French Open Champions Kristina Mladenovic And Caroline Garcia Part Ways - UBITENNIS
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French Open Champions Kristina Mladenovic And Caroline Garcia Part Ways

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Kristina Mladenovic (L) pictured with Caroline Garcia at the 2016 Dubai Tennis Championships (zimbio.com)

Caroline Garcia has formally ended her doubles partnership with Kristina Mladenovic to focus on her singles career.

 

News of the split was confirmed by Mladenovic, who published a statement on her social media account. Last year the pair won the French Open doubles title, becoming the first female all-french duo to win in Roland Garros since 1972. During a highly successful 2016, Garcia and Mladenovic also won three other WTA titles and reached the final at the US Open.

“Caroline Garcia informed me of her desire to put an end to our partnership to focus on her singles career.” Mladenovic wrote on social media. “We have had lots of success together and I will keep very good memories. I would like to thank her and her team for all the great work we accomplished.”

Last year Mladenovic and Garcia was provisionally suspended by the French Tennis Federation following a fallout from the Rio Olympics. The two blamed their shock loss in the tournament on their federation, who Mladenovic described as ‘incompetent.’ Shortly before their first round match in the women’s doubles, the duo found out that they were required to wear identical outfits or risk the prospect of being disqualified. The situation sparked heavy criticism from both on social media, who was later penalised for ‘damaging’ the image of their national body. The suspension was lifted in September 2016.

In recent weeks there has been uncertainty over the relationship between the two. Following France’s loss to the Czech Republic in the Fed Cup, Mladenovic made headlines for criticising her team mates lack of commitment towards the team event. At the time French media interpreted Mladenovic’s outspoken remarks as a direct attack on Garcia until she clarified her remarks a week later.

“Just to clarify that thing, I never mentioned her name, and it was not about her. I just answered the question that it was about the missing players in the team, and I was not mentioning Caroline Garcia,” Mladenovic said according to Sport 360.
“I was comparing – I was just simply comparing Amandine Hesse with Oceane Dodin, who is also an upcoming talented young player, and she never played for Fed Cup. She had one tie with us and never gave her all, and, you know, build something in the team.”

With Garcia focusing on cracking the top-20 for the first time in her career, Milanovic confirmed that she will shortly announce who her new doubles partner will be.

 

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Naomi Osaka Dedicates Latest Grand Slam Win To Those Affected By Hardship

The tennis star has issued a statement to her fans in Japan and around the world following her latest triumph.

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Naomi Osaka hopes her Australian Open victory will help inspire tennis fans around the world as she aims to continue her surge in form on the Tour.

 

The world No.2 clinched her fourth Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park on Saturday after defeating Jennifer Brady in straight sets to clinch her 21st consecutive win on the Tour. At the tournament she also scored wins over former world No.1 players Garbine Muguruza and Serena Williams. She is the first woman to have won her first four major finals played since Monica Seles during the 1990s.

In the wake of her latest triumph, the 23-year-old issued a statement through her management company in which she said her win is dedicated to those still recovering from the 2011 Japan earthquake.

“I would like to thank everyone in Japan for their continued warm support,” she said. “Since I heard there was another large quake in Japan recently, I also want to dedicate this win to those whose lives have still yet to be fully put back together following the ravages of the Great East Earthquake and Tsunami.”

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami devastated the country on March 11th with more than 15,000 people being killed. It also caused the worst nuclear accident in Japan’s history after a reactor released radioactive material. Last week a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the same region in what scientists described as an ‘aftershock’ from 10 years ago.

Continuing her tribute to those who have faced difficult times, Osaka has also dedicated her victory to those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s Australian Open took place under strict rules with all players having to go through a 14-day quarantine upon aerial into the country.

“Seeing as we are still contending with the coronavirus on a daily basis, I would like to dedicate this victory to the people around the world who are doing what they can to help us escape its shadow,” she continued in her statement.
“Although there has been a lot of sad news lately regarding the coronavirus and earthquakes, I think that we need to remember the importance of life and have an open heart to help one another in times like these.”

Given her recent dominance on the Tour, Osaka has been backed for even more future glory in the future with Mats Wilander saying she will win at least 10 major titles. Something has only ever been achieved by five women in the Open Era. However, Osaka insists that she will not be thinking too far ahead.

“I like to take things not big-picture. For me, I like to live in the moment,” she explains.
It’s an honour that he said that, of course. But I don’t want to weigh myself down with pressure and expectations.
“I know that the people that I’m playing against are the best players in the world, and, you know, if my time comes to win another Grand Slam, it will come.
“But for right now I can only control what I can control, and that’s working hard and giving myself opportunities.”

Osaka is only the fourth active player to have won a quartet of major titles after the Williams sisters and Kim Clijsters.

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Naomi Osaka Downs Brady For Fourth Grand Slam Title

Naomi Osaka won her second Australian Open title with a straight sets win over Jennifer Brady.

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Naomi Osaka (@BJKCup - Twitter)

Naomi Osaka won her fourth grand slam title after a 6-4 6-3 win over Jennifer Brady in the Australian Open final.

 

Osaka was too good for the first time grand slam finalist as she prevailed in a relatively comfortable straight sets win.

The victory means it is her fourth grand slam title, second Australian Open victory and now 21 wins in a row.

It was easy to tell who was the more experienced player under these circumstances as Osaka settled into the match quickly with two aces contributing to a love hold.

As for the American, she needed a bit longer to settle in a grand slam final with a 29% first serve percentage in her first two service games.

That is not going to get it done in a grand slam final as two double faults in the fourth game handed the break to the 2019 champion for a 3-1 lead.

However the American didn’t get to her first grand slam final without a bit of resilience and some nice forehands mixed with some sloppy Osaka play , saw Brady break straight back.

As the forehand gained consistent power and shape, the backhand was also good in attacking situations as she forced the third seed to use some difficult angles from static court positions.

This match turned into an enjoyable contest with Brady hitting some amazing shots to get the Rod Laver Arena crowd into the match.

After a gritty hold from break point down, Osaka used her champion qualities to rally from 40-15 down to break and take the first set 6-4 after an easy forehand into the net from Brady.

The momentum was now firmly with Osaka as she looked more and more confident on return as she continued to use the angles and deep shot-making to force the errors from Brady.

Although the American tried to be aggressive as possible, there was no control when constructing points against a dominant Osaka.

Two breaks of serve in quick and convincing fashion saw a 4-0 lead as a second Australian Open title was in sight.

A mini fight back, saw Brady restore some competitiveness in the contest, with some good serving and controlled aggression from the baseline as the score was reduced to 4-2.

However, unable to take advantage of a half-opportunity in the next game, it wasn’t to be Brady’s day.

Winning two of the next three games, a forehand unforced error from Brady sealed Osaka’s fourth grand slam title and second Australian Open.

It is now 21 victories in a row since the Cincinnati tournament in New York last year.

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Six Milestones Naomi Osaka Will Achieve If She Wins The Australian Open

It isn’t just a multi-million prize at stake for Osaka as she seeks major title No.4.

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Naomi Osaka (@SInow - Twitter)

There is no doubt that Naomi Osaka will be the overwhelming favourite heading into the Australian Open final when she plays Jennifer Brady.

 

The world No.3 is currently on a 20-match winning streak since losing a Fed Cup tie 12 months ago. A run of wins which has only been achieved by Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka on the women’s Tour since 2010. The recent dominance by the Japanese player has even led to Justine Henin branding her the ‘new boss’ of women’s tennis.

Although victory in Melbourne Park won’t be as straightforward against Brady who is through to her first major final at the age of 25. The two met in the semifinals of the US Open less than six months ago with Osaka battling to a 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-3, win. Osaka also won their match played at the 2018 Charleston Open but did lose to the American back in 2014 at an ITF event.

At stake for Osaka is 1000 ranking points and A$2,750,000 for the winner.  Although there is also a series of other milestones she will achieve if she gets the better of Brady on Saturday :-

  1. Osaka is bidding to become the 12th woman in the Open Era to win multiple Australian Open titles and the first from Asia.
  2.  A win would make her the first female player since Monica Seles in the early 1990s to have won the first four Grand Slam finals they have played.
  3. She could become the fourth active player to win four major titles after Serena Williams (23), Venus Williams (7) and Kim Clijsters (4). In the Open Era only 15 women have reached this milestone.
  4. Osaka could become the seventh player in the Open Era on the WTA Tour to have won the title after saving a match point earlier in the tournament. During the fourth round she saved two match points against Garbine Muguruza. Within this period the only woman to have done this twice was Williams in 2003 and 2005.
  5. Victory would move her to No.2 in the world which would be her highest ranking position since the week commencing August 26th 2019 when she was in first place.
  6. The last time a woman won the Australian Open when having the same seeding as Osaka (number three) was Victoria Azarenka in 2012.

The women’s final will start at 08:30 GMT on Saturday 19th February.

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