Murray final set comeback frustrates superb Gasquet - UBITENNIS
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Murray final set comeback frustrates superb Gasquet



Murray recovered to beat the enigmatic Gasquet in three tough sets

Andy Murray withstood a barrage of stunning backhands from Richard Gasquet to advance to the Paris-Bercy semi-finals with a 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 victory.This match-up has led to some classics in the past, including two Murray comebacks from two-sets down in Grand Slam play. History repeated itself as Gasquet threw away a break lead in the final set, with Murray winning four of the last five games for the win.


Murray was the one to come out of the blocks firing, breaking to love in the first Gasquet service game. It came sandwiched between two deuce holds for Murray, as Gasquet himself seemed determined to make an impact. The Frenchman finally made the breakthrough in game seven, mirroring Murray’s break-to-love effort, as the first set returned to serve. Both men held the rest of the way, ensuring a tiebreak would decide the first set victor.

It was to be Murray, who won the set despite winning fewer points on his own serve than Gasquet. Yet the World No.2 struck when it mattered most, earning a single mini-break to steal the set from the frenchman seven-five.

Gasquet has had a fantastic year though, making the semi-finals of Wimbledon. He showed some of that form in the second set, breaking in game six as Murray’s first serve percentage continued to dwindle. Murray failed to make much of an impact, and Gasquet nearly stole another break, hitting some typically magical one-handed return winners to earn love-thirty. Murray did escape, but could not conjure up a break, as Gasquet held to thirty to level.

Gasquet was now completely on top, even winning long rallies that are normally Murray’s domain. The Frenchman earned two break points in the first game of the final set, only for Murray to save both with excellent serves. Murray also appeared to clutch his left hamstring for a brief time but did not call for the trainer. Instead, he would force a break point of his own, courtesy of a superb defensive point that eventually left Gasquet on the floor after a volley. Gasquet ruthlessly dealt with the break point, a masterful serve-backhand combo dissuading the threat. Two serves quickly saw Gasquet out of trouble.

Murray then was broken, as Gasquet continued to attack. A double fault at fifteen-thirty was ill-timed and sparked a furious monologue from Murray, berating himself for the loss of the key point. Gasquet broke with another service return winner.

The Frenchman has an issue with closing matches out with Murray though, and handed the break straight back. Murray improved to return well, breaking the Frenchman to thirty when the Frenchman pushed a Murray return into the tramlines.

Both men held comfortably until game eight. Gasquet then got into trouble, as Murray won a point at the net, and then the Frenchman missing a backhand. Gasquet recovered to win a stunning half-volley point for fifteen-thirty. But Murray then found a backhand angle for two break points. Murray missed the first with a lob by millimetre, and an ace brought Gasquet to deuce. Another backhand error brought Murray another opportunity. The devastating Gasquet serve-backhand combo paid dividends again, as they returned to deuce. Gasquet finaly succumbed, a Murray drop-shot and then a backhand error sealed the break for Murray.

Murray served out to reach his first semi-final in Paris-Bercy, where he will play the winner of David Ferrer and John Isner.

Andy Murray: “I think I got the break back straight away… he maybe uses the angles better than anyone.. makes it tricky, I was smarter at the end instead of going for big serves I was able to dictate

“It was a tough match you know obviously the crowd were right behind him, it was a good warm-up for the Davis Cup”.

“I was moving well right the way through to the end, on the serve it (lower back) was giving me a little trouble”.

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Top seed Ons Jabeur Crashes Out Of Guadalajara As Sakkari Sails Through



Ons Jabeur - Roland Garros 2022 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Ons Jabeur has suffered a shock exit from the Guadalajara Open after being edged out in three sets by Italy’s Martina Trevisan.


The world No.7 was leading the match by a set and a break before losing 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-3, in a marathon match that lasted more than three hours. Jabeur looked to be in control after breaking her rival midway through the second set before losing her advantage in the following game. Later in the same set she was two points away from victory after nudging ahead 5-4 but was unable to tame Trevisan who broke her twice in the third set en route to victory. 

It is the second tournament in a row that Jabeur has failed to win back-to-back matches after losing in the second round of the San Diego Open earlier this month. It is the first time she has lost to a player outside the top 50 since the Eastbourne International in June. 

Meanwhile, Trevisan has become the first player from her country to have reached the quarter-finals of multiple WTA 1000 tournaments within the same season since 2015. She also reached the quarter-finals of the Miami Open in March. In the next round, she will play America’s Caroline Dolehide. 

Sakkari benefitting from going solo

There was better news for second seed Maria Sakkari who dropped just four games during her 6-2, 6-2, win over Camila Giorgi. Despite dropping serve twice, the Greek broke Giorgi six times and won 72% of her first service points. She has now won 31 matches so far this season. 

“I love playing here. The love of the crowd is just very unique and very special to me. I just really enjoy my time here. There are only positives about this place for me and my tennis,” said Sakkari.
“I had to be very solid, which I was. Camila hits very strong and very powerful. I tried to make a lot of balls and make her work. I feel like day by day my game is getting better.” She added. 

This week the 28-year-old has been reunited with her coach Tom Hill after it was decided that he wouldn’t be accopanying Sakkari at her previous tournament in San Diego. The decision to have some time to herself appears to have paid off for the multiple Grand Slam semi-finalist who says she has identified areas of her game to work on. 

“It feels good again to have Tom back. I think that it was very important for me to have that week by myself. I just really discovered some things that I wanted to change on the court, on the practice court. Tom is on board with those.” She explained.
“I believe that it was a healthy decision and that it’s going to help me a lot in the future.”

Sakkari faces Colombia’s Emiliana Arango in the next round. She is bidding to win her first title since 2019. 

Elsewhere in the tournament, Victoria Azarenka cruised past Veronika Kudermetova 6-2, 6-1, to set up a showdown with France’s Caroline Garcia. It is the 25th time in her career that she has reached the last eight of a hardcourt WTA 1000 event. 

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Iga Swiatek Dismisses Criticism Over Recent US Open Exit



Iga Swiatek says she doesn’t consider her run at this year’s US Open as a ‘total failure’ despite losing her No.1 ranking. 


The 22-year-old dropped only nine games in her first three matches played at Flushing Meadows before crashing out in the fourth round to Jelena Ostapenko. Swiatek won the opening set against the Latvian before losing 12 out of the next 15 games played. It was the second time Swiatek has lost in the fourth round of a major event this season after the Australian Open. 

Reflecting on that defeat, the Pole is maintaining an upbeat mentality despite the consequences it has had. Her reign at world No.1 has come to an end with Aryna Sabalenka now leading the rankings. She won the US Open title in 2022. 

“It wasn’t the first time I lost in the fourth round. I don’t consider it a total failure, as many people say,” she told Eurosport“I know a tournament like this can happen. Even last year I was very close to being eliminated in the fourth round. Sometimes you can get out of a situation like that, sometimes you can’t.”

Swiatek admits she doesn’t enjoy paying against former French Open champion Ostapenko, who she has lost to in all four of their Tour meetings. So far this season, Ostapenko has beaten three top 10 players with the other two being Daria Kasatkina and Coco Gauff. 

“I don’t like playing with Ostapenko,” she stated. “There are simply some players who are uncomfortable to play with. I bet she has the opposite situation and she especially likes my style. This is completely natural in tennis.’
“There is no point in falling into a catastrophe, we have to move forward,” she added. 

Besides her US Open disappointment, Swiatek has won four titles this year – one WTA 250, two WTA 500’s and a Grand Slam (French Open). The only other player to have won this amount of titles on the women’s Tour is Gauff. Overall, she has won 56 matches. 

Looking ahead to the future, Swiatek has hinted that she might revise her Tour calendar to give her more time to train between tournaments. Suggesting that she might have been able to develop more as an athlete if she didn’t have the No.1 spot. 

“The truth is that there was little time to train. This is the second season in which I have played the most games among all the girls and I suffered two injuries. (…) I think that, if I were not the leader of the world ranking, I would have much more time to develop as an athlete,” she commented.
“Next season we will definitely think about the calendar. I’m the type of player who needs a full week or two to improve my technique. Because it can always happen that the technique fails, you start to panic and think in your head what to do to play better.”

Swiatek is set to return to competitive tennis next week at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Japan. 

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Headliners Ons Jabeur, Maria Sakkari Off To A Winning Start In Guadalajara



Ons Jabeur (TUN) - Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

The top two players in this year’s field at the Guadalajara Open say they are not feeling the pressure following their opening wins at the WTA 1000 event. 


Top seed Ons Jabur kicked-off her campaign with a straightforward 6-2, 6-2, win over Alycia Parks who is currently ranked 38 places lower than her in the WTA standings. The Tunisian only dropped her serve once in the match and won 83% of her first service points. She now leads Parks 3-0 in their head-to-head.

It is only the third time this season that Jabeur has been the top seed of a tournament after Adelaide where she reached the semi-finals and San Diego where she lost her opening match. 

“I try to see it as a good pressure. I’ve been in this situation a couple of times,” she commented on the position during her press conference. “One time I handled it very well, the other time not. So let’s see.”
“I’m just trying to enjoy and not overthink about being seeded No. 1, and try to be here, and hopefully it’s going to be great.”

The world No.7 will next play Maria Trevisan who beat compatriot Jasmine Paolini 7-5, 6-2. It will be the first time the two players have clashed on the Tour since 2021. 

Also through to the next round is second seed Maria Sakkari who is seeking her first singles title since 2019. The Greek eased to a 6-2, 6-4, win over Australia’s Storm Hunter. Sakkari is hoping to get some momentum back into her tennis heading into the final stage of the season. In her past five tournaments played, she has only won back-to-back matches in one of them.

“I think it was a very solid match. It was a little tricky in the second set. But at the same time, it was good that I put myself in that situation and I overcame it. I’m very happy to be in the third round.” She said after defeating Hunter. 

One thing playing in Sakkari’s favour is the support she has been receiving from the locals. She says the event feels like ‘home’ to her but does being the local favourite add more pressure for her?

“For me, it’s not pressure, it’s just motivation to just stay here until Saturday,” she replied “I just feel like that would be amazing. That would be something that I really want. I just want to keep feeling that energy and love from the people every single day.”

Sakkari will next play camila Giorgi. 

Other winners in Guadalajara include Caroline Garcia who ousted Aliaksandra Sasnovich 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, after almost three hours of play. However, Madison Keys has become the highest-ranked player to fall in the tournament so far after losing in straight sets to Emma Navarro. 

The winner of this week’s tournament will earn $454,500 in prize money. 

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