Magdalena Rybarikova Delighted To Reach Last Four In Birmingham - UBITENNIS
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Magdalena Rybarikova Delighted To Reach Last Four In Birmingham

Magdalena Rybarikova breezed to a comfortable straight-sets victory over Dalila Jakupovic to set up a semi-final with Barbora Strycova.

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Magdalena Rybarikova’s excellent run at the Nature Valley Classic looks set to continue after she recorded a comfortable 6-2 6-4 victory over surprise quarter-finalist Dalila Jakupovic.

The Slovakian, 29, is in superb form on her favourite surface. She now has a great chance to make it through to only her second WTA Premier final.

“I’m already pretty satisfied with the results,” Rybarikova said. “I think it’s great to make the semifinals of such a big tournament and to beat a top ten player, a very dangerous player (Pliskova).

“I think it’s also good for my confidence before Wimbledon.”

The Slovakian said it has taken her longer than she expected to adapt to grass this year. “I was a little bit disappointed (with the way I played) in Nottingham,” she said.

“I didn’t adjust that quickly from clay. But now I’m I’ve found my game and I feel very good on grass.”

She continued, “I’m very pleased. I have good results on grass almost every year. So I really feel confident. It’s my favourite part of the season and for me it would be great if there were more tournaments on grass.”

Rybarikova: it’s never easy to be the favourite

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Rybarikova’s opponent, Jakupovic, beat Sachia Vickery and Bernarda Pera in qualifying. She then stunned Elise Mertens in the first round and advanced due to Naomi Osaka’s retirement in the second round.

However, the Slovenian never really threatened to upset the odds against the Slovakian in today’s quarter-final, as the World No.19 controlled the match throughout.

“When you play someone who you should beat, like today for example, it’s obviously different than playing someone like Pliskova,” Rybarikova said.

“I just kept saying myself to stick with the plan. That was working pretty well. It’s never easy to be the favourite, but so many now players can beat Top 10 or Top 20 players, so it’s not a huge surprise (when they do it).”

She continued, “Some players are better ranked, but you feel you can beat them because you have a game for them. Others are lower ranked and you say it’s a very tough for me because I don’t like the way she plays. It’s not always only about rankings.”

Rybarikova’s next match is an intriguing last-four clash with Barbora Strycova. The Czech was 7-5 3-0 up on Lesia Tsurenko when the Ukrainian was forced to retire with a left hip injury.

“Everything is tricky about Barbora because she is an extremely talented player,” the Slovakian said. “I lost to her twice last year and she feels very good here on the grass. So it’s definitely going to be tough.”

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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