It’s Venus who takes the intergenerational clash - UBITENNIS
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It’s Venus who takes the intergenerational clash



Venus Williams

Venus Williams brings her best game to defeat the newcomer Belinda Bencic 63 64. She’s now in round four of the Open for the 13th time in her career.

It was 1997 when Venus Williams made her debut at the US Open, reaching the final and losing it to the then number 1 Martina Hingis in straight sets. Belinda Bencic was only 5 months old at the time.


Eighteen years and 7 Grand Slam titles later, Williams is still competing at the Open, and this time around she’s facing that girl who was just born when she made her first appearance in New York.

Bencic has recently propelled into the public eye by winning at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, defeating four top tens, including Serena Williams, en route to the title. This year she has climbed twenty-one positions in the ranking, rising from number 33 to the 12th position in the ranking and getting often referred to as the future number one. Heads to heads are in favor of Williams, who has won all their three previous encounters dropping no more than four games per set. Bencic, however, is the odds-on favorite regardless of their history and of the struggles she had in defeating Misaki Doi in round 2, having to save three match points in a row. Venus’ path was not an easy one either, coming victorious of both Puig and Falconi only in the decider.

The stadium is packed as the two players approach the court for what is expected to be the most interesting third round match on the women’s draw, and probably a handover between a great champion and one still in the making.

In the first set both players hold their service games, Venus with relative ease and Bencic having to save three break points in the sixth games with three aggressive shots. Venus, however, plays amazingly and the break is in the air: in her next service game Bencic gets broken to love, after a bad double-fault on the breakpoint. Williams closes out the set with an ace, her fourth in the set together with sixteen winners to only six unforced errors.

In the second set the young Swiss starts improving her game, going up 4-1 and showing no intention of surrendering to the twice-former champion. Yet, from then on is Venus who takes the spotlight, winning five games in a row and displaying a tennis both fearless and accurate, bringing flashbacks of when she used to be a main contender for the title.

She will now face the winner of Kontaveit versus Brengle, on the road to a possible 26th match against her sister Serena.

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Holger Rune Says New Coach Becker Helping Him Address Rough Patches



Holger Rune believes having Boris Becker in his team will help elevate his tennis to a higher level. 


The world No.4 joined forces with Becker in October with the two agreeing to continue working together in the new year. Becker is a six-time Grand Slam winner who has also previously coached Novak Djokovic. The German was brought in as a replacement for Patrick Mouratoglou who Rune stopped working with shortly after his exit from the US Open. 

Speaking to Bola Amarela, the 20-year-old says having somebody who is a former player mentor him will benefit his game. The Dane closed out his 2023 season by reaching the semi-finals in Basel, the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters and then playing at the ATP Finals. At the year-end event in Turin, he took a set of Djokovic and Jannik Sinner but lost both of those matches.

“I started working with Boris Becker and it’s something important for me, having a coach with experience of being a top player but also a top coach.” Said Rune.
“I learn a lot every time we are on the court. And I feel like I get a wise and qualified answer every time I ask a question about anything. And sharing my thoughts with someone who was young and was among the best when he was young… It means a lot when someone understands you. Not many people do that.”

Becker is the youngest man in history to have won Wimbledon. He claimed the men’s trophy in 1985 at the age of 17. 

One area of concern for Rune is related to his consistency throughout the season. After a strong start to 2023 where was runner-up at the Monte Carlo Masters and won a title in Munich, he went through a lull during the second half of this year. After Wimbledon, he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments. He also went through a similar streak in 2022 when he failed to win multiple matches at nine events in a row. 

“I have a difficult times every year and this is also something that Boris Becker will help me with,” he commented.
“When is the right time to take a break, when is it time to increase or decrease training, and so on.’
“It’s difficult when things aren’t going in your favour. But I think it’s part of life, especially when you’re young. I can’t expect to know everything and do everything right.’
“I learn and I want to learn. I become stronger mentally as I go through these difficult times.”

Rune closes out 2023 with a win-loss record of 44-24 and is currently at a career ranking high.

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Carlos Alcaraz Targets Olympic Glory In 2024



Carlos Alcaraz says one of his key objectives for the new season is to win a medal at the Paris Olympic Games even though he is currently ineligible to play. 


As it stands, the world No.2 doesn’t meet the criteria to play at the event which will be held at Roland Garros next year. Under rules set out by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), players must be part of their country’s Davis Cup team at least twice during an Olympic cycle. Alcaraz was on the team in 2022 but didn’t play this year. He would have had the opportunity to secure qualification in February if Spain was playing in one of the World Group ties but the country has been given a wildcard directly into the finals which take place after the Olympics. 

It is expected that Alcaraz will send a letter of appeal to the ITF via his national tennis federation arguing that the wildcard handed to Spain has taken away his chance of meeting the qualifying criteria. It is expected that the two-time Grand Slam champion will experience no issues in his appeal with his mind already set on the event. 

“It is going to be a demanding year, it is a little more special having the Olympics,” El Universal quoted Alcaraz as saying during a press conference in Mexico earlier this week.
“I really want to play. Trying to bring a medal to my country is what I would like the most and we are going to work to achieve it.”

In Olympic history, Rafael Nadal is the only Spanish player to have won a gold medal in men’s singles after he won the 2008 tournament. Coincidentally, he will also need to submit an appeal to play in 2024 after missing Davis Cup ties due to injury. 

One of Alcaraz’s biggest threats in the new year will be Novak Djokovic who beat him in straight sets at the ATP Finals earlier this month. Djokovic has won three out of the four major events this year with the only exception being Wimbledon where he was beaten by Alcaraz in the final.

“We are here to prevent him and with many other players who are capable of beating him, 2024 is going to be very intense,” the Spaniard commented.
“(I dream) of being one of the best in history, in the end, it is a big dream because in this life you have to dream big,” he added. 

On Wednesday Alcaraz took part in an exhibition event held at the Plaza de Toros México which was attended by more than 20,000 people. Taking on America’s Tommy Paul, he won their match 7-6(3), 6-3. A women’s match also took place with Maria Sakkari beating Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-4. 

According to the website Punto de Break, Alcaraz will now go on a vacation to the Dominican Republic for a week before undergoing a training block at the Juan Carlos Ferrero Academy in his home country. Before the start of the new season, he will play another exhibition match on December 27th against Djokovic in Ridayh, Saudi Arabia. 

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Andrey Rublev: ‘Everything Needs To be Improved’



Andrey Rublev might have had a stellar season on the Tour but he believes there is still plenty of room for improvement in his game. 


The 26-year-old is currently at a ranking high of No.5 in the world and won his Maiden Masters 1000 title earlier this year in Monte Carlo. This season he also won another title in Bastad and reached the quarter-finals in three out of four Grand Slam tournaments played. His overall win-loss record for 2023 is 56-26. 

“This year I have improved a lot in my backhand. This is something that I feel very good about, that it has become better,” Rublev told Championat.
“And I increased my movement. Now I move around the court much faster than at the beginning of the year. I began to maintain pace and speed much better, and began to defend better.”

Despite his success, the Russian admits that certain parts of his game are weaker compared to his peers in the world’s top 10. One of the most notable areas concerns his mentality during matches. At the ATP Finals Rublev lost his cool multiple times and at one stage was seen smashing his knee with his racket out of frustration. He has also lost his composure at other tournaments played such as the Shanghai Masters where he yelled at a person in the photographer area for moving during a crucial moment of his final clash with Hubert Hurkacz which he ended up losing in a final set tiebreak. 

Although Rublev insists that it isn’t just his mentality that he needs to work on during the off-season.  

“What needs to be improved? A ton of everything,” he stated. 
“The main thing, of course, is psychology. This is what I miss the most compared to Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner. They are much more stable than me psychologically.’
“As for the technical aspects, the movement can be further improved. And we (my team) need to improve my second serve. This component clearly stands out to me from a bad point of view compared to everyone else in the top 10. Everyone serves the second one stronger than me.”

According to the ATP’s Infosys Stats, Rublev is currently in 39th place for most second service points won on the Tour based on matches played within the past 52 weeks. However, his success rate of 51.4% is higher than both Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev. Overall, he has a serve rating of 278.3 which is the 19th highest. A player’s serve rating is calculated by adding the four service metrics percentages together plus the average number of aces per match and then subtracting the average number of double faults per match.

“Access to the net needs to be improved. If, with my game, I will be able to finish off not only simple balls but be able to unexpectedly reach the net – this will give me a big advantage.” He continued.
“Even if I only improve my psychology and second serve, it will be a completely different tennis.”

Rublev has played 15 matches against top 10 players this season but has only won five of them. 

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