Novak Djokovic Heads To Monte Carlo With Ex-Coach Vajda - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Heads To Monte Carlo With Ex-Coach Vajda

It remains to be seen if the partnership between the two will turn into anything long-term.

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It has been confirmed that Novak Djokovic will continue to seek the help of his former coach when he returns to action at the Monte Carlo Masters next week.

 

In recent days the former world No.1 has been spotted training in Marbella under the watchful eye of Marian Vajda. A 53-year-old Slovakian who was a pivotal member of Djokovic’s team for 11 years. The two decided to end their partnership in 2017 on ‘mutual grounds.’ The Times journalist Stuart Fraser confirmed that the two will continue their collaboration in the coming days after obtaining a statement from Djokovic’s PR team.

Despite the reunion, there is currently no information to suggest that it will be on a more permanent basis. Djokovic finds himself without a mentor after recently departing with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek. In a statement obtained by Serbian website Novosti, there has not been a discussion between Djokovic and Vajda about introducing a formal contract between them.

“Marian came to help Novak. At the moment, there is no concrete agreement on further cooperation, nor is the length of their joint work discussed. It will go one step at a time. Vajda’s role at this time is to provide support to Djokovic through training and preparations for the season on the clay.“

There continues to be speculation about who will become the next coach of the 12-time grand slam champion. Besides Vajda, Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl have also been mentioned by some as a potential replacement. Although there is currently no evidence to suggest either of those former players will take on the new role.

Currently ranked 13th in the world, Djokovic heads into the clay season with a total of 1500 points to defend. His return to the tour from an elbow injury in January has been far from straightforward. Shortly after reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open he underwent a ‘small medical intervention’ on his elbow. Then at the first two Masters events of the season, he lost both of his opening matches. Falling to Taro Daniel in Indian Wells and Benoit Paire in Miami.

The Monte Carlo Masters, which Djokovic has won on two previous occasions, will get underway next Monday.

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Kaia Kanepi upsets Angelique Kerber to reach the second round at the Australian Open

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Former world number 15 Kaia Kanepi came back from one break down in the second set to beat 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 20 minutes at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Kanepi leads to 3-2 in her five head-to-head matches against Kerber after beating her German rival in Sydney in 2009 and Wimbledon in 2011. 

 

The Estonian player has beaten a seed in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament for the ninth time in her career. 

Kanepi, who dropped out of the top 100 to world number 115, hit 31 winners to 21 unforced errors. Kerber made 19 unforced errors to 18 winners. 

Kanepi earned a break in the fourth game of the opening set to take a 4-1 lead. Kerber broke back in the seventh game for 3-4, but Kanepi closed out the first set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game. 

Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games to draw level to 3-3. Kanepi won the final three games including a break in the eighth game to take a 6-3 lead.

Roland Garros semifinalist Tamara Zidansek came back from one set down to beat Aranxta Rus 3-6 6-4 7-6 (10-8) in the super tie-break in 2 hours and 26 minutes. Zidansek missed three match points as she was serving at 5-4 in the third set. Zidansek raced out to a 5-0 lead in the super tie-break, but she dropped seven of the next eight points to trail 6-7. Zidansek converted her fourth match point to close out the super tie-break 10-8. Zidansek will face British player Heather Watson. The Slovakian player beat her British opponent 2-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in Adelaide first round last week. 

Ana Konjuh rallied from losing the first set to beat Shelby Rogers 4-6 6-3 7-5. Konjuh was not able to convert four match points as she was serving at 5-4 in the third set, but she won the final eight points to claim her first Grand Slam main draw win since Wimbledon 2017. 

Konjuh set up a second round match against 2019 Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins, who cruised past qualifier Caroline Dolehide 6-1 6-3 after 66 minutes. Danish teenager Clara Tauson beat Australian player Astra Sharma 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 20 minutes setting up a second round match against Anett Kontaveit. 

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Emma Raducanu beats Sloane Stephens to book her berth in the Australian Open second round

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British teenage star Emma Raducanu beat Sloane Stephens 6-0 2-6 6-1 in a battle between US Open champions after 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the second round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 

 

Raducanu, who became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, played her first match against Stephens, who claimed the US Open trophy in 2017. 

Raducanu has extended her Grand Slam main draw record to 11-1. Stephens, who married Jozy Altidore on New Year’s Eve, was playing her first match in 2022. The US player reached the Australian Open semifinal in 2013. 

Raducanu broke three times and dropped only four points to win a one-sided first set in just 17 minutes. The young Brit hit seven winners and committed two unforced errors to Stephens’ eight.

Stephens bounced back by breaking serve on her fifth opportunity after consecutive double faults from Raducanu in a 12-minute first game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead. Stephens broke twice in the fifth and seventh games and drew unforced errors from Raducanu to seal the second set 6-2. 

Raducanu earned a double break with two backhand returns to race out to a 4-0 lead. The teenager ended a 17-shot rally with a crosscourt dropshot on her third match point. 

“Both me and Sloane put everything out there and it was a very good match. We had some good rallies and I am happy to come through against such  a great champion. I went out there and I played a great first set. I executed my game plan pretty well and was making very little unforced errors, but of course because Sloane she was fighting back in the second set. Her defensive skills were pretty inspiring for me to ty and replicate myself later on. So we got into some good rallies. She turned it around. Then in the third set I am just glad I could regroup and make less errors again and play some good tennis”, said Raducanu.  

Raducanu will take on last year’s Charleston WTA 500 finalist Danka Kovinic, who beat Jan Su Jeong 6-3 2-6 6-4 in 3 hours and 9 minutes. 

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Alex De Minaur recovers from one set down to beat Lorenzo Musetti at the Australian Open

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Alex De Minaur rallied from one set down to beat Lorenzo Musetti 3-6 6-3 6-0 6-3 in 2 hours and 32 minutes on Kia Arena in Melbourne reaching the second round at the Australian Open. 

 

De Minaur earned an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Musetti won five consecutive games from 1-3 to seal the opening set 6-3 with two breaks in the sixth and eighth games. 

De Minaur went up an early break in the fourth game at love. Musetti saved three break points at love to hold serve in the sixth game before breaking back in the seventh game. De Minaur got for the second time in the eighth game to seal the second set 6-3. 

The Australian player won a one-sided third set by taking a bagel with three breaks in 21 minutes. Museetti won just five points in the third set. 

Musetti saved two break points in the fourth game. De Minaur converted his second break point in the ninth game to close out the fourth set 6-3.  The Aussie won 28 out of 40 points at the net and hit 21 winners. 

De Minaur set up a second round match against Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak, who beat Andreas Seppi 6-1 6-1 7-5. Majchrrzak won all three singles matches he played for Poland at the ATP Cup. 

“It doesn’t get much better than this. I have some great memories on this court, playing in front of my home fans. There is no place I would rather be, that’s for sure. The most important thing is I stayed positive throughout the whole match. I am not allowed to get negative on court, make sure to tell me off”, said Alex De Minaur. 

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