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Wimbledon 2014: Women's preview

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – On Monday the most famous event on the grass is about to start, with Wimbledon opening its gate once again. White cloths, strawberries and cream, and long queues are all ready to be featured as every year, but who are the favourite for the women’s title? Are there any must-watch in round one? Let’s find out. Giulio Gasparin

 

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

On Monday the most famous event on the grass is about to start, with Wimbledon opening its gate once again. White cloths, strawberries and cream, and long queues are all ready to be featured as every year, but who are the favourite for the women’s title? Are there any must-watch in round one? Let’s find out.

Top Quarter:

As everyone would expect, this section is dominated by the world number one and first seed, Serena Williams. After failing to achieve the Roland Garros-Wimbledon combination in 2013, the American is very likely to be going to fight heart and soul for her most beloved slam of the season, especially after the early upset in Paris.

For her, there is an easy couple of early rounds, with a possible third match against Alize Cornet and then Eugenie Bouchard for a place in the quarter finals. Nor the French nor the Canadian player seem to pose a major threat to Serena on the surface.

Quite more uncertain seems to be the name of the opponent she might face at that stage, as the bottom half of this quarter is packed of good players on grass.

The French Open champion, Maria Sharapova, has not showed great skills on it for a long time and after two easy rounds to start with, she is likely to face either Camila Giorgi or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and both already beat her this year.

For the Russian then there could be another big challenge coming from Angelique Kerber, former semifinalist at Wimbledon and recent runner up at Eastbourne, or less likely from grass court specialists like Tamira Paszek or Kristen Flipkens.

Must-not-be-missed round ones:

-Heather Watson vs Ajla Tomljanovic: two youngsters taking on, very likely to be on a main court after the good run of Watson in Eastbourne.

-(24) Kristen Flipkens vs (q) Tamira Paszek: Last year’s semifinalst will face a former quarterfinalist and grass specialist in a match that could be as good as a round one can get.

-(26) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Alison Riske: the Russian is coming to Wimbledon strong of a win over Agnieszka Radwanska at Eastbourne, but the American is a natural grass courter and her serve and volleys have taken down big names many times.

Second Quarter:

Simona Halep is the highest seed to dominate this section of the draw and to be honest there seems to be no real challenge for the French Open finalist until the quarterfinals, as no grass specialists were drawn in that section and the seeds in there are either out of form or not naturally good on grass.

The bottom section of this quarter is on the contrary very much open to surprises, where the highest seed is Jelena Jankovic, whose difficult relationship with the grass is well known. The Serb could find it very hard to come past a round one match against Kaia Kanepi, but even if so, names like Yaroslava Shvedova, Monica Puig and Madison Keys are all there to cause an upset.

Ana Ivanovic is in the same part too and her opening match against Francesca Schiavone could be closer than one would expect, but most of all, there is Sabine Lisicki for a possible round three.

Must-not-be-missed round ones:

-(11) Ana Ivanovic vs Francesca Schiavone: the Italian might not be the same player that won Roland Garros a couple of seasons ago, but she is a big fighter and loves the big stages.

– Madison Keys vs Monica Puig: two of the most interesting youngsters are facing each other on a surface that both clearly love. Puig won their latest match just a few weeks ago on clay, but Keys will come strong of a title run in Eastbourne.

Third Quarter:

Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka are the highest two seeds on this section, but both of them have several doubts in terms of their form heading towards the Championship.

Both players lost in their opening match at Eastbourne, but if for Azarenka that was a comeback from months outside of the tour and she was tested by a true specialist like Giorgi, for Radwanska it was a very bad display against Pavlyuchenkova.

For the Belorussian the opening match could be quite hard, as Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is a grass courter and though her form is missing lately, she is not new to causing upsets.

The most dangerous floater in this section is surely Coco Vandeweghe, who has just captured her first career title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and has served most aces than anyone else on tour in the past two weeks (more than 110!).

For Radwanska the opener should not be too difficult as she will play Romanian qualifier Andreea Mitu, but as usual it is hard to know what to expect from Svetlana Kuznetsova, the first seed she might face.

Must-not-be-missed round ones:

-(27) Garbine Muguruza vs Coco Vandeweghe: the rematch of St Hertogenbosch quarter finals.

-(22) Ekaterina Makarova vs Kimiko Date-Krumm: because both love grass and Date is always amazing to watch on the green fields of Wimbledon.

Bottom Quarter:

This is the quarter that lacks a clear favourite, but does not feature any foreseeable outsider. Li Na is the second seed and her draw seems very kind until a possible fourth round with what looked like a reinvigorated Caroline Wozniacki.

The main favourite for the semifinal could be Petra Kvitova, who has an easy draw until a possible clash with Venus Williams in the third round and then a probably easier fourth round with either Flavia Pennetta or Sloane Stephens.

Must-not-be-missed round ones:

-(18) Sloane Stephens vs Maria Kirilenko: if there is a surface where Kirilenko can find her game, it is probably grass. After her knee injury the Russian has not produced any notable tennis, but she is still one to watch.

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Kristina Mladenovic Dropped By Coach After Six Months

The 26-year-old reacts to the unexpected departure of her mentor.

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Former top 10 player Kristina Mladenovic has suffered an off-court blow following the departure of her coach Sascha Bajin.

 

The 26-year-old had been working with Bajin since April and has made steady progress on the tour by rising more than 20 places to back inside the world’s top 40. Last Month Mladenovic reached the semi-finals of the Zhengzhou Open, in what was one of her best runs on the WTA Tour this year. During 2019 she has also recorded four wins over top 10 players, including Naomi Osaka when she was No.1 in the world.

It is understood that the departure of Bajin was on his own terms and not of a mutual agreement. Bajin is the former hitting partner of Serena Williams (2008-2015) and help guide Osaka to her two grand slam titles prior to his departure in February. In 2018 he was awarded the inaugural WTA Coach of the Year Award.

“I’m very disappointed about Sasha’s decision not to continue our relationship next season, I enjoyed our work, we had some great wins and I truly felt my game was on the rise again.” Mladenovic wrote on Twitter.
“I think that there was a lot more to achieve together, but I can’t change his opinion and decision. On my side, I am proud of my year and progress and I will keep working hard and build strong to be even better in 2020.”

Last week at the Kremlin Cup Mladenovic reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Belinda Bencic. At the tournament she scored wins over seeded players Anastasija Sevastova and Kiki Bertens. Whilst her season has been mixed, the Frenchwoman believes she has the ability to beat the best players in the world.

“When I put together everything on court I can beat anyone.” She told reporters in Moscow.
“And no matter what the season, no matter what ranking, I always have some upsets here and there but now it is really about coming back in the rankings where I was at my highest. And already this year, I am still not satisfied with my ranking but I have a lot of wins against very good players.”

Mladenovic, who is also a top five doubles player that won the French Open title in June, is currently ranked 39th in the world. She is set set to end the season inside the top 50 for the fifth year in a row.

There has been no information released about who may potentially replace Bajin next year.

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Kristina Mladenovic reaches her second semifinal of the year in Moscow

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Kristina Mladenovic reached her second semifinal this year at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow with a 6-4 2-6 6-1 win over this year’s St. Petersburg and Madrid Kiki Bertens after 2 hours and 7 minutes.

 

Mladenovic scored her fourth top 10 win after beating Naomi Osaka in Dubai, Ashleigh Barty in Rome and Elina Svitolina in Zhengzhou.

Mladenovic has always played very well on Russian soil winning the only title in her career in St. Petersburg in 2017 and finishing runner-up in the same tournament last year.

In the first set Mladenovic fended off a break point in the fourth game with a serve and volley before holding serve with a backhand volley. The French player broke serve with a forehand down the line in the fifth game.

Mladenovic saved three break points, as she attempted to serve the set out. The French player sealed the first set on her second set point after Bertens missed two passing shots and made her 17th unforced error.

Bertens broke twice to build up a 4-0 lead in the second set. Mladenovic pulled one of the two breaks back with a lob in the fifth game, but Bertens won eight of the next nine points to win the second set 6-2 forcing the match the third set.

Mladenovic earned a break point in a long third game in the decisive set and converted it with a winner. The Frenchwoman earned her triple break with consecutive backhand passes to race out to a 5-0 lead. Mladenovic was not able to serve out the match in the sixth game, but she broke again in the seventh game to seal the third set 6-1.

Mladenovic set up a semifinal against Belinda Bencic, who came back from one set down and saved two set points in the first set to beat Belgian qualifier and world number 120 Kirsten Flipkens 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 after 1 hour and 34 minutes.

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Top Seed Elina Svitolina Ousted On Mixed Day For Top Names In Moscow

The world No.4 has suffered a blow heading into the prestigious WTA Finals later this month.

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Elina Svitolina (@usopen on Twitter)

Elina Svitolina’s hopes of claiming her first title of 2019 this week has come to an abrupt end after she crashed out in the second round of the Kremlin Cup on Thursday.

 

The world No.4, who had a bye in the first round, failed to capitalize on some crucial chances  during her 6-2, 1-6, 7-5, loss to Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova. Who was playing a top five opponent for the first time in her career. In the decider, Svitolina twice broke for an opportunity to close out the match. However, her opponent refused to buckle as she clawed her way back to level 4-4 before going on to break Svitolina as she was serving to stay in the match.

“I think it was a really tough match. We were playing well in the third set, it was very tight. Unfortunately, it didn’t go my way,” Said Svitolina.

Thursday’s loss continues the title drought for the 25-year-old, who is yet to win a trophy this season. Svitolina has won at least one WTA title each year since 2014. If she wants to continue that trend, she will need to win the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen. A tournament where her last triumph occurred.

“I will try to recover and be ready for Shenzhen, the last tournament.” She said. “Definitely, I am very positive about going to defend my title. I am looking forward to it. Hopefully I can be ready and try to give everything I got.”

It is the first time Svitolina has lost her opening match in a tournament since Eastbourne back in July.

Meanwhile, Kudermetova is relishing in another milestone during what is a strong end to her 2019 season. Since the US Open, she has reached the semi-finals in both Hiroshima and Tianjin. In Wuhan she also claimed her first ever Premier title in doubles alongside Duan Yingying.

“My tactical plan was to put pressure, to come to the net, because during the rallies from the baseline I had fewer chances.” Kudermetova commented about her latest win.

There was better news for second seed Kiki Bertens. The Dutch player recovered from a set and a break down to see off Kaia Kanepi 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, after more than two hours of play. Saving eight out of the 13 break points she faced during the process.

“It is important for my body to feel well. In the next match I will try to play as aggressive as today and keep fighting for every ball.” Bertens commented during her on-court interview.

The win boosts Bertens’ hopes of qualifying for Shenzhen, which will get underway later this month.  She can secure her place this week in Moscow if she reaches the final. Bertens’ last WTA final appearance was almost three months ago in Palermo, Italy.

Next for Bertens will be Kristina Mladenovic, who knocked out seventh seed Anastasija Sevastova 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. It is only the second time this season Mladenovic has managed to reach back-to-back quarter-finals on the tour. Last week in Linz she lost in the last eight to Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Five out of the eight seeded players have already crashed out of Moscow. Bertens, Alexandrova and Belinda Bencic are the only seeds that remains.

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