Garbine Muguruza Opens Up About Past US Open Struggles Following Halep Exit - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza Opens Up About Past US Open Struggles Following Halep Exit

The two-time grand slam champion reacts to the world No.1 crashing out of the tournament.

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Spain’s Garbine Muguruza has said she sympathizes with world No.1 Simona Halep after she crashed out in the first round of the US Open.

 

Halep became the first top seed in the Open Era to lose in the first round of the women’s tournament after being brushed aside by Kaia Kanepi in straight sets. The loss followed a positive summer campaign on the North American hard court’s. Halep won the Rogers Cup followed by reaching the final of the Cincinnati Open. Reflecting on her early exit, the 26-year-old admitted that she finds it difficult to find her game in New York.

“Maybe the noise in the crowd, the city is busy, everything together,’’ Halep said during her press conference. “I’m a quiet person maybe I like smaller places. I don’t really feel 100 per cent on my game when I step on the court here.”

The woes of the Romanian are ones all too familiar for Muguruza. Her first four appearances at Flushing Meadows saw the Spaniard win only two matches. It wasn’t until last year that she had a breakthrough with a run to the fourth round. In total she has only ever won six matches at the US Open, including her 6-3, 6-0, win over China’s Zhang Shuai on Monday. To put this into perspective, at her second worst performing grand slam (the Australian Open) she has won 14 matches.

“I really feel for her way when she says that, because me, at the beginning, for the first four years, I didn’t almost get past the first round.” Muguruza said in response to Halep’s comments. “I was always there and I didn’t really understand what was happening.
“This (the US Open) is a little different than other tournaments, but I’m learning to handle that better because I really want to go far in the tournament.
“I feel like people love it or people don’t like it. It’s black or white a little bit.”

So how did Muguruza manage to overcome her US Open nightmares? For her, it didn’t involve changing her fitness program or adjusting her mental approach to the game. Instead, she chose to take the route of an introvert whilst in New York.

“I try not to spend a lot of time outside. There are a lot of people, there is a lot of noise. I always try to be in calm places. I’m happy to go to the park, but I don’t do a lot of shopping.” She explained.
“I do spend a lot of time in the hotel, at this tournament in particular. But that’s my way.”

Muguruza is seeded 12th in this year’s draw. Leading up the tournament, her offensive on the tour has been halted by an arm injury. Her win over Shuai was only the second competitive match she has played since Wimbledon.

“I feel I’m trying to be realistic, not trying to set tough goals, even though I always expect myself to go out there and perform well.” She concluded.

In the second round, Muguruza will play Czech qualifier Karolína Muchová.

ATP

Casper Ruud Topples Rune To Reach French Open Semis

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Casper Ruud came out on top in his all-Scandinavian clash with Holger Rune to seal his place in the semi-finals of the French Open. 

 

Ruud, who is seeded fourth in the draw, battled to a 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, win over his Danish opponent in what was a topsy-turvy encounter on the Philippe Chatrier Court. It is the second year in a row that the Norwegian has defeated Rune in the last eight of Roland Garros and he now leads their head-to-head 6-1. He is through to the last four of a major for only the third time in his career. 

“I’m very relieved. I came into this match trying to not play with pressure but it is not easy when you’re playing a big match against Holger who is never easy,” Rune said during his post-match interview. “He is very aggressive. Luckily for me the first two sets he wasn’t feeling it too well. He made a lot of errors and I got a lot of points for free.’
“That helped settle my nerves but he fought back in the third set. In the fourth set, I was lucky to keep that break.”

The highly anticipated nighttime clash began in one-way fashion with Ruud claiming 12 out of the first 15 games with relative ease as an erratic Rune struggled to find his game on the court, hitting a total of 40 unforced errors during the first two sets. 

It wasn’t until the third frame that Ruud finally faced some resistance on the court as his opponent orchestrated the crowd to get behind him. Prompting the 20-year-old to hit a series of impressive shots to revive his hopes.

However, Rune’s comeback was short-lived as Ruud broke once more midway through the fourth set as he moved to a game away from victory. He earned his first match point at 5-2 following a double fault from his rival but failed to convert. Two more opportunities then came and went for Ruud before he managed to serve the match out in the following game.

“I think I did well,” he replied when asked about how he handled his nerves. “I kind of looked at it (the match) as if he was the favourite. He won the last time we played and he has had a better year than me so far.’
“He was hoping to get into his first (Grand Slam) semi-final and I was hungry to get into another semi-final. Luckily it worked out well for me.”

Awaiting the 24-year-old in the semi-finals on Friday will be Alexander Zverev who defeated Tomás Martín Etcheverry in four sets. He trails their head-to-head 1-2 but they have never faced each other on clay. 

“Ruud has been there before. He was in the final here last year, so he knows exactly what it means and what it takes,” Zverev told reporters.  

Ruud is now 16-5 this season when it comes to playing matches on the clay. Since the start of 2020, he has registered 86 wins on the surface which is more than any other player on the ATP Tour.

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ATP

Argentina’s Tomas Etcheverry Pays Tribute To Sister After Milestone French Open Win

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Moments after booking his place in the quarter-finals of the French Open for the first time, Tomas Etcheverry paid tribute to his sister who passed away last year. 

 

The world No.49 overcame a tough opening set before storming past Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6(8), 6-0, 6-1, on Monday night. His win continues what has been a fairytale run for the 23-year-old who is yet to drop a set in Paris. Prior to the tournament, he had only ever won one main draw match at a Grand Slam in his career. 

Speaking to ESPN after his victory, Etcheverry mentioned his sister Magui who died in 2022 at the age of 32 following a two-year battle with breast cancer. She had two children called Galo and Juana. 

“The truth is that lately I’ve been asking my sister for strength a lot… Today, before a serve, I asked her: ‘Magui, please help me’. And she helped me. I hit an ace,” Etcheverry said

Etcheverry has already shown his credentials on the clay this season by reaching the final of ATP tournaments in Houston and Santiago. However, he has at times struggled for consistency. Coming into this year’s French Open, he had failed to win back-to-back matches at four consecutive tournaments before reaching the final of a Challenger event in Bordeaux. 

Besides Nishioka, the Argentine has also recorded convincing wins over Alex de Minaur and Borna Coric at the French Open. Making it the first time in his career that he has defeated players currently ranked in the world’s top 20. His next opponent will be Alexander Zverev who he has never played before on the Tour.

“In the next round it’s going to be tough,” Etcheverry said in his press conference. “Sascha Zverev, I think he has a lot more experience than me, but I feel really good to play against him.’
“I am playing incredible tennis this week, and just I have to focus on my game and try to do the same.”

Should Etcheverry upset Zverev, he will become the first Argentine to reach the last four at Roland Garros since Diego Schwartzman in 2020. 

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ATP

Holger Rune Capable Of Winning Multiple Grand Slam Titles, Says Former No.1

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Denmark’s Holger Rune needs to work on maintaining his concentration during matches but still has the ability to win Grand Slam titles in the future, according to Mats Wilander.

 

Rune sealed his place in the quarter-finals of the French Open on Monday after coming through a roller-coaster five-set battle against Francisco Cerundolo. The world No.6 struggled with his consistency in the match as he produced 48 unforced errors and also appeared lethargic during certain stages. Despite the patchy play, he battled to a 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(10-7), victory. 

Reacting to Rune’s latest victory in Paris, Wilander has described the 20-year-old as ‘very mature on the court.’ It is the second year in a row that he has reached the last eight of the French Open but he is yet to reach this stage at any other Grand Slam. On the ATP Tour, he has won four ATP titles with the most prestigious of those being at last year’s Paris Masters. 

“I’m very impressed with his problem solving skills for sure,” Wilander told Eurosport.
“Obviously you’re always a little bit concerned when you’re playing a five setter in this, at this time of the tournament, especially losing the fourth set, 6-1. It’s a bit worrying.
“But at the same time, he kind of lets that set go. So he’s very mature in terms of the tactics in a tennis match, mentally, he’s very mature, but I feel like he might be losing his concentration here and there.”

Despite his criticism, seven-time major winner Wilander still believes Rune can become a multiple Grand Slam champion. Denmark has never had a Grand Slam singles champion in the history of men’s tennis. 

“But then I’m comparing him with Carlos Alcaraz who doesn’t seem to lose concentration that much. So Rune is going to be a great player one day,” he continued. 
“He’s already really good and I think he’s going to win Grand Slam tournaments because he’s got this ability to switch on and switch off a little bit – and he comes back and plays his best tennis nearly always when it means the most.”

Rune will next play Casper Ruud who defeated Nicolas Jarry in straight sets in his fourth round match. Coincidentally the two also faced off against each other in the quarter-finals of the same tournament last year in what was a tense encounter. After that match, Rune accused his opponent of excessively celebrating in the locker room and shouting ‘ja’ in his direction. An accusation that Ruud denied doing.

However, this time round Rune is hoping that there will be less tension between the two. 

There was drama last year and I hope we can make less drama this year. We played each other in Rome. It was a good match,” he said. 
“He’s a good player. I respect him. There’s no problem. We’re good. Should be a match without problems, hopefully. I’m just looking forward to it.”

Rune is only the second Danish man in history to reach at least the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam on multiple occasions. The first to do so was Kurt Nielsen who reached the benchmark four times during the 1950s. 

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