Roland Garros: Sharapova and Bouchard to meet in French semis after comebacks - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

WTA

Roland Garros: Sharapova and Bouchard to meet in French semis after comebacks

Published

on

TENNIS ROLAND GARROS – Maria Sharapova took care of Garbine Muguruza 1-6 7-5 6-1 and Eugenie Bouchard dismissed Carla Suarez-Navarro 7-6(4) 2-6 7-5. This is the Russian’s fourth consecutive French Open semifinals and the Canadian’s second consecutive major semifinals. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

With both the women’s top half quarterfinals matches being played simultaneously, there was a moment when both Maria Sharapova (7) and Eugenie Bouchard (18) looked as though they would be headed home from the tournament around the same time. Sharapova had dropped the opening set in spectacular fashion 1-6 to Garbine Muguruza and Bouchard saw Carla Suarez-Navarro (14) serving for first set at 5-2. The Spaniards and doubles partners Navarro and Muguruza had the matches within their grasp; their first semifinal in a major was so very close. However, both Sharapova and Bouchard felt they were not ready to go home and had yet to play their best tennis of the day. Battling back with the spirit of champions, they sent their opponents packing. Sharapova took care of Muguruza 1-6 7-5 6-1 and Bouchard dismissed Suarez-Navarro 7-6(4) 2-6 7-5. This is Sharapova’s fourth consecutive French Open semifinals and Bouchard’s second consecutive major semifinals. Now she and Sharapova will fight it out for a chance to be the 2014 French Open champion.

When the women’s draw came out, many thought that Serena Williams (1) would play Sharapova for the 18th time and get a 16th consecutive win. Muguruza blew that projection to pieces when she dismantled Williams in the 2nd round. Sharapova must have counted her lucky stars by this result. However, with the way Muguruza came out on court firing on all cylinders, it was as though Williams was still present at least in spirit. The Spaniard quickly had a double break in hand 4-0 before Sharapova was able to hold comfortably for a 1-4 scoreline. Muguruza was tapping into the “Serena playbook” of dealing with Sharapova; attacking the serves, going after the forehand and being aggressive on all points. Sharapova had no answers for this young charge and was soon broken for a third time to hand the set 1-6 to Muguruza in 27 minutes. Sharapova said after the match “[S]he was playing very aggressive and hitting shots very deep. I just didn’t have much to say to that in the first set.” The match was far from over as as Sharapova is one of the most competitive players on tour. Muguruza would soon find out that winning the first set against Sharapova is not nearly as hard as winning the second.

If Muguruza wanted to win this match she had to do so in straight sets and she could not let up in her aggression or falter during points. In the 2nd set, the Spaniard failed to both either. Sharapova spoke about her mindset after the disastrous 1st set, “[L]ittle by little I started playing a bit better, started getting in the court a little bit more, playing a little bit more aggressive, serving better than I did in the first set, returning as well, giving myself more looks at break points.” She turned things around by quickly breaking Muguruza in the 3rd game and held for a 3-1 lead. Muguruza would break back and force Sharapova to serve to stay in the match down 4-5 but Sharapova easily held to remain on serve at 5-5. After digging herself out of 0-30 holes in her two previous service games, Muguruza was up 30-0 to edge ahead again at 6-5. Sharapova seized upon this moment and reeled off four quick successive points to secure the crucial break as Muguruza was unable to defend the pace coming at her. “30-Love on serve when she’s serving quite well, I’m sure she feels like she has a good chance of getting that game in the bag, and all of a sudden I’m serving for the set.” Sharapova served for the 2nd set at 6-5 and though it would take her three set points to close it out, she took it 7-5.

Muguruza would say after the match that, “[D]uring the first set mentally I was so strong. I thought, I’m going to win. Then I was a bit nervous…And then, little by little, when you start losing, it’s a question of nerves. Then she started playing a lot better.” Play better she, Sharapova, did. In the 3rd set, Sharapova again broke early for a 3-1 lead. She then fought off several break points to remain ahead 4-1 and it was all over for Muguruza who became erratic. She would commit 26 errors in the 3rd set alone, which equalled her combined total in the two previous sets. Sharapova on the other hand had only 5 errors in the set. Being this sloppy against the likes of Sharapova, Muguruza had no chance of taking this match in the 3rd. Sharapova then broke Muguruza was a third time in the set to take the match 1-6 7-5 6-1.

Sharapova’s opponent in the semifinal, Bouchard, did not have such a straight forward comeback. Her good plays came in ebbs and flows. She started off poorly against Suarez-Navarro down 2-5 with the Spaniard serving for the match. However, Bouchard soon had break points on the Spaniard’s first attempt to take set and took one of them to be down 3-5. She held serve giving Suarez-Navarro a second chance to close out the set at 5-4 but the Spaniard could not get the job done again. Bouchard needed no encouragement to seize upon this wavering spirit of her opponent and took the lead 6-5. The Spaniard found her serve again and forced the matter to a tiebreaker but again became erratic at crucial stages. Bouchard took the breaker 7-6(4) and seemingly with it the match’s momentum.

Suarez-Navarro came back from an early break in the 2nd set to take 6 of the next 7 games. She took the set 6-2 and looked to be supreme control of the match. She was again broken early in the 3rd set but reeled of the next 4 games to be ahead 4-1. It seemed as though Bouchard’s best tennis came out when she was close to losing it for at this point, she fought her way back into the match. “At the end of the day, whether I win or lose, I want to at least leave it all there and try and at least battle,” Bouchard explained. She fought her way into the match. Bouchard began again attacking the weak serves of Suarez-Navarro and controlling from the baseline. She went after the backhand of the Spaniard which is normally very solid but today was doing her very little favours. Soon it was 5-5 and Bouchard again broke Suarez-Navarro to serve for the match. By this time, there was not much fight left in the Spaniard and Bouchard mainly had to remain focus and patient to take the match. On Bouchard’s second match point, Suarez-Navarro’s backhand again let her down and the Canadian took the match 7-6(4) 2-6 7-5.

Suarez-Navarro spoke after the match, “Well, for me it was a very difficult match. I played good, but she’s a really good player. I was up in the first set; I lost. I was up in the final set; I lost. It is difficult to speak now. I’m not happy with the result. But she was fighting all the ball until the end. She deserve to win.” This will be the third meeting for Sharapova and Bouchard who has yet to win a set off the Russian. Bouchard had this to say about the match up, “[W]e’re in the semis of a Grand Slam, so I’m going to respect her but not put her too high on a pedestal and really just battle. That’s what it’s going to be. I will leave everything on court and just focus on myself and try my best to win.”

Latest news

Alycia Parks Stuns Garcia To Win First Tour Title In Lyon

Published

on

Image via WTA Twitter

Rising star Alycia Parks is on the verge of breaking into the world’s top 50 for the first time after stunning world No.4 Caroline Garcia in straight sets to win the Lyon Open. 

 

22-year-old Parks, who contested just three WTA main draws last year, battled to a 7-6(7), 7-5, win over Garcia who is the first top-five player she has beaten on the Tour. Throughout the final, the American didn’t drop serve after saving all four break points she faced. In total, she produced 28 winners with 15 of those being aces. It is only the second time she has beaten a top 10 player on the Tour after Maria Sakkari at the Ostrava Open last year. 

“I want to thank you for all coming out, this title means a lot to me,” Parks said afterwards. “France has a special part in my heart right now. I want to congratulate Garcia, you had an amazing week, keep playing how you’re playing.”

The victory caps off what has been a breakthrough week for Parks who dropped two sets in five matches played which was in her opening two rounds. Earlier in the tournament, she also defeated seventh seed Danka Kovinic and fourth seed Petra Martic to become only the third unseeded player to win a WTA event so far this year.  

Parks was ranked 199th in the world 12 months ago but has climbed up the rankings and is now set to break into the world’s top 70 for the first time on Monday. Towards the end of last year, she won back-to-back WTA 125 tournaments and has now won 16 out of her last 17 matches played. Her only loss was to Czech teenager Sara Bejlek in the second round of qualifying at the Australian Open.

As for Garcia, Sunday’s clash was the first time she had contested a WTA final in her home city of Lyon. Coming into her clash with Parks, she had won 10 out of her last 11 finals played on the Tour. It is the 40th time in her career she has lost to an American player in a WTA main draw.

Congrats on an amazing week and the (past) couple of months have been unbelievable (for you),” said Garcia. “It’s your first WTA title today and it was well deserved. You played amazing and if you keep playing like this you are for sure going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks, who graduated from High School in 2019, is coached on the Tour by her father Michael who has been her main mentor since childhood. 

Continue Reading

Latest news

Garbine Muguruza Switches Focus From Ranking Points To Enjoyment In Hunt For Form

Ranked outside the WTA top 80 for the first time since 2013, Muguruza is hoping to stage a comeback with the help of a new perspective.

Published

on

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) waves to the crowd after defeating Fiona Ferro (FRA) on No.2 Court in the first round of the Ladies' Singles at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 1 Monday 28/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

To say that last year was tough for Gabine Muguruza is a bit of an understatement. 

 

The Spaniard started 2022 among the best players in the world and was ranked No.3 as a result of her triumph at the WTA Finals just a couple of months earlier. However, the year didn’t go as planned for two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza who won just 12 matches. In total, she played in 17 tournaments but only managed to score back-to-back victories in two of them. In October she plummeted down the rankings from 13th to 57th. 

Muguruza’s problems have continued into this season. She is yet to win a match and is now down to 82nd in the world which is her lowest position in almost a decade. January 2013 was the last time the 29-year-old was ranked outside the top 100. 

“I’ve had so many moments in my career where I’ve been so high, and other moments when I’ve not been so high. It’s a process of trying to get back up there,” the former world No.1 told The National. “Now I’m focusing on training hard and being humble.
“You have to know that maybe you haven’t had the success recently as you had in other years, but that’s fine because things can change very quickly.
“With tennis, one week it can go wrong, then next week it can go well, then everything changes again. I think experience helps me to stay calm in the not-so-good moments when I haven’t been playing as well or results haven’t followed.”

It is a frustrating situation for somebody of Muguruza’s ability to be in. At the 2021 WTA Finals, she scored four wins over top-10 players but since then hasn’t beaten anybody ranked higher than No.31 in the world. 

Eager to get back to the top of the sport, she has decided to change her outlook on how she approaches the Tour. Muguruza, who is coached by Conchita Martinez, now says her main priority is enjoying her tennis. If this is achieved, she is confident the results will follow in due course. 

“I feel that this year it’s more about keeping it calm and more simple,” she said. “Last year I put myself under a lot of pressure, telling myself to keep going to stay at the top all the time. That definitely didn’t help me, and it was a bit of a struggle.
“This year, yes ranking is important – I’ve been at every possible ranking – but that is not my priority anymore. Now it’s about enjoying my time on court and taking the trophies back home, then we’ll see what the ranking is.”

Muguruza’s next test will be at the Abu Dhabi Open, which will get underway on Monday. She has been drawn to play Karolina Pliskova in the first round who recently reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Then if she wins, she faces Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. 

“I played some good tennis [in Australia]. A bit disappointed about the quarter-final but overall my level is there. Of course, there are some things to improve to become more solid but overall the situation is quite good,” Pliskova said ahead of the first round clash. 

12 months ago Muguruza reached the third round in Abu Dhabi before losing to Maria Sakkari. 

Continue Reading

Latest news

Injured Bianca Andreescu retires From Semi-Final match In Hua Hin

The Canadian was looking to book a spot in her first WTA final of the year but was forced to retire after injuring her right shoulder.

Published

on

BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Lesia Tsurenko booked her spot in the final of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin after Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire whilst down 7-6, 4-0.

 

The first set was extremely tight with the first four games being breaks of serve. Andreescu got the crucial break to lead 5-3 and served for the first set but the Ukrainian fought back to level the set at 5-5. Then Tsurenko was the one to break serve but she was able to close out the first set.

After the opener, the semi-final clash went completely one-sided with Tsurenko taking over by winning four games off the trot before Andreescu decided to call it quits. The Canadian had a medical timeout during a second set changeover.

Tsurenko gave full credit to her opponent and despite the retirement says it was a very difficult match.

“Bianca is such an amazing player she said. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today”. She said.

Tsurenko is looking to win her fifth WTA title and will be playing in her first final since 2019 in Hua Hin. She faces the China’s Lin Zhu who earlier in the day beat the number seven seed Xinyu Wang 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and 38 minutes to book her spot in the final.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending