Garbine Muguruza gets off to a winning start against Lucie Safarova in Singapore - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza gets off to a winning start against Lucie Safarova in Singapore

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Garbine Muguruza got off to a winning start to her first WTA Finals beating Lucie Safarova 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in the first match of the White Group. Muguruza clinched the first set with a break in the third game. safarova came back in the second set breaking serve in the first game but Muguruza reeled off three straight games from 1-3 down to take the lead with 4-3 before clinching the win with 7-4 at the tie-break.

Both players have achieved their best year so far. They reached their first Grand Slam finals (Safarova at the Roland Garros and Muguruza at Wimbledon), broke the top-10 for the first time in their careers and qualified for their first WTA Finals.

Safarova and Muguruza met only once in their careers last spring in the quarter finals at the French Open in Paris. The Czech player won that match in straight sets with 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. Safarova went to reach the final in the French capital.

Since then their season has gone very differently for the two players. Muguruza reached her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon before enjoying a great Asian Swing in which she reached the final in Wuhan before winning her biggest title so far in her career at the Premier Mandatory in Beijing. These results have made Muguruza one of the greatest favourites in Singapore. On the contrary Safarova was knocked out in the first round at the US Open before being hospitalized because of a bacterial infection. On her come back after one month she lost in the first round in Linz and Moscow.

Muguruza got to 30-30 in the opening game which went to deuce. The Spanish player did not earn any break points on Safarova’s service game. Safarova held her serve to win the first game at deuce.

At 1-1 0-30 Muguruza played brought up three break points but Safarova forced the game to deuce. Muguruza converted on her fourth break point to take a 2-1 lead. She held her serve in the next game to go up 3-1.

In another service game at deuce Safarova held her serve for 3-4, although she has to win a point on her second serve. After the first seven games Muguruza converted just one of her seven break points.

At 5-3 30-30 Muguruza hit her fourth ace and a service game to hold her serve. Safarova was unable to get a game to deuce in the first set.

In the first set Muguruza hit four aces and won 72 percent of her first service games and 88 percent of her second service games. Muguruza converted one of her break points.

At the start of the second set Safarova fought back from 15-40 to bring up her first break point of the match. Muguruza saved it with a big second serve but Safarova converted on her second break point chance to go up 1-0. Safarova held her service game to take a 2-0 lead. Muguruza held her serve in the third game for 1-2. After holding her serve in the fifth game for 2-3, Muguruza broke back to draw level to 3-3. Muguruza held her service game to win her third consecutive game to take the edge with 4-3.

Safarova fought back from 0-40 to save four break points for 4-4. Muguruza fended off two break points for 5-4 after fighting back from 15-40 down. In the tenth game Safarova held her service game to 30 to draw level to 5-5. Muguruza held her service game to 30 to go up 6-5. Safarova held her service game to draw level to 6-6 forcing the second set to the tie-break.

Muguruza hit a forehand winner to get an early mini-break for 2-0. She sent a dropshot into the net on the fourth point for 3-1. Safarova hit a forehand down the line for 2-4. The Czech player got the mini-break back with a forehand down the line. Muguruza got another mini-break to bring up two match points at 6-4. She converted her first match point when Safarova hit her forehand into the net.

“It was a very tough match. I was very nervous as it was my first time playing her in singles since the Roland Garros. In Paris she played an amaziing match I played a good match too. This time I just wanted to win so much. I was fighting and concentrating very much”, said Muguruza

After her impressive season marked by her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, her biggest title in Beijing and her first WTA Finals Muguruza has reached a new career-high on the WTA Ranking this week overtaking Maria Sharapova. Muguruza is the first player born after 1991 to break into the top 3

“It has been an incredible rise. I think you always have it in your mind that you can make good tournaments and achieve great things, otherwise it’s not going to happen”, said Muguruza.

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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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