Serena Williams Races Through As Rival Radwanska Goes Out At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams Races Through As Rival Radwanska Goes Out At Australian Open




Serena Williams (image via

Second seed Serena Williams experienced little difficulty during her 6-3, 6-4, triumph over Lucie Safarova.


Embarking on her first meeting with Safarova since the 2015 French Open final, Williams was aware that she faced a somewhat different opponent. Since their encounter on the Paris clay courts, the Czech has slid down the rankings to outside the world’s top 60 due to injury setbacks as well as illness.

Snippets of both players impressive shot-making was on display. Safarova made use of some aggressive groundstrokes from her forehand side as Williams dictated with her power. The game plan of Williams was evident, crush her opponents fragile second serve. A slow second serve from the Czech was returned with interest from the 35-year-old as she broke for a 5-3 lead. The breakthrough sealed the first set as an ace the American secured the lead.

The second set was a case of deja vu. Once again, both players were delighting the crowd with their shots, but Williams’ power proved too much for Safarova. In an almost identical fashion to earlier in the match, the patchy serving for the unseeded player lead to her fall. A double fault moved Williams to a set and a break as she served that match out. An ace secured her first match point before an overcooked backhand drew proceedings back to deuce. Williams finally triumphed on her third opportunity when a breathtaking 17-shot rally ended with the Czech hitting the ball out.

“It’s never easy having to play someone in the second round that you have seen in the final on the biggest stage of tennis.” The 35-year-old said after her win.
“It wasn’t easy, but I’m really happy I got through that.”

During her latest win, the 22-time grand slam champion produced 15 aces and 35 winners. Her only downfall occurred behind her second serve, where she could only clinch 11/27 points available (41%). Safarova is the second former top 10 player Williams has beaten in Melbourne following her opening round win over Belinda Bencic.

“I definitely played two really tough opponents, two former top 10 (players).” Williams said about her start to this year’s Australian Open. “It’s a great way to start the tournament. It’s not going to get any easier, so I think that was pretty good.”

Williams will play world No.92 Nicola Gibbs in the third round.

Veteran Stuns Radwanska

Williams enters the last 32 in Melbourne with the absence of third seed Agnieszka Radwanska. The Polish player was crushed 6-3, 6-2, by veteran player Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Making her Melbourne debut back in 1998, Lucic-Baroni had only recorded one main draw win at the event in her career before this year. Nevertheless, her attacking play overwhelmed the third seed as she fired 33 winners throughout the 64-minute match.

“It’s amazing, oh my God,” said Lucic-Baroni. “It’s been so long since I won a match or two (at a Grand Slam). Actually as I’m getting older, it seems like I’m getting better.
“I knew until the very last point I would have to fight… I was able to do that and stay calm. My heart is so full. I’m so happy.”

Lucic-Baroni’s win comes on the 19th anniversary of her first major achievement. At the age of 15 she teams up with Martina Hingis to win the 1998 Australian Open doubles title in what was her first and so far only triumph in a major tournament. She also reached the finals in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon later that year.

“I was a little baby back then,” she says of her early success. “Now, I can be maybe more relaxed. I said to myself today on the court, don’t worry, be happy.”

The Croat will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari next, who defeated Alize Cornet in three sets.

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Billie Jean King Praises Grand Slam Semi-Finalist Nadia Podoroska For Coming Out

The Argentine recently marked her girlfriend’s birthday with an Instagram post which was also the first time she went public about her personal life.




Tennis legend Billie Jean King has congratulated Nadia Podoroska on being her authentic self after the tennis star recently confirmed she is in a same-sex relationship with another player. 


Podoroska, who shot to the limelight at the 2021 French Open by reaching the semi-finals before being hampered by injury, made a low key coming out on social media. In an Instagram post, the tennis star uploaded a series of photos of her with her girlfriend along with the caption “Today I celebrate you from afar, but I feel you by my side every day of my life.’ The post was done to mark her birthday. 

Fellow player Guillermina Naya is Podoroska’s partner and the two have been in a relationship for some time, according to Women’s Tennis Blog. Naya, who is also from Argentina, is currently ranked 814th in the world but has been as high as 533rd. Although she has not played on the Tour this year. 

Due to injury problems, Podoroska was unable to start her 2022 season until July on the lower-level ITF Tour. Since then she has made steady progress by reaching the final of an ITF W60 event in Gran Canaria and more recently reaching the semi-finals of the Chennai Open in India. 

“I had been suffering from physical discomfort in one leg. I decided to stop in order to recover. Then I had a bone oedema, I couldn’t walk, and I had to wear a boot. Then I got a knee injury in the other leg,” she said of her injury woes during an interview with Clay Tennis.

The 25-year-old credits her girlfriend Naya for the support she received during her 10-month absence from the sport. She is the latest player on the WTA Tour to open up about their sexuality, joining the likes of Daria Kasatkina, Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen.

“Congratulations to WTA player ⁦⁦Nadia Podoroska ⁩ on her announcement. Living authentically takes such courage, but it is always worth it,” multiple Grand Slam champion King wrote on Twitter. 

In response to the post, the tennis star also paid tribute to King for the impact she has had on the sport. King helped form the WTA Tour and was a key figure in the fight to equal prize money during the early part of the Open Era. She was also one of the first world-class athletes to publicly come out as gay back in 1981. 

Whilst there are various female LGBT players in tennis, there are still no openly gay players on the men’s Tour. 

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ITF Chief Addresses Iga Swiatek’s Concerns Over Unsafe Scheduling




The head of the International Tennis Federation is ‘sorry’ that Iga Swiatek will not be participating in the Billie Jean Cup and has vowed to work on making improvements to the 2023 schedule. 


The women’s world No.1 issued a statement on Monday confirming her withdrawal from the team event after taking a swipe at both the ITF and WTA over their scheduling. Swiatek said she had hoped to represent Poland in the Billie Jean Cup but its proximity to the WTA Tour Finals is problematic. The end-of-season WTA event takes place in Texas and ends a day before the start of the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow. 

“I’m disappointed that tennis governing bodies didn’t come to an agreement on something as basic as the calendar of tournaments, giving us only one day to travel through the globe and changing the time zone,” Swiatek said in a statement published on her Instagram account.
“The situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury.
“I’m going to talk to the WTA and ITF in order to change something. This situation is difficult not only for the players like me, but mainly for the tennis fans that support our sport.”

ITF chief executive David Haggerty has insisted that his organization has been working with the WTA but they were unable to find a more suitable date as the venue for the Tour Finals wasn’t confirmed until late in the season. The event is likely to return to China next year. The women’s tennis body has suspended its events in the country amid concerns over the safety of player Peng Shuai who previously accused a senior government official of sexual assault.

“The ITF is sorry that Iga Swiatek is unable to take part… and recognises that the schedule for the two major year-end events presents a challenge for players competing in both events,” Haggerty told the Reuters news agency.
“We have been working with the WTA to try to coordinate suitable dates.
“While we were able to confirm the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Glasgow back in June, the WTA Finals venue in Fort Worth, Texas was confirmed during the U.S. Open and restricted in terms of available dates.”

The tennis official adds that negotiations are ongoing to find a more suitable schedule for 2023 for players to play both events if they wish to do so. 

We are committed to working with the WTA on the 2023 schedule so that we have a better transition between the two competitions,” he said. 

Haggerty states that provisions would have been made for Poland to play their opening match in the 12-team competition as late as possible to accommodate Swiatek’s travel from America if she had wished to play this year. 

The WTA Finals will be held between 31 October – 7 November and the Billie Jean King Cup will take place from 8 November – 13 November. 

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In-Form Liudmila Samsonova Storms To Tokyo Title

Tokyo is the second tournament this year the Russian has won without dropping a set.




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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. 

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