Pennetta wins Indian Wells: “this is my day” - UBITENNIS
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Pennetta wins Indian Wells: “this is my day”

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Flavia Pennetta won her biggest title of the career by defeating world number 3 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-1 in the Premier Mandatory final of Indian Wells.

Pennetta, aged 32, has with this conquered her 10th career title, less then a year after plummeting to world number 166 and on the verge of retiring after a nasty wrist injury.

In a match evidently influenced by the injury of the second seed, Pennetta showed anyway lots from her new and improved repertoire, demonstrating how this victory is the result of hard work and dedication.

Pennetta, who had lost four times to Radwanska out of as many matches before this season, surely knew she would have had her chances as she came into this match strong of a sensational win over the Pole in Dubai.

The match started immediately with a puzzling kick-off from Radwanska, who looked tentative in her first attempts to win points off the Italian, who had two chances to break her serve already in the first game.

The Pole managed to hold, but Pennetta replied with a solid service game as well.

Despite being the first time for the 20th seed in a singles’ final of this prestige, she showed a great attitude and in the fifth game she found the way to break her opponent’s serve and impose her game throughout the set, closed 6-2 in her favour.

The hints that something was wrong with the world number 3 were all there in the first set, as despite the good performance of the Italian, she had hit an unusual number of unforced errors.

Then in the second set, Radwanska called for the trainer on court and had her already-taped knee once again checked and bandaged.

It is never easy to play against an evidently injured opponent, if it is your career biggest final, it is if possible even harder.

Similarly to what happened to Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open final, Pennetta suffered little nerves in the early games of the second set, but she immediately tamed them and took full advantage of the situation to fly 5-1 up.

Radwanska tried to push her body to the limit in the very last game; her defence improved enough to force the game to the advantages, but there was no way Pennetta would have let this match run away from her hands.

So, as the last defence from the Pole flew long, the Italian rose her arms to the sky and let all the happiness flaw.

The hug at the net and the lovely words during her speech, clearly testified the worry of the new Indian Wells champion for her opponent, but as she said: “this is my day,” and rightfully so.

Pennetta, who was the first Italian woman to enter the WTA top 10 back in 2009, has decided to write the story of tennis for her country once again becoming the first Italian to win a Premier Mandatory –she already became the first finalist after the win over Li Na.

The Indian Wells champion, thanks to this win, will be ranked 12 in the world starting from Monday, but even more impressive is her fifth place in the Race to Singapore.

However, there will be no rest for players and tennis fans, because starting from tomorrow the action will take place in Miami, for another Premier Mandatory spread over the next two weeks.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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