Agnieszka Radwanska and Eugenie Bouchard Advance at Shenzhen Open, Petra Kvitova Retires from Tournament - UBITENNIS
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Agnieszka Radwanska and Eugenie Bouchard Advance at Shenzhen Open, Petra Kvitova Retires from Tournament

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Top seeded Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia in just over an hour in the first round at the Shenzhen Open: 6-4, 6-3. Although the twenty-two year old Krunic is ranked 108, Radwanska did not take her opponent lightly. “It’s not going to be easy,” Radwanska said. “I’ve never played her, which is always a challenge. I saw a couple of her matches and she can play really great tennis, too. It’s not an easy one, for sure. “ The Pole, currently ranked 5, won 84% of her service points and saved all three of the breakpoints she faced while converting two of eight break opportunities. Radwanska holds 17 WTA career titles, including three titles last Fall – Tianjin, Tokyo, and the WTA Finals. Next up for Radwanska is wildcard Shuai Zhang of China who beat Russian Irina Khromacheva in straight sets: 6-3, 6-3. Radwanska has been victorious in both of their previous encounters.

Petra Kvitova, the number two seed, was forced to retire after taking the first set 6-2 from Saisai Zheng of China in their first round match.   The Czech battled mononucleosis last year. She won three titles in 2015: Sydney, Madrid, and New Haven. Kvitova also was a finalist at the WTA Finals, losing to Radwanska.

Eugenie Bouchard bested Donna Vekic of Croatia in three sets in a match that lasted almost two hours: 6-4, 1-6, 7-5. The Canadian’s ranking has dropped to 49, as she has not competed since suffering a concussion at the U.S. Open. The nineteen-year-old Vekic is currently ranked 103, although she had been ranked as high as 62 (July 2013). Bouchard will face American qualifier Nicole Gibbs in the second round. (Gibbs dismissed fellow qualifier Tereza Smitkova of the Czech Republic: 6-0, 6-2.) It will be their first meeting.

Qiang Wang of China upset fifth seed Johanna Konta of Great Britain in three sets: 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Vania King of the United States won over lucky loser Stefanie Voegele in straights: 7-5, 6-4.

 

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Jannik Sinner cruises past James Duckworth in Cologne

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Jannik Sinner swept past James Duckworth 6-1 6-2 in 61 minutes minutes to reach the second round at the Bett1 HULKS Championships in Cologne. Sinner converted five of his seven break points and saved both the break points he faced in the fifth game of the second set. 

 

Sinner got the first two breaks of the match at love in the first and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead. The 2019 Next Gen player and 2020 Roland Garros quarter finalist converted his third break point at deuce after a double fault from Duckworth in the seventh game to close out the first set 6-1 after just 23 minutes. 

The second serve went on serve in the first four games before Siinner saved two break points to hold serve at deuce after a 12-minute marathon game. The Italian 19-year-old star broke twice in a row to close out the second set 6-2, when Duckworth missed a forehand volley wide. 

“Not many unforced errors, I served quite well. I am very happy about my first match. I felt great on court, moving quite well. Obviously the second set there was one game when I was serving in which he pushed a little bit more the ball, so I was a little bit rushed, but I think it was a solid performance”, said Sinner. 

Sinner set up a second round match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who came back from a break down in the third set to beat Tennys Sandgren 6-3 3-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 17 minutes. 

Sinner has moved up to world number 46 after reaching the quarter final at Roland Garros. 

Spanish Next Gen player Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beat Damir Dzumhur 6-2 6-3 with two breaks i each set scoring his 10th match win of the season. Davidovich Fokina, who lost to Alexander Zverev last week at the bett1 HULKS Indoors last week in Cologne, will face Steve Johnson in the second round. 

German brothers Alexander and Misha Zverev beat Aisam UI Haq Qureshi 6-4 6-2 to reach the second round of the doubles tournament. Sasha and Misha fended off all three break points they faced to set up a second round match against either Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Fernando Verdasco. 

Max Purcell and Luke Seville edged Felix Auger Aliassime and Robert Lindstedt 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (1-7) 10-7. 

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Daria Kasatkina upsets Elena Rybakina in Ostrava

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Russian qualifier Daria Kasatkina upset St. Petersburg and Dubai finalist Elena Rybakina 6-2 3-6 6-3 after 1 hour and 51 minutes to reach the second round at the J&T Banka Open in Ostrava. Kasatkina hit 15 winners to 14 unforced errors compared to Rybakina’s ratio of 35 to 49. 

 

Kasatkina scored her first top 20 win since she beat Aryna Sabalenka in the second round in Beijing last year. 

Rybakina hit two winners to get her first break point in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Kasatkina broke straight back after Rybakina made two backhand errors. Kasatkina broke serve to love in the fifth game with a smash and two double faults from Rybakina. Kasatkina earned her second consecutive break in the seventh game to win the opening set 6-2. 

Kasatkina won seven consecutive games from 0-2 down to build up a 6-2 1-0 lead with a break in the first game of the second set with a lob. Rybakina earned her second consecutive break in the fourth game with a drop-shot to take a 3-1 lead. Kasatkina got the break back for the second time, but Rybakina broke for the third time to take control of the second set and served it out on her second set point. 

Rybakina converted her second break point in the first game of the third set. Kasatkina broke straight back to love in the second game. Kasatkina broke for the second time with three passing shots to take a 3-1 lead and held her next service games to seal the win on her third match point with a service winner. 

Kasatkina won the Roland Garros Junior title in 2014. In April 2017 the Russian player won her first WTA Tour title at the Charleston Open. The following year she won the WTA Premier title in Moscow and lost to Naomi Osaka in the Indian Wells final. She also reached two consecutive Grand Slam quarter finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. In October 2018 she reached her career-high of world number 10 in October 2018. 

Kasatkina set up a second round clash against Jennifer Brady, who rallied from one set down to beat Jennifer Brady 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1. Yastremska got two breaks in the fifth and ninth games to win the first set 6-3. Brady went up a break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Yastremska broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Brady won the tie-break 8-6 before breaking twice in the second and sixth games to win the third set 6-1.

Veronika Kudemertova beat Donna Vekic 6-2 6-4. Kudemertova broke twice in the third and fifth games to win the first set 6-2. Kudemertova converted her second break point chance at deuce to go up a set and a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Vekic broke back at love in the 10th game. Kudemertova converted her second break point chance to earn her chance to serve for the match. The Russian player came back from 0-40 down to serve out the decisive set 6-4. 

Karolina Muchova eased past Karolina Muchova 6-1 6-1 with three breaks in the first set and two breaks in the second set.  

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Borna Coric Admits He Was Difficult To Work With As He Targets Top 10 Milestone

The Croatian No.1 believes ‘controlled aggression’ is key to rising back up the rankings.

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Croatian tennis star Borna Coric says he has become more ‘easy-going’ in recent years after working under a variety of different coaches.

 

The 23-year-old has been guided on the Tour by no fewer than eight coaches since 2014 which includes the likes of Thomas Johansson (2015) and Riccardo Piatti (2017-2019). At present, he is now working with Martin Stepanek. A former Czech player who has worked with the likes of Thomas Berdych and Ivan Dodig.

“I am not going to deny it, I was difficult to work with before, high-maintenance if you like, and now I am more easy-going. But I really have never been the type of guy that fires a coach after two first-round losses,” Coric told tennismajors.com.
“Actually, looking back at all my coaches, only with one it was entirely up to me, where I felt we weren’t working well and I decided to end it. With everyone else there were different issues – personal problems on their side, or inability to reach an agreement in regard to finances, or that the coach wasn’t able to travel enough weeks with me, things like that.”

Coric’s various changes in his team can be partly attributed to his roller-coaster journey. Growing up he was portrayed as the next big thing in the sport following a series of high-profile wins during his teenage years. At the age of 17 he defeated Rafael Nadal at the Swiss Indoors followed by Andy Murray in Dubai the year after.

Despite his early promise, Coric is yet to scale the top of men’s tennis with his best ranking being 12th which was first achieved back in 2018. He looked on course to rise further last season but another coaching split combined with back injury problems resulted in him falling down the rankings again.

Given that the average age of professional tennis players peaking is on the rise, there is still time for Coric to get the breakthrough many have predicted for him. He is once again showing signs of a resurgence during what has been a limited 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the US Open, which was his 22nd appearance in a main draw of a Grand Slam, he reached the quarter-finals of a major for the first time in his career. More recently at the St. Petersburg Open the Croat reached the final before losing to the in-form Andrey Rublev.

As to what the key has been to Coric’s recent resurgence, he explains that it is due to what he describes as ‘controlled aggression.’

“It depends on numerous factors (whether he’ll be aggressive). The surface, my gut feeling, am I confident or not, if I am moving well and feeling fresh, have I got the right feel for the ball, the opponent’s style of play… A lot comes into it, but generally speaking, I am a far better player when I am being aggressive, not just retrieving, even though I am perhaps making a bit more errors,” he explains.
“You could see that on display in New York and me being aggressive, along with further improvement of my serve, are two of the biggest emphasis of my work with Martin. I am not there yet, but if I am healthy and able to maintain the level I had at the US Open, then I can get close to Top 10. But it’s still a long way to go.”

Coric is currently ranked 24th in what is his best ranking so far this season and has achieved a win-loss of 14-10. Out of those 14 wins, two were over top 10 players Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Coric’s 2020 season summary

  • ATP Cup – one win and two losses
  • Australian Open – lost in first round to Sam Querrey
  • Buenos Aires – granted a bye in the first round, lost in the second to Thiago Monterio
  • Rio de Janeiro – reached the semi-finals before losing to Christian Garin
  • Western and Souther Open – in first ATP tournament following a five-month break due to COVID-19, Coric reached the second round before going out to David Goffin
  • US Open: Achieved his best ever Grand Slam result by reaching the quarter-finals. He was knocked out of the tournament by Alexander Zverev
  • Rome – lost in round two to Stefano Travaglia
  • French Open – upset in the first round by Norbert Gombos
  • St. Petersburg – achieved best result of the season so far by reaching the final.

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