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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In-Form Liudmila Samsonova Storms To Tokyo Title

Tokyo is the second tournament this year the Russian has won without dropping a set.




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




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.




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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