Sara Errani overcomes Madison Brengle to reach the semifinals in Dubai - UBITENNIS
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Sara Errani overcomes Madison Brengle to reach the semifinals in Dubai

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Sara Errani bounced back from a set down and a third-set deficit to overcome a marathon match against Madison Brengle 4-6 6-1 6-4 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Tournament.

Errani, who played the final in Dubai against Petra Kvitova in 2013, won a hard-fought match after earning 39 break points but managed to scrape through to secure her spot in the semifinal where she will face the winner of match between Coco Vandeweghe and Elina Svitolina.

Errani converted on 10 of her 22 break point chances, while Brengle broke seven times.

In the first set Errani won four consecutive games from 0-1 down to take a 4-1 lead thanks to a double break. Brengle rallied from 0-30 down to get both breaks back clawing her way back into the match. The US player broke again when Errani was serving to stay in the set and won her fifth consecutive game to close out the first set 6-4.

Errani converted her fourth break point chance at deuce at the start of the second set. Brengle bounced back from 15-30 to earn four break-back point chances in a very long second game which went to deuce. Errani saved them to hold her serve for 2-0. The Italian player broke serve for the third time in the second set to race out to a 5-0 lead.  Brengle got one of the three breaks back on the set point but Errani did not make the same mistake of letting Brengle back into the set and broke for the fourth time in the second set to take the second set 6-1.

Brengle recovered from 0-40 by winning three consecutive points to break serve at deuce after a very long first game. Errani broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Brengle broke serve twice more in the third game and in the fifth game to build up a 4-1 lead. Errani bounced back by winning four consecutive games to win a dramatic match by 6-4 in two hours and 22 minutes.

Errani had already beaten Brengle in three sets in Toronto last year.

“ It was very windy. She did not miss a ball. It’s not easy to play against her. At the beginning there was a lot of wind. Just to be in the semifinal for me is an amazing result. I will try to play to do my best in my next match. It was difficult for me to play the ball. I could have lost easily. I just kept fighting. ”, said Errani.

Caroline Garcia beat Andrea Petkovic 6-3 6-4 to reach her first WTA Premier-level of her career.

Garcia didn’t face a break point in the first set. The French player broke serve in a very long third game to take a 2-1 lead and in the ninth game to close out the opening set in 37 minutes. She did not face any break points on her serve during the first set.

Garcia broke serve on the third break point to take a 2-0 lead. Petkovic broke straight back in the third game. They went on serve until the 10th game when Perkovic was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. Garcia clinched another break in the final game to close out the match by 6-4 after one hour and 31 minutes when Petkovic hit a backhand wide. Garcia hit 23 winners to Petkovic’s 6.

Garcia took a re-match against Petkovic who had beaten the French player twice last year in Eastbourne and at the US Open in 2015.

Garcia will play against either Ana Ivanovic or Barbora Strykova in the semifinals.

 “You always have to fight very hard against Andrea. She is a big fighter always trying to come back in the match. The conditions were very difficult. It was very windy, sometimes more than yesterday. I always have to be ready for the ball. Sometimes it was not very good tennis. It was not very rhythmic but you have to stay focused and just keep your tactics on”, said Garcia.

The Dubai Tournament has become the first in WTA Tour history to see all eight seeds lose in the first round. It’s the fourth time in WTA history that no seeds reached the quarter finals. This has added to the unpredictability of this tournament which is held in tricky weather conditions. The top four seeds Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Carla Suarez Navarro and Petra Kvitova were all knocked out on a rain-disrupted Wednesday after getting a first-round bye. The other four seeds Belinda Bencic, Karolina Pliskova, Roberta Vinci and Svetlana Kuznetsova lost in the first round.

 

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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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