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Roland Garros: Halep defeats “experienced” Stephens

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TENNIS ROLAND GARROS – Simona Halep will compete in her first ever Roland Garros quarter final after taking care of Sloane Stephens in two nervous sets 6-4 6-3. Giulio Gasparin

 

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

The fourth seed played far from her best, but managed to lift her game in the crucial moments of both the first and second set, differently from the American, who closed the match with a bad miss.

The match certainly developed in a way that Stephens did not expect, as ahead of this match she had remarked how Halep’s ranking was done of many good runs in small tournaments, while she had “lots of experience” at slam level.

However, it surely is not easy for the Romanian to be the highest seed left in the tournament, when her best result in slams is a quarter finals reached in January at the Australian Open.

Traces of this tension showed throughout the match, as Halep looked slightly more faulty than she usually is, especially with her serve.

On the other side of the net, Stephens showed all the skills that took her to this fourth round, including a surprisingly solid backhand and terrific defence.

In the very first game, the fourth seed faced a break point before holding. Then she seemed swift in putting the doubts behind as she broke the American to love.

Errors started leaking again and Stephens found a three games streak to take the lead.

Halep reacted immediately and by cutting down the number of errors, she broke back and held with authority.

The young American kept her nerves and forced the score to 4-4 after a very tight service game, to which a spectacular one followed on the Romanian’s serve.

On 40-15 for the fourth seed, Stephens won the longest point of the match after a gruelling 24-shot-long rally and it seemed as if she could turn the match around as she suddenly had a chance to break.

Halep shut this door with an outstanding backhand down the line winner, before holding the serve and breaking her opponent with another trade-mark backhand, which gave her the set as well.

The second set started well for the former junior champion here, as she went up 2-0, but then for four consecutive games neither her nor Stephens managed to hold.

On 4-2, Halep raised her game and in few minutes she hit an ace and two more winners to hold and force the American to serve to stay in the match.

Stephens accomplished this first task with the best service game of her match, but it all seemed to come too late, as Halep did not let the chance go and in the very next game she held to seize the match.

When in her press conference before the match Stephens said “I just peak at four tournaments a year” and “Every other tournament, I guess, just get me ready for these,” she was not lying though, as she surely showed the best of her repertoire today, but it was not enough against the Romanian.

Halep is now waiting for her opponent to come from a match between former Roland Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Lucie Safarova.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina Announces Pregnancy

Tennis’ power couple are set to become parents later this year.

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Former world No.3 Elina Svitoliva has announced that she is expecting a baby girl in October on social media.

 

The 27-year-old made the announcement on Sunday morning with a picture of her and her husband, French tennis star Gael Monfils. Known by some as the sports ‘power couple,’ the two tied the knot last July in Geneva ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games after first going public about their relationship in 2019. They even have their own Instagram account called ‘g.e.m.s. life’ which has more than 139,000 followers.

“With a heart full of love and happiness, we are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby girl in October,” the couple wrote on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/ElinaSvitolina/status/1525778313918177280

Svitolina hadn’t played on the Tour since losing to Heather Watson at the Miami Open in March after deciding to take time away from the sport due to events happening in her home country. Russia launched a military operation against Ukraine earlier this year which has claimed thousands of lives. Svitolina is one of the sport’s most outspoken players regarding the conflict. She has previously spoken out against the decision to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes from Wimbledon by arguing that they should be allowed to participate if they condemn the actions of their home countries.

We don’t want them banned completely,” Svitolina told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.
“If players don’t speak out against the Russian government then it is the right thing to ban them.”

Prior to announcing her pregnancy, Svitolina has achieved a win-loss record of 5-8 on the Tour this season with her best runs being to the third round of the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of a WTA event in Monterrey.

During her career, the Ukrainian has won 16 WTA titles and reached the semi-finals of two Grand Slams during 2019.

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Bianca Andreescu reaches Rome quarterfinals after beating Petra Martic

The Canadian was able to get by her Croatian opponent in straight sets on Thursday afternoon in the Italian capital.

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Photo by Roberto Dell’Olivo

Bianca Andreescu is through to the quaterfinals of the Italian Open being played at the Foro Italico in Rome after beating Petra Martic in 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 45 minutes.

 

The Toronto native served four aces and won 76% of her first serve points in a match that was pretty straight forward for the world number 90 who makes her first quaterfinal this season.

During the first set both players did a good job holding serve and it was pretty tight until 4-4 when the Canadian was able to convert and served out the first set to take a 1-0 lead.

Andreescu was hungry for the early break in the second set and she got it but the Croat broke right back the following game to level the set at 2-2. She was then put on the defensive as the world number 47 started putting pressure on the Canadian but Andreescu was able to save two breakpoints before being able to hold serve to make it 3-3.

The next game Martic produced a poor service game and the 2019 US Open champ took full advantage, getting the break and that one break was enough for her to serve out the match.

Her reward for reaching the quarterfinals a date with the world number one Iga Swiatek who had no issues beating the Minsk native Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-1.

This will be their first ever meeting on the WTA Tour.

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