Caroline Garcia breezes through while Bouchard changes focus after defeat - UBITENNIS
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Caroline Garcia breezes through while Bouchard changes focus after defeat

Caroline Garcia comfortably beat Varvara Lepchenko to earn a place in round three, while Eugenie Bouchard lost to Sara Errani and then reflected on her recent poor form.

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Caroline Garcia cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Varvara Lepchenko in the second round of the Volvo Car Open in Charleston.

 

The Frenchwoman, 24, is the number one seed at the event after her excellent performances in 2017 propelled her into the world’s top ten.

And she started like the favourite as she served superbly and struck her groundstrokes well to win 11 of the first 12 points and go 3-0 up in the blink of an eye.

The rest of the opening set was more competitive after Lepchenko held serve in game four. But it was too late for the American to turn it around and, after three tight games that all went against the server, Garcia clinched it 6-2.

Both players were much more consistent in the second set and the World No.7 led 4-3 after the first seven games went comfortably with serve.

At that point, Garcia stepped up her aggression and hit a series of trademark power shots from the back of the court to break Lepchenko. She then saved two break points as she held to complete a comfortable victory.

“I moved a little bit better than her today and I made fewer mistakes,” Garcia said in her on-court interview. “I saved two break points (in the last game) with good serves.”

She continued, “It was close in a couple of games and I was able to be a bit more aggressive and play some good points in important moments.”

Bouchard’s search for rhythm

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In the match that preceded Garcia on Charleston’s main court, Eugenie Bouchard played superbly at times during her 6-4 6-4 loss to Sara Errani.

At one stage in the second set, the Canadian produced sparkling tennis to win three games in a row and recover from 3-1 down.

However, she failed to break after taking the Italian to deuce in game eight and fell apart thereafter as Errani won seven of the last eight points to seal victory.

Despite that late collapse and an inconsistent first set, Bouchard should be encouraged by how she performed. The Canadian can consider herself unlucky that she came up against an inspired Errani, as the Italian produced some top-class clay-court tennis to beat her.

In her press conference, Bouchard reflected on her recent struggles which have caused her ranking to plummet to No.111. The Canadian said she plans to enter smaller tournaments below tour level for a few months after competing in Bogota.

She said, “Sometimes I feel good, and sometimes I have no idea what’s going on. I think the most important thing is just to keep going, and I’ve been feeling good in practice recently, and it’s obviously that elusive thing of bringing the practice to the match.”

“I think just more matches will help me out. It’s tough training for two weeks, playing a match, losing, training for two weeks, playing a match, losing. It’s a tough cycle, because then you just feel more nervous and feel extra pressure for that match, especially when you’re on centre court and it’s a big tournament and maybe you got a wildcard. So I’ve been putting myself in tough situations as well.”

“I want to play some smaller tournaments and just get matches where no-one’s there, no-one cares, and just grind, just to get the rhythm back.”

Barty and Vesnina advance

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Elsewhere in Charleston, Ashleigh Barty looked in excellent form as she dispatched young American Sofia Kenin 6-3 6-2 in just 69 minutes in the opening match in the Volvo Car Stadium.

The World No.18 will play Tatjana Maria in round two after the German dismantled Lauren Davis 6-3 6-0.

2016 finalist Elena Vesnina withstood a second-set comeback to overcome Madison Brengle 6-3 2-6 6-2 and set up a second-round clash with Taylor Townsend, who beat a woefully out-of-form Heather Watson 6-3 6-4.

It was also a very unhappy day for 2010 champion Sam Stosur, who was thrashed 6-2 6-4 by World No.109 Kristie Ahn, and Katerina Siniakova, who was hammered 6-4 6-1 by Kristyna Pliskova.

WTA

Carla Suarez Navarro Set For One Last Season As A Player

The former top 10 player has outlined her retirement plans for 2020 as she embarks upon a farewell tour.

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Next year will be the final time tennis fans will see Carla Suarez Navarro on the tour after the Spaniard announced her retirement on Tuesday.

 

The former world No.6 confirmed her future plans during a press conference in Barcelona. She will play one full season in 2020 before walking away from the sport after playing for more than 10 years on the WTA Tour. Suarez Navarro is currently the second highest ranked female tennis player from Spain after Garbine Muguruza and is currently 55th in the world.

“The 2020 season will be my last year in the professional tennis circuit,” wtatennis.com quoted the 31-year-old as saying. “The sport has been a fundamental part of my life – it has given me immense joy and I cannot be more grateful for all the experiences that it has allowed me to live. At this time, I notice that the time has come to complete a beautiful chapter and begin to enjoy other areas of life. Tennis will always be in me.”

Known for her one-handed backhand shot, which is a rare occurrence in the women’s game, Suarez Navarro has enjoyed a successful career since her breakthrough in 2008. The year when she reached the quarter-finals of the French Open as a qualifier. During her career, she claimed two WTA titles with the biggest being at the 2016 Qatar Open. She also finished runner-up at nine other tournaments.

“Tennis right now has a very high demand. To be high in the ranking you need absolute consistency, a world-class level of physical conditioning and a 24-hour daily psychological commitment. I have been in high competition for more than 15 years and have lived through these realities since the beginning of my adolescence. These are lessons that have formed me as a person and that will serve me for a lifetime,” Suárez Navarro explained.
“I want to enjoy one last season with the same professionalism as always. I am going to do a quality preparation, my whole team is going to travel with me from the month of January and I plan to compete until the end of the season. My desire is clear: to be proud of this last effort when I reach the end of the road.”

Suarez Navarro has also enjoyed success in the doubles where she peaked at a high of 11th back in 2015. Her trio of trophies was won alongside Muguruza between 2014-2015. The duo also reached the semi-finals of the 2014 French Open.

Representing her country, the three-time Olympian has also featured in 15 Fed Cup ties. Including Spain’s clash with Belgium earlier this year when she won all three of her matches (two singles and one doubles). Overall, she has a win-loss record of 16-11 in the competition.

Despite knowing that next year will be her last as a player, the Spaniard has big ambitions for 2020. Including a fourth consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games.

“My goals are going to be as high as ever,” she stated. “I want to try to finish the year in the Top 10 because I know what it takes to be there. I am very excited to participate in another Olympic Games and, as always, I will have the Grand Slams in mind. Although it is the last season of my career, my mentality will be exactly the same: work, humility and ambition.”

Suarez Navarro will start her final season at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Four facts about Suarez Navarro’s career

  1. Her career prize money currently stands at $11,580,886. The third highest of all time for a Spanish woman.
  2. Has won 509 matches so far in her career against 336 loses.
  3. Between 2013-2016 Suarez Navarro finished each season in the top 20 for both singles and doubles.
  4. She has played in 43 grand slam tournaments and hasn’t missed the main draw of a major event since losing in the second round of qualifying at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships.

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WTA

Ash Barty ‘Grateful’ After Winning Top Prize At Newcombe Awards

Ash Barty claimed her third Newcombe medal on a historic night for Australian tennis.

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Ash Barty (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

World number one Ash Barty feels ‘grateful’ and ‘humbled’ after winning the top prize at the Newcombe awards. 

 

The Australian’s year was capped off in sensational style on Tuesday evening local time as she won the 2019 Newcombe medal.

After becoming world number one this year as well as winning Roland Garros, the WTA Finals and leading Australia to the Fed Cup final, it’s only fitting the 23 year-old won Australian tennis’ top prize.

Speaking after receiving her award, Barty says she feels ‘humbled’ after an extraordinary year, “I’m incredibly grateful and very humbled to be here tonight,” she said after winning her third Newcombe medal triumph.

“This is not about individual athletes, it’s a night of celebration for everyone involved in tennis and everyone that’s a part of our tennis family. Congratulations to everyone else who’s in this room. It takes a village and we are a big tennis family. I’m very humbled to be here tonight.”

Next up for the Australian will be preparing for the new season, which will start in her hometown of Brisbane on the 6th of January.

Other winners saw Barty’s coach, Craig Tyzzer win the coaching excellence while Sam Stosur was awarded the spirit of tennis award after her contribution to Australian tennis that spans two decades.

Wheelchair start, Dylan Alcott also won most outstanding athlete with a disability as it was a night to remember for everyone involved with Australian tennis.

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Sania Mirza Announces Tennis Return After Two Year Absence

Sania Mirza has announced her return to tennis for January after a two year maternity break.

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Sania Mirza (@ddsportschannel - Twitter)

Six time grand slam doubles champion Sania Mirza has announced her return to tennis after a two year absence. 

 

The Indian tennis legend has missed the last two years due to taking time off to have a baby and after her son, Izhaan was born in October last year, Mirza has decided to return.

Speaking to local media, the six time grand slam champion will return in January to compete at the Hobart International Open and Australian Open, “I am playing in Hobart, then I am playing the Australian Open,” the Indian said.

“I’m planning to play a tournament in Mumbai, which is a $25k ITF event next month, but I am 50-50 about it. Let’s see how my wrist behaves. We’ll see, but Hobart and the Australian Open for sure.”

The 33 year-old will play with Ukrainian doubles player Nadiia Kichenok in Hobart before competing with Rajeev Ram in Mixed Doubles at the Australian Open.

Her last match was at the 2017 China Open when she and Shuai Peng lost to top seeds Latisha Chan and Martina Hingis in the semi-finals.

Speaking about her absence, Mirza has spoken about the changes that comes with being a parent, “Your routine and sleep patterns change,” Mirza said.

https://twitter.com/MirzaSania/status/1200306543155040256

“I feel fit, my body is where it used to be before I had the baby. It was only six or seven months ago that I though about returning as a realistic possibility. Of course, it will take me time to get to the level that I was playing at before, but it’s a good start for me to feel good physically.”

Mirza is a former doubles world number one and will look to return that form when she returns to the WTA Tour in 2020.

 

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