WTA Linz: Italians through, Friedsam’s run continues - UBITENNIS
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WTA Linz: Italians through, Friedsam’s run continues



TENNIS WTA LINZ – In the quarterfinals of the WTA Linz, two Italians advanced to a derby semifinal, Anna-Lena Friedsam continued her run.

In the first match of the quarterfinals day, Karin Knapp needed two and a half hours to win the resistance of Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4 4-6 6-4.

It was a high quality match between two contrasting styles, with the Italian trying to impose her power from the baseline and the Bulgarian resisting and changing pace with her slices and sudden accelerations.

For the enjoyment of the crowd, the match finished with a high tension last game, when Pironkova served to complete her comeback in the deciding set. The Bulgarian trailed 5-2, but managed to keep up her solid and tricky game to have a chance to serve for 5-all.

Knapp tried her best to avoid a longer final set, but whenever she issued herself to a match point, her opponent hit some of her best winners to save them. On her sixth chance, however, the Italian finally broke down Pironkova’s forehand and sized her third semifinal of the season.

Her opponent will be compatriot Camila Giorgi, who stunned Marina Erakovic in two sets 6-3 7-5. The great anticipation skills and superb firepower of the Italian proved to be too much to handle, even for a specialist of indoors conditions like the new Zealander.

The Croatian born managed to find a break lead in the second set, after being given no chances in the first, but she was overtaken by the power of Giorgi’s winners when she served for the set.

The Italian, once she built the momentum back, never looked back again and with some more stunning winners closed the match.

In the bottom half, German qualifier, Friedsam, kept her Cinderella run going after turning her match against Stefanie Voegele around.

The Swiss player had an unbelievable first set off her serve, losing only seven points and hitting as many aces, three of which came consecutively to obtain the first and only-needed set point.

The German, however, changed her tactics and by pinpointing the biggest weakness in Voegele’s game, the forehand, she gave herself more chances and suddenly took full control on the match.

In her first career semifinal in a WTA-level tournament, Friedsam will face the highest ranked player left in the tournament: Karolina Pliskova.

The Czech player, who was the only seed left in the quarter-finals, imposed her power to the American qualifier Madison Brengle to win 6-4 6-4.

In the first set, Pliskova managed to serve at her very best, giving no break chances to the American, who was broken in the last game to give the set. In the second, however, the seventh seed had to come back twice from a break down, before finally taking the lead and, once again, breaking Brengle in the last game.

During the day, the WTA Linz gave an official good-bye ceremony for the retirement of Yvonne Meusburger, for long the highest ranked Austrian player, who decided to retire during the last summer.

Meusburger reached a career best ranked in March at world number 37 and won one WTA title in 2013 in front of the home crowd of Bad Gastein.

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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 Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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