Garbine Muguruza Defeats Francesca Schiavone In Battle Of The Former French Open Champions - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza Defeats Francesca Schiavone In Battle Of The Former French Open Champions

Joshua Coase

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Garbine Muguruza

Garbine Muguruza got her title defence at Roland Garros off to the perfect start after she came through a tough test against former champion Francesca Schiavone in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.

 

Making her final appearance at the French Open, Schiavone gave it everything she had out on court Philippe Chatrier but an early double break in the first set put the Spaniard in control. The Italian recovered from a break down in the second and even had a chance to up a break herself but Muguruza hung tough and closed it out in just over an hour and a half.

That win sets up a tough second round clash with Estonian Anett Kontaveit, who defeated Monica Niculescu in straight sets 7-5, 6-1. So far on day two there have also been wins on the women’s side for Yulia Putintseva, Richel Hogenkamp and Ons Jabeur.

The defending champion made the most impressive of starts, capitalising on two double faults early on from Schiavone to break to love, finishing with a backhand winner. Muguruza’s raw power bullied her opponent on the court and the Spaniard was able to punish second serve returns and secure a double break to move 3-0 in front.

Rather against the run of play the Spaniard through in a loose service game, missing two backhands down the line wide to gift Schiavone two break back points. The Italian only needed the one opportunity to get her first game on the board, finishing with a short forehand cross court winner. Taking that game really settled the 2010 champion’s early nerves as she was then able to stave off three break points on her way to battling to get her first hold and move just one game behind the third seed.

There was an unfortunate halt in proceedings following the fifth game after a lady in the crowd fainted. Thankfully she received treatment and upon resumption the pendulum swung back in Muguruza’s favour as her opponent’s game began to unravel. The defending champion held to move 4-2 in front and raced to three break points at 0-40. Schiavone saved the first but could not resist the Spaniard’s pressure as she fell further behind. The fourth seed had no problems serving out the set as she sealed it 6-2.

Francesca Schiavone

Francesca Schiavone was making her final appearance at the French Open. (Photo: Zimbio.com)

Muguruza stamped her authority on the match early on in their second, breaking the 2010 champion’s serve in the opening game. Everything was looking good for the Spaniard up a set and 2-0 but Schiavone dug deep and brought herself back into the set after drawing errors from the fourth seed to secure the break back.

Schiavone held to move in front for the first time in the set up 3-2 and had the chance to break the Spaniard in the sixth game to really pile the pressure on the defending champion but she was unable to capitalise. For the first time in the match both players were competing at their best but the Italian was unable to sustain her level locked in at 4-4. A few untimely errors from the 2010 champion saw her agonisingly drop serve to love again to give Muguruza the chance to serve for the match.

The final game of the match was a marathon, lasting nearly 10 minutes before Muguruza closed out the win. Schiavone had a chance to break back, but the defending champion produced a timely one-two punch combination to snuff out the chance. In the Italian’s last match at an event where she has so many great memories from her career, she laid it all out the line and gave it her all, saving three match points before the defending champion finally closed out a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

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Felix Auger Aliassime leads the ATP Next Gen Race to Milan

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Felix Auger Aliassime rose to the top of the ATP Next Gen Race to Milan after strong performances at Wimbledon, Cincinnati and at the uS Open. 

 

After reaching the quarter final at Wimbledon the Canadian player advanced to the last eight at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas. It was the second time he reached the quarter final in a Masters 1000 tournament. 

At the US Open the 21-year-old Canadian player edged Roberto Bautista Agut in a five-set match before beating Frances Tiafoe to reach the semifinals. Auger Aliassime became the first Canadian player to reach the semifinals at the US Open in the tournament history and the youngest player since Juan Martin Del Potro won the tournament in 2009. 

“I am happy with the level I have been playing at times, with the results I have had. It’s a positive week. Things are moving in the right direction”, said Auger Aliassime. Carlos Alcaraz has become the fourth player to secure a spot in the Next Gen ATP Finals after Auger Aliassime, Jannik Sinner and Sebastian Korda. Alcaraz became the youngest US Open quarter finalist in the Open Era after scoring an upset third-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. The player coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero also won the ATP 250 title in Umag and reached the semfinals in Marbella and Winston Salem.

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Liudmila Samsonova sets up semifinal against Jelena Ostapenko in Luxembourg

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Liudmila Samsonova upset this year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 6-1 6-4 with three breaks of serve to reach her third semifinal of the season at the Luxembourg Open. 

 

Samsonova broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. The Russian player claimed the second set 6-1 with a break in the third game and sealed the win on her first match point. 

Samsonova beat Bencic for the second time this season after beating the Swiss player in the final of the WTA grass tournament in Berlin. 

Bencic dropped serve three times in her first tournament since reaching the quarter finals at the US Open where she lost to eventual champion Emma Raducanu. 

Samsonova will face 2019 Luxemburg Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who edged past Alizé Cornet 7-6 (8-6) 6-2. Ostapenko improved her winning streak to 8-0. Ostapenko went down a break twice in the first set. Cornet earned a chance to serve for the set at 5-4, but Ostapenko did not face any set point. Ostapenko saved the first set point in the tie-break before earning the mini-break to win the tie-break 8-6. Ostapenko broke twice in the third and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

Marketa Vondrousova completed the semifinal line-up with a 7-5 6-2 win over number 2 seed Elise Mertens after 1 hour and 37 minutes. Mertens broke serve in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Vondrousova won four consecutive games with two breaks to take a 7-5 lead. The Czech player broke twice in a row in the third and fifth games to win the second set 6-2. 

Clara Tauson broke twice in each set to beat Marie Bouzkova 6-3 6-2. 

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Venus Williams Explains Met Gala Photo With Maria Sharapova

The former world No.1 says she and her sister Serena have ‘respect and love’ for Sharapova.

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Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams at the 20201 Met Gala (image via Instagram)

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams says there are no hard feelings between her, her sister Serena and Maria Sharapova after the trio took a photo together at the Met Gala.

 

The former world No.1s was seen smiling and laughing together at the New York fundraising event with both of the Williams sisters uploading a photo of them all on their Instagram story. Prompting surprise from some fans considering the at times icy rivalry between Serena and Sharapova that dates back to the 2004 Wimbledon Championships.

In her 2017 autobiography, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, Sharapova mentioned Serena’s name more than 100 times. She says the American hated her for beating her at Wimbledon that year and that the two were ‘not friends.’

“What I heard when I came in to the locker room was Serena Williams bawling,” Sharapova wrote.
“Guttural sobs. I got out as quickly as I could, but she knew I was there.
“I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds … I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment.
“But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She’s never forgiven me for it.”

Responding to the claims, Serena hit back at the book in 2018 by describing it as ‘hearsay’ and said she never had any ‘negative feelings’ towards Sharapova. The two clashed on the Tour no fewer than 22 times with Serena winning 20 of those meetings.

“So I don’t have any negative feelings towards her, which again, was a little disappointing to see in that hearsay book,” Williams commented back in 2018. “So I have always, you know, and especially having a daughter, like, I feel like negativity is taught. One of the things I always say, I feel like women, especially, should bring each other up.”

Three years later and it now seems that all parties have put their disagreements behind them. At the Met Gala they were seen getting on pretty well. Besides posing for a photo together, they were also seen together in the bathroom at the event. A photo taken by pop star Anitta and rapper Saweetie which showed them in the background.

Speaking about the event for the first time, 41-year-old Williams said she wishes Sharapova was still playing before adding that they still ‘respect and love’ each other.

“First of all, Serena and I were talking about Maria the day before,” the 41-year-old explained on Instagram.
“We were like, ‘Damn, I wish Maria was still playing.’
“And we saw her, and we both told her separately, ‘Oh my gosh, we were just talking about you yesterday, we wish you were still on tour.’
“We were so happy to see each other. There was hugs, there was laughing, there were stories, and there was a photo.
“So the backstory is that even though us players compete really hard of the court for years, we still respect and love each other, and love Maria
.”

Williams, Serena and Sharapova have won a total of 35 Grand Slam singles titles between them.

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