Angelique Kerber Survives Madrid Thriller As Pliskova Falls - UBITENNIS
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Angelique Kerber Survives Madrid Thriller As Pliskova Falls

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Angelique Kerber (zimbio.com)

MADRID: World No.2 Angelique Kerber has avoided a shock exit at the Madrid Open by overcoming underdog Katerina Sinikova 6-2, 1-6, 7-5, in the second round of the Madrid Open.

 

Gracing her presence on the Manolo Santana stadium in the unforgiving Spanish heat, it appeared as if Kerber would experience a one-sided triumph. Clinching the opening set after 27 minutes of play, the top seed then had a golden chance to break at the start of the second set. Failing to secure the breakthrough, Sinikova responded with some heavy-hitting of her own to silence Kerber’s camp and level at a set apiece.

Facing the verge of another shock loss, Kerber’s missed opportunities seemed destined to haunt her. Failing to convert a trio of break points, Kerber got broke in the following game to trail 5-3 in the decider. With alarm bells ringing in her camp, fears of another disappointing loss increased. Still, it was Kerber’s experience that prevailed as she clinched four consecutive games, to book a potential third round showdown against Maria Sharapova.

” I think it was from my side a really up-and-down match. I played really good in the first set, then in the second set the first few games at the beginning of the second set, it was really close.” Reflected Kerber.
“Then she (Sinikova) started playing better. I mean, she started to moving good, bring a lot of balls back. I did, yeah, too many mistakes in the second set. In the third set, I was just trying to finding my game back.”

Coming through the three-set epic, Kerber remains quietly positive about her progression on the clay. Last year she suffered three consecutive losses in outdoor tournaments on the clay.

“I think this clay season, this year is a little bit different. I played just one match in Stuttgart. I had more time to get ready on the clay court season outdoors.” She said.
“Maybe this year the clay court season will be a little bit different than last year, but it can be just better.”

Following her win in Madrid, Kerber has returned to the top of the WTA rankings and will become the official world No.1 next Monday.

Pliskova to lower expectations

Karolina Pliskova has been left re-evaluating her clay-court campaign after crashing out 6-3, 6-3, to Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova. The world No.3 failed to capitalize on six break-point chances throughout the match, paving way for Sevastova to grab only her second win over a top-10 player.

“Every loss is frustrating. But I just have to move forward. I don’t think was that bad for the score. One break in each set. So it could have been different.” The bitterly disappointed Czech said following her loss.

Monday’s shock exit continues Pliskova’s troublesome start to the clay swing of the tour. After three tournaments played on the surface, she has only managed to win one match. It is a sharp contrast to her run on hard courts, which has already seen her lift titles in Brisbane and Doha this season.

“I think right now finally I can change my expectations. I had them quite high. Right now I think I’m not going to expect anything more on clay.” Said Pliskova.
“I still have two tournaments. I’m just going to see how it goes there, try to prepare obviously for Paris.”
“Well, I still believe I have a chance. Somehow I have to find my shape.”

Sevastova will play either 15th seed Barbora Strycova or Lucie Safarova in the next round.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina Announces Pregnancy

Tennis’ power couple are set to become parents later this year.

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Former world No.3 Elina Svitoliva has announced that she is expecting a baby girl in October on social media.

 

The 27-year-old made the announcement on Sunday morning with a picture of her and her husband, French tennis star Gael Monfils. Known by some as the sports ‘power couple,’ the two tied the knot last July in Geneva ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games after first going public about their relationship in 2019. They even have their own Instagram account called ‘g.e.m.s. life’ which has more than 139,000 followers.

“With a heart full of love and happiness, we are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby girl in October,” the couple wrote on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/ElinaSvitolina/status/1525778313918177280

Svitolina hadn’t played on the Tour since losing to Heather Watson at the Miami Open in March after deciding to take time away from the sport due to events happening in her home country. Russia launched a military operation against Ukraine earlier this year which has claimed thousands of lives. Svitolina is one of the sport’s most outspoken players regarding the conflict. She has previously spoken out against the decision to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes from Wimbledon by arguing that they should be allowed to participate if they condemn the actions of their home countries.

We don’t want them banned completely,” Svitolina told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.
“If players don’t speak out against the Russian government then it is the right thing to ban them.”

Prior to announcing her pregnancy, Svitolina has achieved a win-loss record of 5-8 on the Tour this season with her best runs being to the third round of the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of a WTA event in Monterrey.

During her career, the Ukrainian has won 16 WTA titles and reached the semi-finals of two Grand Slams during 2019.

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Bianca Andreescu reaches Rome quarterfinals after beating Petra Martic

The Canadian was able to get by her Croatian opponent in straight sets on Thursday afternoon in the Italian capital.

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Photo by Roberto Dell’Olivo

Bianca Andreescu is through to the quaterfinals of the Italian Open being played at the Foro Italico in Rome after beating Petra Martic in 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 45 minutes.

 

The Toronto native served four aces and won 76% of her first serve points in a match that was pretty straight forward for the world number 90 who makes her first quaterfinal this season.

During the first set both players did a good job holding serve and it was pretty tight until 4-4 when the Canadian was able to convert and served out the first set to take a 1-0 lead.

Andreescu was hungry for the early break in the second set and she got it but the Croat broke right back the following game to level the set at 2-2. She was then put on the defensive as the world number 47 started putting pressure on the Canadian but Andreescu was able to save two breakpoints before being able to hold serve to make it 3-3.

The next game Martic produced a poor service game and the 2019 US Open champ took full advantage, getting the break and that one break was enough for her to serve out the match.

Her reward for reaching the quarterfinals a date with the world number one Iga Swiatek who had no issues beating the Minsk native Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-1.

This will be their first ever meeting on the WTA Tour.

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