Double Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka cruised past to 6-1 6-2 in 63 minutes over Danka Kovinic from Montenegro at the Margaret Court Arena to get through to the third round at the Australian Open.
After winning with a double bagel over Alison Van Uytvanck in her first match 14th seed Azarenka continued her impressive campaign at the Australian Open dropping just three games against Kovinic in the second round. She has lost just 20 games since the start of the 2016 season including her triumph at the Brisbane International.
“I really don’t count the games. What really works for me is to stay in the moment. I enjoy my time on the court and I play every point like it’s my last”, said Azarenka
Azarenka hit 19 winners (including a huge forehand winner in the final game) to 9 unforced errors compared to Kovinic’s 11 wiiners and 22 unforced errors.
Azarenka dominated the match and never faced a single break point. Azarenka broke in the first game before getting two more breaks of serve to take the first set in 29 minutes. She broke serve in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead. Kovinic served to stay in the match at 2-5 but Azarenka broke serve again to seal the win.
The Belarussian star won 17 of 19 points at the net and 29 of 42 points from the baseline. Azarenka won 64 percent of her first serve points.
Azarenka will face 18-year-old Naomi Osaka from Japan who upset Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-4 to reach the third round in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her career. Azarenka could be on collision course with Garbine Muguruza in a possible fourth round blockbuster match.
“I want to keep improving from match to match. It’s just only going to get tougher, so I really want to keep that focus and that intensity and that determination. I am feeling in my best shape body-wise, spirit-wise, everything-wise. If you think about it, it’s my 12th year here. It’s a long time. I still feel young. and I still have a lot more years to play”, said Azarenka
Who Is Marie Bouzková? Six Things To Know About The Wimbledon Quarter-Finalist
After previously never going beyond the second round of a major, the Czech is making a name for herself at The All England Club.
Czech Republic’s Maria Bouzkova has broken new ground at Wimbledon by reaching the quarter-finals on Sunday.
Coming into the tournament, the 23-year-old has failed to win back-to-back matches in 12 Grand Slam appearances. However, the past week has seen her breakthrough with a surprise run to the quarter-finals. She secured a place in the last eight with a 7-5, 6-2, win over France’s Caroline Garcia. The player who defeated Emma Raducanu in the second round.
In her latest match, Bouzkova was by far the most consistent player on the court as she produced just four unforced errors against 13 winners. In comparison, Garcia’s tally was 25 against 24. She broke the Frenchwoman four times in the match en route to victory.
“I don’t know how I got here,” said Bouzkova.
“Now we will celebrate with strawberries and cream. It’s one of our 100 routines at Wimbledon.”
Bouzkova’s run at Wimbledon has brought the Czech into the limelight for the first time. Although some may not be too familiar with the right-hander who plays with a two-handed backhand. Here are five things to know about the underdog.
- As a junior, she won the 2014 US Open title and reached the final of the Wimbledon doubles event that same year.
- Wimbledon is where Bouzkova won her first Grand Slam main draw match back in 2019 after defeating Mona Barthel in the first round.
- Prior to Garcia, she defeated Danielle Collins, Ann Li and Alison Riske-Amritraj this week. Collins was the sixth top 20 player she has defeated and second this year after Karolina Pliskova.
- She was ranked as low as 97th in the world earlier this season but is currently up to 66. Her career-best is 46.
- Has reached three WTA finals in as many years in Guadalajara (2022), Melbourne 250 (2021) and Monterey (2020).
- She has a win-loss record of 18-9 so far this season. Although prior to Wimbledon, she has not won any matches on the grass after losing in the first round of Eastbourne to Shelby Rogers.
Bouzkova will play either second seed Ons Jabeur or Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.
Rafael Nadal Apologizes To Opponent After Wimbledon Win
The Spaniard admits he made a mistake.
Rafael Nadal said he was ‘wrong’ to call his opponent to the net during the third set of their third round match at Wimbledon.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion booked his place in the last 16 of the tournament by defeating Lorenzo Sonego 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Nadal, who hasn’t won Wimbledon for more than a decade, was out in full flow as he raced to a two-set and 4-2 lead. At that point, Sonego managed to get the roof to be closed due to poor lighting.
After speaking to the umpire, Nadal called his opponent to the net for a discussion over what is believed to be about the noise he was making during the match. After losing his 4-2 advantage, Nadal battled back by breaking once again to secure victory.
“Well, first of all, I have to say that I was wrong. Probably I should not call him on the net. So I apologize for that. My mistake in that. No problem. I recognise that,” said Nadal.
“Then after that, all the stuff during the match that I don’t want to comment (on), because is something that I spoke with him in the locker room and it stays there. Only thing I can say is I saw him personally. I apologise for that.
“My intention was never to bother him at all. Just to tell one thing that was bothering me that I think he was doing in that moment, but that’s it.
“I think there is some code between players. Yeah, we had some issues there. But that’s it.”
The two shared a lengthy exchange at the net after the conclusion of the match and there were no hard feelings between either player.
Controversy aside, Nadal has hailed what he believed is his best performance at The All England Club yet. Against Soego, he won 73% of his service points and hit 24 winners.
“It was my best match, without a doubt, since the tournament started,” said Nadal. “I have made improvements and I’m very happy.’
“I’ve made I think a lot of things much better than the previous days, the determination, the way that I manage to play more aggressively and going to the net plenty of times.”
Nadal will play Dutch world number 25 Botic van de Zandschulp in the last 16.
Iga Swiatek Explains Why She Is Unsurprised by Wimbledon Exit
The world No.1 spoke openly about her current form after crashing out in the third round.
Iga Swiatek says she was ‘confused’ about her tactics after suffering a shock straight-sets loss in the third round of Wimbledon.
Swiatek, who was on a 37-match winning streak, managed to win only six games against Alize Cornet during what was an error-stricken performance. The Pole produced a staggering 33 unforced errors and only managed to win 30% of her second service points. It is the first time she has failed to reach the second week of a major since the 2020 US Open where she also lost in the third round.
“I know I didn’t play good tennis. I was pretty confused about my tactics. As a solid player, she used that pretty well. For sure, it wasn’t a good performance for me,” Swiatek told reporters on Saturday.
“The thing that I changed this season is I started being more and more aggressive. It was really comfortable for me to have the initiative and be proactive. But here (at Wimbledon) I couldn’t control the ball. So I needed to slow down a little bit
Despite recently dominating the sport when it comes to playing on hard courts, it is clear that the grass is an Achilles heel for the world No.1. Her match against Cornet was only the 11th she has ever played on the surface at Tour level. Coming into Wimbledon she played no build-up tournaments.
Admitting that she has found training on grass difficult, Swiatek’s winning run coming to an end is one that does not surprise her. Since 1990, the only players to have won as many matches as her in a row are Martina Hingis in 1997 and Stefi Graf in 1990.
“I didn’t feel like I’m in the best shape. So I’m kind of aware that this could happen. Maybe it’s not the right attitude to have, but it is like it is,” she explains.
“I tried many things to feel better on the grass courts but it didn’t really work out. That’s why I’m not even hard on myself because it’s kind of logical that if I couldn’t find it even in practice, I’m not going to find it in a match.”
In her match against Cornet, Swiatek was highly erratic during the closing stages as she produced a series of uncharacteristic mistakes. She only won two out of the last 14 points played.
“I didn’t have any idea. I didn’t tank it, but I just didn’t know what to do,” she admits.
“I was hoping that it would go in, but I made many mistakes. I didn’t even want to get angry again because I was kind of frustrated during my practice week and in the second round. I didn’t think it was going to help me.”
As for what the future has in store for Swiatek on grass, she is keeping a very open mind.
“I don’t know if I should even have hope. Maybe it’s just easier to take it easy and see what grass is going to bring me.” She concludes.
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