Vinci bids "addio" to Serena and the hopes of a Calendar Slam! - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Hot Topics

Vinci bids “addio” to Serena and the hopes of a Calendar Slam!

Published

on

Roberta Vinci

US Open – In sports, there is no such thing as a foregone conclusion. One opponent can decisively be the clear favourite but the match is always decided on the field of play. In tennis in particular, no lead is safe no matter what the head-to-head is on paper or the scoreline. Coming into a match with an incredibly long win streaks does not change the fact that the match still has to be played and the winner must first get to match point and convert. Prior to the US Open, Serena Williams (1) was 21-0 at majors this year whereas as her opponent was 1-3. In their previous four encounters, Vinci had never taken a set off Serena nor even had a set point to convert. However, unseeded Roberta Vinci faced this encounter like a brand new day. She took it, head on. This unheralded journeywoman from Italy would forever be remembered as the woman who unended Serena’s quest for “greatest” when she upset the American 2-6 6-4 6-4 for a place in her first ever major final.

 

The beginning of the match was rather tepid as neither player seemed to be willing to take control of the match. Vinci took advantage of some loose shots from Serena to break for a 2-1 lead. However, she would not be allowed to extend this lead as Serena came back roaring to win the next 5 games to take the set 6-2 in just 31 minutes. At this point, one expected that Serena was going to run away with the match and be done with the match in just over an hour. Vinci had other ideas, Serena began playing sloppy service games. She would go down 0-40 a couple of times on her serve. On the second such occasion, Vinci broke for 3-2 and maintained this lead to serve out the set at 6-4.

The match was leveled at a set apiece. However, there was no real sense of panic in the crowd for Serena all throughout this year at majors have dealt well with these type of situations. She has had to play 2 3-setters this tournament already and so a third was not surprising. She got out to a 2-0 lead and the crowd was ecstatic for this surely would be Serena’s march to the win. The crowd was missing the fact that Vinci began to tighten up her game and stay longer in the points. Serena was no longer dictating from the baseline nor dominating at the net. Things were about to get interesting.

Vinci broke Serena to get back on serve 1-2. Serena’s attempt to break back went incomplete as Vinci held serve for 2-2. That Serena Surge that one expected came in short bursts and never gained the required momentum to give Serena the upper hand in this crucial stage of the match. At 3-3, Serena serving for 4-3, she again played loose points and allowed Vinci into the game. Vinci capitalized on another rare break point and converted for 4-3. It was now do or die for Serena and she died. She was unable to break back despite having double break points and Vinci went up 5-3. Serena was able to hold serve for 4-5 and forced Vinci to serve it out. Vinci was up for the challenge and was able to serve it out at love. Roberta Vinci is now a major finalist as she took out Serena Williams 2-6 6-4 6-4 in exactly 2 hours.

After the match, Serena had this to say about losing this battle, “I think she played literally out of her mind … [S]he just played really well. She did not want to lose today.” Vinci will face her countrywoman Flavia Pennetta for the title. Pennetta herself is making her major final debut. She took out the Simona Halep (2) in a straight sets thrashing 6-1 6-3 in just 59 minutes.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Hot Topics

In Familiar Surroundings Naomi Osaka Looks To Cause Another Stir At The US Open

The world No.2 is hungry for more glory in New York.

Published

on

It has been almost a year since Naomi Osaka scored the breakthrough she so desperately wanted in the world of tennis.

 

Going into the 2018 US Open, the Japanese player has been among those mentioned as one of the potential outside contenders for the title but nothing more. Osaka didn’t just meet those expectations, she exceeded them. Racing to the final by dropping only one set, she met her idol Serena Williams. The first clash between the two were overshadowed by her opponents confrontation with umpire Carlos Ramos, however, Osaka still managed to reign supreme. Announcing herself as a force to be reckoned with in the sport.

“My feeling last year was I lost three matches in a row before I came here (to the US Open), so I just wanted to, like, get one match,” wtatennis.com quoted Osaka as saying. “Then it just kept building on from that.
“As opposed to this year, I went to two quarterfinals back to back [in Toronto and Cincinnati], and I feel very confident about how I am right now. So, yeah, it’s a bit contrasting.”

Since her triumph in New York 12 months, it has been a roller coaster journey for the 21-year-old, who is the only Asian player in history to have reached the world No.1 ranking. A surge in popularity placed the introverted player directly into the spotlight. Something she has openly admitted to struggling with. Furthermore, she has become a gold mine for endorsements with Sports Pro Media going as far as naming her the most marketable athlete.

“We’re fortunate that Naomi has the star power and personality to connect with multiple parts of the Endeavor network.” Stuart Duguid, Osaka’s agent and manager, recently said in an interview.

Taking to Flushing Meadows Osaka finds herself in both familiar and unfamiliar scenarios. It will be the fourth consecutive year she had played in the main draw of the major. In the past, she also trained at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which features the largest tennis stadium in the world.

However, this time round the world No.2 enters a grand slam as the defending champion for the first time of her career. Something she unfazed about thanks to her experience at another prestigious American tournament.

“I think going to Indian Wells and kind of learning how defending champion pressure feels, I think it definitely helped me out going into this tournament,” Osaka reflected.
“Because I just feel more loose and comfortable here. I’m not sure if it’s because the last couple of months have been kind of turbulent, but definitely I feel really comfortable and I know that, despite everything, I play well here every year. So I’m not too worried about that.”

The calm and collecting views of the two-time grand slam champion comes following a health scare. At the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, she was forced to retire with an injured knee. Something she has since played down.

“I mean, it’s getting better,” she assured. “Like, I have been playing more, like, longer every day. It’s feeling better. Luckily I’m a fast healer, so I think it’s looking good.”

Osaka will play Russia’s Anna Blinkova in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday.

Continue Reading

Hot Topics

Rafael Nadal Talks Injury And The Secret Behind His Success Ahead Of US Open Campaign

The world No.2 is gunning for another deep run at his 59th grand slam tournament.

Published

on

For Rafael Nadal hard court tournaments had given him both pleasure and pain throughout his illustrious career.

 

At one stage it looked like the former world No.1 would give up altogether playing on the surface. Between 2018-2019, he was forced to retire or withdraw from 12 out of 13 hard court tournaments he had entered. Due to a variety of injury-related issues concerning his knees, abdomen and more. Yet still, he enters the upcoming US Open as one of the big favourites for the title.

Nadal is the only member of the Big Three to have won a trophy leading up to Flushing Meadows. Successfully defending his title at the Rogers Cup in Canada. Making it the first time in his career he had defended a hard court title on the ATP Tour.

“Of course, arriving to the big events with good feelings helps,” the world No.2 said during media day at the US Open on Friday. “My last events have been win Rome, win in Roland Garros, semi-finals in Wimbledon, and winning Montreal. That’s a positive feeling, positive memory on my mind. That helps for the confidence.”

The talent of the Spaniard has never been disputed. His resume currently features 83 ATP titles and 196 weeks as world No.1. Furthermore, he has won more titles on the clay than any other player. Including a record 12 at the French Open.

It is the body of the 33-year-old that prompts anxiety around his camp. Last year he was forced to retire from his semi-final match at the US Open due to his right knee. Suffering from the effects of some lengthy matches that took place prior to the semi-finals. However, this year round, Nadal is more upbeat about his current health.

“My feeling on the knees are better this year than last year,” he said. “Last year the problem was I played three or four very, very long matches. That’s tough…
“I hope to be ready for it. I think I am playing well. I am practising the right way during these days. Of course, winning in Montreal helps. I am ready for the action.”

Growing up in the Spanish town of Manacor, Nadal believes his somewhat ordinary upbringing has been a key factor to his success as an athlete. With 18 grand slam titles currently to his name, only Roger Federer has won more than him.

“You need to be prepared for the tough moments,” explained Nadal.
“If you overprotect the young kids when they have problems – because in life you are going to have problems at some point – probably they are not very well-prepared.
“Probably that’s one of the reasons I have been able to be very competitive at very young stages of my career.
“I probably got a normal education, not like superstar education. I just played on the street with my friends.
“I had a very really normal life. That helps you to grow with the normal education.”

Nadal has achieved a win-loss record of 58-11 at the US Open so far in his career. He will play John Millman in the first round. Millman was the player who knocked Federer out of the tournament 12 months ago.

Continue Reading

Hot Topics

Revitalized Roger Federer Sets Sight On Ending 11-Year US Open Title Drought

The former world No.1 rates his current form ahead of the final grand slam of the season.

Published

on

When Roger Federer last won the US Open, arch rivals Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were yet to top the world rankings.

 

The Swiss maestro was at one point the king of Flushing Meadows with a 35-match winning streak seeing him win the grand slam five consecutive times between 2004-2008. Something that has only previously been achieved twice prior to the Open Era. William Larned triumphed between 1907-1911 and Bill Tilden dominated New York during the 1920s with six straight titles (1920-1925) and a further one in 1929.

However, since Federer’s last triumph back in 2008, success in New York has evaded him. With his last final appearance taking place back in 2015. However, the world No.3 remains undeterred ahead of his latest US Open campaign.

“We were saying on the practice court two days ago that this is probably the best I’ve felt in years coming into the US Open again, which is encouraging.” Federer told reporters on Friday.
“I’ve been playing well, and playing well in the slams recently, which has been great. I think also the win over Rafael in the Wimbledon semis was big for me. Also the final, the way I played that, is going to give me some extra confidence.”

Stating emphatically that he isn’t placing any pressure on himself, the 20-time grand slam champion will be eager for redemption following his recent Wimbledon misfortune. At The All England Club he had two championship points against Djokovic, but failed to convert as he lost the five-hour clash.

Whilst the loss hurt, Federer said a spot caravanning helped him mentally recover. Switching the focus of that match to his family life. Although flashbacks did haunt him for some time.

“I struggled a little bit the first couple days. At the same time I was caravanning with my kids. I didn’t have that much time thinking about all the missed opportunities,” he explained.
“I was setting up tables and organising my life for my four children, driving around the beautiful countryside in Switzerland.
“Sometimes you have flashbacks, things like ‘oh, I could have done that, should have done that’.
“The next day you’re having a glass of wine with your wife thinking ‘the semis was pretty good, even the finals was pretty good’. You go in phases.”

Not the favourite

Embed from Getty Images

Federer is under no illusion of the potentially difficult task he faces if he wishes to add to his grand slam tally in the coming weeks. World No.1 Djokovic has won four out of the past five major titles. The only exception was the French Open, which Nadal won. Meanwhile, Nadal is the only member of the Big Three to have won a title during the build up to the event. Defending his title at the Rogers Cup.

“I know it’s going to be tough. I’m not coming in as the overwhelming favourite like maybe I did back in 2006 or 2007.” Federer admits.
“I’m very much aware of how I need to approach this tournament mentally.”

Ulike Nadal’s success, Federer hasn’t been so fortunate. Since Wimbledon he has contested only one tournament at the Cincinnati Masters. Where he was stunned in the third round by Russia’s Andrey Rublev, who prevailed in straight sets. Rublev is a former US Open quarter-finalist himself.

“I’m happy where my game is at,” Federer concludes. “Cincinnati might be a good thing that I lost early, who knows?
“It’s maybe one of those things that sometimes needs to happen, like when I won at the Australian Open, went to Dubai, lost first round in 2017, then went on to win Indian Wells and Miami.
“Maybe it’s the same thing, I played a great Wimbledon, I needed to get knocked down in Cincy, to get my act together, train hard.
“That’s what I did. I’m ready for the US Open. It’s going to be a tough tournament to win, no doubt about it. I feel like I’m part of that group who can do it.”

Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal will be Federer’s first round test at Flushing Meadows. Nagdal will be making his grand slam main draw debut at the age of 22. Federer has only failed to reach the fourth round of the tournament once in his 18 previous appearances, which was back in 2000.

Federer will take to the court on Tuesday.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending