2014 Roland Garros: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered was Serena in Paris - UBITENNIS
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2014 Roland Garros: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered was Serena in Paris

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TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – World’s number one, Serena Williams got things underway for the defense of her French Open crown. However, despite the easy scoreline of 6-2 6-1 over French wildcard entry Alize Lim, the win was anything but routine. Cordell Hackshaw

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the 2014 Roland Garros

World’s number one, Serena Williams got things underway for the defense of her French Open crown. However, despite the easy scoreline of 6-2 6-1 over French wildcard entry Alize Lim, the win was anything but routine. Much throughout the match, the American looked like some weird aberration of herself. She was screaming at herself, missing easy shots and going for unlikely winners while well out of position. It appeared as though she was going for a winner with every shot but this strategy is unlikely to success as Williams finished with winner/error differential of +1. She produced 37 winners to 36 errors. It was all very strange and inexplicable as there were no signs that it might be an injury. In her on court post-match interview, Williams was clearly not happy with her performance. Williams mentioned quite frankly that this was not an easy win for her and recognized that she needs to lift her game if she hopes to win this title again. Nonetheless, she is through to the 2nd round.

Perhaps it was the fact that Williams was playing another lowly ranked Frenchwoman in the form of her friend Lim in front of the French crowd in the 1st round of the French Open that caused her so many jitters. This situation was eerily similar to that of the 2012 French Open when Williams imploded upon herself and was dispatched by Virginie Razzano in the 1st round. Interestingly enough, Williams was wearing another green outfit as she did then. However, lightening rarely strikes twice in the same spot. Even with all the many reckless errors (14 by the 5th game of the match), Williams had winners and was able to break Lim in the 4th game. Serena showed no signs of the classic clay court patience, a necessary prerequisite to conquer this surface. She went for broke on nearly every shot and in the end it paid off she had the 1st set 6-2 after 39 minutes.

The 2nd set saw Williams picking up her levels and showing her all court skills. She raced out to a 4-1 lead. Lim tried with all her young effort to prevent being broken in the 6th game. She saved three break points and showed some good portion of her game. Williams was not to be denied. On the 4th break chance, Williams forehand swing return was too much for Lim to keep in play. Williams was serving for the match 6-2 5-1 and it seemed that it would be an easy close for the veteran player. However, Williams had other idea as the final game of the match proved to be the most bizarre. The American produced a ton of errors, double faulted twice, had a couple of aces, saved 5 break points (the only break points she faced throughout the entire match) before taking the match on her 5th match point, 6-2 6-1. Points won on 1st serves were decent at 78% but Williams’ second serve was dismal at 43% for the match. This level of play will certainly not serve her well in this competition and if this is the sort of form she maintains here in Paris, Williams is very beatable. Then again, this is Serena Williams and her prowess is never to be underestimated. Hopefully, her game picks up because she is fun to watch on clay.

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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.

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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