Roland Garros: Petkovic and Halep into first major semis with ease - UBITENNIS
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Roland Garros: Petkovic and Halep into first major semis with ease



TENNIS ROLAND GARROS – Perhaps it was the late start due to the rain delay or maybe it was being on the brink of a huge career milestone but both Andrea Petkovic and Simona Halep raced into their maiden major semifinal berth with relative ease. They both dispatched of seasoned veterans on tour who have had great success at these championships. Cordell Hackshaw


Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

Perhaps it was the late start due to the rain delay or maybe it was being on the brink of a huge career milestone but both Andrea Petkovic (28) and Simona Halep (4) raced into their maiden major semifinal berth with relative ease. They both dispatched of seasoned veterans on tour who have had great success at these championships. They also won with the same score line without any of the dramatics that highlighted the other two women’s quarterfinals. Petkovic took care of Sara Errani (10) the 2012 finalist here 6-2 6-2 and Halep dismissed Svetlana Kuznetsova (27) the 2009 champion 6-2 6-2.

Petkovic and Errani were first up on after the delay and immediately, the more experienced Italian broke the German immediately and held serve for a 2-0 lead. “I had a very good game plan from my coach. It didn’t work in the beginning…[S]o I was kind of getting a little worried.” Petkovic said after the match. However, she added the she believed in the plan and decided to stick with it and “So I was lucky that I started playing better and that I was putting more balls into play. And then also the game plan started working out better.” She was more than lucky as she reeled off 6 straight games to close out the set 6-2 in 27 minutes. Errani on the other hand looked listless and unable to show off her trademark defensive skills. She was pulled well out of her comfort zone and unable to get any momentum swinging her way.

The 2nd set began with the players trading breaks for four successive games to be even at 2-2. It was not until the 5th game that Petkovic finally held serve and never looked back. She continued with the game plan that worked so well for her in the 1st set. She attacked Errani’s serves relentlessly, continually pummeling it and returning them with interest. The Italian was left scrambling behind the baseline trying to get the heavy deep shots back into court. Petkovic would break Errani for the 7th consecutive time when the Italian sprayed the ball wide resulting in her losing the match. In just over an hour, Petkovic moved through to her first major semifinals 6-2 6-2. The German spoke about match point, “I saw the ball, and it was so slow. I just prayed to God that it went out, because I didn’t want to smash that ball…I was just praying that it went out….Please, please, please, please, please. When it went out I was super relieved and super happy.”

Errani spoke of the match Well, I think she played a good match. The problem was not that. It was me. No power, no energy.” That was not the Italian’s only problem; she also had no serve. She held serve once during the eight times she serve. Despite getting 75% of her first serves in, she was only winning 39% of those points and 17% on second serve. It was easy pickings for Petkovic who on the other hand did not have great numbers but good enough to beat Errani. She got 91% of her serves in but only won 56% of the points on first serves and 50% on second serves. However, she was able to get 26 winners many of which came off the Errani serve. Petkovic’s achievement is the first time a German woman has made it to the semifinal at the French Open in near 15 years when Steffi Graf did so in 1999. Graf would later go on to win the title over Martina Hingis.

In the last women’s quarterfinals, Halep was facing a more formidable foe than Petkovic in the form of Kuznetsova. Kuznetsova knows that it takes to win here in Paris and so far this tournament, has shown herself looking very much like a former champion. However, the Russian came out flat against the Romanian who quickly took a 2-0 lead. Kuznetsova broke back and got to 2-2 but she was making far too many errors to be effective on court. She committed 23 in total for the match. Halep was thus able to break her opponent twice in the set and serve it out 6-2 after 33 minutes.

Kuznetsova left the court for a medical time out at the end of the set and returned with her one of her thighs heavily wrapped. She later confirmed that it was a hamstring injury. This hardly helped her cause as she was kept far behind the baseline trying to work her way into the court. She was no match for the precision hitting and footwork of Halep. “I was very aggressive. I played very fast…Is my style to play fast and to take the ball very early. She’s more defensive than me. She’s playing more far from the court. So my point was today my tactic was to play fast, to play very close to the ball, and just to open the angles.” Halep said of her game plan.

Like Errani, Kuznetsova found herself scrambling behind the baseline and forced to be far too defensive on a day that required them to be offensive-minded if they wanted to win. Halep worked her way into the set and raced to a 4-1 lead. Kuznetsova got one of the breaks back for 2-4 but Halep continued to pile on the pressure and broke back immediately to serve for the match 5-2. It looked for a moment that Halep would be unable to serve it out as she double faulted three times in the final game but she got herself together and continued to push her opponent around until finally Kuznetsova dumped another forehand into the net. Halep won 6-2 6-3 in 79 minutes.

Kuznetsova was broken six times in the match which was no surprise as she was only winning 43% of her first serve points and 35% on her second serve. Halep was significantly better in both areas as she won 57% on her first serve and 50% on her second serve. This would be Halep and Petkovic’s 4th meeting with Halep leading 2-1. “It will be a tough match, for sure. It’s a little pressure because it’s semifinal, but I feel good. I feel my game. I feel prepared for the next match. For sure I will try everything to win.” Halep said of the upcoming semifinals.

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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

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