Wimbledon 2015 Day 2: Halep and Bouchard upset as Kvitova and Kerber cruised - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon 2015 Day 2: Halep and Bouchard upset as Kvitova and Kerber cruised

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TENNIS – Two of the current big names in women’s tennis were summarily dismissed from these championships. Simona Halep (3) and Genie Bouchard (12) who both got the semifinal and final here last year respectively, faltered badly in their first round matches as they were battling not only inspired opponents but also nagging injuries. Cordell Hackshaw

UPSETS
Jana Cepelova from the beginning looked as though she were certain that she was going to upset Halep. The Romanian just could not sustain much of an advantage in the match particularly after taking the 1st set 7-5. Cepelova continued to be unrelenting in her return of serve and play aggressive in her service games. In the 2nd set, she broke for 5-3 but Halep broke back. Cepelova just stayed focus and broke Halep again to take the set. In the 3rd set, the Slovakian player raced out to a 4-1 lead and though Halep was able to claw her way back into, the Romanian had trouble holding serve. Cepelova broke Halep again for a 5-7 6-4 6-3 win.

“I had a few losses before coming here. My confident wasn’t too high. So I knew that, you know, during the matches it’s difficult because you feel the pressure. If you don’t handle it there very well, you might lose. I knew it would be difficult, but not like today, to be honest … I think emotional. I wasn’t there. I couldn’t handle it very well. She came back in a good way with her game. She was pushing me a lot. She was aggressive. But I can say that I let her come in and play aggressive,” Halep said after the match.

This major upset but no more so than it was to see that last year’s finalist, Bouchard, go out in straight sets to Ying-Ying Duan 7-6 6-4. Bouchard opened the match 2-0 and then it all went downhill for her. She lost the next 4 games and though she leveled the set 4-4, she could not secure the tiebreaker. Duan, playing her first Wimbledon looked the more experienced player on court as she took the breaker and in the crucial 9th game of the 2nd set, she broke Bouchard and served out the match at love 7-6 6-4. Bouchard cited an abdominal tear as the reason for her poor play. She added that she was advised to not play the event but could not resist the opportunity to play Wimbledon with all its prestige and history.

Nonetheless, this loss is merely a continuation of a string of poor performances from Bouchard since the beginning of the year. Since getting to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, Bouchard is 4-13 for the rest of the year. She has been unable to string more than two match wins in a row and that has only happened once at Indian Wells. In 7 of the tournaments she has played, she did not win her opening round match including two first round losses at majors. “You know, a couple months ago when I had a loss in Indian Wells or Miami, I didn’t feel like it was the end of the world, but to some people it was.  We’re closer to the end of the world now,” Bouchard said.

USUAL SUSPECTS
Petra Kvitova (2) and defending champion was in an absolute impeccable form as she took out Kiki Bertens 6-1 6-0 in just 35 minutes. Kvitova dropped only 1 point on serve, which was a double fault in the final game of the match. Poor Bertens had no answer to the power and precision from Kvitova. Kvitova will play Kurumi Nara in the next round. Angelique Kerber (10) completely destroyed her compatriot Carina Witthoeft 6-0 6-0 in just 45 minutes. Kerber has 21 winners to 5 errors, a rather impressive stat. Things most likely will not be so easy for Kerber in her next round as she faces Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Carolina Wozniacki (5) had to dig deep early in the 1st set against her opponent Saisai Zheng.  Zheng was able to secure the double break in the opening set for 4-1 and despite giving one of the breaks back soon after, she served for the set up 5-4. However, she was unable to close out the set then and this allowed Wozniacki to assert herself in the match. Wozniacki went on a huge run winning 9 straight games for a 7-5 6-0.

Garbine Muguruza (20) took out American Varvara Lepchenko 6-4 6-1 to also move through to the 2nd round. 2012 Wimbledon finalist Aga Radwanska (13) got by the tricky opponent of Lucie Hradecka 6-3 6-2. Radwanska is looking to round into form at this tournament having had a dismal year. She recently got to the final of Eastbourne but lost to Belinda Bencic. Camila Giorgi (31) beat T Pereira 7-6 6-3. It was a tough opening set as she was down 1-4 in the earlier parts of the set. However, Giorgi played like the experienced player she is to secure the win. Ekaterina Makarova (8) is continuing to show signs of major success as she has made it to the 2nd week of the last 4 majors. She took out American Sachia Vickery 6-2 6-4.

SURPRISES
Former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic (28) had a marathon match against Elena Vesnina. Vesnina served for the match up 7-6 in the 3rd but Jankovic broke to level it 7-7. In the 18th game of the set, Vesnina made a couple of errors which handed the match to Jankovic 6-4 3-6 10-8. Jankovic is looking to make the 2nd week at these championships for the first time in her career. French Open quarterfinalist, Elina Svitolina (17) had to win in 3 sets also to get by Misaki Doi  3-6 6-3 6-2 as did Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova over Mona Barthel 6-7 7-6 6-2. Local favourite, Laura Robson, was unable to keep hope alive for the home crowd as she lost 4-6 4-6 to Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina.

OTHER WINNERS
Svetlana Kuznetsova (26) had a comfortable win over Laura Siegemund 6-3 6-4. French Open semifinalist, Timea Bacsinszky (15) got passed Julia Georges in straight sets 6-2 7-5 as did Sabine Lisicki (18) who beat Jarmila Gajdosova 7-5 6-4. American Christina McHale won in straight sets but it was not so simple for Mirijana Lucic-Baroni and Monica Niculescu who both won in three sets. They both beat formidable opponents; Lucic-Baroni took out Yaroslava Shvedova who made the 4th round here back in 2012 and Niculescu knocked out Monica Puig.

 

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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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