UPDATE: Flavia Pennetta secures her spot for Singapore but retires from Moscow - UBITENNIS
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UPDATE: Flavia Pennetta secures her spot for Singapore but retires from Moscow

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US Open champion Flavia Pennetta has secured her eighth place in the WTA Race to Singapore and qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore thanks to her 6-2 6-4 win over 21-year-old Daria Gavrilova from Australia in one hour and 31 minutes at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. After the match the Italian has decided to retire from the quarter finals in Moscow to focus on Singapore. Reaching the WTA Finals is the best way to end her great career

“Qualifying for the WTA Finals is a dream come true and the perfect way to end an amazing season. It will be a wonderful way to say goodbye to tennis. It’s a spectacular stage to bow out on. Having won the WTA doubles title I can’t wait to make my debut in singles”, said Pennetta

Pennetta converted on her fourth break point in the 14-point first game of the first set. Gavrilova brought up a break point in the fourth game but Pennetta saved it to take a 3-1 lead. Pennetta went up a double break in the fifth game to pull away to 4-1. Gavrilova, who beat Maria Sharapova in Miami, broke serve on her sixth break point chance in the next game. Pennetta broke again immediately in the seventh game before closing out the set for 6-2

After calling a medical time-out to treat a bladder on her foot at 1-2 Pennetta broke to love in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead after Gavrilova made three double faults. Gavrilova broke back for 3-3 as Pennetta sent her forehand wide. Pennetta got another break in the seventh game for 4-3. In the 10th game Pennetta committed two double faults and was had to save four break points with her serve and two forehands before closing out on her first match point as Gavrilova hit her smash into the net.

Thanks to this win Pennetta is very close to securing her berth for Singapore. She would become the fifth Italian player to qualify for the “Masters” or ATP/WTA Tournament at men’s or women’s level after Adriano Panatta in 1975, Corrado Barazzutti in 1978, Raffaella Reggi in 1986, 1987 and 1989, Silvia Farina in 2001 and 2002, Francesca Schiavone in 2010 and Sara Errani in 2012 and 2013.

Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, winner in Linz last Sunday, edged past 2015 Roland Garros finalist and second seeded player Lucie Safarova in three sets with 6-1 6-7 (2-7) 6-3.

Safarova just played her second match in the last 50 days after being hospitalized with an infectious disease which forced her to miss the post US Open season. She made her come-back to the court last week in Linz where she lost against Romanian Andrea Mitu. In the first set she was brushed aside by Pavlyuchenkova who dropped just one game in the first set.

In the second set Safarova missed three break points in the second game before before dropping her serve in the sixth game to trail 2-4. Safarova was on the verge of defeat when she went down 2-5 but she bounced back reeling off three games. Pavlyuchenkova took the 6-5 lead after saving a break point. Safarova faced a match point in the next game but was able to save it with an ace forcing the match to the tie-break. Pavlyuchenkova made two double faults and another error with her her drop-shot. Safarova won the set on the ninth point.

In the third set Safarova fended off three break points but Pavlyuchenkova got the crucial break in the fifth game at 2-2. The Russian player got a double break in the ninth game to seal the win. In the quarter finals Pavlyuchenkova will face Margarita Gasparyan

After the defeat of Safarova Angelique Kerber has secured her spot in the WTA Finals in Singapore. The German has reached the WTA Finals for the third time after qualifying 2012 and 2013. Kerber won four titles in Charleston, Stuttgart, Birmingham and Stanford.

Lucie Safarova currently holds the number eight spot but, after her defeat in the first round of the Kremlin Cup, she can be overtaken by Carla Suarez Navarro if the Spanish player reaches the final in Moscow

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Alex De Minaur Ends 10-Match Losing Streak Against Tsitsipas To Reach Mexican Open Semis

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Alex de Minaur - Australian Open 2024 (foto X @ATPTour_ES)

Alex de Minaur has broken new ground in his career by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas for the first time at the Mexican Open. 

The world No.9 entered into his quarter-final clash against the Greek having lost all 10 of their previous meetings on the Tour. Despite this, de Minaur battled back from a set down to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, after more than two hours of play. The victory has denied Tsitsipas the chance of returning to the world’s top 10 next week. 

“Today was a very good victory, obviously with an opponent who I had never beaten before, it’s one of those victories that you enjoy a lot.” The Australian said.
“It is normal that the people of Acapulco support Stefanos, he is a great player who has been here for many years, it is normal. Now that he is not here I hope they support me.”

De Minaur is the first defending champion in Alcapulco to reach the semi-final stage since David Ferrer did so back in 2013. Overall, he has 23 semi-finals on the ATP Tour so far in his career. 

“Tennis-wise I am not feeling the most comfortable, but what I will always do is to fight until the end.” He admits.
“I hope to find my best tennis at the end of the week, now there are several who are playing at a very high level in Acapulco and now [I will] prepare for another battle, [with] a lot of desire.”

Awaiting the third seed next will be Great Britain’s Jack Draper who beat Miomir Kecmanović 6-2, 6-2. Draper has only dropped 11 games in his first three matches played this week. It is the fifth time he has reached the last four of a Tour-level event but the first time he has done so at an ATP 500. 

“I feel great, I feel like it was coming. I made two finals in (ATP) 250’s, I feel like I’m progressing as a tennis player all the time, always improving and I think I can go further.” Said Draper who will rise to a ranking high of at least 37th next week.
“I’ve really tried to focus on my practice and its quality and that has shown in my games so I’m very happy with the way I’m playing.
“These players know who I am, I’ve been injured a lot, played a lot. With Alex, I have had strong battles before and it will be tough, I will always want to win the match, I never want to play freely, I want to compete to win and tomorrow it will be the same.” 

De Minaur has won both of his previous meetings against Draper. However, in each of those matches, he has dropped a set. 

In the other section of the draw, Holger Rune is through to the semi-finals for the second year in a row after beating Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 7-6(2), 7-6(0). The Dane is seeking his first-ever title at an ATP 500 at the age of 20. He will next player Casper Ruud who outlasted Ben Shelton 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4, in a marathon encounter that lasted more than two-and-a-hlaf hours. 

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Daniil Medvedev Says He Is Far From His Best Despite Easing Into Dubai Semis

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Daniil Medvedev believes there is room for improvement in his game after reaching the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Thursday. 

The Russian top seed dropped just five games during his 6-2, 6-3, win over Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and was only broken once in the match. He is now on an eight-match winning streak at the Dubai event, which he won 12 months ago. In their head-to-head, Medvedev has extended his perfect record against Fokina to 4-0. 

“Alejandro can play really well,” Medvedev said afterwards. “Sometimes during matches, he can have down moments and then he goes up. I knew that no matter the score I needed to go the last point.’
“It got a bit tighter at one moment in the second set but I managed to stay there, win some more games and it was enough today. “

This week is the first time the former world No.1 is playing on the Tour since his loss to Jannik Sinner in the final of the Australian Open where he boasted a two-set lead against the Italian. Looking to get back on track, he has dropped one set in three matches played so far in Dubai. 

His only blip occurred on Wednesday when he had to come back from a 3-6 deficit to beat Lorenzo Sonego. A day after that rollercoaster victory, Medvedev says an outbreak of illness among his team could have affected him. Nevertheless, he admits he hasn’t reached his best form yet. 

“I don’t know what happened with me yesterday. Some people around me got a small virus so maybe it was that,” he reflected. 
“Some days like this happen but I’m happy that today was better. I’m not at my best shape yet but we have some more matches.”

Russia has a double reason to celebrate with Andrey Rublev also booking his place in the last four after his opponent, Sebastian Korda, retired when losing 4-6, 3-4, due to injury. Rublev will next play an in-form Alexander Bublik who has secured his entry into the world’s top 20 for the first time next week as a result of his latest run. The Kazakh also won his quarter-final match via retirement after Jiri Lehecka called it quits when down 4-6, 1-4. 

Medvedev is bidding to become the first player to win the Dubai title in consecutive years since Roger Federer in 2015. He is already the first top seed at the event to reach the semi-final stage since Novak Djokovic in 2020. 

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Frustrated By Retirement Questions, Andy Murray Admits 2024 Will Likely Be His Last Season

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Andy Murray is set to bring his career to an end later this year after admitting that he will unlikely continue playing beyond this summer. 

The three-time Grand Slam champion has faced numerous questions about his future in the sport and has previously indicated that this year could be his last. However, he has given his clearest indication yet after losing 6-2, 6-4, to Ugo Humbert in the second round of the Dubai tennis championships on Wednesday. 

“I’m likely not going to play past this summer,” said Murray. “I get asked about it after every single match that I play, every single tournament that I play. I’m bored of the question, to be honest. I’m not going to talk more about that between now and whenever the time comes for me to stop. But yeah, I don’t plan on playing much past this summer.”

The comments come during what has been a turbulent time on the tour for the 36-year-old who has publically admitted to being frustrated with some of his results. He has now failed to win back-to-back matches at 12 consecutive tournaments. The last time he did so was almost six months ago at the Canadian Open. 

Murray, who has spent 41 weeks as world No.1, has given no indication as to when his final tournament will be. Although it is unlikely to be Wimbledon after the Brit expressed a desire to play at the Olympic Games if he had a chance to do so. He is the only player to have ever won the men’s singles Olympic title two times in a row. This year’s Games will be held in Paris with the tennis event being staged at Roland Garros, the venue of the French Open. 

“Hopefully I can get the chance to compete at another one,” he recently told Radio 4’s Today programme about playing at the Olympics. 
“There’s no right way of finishing your career and everyone is different so what might be the right way for Federer might not be the right way for [Rafael] Nadal, might not be the right way for [Novak] Djokovic.” He later added. 

Murray has won 46 ATP titles and earned more than $64M in prize money so far in his career. He is one of only five male players to have recorded 500 or more Tour-level wins on a hardcourt in the Open Era. 

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