Soderling Returns, Kvitova Heads To Sweden: Five Non-Wimbledon Stories You Need To Know - UBITENNIS
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Soderling Returns, Kvitova Heads To Sweden: Five Non-Wimbledon Stories You Need To Know

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Robin Soderling (zimbio.com)

With all the focus on the Wimbledon Championships, it is easy to forget about what else has been happening in the world of tennis. Within the past two days, a former top-five player has returned as a coach, a two-time grand slam champion is set to play in Sweden and Canada’s biggest tournament is facing the prospect of losing one of their teenage prodigy’s.

 

Soderling returns

Two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling has joined forces with Sweden’s Elias Ymer. According to Swedish website Tennis Portal, the two were seen together training up to a month ago. It is unclear as to if this if a short or long-term agreement.

“We’re just training together.” Ymer told Tennis Portal about his collaboration with Soldering.

Ymer is participating in the Bastad Challenger. Awarded a wildcard into the draw, the 21-year-old defeated sixth seed Arthur De Greef to reach the quarter-finals. In the last eight, he will play top seed Dusan Lajovic.

Currently ranked 269th in the world, Ymer has also been granted a wildcard into next week’s Swedish Open, an ATP 250 event. He has won two Challenger titles so far in his career with the most recent occurring at the 2016 Barletta Open.

Kvitova to play in Sweden

Petra Kvitova recently said that she was looking forward to a rest following her second round loss to Madison Brengle at Wimbledon. The break from tennis didn’t last long for the Czech after she took a wildcard into the Swedish Open. Playing in the country for the first time since 2009.

“I need to get started and play matches.” She told Expressen.se.
“I think it will be great for me right now.”

During her lengthy interview with Swedish media, the Czech reflected on her struggles about returning to the tour. Last year, Kvitova underwent surgery on her left hand after being injured in a brutal knife attack.

“It has been amazing. I did not know if I could ever play tennis again. There has been a lot of pain. And very hard work. I also did not know what form I would come back to … I just knew it would be very hard to get back, but now I’ve done it. And I have shown that, at least, I can play tennis again.”

The Swedish Open will get underway on July 24th (a week after the men’s edition). Caroline Wozniacki, Anastasija Sevastova and Caroline Garcia are all set to participate in the tournament.

Félix Auger-Aliassime doubtful for Rogers Cup

The Rogers Cup could take place without the presence of one of their rising stars. Félix Auger-Aliassime has skipped a series of tournaments after suffering a left wrist injury. It is unclear how severe the injury is, but Canadian media has reported that he will miss a few Challenger events.

Speculation concerning Auger-Aliassime’s absence erupted after comments from Eugène Lapierre, the tournament director of the Rogers Cup.

Translation: Eugène Lapierre, the chances to see Felix Auger-Aliassime (left wrist) at the Rogers Cup would be very thin. In the order of 15%.

Earlier this year the 16-year-old won the Lyon Open in France to become one of the youngest players to win a Challenger title in the Open Era.

Bacsinszky’s injury

The Gstaad Open has been dealt a blow after home favourite Timea Bacsinszky withdrew due to injury. Bacsinszky, who lost in the third round of Wimbledon to Agnieszka Radwanska, has a ‘muscle injury’ to her left thigh. The issue was detected after she underwent a medical examination.

“It is with great disappointment that I announce my package for the Ladies Championship Gstaad starting at the end of this week. The finals after Wimbledon revealed a muscle injury to my left thigh. It saddens me very much because I was very much looking forward to playing at home, a tournament that I love and which I am the ambassador.” She wrote on social media.

Last year the 28-year-old reached the semifinals of the tournament before losing to Kiki Bertens. She was the only top-20 player scheduled to play in this year’s event.

Marcel Granollers speaks about his struggles

This year has gone anything, but smoothly for former top-20 player Marcel Granollers. The Spaniard has only managed to win three out of 19 main draw singles matches on the ATP Tour. As a result, he has fallen down to 112th in the world. His lowest position since February 2010.

“It’s a difficult time, I’m without confidence, and it’s costing me a lot to compete. (This) year I’m not feeling the same competitively on the track compared to years ago.” He told El Espanol.
“I have to try to accept that I am not at my best level and start working to recover it as soon as possible.”

Granollers has also stated that he has considered taking a break from the sport, but has vowed to keep on playing for the immediate future.

“I notice that I’m mentally empty, as if it were difficult for me to compete.” The 31-year-old admitted. “Playing both the singles and doubles mode for so many seasons, whether you want to do it or not, it’s a lot of wear and tear.”

So far in his career, Granollers has won 18 ATP titles (14 in doubles and four in singles).

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Matteo Berrettini reaches his second Masters 1000 semifinal

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Matteo Berrettini has reached the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his career with his 5-7 6-3 6-0 win over Cristian Garin at the Madrid Mutua Open at the Caja Magica. 

 

Berrettini fought back from 3-6 1-3 down by winning 11 consecutive games to take the win in the third set. 

Garin earned an immediate break in the first game, but Berrettini broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Garin won seven consecutive points from 5-5 15-30 to claim the first set 7-5 with a break in the 11th game thanks to a backhand passing shot. 

Garin went up a 3-1 lead in the second set with a break in the third game. Berrettini broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 with a forehand winner on the break point. 

Berrettini earned his second break to take a 5-3 lead, when Garin made three unforced errors. The Italian player served out 6-3 at love with an ace.

Berrettini broke serve in the first game and saved two break-back points in the second game to hold serve for 2-0. Berrettini earned his double break in the third game, as Garin made two consecutive unforced errors at 40-40. Berrettini held serve at duece to race out to a 4-0 lead. Garin missed four game points in the fifth game before dropping serve to trail 0-5, when he committed a double fault and an unforced error. Berrettini served out the third set at love with his 14th ace after 2 hours and 6 minutes to secure his spot in his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Shanghai 2019.    

“I am really proud that I came back from not an easy place mentally after my injury. I really worked hard. There were days. There were days where I wasn’t really feeling into practice because I felt like kind of there was a lot of work to be done. Sometimes I was feeling kind of unlucky that I got injured again. It was just tough, but I came back stronger in Belgrade. For here, I proved to myself that I am strong inside”, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini will take on Casper Ruud in the semifinals. They will battle for a spot into their first Masters 1000 final. Ruud beat Berrettini in the quarter final in Rome last year. 

“I think he is a great player, especially on clay. He has been playing really good, really solid so far this season. We always had tough matches. Last year in Rome it was a really tough match. Still if I think about it, it hurts. I am really looking forward to get my revenge, not in a bad way, but just in a way that’s in a sport way”, said Berrettini. 

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Casper Ruud reaches his third consecutive clay Masters 1000 semifinal

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Casper Ruud beat Alexander Bublik 7-5 6-1 to reach his third career Masters 1000 semifinal at the Madrid Mutua Open after advancing to this stage in Rome in 2020 and Monte-Carlo in 2021. 

 

Ruud backed up his win in the third round against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday with a straight set win over Bublik. Ruud won 8 of the final nine games and hit 19 winners to seal the win in 69 minutes. Ruud hit nine forehand winners to just two unforced forehand errors.

Ruud broke Bublik in the 11th game on his fourth set point to take the first set 7-5, as Bublik was serving at 5-6. The Norwegian player broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to claim the second set 6-1 in 69 minutes. 

The son of former Norwegian player Christian Ruud has not broken yet and faced his first break point this week against Bublik. 

Ruud becomes the seventh unseeded ATP player to advance to the semifinals in Madrid. He will face either Matteo Berrettini or Christian Garin in the semifinal. 

 “It’s a great feeling. It’s my third Masters 1000 semifinal and my third in a row on clay. I am just playing the tennis of my life for the moment and I am enjoying it. I have just had an unbelievable motivation to play the European clay swing and when we didn’t get to play it last year, I was very sad. I think I have just double motivation compared to last year”, said Ruud.

Ruud will move up to at least world number 16 in the ATP Ranking next week. 

“I did a lot of good work when we had the corona break last year. I trained really hard on the weekdays and took the weekends off. I think that worked well. When we started well, I felt good again. I think I am a much better player mentally, physically and playing-wise as well. I am hitting the ball and playing the heavy clay-court game that I like to play”, said Ruud. 

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Aryna Sabalenka beats Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova to set up a re-match of the Stuttgart final against Ashleigh Barty

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Aryna Sabalenka has reached her third final of the season with a 6-2 6-3 win over six-time Grand Slam quarter finalist Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinal of the Madrid Mutua Open. 

 

Sabalenka earned her first break to take a 3-1 lead. She hi a series of forehands in the final game to close out the first set 6-2. 

Sabalenka raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break. Pavlyuchenkova earned her first break points, but Sabalenka held serve for 5-0. Pavlyuchenkova pulled one break in the seventh game and held serve to claw her way back to 3-5. Sabalenka hit two backhands to earn her first match point and sealed the win with her fourth ace .  

Sabalenka has extended her win-loss record to 23-6 (including 9-1) this year. She has won the opening tournament of the season and lost the Stuttgart Porsche Grand Prix final to Ashleigh Barty. 

Barty and Sabalenka will meet again in the Madrid Mutua Open this week in the re-match of the Stuttgart final

The Belarusian player has not dropped a set this week. The Belarusian player won 73 % of her second service points and converted four of her break points against Pavlyuchenkova, who had won their only previous head-to-head match in Toronto in 2019. 

“I think my game has improved a lot on the clay court. For sure, it’s given me some confidence, but there are still so many things to work on. I am just really with my level here in Madrid. I think from the side it looks like everything is going my way. Some games I did not feel my serve. Some games something wasn’t working. It’s always part of the process, but I am really happy that from the side, it looks like everything is going my way”,said Sabalenka. 

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