Premier Mandatory in Beijing: Sara Errani fought back from a set down to beat Andrea Petkovic - UBITENNIS
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Premier Mandatory in Beijing: Sara Errani fought back from a set down to beat Andrea Petkovic

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World Number 20 Sara Errani rallied from a set down to overcome number 21 Andrea Petkovic with 3-6 6-3 6-2 after two hours and two minutes in a match marked by a lot of unforced errors and a lot of breaks of serve. With this win Errani has reached the third round of the China Open WTA Premier Mandatory in Beijing after beating Petra Kvitova and Caroline Garcia in the previous two rounds.

 

Errani broke serve on Petkovic’s first service game before holding her serve in the second and the fourth games to take a 3-1 lead but the German reeled off five consecutive games to clinch the first set with 6-3.

Petkovic did not convert a break point in the first game of the second set with two unforced errors but she broke serve to love two games later for 2-1. Errani broke straight back as Petkovic sent her backhand into the net before taking the 3-2 as the German his her forehand wide. Errani got the break in the 8th game before holding her serve to love in the next game. Errani sealed the win in the second set with 6-3 as Petkovic hit her return into the net.

The third set started with three breaks of serve in the first three service games. Errani reeled off four consecutive games from 3-3 in the second set to build a 6-3 1-0 lead with a break of serve in the first game of the third set. Petkovic broke straight back but she dropped her serve again to trail 1-2 as she made two consecutive double faults and sent a forehand wide. Petkovic broke straight back for 2-2 but Errani broke again for 3-2 before holding her serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Errani pulled away to 5-2 with a new break and served for the match. In a very long final game Petkovic saved three match points at deuce before Errani sealed the third set with 6-2 after 49 minutes on her fourth match point. The Italian had already beaten the German in the third round of the 2015 Roland Garros with 6-3 6-3.

Errani, who is ranked 19th in the Road to Singapore, has still a small chance to qualify for the WTA Finals but she would need to win the Beijing tournament and defend her position in one of the tournaments after Beijing (Tjanjin, Hong Kong, Linz, Moscow and Luxemburg).

The 28-year-old Italian player will face the winner of the match between Timea Bacsinszky and Carla Suarez Navarro. For the first time in a Premier Mandatory Tournament three Italian players have reached the third round. Tomorrow US Open champion Flavia Pennetta will play against Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, while Roberta Vinci will face Bethanie Mattek Sands

Number-5 seed Garbine Muguruza is one match away from qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore after cruising to 6-2 6-1 over US qualifier Irina Falconi in her opening match in the Chinese capital.

Muguruza, who finished runner-up to Venus Williams last week in Wuhan, built up a 6-2 4-0 lead by reeling off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set en route to closing out the match with 6-2 6-1. If Muguruza wins her next match, she will become the first Spanish player to qualify for the WTA FInals since Aranxta Sanchez Valero in 2001

Muguruza will face Mirjana Lucic Baroni. They are tied 1-1 in their previous two head-to-head matches. In their last match earlier this year Muguruza beat the Croatian player en route to reaching the Wimbledon final. Lucic Baroni beat Muguruza at last year’s US Open.

“I am happy. I tried to keep the level I had in Wuhan and Tokyo. It was hard because I didn’t play for two days and here the conditions are not the same, so I am happy. I didn’t know that I was one win away from Singapore. I knew obviously if I did a great tournament here, I would qualify for the WTA Finals but I didn’t know which round it was. That’s a very good motivation. I want to finish the year in a good year. I want to on holiday and say: “Look. I had a great year. I did everything I could to go off the court feeling that I gave it all my effort”, said Muguruza.

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Naomi Osaka Speaks About Mental Health And Lack Of Preparation Ahead Of Roland Garros

Naomi Osaka has a blockbuster opening round against Amanda Anisimova at Roland Garros.

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Naomi Osaka has spoken about mental health and lack of preparation ahead of this year’s Roland Garros.

 

It was this time last year that Osaka decided to withdraw from Roland Garros and Wimbledon due to her mental health after her announcement about not participating in press conferences.

Fast forward 12 months and the three-time grand slam champion is in a good shape mentally as she aims to be back at the top of the sport.

Speaking in her pre-tournament press conference, Osaka spoke about mental health and reflected on her experiences from last year, “I know like after last year’s French Open that the next slam I played was the US Open and they have like these little like retreats or things like that in the players lounge,” the Japanese star said.

“I found it to be a very interesting experience to go to the Olympics and to like walk through the Village and people were thanking me and stuff. So I think athletes kind of all go through the same thing. It’s just like people don’t really talk about it.

“Like when I first came here, I was very worried. I was just kind of worried if there would be people that like — of course I also didn’t like how I handled the situation, but I was worried that there were people that I offended some way and I would just kind of bump into them.

“But I think like everyone has been really positive, for the most part. Of course I’m still thinking about it, and I’m like kind of also prepping just in case like I go on the court and a fan says something like in Indian Wells. Yeah, for the most part I think I’m okay.”

It’s good to see Osaka in a good mental state as she looks to face her demons and continue to make progress up the rankings.

On the court, it’s been a frustrating clay-court swing for Osaka who faced an early exit in Madrid before withdrawing from Rome.

Speaking in her press conference Osaka said there was no way she was going to miss the event in Paris, “There is no way I’m not going to play this tournament, so like of course you kind of have to manage things, but at the same time, like, I’m going to pop a few painkillers, like it is what it is,” Osaka admitted.

“I have actually played a lot of Grand Slams with something. I actually, Australia, when I played Kvitova, like for five matches I had this really bad back thing. So I think maybe there is a possibility I could play really good when I have an injury, because I feel like I don’t have anything to lose.

“I don’t know, for me I find it a bit ironic, like this clay court season is the one that I spent the most like preparation on, and it was really unfortunate that I had to pull out from Rome and I couldn’t do that well in Madrid.”

Osaka will begin her Roland Garros campaign against the in-form Amanda Anisimova.

The duo met at the first grand slam of the season in Melbourne where Anisimova edged out the match in a last set tiebreak.

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Unchanged Swiatek Feeling Relaxed Ahead Of Roland Garros Title Charge

Iga Swiatek is on a 28 match winning streak heading into Roland Garros.

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Iga Swiatek (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Iga Swiatek says she is unchanged since being world number one and feels more relaxed heading into her Roland Garros campaign.

 

Swiatek is the heavy favourite to lift her second Roland Garros and grand slam title after winning five consecutive titles on two different surfaces.

The Pole’s recent win in Rome saw her comprehensively defeat in-form Ons Jabeur with the loss of four games as Swiatek will look to repeat the success she achieved in 2020.

Now the world number one Swiatek has said that being world number one hasn’t changed who she is, “I didn’t even know at what stage I was, honestly. I was just going forward, and I didn’t really care if I’m 50 or 100, you know,” Swiatek replied when asked about when she started to think about being world number one.

“For sure it mattered when I was entering the tournaments, but for me it was just a number, so I didn’t really care. Right now it’s a little bit different, because I feel like with my new ranking, people around are treating me a little bit differently. But I feel like I’m staying the same player and the same person.”

This mentality has been an important factor in Swiatek’s confident and ruthless form with the 20 year-old having psychologist Daria Abramowicz helping her find the right balance from a mental perspective.

Now the Pole is feeling more relaxed as she searches for more success in Paris over the next couple of weeks, “I’m more relaxed. I don’t know about being nervous, because usually it comes closer to the match, so we will see,” Swiatek said.

“But I’m more relaxed, because, yeah, as I was saying, I have so much points and I feel like my position in WTA is already like, you know, I have worked for it.

“And it’s already kind of maybe I proved to myself and to other people that I can be in the top of the game, and before I wasn’t feeling that much confidence, so this year I feel much more peace.”

Swiatek’s relaxed mental state will be important to her as she looks to win her second Roland Garros in the space of 18 months.

First up for Swiatek will be Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko on Monday or Tuesday.

Iga Swiatek’s Projected Draw:

R1: Tsurenko

R2: Riske/Yastremska

R3: Samsonova (25)

R4: Ostapenko (13)

QF: Pliskova (8)

SF: Badosa (3)

Final: Krejcikova (2)

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ATP and WTA removes rankings points from Wimbledon

Players playing Wimbledon have no ranking points to play for.

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(@FOS - Twitter)

The ATP responded in regards to the ban on Russian and Belorussian players that was made by the tournament.

 

The ATP has officially responded to Wimbledon banning all Russian and Belorussian in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has wreaked havoc on the world of sports.

Russian and Belorussian players up to this point have been playing under their name and not their country.

The ATP released a statement in regards to the decision that was made.

The move essentially makes Wimbledon an exhibition event meaning players who decide to play won’t be able to move up in the world rankings and points won’t have to be defended.

Wimbledon made the announcement in April that they would placing the ban as the All England Club stated the possibility of the Russian government using players success as propaganda for the reason behind the move.

The ATP responded by saying the ban violated their agreement and discriminating against players since they compete as individuals. Removing points seemed like the only feasable move to make.

Russian and Belorussian players are allowed to play at the French Open which begins this Sunday in Paris. Danil Medvedev who is currently the 2nd ranked player in the world was asked about the move.

I’m not in ATP taking the decisions, I’m not in Wimbledon taking the decisions. Maybe it’s government pushing them, maybe it’s their decision. There a lot of mistakes behind this. So if I can play I’m going to be happy to play. I love Wimbledon as a tournament.”

He also added that if he couldn’t play there this year he would try to play next year and play good.

The WTA has also followed suit but this time has also penalized some of the warm-up tournaments.

Wimbledon is currently scheduled to start on June 27th and will culminate with the final on Sunday July 10th.

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