Garbine Muguruza secures her spot in the semifinal in Rome - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza secures her spot in the semifinal in Rome

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World Number 4 and number 3 seed Garbine Muguruza has become the first player to secure a spot in the semifinals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome after beating Timea Bacsinszky 7-5 6-2 in the first quarter final. Muguruza will take on either Madison Keys or Barbora Strykova.

 

Muguruza had to face a break point in the 14-point first game. The Spanish player earned three break points but failed to convert them. The opening set went on serve until the seventh game when Bacsinszky went 15-40. Muguruza saved the first break point chance but Bacsinszky converted her second chance to 30 to take a 4-3. Muguruza broke straight back to 30 to draw level to 4-4 and consolidated her break by holding her service game for 5-4. The Spanish player of Venezuelan origin held her serve at 5-5 before getting another break on her third set point after a long 12th game to win the first set 7-5 in 74 minutes. Muguruza has qualified for her first semifinal since the 2015 WTA Finals in Singapore

In the third game of the second set Bacsinszky did not convert her two break point chances. Both players went on serve until the sixth game when Muguruza broke serve to 30. She got the double break to win her fourth consecutive game at deuce in the 8th game for 6-2.

Muguruza has advanced to her first semifinal in 2016 without dropping a set in the whole tournament. Earlier this week Muguruza hit 20 winners to just 5 unforced errors en route to a dominant 6-1 6-0 win over Ekaterina Makarova in just 47 minutes before beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-1 6-4 in the third round.

Bacsinszky won her first two matches against Yanina Wickmayer and Lesia Tsurenko before clinching a hard-fought 5-7 7-5 6-2 win over Carla Suarez Navarro in the third round.

Muguruza has extended her win-loss record to 4-0 in their head-to-head matches. All their previous three matches were played in 2015. Muguruza prevailed in three sets at the Australian Open and in straight sets at Wimbledon and Beijing.

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Frances Tiafoe Translates Performance Into Results In Cincinnati Opener

Frances Tiafoe is hoping performances translate into results as he reaches the second round in Cincinnati.

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Frances Tiafoe (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

After producing gutsy performances in close defeats, Frances Tiafoe finally translated that into victory with a 7-6(3) 4-6 7-6(5) win over Matteo Berrettini in Cincinnati.

 

The American is one of the most unique players on the tour with his potential clear to see but isn’t always known for deep tournament results.

Tiafoe’s big serve, dangerous groundstrokes and charismatic personality makes him one of the most enjoyable players to watch on tour but that doesn’t get you wins on the tour which the American has found out the hard way.

In recent years though Tiafoe has slowly been improving results and earning some big wins but has often lacked consistency in wins despite performing to his best level.

However that might be about to change as Tiafoe earned a gutsy and huge win over Matteo Berrettini in his Cincinnati opener as he came through a last set tiebreak against the Italian.

The victory may be a surprise to some but for the American it’s been coming as his recent performances have shown, “People don’t understand, obviously results haven’t really shown how well I’ve been playing. I’ve been playing some great tennis, honestly,” Tiafoe told the ATP website.

“I really just needed this. I know it’s a first-round match…. But everyone knew why I needed this against a quality player, so it was big. I know I’ve beaten a lot of these guys, but it hasn’t happened of late. So it’s one of those things where you’ve got to get over the hump. But I’m happy I get another chance to play again.”

Tiafoe will be hoping consistency can be part of his game as the end of the season approaches and there would be nothing better for the American than to make a deep run at his home grand slam at the US Open.

Next for Tiafoe will be fellow American Sebastian Korda, who he has a 3-0 head-to-head record against before potentially facing John Isner or Hubert Hurkacz in the third round.

Tiafoe’s 2022 Season So Far:

Adelaide 1: R2 (l. Kokkinakis)

Adelaide 2: R1 (l. Paul)

Australian Open: R2 (l. Fritz)

Indian Wells: R3 (l. Rublev)

Miami: R4 (l. Francisco Cerundolo)

Houston: Quarter-Finals (l. Isner)

Barcelona: R3 (l. Auger-Aliassime)

Estoril: Final (l. Baez)

Madrid: R1 (l. Garin)

Rome: R1 (l. Krajinovic)

Roland Garros: R2 (l. Goffin)

Queen’s Club: R1 (l. Wawrinka)

Eastbourne: R1 (l. Bublik)

Wimbledon: R4 (l. Goffin)

Atlanta: Semi-Finals (l. Brooksby)

Washington: Quarter-Finals (l. Kyrgios)

Montreal: R2 (l. Fritz)

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Fan Told To Leave Match At Western And Southern Open Over Size Of Her Ukrainian Flag Speaks Out

Organisers at the tournament have also issued a statement concerning what happened and why the individual was asked to leave the court.

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Image via https://twitter.com/CincyTennis/

A woman says security at the Western and Southern Open threatened to call the police if she did not leave a qualifying match after complaints were made by a Russian player about her Ukrainian flag. 

 

Lola, who is originally from Uzbekistan but now lives in America, was seen at the tournament over the weekend using a Ukrainian flag to cover herself whilst watching a match between Anastasia Potapova and Anna Kalinskaya. It is understood that one of those players, who are both Russian, made a complaint to the umpire. Prompting the official to speak directly to Lola which then resulted in a member of security getting involved.  

During an interview with Local 12 News, Lola has given her account of the incident that occurred. Saying the match was stopped twice due to a dispute over the issue. 

“’You’re not being nice. You need to put the flag away,’” Lola said she was told by the umpire. “The message I got was that it is agitating Russian players. I said, ‘I’m not putting it away.’ They kept playing for a minute or two. Then, they stopped the game again, and then the security guard came up to me and said, ‘Ma’am, I’m going to call the cops if you won’t leave.”

Russia is currently involved in a war with Ukraine after launching a military attack on the country on February 24th. A move which has prompted widespread condemnation from both the western world and the sporting world. At this year’s Wimbledon Russian players were banned from participating, as well as players from Belarus which is a country accused of supporting Russia. On both the ATP and WTA Tour’s players from both those countries are only allowed to compete as neutral athletes. 

In wake of the incident, the Western and Southern Open issued a statement saying that the size of Lola’s flag breached the tournament’s policy. Lola said she was informed about the rule 15 minutes after being asked to leave the court and was allowed back into the venue once she put her flag in the car. 

“Per the Western and Southern Open’s bag policy, as stated on the tournament’s website, flags or banners larger than 18 x 18 [inches] (46 x 46cm) are prohibited,” a spokesperson for the tournament said in an email to Reuters.
“Therefore, the patron was asked to remove the flag from the grounds and, after doing so, was allowed to remain at the tournament.”

The tournament declined to comment on the conduct of the umpire and said it is for the WTA to do so. 

Meanwhile, local charity Cincy4Ukraine say they have contacted a lawyer to see if Lola’s first amendment rights were violated. If there is a suggestion that this has been the case, a court hearing could take place should Lola want to take legal action. 

As for the Russian players involved, Kalinskaya beat Potapova 7-5, 6-1, to reach the main draw and will play Martina Trevisan. Potapova has also made it into the main draw as a lucky loser and will play Simona Halep. 

Kalinskaya, Potapova and The WTA have not publicly commented on the incident so far. 

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Andy Murray ‘Convinced’ He Can Play Better After Marathon Clash With Wawrinka In Cincinnati

The 35-year-old has given an honest assessment of where he believe his level of tennis currently is.

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ANDY MURRAY OF GREAT BRITAIN - PHOTO: ANGEL MARTINEZ / MMO

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray believes there is room for improvement in his game after securing a place in the second round of the Western and Southern Open on Monday.

 

The former world No.1 ousted Stan Wawrinka 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-5, in an epic encounter that lasted almost three hours. Making it one of the longest best-of-three matches Murray has played in recent time. The encounter was a stern physical test for the Brit who struggled with cramping during the later stages. Overall he hit a total of 38 winners against 27 unforced errors.

“I’ve struggled a little bit physically since Wimbledon. It’s something I need to work out with my team in the next couple of weeks,” said Murray.
“I was struggling with towards the end of the second set. Psychologically there is a feeling like you’re close to the end of the match potentially in the second set. So maybe you are going to try and sometimes play a little bit more conservatively because when I was getting into the return games or making balls on the return games, Stan was making a few errors.’
“But then obviously when I lost that set and then was struggling with the cramping, I had no option and nothing to lose really. So I started trying to be a little bit more offensive and finish the points quicker, and actually started to feel all right towards the end of the match.”

Murray is currently ranked 47th in the world and is closing in on breaking back into the top 40 for the first time since 2018. In recent years his campaign on the Tour has been hampered by various injury setbacks with the most serious being his hip which required two surgical procedures. At this year’s Stuttgart Open he reached the final but sustained an ab injury during his match against Matteo Berrettini.

Now hoping his injury misfortunes are behind him, the 35-year-old says physically he is feeling his best in a long time. Although he eyes further improvement in his tennis in the coming weeks. So far this season he has recorded 20 wins against 13 losses and has reached the final of two ATP Tour events. However, he has failed to win back-to-back matches in three out of his last four tournaments played prior to Cincinnati.

“In terms of how I pulled up after matches and stuff, this has been the best I have felt in a really long time. So that’s good,” Murray reflected. “I would like my tennis to be better at times because I’m still convinced that it can be better than where it is right now.’
“There have been some good moments this year but it’s not been easy these last few years to stay fit and healthy. Play enough tennis to get matches to learn from and to build confidence and to get my body sort of physically like robust enough to compete week in, week out.”

Continuing to analyze his performances on the Tour this year, he believes some of his early tournament losses have been due to the fact he has been unable to elevate his game. He has played five top 10 players so far in 2022 but his only win was over Stefanos Tsitsipas in Stuttgart.

“The reason why I felt like I haven’t won as many of those matches as I would have liked this year is because I haven’t been playing well enough. Even in some of the first-round matches that I have got through, I haven’t necessarily played amazing tennis and then haven’t stepped it up the next match when I have been playing against better opposition,” he said.

Murray will play compatriot and Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie in the second round at Cincinnati. Should he win it will be only his third victory over a current top 20 player this year.

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