Juan Martin Del Potro Reveals Ongoing Challenges Ahead Of His Return To The Clay - UBITENNIS
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Juan Martin Del Potro Reveals Ongoing Challenges Ahead Of His Return To The Clay

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Juan Martin Del Potro has his wrist checked by a physio during an injury time out against Horacio Zeballos in their second round match during the Miami Open.

Juan Martin Del Potro’s fairy-tale return to the tour isn’t without its struggles as the former US Open champion embarks on his first clay court tournament since 2013.

The Argentine missed almost a year of the tour between 2015-2016 after undergoing surgery on his wrist for the third time in his career. Returning to action at the Delray Beach Open this year, Del Potro enjoyed a dream run by reaching the semifinals of the tournament. It was a delightful return to the tour for the hugely popular Argentine player, however, he still faces more hard work to return to his best ability. At this weeks Miami Open he suffered a second round loss to compatriot Horacio Zeballos. During the all-Argentine encounter on Friday, the former world No.4 was bothered by his troublesome wrist.

I was suffering a little bit. It was worse than in my first match, but I hope it’s nothing dangerous. I will see what’s going on after today and see if I can practise tomorrow, if I can hit a few backhands. It’d be a surprise for me to win a match at this moment because I’m not 100% yet. But I’m here playing tennis. That’s good for me.” Del Potro said after his loss on Friday.

The pain is worry for the Argentine and his army of fans, however, in perspective it is expected. The comeback king is aware of how slow it can take to return to full fitness after being plagued by wrist injuries throughout his career. In a extensive Facebook post on Saturday, Del Potro admitted that ‘it would be strange not to feel pain anymore’ in light of what he has experienced. He also labelled himself as the biggest challenge.

My biggest challenge is myself. Improving my tennis is not the main thing, but to withstand the mental and physical effort I make to get to play. The goal is to to be healthy again. I have to go through this and overcome it”. He wrote.

The next challenge for Del Potro will be the European clay. The 27-year-old hasn’t played a match on clay since his loss to Benoit Paire at the 2013 Rome Masters. During his career, Del Potro have won two ATP title on clay (both in 2008).

The recovery process has ups and downs but the major obstacles are thing of the past. I’m getting closer to my goal. In a few days I will start my preparation for the clay season. It’s four years since the last time I played on clay. That will be another challenge”. Del Potro admitted.

The Argentine also revealed that he will make some announcements in the near future concerning his team, prompting speculation that he will announce his new coach.

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Jelena Ostapenko beats Greer Minnen to reach the second round at Eastbourne

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Number 6 seed Jelena Ostapenko beat Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after 1 hour and 29 minutes to secure a spot in the second round at the Rothesay international in Eastbourne. 

Ostapenko won the Eastbourne title in 2021 and reached the 2022 final before losing to Petra Kvitova. 

Minnen led by a break three times and served for the set at 5-4 and 6-5 but Ostapenko pulled back on serve each time. 

Ostapenko fired a backhand crosscourt winner to earn three set points at 6-3 in the tie-break. The Latvian player converted his first chance with a forehand return winner. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set. Ostapenko earned a second break in the third game, but she took an off court medical time-out after a fall at 3-1 in the second set. 

Ostapenko recovered by winning four consecutive games with two breaks to win the second set 6-1. 

“Grass is a great surface, but sometimes it can be slippery and really tricky. So I took the medical time-out just to make sure I am fine”, said Ostapenko.  

 “I think the surface suits me really well. The first I played on grass, I was like: ‘How can we play tennis on this surface ? I don’t understand what’s happening here, but then every year was better and better”, said Ostapenko. 

British wild card Harriet Dart battled past former Wimbledon quarter finalist Marie Bouzhkova 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 after 3 hours and 29 minutes in the third-longest match on the WTA Tour this year. 

Bouzhkova broke twice in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead, but Dart won six of the next seven games with three breaks of serve to win the first set 7-5. 

Dart fought back from 1-4 down to force a tie-break with two breaks of serve in the sixth and eighth games. The British player never held a match point in the second set. Bouzhkova converted her fourth set point to seal the tie-break 9-7 after a 88-minute second set. 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the third set, Dart earned a decisive break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The British wild card saved a break point at 4-3 en route to the win. 

Dart was scheduled to face 2022 Wimbeldon champion Elena Rybakina, but the Kazakh player withdrew from the tournament on Monday due to a change of schedule. Dart will face wild card Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open title and reached the final at Roland Garros in 2020.  

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(VIDEO) What A Weekend For Italian Tennis!

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta looks back on this week’s action on the ATP Tour.

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Jannik Sinner – ATP Halle 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

It has been a memorable Sunday for Italian tennis with the country winning two titles on the ATP Tour. 

In Halle, world No.1 Jannik Sinner claimed his first trophy on the grass with a hard-fought two-set win over Hubert Hurkacz. There was also success in the doubles tournament with top seeds Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori winning the title. Meanwhile, in London, Lorenzo Musetti was unable to make it a hatrick of wins for his country after losing in the final of the Cinch Championships to Tommy Paul.  

So how much can be read into these wins and should we be expecting similar results at Wimbledon which begins a week tomorrow? 

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Jannik Sinner reaches the first grass final of his career in Halle

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Jannik Sinner overcame Zhang Zhizhen 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to reach the first final of his career on grass at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Sinner achieved his best result on this surface when he reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2023. 

Sinner will face a final against his friend Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the first semifinal. The Italian player converted his only break point in the ninth game and fended off the only break point he faced at 5-6 in the second set with a forehand winner, one of his winners of the match. 

The Italian player earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead. Zhang Zhizhen pulled the mini-break back. Sinner earned two mini-breaks in the fourth and eighth points to win the tie-break 7-3. Sinner won the first of the four tie-breaks he played this week.

Sinner finished the match in straight sets after clinching three consecutive three-set wins at the start of his campaign at this year’s edition of the Terra Wortmann in Halle. 

The world number 1 player won three titles on hard court at the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Miami this year. 

“It means a lot. I had four tough matches to go to the final. It was a good match today. Definitely more rallies than yesterday. And that’s definitely what I needed today. I am happy and let’s see what’s coming tomorrow”, said Sinner.  

Earlier this week Zhang Zhizhen had previously beaten Danil Medvedev in the second round and came back from 2-5 down to beat Christopher Eubanks in the quarter finals. 

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