Agnieszka Radwanska beats Eugenie Bouchard to advance to the third round in Melbourne - UBITENNIS
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Agnieszka Radwanska beats Eugenie Bouchard to advance to the third round in Melbourne

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Agnieszka Radwanska beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 23 minutes in a blockbuster second round match to get through to the third round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Bouchard led 4-2 in the opening set and got a point for 5-3 but Radwanska reeled off six consecutive games to build up a 6-4 2-0 lead en route to her convincing straight-set win.

 

Radwanska and Bouchard met for a fascinating head-to-head match between two former Australian Open semifinalists and two former Wimbledon finalists.

Radwanska got off to a good start by winning her first title of the year in Shenzhen after finishing the 2015 season with her triumph at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Bouchard reached the quarter finals in Shenzhen and the final in Hobart showing that she is coming back to her best form after a tough 2015 season.

Both players started her Australian Open campaign with straight set wins. Radwanska cruised past Christina McHale 6-2 6-3 in her opening match in Melbourne. Bouchard beat Aleksandra Krunic 6-3 6-4 in just over an hour in the first round.

Radwanska, who reached the semifinal in Melbourne in 2014, won their only head-to-head WTA match in Madrid in 2014 in straight sets with 7-6 6-2.

Bouchard got the first break of the match at deuce in the fifth game of the opening set with her drop-shot to take a 3-2 lead. The young Canadian player held her serve for 4-2 but Radwanska earned two break-back point opportunities in the seventh game. The Pole converted her chance to claw her way back into the set for 3-4. Bouchard earned a break point chance for 5-3 but Radwanska held her service game at deuce to draw level to 4-4 before breaking serve in the ninth game to take the 5-4 lead. Radwanka went up 40-0 when she served for the first set but Bouchard recovered to claw her way back to 40-all forcing the game to deuce (four of the last six games went in the first set went to deuce). Radwanska held her nerve and hit a huge forehand winner on her fifth set point to serve out the first set. Bouchard made 23 costly unforced errors in the first set.

Radwanska went up a set and a break in the first game of the second set with a dipping forehand pass. She reeled off her sixth consecutive game to open up a 2-0 lead. In the third game Bouchard hit her first ace of the match at 40-0 to break the losing streak of six consecutive games for 1-2. Radwanska never looked back and converted her third break point chance of the match to race out to 5-2 before converting her match point at deuce in the next game. Bouchard made a total of 37 unforced errors, including a forehand long on the match point, after wasting three breakpoint chances in that game.

Radwanska will face either Krystina Pliskova or Monica Puig in the third round.

“Of course, that was a great challenge for me to play somebody like Eugenie in the second round. But I think I was doing everything right today. That’s why I win that match in two sets. Definitely it was not an easy draw. I have not  played her for a while. I think she is playing better now than in the last season. She is on the good way to come back. I think in a couple of months we are going to see her much deeper in Grand Slams. I was 100 percent prepared for this match but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. She has had a good start to her year playing a couple of good matches. I knew I would have to play good tennis today. She was hitting the ball very well. I think I was just more consistent today. That’s why I could really come back in that first set. I was serving good. I was focusing on thatThat helped as well”, said Radwanska. 

Radwanska has continued her excellent period of form after finishing off her 2015 campaign in great style winning the WTA Finals in Singapore.

“I am happy I am still playing the same tennis I was playing at the end of the year. This is a new season and a new tournament. I think it doesn’t really matter what happened last year. We already start a new season. I am confident about my game and I really feel good on courtIt’s not sure I am going to win the match. I still need to work hard. Nothing is going to come for free.”, said Radwanska.

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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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