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Nicole Vaidisova returns with a win

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TENNIS – Nicole Vaidisova has officially made her comeback to tennis competitions after four years away from the main tour. In her first match today in Albuquerque, she started with a good win against Sesil Karatantcheva 6-3 6-4.

Despite an opponent who was not playing at her best, Vaidisova started looking quite insecure, as you would expect, but slowly picked up her game and thanks to her best shot, the forehand, took control and never looked in danger of losing.

A few days ago, the Czech player commented her imminent return to the world of tennis with these words: “I don’t know how this will play out, but no matter the outcome, I know I will be proud of myself for giving it my all and for the person I have become through all this.”

The career of the former top 10 has been very peculiar indeed: one of the youngest and most promising talents of her age, she showed great power from the baseline and adaptability to different surfaces when, still aged 16, at the US Open 2005, she reached the fourth round.

During the year and a half that followed, she reached two slams semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2006 and at the Australian Open the following year.

For most experts and fans, it seemed as if it was a matter of time before she would make it to a slam title or break the top five in the world rankings.

However, something started to go wrong. During 2008, her back started to give her troubles and some losses mined her confidence.

The following year delusion piled up, while, in the personal life, she was living a relationship with fellow Czech player Radek Stepanek, a relationship started in 2007 and reached its prime in the 2010 summer, when the two married.

Before that, in March, Vaidisova called a career, sick of the losses, the physical problems and loss of interest for tennis, which was given as an official reason for the retirement.

The marriage did not last long though, and last summer Stepanek and Vaidisova divorced and ever since rumours of a possible comeback spread.

“This time last year I was recovering from my 2nd shoulder surgery and going through a very personal heartbreak,” revealed the Czech in a recent interview. “I will be forever grateful for the unwavering support of my amazing family, friends and medical team to get me where I am now.”

All the speculations about her possible comeback ceased to exist during the two weeks of the US Open, when her agent officialised the Wild Card she was given to the main draw of Albuquerque $75,000.

It’s been a long process,” she said about the comeback. “But we kind of, with my team, with my coach, with my trainer, we were kinda looking at how it could progress and hopefully be ready. So kinda all came together last month or two when we kinda pointed that: “Okay, it’s ready. So let’s get going.”

For sure, she could not hope for a better way to restart her career and the joy that she let flow after the third and decisive match point clearly testify a renovated passion for the game.

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Roland Garros 2024: Naomi Osaka Edges Past Bronzetti In Opening Round Test

Naomi Osaka stumbled past Lucia Bronzetti to set up a potential second round clash with Iga Swiatek.

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Naomi Osaka began her Roland Garros campaign with a 6-1 4-6 7-5 victory over Lucia Bronzetti.

The multiple-time Grand Slam champion was making her first appearance at Roland Garros since 2022 and was bidding to secure her eighth victory of her career at the event.

It was a fast start from the world number 134 who broke twice in the opening set on her way to a 6-1 set.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-NhGfGlXI4

There was accurate and aggressive counter-attacking tennis from Osaka who took advantage of some cheap unforced errors from Bronzetti.

In the second set, there was more stable and convincing serving from the Italian as Osaka had minimal opportunities to secure the break.

A big opportunity did present itself to Osaka in the seventh game as she found the angles to force errors from Bronzetti, creating two break points.

That big opportunity was wasted as Bronzetti continued to extend the rallies and tested Osaka’s stamina.

The move paid off for Bronzetti as she broke in the tenth game, taking advantage of some inconsistent serving from Osaka with the Italian converting her second set point.

In the final set it looked like Osaka was going to run away with the match as she secured an early double break lead as she went 4-0 ahead.

But once again Osaka took her foot off the gas with Bronzetti gaining the two breaks back and winning four games on the bounce.

Too many tactical errors nearly cost Osaka but the former Australian Open and US Open champion managed to notch up her first Grand Slam win for two years by claiming the last two games.

Now Osaka could face world number one and defending champion Iga Swiatek in the second round should the Pole get past Leolia Jeanjean.

So far on day one Dayana Yastremska came from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6 6-3 6-3 while Marie Bouzkova knocked out 29th seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-2 6-4.

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Roland Garros 2024: ‘Proud’ Iga Swiatek Seeks Consistent Improvement

Iga Swiatek continues to find improvement despite her dominance ahead of her Roland Garros opener.

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Ubitennis/Francesca Micheli

Iga Swiatek had admitted she is ‘proud’ of her clay court season but is seeking consistent improvement over the rest of the season.

The world number one is aiming for a third consecutive Roland Garros title and heads into Paris in dominant form.

Titles in Madrid and Rome with two contrasting wins over Aryna Sabalenka means she is the overwhelming favourite heading into the fortnight.

Speaking ahead of her opening match Swiatek spoke about how she is a better tennis player from 2022 and how proud she is of her clay court season so far, “I think I’m a better player because I just grew and I worked hard during the past two years,” Swiatek explained in her press conference.

“I feel like I’m progressing, so I guess I should be a better tennis player. Comparing the results, or my feelings, two years ago it was all kind of new for me, and I think I won so many matches also because nobody really expected it.

“When the streak started, I wasn’t even second in the rankings, so I think other players were also unprepared maybe for my game sometimes. Now it’s different. Now they are prepared, and I feel like I keep having a target on my back, because I’m No. 1. So I think actually I’m more proud of what’s happening right now and winning all these titles this year already has shown that we are going on the right path.”

Despite her recent dominance, Swiatek isn’t resting on her laurels as she continues to seek improvement.

The Pole has been working on several areas on her game including the serve as she has become a more aggressive player over the last couple of years.

Swiatek spoke on the changes she has made with her coach as she seeks more consistent improvement, “Changing the technique, I think it allowed me to serve faster. We worked on my placement as well, so it got better for sure. I feel like I have more options when I’m serving,” Swiatek told the Roland Garros website.

“As you could see in Rome, for example, I had many situations when I was a break point down, and I was able to kind of save the game with my first serve. So this tournament showed that we are going in the right direction. Next goal is to keep my serve at a consistent level throughout the whole season. We’ll see how that’s going to go.

“But I think overall my coach from the beginning had a great idea about my serve. The other thing is me implementing it, so we are working hard for the movement to be smooth and to get muscle memory, so even under the biggest pressure and stress, I’m going to be serving the same way.”

Swiatek will begin her campaign against qualifier Leolia Jeanjean in her opening round match on Monday with potentially Naomi Osaka awaiting in round two.

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Roland Garros 2024: Coco Gauff Preparing For Uncomfortable Changes In Paris

Coco Gauff is ready to make uncomfortable changes to her game ahead of Roland Garros.

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Coco Gauff has said that she is ready to make uncomfortable changes to her game as she prepares for Roland Garros.

The American is a former finalist having reached the final in 2022 but has struggled with her game throughout the clay court season.

However there was hope in Rome as she did reach the semi-finals in Italy before losing comfortably to Iga Swiatek in the last four.

Speaking ahead of the start of the tournament Gauff is confident of a good run in Paris after an encouraging display in Italy, “I have been here for a couple days now, and I feel like I have been preparing great,” the American was quoted by Reuters as saying on media day.

“Had a good tournament in Rome, so I’m excited, hope I can have good vibes here. Last week I felt like from the start of the week till the end of the week I improved a lot. It gave me a lot of confidence for this tournament.”

Despite a recent poor run of form, Gauff has had an incredible last 12 months and is looking to reach a third consecutive Grand Slam semi-final.

However Gauff would like to be more competitive when facing her rivals at the big events which is something that hasn’t improved since she won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Now the 20 year-old has admitted that she will have to make some uncomfortable changes to her game as she prepares for her Roland Garros campaign, “I feel like, overall, if I want to be the player that I want to become, I have to be uncomfortable and make changes to my game, not just to my serve, but other things, as well,” Gauff explained.

“I have been trying to improve it with every tournament, from the start of the clay to Rome. My last match it was a lot better in terms of percentage and the double faults. I think I’m confident.

“I feel like it’s getting better but it’s obviously a shot that is tough to change because when you’re tight you revert back to what you know works. Sometimes it’s tough to push yourself to do the uncomfortable things which you know in the long term are better for you.”

Gauff will begin her campaign against a qualifier on Monday.

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