(VIDEO) Day 14 At The French Open: Simona Halep Breaks Her Grand Slam Curse - UBITENNIS
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(VIDEO) Day 14 At The French Open: Simona Halep Breaks Her Grand Slam Curse

Steve Flink from The Tennis Channel joins Ubitennis to review the women’s final that took place at Roland Garros on Saturday.

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Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep (zimbio.com)

World No.1 Simona Halep is finally a grand slam champion following a roller-coaster win over Sloane Stephens. The Romanian fought back from a set down to defeat Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Becoming the first female player from her country to win a major title since 1978.

As as result of Saturday’s win, when the WTA rankings are updated on Monday the top four will be all reigning grand slam champions :-

1) Simona Halep (French Open champion)
2) Caroline Wozniacki (Australian Open champion)
3) Garbine Muguruza (Wimbledon champion)
4) Sloane Stephens (US Open champion)

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo and Flink look back on what was a memorable women’s final at the French Open.

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After Epic Encounter With Federer, Daniil Medvedev Sets Sights On Rise To The Top

The Russian No.1 is hoping to end the season on a high as he looks to make his mark on the tour.

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After being so close to the biggest win of his career, Daniil Medvedev is seeking solace in a newfound confidence as he plays at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

The Asian swing saw the world No.21 win the Japan Open in Tokyo in what was his first ATP 500 title. Following on from his triumph, Medvedev set up a second round showdown against Roger Federer at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Despite being the clear underdog in the match, Medvedev pushed the 20-time grand slam champion to battle for the 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, win. Prompting Federer to say afterwards ‘I have a lot of respect for him and he is a tough guy.’

“I realized that I could beat players like Federer. I was very close, it was all about a couple of rallies. Everything could have turned my way.” Medvedev told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday.

Prior to 2018, Medvedev hadn’t broke into the world’s top 50. His rise up the rankings has been aided by a trio of titles he has won on the tour. Claiming trophies in Sydney and Winston-Salem, as well as Tokyo. He has also reached the third rounds at both Wimbledon and the US Open. His best results in grand slams to date.

“This is just the result of the work I have been doing throughout the season, starting with the off-season.” He explains.
“I started to take tennis differently than last year and it began to bear fruit. The hardest thing in life is when you give it 100%, but nothing happens, so I’m glad it started to bring results.”

Whilst moving in the right direction, the Russian is under no illusion of the work he has ahead of him. He has only ever recorded one win over a top 10 player, which was Stan Wawrinka at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships. He is currently 0-4 against top 10 opposition this year.

Whilst the results are not there, the belief is. This week, Medvedev is bidding to become the first Russian man to win the Kremlin Cup since Mikhail Youzhny in 2009. Receiving a first round bye for the first time in his career, he blasted his way past Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-1. Should he win the tournament, Medvedev would become only the third player to win four singles titles on the ATP Tour in 2018. Following in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal (5) and Novak Djokovic (4).

“When you are up against a top-level player, you immediately feel that the rhythm of the game is different. Due to their strong and fast strikes, they do not allow you to breathe during the game. Because of this, they are in the Top 10.” He said.
“This is what experience is all about, I have to learn how to beat them.”

Medvedev will take on Ričardas Berankis in the quarter-finals on Friday.

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‘I Love You, Man’ – Novak Djokovic Lead Tributes To Radek Stepanek At Special Event

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal also praised the recently retired Czech player.

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Novak Djokovic has paid tribute to his former coach Radek Stepanek at a special ceremony to mark the retirement of the Czech player.

On Thursday evening the former world No.1 travelled to Prague to play at a exhibition event celebrating the career of the former world No.8. Stepanek announced his retirement from the sport in November 2017 at the age of 38. His decision to hang up the racket was due to ongoing issues with his back, which he had an operation on during February 2017.

“Radek I truly love you as a friend, as a college, as a mentor and as a brother from another mother.” Djokovic said during a speech at the O2 Arena. “This man here deserves everything he received. He deserves it because he is a wonderful human, an incredible tennis player that has had a wonderful career. And, he has done a lot for the Czech republic.”

Born on November 27th, 1978 in the Czech mining city of Karviná, Stepanek has enjoyed success in both singles and doubles throughout his career. Breaking into the world’s top 10 in both categories. He has won 23 ATP titles, of which 18 occurred in the doubles. He was twice runner-up at a Masters 1000 event at the 2004 Paris Open and the 2006 German Open. At the grand slams, his best performance was reaching the quarter-finals of the 2006 Wimbledon championships. He is also a two-time grand slam champion in men’s doubles.

Shortly after retiring from the sport, Stepanek found himself in a new role. Becoming the coach of Djokovic during a time when the Serbian was recovering from a serious elbow injury. Although the partnership lasted less than six months.

“I’ve had him in every role of my of my life, but I have him in the most important role which is as a friend and someone that I truly love and respect.” Said Djokovic.
“I want to congratulate you on a wonderful career and wish you all the best for what’s to come. Well done for everything you’ve done.” He added.

The special evening in Prague also featured the presence of India’s Leander Paes and Germany’s Tommy Haas, who played in a doubles match. Andre Agassi was also present and made a brief appearance on the court.

During the event, tributes from other players were also broadcast on the screens inside the arena. They include one from 20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer. Who played Stepanek 16 times on the tour, winning 14 of their matches.

“I want to congratulate you on a wonderful career and wish you all the best for what’s to come. Well done for everything you’ve done.” Said Federer.

World No.1 Rafael Nadal, who head-to-head record against Stepanek is 7-0, also paid tribute.

“It’s been a pleasure to share with you some great moments on tour. There has been some great battles (between us) and I just wanted to wish you all the best for the future.” Nadal said.

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Sam Stosur Addresses Retirement Talk Following ‘Disappointing’ Season

Set to end the year ranked outside the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2008, the Australian has spoken out about her future intentions in the sport.

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Former US Open champion Sam Stosur has said that she has an idea about when she will retire from tennis, but doesn’t want to ‘put a date on it.’

The 34-year-old is set to end the year outside of the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2008. A roller coaster 2018 has seen the Australian player win just 17 out of the 42 matches she has played. Stosur has ended the year with five consecutive first round defeats and last won a main draw match in July at the Gstaad Open.

Despite her mixed fortunes, Stosur will return to action at the start of next year at the Brisbane International. In what will be her 21st season on the tour. Despite becoming a veteran of the women’s tour, the 2011 US Open champion has no plans to slow down in the foreseeable future.

“I don’t know necessarily how many more Brisbane Internationals or Australian Opens I’m going to have, but while I’m still playing the way I am I want to be part of it,” Stosur told the Australian Associated Press. “I’ve got a bit of an idea but it’s so hard to say.
“I don’t want to put a date on it because if you feel like you want to keep going [when you should retire] you look like a bit of a fool, and if you quit earlier then you look silly as well.
“Not knowing how many are around the corner … it’d be nice to go out on a bit of a high with a good result in Australia.”

Whilst not winning any titles this season, Stosur can seek solace that she has enjoyed a season free of injury. Last year a stress fracture in her right hand forced the Australian to miss the entire grass-court season.

“Probably overall [this year’s been] a little bit disappointing, but in a lot of ways it was good because I went the whole year without being injured and missing anything,” she said.
“I feel like I’m actually playing really well at the moment – obviously you’ve got to get those wins on the board – but I feel like its all there and I’m looking forward to next year.”

Stosur has been ranked as high as fourth in the world. So far in her career, she has won nine WTA titles in singles competition and 25 in doubles. She has also played in 60 grand slam main draws with the first being at the 2002 Australian Open.

The Brisbane International will get underway on December 30th. Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Naomi Osaka will also feature in the tournament.

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