US Open: Williams and Azarenka move through to the 2nd round - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Williams and Azarenka move through to the 2nd round



TENNIS US OPEN – The 2013 women’s singles finalists were both in action yesterday but they have completely different paths to the 2nd round. Serena Williams (1) easily triumphed over Taylor Townsend 6-3 6-1 whereas Victoria Azarenka (16) had to battle hard to get past Misaki Doi 6-7 6-4 6-1. From New York, Cordell Hackshaw

For the past 3 years at the US Open, Serena Williams (1) and Victoria Azarenka (16) have meet at some stage in the tournament, most notably in the last two finals with Williams winning all the encounters. However, it seems as though this year, their usual US Open meeting might not take place. Azarenka is struggling to get herself back into major contention shape, battling injuries for much of the season. Williams on the other hand, is looking poised to make her 4th straight final here if she keeps up this great form.

Williams took on young American Taylor Townsend in the last match on the main court, Arthur Ashe. This match of course has special significance besides the fact they represent the current and future generations of American tennis. Williams and Townsend, both African Americans, are continuing the legacy of the great Althea Gibson, the first black athlete to win a major tennis tournament. The first day of the Open this year incidentally would have been Gibson’s 87th birthday were she alive today. Gibson won two US Open titles (pre-Open era) in an era when black athletes were not afforded the same opportunities as they are now. Gibson had to leave the tour in 1958 after winning 11 major titles in an effort to seek out more profitable ventures.

Today, near 60 years later, there are numerous black athletes on the circuit not only in the US but in Europe who are making a very decent living playing professional tennis. Even more poignant about this match is the fact that Williams and Townsend played on Arthur Ashe stadium, so named after another African American barrier breaker in the world of tennis.

Nonetheless, regarding the match between the two, Williams was most impressive. She won in straight sets 6-3 6-1 in less than an hour. This was Townsend’s US Open debut but she handled the moment surprising well. “It was just a lot of different emotions and feelings that were coming. It was hard to deal with … I was playing against one of my tennis idols, someone I’ve been watching for years and years. Playing in my home, the last slam of the year in front of an American crowd.” Williams was simply stellar on her serving. She dropped only 5 points on serve with 16 winners and 8 errors. The top seed is set to play another American Vania King in the 2nd round.

Williams said of the matchup, “She gets a lot of balls back. She likes to hit lots of rallies. She’s another American. So it’s a shame that Americans have to keep playing each other. But, hey, at least an American can go to the third round.”

Azarenka’s matchup against Misaki Doi was a battle. The former number 1 player simply looked uncomfortable against her opponent. This time last year, Azarenka would have made quick work of Doi in under an hour but this year, she was on court for near 3 hours. In the 1st set, Azarenka could not put away Doi who kept getting the ball back into play. The diminutive Japanese player was pulling off some big shots particularly on her forehand wing. The lefty swing was causing Azarenka a lot of problems. This only added to the serving issues Azarenka was having on the day. She double faulted 11 times for the match, 3 of which came in the crucial opening set tiebreak allowing Doi to take it 7-63.

In the 2nd set, Azarenka got the early break for 4-2 but her serving woos continued as she was unable to consolidate the break. Doi broke back for 3-4 but she too could not hold serve as Azarenka lead 5-3. Serving for the set, Azarenka was broken again but it would not matter as Doi was unable to level the set at 5-5 and Azarenka took it 6-4. It was clear that this 2nd set meant a lot to the Belarusian as she screamed out “Come On!” in full battle cry. The 3rd set saw a different Azarenka on court as she lifted her game to level that got her to the final stage of this tournament two years in a row. She closed it out 6-1.

After the match, Azarenka said, “In any match you play, you got 50/50 chances. No matter how much of a favorite you are or somebody else is, you still got to go and win … [Y]ou got to fight hard, and that’s it. Anything can happen. So to have respect to my opponent, I definitely had that.” Azarenka had 47 errors for the match to 36 winners. The only reason why these errors did not hurt her as badly is because Doi made 49 errors to 30 winners. Azarenka will next play American Christina McHale for a place in the 3rd round.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing



Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities



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A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.



(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.


Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.


The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.


No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

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

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