So Near, Yet So Far For Angelique Kerber In Cincinnati - UBITENNIS
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So Near, Yet So Far For Angelique Kerber In Cincinnati



Angelique Kerber (

By Giovanni Vianello

Once again, Angelique Kerber is left pondering what could have been after she crashed out to Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(11), during a roller coaster encounter at the Western and Southern Open.

Leading into the match, the head-to-head between the two was 7-5 in favour of the German. Despite 36 places separating the two players in the WTA rankings, it was hard to establish a clear favourite. World No.3 Kerber has lacked self-confidence throughout this season (in comparison to 2016, at least) and lost to Makarova at this year’s French Open. The closeness between the two was illustrated in their latest clash, where Kerber failed to convert a match point opportunity during the final moments of the match.

“I think it was up-and-down match,” Kerber said following her loss. “I was finding my rhythm actually in the second set. But I had the chance as well in the first set. She played well then.
“The third set was, yeah, a completely up-and-down set. She had chances; I had chances. In the end it was just one point which decide the match.”

Former top 10 player Makarova started the stronger by clinching the opening set in 42 minutes. Kerber struggled to show a consistent performance and appeared absent-minded, hitting plenty of short and not powerful shots. The German went down a break in the third game, then is broken again in the seventh game. Rewarding the Russian two chances of serving for the set. Kerber managed to recover a break before holding serve to shorten the gap. Still Makarova had the edge. Serving for the set for the second time, she saved a break point on route to sealing the lead.

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With the Russian in the driving seat, the second set saw a Kerber fight back with glimpses of the form which took her to two grand slam titles in 2016. In contrast with the first, the second saw a complete domination by the former world No.1, who levelled the set with ease. Kerber appeared to be in a much brighter shape in the second set, especially from the psychological point of view, and it seemed that last year’s dominator has been brought back to life.

With all to play for in the decider, both players illustrated their best tennis when it mattered the most. Kerber gained an advantage of 2-0, before Makarova won 5 straight games with Kerber getting broken twice in a row. At this point, Kerber holds serve and then, after a ten-minute game and after having saved two match-points, gets the break back. With the score at 5-4, the Russian received medications in an MTO. Kerber then levels the score at 5-5 before the match ends with a dramatic tie-break. The Russian clinched it 13-11 with her eighth match-point of the whole match, the sixth in the breaker.
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“Today (Wednesday) was unbelievable match and great fighting from both of us,” Makarova said after her match. “Every time when we play, normally it’s like three sets, a lot of times three sets. So I knew that it would be very tough match. She’s a great player, a champion.
“With these conditions, it’s also very tough, because we played until the end in Toronto and there was quite comfortable weather and here is so humid and hot, and we just two days here. But I’m so happy that I got through this tough one.”

Makarova will next play Sloane Stephens, who knocked out 14th seed Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-3.

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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon



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It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.


The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.


Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Wimbledon Finalist Jasmine Paolini – ‘I’m A Little Bit Scared To Dream Too Much’



After coming close to her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Jasmine Paolini believes consistency is key to having another shot at glory.

The 28-year-old dropped only one set en route to becoming the first Italian woman to reach a Wimbledon final. However, she was denied the title by Barbora Krejcikova, who won in three sets. Paolini was broken once in the decider which was due to a double fault from the Italian following an unsuccessful hawk-eye challenge made on her first serve. Then she failed to convert two break points when down 4-5 before Krejcikova held to seal glory.

“I started bad,” she reflected afterwards.

“I took some time and try to relax and to come back in the second set stronger to try to push the ball more because I was a little bit controlling too much, and I missed a lot of shots.

“She was playing, honestly, very good the first set. She was serving really, really good. High percentage of first serves.

“It was tough but I think I did better than the last final (at the French Open), but still it’s not enough.”

Prior to Saturday, Paolini had scored wins over former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Medison Keys (via retirement) and a marathon victory over Donna Vedic. She has now won 15 Grand Slam matches in 2024 compared to just one last season.

The defeat comes less than two months after the French Open where Paolini contested her first major final but lost in two sets to world No.1 Iga Swiatek. Since the start of this season, she has risen more than 20 places in the rankings and will reach No.5 on Monday.

Despite being in her late 20s, the Italian is producing some of her best tennis on the Tour. Something she credits to a combination of things. 

“I improved my game a little bit. I believe more in myself. I improved my serve. I think I improve the return.” She explained.

“I think physically I’m better than two years ago. I’ve been working with a new fitness coach for one-and-a-half years.

“There are many things, I think. Not just one. I think also winning matches helps a lot.”

Whilst she is heading in the right direction on the Tour, Paolini has vowed not to get too ahead of herself.

“Sometimes I’m a little bit scared to dream too much.” she said.

“I’m going back, trying to practice and stay in the present. This is the goal for me and my team, to try to keep this level as much as possible.

“If I keep this level, I think I can have the chance to do great things.

“Today I was dreaming of holding the (Wimbledon) trophy but it didn’t go well.

“I’m just enjoying the position where I am right now.”

Paolini has won 30 out of 43 matches on the Tour so far this season.

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Jasmine Paolini’s Wimbledon Run Hailed By Italian Prime Minister



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The Prime Minister of Italy has praised Jasmine Paolini for lighting up the hearts of others during her Wimbledon run. 

Paolini missed out on her first Grand Slam title to Barbora Krejcikova, who prevailed in three sets to capture her second major trophy. Despite her defeat, she has made history at the tournament by becoming the first female player from her country to reach the final. Until this year, she had never won a Tour-level main draw match on the grass. 

Whilst disappointed about missing out on the biggest title of her career, Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni posted a tribute to Paolini on social media just moments after the final had concluded.

“Proud of Jasmine Paolini,” The Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) quotes Meloni as saying. 

“The first Italian tennis player to reach the final of the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. 

“Despite the defeat, you lit up the hearts of the Italian people, succeeding in conveying grit and passion to all of us who supported you”. 

Paolini is the first player ranked outside the top five to reach the final of both Wimbledon and the French Open within the same year since the ranking system was introduced in 1975. She is also only the fourth female player in the Open Era to have reached her first two Grand Slam finals in the same year at Roland Garros and Wimbledon after Chris Evert (1973), Olga Morozova (1974) and Steffi Graf (1987). 

Should she win three or more matches at the US Open later this year, she will also set a new Open Era record for the most Grand Slam wins achieved by an Italian female player in a single season. 

“The last two months have been crazy for me. I want to thank my team, and my family. They always support me and I wouldn’t be here without them. The crowd have been amazing. I received a lot of support. Just incredible to feel the love from them, I enjoy it so much.” Paolini said following her Wimbledon defeat. 

The 28-year-old will rise to a ranking high of No.3 on Monday. 

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