Lucie Hradecka overcomes Eugenie Bouchard in Miami first round - UBITENNIS
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Lucie Hradecka overcomes Eugenie Bouchard in Miami first round

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Lucie Hradecka overcame Eugenie Bouchard 6-4 3-6 6-2. Bouchard held her service game to love but won just six points in the next five games. Hradecka pulled away to a 5-1 lead after winning 100 percent of her first serve points in the first seven games. Bouchard fought back by winning the next three games to claw her way back to 4-5.

Bouchard, who reached the finals in Hobart and Kuala Lumpur, broke serve to take a 4-1 lead and held her next service games to clinch the second set 6-3 on her first set point.

Both players held their service games in the first five games. Bouchard saved the only break point in the first five games with a service winner. Hradecka survived long games on serve in the third set before breaking serve on her first opportunity in the sixth game at 3-2 for Hradecka, as Bouchard made a double fault on the break point. Hradecka held her service games before converting her third match point with her backhand after 1 hour and 50 minutes. Hradecka will take on this year’s St.Petersburg winner Roberta Vinci who was forced to withdraw in Indian Wells when she was a set and a break down against Magdalena Rybarikova due to a left foot injury. Vinci leads 4-0 in her head-to-head matches against Hradecka.

Caroline Garcia fought back from a set down to beat Mirjana Lucic Baroni 2-6 6-1 6-3 in the second match on the Grandstand. Baroni got a double break to cruise to a 4-0 lead en route to winning the first set 6-2 in 33 minutes. Garcia fought back breaking at the start of the second set to take a 3-1 lead. Lucic Baroni dropped serve three times and made 12 unforced errors to drop the second set 6-1. The third set went on serve until Garcia led 4-3. The French player got the decisive break in the 8th game to close out the match in 1 hours and 47 minutes setting up a second round match against Andrea Petkovic.

Another French player Alizé Cornet beat Galina Voskoboeva 6-4 7-5 setting up a second round match against Agnieszka Radwanska. Cornet, who was sidelined by a back injury. There were 10 breaks of serve. Both players early in the opening set but Cornet got the break to take the 4-2 and held her service games to clinch the first set 6-4. Cornet closed out the second set on her second match point to take her first win since the Australian Open.

“I am just happy to be healthy and to move again and to enjoy playing tennis. I think the injury gave me a good lesson and I really appreciate even more my time on court now”, said Cornet.

Irina Falconi beat this year’s Rio de Janeiro winner Francesca Schiavone 7-5 6-1. Schiavone got an early break at the start of the first set to take a 2-1 lead but Falconi broke straight back in the next game. The US player won three consecutive games en route to breaking serve again at 4-2 before saving three break point chances in the seventh game. Schiavone won three consecutive games to draw level to 5-5 with a break-back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Falconi recovered from 0-30 at 6-5 to break serve at deuce and clinched the first set 7-5.

Schiavone started the second with a break but Falconi fought back by winning six consecutive games to clinch the second set.

Heather Watson breezed aside Petra Cetkovska 6-1 6-0 in 47 minutes. Cetkovska is making her come-back after being sidelined by injury problems for the past two years.

Yanina Wickmayer cruised past Karin Knapp 6-2 6-1. Knapp broke back in the second game but dropped her serve in the third and the seventh games to lose the first set 6-2. Wickmayer broke serve in the first game of the second set. Knapp missed a break-back chance in the second game but Wickmayer broke twice more in the fifth and in the seventh games to cruise to 6-1.

Dominika Cibulkova rallied from a set down to clinch her third consecutive win over Johanna Larsson 4-6 6-1 6-2 to set up a second round against Garbine Muguruza.

Christina McHale overcame a second set loss to edge past Misaki Doi 6-2 4-6 7-5. Vania King beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-4 6-4 to set up a second round match against Caroline Wozniacki.

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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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