Tough wins for Azarenka and Errani early on Day 4 - UBITENNIS
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Tough wins for Azarenka and Errani early on Day 4

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US Open – Two-time US Open finalist (2012-2013) Victoria Azarenka (20) and 2012 semifinalist Sara Errani (16) both had to dig deep to get passed their 2nd round opponents as they were both facing upsets. Azarenka was able to get the job done in straight sets 7-5 6-4 against Yanina Wickmayer and Errani battled hard to escape the clutches of qualifier Jelena Ostapenko 0-6 6-4 6-3.

 

Azarenka was under pressure from the beginning of the match as Wickmayer jumped out to a 2-0 lead. She would sustain this lead until the 8th game when Azarenka broke back for 4-4. Wickmayer broke back for 5-4 and serve for the set but again was unable to hold the lead as Azarenka got back the break and broke her again in the 12th game for the set as Wickmayer was serving to stay in it, 7-5. In the 2nd set, Azarenka was able to be in control of the points better but could not serve out the match when she was up 5-3. Wickmayer on the other hand again could not hold serve when it counted the most. Serving to stay in the match down 4-5, the Belgian could not come up with the goods and so was bounced from the tournament 5-7 4-6. This has to be a tough loss for Wickmayer who has yet to equal her 2009 result when she made the semifinals. Since then, she has only gone past the 2nd round once. Azarenka moves through to the 3rd round where she will play Angelique Kerber (11) who beat Karin Knapp 7-5 6-2.

Errani looked well out of sorts at the beginning of her match. She lost the opening set 0-6 to Ostapenko who was simply on top of every shot. Errani had a medical time out and got some treatment which seemed have helped as the Italian raced out to a 4-0 lead in the 2nd set. Ostapenko was able to get back the double breaks for 3-4. However, Errani remained relentless as she broke back for 5-3 and despite being unable to serve out the set in the 9th game, she broke Ostapenko again to take it 6-4. The 3rd set saw 6 successive breaks of serves for 3-3. However, Errani allowed her experience to shine through as she held serve for 4-3 and broke Ostapenko for the 4th time in the set for 5-3. Errani then fought through the pain and serve it out 0-6 6-4 6-3 in 2 hours.

Errani is set to play Sam Stosur (22), 2011 champion here, who virtually stormed through to the 3rd round with a 6-1 6-1 thrashing of Evgeniya Rodina in just 51 minutes. The Australian had 8 aces added to her total of 29 winners. Rodina only had 1 ace and 7 winners altogether for the match. “I’m very happy with the way I played. I thought I played great from start to finish. [N]ice to get on and off very quickly, especially when it’s hot and I’ve got doubles later today. [M]y first two matches have been really good,” Stosur said after the match.

American Varvara Lepchenko took out Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko who earlier in the tournament upset Lucie Safarova (6). Lepchenko won 7-6 6-2 in just over an hour an a half. Andrea Petkovic (18) was also able to take out her opponent in straight sets. The German got by Elena Vesnina 6-3 7-6. Vesnina was able to gain a 5-3 lead in the 2nd set but was unable to serve it out at 5-4 and could not get much traction in the breaker.

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Simona Halep Beats Erractic Anisimova To Reach Wimbledon Semis

The former world No.1 dropped six games against her opponent who produced a series of costly errors.

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Simona Halep has stormed into the last four at Wimbledon after producing a comprehensive win over Amanda Anisimova. 

 

The 2019 champion survived a last-minute resurgence from her rival to prevail 6-2, 6-4, over the American on the Center court. Halep was able to dictate the play throughout with the use of her aggressive shot-making in a match that resembled their meeting in Bad Homburg just two weeks ago. It is the first time she has reached the last four of a major since the 2020 Australian Open.

It’s great to be back in the semi-finals. I am very emotional right now because it means a lot,” said Halep. 
“I played a tough opponent today who could crush the ball in the end and I didn’t know what to do. I just believe in myself. I believed until the end that I could win.”

The 16th seed hit fewer winners than her rival (11-13) but the most telling factor was the unforced error count. Halep’s tally of six was more than four times less than that of Anisimova (28).

Out of the active players on the WTA Tour, Halep is only the third to reach a fifth Wimbledon quarter-final after both of the Williams sisters. Taking on Anisimova, the Romanian got off to a blistering start by breaking just three games into their clash. Producing some powerful ball-striking Halep forced her rival to commit back-to-back forehand errors which granted her the early break. Two games later the lead was extended further after yet more Anisimova errors moved the former champion to 4-1. She took the opener after exactly 30 minutes of play with the help of a serve down the line Anisimova returned.

It was a case of deja vu in the second set with Halep’s game simply overwhelming her error-stricken opponent who looked growingly lost on the court. Anisimova continuously looked towards her entourage out of frustration. It eventually all got too much for the world No.25 who began to cry during a changeover after going down 1-4 once again. 

Halep’s only struggle in the match occurred when she was tasked with serving it out. With Anisimova hitting more freely and with nothing to lose, suddenly she was the aggressor and retrieved one of the breaks to gradually close her deficit to 4-5.  Prompting a big cheer from the crowd. 

After going through a period where 13 out of 16 points played went to her opponent, Halep eventually held her nerve to clinch victory. 

“I am definitely playing my best tennis (since winning the 2019 Wimbledon title),” she said.
“Last year I struggled a lot and now I am just trying to build my confidence back. My tennis here and all I need to do now is to start to believe in myself.”

Halep is yet to drop a set at Wimbledon after five matches played. 

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(EXCLUSIVE) Kim Clijsters Is ‘Done’ With Professional Tennis And This Is What She Wants To Do Next

The former world No.1 sheds some light on her future during an interview with Ubitennis at The All England club.

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Kim Clijsters (image via twitter.com/wtainsider

It is her love for tennis that has spurred Kim Clijsters to continue playing as a professional player for as long as possible. 

 

The 39-year-old announced her third retirement from the sport earlier this year after her latest comeback. Troubled by injury and having her schedule affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Belgian played only five tournaments between 2020-2022 and lost her opening match at all of them. Although three of those matches went the full distance. 

Clijsters has returned to Wimbledon this year once again but officially as a member of the legends contingent. A group of former players who play in events designated for them.

So what is the future plan for a Clijsters who has rightfully embedded her name in the sport as one of the best in recent years? During her career, she has won 41 WTA titles, spent 19 weeks as world No.1 and is the only player to have defeated the Williams sisters at multiple events (2002 WTA Championships and the 2009 US Open). 

Speaking to Ubitennis at The All England Club, Clijsters hints that she may one day like to return to the Tour but not as a player….

UBITENNIS: How does it feel to be back at Wimbledon?

CLIJSTERS: It feels great. It’s always a special place to come back to. I haven’t been here for a few years and a lot of the infrastructure has changed. For me to be back here and see the legends and players I remember watching when I was younger is so much fun. Once you stop playing there are not a lot of people who understand the life that you have had. Then when you come and see everybody it is so natural. This was my family for years and years. You don’t see it as a family then but as you get older you do. 

UBITENNIS: You recently retired from the sport. Is that you totally done now or is there still a temptation to come back?

CLIJSTERS: I’m done, done, done…. I do like to play legends tennis. I still love tennis and like to play every day if I can but with three kids it is a little complicated. It is still my passion and I love watching the sport. 

UBITENNIS: So now you’re retired, what’s next?

CLIJSTERS: I think I do (want to work in tennis). The passion started for me when I was a little girl and I still believe I can help here and there. Whether it is helping the younger players that are playing at this stage. 
There are definitely things I would like to do but with family life, traveling many weeks a year is complicated. But I do like to stay involved in tennis. 

UBITENNIS: Who would be your dream player to coach?

CLIJSTERS: That is a tough question. maybe a younger player…

UBITENNIS: Emma Raducanu?

CLIJSTERS: Yea, a younger player. Amanda Anisimova and the girls who want to get to that next stage. Those who you have a connection with personality-wise. It’s tough to pick one out of the hat right now but I think that trust and connection on a personal level are really important if you want to get to the next step (as a player). 

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Why Cameron Norrie’s Historic Run To The Wimbledon Semi-Finals Is No Fluke

The Brit has already proved his worth on the ATP Tour, it was only a matter of time before he did so at the majors.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Cameron Norrie joins a small contingent of British men to have ever reached the semi-final of a major after coming through a dramatic five-set epic against David Goffin at Wimbledon.

Spurred on by an animated crowd, the ninth seed battled from behind to win 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, against the former top 10 player. In doing so the 26-year-old has become only the fourth British man in the Open Era to reach the last four of the grass-court major and the seventh to do so at any Grand Slam. 

 

“To just be a semifinalist of a slam, especially this one, living just around the corner. It’s just all pretty crazy and all happened pretty quickly.” Said Norrie. 

A former college standout player for Texas Christian University, Norrie’s Grand Slam breakthrough has been one in the making. Last year he achieved his best-ever season with a win-loss record of 52-25. During that year he contested six tour finals across three different surfaces, winning two titles. The most prestigious being Indian Wells.  His coach, Facundo Lugones, was recognized for his work by being named ATP Coach of the Year.

Norrie’s 2021 wasn’t a one-off with him continuing his form into this year. Winning the Delray Beach Open in February and Lyon in May. More recently, he was runner-up at Queen’s to Matteo Berrettini who is absent from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19

“When I was a kid watching guys on TV making the (Grand Slam) quarterfinals and thinking, ‘Wow, this looks so tough to do, and there’s almost zero chance I’m going to do that.’ But to actually be doing it, to be living it and experiencing it is very cool and pretty crazy.”

Until now the Grand Slams have been where Norrie has failed to shine. It was visible how much the latest Wimbledon win meant to the world No.12 who struggled to hold back his emotions whilst speaking during his on-court interview.

“All the hard work, the sacrifices and everything just kind of all hit me at once. Especially the situation here at Wimbledon in front of my family, my friends, and obviously a lot of people following that match.” Norrie explained.
“Thinking back about all the hard work, the sacrifices and everything was just…. I didn’t really know what to say. It got emotional there. (It was) just a crazy day and crazy match to get through.”

Standing in his way of becoming the first home player since Andy Murray to reach the Wimbledon final is Novak Djokovic. The top seed ousted Jannik Sinner in five sets earlier in the day.

“He has nothing to lose. Every victory from now onwards is a big deal for him. I know that.” Said Djokovic.
“But I practiced (with him) a few times. I know his game well. He’s been around. Of course, I will do my homework and get ready.”

Looking ahead to his showdown with the 20-time Grand Slam champion, Norrie describes playing him as one of the ‘toughest’ tasks in the sport. He first played Djokovic at last year’s ATP Finals in Milan where he lost 6-2, 6-1. Although the Brit believes he has learned a lot from that match and will be seeking tips from a former Wimbledon Champion as well. 

“Andy (Murray) has been super supportive to me and my team. I’m always practicing with him and always reaching out to him for ideas. He’s super supportive with us,” he said.
“I think he’s not a bad guy to ask about some tactics. I’m going to enjoy today and maybe reach out to him and see what he’s got.”

Norrie’s win-loss record against top 10 players in his career currently stands at 4-23. 

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