WTA Premier Madrid: Halep through to the Madrid final and to third place in the rankings - UBITENNIS
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WTA Premier Madrid: Halep through to the Madrid final and to third place in the rankings




TENNIS – Simona Halep from Romania beat Petra Kvitova in the WTA Premier Madrid come back from a set behind 6-7, 6-3, 6-2. Halep is now just 21 points behind Azarenka in the WTA rankings and will become World Number 3 if she wins the tournament. Cordell Hackshaw

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

There should be no doubt about it; Simona Halep (4) of Romania is the real deal. She might not yet be contending for majors but she most certainly will be vying for a big title tomorrow as she placed herself in the Mutua Madrid final with a 6-7 6-3 6-2 victory over Petra Kvitova (5). The diminutive Romanian stood shoulder to shoulder with Kvitova, the 2011 Madrid champion on every point until the Czech succumbed to her superior movement and ball striking abilities. It was a great match overall filled with many great shots but in the end, Kvitova could not hold on to the lead of a set and early break in the 2nd set. “It was a very tough match today. I couldn’t believe that I can come back again. She played really well and she was fighting very well.” Halep stated after the match. “I’m really happy that I can play the final here in Madrid” Halep added.

In the 1st set, the level of tennis was high. Both women came out with their “A game”; hitting their first serves and going for their shots. Kvitova seemed the more aggressive of the two and was willing to take more risk. It was no wonder than she got 18 winners and 29 errors compared to Halep’s 6 winners and 13 errors for the set. The two saved early break points but Kvitova was able to break in the 6th game to go up 4-2. However, she was unable to consolidate and the set would ultimately be decided in a tiebreaker. It was at this point that Kvitova really showed her experience. She knew that it was important to take charge early and quickly raced to a 4-0 lead in the breaker. Halep could not find her range and it was only when Kvitova double faulted instead of going up 5-0, did she get on the board. In the end however, her efforts would be in vain and Kvitova took the set 7-6(4).

Halep was not pleased with herself after losing the set. A bathroom break did not help calm her nerves as she was broken in the first game of the 2nd set. Down 1-3, the Romanian decided to change her head gear from a visor to a simple hair band despite rising heat. This change of attire seemed to change the complexion of the match as Halep reeled off 5 straight games to take the 2nd set 6-3. This new found confidence saw her hitting 4 aces, winning 83% of her first serve points and committing only 6 errors compared to the 16 from Kvitova who was only winning 50% of the points on her first serve.

Halep’s sureness continued into the decisive set as she quickly broke Kvitova for a 2-0 lead. The Czech was looking out of sorts by now. She was fighting the conditions and looked a bit off-coloured. It was soon clear that Kvitova was not going to claw her way out of this hole. All Kvitova’s energies were spent on preventing another break of her serve. This in turn made it impossible for her to have any impact on the Halep serve. Kvitova saw no break point opportunities in the 3rd set despite Halep serving at 47%. However, the Romanian only dropped three points on serve for the set. Kvitova finally capitulated having committed 66 errors for the match as Halep got the double break in the 7th game and served out the match 6-7 6-3 6-2.

This is Halep’s first premier mandatory final and well deserved. After a magical 2013 where she won six titles, she quickly followed that up in 2014 with a quarterfinals appearance in Australia, getting to the semifinals in Indian Wells and winning the Qatar Open. Her current ranking of 5 in the world is the highest for a Romanian woman in the WTA history. Nonetheless, she would need all her experience and skill on maximum overdrive tomorrow in order to beat Maria Sharapova who made it to her second consecutive Madrid final. Halep has no illusion about the difficulty task ahead, Tomorrow I expect a very tough match…Maria is a champion and she knows how to manage the finals. I’m very excited that I can play my biggest finals tomorrow. I hope that my emotions will be down and I can play.”

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Barbora Krejcikova Does The Double In San Jose



After what has been a challenging past few weeks on the Tour, Barbora Krejcikova has returned to the winner’s circle by claiming both the singles and doubles titles at the San Diego Open. 


The world No.13 battled to a marathon 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, win over Sofia Kenin in what was a clash of the former Grand Slam champions. Krejcikova was pushed to her limits throughout the two-and-a-half-hour clash with there being no break in the decider until the final game. It is the second singles title the Czech has won on the WTA Tour this season after Dubai and her seventh overall. 

“Normally I wouldn’t be here,” said Krejcikova, who received a wild card to play in the tournament “I really want to thank them (the tournament organisers). It was very special. I really enjoyed my stay here.”

Krejcikova’s run to the trophy has also seen her score wins over Beatriz Haddad Maia and Danielle Collins earlier in the week. She is the first player from her country to win the tournament. 

Following on from that triumph, the 27-year-old then clinched the doubles title alongside compatriot Katerina Siniakova. The duo beat Collins and Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-4.

Krejcikova came into San Jose on a four-match losing streak which started at Wimbledon where she was forced to withdraw from her secound round clash due to a left leg injury. 

“I came here with not really good statistics after my injury, I didn’t actually win any matches,” she said. “So I just came here and I pretty much was hoping and believing that I could get the first win and go from there. It’s pretty special to be sitting here having won [the title].”

It is only the second time in Krejcikova’s career that she has won both the singles and doubles titles at the same event. The first time she did so was at the 2021 French Open where her partner in the doubles was also Siniakova.

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Ex-No.1 Ash Barty Stands By Retirement Decision



Ashleigh Barty (AUS) playing against Angelique Kerber (GER) 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/Jed Leicester

Despite the growing number of players returning to competitive tennis after giving birth, Ash Barty says she is contempt in retirement. 


Barty, who is still only 27 years old, stunned the sport at the start of 2022 when she announced her retirement from the sport just weeks after winning the Australian Open. She has won 15 WTA titles during her career with three of them being at Grand Slam tournaments. She also held the world No.1 spot for 121 weeks and earned more than $23.8M in prize money. 

The Australian returned to the media limelight on Friday by attending a special event to announce the return of the Brisbane International next year. It will be the first time the tournament has been held since the COVID pandemic with the women’s draw being increased from 32 to 48. However, no such changes will be made to the men’s draw. There will be a record prize money pool of AUS$3.1M. 

For those hoping that Barty might have a change of heart and return to competitive action at her home event in Brisbane, they are going to be disappointed. 

“I don’t have the time – I don’t have the time to train, I don’t have the time to prepare, and I have so many great memories out on this court, and now I just get to create new memories,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Barty as saying. 

“I’m certainly not coming out of retirement. Pat (Rafter) may be more likely than me.”

Earlier this year Caroline Wozniacki announced her return to tennis following a three-year retirement from the sport. Despite playing in only two WTA tournaments beforehand, she reached the fourth round of the US Open where she was defeated by Coco Gauff who went on to win the title. Meanwhile, Elina Svitolina returned to the Tour following the birth of her first child and reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon. 

Barty has previously said she would like to remain involved in tennis by helping support the rising stars of the game in her home country. Currently, Australia doesn’t have any players in the top 100 on the women’s Tour. In contrast, there are nine Australians in the top 100 on the men’s Tour. 

“It’s depth, you have to play at your top level, you have to be consistent across a 52-week calendar to keep your ranking up with the top of the world,” she said.
“I think it’s exciting for the women’s game, it creates hunger, passion and drive for girls wanting to be the best and knowing there’s an opportunity to take that top spot.
“There’s obviously not as many girls in the top 100 as we would like, but there’s plenty coming through that are learning their craft, developing.
“It takes time to understand how you think you can fit in, how you think you can grow into your play. I’m excited for the next five or 10 years to see where they can get to.”

The Australian tennis season will begin on December 29th with the United Cup. A mixed-team competition that will be held in Sydney and Perth. Two days later, the first singles events in Brisbane and Adelaide will get underway. 

The 2024 Australian Summer of Tennis calendar 

United Cup
Venue: Perth – RAC Arena, Sydney – Ken Rosewall Arena
Group Stage – 29 December 2023 to 5 January 2024
Finals – 6 to 7 January 2024, more details to be announced soon
Category: ATP / WTA international mixed team competition

Brisbane International
31 December 2023 to 7 January 2024
Venue: Queensland Tennis Centre, Brisbane
Category: WTA 500 / ATP 250
Draw size: WTA – 48 singles / 24 doubles; ATP – 32 singles, 24 doubles

Canberra International
31 December 2023 to 6 January 2024
Venue: Canberra Tennis Centre, Canberra
Category: ATP Challenger 125 / WTA 125
Draw size: ATP – 32 singles, 16 doubles; WTA – 32 singles, 16 doubles

Adelaide International
8 to 13 January 2024
Venue: The Drive, Adelaide
Category: WTA 500 / ATP 250
Draw size: WTA – 32 singles, 16 doubles; ATP – 28 singles, 24 doubles

Hobart International
8 to 13 January 2024
Venue: Domain Tennis Centre, Hobart
Category: WTA 250
Draw size: 32 singles, 16 doubles

AO Opening Week, including Australian Open qualifying (8 to 12 January)
8 to 14 January 2024
Venue: Melbourne Park, Melbourne
Category: Grand Slam 
Draw size: Q128 singles

Australian Open
15 to 28 January 2024
Venue: Melbourne Park, Melbourne
Category: Grand Slam
Draw size: 128 singles, 64 doubles 

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The WTA Tour In 2024 Should Be Even Stronger



Cori Gauff - Australian Open 2023 (Twitter @AustralianOpen)

To Aryna Sabalenka, every shot seems to be a go-for-it.


The two Grand Slam champions in Sunday’s U.S. Open men’s final would say, “Thank you” for a similar approach by their opponent. But Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev don’t play that game often.

They play to win. Sabalenka didn’t, although she wanted so badly to earn her second Grand Slam title this year.


Coco Gauff also played to win, once she got past a one-sided first set. Sabalenka kept going for it, and the world’s new No. 1 player paid the price in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to young Coco Gauff.

So, what happens now? Obviously, Sabalenka and Gauff will lead the way as the best women’s players in the game . . . for now.

Where does French Open champ and former world’s No. 1 Iga Swiatek fit? Wimbledon titlist Marketa Vondrousova, Jessica Pegula, 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, Ons Jabeur and yes, Karolina Muchova fit into WTA Tour stars led by Sabalenka and Gauff?


The 2024 women’s season is sure to be an exciting one. Any of these eight players could turn out to be superstars by this time next year.

Or it might be that there are simply too many equals in the women’s game, or maybe not enough stability at the top of the game. Superstars are important to a tour.

What would the ATP Tour have looked like without Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal all winning Grand Slams about the same time?

Gauff has been amazing since returning from Europe to the U.S., going 16-0 in the U.S. and suffering her only loss in Canada to doubles partner Pegula.


Gauff is projected to climb three spots in the WTA rankings to No. 3.

But Saturday was the dream come true for the 19-year-old. She simply outplayed the hard-hitting Sabalenka in the last two sets.

Just as Medvedev’s victory over Carlos Alcaraz was set up by Medvedev’s amazing defense, running down practically everything Alcaraz had to offer, Gauff’s victory was secured by her ability to repeatedly chase down what looked like Sabalenka winners.

Gauff usually kept running down Sabalenka’s missiles until the Belarussian missed the court.

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

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