Caroline Wozniacki Says Advice From Fiancé Helped Secure Australian Open Final Berth - UBITENNIS
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Caroline Wozniacki Says Advice From Fiancé Helped Secure Australian Open Final Berth

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World No.2 Caroline Wozniacki believes her tennis has been enhanced by her partner David Lee after reaching the final of the Australian Open.

The 27-year-old survived a shaky second set to defeat Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-6(2). Hitting 25 winners to 18 unforced errors and producing seven aces. She will now play in her first grand slam final since the 2014 US Open and her first ever in Melbourne.

“I’m just excited. It’s another final. It’s another great two weeks. Regardless of what happens now, I’ve done my best. When you go out there on Saturday, you have everything to win.” She said after the match.

Part of Wozniacki’s resurgence could be down to her partner Lee. A former NBA basketball player who has played for the New York Knicks (2005-2010) and the Golden State Warriors (2010-2015). Following her win over Mertens, the Dane said that players can learn from other sports. Revelling that advice from her fiance has helped her during matches.

“You can learn a lot of things from different sports. Obviously it’s different playing individual sports, team sports.” Said Wozniacki.
“I think having David there by my side, obviously he’s had an incredible career, played so many years, there’s always small things that he just tells me.”
“That actually helped me in a situation like this or that.”

On Saturday the Dane will be aiming to end her grand slam title drought after what has been a turbulent past couple of years. During an injury-stricken 2016 season, Wozniacki dropped down to as low as 71st in the world. She managed to turn things around last year by reaching the final at eight WTA tournaments. Winning titles in Japan and at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Singapore remains her biggest title to date.

“I always believed in myself. I had a tough period where I had a few injuries. That was kind of hard and tough mentally. But once I got past that, I knew that if I can stay healthy and I work hard, my game is good enough for it.”

Saying that she has ‘added things’ to her game over the years, Wozniacki believes her resurgence on the tour has been aided by experience. It has been almost 13 years since she made her WTA debut at the Western and Southern Open. Since then, she has played in 43 grand slam main draws.

“I think once you get older, you get more experienced, you learn, you maybe read the game better. I think you learn all the time.” She explained.
“I think, definitely, you have to get better. You have to improve to keep being on top of this game because everyone behind you is trying to find a way to beat you. You need to be a step ahead.”

Wozniacki will take on Simona Halep in the final. At stake isn’t just a maiden grand slam title. She also has the chance of reclaiming the world No.1 spot for the first time since 2012. She has held that position for a total of 67 weeks so far in her career.

“I don’t think I believe in luck. Obviously you have to sometimes be a little lucky. But I believe in preparation and effort. I believe if you really put everything into it, eventually things are going to go your way.” She said about the upcoming clash.

Should Wozniacki win Saturday’s final in Melbourne, she will break the WTA record for having the longest stint between holding the world No.1 position. Serena Williams currently holds the record with a gap of five years and 29 days.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova Wins First Title Since Return From Surgery In Washington

The two-time grand slam champion has returned back to the winners circle following her six-month absence due to injury.

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Former world No.2 Svetlana Kuznetsova saved four match points to defeat Donna Vekic 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, in the final of the Citi Open in Washington.

Kuznetsova, 33, fought back against the aggressive play of her opponent. Saving seven out of the 10 break points she faced in the match. Eventually, it was the experience of the Russian that guided her to the finish line as she hit 34 winners to 36 unforced errors to win her first title on the tour since the 2016 Moscow Open.

“It was a difficult week,” Kuznetsova reflected afterwards. “Tennis is always mental, if you lose or if you win, you always gotta stay focused.”

With both players contesting their first final of the season, it was Vekic who battled through what was a roller-coaster and tense opening set. At first, the seventh seed appeared on course to clinch the opener with ease after breaking Kuznetsova in the fourth game as she raced out to a 4-1 lead. Only to be pegged by the 2014 champion. Serving for the set at 5-3, a forehand error rewarded Kuznetsova the chance to break back. Prior to the following point, the Russian complained about the movement of the crowd just as Vekic was about to serve. Then the Croat hit a double fault with the two players exchanging words at the changeover.

Despite feeling hard done by, Vekic soon restored order in the match. As Kuznetsova served for a chance to level 5-5, she pounced one again as the former world No.2 faltered. Recovering from a 15-40 deficit to seal the opening set with the help of a Kuznetsova double fault on set point.

Vekic continued to fight with the help of her of some rapid shock-making. Fending off a break point to nudge ahead 4-3 in the second set. Although Kuznetsova refused to go away. Saving two match points, it was in the tiebreaker where the Russian managed to turn her fortunes around. Vekic missed out on another two chances to win the match, allowing Kuznetsova to nudge ahead 8-7. She was then able to force proceedings into a decider after a Vekic forehand slammed into the net.

Kuznetsova’s resilience eventually wore her opponent down, who was close to tears after the match. Vekic admitted afterwards that she was dealing with leg pain and took a medical time out just before the start of the final set.

A double break in Kuznetsova’s favor in the decider guided her to a 5-0 lead. Enough of a cushion to enable her to close out the match after two-and-a-half hours of play to win her second Washington title.

“I know I’ve been a little bit lucky today,” she said.
“There’s something going on with Washington. I never lose here. I played two times and I won both.”

The victory comes after what has been a testing first half of the year for Kuznetsova. Left wrist surgery forced her to miss six months of the tour. Meaning that she didn’t start the 2018 season until March. Prior to the Citi Open, she had only won four matches in 10 tournaments played. Making her latest triumph even more special.

“Those times I had after the surgery, I had difficulties everywhere — personal, working different things. I switched coaches. I had lots of issues,” Kuznetsova explained. “But still, I rise again, and it’s really good for me.”

As a result of her latest win, Kuznetsova has risen 41 places in 87th in the world. Meanwhile, Vekic has jumped seven places to 37th.

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Davis Cup Reforms Face Late Opposition As Vote Looms

The proposed Davis Cup reforms have received strong criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe ahead of this month’s vote.

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David Haggerty (zimbio.com)

The upcoming Davis Cup reform vote has received some strong opposition and criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe. 

The vote is set to take place on the 16th of August, where federations will vote to change the 118 year old format to a one week season finale at the end of the year. The proposed move by Kosmos, has received fierce criticism and will need a two-thirds majority in order for it to be approved.

However with the vote just two weeks away Tennis Australia has been among the federations to oppose these reforms and have pushed this even further as they have wrote a letter expressing their discontent at the idea. The letter has been signed by the likes of John Newcombe, current Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.

The letter raises the following concerns, “We have written and spoken to the ITF President for several months now requesting clarity on the proposal from Kosmos, but this has not been forthcoming,” explained the letter, which is even signed by former ITF president Brian Tobin.

“Very large numbers are being referenced, but there is not enough detail to give us confidence this proposal will genuinely deliver enough additional value to players and the nations to offset the loss of home and away camaraderie and all the local marketing, facility investment and player development benefit that comes with those ties. In the absence of such important information, we have no choice other than to vote against the proposed amendments.”

However Tennis Australia isn’t the only federation to be against this move as Tennis Europe, who represent more than 50 member nations have also expressed their concern at the idea, “I am particularly concerned that there is hardly any information received from the ITF regarding bank guarantees for the proposed US$120 million per year which would be the $3 billion deal over 25 years, according to the original proposal,” President Vladimir Dimitriev explained in a separate letter.

“I have not yet seen a final and feasible explanation on how the business model or the governance structure will be either.”

The ITF do have the backing of Germany and France ahead of the move though with the AGM meeting set to take place in Orlando, Florida between the 13th and 16th of August.

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Serena Williams Withdraws From Montreal Due To Personal Reasons

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week due to personal reasons.

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Serena Williams (zimbio.com)

Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week as she deals with some personal issues. 

The American suffered the worst defeat of her career last week when she lost 6-1 6-0 to Johanna Konta in San Jose. The 23 grand slam champion clearly wasn’t at her best and it now turns out that she had personal problems to deal with as this is the reason for her withdrawal in Montreal next week.

The recent Wimbledon finalist also felt that she could not play Montreal and Cincinnati in back to back weeks as she continues her comeback from pregnancy. The tournament director, Eugene Lapierre, admits that he is disappointed but still recognises the high quality field that is left, “Of course, we are disappointed that Serena will not be joining us, Fans were very much looking forward to seeing her in action,” explained Eugene.

“But beyond the disappointment, the tournament, as a whole, remains a high-level competition. The entire Top 10 is here, along with 22 of the Top 25. There are exciting matches in store from the outset.”

The American was set to play in Canada for the first time since 2015 before withdrawing today. The 23 time grand slam champion has played five events since returning from pregnancy and the results have been mixed as you can see below:

Indian Wells – Third Round

Miami – First Round

Roland Garros – Fourth Round

Wimbledon – Final

San Jose – First Round

Tatjana Maria will now replace Serena Williams in the main draw and the German faces Alize Cornet in the first round.

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