WTA Madrid: Serena sloppy but sufficient in Madrid - UBITENNIS
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WTA Madrid: Serena sloppy but sufficient in Madrid

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TENNIS WTA Madrid – Judging by the scoreline, world’s number 1, Serena Williams won her 3rd round match 6-2 6-3 over Spain’s Carla Suarez-Navarro in routine fashion. However, anyone who saw the match will know that this was far from a convincing victory. Cordell Hackshaw

Interviews, results, order of play and draws of the Mutua Madrid Open

Judging by the scoreline, world’s number 1, Serena Williams won her 3rd round match 6-2 6-3 over Spain’s Carla Suarez-Navarro in routine fashion. However, anyone who saw the match will know that this was far from a convincing victory. The two-time defending champion was facing Suarez-Navarro for the 4th time and on all three previous encounters, Williams dished out a bagel set per match including the double bagel on the Spaniard’s birthday at the 2013 US Open. With this “lack of compassion” for her opponent, one imagined the American would blitz Suarez-Navarro in front of her home crowd. However, that was not to be the case today as Williams was seemingly in a more “charitable” mood donating points and games to the Spaniard.

In her opening service game, Williams was broken at love and though she broken right back and raced off to a 3-1 lead, she was again broken at love to get back on serve at 3-2. Conversely, Suarez-Navarro had seemingly figured out how to break the “Serena Serve” but the problem of holding her own serve remained. Williams would again break Suarez-Navarro on two more occasions to close out the set 6-2. The American can hardly be pleased by the stats for this set as she only got 50% of her 1st serves in and won a meagre 56% of those points. Her second serve numbers were not pretty as well at 33%. She committed 15 unforced errors compared to 7 from the Spaniard. The only positive marks for Williams in the set are her 13 winners and converting 4/6 break points.

Having secured the 1st set, one expected Williams to settle down and get her act together especially since she was up against a player who struggles mightily to hold her own serve. However, Williams was again broken on two consecutive service games but Suarez-Navarro continued to have the issue of being unable to consolidate the breaks and so we were back on serve 2-2. This string of four consecutive breaks was finally ended when both players held serve for 3-3. It was at this point that the “real Serena Williams” finally showed up as she broke the Spaniard again in the 8th game and served out the match with her only ace 6-2 6-3.

In her post match interview, Williams spoke highly of her opponent, “She made me work for every point and it wasn’t an easy win. I think that was her goal today, was to put on a really good show and play really hard and show me what she’s capable of. She’s obviously capable of doing a lot. Suarez-Navarro should be pleased with this performance: She won games in each set; 5 in total which equals the total games won in her last 3 matches verses Williams, she broke Williams four times and even held serve; something she could not do in the last 4 sets against the American. Williams on the other hand, has to clean up her game tremendously if she wants to “threepeat” as champion here in Madrid. Serving at 52% for the match and winning only 36% of her 2nd serve points will not get the job done against Petra Kvitova who she will face in the quarterfinals. Williams will be looking for her 651st career win tomorrow, which would put her in the 10th spot along with big sister Venus Williams on the women’s All-Time win list.

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Tereza Martincova and Belinda Bencic reach the quarter final in Ostrava

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Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova upset Roland Garros Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) after 2 hours and 19 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Martincova claimed her third top 20 win of her career and reached her second quarter final on home soil this season after finishing fourth in Prague. 

Pavlyuchenkova earned the first break to take a 4-3 lead and served for the first set in the 10th game, but she never reached a set point. The Russian player came just two points away from winning the first set at 5-4 30-15, but Martincova won four consecutive points before winning the tie-break 7-5. 

Martincova dropped just eight points in the first six games of the second set. The Czech player fended off two break points to consolidate her lead for 2-0. She raced out to a 7-6 (7-5) 5-1 lead, but Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to hold serve forcing Martincova to serve for the match. Martincova dropped four consecutive points. Pavlyuchenkova got another break, when Martincova was serving for the match for the third time at 6-5. Martincova went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Pavlyuchenkova drew level to 4-4 before saving a third match point. Martincova won the final two points to claim the tie-break 8-6. 

Martincova set up a quarter final match against Maria Sakkari, who beat last week’s Luxembourg finalist Jelena Ostapenko. 

This year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo in just 88 minutes. Bencic claimed her 15th win in her last 18 matches. Bencic broke six times and reeled off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set to cruise through to a a straight-set win. Sorribes Tormo saved a break point to win her first game for 1-4 and pulled one break back in the sixth game, but Bencic sealed the win with her third break in the ninth game. “I think I prepared well for this match tactically, and also mentally, because it’s very tough. You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface, where it’s very slow. I am happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match”, said Bencic. 

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Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Indian Wells, Unclear If She Will Play Again This Year

There is no official word but it looking increasingly likly that the world No.8 might have pulled the plug on her 2021 season.

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka has officially withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells just weeks after saying she will take a break from the sport due to personal reasons.

 

The former world No.1 hadn’t played a match since her loss to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open. Speaking to reporters in New York, Osaka said she didn’t know when she would play another match on the Tour. Earlier this year she opened up about her mental health struggles after revealing she has been suffering from social anxiety and depression. Osaka also took time away from the sport during the summer after pulling out of the French Open before deciding to skip Wimbledon.

“This is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry,” she said following her loss to Fernandez.
“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”

Osaka’s withdrawal from Indian Wells was confirmed by the tournament who published an announcement on social media. Although they didn’t specify what reason she used to withdraw from the tournament which is one of the biggest events outside of the Grand Slams in terms of ranking points and prize money on offer.

It was Indian Wells where Osaka won her first prestigious title back in 2018 after defeating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets. The following year she was the top seed in the draw but lost to Belinda Bencic in the fourth round.

There has been no official comment from Osaka or her team about Indian Wells and if she will play again this season. Although it looks increasingly unlikely. She is in with a chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals in November but even if she does make the cut it is unclear if she will attend the event which has been relocated from China to Mexico.

This year Indian Wells will get underway on October 4th which is more than six months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Simona Halep Ends Six-Year Collaboration With Coach Cahill

One of the longest coaching partnerships on the WTA Tour has come to an end.

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Former world No.1 Simona Halep is on the lookout for a new coach after unexpectedly announcing her split from Darren Cahill on Wednesday.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion has been working with the Australian mentor for most of the time since 2015. There was a brief period where Cahill stepped away from his duties to spend more time with his family before later returning. Under his guidance, the Romanian reached the top of the world rankings and featured in the final of three major tournaments, winning two of those.

“After six wonderful years working together, Darren Cahill and I have decided that it’s time to end our working relationship,” Halep wrote on social media. “Thank you D for everything, for making me a better tennis player and a better person.”

55-year-old Cahill is a former player himself who has also worked with a series of top players prior to Halep. In the past, he has coached both Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to world No.1 at different stages of their careers. Doubles specialist Horia Tecău reportedly told Romanian TV that it was rumoured Cahill received an annual salary in the region of one million euros during his time with Halep. Although this has not been verified.

The announcement comes a week after Halep married Macedonian businessman Toni Iuruc. One of those who attended the event was Illie Nastase who was one of the world’s best tennis players during the 1970s, winning both the French Open and US Open.

I didn’t know anything about Simona’s intention to break up with Darren Cahill. It took me a little by surprise. But Simona Halep has proven she knows what she’s doing. As I did not know, I do not see what I could comment. But there is no question of collaborating (with her),” Nastase told playsport.ro.
I didn’t talk to her about this or to anyone else in her entourage… I think only Simona knows who her future coach will be. I trust her choices.”

So far in 2021 Halep has achieved a win-loss record of 15-7 during what has been a rollercoaster season. An Achilles injury forced her to miss both the French Open and Wimbledon, as well as the Tokyo Olympics. Since returning to the Tour from her injury she has won back-to-back matches in one out of three tournaments played. Reaching the fourth round of the US Open.

There has been no official word on who may replace Cahill as Halep’s coach.

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