AO15: What Happened to Her After That Big Upset Win? - UBITENNIS
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AO15: What Happened to Her After That Big Upset Win?

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Day 1 of the 2015 Australian Open has to be some record with so many upsets on the women’s draw. By the end of first day’s play, 8 of the top seeds in the bottom half of the draw were ousted; that is half of the 16 that were originally slated there. The unseeded field seemed to have had no respect for the rankings as two of the casualties were well within the top-10. The winners of these upset matches played inspired tennis shocking their opponents into submission.

 

Upsets are not uncommon at the majors. In fact, they are to be expected. It does not come to mind an instant when the seeded players have progressed within a major according to their rankings when so much prestige, publicity and potential for more money are at stake. The top players are not alone in planning on peaking at these tournaments. It is the random nature of upsets that is so striking as one rarely knows why, when and where they will occur.

What is even more particular about upsets in tennis is that quite often, when a player score an upset particularly a huge one, for example in 2013 when Steven Darcis shocked Rafael Nadal in the 1st round of Wimbledon, that player often loses the next match. In fact, that player often shows up next match looking nothing like the supreme player he/she were the round before. Perhaps it is the over excitement of their victory or the huge media response or mental fatigue. Whatever the case may be, the player finds him/herself on the losing end of things. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to see how these 8 ladies who scored an upset win in the 1st round fared in the 2nd round. That is to say, “What happened to her after that big upset win?

The biggest upset of the tournament so far was that of Ana Ivanovic (5). She above all others was the most unexpected loss as she played so well leading up to this major. As a former finalist here back in 2008 and a major winner herself the same year at the French Open, some gave the Serbian an outside chance of collecting her second major title. However, Lucie Hradecka from the Czech Republic saw to it that Ivanovic would have to pursue that goal at another major event. Hradecka now faced Polona Hercog of Slovenia. Hradecka lost the opening set as did against Ivanovic but again came surging back strong as she won 4-6 6-3 6-2. Hradecka, long considered a doubles specialist, has made it clear after her 1st round victory that she intends to get her singles’ ranking back within the top 50. Winning matches at a major would definitely help in that pursuit.

Hradecka will face in the 3rd round another one of those “upset ladies” in the form of Germany’s Julia Goerges who took out Belinda Bencic (32). Goerges was up against Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic in the 2nd round and led by a set and a break, 6-3 2-1, before becoming unraveled. Koukalova seized the momentum and came back to take the 2nd set to force a third. However, Goerges righted her ship and near ran away with the decisive set as she served for it at 5-0. Koukalova made a desperate bid to stay alive in the match by breaking the German. Goerges performed better on her second bid to serve out the match as she took it 6-3 4-6 6-2.

Irina-Camila Begu of Romania had the second biggest upset on the women’s side when she ousted Angelique Kerber (9) in 3 sets. In her 2nd round match, the Romanian would only need 2 sets to take out Katerina Siniakova 7-5 6-4. She will take on another “upset lady”, Carina Witthoeft of Germany, who knocked out Carla Suarez-Narravo (17) in brilliant fashion 6-3 6-1. As she did in the 1st round, Witthoeft was simply ruthless in her play and she crushed American Christina McHale, 6-3 6-0. Witthoeft dropped only 3 points in the 2nd set.

Two very noticeable dismissals on Monday were that of Lucie Safarova (16) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (27) by Yaroslava Shvedova and Caroline Garcia respectively. Both Shvedova and Garcia won their 2nd round matches in straight sets. Shvedova took out Monica Puig 6-2 7-6 and Garcia beat Stephanie Voegele 6-3 6-4. Shvedova will play Shuai Peng (21) in the next round and Garcia will face Eugenie Bouchard (7).

Yanina Wickmayer who took out Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (23) in three sets, continued the trend of the “upset ladies” winning the next round. She again needed three sets to take out her opponent, Lara Arrubarrena, 6-4 4-6 6-4. Wickmayer will have to dig deep if she wants to make it to the Round of 16 as she would be facing the very formidable Sara Errani (14) in the 3rd round.

Unfortunately, it was not a “perfect storm” for the “upset ladies” as one of the eight did not make it to the 3rd round, Kristina Mladenovic. Mladenovic who beat Sabine Lisicki (28) in the earlier round, found herself up against the charismatic and enigmatic American, Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The two fought it out in two-tough-tiebreaker sets and Mladenovic lost them both. Mattek-Sands will need that same grit and much more if she wishes to beat her next opponent, Simona Halep (3).

Interesting enough, the bottom half on the women’s draw was relatively quiet throughout 2nd round play as there were no upsets on the day. There was a very near upset though as Maria Sharapova (2) had to save many crucial break points as well as two match points against Alexandra Panova who is ranked 150 in the world. Sharapova nonetheless moved through 6-1 4-6 7-5.

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Tereza Martincova and Belinda Bencic reach the quarter final in Ostrava

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Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova upset Roland Garros Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) after 2 hours and 19 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Martincova claimed her third top 20 win of her career and reached her second quarter final on home soil this season after finishing fourth in Prague. 

Pavlyuchenkova earned the first break to take a 4-3 lead and served for the first set in the 10th game, but she never reached a set point. The Russian player came just two points away from winning the first set at 5-4 30-15, but Martincova won four consecutive points before winning the tie-break 7-5. 

Martincova dropped just eight points in the first six games of the second set. The Czech player fended off two break points to consolidate her lead for 2-0. She raced out to a 7-6 (7-5) 5-1 lead, but Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to hold serve forcing Martincova to serve for the match. Martincova dropped four consecutive points. Pavlyuchenkova got another break, when Martincova was serving for the match for the third time at 6-5. Martincova went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Pavlyuchenkova drew level to 4-4 before saving a third match point. Martincova won the final two points to claim the tie-break 8-6. 

Martincova set up a quarter final match against Maria Sakkari, who beat last week’s Luxembourg finalist Jelena Ostapenko. 

This year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo in just 88 minutes. Bencic claimed her 15th win in her last 18 matches. Bencic broke six times and reeled off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set to cruise through to a a straight-set win. Sorribes Tormo saved a break point to win her first game for 1-4 and pulled one break back in the sixth game, but Bencic sealed the win with her third break in the ninth game. “I think I prepared well for this match tactically, and also mentally, because it’s very tough. You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface, where it’s very slow. I am happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match”, said Bencic. 

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Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Indian Wells, Unclear If She Will Play Again This Year

There is no official word but it looking increasingly likly that the world No.8 might have pulled the plug on her 2021 season.

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka has officially withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells just weeks after saying she will take a break from the sport due to personal reasons.

 

The former world No.1 hadn’t played a match since her loss to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open. Speaking to reporters in New York, Osaka said she didn’t know when she would play another match on the Tour. Earlier this year she opened up about her mental health struggles after revealing she has been suffering from social anxiety and depression. Osaka also took time away from the sport during the summer after pulling out of the French Open before deciding to skip Wimbledon.

“This is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry,” she said following her loss to Fernandez.
“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”

Osaka’s withdrawal from Indian Wells was confirmed by the tournament who published an announcement on social media. Although they didn’t specify what reason she used to withdraw from the tournament which is one of the biggest events outside of the Grand Slams in terms of ranking points and prize money on offer.

It was Indian Wells where Osaka won her first prestigious title back in 2018 after defeating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets. The following year she was the top seed in the draw but lost to Belinda Bencic in the fourth round.

There has been no official comment from Osaka or her team about Indian Wells and if she will play again this season. Although it looks increasingly unlikely. She is in with a chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals in November but even if she does make the cut it is unclear if she will attend the event which has been relocated from China to Mexico.

This year Indian Wells will get underway on October 4th which is more than six months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Simona Halep Ends Six-Year Collaboration With Coach Cahill

One of the longest coaching partnerships on the WTA Tour has come to an end.

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Former world No.1 Simona Halep is on the lookout for a new coach after unexpectedly announcing her split from Darren Cahill on Wednesday.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion has been working with the Australian mentor for most of the time since 2015. There was a brief period where Cahill stepped away from his duties to spend more time with his family before later returning. Under his guidance, the Romanian reached the top of the world rankings and featured in the final of three major tournaments, winning two of those.

“After six wonderful years working together, Darren Cahill and I have decided that it’s time to end our working relationship,” Halep wrote on social media. “Thank you D for everything, for making me a better tennis player and a better person.”

55-year-old Cahill is a former player himself who has also worked with a series of top players prior to Halep. In the past, he has coached both Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to world No.1 at different stages of their careers. Doubles specialist Horia Tecău reportedly told Romanian TV that it was rumoured Cahill received an annual salary in the region of one million euros during his time with Halep. Although this has not been verified.

The announcement comes a week after Halep married Macedonian businessman Toni Iuruc. One of those who attended the event was Illie Nastase who was one of the world’s best tennis players during the 1970s, winning both the French Open and US Open.

I didn’t know anything about Simona’s intention to break up with Darren Cahill. It took me a little by surprise. But Simona Halep has proven she knows what she’s doing. As I did not know, I do not see what I could comment. But there is no question of collaborating (with her),” Nastase told playsport.ro.
I didn’t talk to her about this or to anyone else in her entourage… I think only Simona knows who her future coach will be. I trust her choices.”

So far in 2021 Halep has achieved a win-loss record of 15-7 during what has been a rollercoaster season. An Achilles injury forced her to miss both the French Open and Wimbledon, as well as the Tokyo Olympics. Since returning to the Tour from her injury she has won back-to-back matches in one out of three tournaments played. Reaching the fourth round of the US Open.

There has been no official word on who may replace Cahill as Halep’s coach.

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