Garbine Muguruza Gets First Win Of 2018 In Brisbane Amid Ongoing Fitness Battle - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza Gets First Win Of 2018 In Brisbane Amid Ongoing Fitness Battle

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Garbine Muguruza (zimbio.com)

Top seed Garbine Muguruza required almost two hours to defeat Kiki Bertens 6-3, 7-6(6), in the second round of the Sydney International.

 

The Wimbledon champion was playing in only her second match of the season after withdrawing from Brisbane last week due to chronic leg cramps. Against Bertens, the Spaniard experienced a stern test as she only managed to convert three out of her 13 break point chances.

Powering her way through the opening set with the help of two consecutive breaks of the Bertens serve, Muguruza came under pressure during the second. After racing to a set and 3-1 lead, former top 20 player Bertens eventually managed to hit back with interest to level 4-4. Then in the tiebreaker, Muguruza failed to convert three consecutive match points before prevailing on her fourth with the help of an error from her opponent.

Despite the straight sets win, doubts remain about the current level of Muguruza’s fitness. Three games into the match she went off court to undergo a medical time out as she wore strapping at the top of her right leg.

“I struggled a little bit today and I had to adapt a little bit my game with my condition but I managed to win and that is the important thing I guess.” Muguruza said following the win.

Bidding to win her first title of the new year, the 24-year-old admits that it is going to be a ‘battle.’ Even though she is the only seeded player remaining in the draw. In the quarter-finals Muguruza will play the winner of an all-Australian clash between Daria Gavrilova and Sam Stosur.

Radwanska continues Sydney love affair

2017 Runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska utilized her experience to overcome Cici Bellis 7-6(4), 6-0, in her second round match. The performance saw the Polish world No.28 win 75% of her first service points and produced 12 winners. Radwanska also heavily benefitted from Bellis’ unforced error count of 40.

“For sure in that match the first set was the key, key point in that match. It was really tight, and a lot of good tennis in that first set. I think she was a little bit upset about losing that first set,” Radwanska said after the match.
“I think I was playing very well in those first few games in the beginning of that second set, and then I was more confident and I was really, I think, playing more aggressive and using all my chances that I have just to not let her play.”

Radwanska, who will play either Petra Kvitova or Carmilla Giorgi next, is hoping for another strong run at the event. In 2013 she won the Sydney title by thrashing Dominika Cibulkova 6-0, 6-0. Since then, Radwanska hasn’t been able to win another WTA title on Australian soil.

“I really like the courts here. I really like to play here. Obviously conditions are tough … but I think we’re all kind of used to that,” she said. “It’s something that is in the air that it suits me.”

Radwanska knocked out defending champion Johanna Konta in her first round match.

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Tereza Martincova and Belinda Bencic reach the quarter final in Ostrava

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Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova upset Roland Garros Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) after 2 hours and 19 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Martincova claimed her third top 20 win of her career and reached her second quarter final on home soil this season after finishing fourth in Prague. 

Pavlyuchenkova earned the first break to take a 4-3 lead and served for the first set in the 10th game, but she never reached a set point. The Russian player came just two points away from winning the first set at 5-4 30-15, but Martincova won four consecutive points before winning the tie-break 7-5. 

Martincova dropped just eight points in the first six games of the second set. The Czech player fended off two break points to consolidate her lead for 2-0. She raced out to a 7-6 (7-5) 5-1 lead, but Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to hold serve forcing Martincova to serve for the match. Martincova dropped four consecutive points. Pavlyuchenkova got another break, when Martincova was serving for the match for the third time at 6-5. Martincova went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Pavlyuchenkova drew level to 4-4 before saving a third match point. Martincova won the final two points to claim the tie-break 8-6. 

Martincova set up a quarter final match against Maria Sakkari, who beat last week’s Luxembourg finalist Jelena Ostapenko. 

This year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo in just 88 minutes. Bencic claimed her 15th win in her last 18 matches. Bencic broke six times and reeled off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set to cruise through to a a straight-set win. Sorribes Tormo saved a break point to win her first game for 1-4 and pulled one break back in the sixth game, but Bencic sealed the win with her third break in the ninth game. “I think I prepared well for this match tactically, and also mentally, because it’s very tough. You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface, where it’s very slow. I am happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match”, said Bencic. 

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Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Indian Wells, Unclear If She Will Play Again This Year

There is no official word but it looking increasingly likly that the world No.8 might have pulled the plug on her 2021 season.

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka has officially withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells just weeks after saying she will take a break from the sport due to personal reasons.

 

The former world No.1 hadn’t played a match since her loss to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open. Speaking to reporters in New York, Osaka said she didn’t know when she would play another match on the Tour. Earlier this year she opened up about her mental health struggles after revealing she has been suffering from social anxiety and depression. Osaka also took time away from the sport during the summer after pulling out of the French Open before deciding to skip Wimbledon.

“This is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry,” she said following her loss to Fernandez.
“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”

Osaka’s withdrawal from Indian Wells was confirmed by the tournament who published an announcement on social media. Although they didn’t specify what reason she used to withdraw from the tournament which is one of the biggest events outside of the Grand Slams in terms of ranking points and prize money on offer.

It was Indian Wells where Osaka won her first prestigious title back in 2018 after defeating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets. The following year she was the top seed in the draw but lost to Belinda Bencic in the fourth round.

There has been no official comment from Osaka or her team about Indian Wells and if she will play again this season. Although it looks increasingly unlikely. She is in with a chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals in November but even if she does make the cut it is unclear if she will attend the event which has been relocated from China to Mexico.

This year Indian Wells will get underway on October 4th which is more than six months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Simona Halep Ends Six-Year Collaboration With Coach Cahill

One of the longest coaching partnerships on the WTA Tour has come to an end.

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Former world No.1 Simona Halep is on the lookout for a new coach after unexpectedly announcing her split from Darren Cahill on Wednesday.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion has been working with the Australian mentor for most of the time since 2015. There was a brief period where Cahill stepped away from his duties to spend more time with his family before later returning. Under his guidance, the Romanian reached the top of the world rankings and featured in the final of three major tournaments, winning two of those.

“After six wonderful years working together, Darren Cahill and I have decided that it’s time to end our working relationship,” Halep wrote on social media. “Thank you D for everything, for making me a better tennis player and a better person.”

55-year-old Cahill is a former player himself who has also worked with a series of top players prior to Halep. In the past, he has coached both Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to world No.1 at different stages of their careers. Doubles specialist Horia Tecău reportedly told Romanian TV that it was rumoured Cahill received an annual salary in the region of one million euros during his time with Halep. Although this has not been verified.

The announcement comes a week after Halep married Macedonian businessman Toni Iuruc. One of those who attended the event was Illie Nastase who was one of the world’s best tennis players during the 1970s, winning both the French Open and US Open.

I didn’t know anything about Simona’s intention to break up with Darren Cahill. It took me a little by surprise. But Simona Halep has proven she knows what she’s doing. As I did not know, I do not see what I could comment. But there is no question of collaborating (with her),” Nastase told playsport.ro.
I didn’t talk to her about this or to anyone else in her entourage… I think only Simona knows who her future coach will be. I trust her choices.”

So far in 2021 Halep has achieved a win-loss record of 15-7 during what has been a rollercoaster season. An Achilles injury forced her to miss both the French Open and Wimbledon, as well as the Tokyo Olympics. Since returning to the Tour from her injury she has won back-to-back matches in one out of three tournaments played. Reaching the fourth round of the US Open.

There has been no official word on who may replace Cahill as Halep’s coach.

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