Pennetta, a positive example for all Italians - UBITENNIS
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Pennetta, a positive example for all Italians



TENNIS- Flavia Pennetta has crowned her fantastic career on Sunday when she won the first Premier Mandatory Tournament of her tennis life by beating Agniewska Radwanska in straight sets 6-2 6-1 in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells at the age of 32. Diego Sampaolo


Pennetta has moved from World Number 21 to 12 in the WTA Ranking, a sensational result considering that she dropped to World Number 166 last year after a career-threatening wrist injury which required surgery and sidelined her for six months. The tennis player from Brindisi did better in August 2009 when she became the first Italian player to reach the top-10 in the WTA Ranking.

After so many years and so much work, this is the moment I have been waiting for. It’s coming when you don’t expect because at the beginning of the week I did not expect to be the champion or to be in the final and in the semifinal”, said Pennetta.

Pennetta considered retiring from tennis at the beginning of last year but the fourth round reached at Wimbledon followed by an impressive semifinal at the US Open last September made her change her mind about her future. At the beginning of 2014 she picked up where she left off last year reaching the quarter final at the Australian Open, where she lost to eventual champion Li Na. After losing in the quarter final against Venus Williams at Dubai, Pennetta beat 2013 Australian Open semifinalist Sloane Stephens and the two top-seeds players Li Na in the semifinal and Agnieszka Radwanska in the final. It was the second time in a row that Pennetta beat the Polish player one month after the win in Dubai. Her win against Radwanska was her seventh victory against a top-3 player. She enjoyed her first win against a top.3 player in Zurich in 2008 when she beat Jelena Jankovic. She then defeated Venus Williams in Cincinnati in 2009, Vera Zvonareva in Sydney 2011, Caroline Wozniacki in Beijing 2011, Agnieszka Radwanska twice in Dubai and Indian Wells in 2014 and Li Na in Indian Wells 2014.

It was just at Indian Wells last year when she lost in the first round against Francesca Schiavone that she seriously contemplated the idea of hanging up her tennis racquet.

It’s amazing because I perfectly remember after the match in Indian Wells with Francesca last year, the day after I was in the garden talking with my physio, almost crying because everything was so bad. After one we have the trophy. He is happy because we worked so much. Without him, my coach Salvador Navarro, my family, perhaps I would not be here. Indian Wells has been my first triumph since Marbella in 2010. I wanted to win my tenth title and reach the double figure. Ten sounds good”, said Pennetta.

Pennetta kept a lot of tennis fans glued in front of television on Sunday when she lifted her biggest trophy. It was a well-deserved prize for one of the nicest players on the WTA Circuit, admired not only for her tennis style but also for her personality and her determination not to give up after a difficult period.

Pennetta has started the golden period of Italian tennis in 2009 becoming the first player to reach the top-10 when she won in Los Angeles. Her achievement was just the beginning. Less than one year later Francesca Schiavone became the first Italian player to win a Grand Slam when she triumphed at the Roland Garros in 2010. One year later Schiavone reached her second consecutive Roland Garros final losing to Li Na. In 2012 Sara Errani surprisingly qualified for the Roland Garros final losing to Maria Sharapova.

Pennetta also won the WTA Championships doubles trophy in 2010 and the Australian Open doubles title with her close friend Gisela Dulko from Argentina. Pennetta and Dulko teamed up together in many doubles tournaments and have become close friends outside the tennis circuit.

The other highlights of her career include the four Fed Cup wins with the Italian team in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013 and ten tournaments (Sopot in 2004. Bogotá and Acapulco in 2005, Bangkok 2007, Acapulco and Vina del Mar in 2008, Palermo and Los Angeles in 2009, Marbella in 2010 and Indian Wells in 2014).

Pennetta has built most of her success in her favourite US hard court tournaments. She reached her first Grand Slam semifinal last year at Flushing Meadows and three more US quarter finals in 2008, 2009 and 2011. She scored 12 of her 13 wins over top-5 players on hard-court tournaments.

The US Crowd are always nice with me. They support me all the time, even when I play against a US player”, said Pennetta.

Pennetta grew up in a family with a strong passion for tennis, especially her father Oronzo and her mother Concetta who have always supported her daughter in both good and bad days. Flavia was introduced to tennis at the age of 5 inspired by her tennis idol Monica Seles.

“Flavia has done a lot of sacrifices in her life and she is now reaping the fruits of her hard work”, said Oronzo Pennetta when he interviewed by Italian tennis channel Supertennis after the Indian Wells final.

I called my dad after the final and he couldn’t breathe. My father is the most important person in my life”, said Pennetta

After the Indian Wells win even a Grand Slam is not an unrealistic goal but Pennetta prefers going ahead step by step without setting too big goals, “Last year I just said:  “If I finish the year in the top 100, it will be okay. I finished 20, so it was much better. Now I am still in the same way. I never had a goal. I never had a big goal in my mind. I have always been like this. I have few days to enjoy and start to focus again because I have to play my next match in Miami. The worst thing about tennis is that you cannot enjoy a win too much. After beating Li Na, I had to return to the court the day after to play against Radwanska”

Beating the top-two players Li Na and Radwanska was a very important result but It’s a long way before I will be able to return to the top 10. The most important thing is that I can play at the same level with everyone. I have matured as a person. The other reason for my success is my relationship to my coach Salvador Navarro,” said Pennetta.

Pennetta has always seen as a positive example in Italian sport. “I would like to become a positive model for Italian people and give energy to those who are getting through difficult times. I want to show them that it is important not to give up”, said Pennetta.



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Karolina Pliskova Finding Her Footing With The Help Of New Coach Krajan



Karolina Pliskova (CZE) playing against Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) in the semi-final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 10 Thursday 08/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Karolina Pliskova’s resurgence on the Tour comes at a time when she has formed a new partnership with a well-known coach. 


After her first round loss at the Australian Open to Elena Rybakina, the Czech won nine consecutive matches on the Tour. In Romania, she claimed her 17th WTA title at the Winners Open before reaching the semi-finals of a WTA 1000 event in Doha. However, she was unable to play her semi-final clash against Iga Swiatek due to a lower back injury. During this period she has improved her ranking from 77th to 36th. 

Pliskova began the season without a coach at her side but is now working with Croatia’s Zeljko Krajan. A partnership she believes is showing promising signs already. 

“Personality-wise, I think he’s kind of similar to me,” Pliskova told WTA Insider. “Not really high or low. Relaxed and very like calm. 
“We didn’t really plan yet anything because now the schedule was difficult. I might be in qualifying in Indian Wells. Maybe I enter San Diego. So I don’t really know what’s gonna be. I’m just living day by day at the moment.” 

Krajan has worked with a series of players on both the WTA and ATP Tour’s. He guided Dinara Safina to three Grand Slam finals between 2008 and 2010. He has also worked with Borna Coric, Laura Robson, Marcos Baghdatis, Jelena Jankovic and Dominika cibulkova.

Pliskova, who is a former world No.1 and two-time Grand Slam finalist, has endured a roller-coaster journey on the Tour in recent months with mixed results. Last season she failed to win back-to-back matches at 11 consecutive tournaments. 

So how has she managed to regain her form on the Tour?

“Motivation was never really a problem for me,” Pliskova said. “If I go on the court no matter how bad or good I feel, I always want to win. I always want to compete. 
“But my game is based on confidence and I need to feel that. Even if I’m not playing well or winning many matches, I just need to find that confidence in that moment or in that game because it’s just so risky. My shots are so flat, so I go for mostly lines. If something is not going well or you start to doubt, then of course you miss a little bit. Everything is about this.”

Unseeded at this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships, Pliskova beat China’s Zhang Shuai in the first round. She will next play Ashlyn Krueger in the second round on Tuesday.

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Elena Rybakina Eases Past Kasatkina To Win Abu Dhabi Open



Elena Rybakina has captured her second title of the season after beating an erratic Daria Kasatkina in straight sets at the Abu Dhabi Open. 


The world No.5 stormed to a 6-1, 6-4, win over the Russian in just over an hour. It is the third time in Rybakina’s career that she has beaten Kasatkina on the Tour and she now leads their head-to-head 3-2. The triumph comes a month after she won the Brisbane International, which is also a WTA 500 event. 

Rybakina’s latest match saw her capitalise on her opponent’s costly mistakes. Kasatkina struggled with her serve throughout the majority of the final and only managed to hold twice in eight attempts. Opening the door for the former Wimbledon champion who hit 17 winners against 12 unforced errors en route to victory. 

“I want to thank the fans who came this week,” said the new champion. “It has been an amazing atmosphere, especially to see flags from Kazakhstan. It means a lot, thank you so much.”

A one-sided 25-minute opening set saw Rybakina claim four straight games to clinch an early lead. During to the opener, Kasatkina only managed to win 26% of her service points. It was the fourth time in the tournament that the Kazakh had won a set by conceding two or fewer games. 

Fortunately for world No.14 Kasatkina and the crowd, there was more of a battle in the second frame. Twice in a row Rybakina worked her way to a break advantage before losing it in the following game. Then at 4-4, she dealt the decisive blow by hitting a clean forehand winner to break yet against and this time had a chance to serve for the title. With the rain starting to fall, she converted her first championship point with the help of another error from across the net. 

The defeat for Kasatkina comes a day after she came through a marathon three-hour semi-final match before criticising the WTA over their tournament scheduling. She is currently set to play in the Qatar Open with her opening match taking place tomorrow. It is the sixth time in a row she has been beaten by a top-five player on the Tour. 

“Congratulations to Elena, you’ve had a great week,” she said.
“Thanks to my team who has always been next to me. I am really proud of the job we’ve done and how we are doing. Thanks for always believing in me.”

Rybakina also referred to the demanding calendar during the trophy presentation. 

“Tough week (for Kasatkina), especially the last matches. Tomorrow there is already a match in Doha but hopefully, we will both recover and do well there. Maybe also play (against each other) in the final there,” she said. 

Unlike Kasatkina, Rybakina has a first round bye in Doha. She has now won seven WTA trophies so far in her career. 

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Ons Jabeur Hoping For Better Fortunes In Doha Despite Injury Concerns



Ons Jabeur (TUN) playing against Venus Williams (USA) on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Credit: AELTC/Jon Super

Ons Jabeur is optimistic that she will be ready in time to play at her next event in Doha after suffering an emotional exit from Dubai on Friday. 


The two-time Wimbledon finalist was in tears during her straight sets loss to Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals. Jabeur later revealed that her emotional reaction was linked to the reoccurrence of a knee injury in recent days which has troubled her in the past. She said the pain can differ at various tournaments but in Dubai, it was causing her significant discomfort. 

“I’m an open book, an emotional person. I like to show myself. One thing I have learned is to accept the emotion, and if I try to hide it, it will not make me feel good,” Jabeur told reporters in Doha at a pre-tournament press conference. 
“So it’s good to let it out and be done with it than to keep it inside and probably will make more problems for you later.”

Despite the setback, the world No.6 intends to play at the Doha Open which gets underway today. She will be the fourth seed in this year’s draw and will be playing in the event for the first time since 2022. Last year she was forced to skip the Middle East swing after having surgery to treat an enlarged nodule which was obstructing her airway and preventing oxygen from reaching her lungs. 

“I’m very happy to be back. I’m obviously happier than last year,” she said. “I’m glad to be united with my fans here, and hopefully it’s going be a great week for me.
“I have been struggling with the knee for a long time, and last week was very, very tough. Hopefully, I can recover in time and then play better here in Doha.”  

This time of the year has always meant a lot to the Tunisian, who has spoken on numerous occasions about her aim to inspire more players from her region to take up tennis. She is the first Arab player to reach a Grand Slam final, crack the top 10 in the WTA rankings and qualify for the season-ending Tour Finals. 

“It is very important to be here to connect with Arabic crowds. I feel so much love here in the region, and obviously, that’s one of the reasons I chose to play Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Dubai, because I feel so good here.” She said.

Declaring she is ‘happy’ with her rhythm on the court, Jabeur will begin her campaign in Doha against either Lesia Tsurenko or Turkish wild card Zeynep Sonmez.

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