Victoria Azarenka Brushes Aside Roberta Vinci In Brisbane - UBITENNIS
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Victoria Azarenka Brushes Aside Roberta Vinci In Brisbane

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Victoria Azarenka in action at the Brisbane International (image via Zimbio.com)

Victoria Azarenka has continued her strong start to 2016 with a 6-1, 6-2, win over Italian eighth seed Roberta Vinci.

The Belarusian displayed moments of her very best tennis alongside other areas of her game which still needs to be improved. Facing Vinci, both players made a tentative start to the match with three consecutive breaks of service (one for Azarenka and two for Vinci). After clinching the second break of Vinci’s serve, Azarenka began to display her dominance in the match as the Italian struggled with her serve. The weak serve from the Italian played into the hands of Azarenka. Vinci won only 32% of her service points (8/25)  during the first set as Azarenka broke two more times to seal the set.

Despite Azarenka’s first set onslaught, Vinci kept battling at the start of the second. During a ten-minute third game, the Italian broke for the first time in the match on her fifth attempt to take an early 2-1 lead. Vinci’s momentum was ended in the following game as her fragile serve let her down once again as Azarenka broke back to love. It was a familiar pattern for the rest of the match as the 26-year-old broke Vinci two more times to move to the semifinal.

The only issue for Azarenka in her straight sets win was her unforced error count. The two-time Australian Open champion produced 3 double faults and 23 unforced errors. On the other hand, she also produced 22 winners converted 7/11 break points.

Following her loss to Azarenka, Vinci admitted that she was experiencing an issue with her leg but still paid tribute to her opponents performance.

She played great, she must have missed three or four balls in the whole match! I tried my best, but I was a little bit tired and also I had a problem with my leg”. Vinci said after her loss.

The issue concerning Vinci’s leg is not considered serious. During her press conference she put the pain down to playing her two previous matches.

American qualifier next

Azarenka will play in the last four at the Brisbane tournament for the fourth time in her career. Awaiting her in the semifinal will be American qualifier Samantha Crawford. The American world No. 142 produced another shock win after defeating former finalist Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-0. The 20-year-old is currently playing in her sixth WTA tournament of her career. Crawford, who won the 2012 Girls US Open title, spoke about her shock win.

“It happened fast. I was trying to not think about it too much, not psych myself out,” Crawford said.
“Right after I won on the on-court interview I was like shaking, and then in the lockerroom I was like sitting for just like a little bit. But yeah, this is awesome.”

Carla Suarez Navarro clinched her 400th WTA tour win after outlasting Varvara Lepchenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. The win is a big boost for the Spaniard, who will play in her first WTA Semifinal since the Rome Open last May. In the next round Navarro will play Angerlique Kerber. The fourth seed booked a place in the last four after defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-4.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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