WTA Indian Wells: Azarenka to meet Sharapova in the 3rd round - UBITENNIS
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WTA Indian Wells: Azarenka to meet Sharapova in the 3rd round

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TENNIS WTA INDIAN WELLS – Viktoria Azarenka set up a blockbuster third round clash against Maria Sharapova with a 6-2 6-4 win over Kirsten Flipkens. Vika eased through the first set with 6-2 before fighting back from a 2-4 deficit in the second set. Diego Sampaolo

Viktoria Azarenka set up a blockbuster third round clash against Maria Sharapova with a 6-2 6-4 win over Kirsten Flipkens. Vika eased through the first set with 6-2 before fighting back from a 2-4 deficit in the second set.

Azarenka faced a point for 2-5 but she clawed her way back to clinch the second set with 6-4.

Sharapova edged Yanina Wickmayer with 6-1 7-5. The Belgian player saved five match points before Masha clinched the win on her sixth match point.

Sharapova won the Indian Wells in 2006 and 2012. Azarenka beat Sharapova in the 2012 Indian Wells final. Azarenka leads 7-6 in her previous head-to-head matches against Sharapova.

I definitely need to play my best tennis because she is playing great. I am really looking forward to it. It’s been a while since we last played. It’s going to be exciting”, said Azarenka

Indian Wells defending champion Flavia Pennetta made her debut with a 6-4 6-2 win over Madison Brengle, who had won their previous head-to-head match in Los Angeles in 2007.

Last year Pennetta completed a sensational week in which she beat two top-3 players Li Na in the semifinal and Agnieszka Radwanska in the final

Pennetta suffered from an injury problem in Doha where she was beaten by Agnieszka Radwanska but she appeared in good shape. The Italian converted her break point in the seventh game and held serve in the next game for 5-3. Pennetta rallied from 0-30 in the tenth game of the first set and earned two set points. Brengle saved the first two set points but Pennetta converted the third to clinch the opening set with 6-4. Pennetta converted on her third break point in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead with her down-the-line backhand. Pennetta never looked back and converted on her sixth break point after a long fifth game and cruised to 6-2. Pennetta will take on the winner of the match between Taylor Townsend and Samantha Stosur.

Sabine Lisicki won just her second match of the year with 6-1 5-7 6-4 over Roberta Vinci. The German, who lost six first round matches in seven tournaments, dropped her serve with a double fault at the start of the first set but Vinci was broken in her three service games and lost the first set with 6-1. Vinci recovered from two breaks down and drew level to 3-3. Vinci went down 3-5 but she fought back before clinching the second set with 7-5 on the third set point. Vinci trailed 1-3 in the decider. She managed to draw level to 3-all but she was broken again before losing the match after two hours.

Vinci’s close friend Sara Errani, winner in Rio de Janeiro and semifinalist in Monterrey, opened her Indian Wells campaign with a 6-0 4-6 6-2 win over Liu Zhu from China. Errani won 69 percent of her first serve points in the first set and 57percent of her second serve points to win the first set with a bagel. The Chinese player won 64 percent of her first serve points in the second set and drew level with a 6-4 win in the second set. Errani broke serve early in the third set. Liu Zhu recovered it but Errani wrapped up the match with 6-2 to set up her next match against Lisicki.

Caroline Wozniacki overcame Ons Jabeur 7-6 (7-3) 6-4. Ana Ivanovic eased past Yuliya Putintseva 6.3 6-1. Eugenie Bouchard cruised past Lucie Hradecka 6-2 6-2. Lesia Tsurenko battled past Andrea Petkovic with 6-3 4-6 6-4 to take her first top-10 win.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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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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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

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.

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(@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 WAS JUST TOO GOOD

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.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

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.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

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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