Simona Halep Roars Back To Tame Vinci In Madrid - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Roars Back To Tame Vinci In Madrid

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Simona Halep (zimbio.com)

MADRID: Simona Halep has kept her hopes of a second consecutive Madrid Open title alive after fighting back to defeat Roberta Vinci 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(2).

 

Facing one of the favorites for the title, Vinci’s chances appeared slim. She previously lost to the Romanian three times on the clay between 2012-2014. Furthermore, she has never progressed beyond the third round of the tournament. A sharp contrast to Halep, who reach the final in 2014 and won the title in 2016.

Halep’s convincing start to the match saw her roar from a break down to win four consecutive games to seal the opening set. A similar scenario occurred in the second, but this time it was in Vinci’s favor. An elevation in the Italian’s form saw her forced a decider with relative ease.

“Her game is not easy to play. Her slices are very difficult to return. She was also hitting pretty strong with her  forehand today, serve, everything.” Halep said about Vinci.

Vinci’s resurgence was one that tested Halep’s morale and hopes of a second Madrid title. An 11-point winning from the Italian saw her hit a series of spectacular forehand winners, on route to a 4-1 stronghold in the decider. Still, it was not enough to deny Halep, who battled back to take proceedings into a tiebreaker.

With everything to play for, the match ended with a one-way show in Halep’s favor. Her comeback had ripped Vinci’s spirit and mentality in the match to pieces.  A series of errors from the former US Open finalist guided Halep to the win after almost two hours of play.

“I was close to losing the match.But I stayed strong. I stayed focused. I didn’t give up. That makes this match much more like bigger for me. It means a lot.”

The match saw both Halep and Vinci hit a total of 28 winners, but the telling factor was their error count. Halep’s total of 14 was overshadowed by her opponents 25.

Awaiting the world No.8 in the third round will be Australian Sam Stosur in what will be a rematch of last year’s semi-final. The 16th seed claimed an impressive 82% of her first service points to dismiss Colombia’s Mariana Duque-Marino 6-3, 7-5. Halep is currently tied 4-4 in her head-to-head with Stosur.

“I know Sam pretty well. We played many times together. It’s going to be very difficult. Her topspin is not easy to return.” The Romanian explained.
“I played her here last year, so I know what I have to do. Still, it’s going to be a tough match.”

The Sharapova debate comtinues

In the wake of Eugenie Bouchard’s latest comment regarding Maria Sharapova, Halep weighed in on the debate. The Canadian said yesterday that people on the tour has been wishing her luck ahead of her clash with Sharapova, which she won in three sets.

“I didn’t wish good luck to Bouchard because we don’t speak, actually. She’s different, I can say.” Halep said of her frosty relationship with Bouchard.

Rumors of an anti-Sharapova contingent among players has been publicized in recent weeks. Some have been vocal critics of the world No.1, who recently returned from a 15-month doping ban. Halep however, refuses to get caught up in the limelight.

 “She’s back. I’m not thinking that much, because many players are difficult at this level of tennis, the highest level of tennis.” She said. “For me it’s the same if Maria is here, if Maria is not here. I don’t feel extra motivated.”

Halep had recently stated her opposition to Sharapova’s wildcard into the Stuttgart Open following her suspension.

 

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WIMBLEDON: Simona Halep Impresses After Troublesome Physical, Mental Battle

2022 has been far from straightforward for the Romanian but she is seeing light at the end of the tunnel at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

For Simona Halep reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon is an achievement in itself after her recent misfortunes. 

 

It all began at the Italian Open last year where she sustained a calf injury that would force her to miss two major events, as well as the Tokyo Olympic Games. Recovering from the setback was far from simple for the former world No.1 who soon found herself struggling mentally to the extent that she considered walking away from the sport altogether.

However, she managed to regain her desire and passion for tennis with the help of Patrick Mouratoglou who has officially been her coach since April. Halep continues to work her way back to top shape and her form at Wimbledon proves perseverance pays off. 

Playing her fourth round match against fourth seed Paula Badosa, Halep stormed to an emphatic 6-1, 6-2, win in just over an hour. She dropped only two points behind her first serve and hit 17 winners against just nine unforced errors. It is the third time this year she has beaten a top 10 player after previously beating Badosa on another occasion, as well as Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

“It means a lot that I’m back in the quarterfinals after I struggled so much with injuries and self-confidence,” said Halep.
“I’m working hard every day. I feel like if I do that, I will get better. I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. I’m really confident. It’s a pleasure to be on the court.”
“I think this helps me a lot to be able to do my best tennis. And everything comes together. I feel strong physically. I feel very good mentally.”

Speaking openly about her previous struggles, injury and confidence are two very different issues to deal with. But which one of those was the most difficult?

“It started with the injury, so I was not able to play for three, four months. Then I also lost the confidence, the belief that I can be good again, at the top. And I struggled for a long period,” she continued.
“But now it’s past. I’m here. I’m playing well. I’m feeling good on the court. So this is the most important thing, and I just want to focus on that.”

It is by no means a coincidence that Halep is thriving at Wimbledon considering her previous record. It was in 2019 when she produced a stunning display against Serena Williams to capture the title. Becoming the first and only player from her country to claim the women’s singles title. She has also reached the quarter-finals on three other occasions prior to this year.

“Grass is not an easy surface and you have to really connect with it. You have to get used to it.” Said Halep.
“I like it because it’s fast. I feel it. I feel stable on my feet. My legs are pretty strong for this surface. I feel my game fits it.”

As the only former Grand Slam champion left in the draw, Halep’s next test will be against Amanda Anisimova who defeated Harmony Tan 6-2, 6-3, in her fourth round match.

“I’m here to play as I did today, to focus on myself,” she states.
“I’m sure that I can play good tennis again. But it’s going to be a big challenge. It’s the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. I’m ready for it and I’m looking forward to it.”


Halep recently crushed Anisimova 6-2, 6-1, at the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. 

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‘She Got lucky’ – Jelena Ostapenko Has Dig At Opponent After Wimbledon Exit

The top 20 star was also not happy with the umpire following her latest loss.

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Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) - Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

Former Grand Slam champion Jelena Ostapenko believes her exit from Wimbledon was nothing but a stroke of bad luck after criticizing her match umpire.

 

Ostapenko, who was the 12th seed in the tournament, fell 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, to Germany’s Tatjana Maria. The clash was a frustrating encounter for the Latvian who had an array of chances to establish a strong lead. After winning the opener, she boasted a break advantage in each of the next two sets before losing them. Then at 5-4 in the third, she failed to convert two match points before losing the final two games of the match.

“I thought it was like my match. I had to win it and she got just so lucky in some moments so she could come back. I felt I was the player who had to win this match today,” said Ostapenko.

Claiming that she felt she was playing at a better level than Maria,  Ostapenko has taken a swipe at the match official for making in her view ‘a huge mistake.’   She is not the first player to criticize the court officials with Nick Kyrgios expressing his frustration about them multiple times at the tournament.

“She got lucky, she framed it, put the ball on the line,” she commented on how her match ended. “Then the chair umpire made a huge mistake on 5-All in the third set when it was breakpoint on my serve and I had no challenges left. People who watched the match texted me that it was quite big out.”
“All those small things together, they come and you can lose such a match. Of course, I’m really disappointed because if I lost against an amazing player who just beat me in a great match, but I just lost my match.”

A win would have elevated Ostapenko into the last eight of a major for the first time since Wimbledon 2018. The 25-year-old is currently ranked 17th in the world but has been as high as fifth before.

It was visible how annoyed she was with the match immediately afterward when she threw her water bottle onto her chair out of anger, knocking it out. Prompting an inevitable reaction of boos from the crowd.

“I’m an emotional player. I hate losing because I’m such a competitive person,” said Ostapenko.
“So I think it’s normal. Of course, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but it’s easy to say from the outside when you are not in my place, it’s easy to judge.”

As for Maria, she will play compatriot Jule Niemeier in the quarter-finals. 

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Who Is Marie Bouzková? Six Things To Know About The Wimbledon Quarter-Finalist

After previously never going beyond the second round of a major, the Czech is making a name for herself at The All England Club.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech Republic’s Maria Bouzkova has broken new ground at Wimbledon by reaching the quarter-finals on Sunday. 

 

Coming into the tournament, the 23-year-old has failed to win back-to-back matches in 12 Grand Slam appearances. However, the past week has seen her breakthrough with a surprise run to the quarter-finals. She secured a place in the last eight with a 7-5, 6-2, win over France’s Caroline Garcia. The player who defeated Emma Raducanu in the second round.

In her latest match, Bouzkova was by far the most consistent player on the court as she produced just four unforced errors against 13 winners. In comparison, Garcia’s tally was 25 against 24. She broke the Frenchwoman four times in the match en route to victory. 

“I don’t know how I got here,” said Bouzkova.
“Now we will celebrate with strawberries and cream. It’s one of our 100 routines at Wimbledon.”

Bouzkova’s run at Wimbledon has brought the Czech into the limelight for the first time. Although some may not be too familiar with the right-hander who plays with a two-handed backhand. Here are five things to know about the underdog. 

  1. As a junior, she won the 2014 US Open title and reached the final of the Wimbledon doubles event that same year. 
  2. Wimbledon is where Bouzkova won her first Grand Slam main draw match back in 2019 after defeating Mona Barthel in the first round. 
  3. Prior to Garcia, she defeated Danielle Collins, Ann Li and Alison Riske-Amritraj this week. Collins was the sixth top 20 player she has defeated and second this year after Karolina Pliskova.
  4. She was ranked as low as 97th in the world earlier this season but is currently up to 66. Her career-best is 46. 
  5. Has reached three WTA finals in as many years in Guadalajara (2022), Melbourne 250 (2021) and Monterey (2020).
  6. She has a win-loss record of 18-9 so far this season. Although prior to Wimbledon, she has not won any matches on the grass after losing in the first round of Eastbourne to Shelby Rogers. 

Bouzkova will play either second seed Ons Jabeur or Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.

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