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

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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.”

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Caroline Wozniacki To Face Serena Williams In Farewell Match

Details have been released about a special event that will take place in honour of the former world No.1.

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After announcing her retirement from tennis at the start of next year, Caroline Wozniacki has confirmed that she will play one final match in her home country before hanging up her racket for good.

 

Danish media have reported that the 2018 Australian Open champion will play at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen next May. A multi-purpose arena that can hold a capacity of up to 12,500 people for sporting events. Described by the promoters as Wozniacki’s ‘final match’ on Danish soil, she will play against rival and friend Serena Williams.

“The time has come when I stop my career and I am very much looking forward to playing my very last home game in front of such a large audience. It will be something very special and a day I really look forward to.” Wozniacki told tv2.dk.
“The end point of my career cannot be better than at home and against tennis’ greatest female player ever. It’s going to be a magnificent night I’ll never forget, I’m sure.” She added.

Wozniacki has played Williams 11 times on the WTA Tour, but has only won one of their meetings. Which was at the 2012 Miami Open. It is not the first time the two have played an exhibition match against each other. In 2016 Williams won their encounter in Madison Square Garden, New York. Meanwhile, last year Wozniacki also played Williams’ sister Venus in Denmark to mark her triumph at the Australian Open.

The 29-year-old will be hoping that the upcoming showdown will be the perfect send off as she exits the sport. During her career, Wozniacki has won 30 WTA titles and spent 71 weeks as world No.1. She has also won 432 hard court matches, which is more than any other non-American player on the women’s tour.

“I want to thank everyone for the incredible support they have shown me throughout my career and I hope that as many people as possible want to come and give me perfect send off. I would be very grateful for that.” She said.

The farewell match will take place on May 18th, which is exactly a week before the start of the French Open for Williams.

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Indian Wells voted as the best WTA Premier Mandatory Tournament of the 2019 season

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The tournament awards are broken down into four categories, according to the four different levels of WTA Tournaments.

 

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells has been voted as the winner of the Tournament of the Year Award in the WTA Premier Mandatory category for the sixth consecutive year and the 11th time overall.

Dubai was voted as the winner in the WTA Premier 5 Category. There were two ties in the WTA Premier category and in the WTA International categories.

St. Petersburg won the WTA Premier Award fo the second consecutive year, while Stuttgart received this award for the 10th time.

Auckland won the WTA International category Award for the fourth time, while Acapulco received this accolade for the 12th time.

Petra Kvitova received the Karen Krantzcke Sportmanship Award for the seventh straight year and the eighth time overall. The list of past winners of this Award features Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva, Ana Ivanovic, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. The Karen Krantzcke Sportmaship Award is presented to the player, who observes the rules of fair play, shows respect for others and is gracious on and off the court.

“Receiving this award for the eighth consecutive year makes me very proud and means so much for me. Being recognized by my colleagues for sportsmanship and fair play is an honour as I always pride myself on treating my opponents with respect. I hope to inspire the future generations to love the sport of tennis as much as I do”, said Kvitova.

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Carla Suarez Navarro Set For One Last Season As A Player

The former top 10 player has outlined her retirement plans for 2020 as she embarks upon a farewell tour.

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Next year will be the final time tennis fans will see Carla Suarez Navarro on the tour after the Spaniard announced her retirement on Tuesday.

 

The former world No.6 confirmed her future plans during a press conference in Barcelona. She will play one full season in 2020 before walking away from the sport after playing for more than 10 years on the WTA Tour. Suarez Navarro is currently the second highest ranked female tennis player from Spain after Garbine Muguruza and is currently 55th in the world.

“The 2020 season will be my last year in the professional tennis circuit,” wtatennis.com quoted the 31-year-old as saying. “The sport has been a fundamental part of my life – it has given me immense joy and I cannot be more grateful for all the experiences that it has allowed me to live. At this time, I notice that the time has come to complete a beautiful chapter and begin to enjoy other areas of life. Tennis will always be in me.”

Known for her one-handed backhand shot, which is a rare occurrence in the women’s game, Suarez Navarro has enjoyed a successful career since her breakthrough in 2008. The year when she reached the quarter-finals of the French Open as a qualifier. During her career, she claimed two WTA titles with the biggest being at the 2016 Qatar Open. She also finished runner-up at nine other tournaments.

“Tennis right now has a very high demand. To be high in the ranking you need absolute consistency, a world-class level of physical conditioning and a 24-hour daily psychological commitment. I have been in high competition for more than 15 years and have lived through these realities since the beginning of my adolescence. These are lessons that have formed me as a person and that will serve me for a lifetime,” Suárez Navarro explained.
“I want to enjoy one last season with the same professionalism as always. I am going to do a quality preparation, my whole team is going to travel with me from the month of January and I plan to compete until the end of the season. My desire is clear: to be proud of this last effort when I reach the end of the road.”

Suarez Navarro has also enjoyed success in the doubles where she peaked at a high of 11th back in 2015. Her trio of trophies was won alongside Muguruza between 2014-2015. The duo also reached the semi-finals of the 2014 French Open.

Representing her country, the three-time Olympian has also featured in 15 Fed Cup ties. Including Spain’s clash with Belgium earlier this year when she won all three of her matches (two singles and one doubles). Overall, she has a win-loss record of 16-11 in the competition.

Despite knowing that next year will be her last as a player, the Spaniard has big ambitions for 2020. Including a fourth consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games.

“My goals are going to be as high as ever,” she stated. “I want to try to finish the year in the Top 10 because I know what it takes to be there. I am very excited to participate in another Olympic Games and, as always, I will have the Grand Slams in mind. Although it is the last season of my career, my mentality will be exactly the same: work, humility and ambition.”

Suarez Navarro will start her final season at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Four facts about Suarez Navarro’s career

  1. Her career prize money currently stands at $11,580,886. The third highest of all time for a Spanish woman.
  2. Has won 509 matches so far in her career against 336 loses.
  3. Between 2013-2016 Suarez Navarro finished each season in the top 20 for both singles and doubles.
  4. She has played in 43 grand slam tournaments and hasn’t missed the main draw of a major event since losing in the second round of qualifying at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships.

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