Victoria and Venus victorious in their Wimbledon debut - UBITENNIS
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Victoria and Venus victorious in their Wimbledon debut

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – Two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka (8) and five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams (30) have both been battling injuries this season. However, both ladies are hoping to change their fortunes at 2014 Wimbledon Championships. Azarenka took out Lucic-Baroni 6-3 7-5 and Williams won over Torro-Flor 6-4 4-6 6-2. Cordell Hackshaw

Results, Order of Play, Draws and Interviews from The Championships

Two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka (8) and five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams (30) have both been battling injuries this season. Azarenka had not won a match since the Australian Open in January and Williams continues to deal with effects of a bad back and Sjögren’s syndrome. However, both ladies are hoping to change their fortunes at 2014 Wimbledon Championships. Azarenka began her comeback against tour veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Williams played Spain’s Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor. Azarenka and Williams had to battle hard past their first round opponents but in the end they came through in dominating fashion. Azarenka took out Lucic-Baroni 6-3 7-5 and Williams won over Torro-Flor 6-4 4-6 6-2.

Lucic-Baroni held serve to begin and begin pressuring the Azarenka serve. Azarenka held serve and quickly got herself two break points in the 3rd game. Azarenka converted on the second break point and then raced ahead to a 4-1 lead including a double break. Lucic-Baroni was overcooking her shots and misfiring on both wings. However, she capitalized on the sloppy serving from Azarenka to get one of the breaks back. Serving down 3-5, Lucic-Baroni found herself facing set point. Azarenka converted to take the set 6-3 in 38 minutes.

Lucic-Baroni is no stranger to the big courts of Wimbledon as she made it to the 1999 semifinal before losing to Steffi Graf in 3 sets. So it was hardly surprising when she broke Azarenka for a 2-0 lead at the start of the 2nd set. Azarenka would break back in the 6th game to level it at 3-3. Lucic-Baroni broke again in the 7th game and held serve to go up 5-3. Azarenka serving to stay in the set denied Lucic-Baroni a set point on her serve. Lucic-Baroni up 5-4 serve for the set would see several more set points come her way but unable to convert as Azarenka remained adamant about not going to a 3rd set. Azarenka broke Lucic-Baroni for 5-5 and held serve for a 6-5 lead. The pressure was now back on Croatian to serve to stay in the match. Lucic-Baroni would fight off five match points but on the 6th one, her forehand went long. Azarenka, having been down 3-5, won 4 consecutive games to take the match 6-3 7-5.

Azarenka should be count herself lucky that her opponent was so erratic and failed to capitalize on her poor serving. Azarenka had 8 double faults and only got 52% of her first serves in. She was able to win 80% of those points but she only won 43% on her second serves. Lucic-Baroni served even poorer as she was only winning 52% of her first serves and 43% of her second serves. Despite having 23 winners, Lucic-Baroni had too many errors at 29, which mostly came at key moments in the match. Azarenka had 20 winners and 17 errors. Nonetheless, having not won a match since the 4th round in Melbourne, Azarenka will take this win and move on to the 2nd round where she will face Bojana Jovanovski.

Williams had a bit more challenging match than Azarenka but she showed excellent form throughout. Williams and Torro-Flor remained on serve through the first 8 games of the match 4-4. However, the more experienced Williams knew to be more alert in the 9th game as she earned the first break point of the match. Torro-Flor went for too much on her shots only to go long and then followed that up with a double-fault to give Williams the lone break of the set. For her first four service games, Williams closed each one out with an ace. On her 5th service game, trying to close out the set, it would be no different as Williams punctuated it with an ace for 6-4 in just 35 minutes. The 2nd set almost went the same way as the first as they remained on serve for the first 9 games. Williams got sloppy with her net play down 4-5 and was broken to give Torro-Flor the 2nd set 6-4.

A 3rd set is what most Williams’ fans are afraid of because her stamina comes into question on account of the Sjögren’s syndrome. As of late, Williams has lost several key matches in the 3rd set usually looking very laboured by the middle of the set. However today, it was her opponent who looked ragged in the decisive set. Williams broke in the 5th game and held serve for a 4-2 lead. She then broke Torro-Flor at love to serve out the match at 5-2. Williams did not win the match with an ace but an error as Torro-Flor dumped her forehand into the net. Williams through to the 2nd round of Wimbledon 6-4 4-6 6-2. This is the first time she has made it this far since 2011. She skipped last year due to injury and lost in the 1st round in 2012. Nonetheless, despite it being a three-set match, Williams should be proud of her play today, she got 65% of her 1st serves in, winning 89% of the points (41/46) and 64% on the 2nd serve. She was up at net 20 times and won the point 18 times. She was 3/3 on break points with 41 winners including 11 aces and 16 errors. Williams will play Japan’s Kurumi Nara in the next round to set up a possible encounter with 2011 champion Petra Kvitova in the 3rd round.

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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.

ARMS UP FOR A CHAMPION

The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.

KREJCIKOVA COMES THROUGH UNDER PRESSURE

Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Wimbledon Finalist Jasmine Paolini – ‘I’m A Little Bit Scared To Dream Too Much’

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After coming close to her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Jasmine Paolini believes consistency is key to having another shot at glory.

The 28-year-old dropped only one set en route to becoming the first Italian woman to reach a Wimbledon final. However, she was denied the title by Barbora Krejcikova, who won in three sets. Paolini was broken once in the decider which was due to a double fault from the Italian following an unsuccessful hawk-eye challenge made on her first serve. Then she failed to convert two break points when down 4-5 before Krejcikova held to seal glory.

“I started bad,” she reflected afterwards.

“I took some time and try to relax and to come back in the second set stronger to try to push the ball more because I was a little bit controlling too much, and I missed a lot of shots.

“She was playing, honestly, very good the first set. She was serving really, really good. High percentage of first serves.

“It was tough but I think I did better than the last final (at the French Open), but still it’s not enough.”

Prior to Saturday, Paolini had scored wins over former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Medison Keys (via retirement) and a marathon victory over Donna Vedic. She has now won 15 Grand Slam matches in 2024 compared to just one last season.

The defeat comes less than two months after the French Open where Paolini contested her first major final but lost in two sets to world No.1 Iga Swiatek. Since the start of this season, she has risen more than 20 places in the rankings and will reach No.5 on Monday.

Despite being in her late 20s, the Italian is producing some of her best tennis on the Tour. Something she credits to a combination of things. 

“I improved my game a little bit. I believe more in myself. I improved my serve. I think I improve the return.” She explained.

“I think physically I’m better than two years ago. I’ve been working with a new fitness coach for one-and-a-half years.

“There are many things, I think. Not just one. I think also winning matches helps a lot.”

Whilst she is heading in the right direction on the Tour, Paolini has vowed not to get too ahead of herself.

“Sometimes I’m a little bit scared to dream too much.” she said.

“I’m going back, trying to practice and stay in the present. This is the goal for me and my team, to try to keep this level as much as possible.

“If I keep this level, I think I can have the chance to do great things.

“Today I was dreaming of holding the (Wimbledon) trophy but it didn’t go well.

“I’m just enjoying the position where I am right now.”

Paolini has won 30 out of 43 matches on the Tour so far this season.

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Jasmine Paolini’s Wimbledon Run Hailed By Italian Prime Minister

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The Prime Minister of Italy has praised Jasmine Paolini for lighting up the hearts of others during her Wimbledon run. 

Paolini missed out on her first Grand Slam title to Barbora Krejcikova, who prevailed in three sets to capture her second major trophy. Despite her defeat, she has made history at the tournament by becoming the first female player from her country to reach the final. Until this year, she had never won a Tour-level main draw match on the grass. 

Whilst disappointed about missing out on the biggest title of her career, Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni posted a tribute to Paolini on social media just moments after the final had concluded.

“Proud of Jasmine Paolini,” The Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) quotes Meloni as saying. 

“The first Italian tennis player to reach the final of the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. 

“Despite the defeat, you lit up the hearts of the Italian people, succeeding in conveying grit and passion to all of us who supported you”. 

Paolini is the first player ranked outside the top five to reach the final of both Wimbledon and the French Open within the same year since the ranking system was introduced in 1975. She is also only the fourth female player in the Open Era to have reached her first two Grand Slam finals in the same year at Roland Garros and Wimbledon after Chris Evert (1973), Olga Morozova (1974) and Steffi Graf (1987). 

Should she win three or more matches at the US Open later this year, she will also set a new Open Era record for the most Grand Slam wins achieved by an Italian female player in a single season. 

“The last two months have been crazy for me. I want to thank my team, and my family. They always support me and I wouldn’t be here without them. The crowd have been amazing. I received a lot of support. Just incredible to feel the love from them, I enjoy it so much.” Paolini said following her Wimbledon defeat. 

The 28-year-old will rise to a ranking high of No.3 on Monday. 

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