Serena Williams Eases Her Way Past Defending Champion Simona Halep - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Hot Topics

Serena Williams Eases Her Way Past Defending Champion Simona Halep

Avatar

Published

on

 

In her biggest test since her final loss to Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open, Serena Williams cruised past defending champion Simona Halep 6-4, 6-3, at the BNP Paribas Open.

The world No.1 faced some tough resistance during the opening set from Halep as she was broken in the third game of the match to go behind 1-2. She recovered from the early break in impressive style by breaking back immediately as she clinched four consecutive games to move ahead 5-2. Despite the dominating lead, Williams encountered difficulty serving out the set after Halep hit a deep forehand shot to break back and put proceeding once again on serve. Unfortunately for Halep and her fans in the crowd, she failed in her attempt to level at 5-5. As the Romanian serve to stay in the set, Williams charged to three set points. She took the set on her third chance after a forehand shot from Halep landed in the tramlines.

The second set was much more impressive from the top seed, with Williams dropping only six points on her serve. The decisive moment of the match occurred in the sixth game of that set. As Halep served at 30-40, she produced a costly double fault to hand the 34-year-old a break for a 4-2 lead. Unlike the first set, Halep was unable to find a way to break back. The world No.1 clinched the win with an ace down the line, her seventh of the match.

The display from Williams was a step up from her two previous matches in Indian Wells as she produced 28 winners compared to 24 unforced errors. She also claimed 82% of her first service points compared to Halep’s 56%. The triumph is a big confidence boost for Williams’ quest for her first title of the year, however, the world No.1 is still looking for improvement in her game.

“Yeah, I’m happy to be able to close that one out,” Williams said.
“Obviously, I think there is always things that I would like to work on to do better, but overall I think it was a solid win for me.”

The loss for Halep means that she is still yet to beat a top-10 player this year. Prior to run to the last sixteen in Indian Wells this week, the world No.5 has only been able to win two matches on the WTA Tour. Reflecting on her slow start to 2016, the 2015 Indian Wells champion believes that she has ‘found her game’ this week.

“It’s the best tournament this year so far, so it’s okay. I had good matches. I feel good. I found my game. I can say I’m healthy, so that’s the most important. I just want to keep working to get better.” Halep said after her loss to Williams

Agnieszka Radwanska Next

Williams will now play Agnieszka Radwanska for a place in the semifinals. Radwanska defeated Petra Kvitova in straight sets to move to the last eight. Radwanska’s latest win will elevate her to world No.2 when Monday’s rankings are published. Looking ahead to her next match, Williams is expecting a tough match against the Polish player.

“[Radwanska] knows how to play in big stadiums and big matches, big games,” The 21-time Grand Slam champion said.
“Obviously she does everything so well, including running, and this is a good surface for her because it’s a slow surface. I think I expect there will be a lot of long rallies.”

The head-to-head heavily favors Williams, who leads 9-1 against Radwanska. Her only loss occurred in 2015 at the Hopman Cup.

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Focus

Grigor Dimitrov Praises ‘Surreal’ Achievement Ahead Of Indian Wells Semis

Grigor Dimitrov hailed his recent career milestone as he moved into the Indian Wells semi-finals.

Avatar

Published

on

Grigor Dimitrov (@atptour - Twitter)

Grigor Dimitrov has praised his recent career milestone after reaching the Indian Wells semi-finals.

 

The Bulgarian overcame Miami Open champion Hubert Hurkacz in three sets to reach the semi-finals at Indian Wells.

Dimitrov backed his win over US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in style to reach his first masters 1000 semi-final of the season.

However reaching the semi-finals wasn’t the only achievement as he sealed his 100th masters 1000 win of his career.

Speaking after the match Dimitrov described it as ‘surreal’, “I didn’t know until everyone started mentioning it now,” Dimitrov said in his post-match press conference.

“Really I’m very humbled. It’s such an amazing thing. I’m so thankful to everyone, to everybody that is in the team, that has worked in the team. Last but not least my family.

“It feels like I want to say surreal because I never thought turning pro that I’m going to have let’s say a hundred matches at such a level. I’m very fortunate to be able to put myself in that position over and over, especially throughout the tough years, injuries and so on.

“It clearly means a lot to me. I really appreciate it. I’m very, very humbled on it. Like I’m smiling inside. I’m smiling inside. I think it’s a beautiful thing. I’ll keep on going hopefully another decade.”

Dimitrov’s first masters 1000 win came against Marsel Ilhan in 2011 at Cincinnati and the Bulgarian’s only trophy at this level came in 2017 when he beat Nick Kyrgios in the final of the same tournament.

Now Dimitrov will look to win his second masters 1000 title of his career as he takes on Cameron Norrie in the last four on Saturday.

Norrie currently leads the head-to-head 1-0.

Continue Reading

Hot Topics

Ons Jabeur Used To Be Rejected By Sponsors For Being Tunisian, Now She Is A Tennis Trailblazer

The Arab tennis sensation has made history following her latest win in Indian Wells and is hungry to achieve more.

Avatar

Published

on

Ons Jabeur (image via https://twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN)

Entering this year’s BNP Paribas Open Ons Jabeur has already achieved a series of firsts for an Arab tennis player. However, it is her latest achievement which has earned her praise from the likes of Andy Murray and Billie Jean King.

 

The 27-year-old Tunisian continued her fairytale run at the tournament on Thursday by defeating Anette Kontaveit 7-5, 6-3, to move into the semi-finals. In doing so she has guaranteed her place in the world’s top 10 next week for the first time in her career. It is a milestone which had never been achieved by an Arab player – male or female – in the history of the sport until now.

“This is a dream coming true,” said Jabeur. “I always wanted to get there, to be No. 1 in the world.’
“Top 10 I know is the beginning. I know I deserve this place for a long time since I was playing well. But I want to prove that I deserve to be here, I deserve to be one of the top 10 players.” She added.

The breakthrough has been a long time coming for Jabeur who first rose to prominence a decade ago when she became the first North African player to win a junior Grand Slam title at the 2011 French Open. Since then she has steadily climbed the rankings. This year she won her maiden Tour title at the Birmingham Open, becoming the first Arab woman to do so. She also reached the final of tournaments in Chicago and Charleston, as well as reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

After establishing herself as one of the best players in the world, Jabeur admits her journey to the top has not been an easy one. Coming from a country such as Tunisia which doesn’t have such a comprehensive support system for tennis players was difficult. She explains that finding sponsorships was difficult at times with some not wanting to do deals with her due to where she came from.

“It is much different to come from my country than being American or French or Australian. They have not just the example of seeing players playing in front of you, but more tennis clubs and even more tournaments,” she said.
“I’ve been rejected by sponsors because of where I come from, which is so not fair. I didn’t understand why before. I accepted it. I dealt with it. I am really proud of the person I became today, just not relying on others.’
“Everybody probably had a difficult career. I’m not saying I have the most difficult one. I just wanted to really do this. It’s my dream. I didn’t want to depend on a sponsor or someone who doesn’t even care about tennis or doesn’t even care about sport in general.”

Those sponsorship difficulties are a thing of the past and it is likely Jabeur will attract more interest from companies following her entry into the world’s top 10. On social media various former Grand Slam champions have praised her latest milestone. On Twitter Andy Murray commented that Jabeur’s entry into the world’s top 10 was ‘very cool’ and Billie Jean King described her latest win as ‘historic.’

“It shows how important it is for me to achieve this. Being recognized by legends, honestly, it just gives me even more the power to work harder and be like them one day, maybe, a Grand Slam champion.” Jabeur said in reponse to those comments.

Coming into Indian Wells, achieving a ranking high wasn’t the first thing on her mind. Instead, it was trying to close in on securing a spot in the WTA Finals next month. She is currently ranked eighth, which is the final qualifying spot, in the WTA race after overtaking Naomi Osaka.

“I came here stressed a lot with the race. I know so many players were playing here. I really didn’t look much at the ranking, but I knew I was kind of not far,” Jabeur explained. “I was talking to my mental coach and I told her, this is too much. But I told her, I need to do this, I need to go through this to be able to win a Grand Slam one day. To go and win a Grand Slam, you need to kind of take this step.”

Jabeur is a win away from becoming the first Arab woman to reach an Indian Wells final and the first from an African country since Amanda Coetzer back in 1994. Standing in her way is Spain’s Paula Badosa who knocked out former champion Angelique Kerber in her quarter-final match.

“I always said she’s one of the most talented players in the world,” Badosa said of her Tunisian rival. “She’s having an amazing year. It’s nice seeing all these players that we were like a few years ago outside the top hundred now being top 10, top 20, fighting for the finals. It’s amazing. I’m super happy and I’m happy that I can play her.”

Earlier this year at the Miami Open Jabeur defeated Badosa 7-6(6), 5-7, 7-5, in what was their first Tour meeting since 2015.

Continue Reading

Hot Topics

‘I Want To Keep Pushing’ – Cameron Norrie Breaks New Ground In Indian Wells

Starting the season ranked 74th in the world, Norrie has surged up the rankings and is now through to the last four of a Masters event for the first time in his career.

Avatar

Published

on

Cameron Norrie (image via https://twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN)

For those who do not follow the men’s Tour week-by-week they may be unaware that Cameron Norrie has won more matches in 2021 than Novak Djokovic.

 

The 26-year-old Brit has enjoyed a breakthrough season on the Tour where he has reached no less than five ATP Finals, winning his first title at the Los Cabos Open in Mexico. A former top 10 junior player and No.1 collegiate player at the Texas Christian University, Norrie has reached the third round at three out of four Grand Slams this season. To put that into perspective, before this year he had only ever done so once in his career. 2021 is also the first year Norrie has recorded multiple wins over top 10 opponents after beating Dominic Thiem in Lyon and Andrey Rublev in San Diego.

Given Norrie’s recent surge and consistency, his run at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells this week isn’t as surprising as some might think. Seeded 21st in the draw, he thrashed a lacklustre Diego Schwartzman 6-0, 6-2, on Thursday. Prior to the clash, he described the match as ‘the biggest of his career leading in’ and with good reason too. The win has resulted in no fewer than three new milestones. Through to the semi-finals of a Masters tournament for the first time, he will make his top 20 debut next week and overtake Dan Evans to become British No.1 for the first time.

“It was never really a goal of mine, but it’s definitely a great bonus to be British No. 1,” Norrie said during his press conference.
“I want to keep pushing. I think I’ve got a lot of things to improve on, but I think it’s one of those things you’ve got to enjoy.’
“Yeah, it’s nice to show some of the hard work from Facu (his coach) and I that have been putting in over the last kind of five years after college. It’s showing, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Norrie is guided on the Tour by coach Facundo Lugones who have known him since school. Lugones was set to work in the finance industry following his studies at Texas Christian University but ended up travelling with Norrie on the Tour back in 2017 and has done so ever since.

“He’s so passionate about tennis. He’s given 120% every day. He takes care of all the little details, everything, so he’s a phenomenal coach,” Norrie commented.
“He’s always willing to learn and listen to others. He’s great friends with a lot of the other Argentinian coaches who have a lot of experience and played on the tour. Great coaches, as well. So he’s around the best guys in the world, and he’s listening to what they are saying.’
“It’s cool because every time I do something for the first time, he’s doing it, as well. So it’s cool to do it together. He brings a lot. He offers a lot of help, and he’s a great guy altogether.”

The next task for the soon to be British No.1 is a showdown with Grigor Dimitrov in Indian Wells. The Bulgarian is a former world No.3 player who has been producing some of his best tennis in recent days. After knocking out top seed Daniil Medvedev, he saw off Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in three sets on Thursday. In both of those matches Dimitrov had to come from behind to win.

“I’m just really pleased to be playing my best level at these bigger events,” said Norrie. “I’m just enjoying the process and enjoying playing the bigger matches. There is always going to be a bigger match and a bigger opportunity. I was just happy with how I handled myself in terms of the situation.”

Should Norrie beat Dimitrov on Saturday he would become the fourth British man to reach a final in Indian Wells. Following in the footsteps of Greg Rusedski, Tim Henman and Andy Murray.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending