Casper Ruud a shock casualty in French Open Qualifying, Stakhovsky survives - UBITENNIS
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Casper Ruud a shock casualty in French Open Qualifying, Stakhovsky survives

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Sergiy Stakhovsky rallied after losing the first set to Stefan Kozlov (Zimbio.com)

  • Seeds out Round two: (10, 17, 19, 20, 24, 25, 28,)

He has been touted as the future star of clay tennis. Yet the young Norwegian Casper Ruud suffered a disappointingly early exit in the second round of French Open Qualifying.

 

The teenager was beaten 7-6, 6-4 by Bordeaux Challenger quarter-finalist Maxime Janvier. It is the second time in a row that Ruud has failed to qualify for a grand slam main draw. He was beaten by Reilly Opelka in Australian Open Qualifying.

Opelka was in action today and again the tall American flirted with an exit. He lost the first set and faced match point against former Top 30 player Leonardo Mayer before winning 5-7, 7-6, 6-3. This came after a tight win against Daniel Munoz de la Nava in the first round. He faces Nicolas Jarry after the Chilean defeated Dmitry Popko 6-4, 6-3.

There was though a second round exit for a number of other Americans. Tim Smyczek fought hard against twenty-second seed Guido Andreozzi before succumbing 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. The American had recently recovered from a leg strain.

Stefan Kozlov lost 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 to Sergiy Stakhovsky, and Mackenzie McDonald fell to Teymuraz Gabashvili 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. There was some success for Americans as Bjorn Fratangelo edged fellow American Bradley Klahn 6-4, 7-6, and Denis Kudla beat Ricardo Ojeda Lara 6-4, 6-3.

Kudla will face retiring French veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu in the final round after the sixteenth seed beat Alejandro Gonzalez 7-5, 6-1.

Top seed Marius Copil had no trouble in easing to the qualifying round, defeating Ilya Ivashka 6-2, 6-2. Copil will face Peter Gojowczyk in a section that went according to seeding.

Daniel Masur followed up his excellent win over Adam Pavlasek with a strong win against in-form Filip Krajinovic. He will face Arthur de Greef.

Taro Daniel against Andrey Rublev promises to be one of the most intriguing matches of the final qualification round. Rublev edged Mirza Basic 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 and Daniel eased past Matija Pecotic 6-3, 6-2.

Fifth seed Norbert Gombos remained perfect with another straight sets win. He defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-6, 6-3. He faces the unseeded Jozef Kovalik who knocked out twentieth seed Luca Vanni 6-4, 6-4.

The next section sees no seeds take part in the final match as Stefanos Tsitsipas faces Oscar Otte. Tsitsipas continued his strong run with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Gleb Sakharov, and Otte defeated twenty-eighth seed Laslo Djere 7-5, 2-6, 7-6.

Roberto Quiroz will take part in the final round. He defeated American Dennis Novikov who was unable to follow up his excellent win over Henri Laaksonen. Quiroz will face Maxime Hamou who surprised seventeenth seed Blaz Kavcic 7-6, 7-5.

Marco Cecchinato faces Simone Bolelli in an all Italian affair. Cecchinato thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-1, and Bolelli edged twenty-fourth seed Maximillian Marterer 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.

Thirteenth seed Guido Pella survived young Aussie Marc Polmans comeback 6-3, 6-7, 6-4. He’ll face Ruud’s conqueror Maxime Janvier.

Stefano Napolitano won a battle of two very in form players by downing Marton Fucsovics 6-1, 6-7, 7-6. He will face Alexander Bublik who beat twenty-fifth seed Peter Polansky 6-4, 2-6, 7-6.

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Jannik Sinner cruises through to the Australian Open second round with straight-set over Joao Sousa

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Italian star Jannik Sinner edged Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4 7-5 6-1 to advance to the second round at the Australian Open on Kia Arena in Melbourne Park. 

 

Sinner earned his first break in the sixth game of the opening set with a backhand down the line winner. Sousa pulled back on serve in the ninth game, as Sinner was serving for the first set at 5-3.  The five-time ATP Tour titlist earned his second break in the tenth game to close out the first set 6-4. 

Sinner went up an early break to take a 2-0 lead, but Sousa broke straight back in the third game after four consecutive unforced errors from Sinner. The Italian 20-year star sealed the second set with his second break in the 12th game. 

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion broke twice in a row in the fourth and sixth games to cruise through to a 6-1 win the third set. 

Sinner was not entirely happy with his match despite the straight-set win. 

Sinner hit 31 winners to 31 unforced errors. 

“Of course it was not easy for a first round, especially against a player who has played three matches before. Today was also a little bit windy. I tried to get used to the conditions and everything. I think it was a good first round”, said Sinner. 

Sinner ha improved his seasonal record to 4-0 after his three ATP Cup wins. He will face Steve Johnson in the second round. Sinner leads 2-0 in his previous two head-to-head matches in Rome 2019 and Washington 2021. In their first head-to-head match in Rome Sinner rallied from 2-5 down in the third set and saved a match point to beat Johnson 1-6 6-1 7-5. 

Sinner is aiming to reach the Australian Open third round for the first time in three attempts. 

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Garbine Muguruza Reaches New Milestone As Swiatek Finds Her Groove At Australian Open

The two title contenders were in impressive form during their opening matches.

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Garbine Muguruza - image via https://twitter.com/usopen

Third seed Garbine Muguruza extended her perfect run of first round wins at the Australian Open to 10 with a straightforward victory over France’s Clara Burel.

 

The former world No.1, who is yet to lose an opening match played at Melbourne Park in her career, required just under 90 minutes to see off Burel 6-3, 6-4. Muguruza broke her rival three consecutive times during the first set to win the opener in just over half an hour. Then in the second she eased to a 5-3 lead but failed to convert three match points. Muguruza was then broken in the following game before breaking back again to seal victory.

“It felt very good. I didn’t know really who I was facing. We’ve never played before,” Muguruza told reporters afterwards. “Very tricky. You’re always nervous going out there on Rod Laver, which I love, and starting a Grand Slam campaign.’
“I’m very happy the way I played and, of course, controlling the nerves.”

On what is the ninth anniversary of her Melbourne Park debut. Muguruza is hoping to go one step further than she did back in 2020 and win the title. She has now won 27 matches at the Australian Open which makes it her second most successful Grand Slam in terms of wins. Her best is the French Open where she has recorded 29 victories.

Muguruza will next take on another French player in the shape of Alize Cornet. During her on-court interview on Tuesday she was asked about her net play which the Spaniard said is a reflection of her on-court personality.

It’s just a journey of adapting to your character,” she said. “I’m an aggressive player on the court and I like to dominate. I train like that. I’m not like that outside but inside the court I’m aggressive.”

Swiatek and her new coach

Another winner on day two was former French Open champion Iga Swiatek who swept aside Britain’s Harriet Dart 6-3, 6-0. At the start of the match she was trailing 1-3 before fighting back by winning 11 games in a row. The Pole is playing in her 12th Grand Slam main draw and is hoping to go beyond the fourth round in Australia for the first time in her career.

“You could see that first few games were pretty tricky for me. With the sun, I know I got broken in my second service game,” said Swiatek.
“I’m pretty happy that I was patient, I found the rhythm throughout the match. That’s pretty positive.”

Swiatek is in Melbourne with her new coach Tomasz Wiktorowski who is known for his previous work with Agnieszka Radwanska. She admits the new collaboration is very much a work in progress but believes she is heading in the right direction with her new mentor.

“He didn’t change a lot at the beginning because he was good to continue the process that I’ve had. Too many changes would be really confusing,” she said of Wiktorowski.
“We’re focusing on different stuff. We’re working on my strengths, which is great, because it’s going to give me confidence. I’m going to be able to be more, like, proactive on court. We were working on some attack formations and offensive game.’
“But we also didn’t have time to work on everything that we wanted to because there is a lot to improve in terms of my volleys and maybe slice.”

Swiatek will play Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in the second round.

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Petra Kvitova Links Lack Of Match Play, Health Issues To Australian Open Loss

The Czech reacts to her shock exit from Melbourne Park.

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Image via https://twitter.com/Petra_Kvitova/

Former world No.2 Petra Kvitova has insisted that she still has the game to compete with the best players in the world after crashing out in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

 

Kvitova, who reached the final in Melbourne Park back in 2019, only managed to win four games during her 6-2, 6-2, loss to Sorana Cirstea. The Czech looked out of sorts on court as she hit a staggering 39 unforced errors compared to only seven winners. She also only managed to win 41% of her second service points and was broken four times in the match. It is the third time in Kvitova’s career she has lost in the first round at the Australian Open after 2014 and 2018.

“I don’t have much to say. It wasn’t really going my way the whole month. That’s how it is, I think. It’s a sport, and I just have to fight through and be better at it,” said Kvitova.
“I think that she (Cirstea) likes my game, she just is going to it and she has to risk, and everything (she hit) was in. I think for her I think it’s a little bit tougher when she has to create the game, and this time it was just there and putting fast balls back.”

Kvitova’s loss comes during what has been a lacklustre start to the season. Earlier this month at the Adelaide International she suffered a shock loss to world No.221 Priscilla Hon. A week later in Sydney she managed to reach the second round before losing to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur who had to pull out of the Australian Open due to injury.

Despite her disappointing results on the Tour, the two-time Grand Slam champion is confident she will be able to turn her season around as she outlines two reasons behind her recent performances.

“I think it’s (my game) still there. It’s just I think I didn’t play a lot of matches at the beginning of this year,” she explained. “I did have some health issues the whole month, as well, so it was tough to practice during home month.’
“It wasn’t really as easy this beginning of the season, but the season is long, so I hope that it will turn around.”

Kvitova has won 28 WTA titles in her career with the last of those occurring in March 2021 at the Qatar Open. She is now on the verge of dropping out of the world’s top 20 for a second time this season.

“I think I need the matches on the other side,” she admits. “It’s really tough to see the future right now after this loss. I know I have to, first of all, calm down and see clearly more after some days.’
“I have to have a few days off to make my rest better, so that definitely will be one of the main goals, and then for sure some preparation before the next tournaments.”

As for Cirstea, she will play Kristína Kučová in the second round.

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