and the competitiveness of this match.

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In-Form Liudmila Samsonova Storms To Tokyo Title

Tokyo is the second tournament this year the Russian has won without dropping a set.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Liudmila Samsonova has continued her rapid surge on the Tour by defeating China’s Qinwen Zheng 7-5, 7-5, to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. 

 

The world No.30 dropped serve only once and hit four aces as she edged her way past rising star Zheng who is the first Chinese teenager to reach the final of a Tour-level singles event. Overall, Samsonova won 68% of her service points en route to becoming the first Russian player to win the tournament since Nadia Petrova in 2012. 

“It’s amazing, I don’t have too many words right now. I need a little bit of time,” said Samsonova, who beat Grand Slam champions Elena Rybakina and Garbine Muguruza earlier in the draw. 
“It was a really tough match. She is playing amazing. It was a nervous match, we were fighting every point. It was tough.”

Samsonova is becoming a formidable force in the women’s game and has now won 18 out of her past 19 matches. Last month she also won titles in Washington and Cleveland before reaching the last 16 of the US Open for the first time in her career at the age of 23. She is now 4-0 in tournament finals and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo this week. 

“I played a high level in all my five matches. I am incredibly happy about how I managed it,” she said.

There is also a reason for Zheng to celebrate with her run in Tokyo securing her place in the world’s top 30 for the first time on Monday when the rankings are updated. Making her the first Chinese player to do so as a teenager. She is also only the second teenager to reach the final of a WTA 500 event or higher this season after Coco Gauff at the French Open. 

Samsonova will also rise to a ranking high on Monday to just outside the world’s top 20. 

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Naomi Osaka Seeks Resurgence At Home Event After Rollercoaster Year

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Naomi Osaka training at the 2021 Madrid Open (image by Media Hub Mutua Madrid Open)

Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka admits that there have been more downs than ups for her this year but she is maintaining a positive outlook. 

 

The four-time Grand Slam champion has played 22 matches so far this season with her win-loss record currently standing at 13-9. However, at her six most recent tournaments she has failed to win back-to-back matches and is currently on a four-match losing streak. Osaka also missed this year’s Wimbledon Championships due to an achilles injury. 

Currently ranked 44th in the world, Osaka is hoping to break her slump at this week’s Toray Pan Pacific Open which will be held in Tokyo. It will be the first time she has played since losing to Danielle Collins in the first round of the US Open. 

“I think, of course, the year has (not been) the best year for me,” Osaka said during her pre-tournament press conference. “But I think overall I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m just happy to be healthy. Because in Europe, I did injure myself, and that was like my first injury that took me that long to get healed.

“I think life is kind of ups and downs and this one was kind of more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”

Osaka is the defending champion in Tokyo, even though she won the tournament back in 2019. The event has been cancelled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has happened to the Japanese player since she won the title, both on and off the court. Osaka has spoken publicly about her mental health issues and took time away from the sport because of them. 

“It feels really weird to hear that I’m the defending champion because it was the last time I played in 2019,” she said. “I would love to win it again, but I think just taking it one match at a time … and also just playing in front of a crowd in Tokyo again, because the Olympics was crowdless, so it will just be nice to see people.”

This year Osaka does not have a seeding in the Tokyo draw which is in stark contrast to three years ago when she was the highest-ranked player in the tournament. She will begin her campaign against Australia’s Daria Saville and could then face fifth seed, Beatriz Haddad Maia, in the last 16. 

“I think every year for me since the first Slam, there’s been a lot of changes,” Osaka said. “But I think this year it has definitely been a real growing year for me. I think tennis-wise, I don’t really think I can go in a wrong direction. I feel like me as a player, my base is pretty solid. I can only really learn more about myself. I know that I am an aggressive player and I can only hope to keep doing that.

Away from the Tour, the 24-year-old remains one of the highest-earning players in the sport. According to a report published by Forbes in August, she earned in the region of £56.2M over 12 months with $55M of that coming from off-court ventures. She has also set up her own sports agency with long-time agent Stuart Duguid, signing Nick Kyrgios as one of her clients. 

“For everything off court, I think it’s really cool how tennis has let me get so many opportunities in things that I’m interested in, and it’s something I’m really happy and grateful for and I can only hope it keeps evolving.” She commented.

This week Osaka is seeking to win her first title of any sort since the 2021 Australian Open. 

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Simona Halep Ends 2022 Season With Nose Surgery And Mental Exhaustion

Simona Halep will return to the court in 2023.

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Simona Halep (@NewsCentralTV - Twitter)

Simona Halep has ended her season after having nose surgery and suffering from mental exhaustion in recent months.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion has had a mixed season this year with the Romanian almost quitting the sport in February.

However the former world number one reunited with Patrick Mouratoglou and produced a world-class grass court season and US Hard court swing to get back into the world’s top ten.

Despite this, Halep has also had her troubles having had a panic attack at Roland Garros and struggled with anxiety.

This was all produced by the Romanian in her statement when she announced she would not play the rest of the season due to a nose surgery which has been linked to her breathing.

https://twitter.com/Simona_Halep/status/1570370209504198656

Now Halep will look to recover mentally and physically in time for January’s Australian Open as she will look to become a Grand Slam champion for the third time in her career.

Simona Halep’s 2022 Season:

Melbourne Summer Set 1: Champion

Australian Open: R4 l. Cornet

Dubai: Semi-Finals l. Ostapenko

Qatar: R1 l. Garcia

Indian Wells: Semi-Finals l. Swiatek

Madrid: Quarter-Finals l. Jabeur

Rome: R2 l. Collins

Roland Garros: R2 l. Q. Zheng

Birmingham: Semi-Finals l. Haddad Maia

Bad Homburg: Semi-Finals l. Andreescu

Wimbledon: Semi-Finals l. Rybakina

Washington: R2 l. Kalinskaya

Toronto: Champion

Cincinnati: R2 – Withdrew

US Open: R1 l. Snigur

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