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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World No.1 Ash Barty Outlines Ultimate Career Goal

The 24-year-old has named the tournament she dreams of winning.

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Reigning French Open champion Ash Barty has made clear the one thing she wants to achieve before hanging up her racket for good.

 

The world No.1 is dreaming of adding to her Grand Slam tally in the future, but her sights aren’t set on her home tournament at the Australian Open. Which hasn’t been won by a local female player since Chris O’Neal back in 1978. Instead, her dream lies with the All England Club which hosts the Wimbledon Championships.

My dream is winning Wimbledon. Without a doubt,” AFP quoted Barty as saying during an interview with broadcaster ABC.
“It took a long time for me to say that out loud. It took a long time for me to have the courage to say that out loud, but that’s what I want. That’s what I want to work towards.
“Being able to win junior Wimbledon was really special, but it just gave me a taste of what it’s really like.”

It was at Wimbledon where Barty first rose to prominence by winning the girls title at the age of 15 in 2011. Becoming the first indigenous Australian to win a title of any sort at the event since 1980. Progressing onto the senior circuit, she is yet to get the breakthrough she wants with her best result being a run to the fourth round last year despite being the top seed.

Barty will not have a chance of winning the grass-court major this year after it was cancelled for the first time since the Second World War due to COVID-19. She is also set to miss the upcoming US Open due to travelling concerns related to the virus and its unpredictability.

“That was a massive part of it for our team – accepting that this is something greater than what we can control, we can’t do anything about it,” she commented on skipping New York.
“We just have to play our part and do the right thing. And then hope we get an opportunity some time in the year to get back to some kind of normal.”

The 24-year-old isn’t the only top name missing from this year’s US Open. Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens are the two other top 10 women’s players that have pulled out so far. Meanwhile, Simona Halep is yet to reach a decision. As for the men, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka will not be playing.

Prior to the five-month break in tennis due to the Pandemic, Barty started the season winning 11 out of 14 matches. She won the Adelaide International before reaching the semi-finals at both the Australian Open and Doha Open.

Barty currently leads the WTA rankings by 2641 points ahead of second place Halep.

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Elise Mertens beats Camila Giorgi to reach her third quarter final in 2020

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Number 3 seed Elise Mertens from Belgium edged Last week’s Palermo semifinalist Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 44 minutes to secure her spot in the quarter final at the Prague Open. 

 

Mertens reached her third quarter final of the 2020 season after Shenzhen and Auckland and scored her second win in as many matches against Giorgi. 

Giorgi got an early break in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead, as Mertens hit her backhand into the net. Mertens broke straight back in the third game for 1-2. Giorgi saved two break points in the fifth game. 

Mertens broke for the second time in a eight-deuce seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held her next two service games and served out the first set 6-4 with a backhand pass. 

Mertens got the first break of the second set in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The Belgian player saved four break-back points in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead before breaking serve in the seventh game. The 2019 Doha champion hit her third ace on her first match point setting up a quarter final clash against either Tamara Zidansek or Canadian wildcard Eugenie Bouchard.   

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Simona Halep makes a winning start to her Prague Open campaign

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Number 1 seed and last year’s Wimbledon champion Simona Halep edged past Polona Hercog 6-1 1-6 7-6 (7-3) in two and a half hours in the opening round of the Prague Open on her seventh match point after 2 hours and 31 minutes. Halep played her first match since claiming her 20th title in Dubai. 

 

Halep wasted six match points before claiming the win in the tie-break of the third set to secure his spot in the Round of 16. Halep won four points more than Hercog and saved five of the 11 break points he faced. 

Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the opening set. Halep earned two consecutive breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-1, as Hercog made 12 unforced errors to only two winners. 

Hercog came back from a break down early in the second set to get three consecutive breaks and won the second set 6-1. 

Both players traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games of the decider. Halep earned another break to open up a 5-3 lead. Hercog broke back in the ninth game and saved six match points in the 10th and 12th games to set up a decisive tie-break. Halep claimed the tie-break 7-3. 

Before the five-month break Halep lost to Garbine Muguruza in the semifinal of the Australian Open and won the Dubai final. 

Last week’s Palermo semifinalist Camila Giorgi came back from one set down to beat Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) after 2 hours and 14 minutes. Giorgi converted six of her eight break points. 

Kostyuk earned the first break in the fourth game. Giorgi broke straight back in the fifth game. Both players traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games. Giorgi saved a break point in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Kostyuk broke for the third time in the 10th game to win the first set 6-4 after 44 minutes. 

Giorgi broke twice in a row to race out to a 4-0 lead, Kostyuk pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4, but Giorgi broke again in the seventh game to win the second set 6-2 in 31 minutes. 

Kostyuk broke serve in the third game of the decider to open up a 3-0 lead. Giorgi broke back to draw level to 3-3. In the eighth game the Italian star fended off another break. The set came down to the tie-break. Giorgi opened up a 4-2 lead. Both players traded mini-breaks. Giorgi earned two match points and converted her first chance to win the tie-break 7-4. 

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