Sloane Stephens Keeping Grounded Ahead Of US Open As She Reaches Montreal Quarters - UBITENNIS
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Sloane Stephens Keeping Grounded Ahead Of US Open As She Reaches Montreal Quarters

The 25-year-old is playing down any talk of feeling the pressure during what is a crucial part of the season for her.

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World No.3 Sloane Stephens has vowed to take things in her stride as she nears her title defence at the US Open later this month.

 

Stephens, who defeated Madison Keys in the New York final last year, is seeking a boost to her preparations this week at the Rogers Cup. On Thursday she battled into the last eight after defeating former top 10 player Carla Suárez Navarro 6-2, 7-5. Stephens had three match points whilst leading 5-2 in the second set before her Spanish rival staged a mini comeback. Despite the blip, she managed to seal the win with the help of 34 winners.

“I thought I had a little bit of a lapse, but I was happy to get back and win the last two games. Obviously you play a sport, you’re playing against an opponent. She played a couple of good games, kind of threw me off. I was happy to get through in the end.” Stephens commented about her performance.

The third seed will take on Anastasija Sevastova in the next round, who defeated Julia Goerges in straight sets. It will be the second time Stephens has played the Latvian on a North American hard court. Last year at the US Open, she defeated Sevastova on route to her first grand slam title before losing to her a couple months later at the Elite Trophy in China.

“I played well against both of them. They’re both playing well. It would be a good match either one.” Stephens previewed about facing either Sevastova or Goerges.

US Open nears

Beyond the Rogers Cup, Stephens is hoping to continue her New York fairytale at Flushing Meadows. Last year she defeated five seeded players on route to the title in what was only her fifth tournament following a 11-month absence due to a foot injury.

“I have a few goals that I still want to reach. I think US Open or not, if I do really great, if I do really bad, it really doesn’t matter. I still have to play five more tournaments.” She commented about her hard court season.
“I think now, just kind of taking it all in stride, trying to play my best, compete, get a lot of matches under my belt.”

A new addition to this year’s grand slam will be a shot clock to monitor the time players take during their warm-ups and between points. It is an initiative that has been implemented in a series of tournaments, including the Rogers Cup. An approach that has been welcomed by many players, including Stephens.

“I think it’s okay. I think some people play under the shot clock, then some people take their time and wait till the last minute.” Stephens said about the Shot Clock.
“I definitely think you have to pay attention. It’s a lot of human error. If the umpire doesn’t start it right away, you think, If they started it five seconds earlier, the person you’re playing would have got a serve warning.”

This week, Stephens is targeting her second title of the year after the Miami Open.

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Italy leads 2-0 against Romania in Billie Jean King Cup Play-off

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Italy leads 2-0 over Romania in the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Play-off against Romania in Cluj-Napoca.

 

World number 111 Elisabetta Cocciaretto beat debutant Irina Bara 6-1 6-4 to give Italy a 1-0 lead in the first tie. Cocciaretto cruised through to a 6-1 lead. Bara bounced back by taking a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Cocciaretto won six of the next seven games to claim a straight-set win. 

Italy took a 2-0 lead after last year’s Roland Garros quarter finalist Martina Trevisan battled past Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7-5) after 3 hours and 7 minutes after saving two match points. The third set featured 10 breaks in 12 12 games. Trevisan won four consecutive games from 2-2 with two breaks to win the first set 6-2. 

Buzarnescu went up a double break to take a 3-0 lead and never looked back to claim the second set 6-2. 

The third set started with four consecutive breaks. Both players held their serve in the fifth and sixth games. Trevisan saved missed two match points at 4-5 15-40 to hold serve. Buzarnescu did not close out the match after serving after serving at 6-5. Both players traded breaks in the next two service games to send the match to the tie-break, which featured six mini-breaks in the first ten points. Trevisan won the final two points from 5-5 to take a thrilling tie-break 7-5.

“I fought for every ball, even if I did not feel very well in the latter stages of the match. This fighting spirit brought me the victory”, said Trevisan. 

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Andrey Rublev reaches his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal after three-set win over Rafael Nadal in Monte-Carlo

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Andrey Rublev battled past Rafael Nadal 6-2 4-6 6-2 on Court Rainier III after 2 hours and 32 minutes at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters to move into his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal. Rublev beat Nadal for the first time in his career. 

 

Rublev played his second hard-fought match one day after beating Roberto Bautista Agut in almost three hours. 

Rublev equalled the biggest result of his career on clay and reached his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal after Miami.

“I don’t know what to say. I cannot imagine being in the situation of Rafa, knowing that you are the best player on clay and you have the pressure every time. I think it must be incredibly tough every time. I am in shock with the way he is playing under the pressure and that is why he is a legend”, said Rublev. 

Rublev saved eight of the twelve break points and earned seven break points. The Russian player got three breaks to cruise through to a 6-2 lead. 

Rublev started the match with an immediate break in the first game, as Nadal made a double fault. Nadal broke back at love in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Rublev converted his third break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Nadal netted a forehand to drop serve, as he was serving at 2-4. Rublev served out the first set 6-2 after 38 minutes, as Nadal sprayed a forehand. 

Rublev went up a set and a break in the first game, as Nadal sent a backhand wide. The 2021 Rotterdam winner saved a break point in the fourth game for 3-1 and earned three break points in the fifth game. Nadal fended them off for 2-3. Rublev saved four break points to open up a 4-2 lead. 

Nadal saved a break point with a forehand winner in the seventh game. The Spaniard broke back to draw level to 4-4 and held serve at 30 in the ninth game to open up a 5-4 forcing Rublev to serve to stay in the set. Nadal claimed his second consecutive break to seal the second set 6-4  after 74 minutes forcing the match to the third set. 

Rublev got a break in the first game before wasting two game points. Nadal broke straight back, as Rublev netted a forehand. Rublev broke serve for the sixth time in the third game to take a 2-1 lead and consolidated the break with a forehand down the line winner to open up a 3-1 lead. Rublev broke at 15 to race out to a 4-1 lead with a forehand winner and held serve with an unreturned serve in the seventh game. Rublev served out the match at 5-2 setting up a semifinal against Casper Ruud. 

“Casper is playing really well. I have known him for a long time. He is an amaziong player player and every match against him was dramatic. We had really great rallies and a really great level of tennis. It is going to be super tough. He is in great shape. He finished today much earlier than me. We will see what is going to happen tomorrow. I will try to recover as best as I can and to do my best tomorrow”, said Rublev. 

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Casper Ruud advances to his second Masters 1000 semifinal

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Casper Ruud beat defending champion Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-3 to reach the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his career. 

 

Fognini saved a break point in the second game to hold serve at deuce in the second game. Ruud fended off four break points in the fifth game and held his next two service games. Fognini dropped his serve at 4-5 to lose the first set after wasting a 40-15. 

Ruud went up an early break at love in the second game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead. Fognini had to save three break points in the fourth game before breaking serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. 

Ruud rallied from 15-40 down on Fognini’s serve to break serve at deuce in the eighth game earning his chance to serve out the match. The Scandinavian player sealed his win on his first match point in the 10th game after a net cord error from Fognini. 

Last September Ruud beat another Italian star Matteo Berrettini to reach the Masers 1000 semifinal in Rome. He became the highest-ranked player and the first ATP Tour champion from Norway by winning the 2020 Buenos Aires title, surpassing his father Christian Ruud, who peaked at number 39 after reaching the 1995 Bastad final. He advanced to Grand Slam fourth round for the first time at the 2021 Australian Open. 

“It was a tough match today. It has been a great week for me so far. I have beaten good players and today was a very big challenge. Fabio is the defending champion here and he plays very tricky. He can hit winners from anywhere and you really need to be ready for anything to come at you. I was happy with the way I was able to stay steady and make him play an extra ball here and there to force an error out of his play. It’s a nice feeling to be in the semifinals”, said Ruud. 

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