Kyle Edmund eases past Goffin to reach the Madrid Open quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Kyle Edmund eases past Goffin to reach the Madrid Open quarterfinals

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Kyle Edmund is into a Masters Series quarterfinal for the first time having comprehensively beaten 8th seeded David Goffin 6-3 6-3 in 72 minutes.

 

Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund (Zimbio.com)

The 23 year old British No.1 who is set to move into the top 20 for the first time next week, looked composed and showed great mental fortitude from start to finish as he continued his impressive run in the Spanish capital.

The two had met just once before, with Goffin winning on clay in the Davis Cup final in 2015 after being two sets to love down. However, today, Edmund would not allow Goffin to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

A break of the opening Goffin serve saw Edmund secure an immediate psychological advance, and he broke serve again to wrap up the opening set in 32 minutes on his third set point with a thunderous forehand winner.

Edmund saved two break points in the first game of the second set and held, and from there games went with serve until the sixth game when unforced errors from the racket of the Belgian gifted Edmund the break of serve. As Goffin dumped a tame routine cross court forehand into the net on break point, the Brit exclaimed “Come on!” as he moved 4-2 ahead.

Edmund had a chance to close out the match with a second break of the Goffin serve in the next game when he reached match point aided by a sublime running one handed backhand slice pass that had the fans on Aranxta Sanchez court purring with admiration. A netted backhand return saw that opportunity scuppered, but he eventually closed out the match on his third match point on serve when Goffin on the stretch netted his forehand.

Edmund served 7 aces and won an impressive 86% of his first service points. He converted 3/7 break point chances.

“Yeah, I played well, got good confidence from yesterday. Knew I was playing well so it was just obviously trying to do more of the same today with a slightly different opponent. I feel I got the game plan good, managed it well and served very well today.” Edmund said. “Different matches and different courts. It’s really hard to judge whether it’s better or not. I played very well yesterday and was happy with it, and today same again. Sometimes scorelines are different. Similar situation to yesterday; breaking to win the first set and yesterday I lost my first game of the second set. Today I was 15-40 and I didn’t falter. That’s a situation where maybe if I’d have got broken then it could be trickier, but I did well to hold on, and then once I held on I was managing my serve and broke at a good time.”

Not suffering a mental letdown after the jubilation of beating Novak Djokovic yesterday was something that Edmund was very aware of.

“Yeah, I think I’ve experienced that sort of game, when you are more of a junior. I think you get a reminder that when you get win one week. The next week you always get told make sure you back it up. Don’t lose in the first round. So you keep that momentum going. It is similar to this, having a good win. But I think I’ve been long enough on the tour now that a good win is nice, but when you have been here so long. A good win doesn’t mean anything. You have to produce consistent good wins to go up the rankings. I was eager to just go out there and keep my momentum going.”

“It’s a constant learning, but also on the court everybody has to do it. It is not like you’re born with all the knowledge of tennis. Of course, there is learning. You learn from other people and you learn within yourself. You take advice from, you know, you have a good mix of everything. That’s something, especially slams where you pretty much have to defeat quality players every round. You have to keep backing it up.”

Looking ahead to the quarterfinals, Edmund knows he’s going to have a tough match whoever he plays.

“Both very aggressive in their own way. Shapovalov has got good ground strokes and likes to come forward, and very active when he plays and stuff. Raonic speaks for himself with his serve and ground strokes. He’s a big powerful guy and so it’s going to be tough. Into the quarterfinals where everyone is playing well, so I will just keep doing my own thing, recover and enjoy this win. Once I know who I’m playing I will look ahead to that.”

With news that Andy Murray’s recovery is not going as well as had been hoped, Edmund shared his thoughts about the two-time Wimbledon champion’s predicament.

It’s not nice with Murray being out of the game and, touch wood, I haven’t had a long period out of the game like that because of injury. I’ve had niggles where you have to take a few weeks off, but mentally it’s just frustrating wanting to play and doing as much work as he can. The body is one of those things that is quite fickle and it’s really hard to measure it and you the process to speed up.”

A dejected Goffin reflected on the tricky conditions on Aranxta Sanchez court with the court being half in the sun and half in shadow.

“I think it was a really tough day, really bad, bad conditions I think from both sides – there was no good points from the beginning until the end”, Goffin complained. “It was not easy, not a good match. I think for both sides it was just terrible. But, in the end, he played a little bit better and was more focused maybe. I’m not happy. I just was feeling good, but the conditions was not great and I was focused on it and I’m a little bit angry on myself now.”

Goffin was not quite so unequivocal about the improvements in the Edmund game and whether he could reach the final this week.

“Honestly, it’s tough to say today because I didn’t put one ball in the court. But, yeah, what I saw in the last few months he improved a lot, great forehand, great first serve. He looks like a great guy with a great mentality, so yeah, he’s improving a lot. It’s only the quarter-finals, there are so many good players so it’s a tough question. He has the potential, yeah but we will see on the next round.”

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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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