Timea Babos Edges Kirsten Flipkens and Misaki Doi Dismisses Evgeniya Rodina at Taipei to Reach the Final - UBITENNIS
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Timea Babos Edges Kirsten Flipkens and Misaki Doi Dismisses Evgeniya Rodina at Taipei to Reach the Final

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In their first WTA meeting, Timea Babos, the fourth seed, defeated fifth-seed Kirsten Flipkens in the first semifinal match at the WTA 125K tournament in Taipei: 6-3, 7-6. Babos, twenty-two years old, still has not dropped a set in the tournament. The Hungarian, is currently ranked 84; her highest ranking was 59 in August 2012. This is her second final this year; she also reached the final at Marrakesh in April. Flipkens, from Belgium, is ranked 92. The twenty-nine year old was ranked as high as 13 in August 2013 following a semifinal run at Wimbledon. In 2015, she was a semifinalist at Istanbul and Linz.

Although Babos’ first serve percentage was only 46 in the first set, she won all eleven of those points. She won 83% of her total service points and faced no breakpoints. Conversely, Flipkens won just 57% of her service points. Babos only needed one break of serve to take the set in 32 minutes.

In the second set, each player held serve coming up with big serves, beautiful passing shots, deep returns, and brilliant volleys when they needed them. They both faced their only breakpoints in the set in their final service games and they each came up with three big serves and a volley winner to hold, forcing a tiebreak. After a very close set, Babos dominated the tiebreak. It started badly for Flipkens as she followed in an excellent serve t
o set up an easy overhead that she hit into the net. After a volley winner by Babos, Flipkens had a chance to get the mini-break back but hit a lob just long. Babos then hit three winners to go up 6-0 and won the tiebreak 7-1 to take the match.

Doi @Sportinglife
In the second semifinal, Misaki Doi of Japan, the number one seed, bested Evgeniya Rodina of Russia in straight sets: 7-6, 6-2. The tight first set was marked by strong service games and penetrating groundstrokes that allowed each player to construct points resulting in winners. The exception was the Russian’s second serve; she won only 33% of second service points compared to 64% for Doi. The number
one seed won 86% of her first serve (including six aces) and Rodina won 81% of hers. The left-handed Doi did not face a breakpoint in the set while Rodina was able to save the three she faced in the sixth game. Rodina
was up a mini-break twice early in the tiebreak. Up 3-2, three errors off her racket and two winners by Doi gave the set to Doi.

Doi kept her momentum going breaking Rodina’s serve to start the second set. The top seed went up 4-1 with a second break in the fifth game. Doi confirmed the break with three aces in the next game. Rodina then held serve to force Doi to serve for the match. Doi sealed the win with her twelfth ace on the final point. Rodina won only 48% of her first service points versus 86% again for Doi in the set. As in the first set, Doi did not face a breakpoint.

Doi was also the victor in straight sets in their only other WTA match, Tashkent in 2013. The twenty-four–old Doi has recently won the Luxembourg title and is at her highest career ranking of 60. Rodina, twenty-six, is currently ranked 87, her highest ranking was 74 in  February 2011. Recently, she was a semifinalist at Tashkent in October.

Babos and Doi have not faced each other before at a WTA event. Both contestants are playing well to set up what should be an entertaining final.

 

 

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Simona Halep Suffers Rare Panic Attack During French Open Loss

The ex-world No.1 has vowed to ‘learn from this episode’ after crashing out of the tournament.

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PHOTO: MATEO VILLALBA / MMO - SIMONA HALEP OF ROMANIA

Former champion Simona Halep says she ‘lost it’ during her shock second round exit from the French Open on Wednesday.

 

The 19th seed was a set and a break up against Chinese world No.74 Qinwen Zheng before losing 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. In total Halep hit a costly 29 unforced errors against only nine winners and was broken five times overall.

“It was a difficult one. I was playing well at the start. I had a break in the second set, but then something happened. I just lost it.” Halep said during her press conference.
“But she’s (Zheng) playing well and she played a good match in the end.”

During the match Halep sought medical attention and appeared to be far from her best form. In the decider her blood pressure and pulse was checked by a doctor. She later revealed that the source of her issue was a rare panic attack which she says hadn’t really happened to her during any Tour match until now. The Romanian has been playing in the main draw of major events for 12 years.

“I didn’t expect it because it was just a panic attack,” she said.
I didn’t know how to handle it because I don’t have it often. I don’t really know why it happened because I was leading the match. I was playing well.’
“I couldn’t focus. After the match it was pretty tough. But now I’m good. I’ve recovered and I will learn from this episode.”

The 30-year-old concedes her panic attack might have been triggered by her desire to do well at the French Open where she won the title in 2018 and reached the final on two other occasions. Heading into this year’s draw she only played two clay events, reaching the quarter-finals in Madrid and then the second round in Rome.

“I didn’t feel better during the match. If I would have felt better, I would have started to play a little bit better,” she states.
“I couldn’t manage it and I don’t have many words about it. I just have to accept it and take it.’
“It’s part of the process, and I’m already looking forward to being better in that case if it’s going to happen, but I hope not.”

This year is Halep’s earliest exit from the French Open since 2013 when she lost in the first round.

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‘Great Things Are Going To Happen’ – Maria Sakkari Finds Silver Lining In Shock French Open Loss

The world No.3 insists that she is ‘feeling good’ after being knocked out of the Grand Slam.

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Maria Sakkari - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Maria Sakkari says she is confident she is heading in the right direction despite suffering her earliest loss at the French Open since 2019.

 

The fourth seed, who reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros 12 months ago, was ousted 7-6(5), 7-6(4), by Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova. A former top 20 player who reached the last four of the Australian Open in 2021 before suffering from injury issues. Sakkari produced a costly 37 unforced errors which cancelled out the 31 winners she produced during the second round encounter.

She played an amazing match. She always plays extremely well in Grand Slams and today she was the better player, so I have to give it to her,” Sakkari of Muchova said during her press conference.
It’s disappointing for sure because it (the French Open) is still my favourite tournament and I’m sad.” She added.

Sakkari’s defeat concludes what has been a roller-coaster clay court swing for the Greek. In Stuttgart she was forced to retire during her opening match due to a gastroenteral illness. At the Madrid Open she crashed out in the second round to Daria Kasatkina before losing in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open to Ons Jabeur.

However, the 26-year-old believes there are positives which can be drawn from her latest match in the French capital.

“I found myself again in the court. I’m feeling good. I’m fighting. I’m enjoying my time on the court so I think that great things are going to happen soon,” she states.

Historically Sakkari has enjoyed mixed fortunes when it comes to playing in major tournaments. Last year at the Grand Slams she made two semi-final appearances, as well as losing in the second round at Wimbledon and the first round of the Australian Open.

“I wanted to do well, but things are different every year and we have seen so many upsets, and so many upsets all these years. At this level you always have to accept that you cannot go deep in every single tournament or every single big tournament,” she reflected.
“It’s very disappointing because I really wanted to do well again but I’m sure that I have a few more years left in my career.”

As for Muchova she is through to the last 32 in Paris for the second year in a row. Awaiting her next will be 27th seed Amanda Anisimova who defeated Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-1, in her second round match.

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French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur

The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.

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Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.

 

The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.

During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.

“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”

De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.

“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“

Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.

Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.

Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”

As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.

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