Evergreen Francesca Schiavone Wins Rio Open and Breaks Back in The Top 100 - UBITENNIS
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Evergreen Francesca Schiavone Wins Rio Open and Breaks Back in The Top 100

Francesca Schiavone beat Shelby Rogers by 2-6 6-2 6-2 to win the 2016 Rio Open, her first WTA title since 2013. Next week the 2010 French Open champion will be back in the top 100.

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Francesca Schiavone won her 7th WTA title in Rio de Janeiro, at her 18th final on the tour, beating American Shelby Rogers in three sets by 2-6 6-2 6-2. With this win, the first since 2013 for the 2010 French Open champion, Schiavone will climb back in the top 100 of the rankings becoming the second oldest top 100 player right after Venus Williams, who was born just 6 days before the Italian.

At her second WTA final, both conquered on clay, Rogers played a solid first set and was up a break in the second, but then surrendered to the Italian’s better physical condition.

THE MATCH

Rogers is the first player to see a chance to break serve, with Schiavone serving at 2-2 in the first set. The American stays aggressive, and manages to seize her opportunity right away, closing in at the net and winning the point with a backhand volley winner.

Serving at 3-2 Shelby holds serve easily once again, to build a 4-2 lead looking in control of the match. The young American then manages to break again, in the 7th game, after a stunning backhand down the line on which Schiavone can’t manage to create her web of defence. Coming to the net to put pressure on the Italian, Shelby gets another break and leads 5-2.

Shelby closes the first set by 6-2 after 31 minutes at her third set point chance, as Schiavone’s defensive backhand finds the net.

The American starts the second set with 2 chances to break Schiavone’s serve up 15-40. The Italian serves a double fault on the first break point and loses her opening service game.

Francesca sees her first break point in the match as Rogers serves a double fault at 30-30. Returning on the line, the 2010 French Open champions gets the break and screams in relief, setting the score tied at 1-1.

The Italian convincingly holds serve in the third game, to get back to the lead at 2-1.

 

 

As the rallies grow longer, Rogers starts to miss more shots. The American looking in confusion loses her serve for the second time in a row, missing a very easy smash wide. For the first time in the match, Schiavone is up a break 3-1.

 

The Italian swinging more freely closes the fifth game with an ace, to lead 4-1 in the second set, then 5-2. The American can’t control the rallies as she did in the first set and continues with her streak of unforced errors.

 

After more than one hour, Schiavone wins the second set 6-2, as Rogers misses two backhands long in a row from 30-30 sending the match to a decider.

 

Both players start the second set convincingly holding serve, Schiavone at love, Rogers at 15.

The American faces two break points in the fourth game when serving down 1-2, but saves both as the Italian fails to put pressure on the important moments. Shelby holds and shouts “C’Mon”.

Soon after, Francesca seizes her opportunity and breaks in the 6th game, with Rogers serving down 2-3. The Italian gets to 0-40 and then closes the game as Rogers tries a serve and volley approach, missing the forehand volley long.

 

The Italian on a roll closes the 7th game with an ace on the second serve and leads 5-2, assuring herself a chance to serve for the championship.

 

Finally, Schiavone breaks again and wins the match at her second championship point as Rogers hits another shot long.

https://twitter.com/SuperTennisTv/status/701505012019687424

 

It is the first WTA title for the evergreen Italian, who had last won a WTA title in 2013 in Marrakech.

The match stats:

With Schiavone’s win there are now 6 Italians holding a WTA title, one each.

 

 

 

 

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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