Sloane Stephens' incredible comeback continues with three set win over Julia Goerges at US Open - UBITENNIS
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Sloane Stephens’ incredible comeback continues with three set win over Julia Goerges at US Open

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The incredible US hard court season of American hope Sloane Stephens will continue on into the quarterfinals of the US Open as the former rising star fought past Julia Goerges 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in New York City.

 

As if two straight WTA Premier 5 semifinals in Toronto and Cincinnati wasn’t enough for American Sloane Stephens, the former rising star, returning from a near year-long foot injury, continued her incredible run of from on the US hard courts, booking her spot in the US Open quarterfinals. Stephens, still only 24, wore down big-hitting German Julia Goerges 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to the delight of a raucous home crowd on the temporary Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The unseeded home hope has been impressive throughout this year’s tournament, beating her second seeded player en route to her first career last eight showing at Flushing Meadows and her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since Wimbledon way back in 2013.

“When I first came back at Wimbledon I was super nervous that it wasn’t going to go my way. I was afraid that the results weren’t going to come the way I wanted them to,” said Stephens in her on-court interview.

“But I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better comeback and a better way to come back to the tour. Obviously making quarterfinals here is unbelievable.”

In the opening set it was pretty evenly-matched early on as the two traded powerful shots back and forth to bring the score to 3-2 on serve. With Goerges serving to level the set at 3-all, two poorly timed forehand errors cost her dearly, giving up the break and a 4-2 lead to Stephens. The American favorite rode that break advantage through the rest of the set, serving it out 6-3 as the German’s forehand continued to let her down as she gave up the first set.

The second set was much better from Goerges, the 30th seed who’s had an incredible summer herself with three finals. The powerful German rebounded immediately in the second set, backing up a routine hold in the first game with an impressive break of serve to go up 2-0 off a powerful forehand overhead winner.

The in-form 28-year-old took good care of her serve as a powerful forehand winner brought up 5-2 for Goerges and forced Stephens to serve to stay in the set. Looking to level the match at a set apiece, the German continued to show some of her powerful brand of tennis as two winners off the ground closed out the game and the second set 6-3.

Sloane Stephens hits a forehand at the US Open in New York City/Zimbio/Matthew Stockman

In the decider it was all Stephens though as the New York City crowd began to spur on the home hopeful as the 30th seed’s game completely unraveled with four unforced errors off the ground to gift the break and 3-1. The errors continued to fly off the racquet of the Germans as she played another disastrous service game with three unforced errors and a double fault pretty much handing a pumped up Stephens the 5-1 lead and a double break.

Looking to serve out a spot in her first US Open quarterfinal, three more errors from Goerges put the last nails in her coffin as Stephens closed the match out with an overhead winner to screams from the raucous Labor Day Weekend crowd.

Following her quality 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over an erratic Goerges, Stephens was jubilant to be into her first major quarterfinal in over four years. “I’m just really happy. Obviously before or when I started playing again at Wimbledon and D.C. I didn’t expect much. I was just playing and having fun, having a good time. I’m still playing and having a good time. That’s really all there is to it,” commented the unseeded American.

Asked in her press conference if she’s been at all surprised by her great comeback and form this US hardcourt season, the 24-year-old said, “Uhm, no. I mean, yes, it surprised me. Obviously, I could never say, Oh, yeah, when I was coming back, I’m going to make two semifinals, a quarterfinal. I would have been like, You’re crazy.”

“But I definitely think that, uhm, I’m playing well. I think it’s more of like putting the matches together, like, that process that makes it a little bit tougher when you’re coming back. I was lucky able to get a lot of those matches in a row, like in Toronto and Cincinnati back-to-back, which during a comeback is not easy. So I think that’s probably where I kind of got a little fortunate there,” said a very thoughtful and candid Stephens.

Sloane Stephens hits a forehand at the US Open in New York City/Zimbio/Matthew Stockman

Up next for the home hope is 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova, who’s into her second straight US Open quarterfinal after a dramatic three set win over five-time major champion Maria Sharapova. Asked about her last eight opponent, the American said, “Well, she’s a great player. I will obviously talk to my coach, just go out and play the game that I’ve been playing. Obviously tweak a few things here and there, but pretty much the same thing.”

“I mean, I played a lot of matches in the last couple weeks. I can’t really change too much. But I’m sure I’ll have a good game plan going into it. That will be that,” concluded Stephens.

Stephens and Sevastova will play their quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday with a spot in the final four on the line in Flushing Meadows.

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Elina Svitolina Splits With Coach After Five Years

The tennis star issued a brief statement saying ‘the time is right’ to go in another direction.

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image via https://twitter.com/ElinaSvitolina

Elina Svitolina is on the hunt for a new coach after parting ways with Andrew Beetles.

 

The two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist issued a statement on Monday confirming that she will no longer be working with her British mentor with them both deciding to go ‘their own ways.’  Beetles, who is the former hitting partner of Ana Ivanovic, spent his first full season with Svitolina back in 2017. He started as an assistant coach before later being promoted. Under his guidance, the Ukrainian rose to a ranking high of three and won 11 Tour titles.

“After 5 years and 11 titles together!! Andy and I both agreed it was the right time to move our separate ways. I am very thankful for all his hard work and endless support. I wish him only the best in his future career!’ Svitolina wrote on Twitter. 

The announcement comes a week after Svitolina suffered a shock first round loss at the Tenerife Open to Colombia’s Camila Osorio who went on to reach the final. So far this season she has won 41 out of 61 matches played on the Tour with her best performance occurring at the Chicago Open where she won the title. Svitolina also won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games and reached the quarter-finals of the US Open. 

Svitolina, who married Gael Monfils earlier this year, is currently ranked sixth in the world. She is hoping to finish the season ranked inside the world’s top 10 for the fifth year in a row.

There is currently no information about who may take over as the new coach of the 27-year-old. 

Svitolina’s 2021 results

  • Melbourne 1 – QF
  • Australian Open – R4
  • Doha – QF Dubai – R2
  • Miami – SF
  • Stuttgart – SF
  • Madrid – R1
  • Rome – QF
  • French Open – R3
  • Berlin – R2
  • Eastbourne – R2
  • Wimbledon – R2
  • Tokyo Olympics – Bronze medal
  • Canadian Open – R2
  • Cincinnati – R2
  • Chicargo – Champion
  • US Open – QF
  • Chicargo 2 – QF
  • Indian Wells – R4
  • Tenerife – R1

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Anett Kontaveit Set To Battle For WTA Finals Spot After Lifting Moscow Crown

It is the third time Kontaveit has won a tournament within the past six months but will she be able to qualify for the season-ending championships?

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Anett Kontaveit (image via https://twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN)

Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit has continued her recent surge in form on the Tour by fighting back from a set down to win her fourth career title at the Kremlin Cup on Sunday.

 

The world No.20 was on the verge of losing to home favourite Ekaterina Alexandrova before battling to a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, victory. At one stage in the match Kontaveit was trailing by a set and 0-4. Then in the decider she was broken at 4-4 before going on to win three games in a row to clinch the title. Overall, she won 69% of her first service points and broke her opponent five times.

“Of course, I am very happy, the match was extremely difficult, I feel relief and joy,” she said afterwards. “I got lucky at match-point, but during the match there were moments when she (Alexandrova) got lucky too. It always takes a little luck to win. She took the lead, controlled the match, it was very difficult for me, I tried to fight for all the points and this helped me to win.”

Kontaveit, who defeated former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza and Markéta Vondroušová earlier in the tournament, has now won 14 out of the last 15 matches she has played on the Tour. Her only loss was to Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals at Indian Wells. She has played in five finals this year which is the second-highest on the WTA Tour after world No.1 Ash Barty who has played in six.

The 25-year-old is now on the verge of qualifying for the WTA Finals for the first time in her career. However, the prospect of her playing in the season-ending event depends on the results of next week’s tournaments. Kontaveit is playing in Romania and she needs to win the tournament and for rival Jabeur to lose before the semi-finals to qualify.

Meanwhile, runner-up Alexandrova exits Moscow frustrated with her missed opportunities in the match. It was the first time she has played in a final this season and only the third time in her career. Prior to Kontaveit, she scored back-to-back wins over Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to win, I’m very sorry. But I will work on it and I hope next time I will be able to get a better result,” Alexandrova said during the trophy ceremony.
“I want to congratulate Anett, she played great, it was hard for me to do something.” She added.

Kontaveit, who has won three WTA titles since August, is the first Estonian player to win the Moscow trophy. Compatriot Kaia Kanepi reached the final of the tournament back in 2011.

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Simona Halep, Emma Raducanu Heads The Field in Cluj Napoca

On Saturday the draw was revealed for the 32 players playing in Cluj this week at the Transylvania Open.

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Simona Halep (image via https://twitter.com/Simona_Halep)

Despite the fact seven main draw players have pulled out, including Garbine Muguruza and Paula Badosa, the field is pretty deep with a lot of interesting matchups featuring no fewer than six Romanians. 

 

Let’s start at the top with the number one seed Simona Halep who will play her first match against the up-and-coming fellow Romanian Gabriela Elena Ruse. Halep and Ruse most recently teamed up in doubles and made it to the final in Indian Wells.

The number two seed is the Estonian Anett Kontaveit who will play for a title on Sunday in Moscow. She has drawn a qualifier in the first round. Emma Raducanu, the number three seed, will start her tournament against Polona Hercog.

The fourth seed is the Swiss Jil Teichmann who will also face a qualifier in her first-round match. Meanwhile Australia’s Alja Tomljanovic will face Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan who comes in as a late replacement for Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Marta Kostyuk from Ukraine is the number six seed and she will face the American Bernarda Pera. It will be the third meeting between the two players with the Ukrainian winning both of their previous matches.

Irina Camelia Begu from Romania and she will face another Romanian in Maria Irina Bara while the number eight seed is Anhelina Kalinna who faces a qualifier in the first round.

If the seeds hold up the tournament could potentially see quarterfinal matches featuring Halep vs Tomljanovic, Raducanu vs Kostyuk, Begu vs Teichmann and Kalinna vs Konteveitt.

There are indeed some dark horses in the draw that could cause some upsets. Look out for Maria Camelia Osorio who has been playing some amazing tennis this year and it seems to be her breakout year.

Andrea Petkovic is always a dangerous opponent and she actually won the first event in Romania, the Winners Open, back in the first week of August. Anastasia Potapova from Russia is no easy task, and many expect a good week from her.

Main draw action begins on Monday with what is expected to be a great week in Cluj-Napoca.

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