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Donna Vekic Feels Close To Beating The Top Players

Donna Vekic talked about how close she feels to big victories, her love of Wimbledon, her coaching team and her career so far.

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Donna Vekic fought back superbly in the second set to push Elina Svitolina all the way in their first round encounter in Birmingham, and she was feeling upbeat afterwards.

 

“I have had quite a few close matches against the top players and I feel like I’m there,” said Vekic. “There’s just a little bit missing (that I need) to make the next step to be able to beat them.”

The Croatian also believes that if she knew what she needed to do to beat the top players, she would have done it by now. So she is focusing on small margins instead.

She said, “I think it’s just overall improvement of everything – 5% here, 5% there – and hopefully that will get me there and hopefully that will be soon.”

Vekic looks ahead to Wimbledon

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Anyone who watched Wimbledon last year will remember Vekic’s incredible match against Johanna Konta in the second round. The Croatian thinks that epic clash made her feel more confident on court, and she is keen for more experiences like it.

“I think that was a great match,” the World No.55 said. “It was tough to lose, but I had a great time on centre court and hopefully I can have a few more matches there. That means going far in the tournament so hopefully I can do that as well.”

Vekic is excited about Wimbledon and does not believe how well she progresses there will be determined by the draw.

“I think everyone has ambitions to do well at Wimbledon,” she said. “It’s my favourite tournament, my favourite Grand Slam.”

“I don’t want to look at the draw too much because sometimes you have a good draw and you lose and sometimes you have a bad draw and you win. So I think draws are pretty irrelevant and I just have to focus on my game and play as well as I can.”

Vekic happy with her development

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A settled coaching environment is often vital to a player’s success, and Vekic is pleased with the progress she is making with Torben Beltz in her camp.

“I think Torben is a great coach for me,” the Croatian said. “I can get down on myself and not see things clearly but he’s always very positive, always trying to push me even on the days when I don’t feel like practising. It’s very fun with Torben and he knows a lot about tennis.”

Vekic’s appearance at the 2018 Championships will be her sixth at Wimbledon, something she described as “quite crazy for someone who is only 21”. She is happy about how she has developed since her debut at SW19.

“I’ve developed a lot,” she said. “When I was younger, I was just aggressive with a big serve, but now I defend well too and I can go from defence to attack.”

“I think I move a lot better than a few years ago, which is obviously a good thing. Even when my plan A is not working, there is always plan B. I’ve also improved my drop shot a lot and I like to mix that in.”

Vekic reflects on her career so far

“I was 16 when I made the top 100 and I was playing so well,” Vekic said. “Then I was 18 when I started to go down the rankings. So by the time I was 20 I had experienced the highs and the lows.”

“I had experienced everything so I think that helped me, especially last year when I realised, ‘OK, now I’ve matured, I know what’s good for my tennis, I know what the right things are, and I know what I have to do.’”

All things considered, Vekic is happy with the way things are going, even if she remains impatient for success.

“I want to play well now,” she said. “Torben was talking about all these being good tournaments to get ready for Wimbledon and I said, ‘No, Torben, I want to win this week.’”

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WIMBLEDON: Simona Halep Impresses After Troublesome Physical, Mental Battle

2022 has been far from straightforward for the Romanian but she is seeing light at the end of the tunnel at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

For Simona Halep reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon is an achievement in itself after her recent misfortunes. 

 

It all began at the Italian Open last year where she sustained a calf injury that would force her to miss two major events, as well as the Tokyo Olympic Games. Recovering from the setback was far from simple for the former world No.1 who soon found herself struggling mentally to the extent that she considered walking away from the sport altogether.

However, she managed to regain her desire and passion for tennis with the help of Patrick Mouratoglou who has officially been her coach since April. Halep continues to work her way back to top shape and her form at Wimbledon proves perseverance pays off. 

Playing her fourth round match against fourth seed Paula Badosa, Halep stormed to an emphatic 6-1, 6-2, win in just over an hour. She dropped only two points behind her first serve and hit 17 winners against just nine unforced errors. It is the third time this year she has beaten a top 10 player after previously beating Badosa on another occasion, as well as Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

“It means a lot that I’m back in the quarterfinals after I struggled so much with injuries and self-confidence,” said Halep.
“I’m working hard every day. I feel like if I do that, I will get better. I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. I’m really confident. It’s a pleasure to be on the court.”
“I think this helps me a lot to be able to do my best tennis. And everything comes together. I feel strong physically. I feel very good mentally.”

Speaking openly about her previous struggles, injury and confidence are two very different issues to deal with. But which one of those was the most difficult?

“It started with the injury, so I was not able to play for three, four months. Then I also lost the confidence, the belief that I can be good again, at the top. And I struggled for a long period,” she continued.
“But now it’s past. I’m here. I’m playing well. I’m feeling good on the court. So this is the most important thing, and I just want to focus on that.”

It is by no means a coincidence that Halep is thriving at Wimbledon considering her previous record. It was in 2019 when she produced a stunning display against Serena Williams to capture the title. Becoming the first and only player from her country to claim the women’s singles title. She has also reached the quarter-finals on three other occasions prior to this year.

“Grass is not an easy surface and you have to really connect with it. You have to get used to it.” Said Halep.
“I like it because it’s fast. I feel it. I feel stable on my feet. My legs are pretty strong for this surface. I feel my game fits it.”

As the only former Grand Slam champion left in the draw, Halep’s next test will be against Amanda Anisimova who defeated Harmony Tan 6-2, 6-3, in her fourth round match.

“I’m here to play as I did today, to focus on myself,” she states.
“I’m sure that I can play good tennis again. But it’s going to be a big challenge. It’s the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. I’m ready for it and I’m looking forward to it.”


Halep recently crushed Anisimova 6-2, 6-1, at the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. 

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‘She Got lucky’ – Jelena Ostapenko Has Dig At Opponent After Wimbledon Exit

The top 20 star was also not happy with the umpire following her latest loss.

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Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) - Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

Former Grand Slam champion Jelena Ostapenko believes her exit from Wimbledon was nothing but a stroke of bad luck after criticizing her match umpire.

 

Ostapenko, who was the 12th seed in the tournament, fell 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, to Germany’s Tatjana Maria. The clash was a frustrating encounter for the Latvian who had an array of chances to establish a strong lead. After winning the opener, she boasted a break advantage in each of the next two sets before losing them. Then at 5-4 in the third, she failed to convert two match points before losing the final two games of the match.

“I thought it was like my match. I had to win it and she got just so lucky in some moments so she could come back. I felt I was the player who had to win this match today,” said Ostapenko.

Claiming that she felt she was playing at a better level than Maria,  Ostapenko has taken a swipe at the match official for making in her view ‘a huge mistake.’   She is not the first player to criticize the court officials with Nick Kyrgios expressing his frustration about them multiple times at the tournament.

“She got lucky, she framed it, put the ball on the line,” she commented on how her match ended. “Then the chair umpire made a huge mistake on 5-All in the third set when it was breakpoint on my serve and I had no challenges left. People who watched the match texted me that it was quite big out.”
“All those small things together, they come and you can lose such a match. Of course, I’m really disappointed because if I lost against an amazing player who just beat me in a great match, but I just lost my match.”

A win would have elevated Ostapenko into the last eight of a major for the first time since Wimbledon 2018. The 25-year-old is currently ranked 17th in the world but has been as high as fifth before.

It was visible how annoyed she was with the match immediately afterward when she threw her water bottle onto her chair out of anger, knocking it out. Prompting an inevitable reaction of boos from the crowd.

“I’m an emotional player. I hate losing because I’m such a competitive person,” said Ostapenko.
“So I think it’s normal. Of course, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but it’s easy to say from the outside when you are not in my place, it’s easy to judge.”

As for Maria, she will play compatriot Jule Niemeier in the quarter-finals. 

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Who Is Marie Bouzková? Six Things To Know About The Wimbledon Quarter-Finalist

After previously never going beyond the second round of a major, the Czech is making a name for herself at The All England Club.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech Republic’s Maria Bouzkova has broken new ground at Wimbledon by reaching the quarter-finals on Sunday. 

 

Coming into the tournament, the 23-year-old has failed to win back-to-back matches in 12 Grand Slam appearances. However, the past week has seen her breakthrough with a surprise run to the quarter-finals. She secured a place in the last eight with a 7-5, 6-2, win over France’s Caroline Garcia. The player who defeated Emma Raducanu in the second round.

In her latest match, Bouzkova was by far the most consistent player on the court as she produced just four unforced errors against 13 winners. In comparison, Garcia’s tally was 25 against 24. She broke the Frenchwoman four times in the match en route to victory. 

“I don’t know how I got here,” said Bouzkova.
“Now we will celebrate with strawberries and cream. It’s one of our 100 routines at Wimbledon.”

Bouzkova’s run at Wimbledon has brought the Czech into the limelight for the first time. Although some may not be too familiar with the right-hander who plays with a two-handed backhand. Here are five things to know about the underdog. 

  1. As a junior, she won the 2014 US Open title and reached the final of the Wimbledon doubles event that same year. 
  2. Wimbledon is where Bouzkova won her first Grand Slam main draw match back in 2019 after defeating Mona Barthel in the first round. 
  3. Prior to Garcia, she defeated Danielle Collins, Ann Li and Alison Riske-Amritraj this week. Collins was the sixth top 20 player she has defeated and second this year after Karolina Pliskova.
  4. She was ranked as low as 97th in the world earlier this season but is currently up to 66. Her career-best is 46. 
  5. Has reached three WTA finals in as many years in Guadalajara (2022), Melbourne 250 (2021) and Monterey (2020).
  6. She has a win-loss record of 18-9 so far this season. Although prior to Wimbledon, she has not won any matches on the grass after losing in the first round of Eastbourne to Shelby Rogers. 

Bouzkova will play either second seed Ons Jabeur or Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.

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