From the start, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was looking the stronger and better player, as she went a break up right from the start. At 4-1, “Pavs” struck again, broke to 5-1 and was serving for the set. Svetlana Kuznetsova took one break back, but Pavlyuchenkova didn’t allow a significant comeback. The lower-ranked Russian was serving for the set at 5-3, and on her third set point, she succeeded. Second set started with another early break from Pavlyuchenkova, but Kuznetsova drew it back to 3-3, spicing it up with some drama. “Pavs” took the break for 4-3, but Kuznetsova really fought valiantly in the last game, going through 4 deuces and saving a match point before finally losing after an hour and 10 minutes, 3-6 3-6. With this match, the head-to-head is 5-3 for Kuznetsova, with Pavlyuchenkova winning the last two matches. These were Pavlyuchenkova’s after match comments:
“I take it. I mean, it’s super exciting. I’m so happy. Yeah, I was always wondering why I could never have a good start here in Australia after good pre-season, good off-season, and a lot of practicing,”
“But now it seems like I found a way, and I’m super excited to still be in the second week here.
“I have a lot of memories, because I, yeah, won it twice in juniors and was showing some good tennis, as well, also in the pros, but never achieved something, like, big here.
“It’s one of my favorite Grand Slams. I’m super excited. But I’m also happy now, same time, looking forward to the next one and I want to do even better.”
Venus Williams will attempt to stop the streaking Pavlyuchenkova in the quarterfinals. The 7 time Grand Slam champion has been taking care of business in straight sets, as she was gifted with an incredibly weak draw, not facing an opponent from the Top 95 (Highest Kozlova at #98).Mona Barthel may have had to qualify for this Australian Open, she has a career high of being No. 23 in the world, just returning after a bad year. She is known to be especially dangerous early in the year, but sort of fades back as the season wears on. The German showed form in Melbourne as she dominated the qualifying, and in the main draw defeated Destanee Aiava, Olympic champion Monica Puig and fan favorite Ash Barty. First set brought a surprising amount of breaks for two tall players, but it was Venus who came out on top, winning the first set 6-3. Second set had more stability which was expected between these two players. Barthel was keeping up with Venus, but she got tight at 5-5 and dropped the break. Venus then served the match out after 1 hour and 38 minutes. The American then commented on her opponent suffering from chronic fatigue through 2016:
“I know what it’s like to be down on your luck, but she knows how to play tennis and she’s experienced,” Williams said.
“We’d played a couple of tough matches before so today I expected to have some competition.”
In-Form Liudmila Samsonova Storms To Tokyo Title
Tokyo is the second tournament this year the Russian has won without dropping a set.
Liudmila Samsonova has continued her rapid surge on the Tour by defeating China’s Qinwen Zheng 7-5, 7-5, to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
The world No.30 dropped serve only once and hit four aces as she edged her way past rising star Zheng who is the first Chinese teenager to reach the final of a Tour-level singles event. Overall, Samsonova won 68% of her service points en route to becoming the first Russian player to win the tournament since Nadia Petrova in 2012.
“It’s amazing, I don’t have too many words right now. I need a little bit of time,” said Samsonova, who beat Grand Slam champions Elena Rybakina and Garbine Muguruza earlier in the draw.
“It was a really tough match. She is playing amazing. It was a nervous match, we were fighting every point. It was tough.”
Samsonova is becoming a formidable force in the women’s game and has now won 18 out of her past 19 matches. Last month she also won titles in Washington and Cleveland before reaching the last 16 of the US Open for the first time in her career at the age of 23. She is now 4-0 in tournament finals and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo this week.
“I played a high level in all my five matches. I am incredibly happy about how I managed it,” she said.
There is also a reason for Zheng to celebrate with her run in Tokyo securing her place in the world’s top 30 for the first time on Monday when the rankings are updated. Making her the first Chinese player to do so as a teenager. She is also only the second teenager to reach the final of a WTA 500 event or higher this season after Coco Gauff at the French Open.
Samsonova will also rise to a ranking high on Monday to just outside the world’s top 20.
Naomi Osaka Seeks Resurgence At Home Event After Rollercoaster Year
Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka admits that there have been more downs than ups for her this year but she is maintaining a positive outlook.
The four-time Grand Slam champion has played 22 matches so far this season with her win-loss record currently standing at 13-9. However, at her six most recent tournaments she has failed to win back-to-back matches and is currently on a four-match losing streak. Osaka also missed this year’s Wimbledon Championships due to an achilles injury.
Currently ranked 44th in the world, Osaka is hoping to break her slump at this week’s Toray Pan Pacific Open which will be held in Tokyo. It will be the first time she has played since losing to Danielle Collins in the first round of the US Open.
“I think, of course, the year has (not been) the best year for me,” Osaka said during her pre-tournament press conference. “But I think overall I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m just happy to be healthy. Because in Europe, I did injure myself, and that was like my first injury that took me that long to get healed.
“I think life is kind of ups and downs and this one was kind of more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”
Osaka is the defending champion in Tokyo, even though she won the tournament back in 2019. The event has been cancelled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has happened to the Japanese player since she won the title, both on and off the court. Osaka has spoken publicly about her mental health issues and took time away from the sport because of them.
“It feels really weird to hear that I’m the defending champion because it was the last time I played in 2019,” she said. “I would love to win it again, but I think just taking it one match at a time … and also just playing in front of a crowd in Tokyo again, because the Olympics was crowdless, so it will just be nice to see people.”
This year Osaka does not have a seeding in the Tokyo draw which is in stark contrast to three years ago when she was the highest-ranked player in the tournament. She will begin her campaign against Australia’s Daria Saville and could then face fifth seed, Beatriz Haddad Maia, in the last 16.
“I think every year for me since the first Slam, there’s been a lot of changes,” Osaka said. “But I think this year it has definitely been a real growing year for me. I think tennis-wise, I don’t really think I can go in a wrong direction. I feel like me as a player, my base is pretty solid. I can only really learn more about myself. I know that I am an aggressive player and I can only hope to keep doing that.”
Away from the Tour, the 24-year-old remains one of the highest-earning players in the sport. According to a report published by Forbes in August, she earned in the region of £56.2M over 12 months with $55M of that coming from off-court ventures. She has also set up her own sports agency with long-time agent Stuart Duguid, signing Nick Kyrgios as one of her clients.
“For everything off court, I think it’s really cool how tennis has let me get so many opportunities in things that I’m interested in, and it’s something I’m really happy and grateful for and I can only hope it keeps evolving.” She commented.
This week Osaka is seeking to win her first title of any sort since the 2021 Australian Open.
Simona Halep Ends 2022 Season With Nose Surgery And Mental Exhaustion
Simona Halep will return to the court in 2023.
Simona Halep has ended her season after having nose surgery and suffering from mental exhaustion in recent months.
The two-time Grand Slam champion has had a mixed season this year with the Romanian almost quitting the sport in February.
However the former world number one reunited with Patrick Mouratoglou and produced a world-class grass court season and US Hard court swing to get back into the world’s top ten.
Despite this, Halep has also had her troubles having had a panic attack at Roland Garros and struggled with anxiety.
This was all produced by the Romanian in her statement when she announced she would not play the rest of the season due to a nose surgery which has been linked to her breathing.
Now Halep will look to recover mentally and physically in time for January’s Australian Open as she will look to become a Grand Slam champion for the third time in her career.
Simona Halep’s 2022 Season:
Melbourne Summer Set 1: Champion
Australian Open: R4 l. Cornet
Dubai: Semi-Finals l. Ostapenko
Qatar: R1 l. Garcia
Indian Wells: Semi-Finals l. Swiatek
Madrid: Quarter-Finals l. Jabeur
Rome: R2 l. Collins
Roland Garros: R2 l. Q. Zheng
Birmingham: Semi-Finals l. Haddad Maia
Bad Homburg: Semi-Finals l. Andreescu
Wimbledon: Semi-Finals l. Rybakina
Washington: R2 l. Kalinskaya
Cincinnati: R2 – Withdrew
US Open: R1 l. Snigur
Botic Van de Zandschulp beats Joao Sousa to reach the second round in Tel Aviv
Holger Rune reaches the second round at the Sofia Open
Dominic Thiem battles past Laslo Djere in three sets in Tel Aviv
Ilya Ivashka battles past Mikael Ymer in the longest match in the history of the Sofia Open
Cameron Norrie Vows To Make ‘Big Push’ In Bid To Reach Tour Finals
Roger Federer To Make Last-Minute Decision Over Laver Cup Participation, Says Coach
Juan Martin Del Potro Reveals Physical And Mental Trauma From Tennis Retirement
Andy Murray Calls For Earlier Start To Davis Cup Ties After Great Britain Loses Late-Night Thriller
Serena Williams’ Spectacular US Open Outfit Includes Diamond-Encrusted Shoes
US Open 2022: John McEnroe Lashes Out At Journalist In Midst Of Nadal Row
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty ’Satisfied’ With Davis Cup Format Despite Issues
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty Reacts To Federer’s Retirement
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon Win Was Good But The Level Wasn’t Great
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE): Novak Djokovic Battles Past Norrie, Faces Kyrgios In The Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Brad Gilbert Makes A Bold prediction on Sinner, Backs Kyrgios To Trouble Nadal
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