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.




Miami Open Daily Preview: Alcaraz and Sinner Meet Again in the Semifinals



Carlos Alcaraz two weeks ago at Indian Wells (

Both ATP semifinals will be played on Friday, as well as the second WTA semifinal.


For the third consecutive big event in the United States (US Open, Indian Wells, Miami), Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner will collide.  At the US Open, they played an epic five-hour five-setter that went into the early hours of the morning.  At Indian Wells, they contested a high-quality semifinal.  Both of those matches went to Alcaraz.  Will he prevail again on Friday?

And are we on the verge of a rematch from the Indian Wells final between Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev?  Fellow Russian Karen Khachanov will be Medvedev’s opposition on Friday.  And in the remaining WTA singles semifinal, Petra Kvitova plays Sorana Cirstea for the right to face Elena Rybakina in Saturday’s championship match.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.

Daniil Medvedev (4) vs. Karen Khachanov (14) – 1:00pm on Stadium

Medvedev is now 27-3 this season, and has claimed 22 matches within the past seven weeks alone.  Daniil has easily advanced to this semifinal, averaging just over an hour on court across his three matches thus far.  He is vying for his fifth final in as many tournaments.

Khachanov is 13-5 on the year, and this is his third significant hard court semifinal since last summer.  At the US Open, he defeated both Pablo Carreno Busta and Nick Kyrgios in five sets to reach the semis.  At the Australian Open, he beat both Frances Tiafoe and Sebastian Korda to advance to this stage.  And this week, he took out both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Francisco Cerundolo, who was a Miami semifinalist a year ago.

Medvedev leads their head-to-head 3-1, which includes a straight-set victory at the beginning of this season in Adelaide.  And based on his current run on hard courts, I like Daniil to achieve his first final in Miami.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Jannik Sinner (10) – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium

Alcaraz is 18-1 in 2023, while Sinner is 20-4.  Neither has dropped a set this fortnight, so both are feeling fully fresh and quite confident heading into this blockbuster matchup.

Overall Carlitos is 3-2 against Jannik, and 3-0 on hard courts.  Sinner’s two victories have come on grass (Wimbledon) and clay (Umag).  Since holding a match point against Alcaraz in the fourth set of last summer’s US Open quarterfinal, and failing to convert, the Italian has lost four straight sets to the Spaniard.

Both men have made previous appearances in the Miami final, with Sinner losing to Hubert Hurkacz in 2021, and Alcaraz defeating Casper Ruud in 2022.  Carlitos needs to defend his title in order to maintain his No.1 ranking.  And considering how well he’s played since returning to the tour in February, I favor Alcaraz to eliminate Sinner again on Friday.

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Petra Kvitova (15) vs. Sorana Cirstea – Kvitova has now advanced to the quarterfinals or better at the last three WTA 1000 tournaments held in the United States.  Cirstea has been playing some of the best tennis of her career since hiring Thomash Johansson as her coach.  Petra leads their head-to-head 6-4, which dates all the way back to 2008.  They met twice on hard courts in 2022, and split those two encounters.

Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens (6) vs. Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula (2) – This is a quarterfinal, and the winners will come back later in the day to face Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez in the semifinals.

Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera vs. Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend – This is a semifinal.  Prior to this event, Linette and Pera had not teamed up since last year’s Wimbledon.  This is only Fernandez and Townsend’s second tournament as a team.

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Miami Open Daily Preview: Elena Rybakina Plays Jessica Pegula in the Semifinals



Elena Rybakina two weeks ago at Indian Wells (

Due to rain on Wednesday, only one WTA semifinal will be played on Thursday.


Elena Rybakina is just two wins away from completing the “Sunshine Double,” which is winning both Indian Wells and Miami.  But in Thursday’s WTA semifinal, American No.1 Jessica Pegula stands in her way.  The other semifinal is still to be determined, and will not be played until Friday, as Petra Kvitova and Ekaterina Alexandrova will contest their rain-delayed quarterfinal on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the ATP quarterfinals will be completed on Thursday.  Indian Wells finalist Daniil Medvedev faces American Chris Eubanks, who has been the breakout story of this tournament thus far.  Also, Karen Khachanov takes on Francisco Cerundolo, who is vying for his second consecutive semifinal in Miami.  And delayed from Wednesday night, Carlos Alcaraz battles Taylor Fritz in another ATP quarterfinal.

You can find a preview of the Alcaraz/Fritz and Kvitova/Alexandrova quarterfinals in yesterday’s daily preview here.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Thursday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.

Chris Eubanks (Q) vs. Daniil Medvedev (4) – 1:00pm on Stadium

Medvedev leads the ATP with 26 wins this season, as well as with three titles.  Daniil has not dropped a set to this stage, though he’s only played two matches thus far due to a walkover earlier this week.

Eubanks has already won six matches this fortnight after coming through qualifying.  And the 26-year-old achieved a career goal of breaking into the top 100 with this quarterfinal run.  Chris became emotional on-court after clinching that feat on Monday, and followed it up with another upset the next day, over Adrian Mannarino.  The American is projected to become ranked 85th in the world on Monday, but a win on Thursday would propel him into the top 60.

In their first career meeting, of course the self-proclaimed “hard court specialist” Medvedev is a strong favorite.  But I’m quite interested to see how Eubanks performs in the biggest match of his career.  During a rain delay on Monday, Frances Tiafoe provided Eubanks with some advice in the locker room, which Chris credited with helping him come back in the second-set tiebreak once play resumed.  He’s played more freely since that comeback, and Eubanks may feel as if he has nothing to lose on Thursday.

Elena Rybakina (10) vs. Jessica Pegula (3) – Not Before 8:30pm on Stadium

Rybakina is 20-4 this season, and is currently on a 10-match win streak.  If her 2,000 points from winning Wimbledon last summer counted, she’d currently be ranked third in the world.  Elena easily dispatched of Martina Trevisan in the last round.

Pegula is 19-5 on the year, and 10-3 in Miami.  This is her second consecutive semifinal at this event, and she’s the No.3 player in the world without Rybakina’s Wimbledon points counting.  She saved multiple match points to come back and defeat Anastasia Potapova during Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

Pegula is 2-0 against Rybakina, with both matches taking place on hard courts during 2022.  A year ago at this same tournament, Jess prevailed in straight sets.  And last fall in Guadalajara, Pegula outlasted Rybakina in a final-set tiebreak, another match in which the American saved multiple match points.  As confident as Elena currently is, with her big serve and groundstrokes dictating play, it’s hard not to favor the reigning Wimbledon champ.  But based on their recent history, as well as Pegula’s rising confidence after saving match points in the last round, I give Jess the slight edge in Thursday’s semifinals on home soil.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Francisco Cerundolo (25) vs. Karen Khachanov (14) – Cerundolo was in danger of falling out of the top 40 with an early loss in Miami, defending the best result of his career at this level, but has impressed by returning to the quarterfinals, defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime on the way.  Khachanov upset Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last round, and is looking to reach his first Masters semifinal since 2019.  Last summer in Canada, Karen defeated Francisco in three sets.

Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Miami Open Daily Preview: Indian Wells Champs Carlos Alcaraz and Taylor Fritz Collide



Carlos Alcaraz two Sundays ago at Indian Wells (

On Wednesday in Miami, 2023 Indian Wells champion Carlos Alcaraz faces 2022 champ Taylor Fritz for the first time.


Alcaraz is just three wins away from defending his Miami title, which he needs to do in order to remain World No.1.  Wednesday’s other ATP quarterfinal sees Indian Wells semifinalist Jannik Sinner take on Emil Ruusuvuori, who is the first Finnish quarterfinalist at a Masters 1000 tournament in a decade.

In the WTA singles draw, Aryna Sabalenka and Petra Kvitova are one round away from a big-hitting semifinal.  But first, they must get past Sorana Cirstea and Ekaterina Alexandrova, respectively.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.

Ekaterina Alexandrova (18) vs. Petra Kvitova (15) – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium

Kvitova is 14-5 this season, and has now reached the quarterfinals of both Indian Wells and Miami this month.  Petra has also now advanced to the fourth round or better of this event for the fifth straight time, and has not dropped a set this fortnight.

Alexandrova had a losing record this year before arriving in Miami.  She defeated Belinda Bencic two rounds ago, and advanced in the last round after Bianca Andreescu’s upsetting ankle injury.  This is Ekaterina’s second WTA 1000 quarterfinal, after first achieving that feat last year in Madrid, when she advanced to the semifinals.

Their only previous encounter occurred three years ago at the Australian Open, when Kvitova comfortably prevailed 6-1, 6-2.  Ekaterina does not possess the same offensive weaponry of Petra, so on a hard court, the two-time Wimbledon champion is a considerable favorite to win again on Wednesday.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Taylor Fritz (9) – Not Before 8:30pm on Stadium

Alcaraz is 17-1 on the season, despite missing all of January due to injury.  His only loss came to Cam Norrie in the final of Rio, a match in which Carlitos reaggravated his leg injury.  He’s yet to drop a set during this tournament.

Fritz is 20-5 in 2023, and has now reached the quarterfinals or better at his last five events.  This is Taylor’s first quarterfinal in Miami, and his third consecutive quarterfinal as Masters 1000 events in North America.  Like Alcaraz, he’s also yet to lose a set in Miami, but he’s 1-4 in his last five Masters quarterfinals.

This is the first career meeting between the World No.1 and the American No.1.  Fritz certainly has the firepower to threaten Alcaraz on this day.  But based on Carlitos’ recent sharp form, the 19-year-old is the favorite to advance to the semifinals.

Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Sorana Cirstea vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is now a stellar 20-2 on the year, and has allowed her opponents this past week an average of just 2.5 games per set.  Cirstea is having an excellent March, having advanced to her second consecutive WTA 1000 quarterfinal, a stage she hadn’t reached since 2017.  This is another first-time career meeting.

Emil Ruusuvuori vs. Jannik Sinner (10) – Sinner is vying for his second consecutive Masters semifinal, and has not dropped a set thus far in Miami.  This is Ruuuvuori’s maiden Masters 1000 quarterfinal, at the only Masters event where he had ever previously advanced beyond the third round.  Jannik is 4-0 against Emil, with all of those wins in straight sets, except a match in Miami a year ago that went to a third-set tiebreak, and saw Sinner save three match points.

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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