Surging In Confidence, Nick Kyrgios Aims To Shine At Queen’s - UBITENNIS
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Surging In Confidence, Nick Kyrgios Aims To Shine At Queen’s

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Nick Kyrgios (zimbio.com)

After what was a difficult clay court season for Nick Kyrgios, the Australian believes he has returned back to his best ahead of his campaign on the grass.

 

In recent weeks the world No.20 has contended with a series of physical and personal issues. A hip injury and shoulder problem impacted on his progression in recent weeks and forced him to withdraw from the Italian Open. On top of that, Kyrgios has had to also cope with bereavement after his grandfather passed away in May.

Fortunately there is light at the end of the tunnel for the two-time grand slam quarterfinalist. He has now pledged that he is fully fit ahead of his Queen’s campaign and is ready to challenge the best in the world. The recovery has been attributed to a series of injections Kyrgios had in his joints following his French Open exit to Kevin Anderson.

“(I’m) in really good shape now, I got an injection into my hip and in my shoulder,” he told The Herald Sun.
“I’ve been doing a lot of rehabbing. Had a good week of rehab after the French. I’m able to move without any pain in my hip and it’s been a while since I’ve been like that.

The next test of Kyrgios’ current form will be American world No.50 Donald Young, his first round opponent at Queen’s. Following the withdrawal of Jack Sock, Kyrgios has edged his way into a seeded position at eighth in the draw.

“Coming on the grass kind of refreshes you a little bit, a whole new scene and I feel really good.”

‘Feels like home’

Throughout his career, Kyrgios has been open about his struggles with homesickness. Earlier this year he admitted that it was hard for him to ‘stay on the road’ due to the issue with tennis tournaments occurring all around the world.

“I know it’s a great opportunity to go and see new places. But I get homesick quite easily.” Kyrgios admitted.
“It’s not easy being away from your home, being away from your girlfriend. I just wanted to be with them.”

In London this year, he has the support of familiar faces. During the grass-court swing, he will stay in an apartment with his girlfriend, mother and agent. Unlike the clay, 22-year-old feel more at home on the grass. This is reflected in his record at the Wimbledon Championships. Currently Kyrgios has won more main draw matches (in singles) at SW19 than any other grand slam tournament. In 2014 he made headlines after defeating the then world No.1, Rafael Nadal, to reach the quarter-finals at the age of 19.

“The homesickness kicks in pretty much straight away when I’m in Europe for the clay, but when I’m in America or London it feels like home,” said Kyrgios.
“Coming onto the grass kind of refreshes you a little bit. I love the setting here.”

A way to go

Kyrgios has already illustrated his potential on the tour this year with back-to-back wins over Novak Djokovic and reaching the semifinals of the Miami Masters. Yet motivation continues to hamper him. In a recent interview with The Times, he said he ‘probably tanked eight tournaments’ out of the 18 he played. It was his fragile temperament that resulted in a temporary suspension from the tour last year.

Mentoring the world No.20 is ex-player Sebastian Grosjean. The two are making progress together, but his ongoing fight with his own mentality continues.

“Sebastien has been helping me a lot. At the same time there’s a lot to do. I wouldn’t say I’m there mentally yet.” Kyrgios explained.
“I’m not thinking about making the top five. I’m just trying to get through every day and put in as much effort as I can.
“When I start setting goals I can lose motivation and stop trying.”

Kyrgios will play his first round match against Young at Queen’s on Monday.

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Marketa Vondrousova scores her second win over Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova to reach the semifinal in Moscow

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Marketa Vondrousova beat former champion Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 6-2 scoring her second win over the Russian player, whose defeat ended her hopes of qualifying for the Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara. 

 

Vondrousova had won her previous head-to-head match against Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-3 in Chicago earlier this year. 

Pavlyuchenkova opened up a 4-1 lead, but Vondrousova came back by winning seven consecutive games to take a 6-4 2-0 lead. Vondrousova faced a break point in the sixth game before breaking serve in the seventh game to win the second set 6-2. The Czech player closed out the win with her third ace on her second match point. 

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Anett Kontaveit cruises past Garbine Muguruza to reach her first Kremlin Cup semifinal in Moscow

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Anett Kontaveit cruised past Garbine Muguruza 6-1 6-1 after 48 minutes in the quarter finals to reach the first semifinal of her career at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow. 

 

Kontaveit has drawn level to 2-2 in her four-to-four head-to-head clashes. The Estonian player has won 19 of her 21 most recent matches and lifted two trophies in Cleveland and Ostrava. 

Kontaveit has clinched the fourth top 5 win of her career and improved to 2-0 against top 5 opponents after beating world number 4 Sofia Kenin in Stuttgart last April. 

Kontaveit won 90 % of her first service points and converted five of her seven break points and hit 22 winners to 10 unforced errors. Kontaveit hit a crosscourt backhand return winner to break for 2-0. She earned a double break with another backhand return winner to open up a 5-1 lead. She served out the first set with two consecutive aces. 

Kontaveit went up an early break in the first game of the second set. Muguruza earned her first break points at 0-40 in the second game. Kontaveit won five consecutive points to hold serve for 2-0 and closed out the second set with a break a love with a backhand return winner. Kontaveit set up a semifinal against this year’s Olympic silver medallist Marketa Vondrousova, who beat this year’s Roland Garros finalist Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova. 

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Maria Sakkari qualifies for the WTA Finals for the first time in her career

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Maria Sakkari was leading 6-1 1-0 when her opponent Anna Kalinskaya retired due to a viral illness at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The Greek player secured her qualifying spot for the Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara for the third time in her career. 

 

Sakkari reached her first WTA Tour final since 2019 in Ostrava and qualified for her two Grand Slam semifinals at Roland Garros and at the US Open. 

The Greek player broke twice in the fifth and seventh games of the first set and did not face a break point. She earned an early break in the first game of the second set before Kalinskaya’s withdrawal. 

Kalinskaya won eight of her last nine matches in the past three weeks. She reached the round of 16 at Indian Wells as a qualifier last week before qualifying for the main draw at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. 

“It was a very important match. I knew that before I stepped on the court, because I knew that if I won that match. I would qualify for the WTA Finals. It’s achieving one of my biggest goals this year. It’s very satisfying. I am very proud of myself and my team that we actully made it to the Finals for the first time in history of Greece for a female tennis player. I was very hard on myself up until this year. Growing, and getting older and more mature, you see certain things different. Being nice to myself was one of the most imporrtant things I have changed this year, being nice during the games and the matches”, said Sakkari. 

Simona Halep beat Veronika Kudemertova 6-1 7-6 (7-4). The 2013 Moscow Kremlin Cup champion went up a 6-1 3-1 lead, but she had to face a tough battle in the final stages of the second set. Neither player faced a break point in the final six games. Halep went up a 4-2 lead in the tie-break. Kudemertova won the next two points to draw level to 4-4, but Halep reeled off the final three points to close out the tie-break 7-4. 

Anett Kontaveit cruised past former top 10 player Andrea Petkovic 6-1 6-4 after 1 hour and nine minutes to reach her second quarter finals in her last two appearances in Moscow. The Estonian player won 77% of her first-service points and converted four of seven break points. She has won 18 of her last 18 matches and won two WTA titles in Cleveland and Ostrava. 

Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Garbine Muguruza, who has won two of their past three previous head-to-head matches. 

Marketa Vondrousova set up a quarter final against Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in a clash between two French Open finalists. Vondrousova won eight of the next ten points from 2-2 to beat Lesla Tsurenko 6-3 6-3. The Czech player is making her debut in Moscow. Pavlyuchenkova has reached the Moscow tournament final three times. Vondrousova beat Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-2 three weeks ago in Chicago. 

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