US Open: Errani stops Venus and Lucic-Baroni beats Halep - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Errani stops Venus and Lucic-Baroni beats Halep

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TENNIS US OPEN – The action in the bottom half of the women’s draw has been hot on Day 5. The temperatures again remain moderate like Day 4 but it seems as though there was a strong wind as top seeds and favourites fell by the wayside in a violent manner. From New York, Cordell Hackshaw

 

US Open: All the interviews, results, draws and OoP

The biggest story of the day has to be the 3rd round dismissal of Venus Williams (19) by Sara Errani (13). Williams came into this match with a 3-0 lifetime record against the Italian. Playing in front of home crowd and considering her past success her at the Open, Williams was the definite favourite. However, Williams had one of the worst starts to a match ever. She dropped the opening set 0-6 in 26 minutes. Williams was simply too erratic with 18 errors alone in the 1st set. She won only 8 points on serve whilst Errani dropped only 5 points on her serve. Who would have thought that Sara Errani could be outserving Venus Williams? “[F]irst set I start very good, very aggressive … She didn’t put too many first serves, so maybe that was a bit [of] the key,” Errani said. Of the 23 first serves that Williams attempted to put in, she only made 7; a staggering 30%.

As if the opening set was not a weird aberration in and of itself, the 2nd set rolled around and it was more of the same but only this time, Williams was the one in control. The American bageled Errani, 6-0, in 29 minutes. Williams lost only 9 points on serve and Errani only won 6 points on serve. The match was level and after two sets, no two players had won games in any of the set. Oddly enough, this is not the first match with such a strange scoreline that Williams has been involved in. In the 4th round of the 2009 US Open, Williams fell to Kim Clijsters 0-6 6-0 4-6 in the 4th round.

The 3rd set finally saw both players holding serve in their respective opening service game. Then there were four successive breaks of serve. It was not until the 7th game of the set that Williams held serve again to lead 4-3. She then broke Errani for the third consecutive time to lead 5-3 with a chance to close out the match. However, Williams problematic serve came under extreme scrutiny again as Errani broke her to get back on serve. Williams said after the match “I think at that point I went for too much … I hit some balls, you know, I think maybe early in the rally.” The aggressive returning that saw Williams break Errani 6 of the last 7 times, the Italian served was gone. Williams was appearing timid on court and Errani regained confidence to be the more aggressive one.

Williams held serve and again could not break Errani to finish the match. Hence at 6-6 in the 3rd set, a tiebreak was necessary to decide the winner. Errani got a 2-0 lead when Williams committed 2 errors on her backhand. She would extend this lead to 5-2 when again made 2 more errors on her backhand. Williams then won the next 3 points for 5-5. The crowd was beside itself. They were chanting and cheering Williams on with everything they had. In this clutch moment, Errani with two serves and the chance to close it out, the Italian withstood the pressure to secure the win with two amazing winners, 6-0 0-6 7-6(5).

Errani’s opponent in the Round of 16 is a bit of a surprise as she will play qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni who upset the Simona Halep (2) in straight sets, 7-6 6-2. Fans were still reacting to the Williams/Errani result when they realized that the world’s number 2 was sent packing. Halep was leading 5-2 in the 1st set and had two set points but failed to convert allowing Lucic-Baroni to gain the necessary confidence boost to knock out a top player. “[S]he came back really well and she started to hit every ball. Everything was in for her. It wasn’t my best day, but still I did everything I could on court,” Halep said. In the 2nd set, Lucic-Baroni continued to hit out and Halep wilted under the pressure. The Croat closed out the match in just over an hour and 34 minutes. Lucic-Baroni noted after the match, “I finally been able to play the tennis that I love the way I love to play … being very aggressive and consistent at the same time.”

No sooner had this match concluded than yet another upset took place. Angelique Kerber (6) was dismissed in straight sets by Belinda Bencic 6-1 7-5. Bencic raced out to a 3-0 lead before Kerber got on the scoreboard but this made little difference as the momentum was clearly in Bencic’s favour. She closed out the set by taking the next three games. In the 2nd set, Kerber seemed to be on the comeback trail as she was up 5-2. However, poor play from the German continued to plagued her as Bencic fought her way back into the set and claimed the match by winning the last 5 games. “[I]t feels amazing. I played a really good match right from the start, and then I had a little bit timeout in the second. But I’m happy that I came back. It’s amazing that after last year I played juniors here, and this year I’m in the fourth round. So it’s incredible,” Bencic said after the match.

Unseeded Shuai Peng followed up her 2nd round upset of Agnieszka Radwanska by taking out another seeded player in the 3rd round. Roberta Vinci (28) lost 4-6 3-6 in an hour and 14 minutes. “I was for sure really happy win today. Before the match, actually I was nervous. I really want to win because I know I have the chance,” Peng said after the match. An interesting note about all these 3rd round upset victims, they all struggled in the earlier part of the tournament. In particular Halep, Kerber and Williams all struggled mightily in their opening round matches having to come through in 3 sets. Vinci had a tough 3-set match in the 2nd round.

All the other winners in the draw stayed on course as the higher seeded player won in relatively easy fashion. Maria Sharapova (5) in last women’s match of the day, took out Sabine Lisicki (26) in straight sets 6-2 6-4. Sharapova used to the night matches on the Arthur Ashe stadium looked quite at home as Lisicki struggled to maintain any momentum in the match. Sharapova will next face Caroline Wozniacki (10) who took out Andrea Petkovic (18) also in straight sets 6-3 6-2.

Luci Safarova (14) is continuing her success at the majors this year as she knocked out Alizé Cornet (22) in a hard fought encounter 6-3 6-7 6-4. Safarova will take on Peng in the Round of 16 for a place in the quarterfinals. The other winner on the day was Jelena Jankovic (9), 2008 finalist who is quietly moving through the draw. She dismantled Johanna Larsson 6-1 6-0 in under an hour. After the match Jankovic stated, “[I]t’s quite hot out there … I wanted to get the job done as soon as possible. I was very focused from the beginning to till the end.”

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WIMBLEDON: Simona Halep Impresses After Troublesome Physical, Mental Battle

2022 has been far from straightforward for the Romanian but she is seeing light at the end of the tunnel at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

For Simona Halep reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon is an achievement in itself after her recent misfortunes. 

 

It all began at the Italian Open last year where she sustained a calf injury that would force her to miss two major events, as well as the Tokyo Olympic Games. Recovering from the setback was far from simple for the former world No.1 who soon found herself struggling mentally to the extent that she considered walking away from the sport altogether.

However, she managed to regain her desire and passion for tennis with the help of Patrick Mouratoglou who has officially been her coach since April. Halep continues to work her way back to top shape and her form at Wimbledon proves perseverance pays off. 

Playing her fourth round match against fourth seed Paula Badosa, Halep stormed to an emphatic 6-1, 6-2, win in just over an hour. She dropped only two points behind her first serve and hit 17 winners against just nine unforced errors. It is the third time this year she has beaten a top 10 player after previously beating Badosa on another occasion, as well as Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

“It means a lot that I’m back in the quarterfinals after I struggled so much with injuries and self-confidence,” said Halep.
“I’m working hard every day. I feel like if I do that, I will get better. I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. I’m really confident. It’s a pleasure to be on the court.”
“I think this helps me a lot to be able to do my best tennis. And everything comes together. I feel strong physically. I feel very good mentally.”

Speaking openly about her previous struggles, injury and confidence are two very different issues to deal with. But which one of those was the most difficult?

“It started with the injury, so I was not able to play for three, four months. Then I also lost the confidence, the belief that I can be good again, at the top. And I struggled for a long period,” she continued.
“But now it’s past. I’m here. I’m playing well. I’m feeling good on the court. So this is the most important thing, and I just want to focus on that.”

It is by no means a coincidence that Halep is thriving at Wimbledon considering her previous record. It was in 2019 when she produced a stunning display against Serena Williams to capture the title. Becoming the first and only player from her country to claim the women’s singles title. She has also reached the quarter-finals on three other occasions prior to this year.

“Grass is not an easy surface and you have to really connect with it. You have to get used to it.” Said Halep.
“I like it because it’s fast. I feel it. I feel stable on my feet. My legs are pretty strong for this surface. I feel my game fits it.”

As the only former Grand Slam champion left in the draw, Halep’s next test will be against Amanda Anisimova who defeated Harmony Tan 6-2, 6-3, in her fourth round match.

“I’m here to play as I did today, to focus on myself,” she states.
“I’m sure that I can play good tennis again. But it’s going to be a big challenge. It’s the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. I’m ready for it and I’m looking forward to it.”


Halep recently crushed Anisimova 6-2, 6-1, at the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. 

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‘She Got lucky’ – Jelena Ostapenko Has Dig At Opponent After Wimbledon Exit

The top 20 star was also not happy with the umpire following her latest loss.

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Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) - Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

Former Grand Slam champion Jelena Ostapenko believes her exit from Wimbledon was nothing but a stroke of bad luck after criticizing her match umpire.

 

Ostapenko, who was the 12th seed in the tournament, fell 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, to Germany’s Tatjana Maria. The clash was a frustrating encounter for the Latvian who had an array of chances to establish a strong lead. After winning the opener, she boasted a break advantage in each of the next two sets before losing them. Then at 5-4 in the third, she failed to convert two match points before losing the final two games of the match.

“I thought it was like my match. I had to win it and she got just so lucky in some moments so she could come back. I felt I was the player who had to win this match today,” said Ostapenko.

Claiming that she felt she was playing at a better level than Maria,  Ostapenko has taken a swipe at the match official for making in her view ‘a huge mistake.’   She is not the first player to criticize the court officials with Nick Kyrgios expressing his frustration about them multiple times at the tournament.

“She got lucky, she framed it, put the ball on the line,” she commented on how her match ended. “Then the chair umpire made a huge mistake on 5-All in the third set when it was breakpoint on my serve and I had no challenges left. People who watched the match texted me that it was quite big out.”
“All those small things together, they come and you can lose such a match. Of course, I’m really disappointed because if I lost against an amazing player who just beat me in a great match, but I just lost my match.”

A win would have elevated Ostapenko into the last eight of a major for the first time since Wimbledon 2018. The 25-year-old is currently ranked 17th in the world but has been as high as fifth before.

It was visible how annoyed she was with the match immediately afterward when she threw her water bottle onto her chair out of anger, knocking it out. Prompting an inevitable reaction of boos from the crowd.

“I’m an emotional player. I hate losing because I’m such a competitive person,” said Ostapenko.
“So I think it’s normal. Of course, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but it’s easy to say from the outside when you are not in my place, it’s easy to judge.”

As for Maria, she will play compatriot Jule Niemeier in the quarter-finals. 

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Who Is Marie Bouzková? Six Things To Know About The Wimbledon Quarter-Finalist

After previously never going beyond the second round of a major, the Czech is making a name for herself at The All England Club.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech Republic’s Maria Bouzkova has broken new ground at Wimbledon by reaching the quarter-finals on Sunday. 

 

Coming into the tournament, the 23-year-old has failed to win back-to-back matches in 12 Grand Slam appearances. However, the past week has seen her breakthrough with a surprise run to the quarter-finals. She secured a place in the last eight with a 7-5, 6-2, win over France’s Caroline Garcia. The player who defeated Emma Raducanu in the second round.

In her latest match, Bouzkova was by far the most consistent player on the court as she produced just four unforced errors against 13 winners. In comparison, Garcia’s tally was 25 against 24. She broke the Frenchwoman four times in the match en route to victory. 

“I don’t know how I got here,” said Bouzkova.
“Now we will celebrate with strawberries and cream. It’s one of our 100 routines at Wimbledon.”

Bouzkova’s run at Wimbledon has brought the Czech into the limelight for the first time. Although some may not be too familiar with the right-hander who plays with a two-handed backhand. Here are five things to know about the underdog. 

  1. As a junior, she won the 2014 US Open title and reached the final of the Wimbledon doubles event that same year. 
  2. Wimbledon is where Bouzkova won her first Grand Slam main draw match back in 2019 after defeating Mona Barthel in the first round. 
  3. Prior to Garcia, she defeated Danielle Collins, Ann Li and Alison Riske-Amritraj this week. Collins was the sixth top 20 player she has defeated and second this year after Karolina Pliskova.
  4. She was ranked as low as 97th in the world earlier this season but is currently up to 66. Her career-best is 46. 
  5. Has reached three WTA finals in as many years in Guadalajara (2022), Melbourne 250 (2021) and Monterey (2020).
  6. She has a win-loss record of 18-9 so far this season. Although prior to Wimbledon, she has not won any matches on the grass after losing in the first round of Eastbourne to Shelby Rogers. 

Bouzkova will play either second seed Ons Jabeur or Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.

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