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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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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Emma Raducanu Among Trio of Grand Slam Winners Handed Miami Open Wild Cards

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has avoided the possibility of having to go through qualifying at the Miami Open after being awarded a wild card for the event on Thursday. 

The 2021 US Open champion is among four players to have received passes into the main draw of the prestigious event, which is classed as a WTA 1000 for the women and as a Masters 1000 for the men. It will be the third straight year that Raducanu has played in Miami but she is yet to win a match there. In 2022 she lost her opening match to Katerina Siniakova before getting beaten by Bianca Andreescu 12 months later. 

Raducanu has won two out of five Tour-level matches played so far this year. Recently her agent, Max Eisenbud, hit back at those who have criticised the tennis star’s results since winning the US Open. Raducanu also missed a chunk of last season due to injury after undergoing wrist and ankle surgery. 

“The girl did everything backward. She skipped every step. She won the US Open, she went to the next tournament, she didn’t even know where the player lounge was, she didn’t know where the practice courts were,” Eisenbud told the Served With Andy Roddick podcast.
“I don’t think just being tough on her or critical on her like any other player [is wrong]. But she is still figuring it out. I just think that people should not be malicious.”

Other players to have received wild cards into Miami include Venus Williams, who is a three-time champion at the event but hasn’t won the title since 2001. The 43-year-old hasn’t played on the Tour since August and is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400. 

Carolina Wozniacki completes the line-up of former Grand Slam winners being given wild cards. The Dane was a Miami finalist back in 2017 and has made 12 appearances at the tournament. Earlier this week, she suffered a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, loss to Anna Blinkova in the first round of the San Diego Open. 

As for the men’s tournament, the only confirmed wild card recipient is Kei Nishikori who will be making his first competitive start since July 2023. Recently the injury-stricken Japanese player added Thomas Johansson to his team. 

The Miami Open will get underway on March 17th.

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