Sharapova survives a third 3-setter for a 3rd straight French Open Final - UBITENNIS
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Sharapova survives a third 3-setter for a 3rd straight French Open Final

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TENNIS FRENCH OPEN – No one ever discounts Maria Sharapova’s tenacity. In fact, one can say that she has taken her tenacity to the third power. For the third straight match, Sharapova came back from dropping the opening set. In doing so, she has moved into her third consecutive French Open final. This time around, her opponent was be the young Canadian starlet, Eugenie Bouchard and Sharapova won the match 4-6 7-5 6-2. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

No one ever discounts Maria Sharapova’s tenacity but one can hardly overlook the fact that this year’s French Open is showing her to be taking that doggedness to another degree. In fact, one can say that she has taken her tenacity to the third power. For the third straight match, Sharapova (7) came back from dropping the opening set to win in three sets. In doing so, she has moved into her third consecutive French Open final. This time around, her opponent was be the young Canadian starlet, Eugenie Bouchard (18) and Sharapova won the match 4-6 7-5 6-2 in about two and a half hours. Sharapova spoke of her comebacks; “You put so much effort, you and your team, to get to this position. If some things are not working out…when you lose the first set or a few games or you’re down a break, that’s not the end of the match. That’s the type of philosophy that I play with.”

As in the two previous matches, Sharapova’s opponent broke her first. Bouchard broke Maria in the 3rd game and consolidated the break with a hold to go up 3-1. Sharapova had an easy hold to keep the gap close and then gave herself chances to break Bouchard’s serve. However, Bouchard showed herself ready for the challenge as she saved two break points to stay ahead 4-2. Sharapova would break Bouchard to level it at 4-4 and served for a 5-4 lead but her serving inconsistencies continued as she soon down triple break points. She was able to save one of them but a brilliant backhand crosscourt winner saw Bouchard now with the 5-4 lead, serving for set. It was whilst serving for this set that Bouchard exhibited signs that she is something special and a future contender for major titles. She stood toe to toe with Sharapova, saving break point to hold onto her serve and take the 1st set 6-4.

Sharapova is not one to go down without a fight and rarely does she lose to young upstarts. She was firing on all cylinders at the start of the 2nd set. Bouchard on the hand came out rather panicky as though she were the one trailing in the match. Sharapova quickly held serve and broke Bouchard who was leaking errors all over the place. She was even missing simple put aways. However, she would settle down to break Sharapova in the 3rd game and led 40-0 to get even at 2-2. Bouchard fell apart once again and became inconsistent on her shots. Sharapova continued her assault to get back into this match as lead 5-2 and force Bouchard to serve to stay in the set.

Bouchard held serve and then became super offensive against Sharapova who was serving for the set at 5-3. Bouchard would deny Sharapova set points in this 9th game and broke the Russian. Bouchard held serve to get to 5-5. Sharapova calm as ever, took the 11th game with relative ease and forced Bouchard once again to serve to stay in the set. It was at this moment that Sharapova really showed her true grit. Whilst serving yet again to stay in the set, Bouchard found herself down 15-40 and though one of the set points was saved, Sharapova would not let another go by as she took the set 7-5.

As in her two previous matches, Sharapova dropped the 1st set, gave her opponents legitimate chances to take her out in straights and when they failed to do so, she took the 2nd set for herself, and became almost unplayable in the 3rd set. Sharapova virtually ran away with it against Bouchard as she led 5-2 and for good measure broke Bouchard again to take the match 4-6 7-5 6-2. Bouchard would not even see a break point on the Sharapova serve in the 3rd set. “I don’t feel that I played my best tennis today, but to be in the semifinals of a Grand Slam and winning a match where I felt my opponent played extremely well, exceptional tennis and I didn’t feel that I was playing my best, I fought, I scrambled, and I found a way to win. I’m happy and proud about that,” Sharapova said after the match.

Bouchard had this to say about her performance in the match: “[I]t was a tough battle, which is what I expected…[T]he whole match I didn’t play as well as I have played earlier in the tournament…I think I might have maybe backed off a little bit on my shots in the second and third…I just maybe wasn’t finishing well in the second and third as much.” Bouchard had looks, chances and great opportunities to take this match but failed to execute at these key moments. The Canadian committed 48 errors for the match, 35 of which were in the last two sets. Her service game was not reliable as she barely got cheap points off it. She was only winning 59% on the first serve and 41% on the second. Sharapova on the other hand despite being very inconsistent and double faulting at inopportune times, was winning 75% of her first serve points and 41% on her second. Sharapova will face Simona Halep (4) in the final on Saturday, a player she recently beat in another 3-set comeback last month in Madrid. The Russian is looking for her 2nd French title in three years as well as her 5th major title overall. With her efforts here in Paris over the past two weeks, very few doubt that she would achieve this career milestone, even if she is a set and two breaks down.

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French Open Finalist Marketa Vondrousova Undergoes Surgery

It is a premature end to what has been a breakthrough season for the Czech.

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Czech rising star Marketa Vondrousova will miss the rest of the season after undergoing an operation on her left wrist.

 

The 20-year-old made the announcement on her Instagram account where she uploaded a picture of herself after undergoing the procedure. Vondrousova hasn’t played a match on the tour since Wimbledon, where she first sustained the injury. According to Czech media, she received treatment at the same facility which Petra Kvitova attended following a knife attack that severely injured her playing hand.

“For two months I tried to treat my wrist conservatively and tried everything possible. Unfortunately, nothing led to a significant improvement. That is why I decided on this solution, which should relieve me of my pain for good,” Vondrousova said is a statement issued by her team.
“Unfortunately for me, 2019 ended earlier than I wanted. I can’t wait to play back on the courts without pain anymore, she added.

The premature end draws the curtain on what has been a breakthrough season for Vondrousova. At the French Open she defeated Petra Martic and Johanna Konta en route to the final. Becoming the youngest player to do so at the tournament since Ana Ivanovic back in 2007. She was denied the title by Ash Barty, who prevailed in straight sets.

Yet to win a title, Vondrousova has managed to remain consistent on the tour by reaching the quarter-finals or better at six consecutive tournaments between February and June. Including the final of the Budapest Open. During that time, she managed to score two wins over Simona Halep. The highest ranked player she has defeated so far in her career.

Vondrousova is currently ranked 22nd in the world. She ends the season with a win-loss record of 29-9.

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‘Relaxed’ Su-Wei Hsieh Saves Match Point To Oust Muguruza In Osaka

Su-Wei Hsieh saved match point to eliminate Garbine Muguruza from the premier-level tournament in Osaka.

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Su-Wei Hsieh (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

Su-Wei Hsieh was in a relaxed mood as she saved match point to edge out Garbine Muguruza 3-6 7-6(1) 6-1 in Osaka. 

 

The Wimbledon doubles champion claimed her second straight win over the Spaniard having saved match point in the contest.

After winning a tight second set, Hsieh cruised through the deciding set to secure a spot in the second round against Elise Mertens.

Even though this final part of the season can prove quite tiring, Hsieh is approaching in a more relaxed manner, “I know that anything can happen because this is almost the end of the year,” Hsieh said to the press after the win.

“I just want to be more relaxed, going more to my game. Sometimes I lose a little bit of rhythm at the beginning, so I just need to play more games to get the rhythm.

“In the second set, I felt a little bit more rhythm, and more stable myself, my personal style. It helped me a lot to get into the match and to get more game.”

As for Muguruza, this loss would have hurt her confidence a lot having not won a WTA match since June and her ranking slowly falling by the week.

Next for Hsieh will be US Open doubles champion Elise Mertens, where they have split their opening two meetings which came last season.

In other results today there were comfortable wins for Madison Keys and US Open quarter-finalist Donna Vekic over Daria Kasatkina and Caroline Garcia respectively.

Here is the second round line-up, which matches will be played across Wednesday and Thursday:

Naomi Osaka (1) v Viktoriya Tomova – Wednesday

Varvara Flink v Yulia Putintseva – Thursday

Sloane Stephens (3) v Camila Giorgi – Thursday

Su-Wei Hsieh v Elise Mertens (9) – Wednesday

Madison Keys (5) v Zarina Diyas – Wednesday

Nicole Gibbs v Angelique Kerber (4) – Wednesday

Donna Vekic (7) v Misaki Doi – Thursday

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Kiki Bertens (2) – Thursday

 

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Despite New WTA Guidelines, Could Kim Clijsters’ Return Be Marred By Aberration?

Kim Clijsters will not have any restriction in the number of wildcards she receives. But she also deserves more in her upcoming third stint on the Tour

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Kim Clijsters, 2010 US Open, US Open
Photo Credit: WTA Tennis/Getty

By the time, Kim Clijsters makes her return to professional tennis in 2020, around eight years will have passed since her second retirement from the WTA Tour. In this near-about octet of years, there have been several changes on the Tour, especially for those women attempting a return post maternity. But where does the 36-year-old stand amid these alterations?

 

The Belgian was one of the earlier trendsetters – of this decade – to resume her professional activity after becoming a mother for the first time. In 2009, when she returned during the American hard-court summer, the subject never gained as much traction as it did when Williams returned to the game, in 2018 after her pregnancy hiatus in 2017.

Clijsters’ win at the US Open that year – the first for an unseeded player – stifled the mushrooming of any possible avenues of such ranking tweaks back then. Over the next couple of years, as Clijsters ascended in the rankings boosted by her performances, including re-attaining her career-high of no. 1, the topic became moot.

Now, after all these years, in spite of the WTA bringing in modifications to its rules – by way of provision of special ranking to women re-joining the Tour after motherhood, among other factors – Clijsters’ continues to remain an outlying scenario. The obvious reason for this is the lapsing of time of the four-time Major champion’s returning to pro tennis. According to the new rules, a player who is out of the Tour on account of pregnancy must make a comeback within three years after her child’s birth, at most.

Her previous successes and titles ensure Clijsters will never lack for wildcards from tournaments, as per the WTA regulations. However, the question stemming here is should an exception be made for the former world no. 1 vis-à-vis the special ranking while overlooking the passing of years?

When announcing her imminent return to the Pro Tour on the WTA Insider podcast, Clijsters mentioned about challenging herself. “I don’t feel like I want to prove something. I think for me it’s the challenge…,” she said.

“The love for the sport is obviously still there. But the question still is, am I capable of bringing it to a level where I would like it to be at and where I want it to be at before I want to play at a high level of one of the best women’s sports in the world. I don’t feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again. This is my marathon. This is where I’m saying, ‘OK, let’s try this’.”

Clijsters’ path to trying this while taking it on as a challenge need not come at a cost of her being immediately pushed off the deep end in terms of encountering a higher-seeded opponent. The present state of the WTA would make it for an interesting match-up – whenever it happens – but it would also be akin to defeating the purpose underlining her return, regardless of how confident the 2011 Australian Open champion is with her timing.

The norms, too, could be nudged into further relooking easing them towards a player’s preference in ascertaining her post-childbirth return instead of clubbing them, at large. After all, as significant as Williams’ laurels were to usher in changes, Clijsters’ stunner yet again proves the variety that exists in women’s decision-making.

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