WTA Singapore: Garbine Muguruza in excellent attacking display to defeat Angelique Kerber - UBITENNIS
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WTA Singapore: Garbine Muguruza in excellent attacking display to defeat Angelique Kerber

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Garbine Muguruza

The two victors from the opening day of white Group play faced each other in the second round of group matches. It was Garbine Muguruza  who came through 6-4, 6-4, extending her winning streak to four against Angelique Kerber.

Both women had enjoyed strong starts to their tournament. Muguruza had beaten Lucie Safarova, whilst Kerber surprised the higher ranked Petra Kvitova. Today, it was Muguruza’s attacking style and powerful forehand that took the initiative over the defiant defence of Kerber, who herself normally tries to attack.

Muguruza started with aplomb, breaking Kerber in the first game, with deep, punishing ground strokes. A forehand winner saw the Spaniard take the first break of serve.

Kerber came alive in the second game, earning a break point after winning an excellent rally, the passing Muguruza when her volley was too straight. Big serving and a cleverly simple one-two punch from Muguruza saw the game saved.

Kerber managed to break back in game four though, as Muguruza’ s attacking style began to waver slightly. Kerber returned well, and benefited from some luck when a net cord saved her from a seemingly lost position. The break levelled affairs, and  Kerber then held to lead on serve.

Both held their service games until game eight, though Muguruza was forced to deuce in game seven. Kerber then fell under pressure again as Muguruza put three attacking points together to earn love- forty. One break point was saved, but a weak drop shot saw Muguruza pounce, driving a backhand up the line.

Kerber then worked hard to retrieve the break at love-thirty after a brilliant return. Muguruza levelled at thirty all with a beautifully constructed point finished with a volley, and a Kerber error. Another brilliant return from Kerber brought up break point. Muguruza then made her first serve for the first time in the game, earning a free point as Kerber could not return. A wild return saw Muguruza take the first set by six games to four.

Kerber immediately struggled in set two, with two errors handing Muguruza love-thirty. A perfect backhand return from Muguruza earned two break points. Both were saved by Kerber’s forehand, hitting two strong winners into open court after good set-up play from the serve. The game was the longest of the match, but Kerber eventually held.

Muguruza made relatively short work of her next service game, before intensifying the pressure on Kerber once more. Kerber had the opportunity to serve the game out after an ace took her to forty-thirty. Instead, two unforced errors gave Muguruza a break point. This was duly saved, and Kerber held again after another long game.

The relentless pressure continued, and for the third service game in a row, Kerber faced a break point. Muguruza would miss a lob long by the narrowest of margins, and another extended deuce game appeared. The break finally came with a great backhand winner down the line. Muguruza would hold from love-thirty, a wonderful backhand splitting the sideline at thirty-all.

An error from the chair umpire, who called the scores incorrectly, saw the game called for Muguruza. The error was rectified by bringing the play back, and Kerber managed to hold, keeping the distance at just one break.

After the unusual circumstances of game six,  Kerber then earned the chance to break back after some defiant defending forced errors from Muguruza. One was saved, but Kerber produced a stunning passing shot that Muguruza could only flick up, and Kerber smashed the ball away to level again.

Kerber played the best point of the match at thirty-all in her next service game, incredible defending saw her pass a shocked Muguruza. But the narrative of this match continued in predictable fashion. Deuce on the Kerber serve. Muguruza missed a standard return on break point. A final backhand passing shot drifted wide however, and Muguruza earned the right to serve for the match at five-four. That she duly did, fittingly winning with a volley into the corner to remain undefeated in the Group.

The win means that Muguruza is now in pole position to qualify for the semi final. A win over Petra Kvitova would secure her qualification and and even defeat may still be good enough. The defeat for Kerber means that she stills has everything to play for. She is now level with Kvitova for second place in the group. Kerber faces Safarova in the Group’s final round of matches on Friday.

Muguruza: ” I’m really motivated to be here, it is my first time in Singapore singles… hopefully I can be in the final

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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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