Excellent day for Americans as they go five for five on the second day of Australian Open Qualifying - UBITENNIS
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Excellent day for Americans as they go five for five on the second day of Australian Open Qualifying

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Tim Smyczek was one of five Americans that won their second round matches in Australian Open Qualifiying (Image via Zimbio.com)

It was a special day if your were an American in action in the Men’s Qualifying draw on the second day of Australian Open Qualifying 2017. All five scheduled to feature in the first day of second round action progressed to the final round.

 

(18) Denis Kudla defeats Darian King 46 64 64. The eighteenth seed Kudla looked down and out when he went down a break at four-three in the final set. The former Top 50 player recovered to win the final three games of the set and the match to move within a win of the main draw.

(6) Bjorn Fratangelo defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas 46 61 63. An excellent win for the former Roland Garros junior champion, who has struggled at times to improve that junior record at tour level. Tsitsipas like Fratangelo, is a junior prodigy trying to make it in the main tour. The young Greek took the first set but from then on was always second best, Fratangelo breaking immediately in the second set, and also winning the third set by a double break margin.

(2) Frances Tiafoe defeats Yannik Reuter 64 60. No such problems for second seed Tiafoe, as in contrast to his aforementioned compatriots, Tiafoe eased into the final round, dropping just four games as he beat Yannik Reuter. A much easier win for Tiafoe after his close first round encounter with Marco Cecchinato.

(25) Tim Smyczek defeats Mohamed Safwat 64 63. Tim Smyczek is defending full qualifying and main draw second rounds points from 2016. Australia however, is a happy hunting ground for Smyczek, and he continued his fine form by defeating Safwat. Smyczek has not yet dropped a set in his first two matches, but someone will go out when he faces compatriot Frances Tiafoe in the final round.

(21) Ernesto Escobedo defeats Tatsuma Ito 61 63.  Escobedo was the final American in action on day two, and he raced through his match with Tatsuma Ito in straight sets for the loss of just four games. Escobedo qualified for the Brisbane event last week, losing two tie break sets to Kyle Edmund, but will be a favourite now to qualifying for the main draw.

(10) Lukas Lacko defeats Maximo Gonzalez 46 62 62. Tenth seed Lacko rebounded from the loss of the first set to secure a double break in each of the next two to knock out the Argentinian. He will face eighteenth seed Denis Kudla in a section that went with the seedings.

Di Wu defeats Miljan Zekic 64 62. Zekic’s marathon win over Benjamin Becker in the first round became little more than a gift for the Chinese, as the Serbian was unable to back up the win. Wu was comfortable and pulled away in the second set.

Marco Trungelliti defeats Peter Gojowczyk 50 ret. A real shame for Gojowczyk, as the German had been flying in the early part of 2017, winning the Happy Valley Challenger, and dropping just two games in his first round match against Saketh Myneni. He was troubled throughout in this one though, and Trungelliti, who reached the third round of the main draw after qualifying last year, is still alive in this year’s event.

John-Patrick Smith defeats Kenny De Schepper 64 63. De Schepper was another player who struggled through a long first round match in his dismantling of the twenty-seventh seed Norbert Gombos. Smith struggled in 2016, but is in the final round of qualifying and will certainly fancy his chances.

Ivan Dodig defeats Laslo Djere 63 16 62. The Croatian veteran overcame a second set blip to make the final round. Dodig now splits his time between the singles tour and the doubles tour, and his powerful serve returned in the final set to blow away Djere.

Andre Ghem defeats Yuya Kibi 26 63 61. The Japanese started the first set as he had finished against Brian Baker, in excellent form but the defensive persistence of Ghem eventually told, drawing more and more errors through the last two sets to back up his win against Joao Souza and make the final round.

Yuki Bhambri defeats Pedja Krstin 63 64. Bhambri backed up his superb win over Stefan Koslov with another straight sets win, this time against Krstin. He will look to increase the Asian contingent in the main draw but will face the tough task of defeating Ernesto Escobedo if he is to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

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WIMBLEDON: 10 Facts About Semi-Finalist Ons Jabeur

All you need to know about the Trailblazing Tunisian who has created history at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Second seed Ons Jabeur achieved a new milestone for both her and her country at Wimbledon on Tuesday. 

 

The world No.2 battled back from a set down to defeat Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the last four of a major event for the first time in her career. Jabeur has now dropped only one set in five matches played and is the highest ranked player remaining in the draw. Her major breakthrough comes seven years after she made her Grand Slam debut at the 2015 Australian Open. 

“I played really good from beginning of the second set, especially having a early break kind of helps me gain confidence,” said Jabeur.
“I know it wasn’t easy playing Marie. She gets all the balls and doesn’t make, to win a point, easy for me. I’m glad I stepped in with my game. I was more aggressive in the second set, and especially tactically I was playing some angles that she didn’t like much.”

To mark Jabeur’s Wimbledon milestone, here are 10 facts to know about her:-

  1. She is the first North African player – male or female – to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. The last woman from the entire African continent to reach a major semi-final was Amanda Coetzer at the 1997 French Open. 
  2. Her win over Bouzkova is Jabeur’s 26th Tour-level win on the grass.
  3. Jabeur has now won 83 matches over the past two seasons. This is more than any other player on the WTA Tour. 
  4. Has won 21 out of her last 23 matches.
  5. She is the only Tunisian woman currently ranked in the world’s top 700.
  6. Jabeur had failed to win back-to-back matches on her three out of her four previous appearances at Wimbledon in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She reached the quarter-finals in 2021.
  7. Coming into Wimbledon she has already earned more than $6.2m in prize money in her career.
  8. She has won three Tour titles in Birmingham (2021), Madrid (2022) and Berlin (2022). 
  9. Has beaten a top 10 player four times in her career – Dominika Cibulkova (2017 French Open), Simona Halep (Beijing 2018), Sloane Stephens (Moscow 2018) and Karolina Pliskova (Doha 2020).
  10. In October 2021 she became the first Arab player (mae or female) to crack the world’s top 10 in tennis. 

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Tatjana Maria – Reaching Wimbledon Semi-Finals is ‘Amazing’ But It Doesn’t Beat Parenthood

The underdog is enjoying her best-ever run at a major 15 years after making her debut.

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Image via twitter.com/wta

Germany’s Tatjana Maria reveals people once doubted her ability to return to tennis after having her first child. Now a mother-of-two, she has secured a place in the Wimbledon semifinals. 

 

The fairytale run of the world No.103 continued on Tuesday when she ousted compatriot Jule Niemeier 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in her quarter-final match. Until the tournament, Maria had never been beyond the third round of a major event. However, that changed with high-profile wins over Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko prior to Niemeier.

“It’s amazing. I mean, I tried to calm down a little bit in the locker room and to realize something, but it’s still hard to realize it,” she said of reaching the last four at Wimbledon.

Whilst some players prepare for their Grand Slam matches in the gym, Maria’s routine is somewhat unique. She began her day by taking her 8-year-old daughter to her tennis lesson. It wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a 15-month-old baby.

“Outside of the court, nothing changes for me for the moment,” she said.  “I try to keep this going, everything the same. We keep going (to the tennis lessons) even if I’m playing the semifinals.”

Incredibly the 34-year-old returned to the circuit following maternity leave less than a year ago. It was during that absence that she decided to switch to a one-handed backhand. She has been ranked as high as 46th in the world and has two Tour titles to her name. 

“A lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already after Charlotte and when I changed my backhand,” she said.
“I showed it last time already that I am back. I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child. Still, everybody was doubting.’
“I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming.”

Relishing in her best-ever performance at a major event, Maria is another example of a player having a breakthrough later in their career. To put her run in perspective, in the Open Era only five other women have reached the semifinals at Wimbledon after turning 34.

However, in Maria’s eyes, her achievements on the court can’t beat her top priority off the court.

“To be a mum is for me on the top of my life. So I think it helps me in tennis too because now my priority is my kids,” she explains. “I play tennis, I want to do my best, that’s all that I want. But my kids are the priority.’
“If I go out there, I want my kids to be happy, that they are healthy, that everything is okay. That’s the most important thing for me in my life.”

Maria made her Grand Slam debut back at Wimbledon in 2007. 

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Novak Djokovic Survives Almighty Sinner Scare to Reach Wimbledon Semis

The dramatic encounter featured a fight back, multiple breaks of serve and even an injury scare.

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Reigning champion Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to keep his hopes of winning a seventh Wimbledon title alive after ousting Jannik Sinner in a five-set thriller.

 


Djokovic, who only dropped six games against Sinner in their previous Tour meeting, was forced to battle back from two sets down to prevail 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in a roller-coaster encounter on Center Court. The triumph marks Djokovic’s 84th win at the tournament which is the joint-second highest tally in history alongside Jimmy Connors. Only Roger Federer has won more.

“Huge congratulations to Jannik today for a big fight. I’m sure that there are going to be a lot of opportunities for him on the big stage. He’s mature for his age and is already an established top 15 player over the last few years,” said Djokovic.
“He was unfortunate today but he has plenty of time.”

Taking on one of the most promising future prospects of men’s tennis, Djokovic’s latest encounter was a match of two halves. Initially, he appeared as if he would suffer a shock loss to world No.13 before he managed to conjure up an emphatic comeback. Breaking Sinner’s spirit who was bidding to become only the third Italian man to reach a Wimbledon semi-final in history.

“We had two different matches. He was the better player for two sets. (Then) I went out for a toilet break, had a little pep talk (with myself) in the mirror,” the 20-time major winner revealed.
“Sometimes in these circumstances where not much is happening positively for you on the court in terms of tennis. These things are necessary – a little break and pep talk to try to recuperate.’
“I was fortunate to start well in the third set by breaking his serve and that gave me the confidence boost. I saw a bit of doubt in his game and my experience of these kinds of matches helped me.”

The first set was a roller-coaster encounter between the two tennis titans on Center Court. Reigning champion Djokovic started out guns blazing by winning seven points in a row before Sinner got onto the scoreboard after prevailing in a 17-shot rally. The top seed looked to be in full control until a double fault on break point enabled his rival to bounce back. Continuing to play some inspired tennis with blistering shot-making, a cross-court winner enabled the Italian to break once again and this time had the chance to serve the opener out. A task he passed with flying colors.

Continuing to take his game to Djokovic, Sinner appeared unfazed about trying to become the youngest men’s semi-finalist at SW19 since 2007. Producing powerful hitting from the baseline, the 20-year-old extended his lead two games into the second frame. A stunning backhand volley followed by a Djokovic error elevated him to a 2-1 advantage. Spurred on by the crowd, the unprecedented onslaught continued with the help of some costly errors from the Serbian. He sealed the double break with the help of a successful Hawk-Eye challenge before securing a two-set lead in his favor with the help of a 122mph service.

Facing a swift exit, Djokovic once again illustrated the fighting spirit that he is renowned for. Capitalizing on a blip in form from Sinner, he cruised through the third set to resurrect his chances. 

Steaming rolling his way into a decider, Djokovic continued his dominance during the fourth frame by winning four straight games. However, closing that set out was full of drama. First, Sinner suffered an injury scare after going over his ankle before continuing. Then Djokovic fended off a break point and squandered two set points before closing it out. 

A stunning sliding passing shot in the decider set Djokovic up with a chance to break and move to a game away from victory. Something he did with the help of a Sinner error which the Italian instantly regretted by putting both his hands on his head. After that mishit, Djokovic ended the clash with a love service game. 

“I’ve been blessed to play professional tennis for 20 years but nevertheless I go through those doubtful moments like everybody else. The inner fight is always the biggest fight. Once you win the fight the external circumstance is more likely to go in your favor. I knew I could turn this match around. I have done that a few times in grand slams.” Djokovic concluded.


 

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