Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova Suffer Injury scares Ahead Of Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova Suffer Injury scares Ahead Of Australian Open

Less than two weeks before the start of the first grand slam of 2019, two familiar familiar faces on the WTA Tour have suffered injury setbacks in their build up tournaments.

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Garbine Muguruza at the 2018 Australian Open (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright: @Sport Vision

Two-time Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza defeated France’s Alize Cornet 6-1, 6-3, but was hampered by an issue with her left thigh during her final singles match played at this year’s Hopman Cup.

Three games into the match, the Spaniard left for a medical timeout during what was an eight-minute break. Upon returning, she had heavy strapping on her leg. Cornet also had to deal with her own physical issues after undergoing treatment on her back.

“It’s so, so. We (the players) always have some kind of pain and we’ve been playing a lot throughout the whole week.” Muguruza commented about the issue afterwards. “I managed to forget about it and fight.”

Despite alarm bells ringing, Muguruza has played down any significance of the issue. It was almost exactly 12 months ago where she was forced to withdraw from the Sydney International due to a thigh issue. During 2018 she was also troubled by issues concerning her back and arm.

“I work hard, as well with matches and the whole week. So, today I was a little bit tired. I just felt a little pain in my quad and I thought, you know what, protect it a little bit,” she explained in her press conference.
“I kept fighting and kept playing.”

At the Hopman Cup, where Muguruza is playing alongside David Ferrer, the 25-year-old has lost two out of her three singles matches. Earlier in the week, she went out in straight sets to both Angelique Kerber and Ashleigh Barty. Nevertheless, Muguruza states that she is happy with her week in Perth as she switches her attention to Sydney. Hoping she will experience no more issues with her thigh.

“I came to have good matches, to be competitive and I think I got that.” Muguruza concluded. “You always want to win all of them, but I found what I was looking for. I’m going to leave happy no matter what.”

Sharapova succumbs to injury

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In China, Maria Sharapova was another player to suffer an injury blow ahead of the grand slam. The former world No.1 was taking on top seed Aryna Sabalenka, but was forced to retire whilst trailing 6-1, 4-2. The official reason for the withdrawal was a left thigh injury. During the match Sharapova’s coach, Thomas Hogstedt, was urging her to seek help during one of their on-court coaching breaks.

“If you feel more like you did on the first point, then you just stop. Or take a medical [time out] now.” He said.

Sharapova did seek a media timeout between sets, but it failed to solve her problem. Two games away from victory, the Russian gave in and quit the match. Making it only the sixth time in her career that she has retired from a match on the WTA Tour and the first time since the 2017 Italian Open.

It is unclear as to how substantial the problem is for Sharapova, who was also wearing strapping on her right shoulder whilst taking on Sabalenka. A shoulder problem was the reason why Sharapova decided to end her 2018 season early.

Sharapova’s next tournament is set to be the Australian Open, which will get underway on January 14th.

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WATCH: Fans Fight Over Aryna Sabalenka’s Headband Before Security Takes Item Away

Watch the moment two tennis fans lose it over a headband!

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It is traditional for a player to celebrate their victory by throwing some of their unwanted items into the crowd. However, at the Australian Open Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka got more than she bargained for.

The 11th seed moved into the third round of the tournament on Wednesday following a 6-3, 6-4, win over Great Britain’s Katie Boulter. Recording her seventh win of the season. Shortly after her victory, she threw her headband into the crowd at the Melbourne Arena. Inadvertently creating a tug of war between two stubborn tennis fans. Resulting in them both being escorted off the premises!

https://twitter.com/JeddZetzer/status/1085438472863633408

Following the both bizarre and funny showdown between the two spectators, many are wondering who the winner was. Ironically, it was neither. According to Sporting News, security escorted both women away and then took the item from them as they couldn’t agree as to who should get it.

I guess you can’t win them all!

The two ladies involved in the tussle (image via https://twitter.com/standardsport)

 

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Kiki Bertens knocked out by Pavlyuchenkova

Pavlyuchenkova earned a big win over 9th seed Bertens, while Sasnovich also stunned 20th seed Kontaveit.

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Kiki Bertens became the highest seeded casualty in the women’s draw so far when she lost an entertaining three-set encounter 3-6 6-3 6-3 to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The Dutchwoman, 27, had her best-ever year on the WTA tour in 2018. She won three titles, including the Premier 5 event in Cincinnati, but she will not back up those successes with a good run in Melbourne.

In the first set, Bertens looked comfortable as she broke Pavlyuchenkova twice to establish a 5-1 lead. However, the Russian gained a foothold in the match when she earned her first break in the seventh game.

Pavlyuchenkova built on that momentum in the second set when she went 3-0 up thanks to an early break. And she continued to serve impressively to level the match at one-set all.

The decider was more unpredictable. The Russian broke in the first game, but her Dutch opponent responded with an immediate break back.

However, Pavlyuchenkova’s groundstrokes looked in excellent working order by this stage and she used them to great effect to break Bertens twice more in the fifth and ninth games to take the set 6-3 and clinch a superb win.

“I’m really happy with the win and the way I played today,” the Russian said in her post-match interview. “She is a very tough opponent so that is a great win for me.”

Sasnovich shocks Kontaveit

Pavlyuchenkova’s opponent in round three will be another seed-killer after Aliaksandra Sasnovich beat 20th seed Anett Kontaveit 6-3 6-3.

The Belarussian claimed a headline-grabbing win over Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon last year and she is in scintillating form so far in 2019.

Sasnovich, 24, reached the quarter-final in Brisbane and the semi-final in Sydney and she has carried that momentum into the Australian Open.

She thrashed former Grand Slam semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens 6-1 6-1 in the first round and then beat Kontaveit almost as convincingly.

Stephens, Garcia and Martic advance

Sloane Stephens had no such trouble in her match against Timea Babos. She beat the Hungarian 6-3 6-1 to set up a third round meeting with Petra Martic, who took out Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 7-5.

Caroline Garcia also looks to be in good form. She backed up a first-round victory over qualifier Jessika Ponchet with a 6-3 6-3 win over Australian wildcard Zoe Hives.

 

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Naomi Osaka takes straight set win to cruise through to the second round

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Last year’s US Open champion and number 4 seed Naomi Osaka beat Magda Linette 6-4 6-2 in 58 minutes to cruise through to the second round at the Australian Open.

Osaka avenged her 6-2 3-6 6-3 defeat against Linette, who won their most recent defeat in the second round at Washington last summer.

The US-based Japanese player claimed four breaks of serve and hit 30 winners to just 16 unforced errors.

Both players traded breaks in the third and fourth games to draw level to 2-2. Osaka earned her second consecutive break in the fifth game to take  a 3-2 lead and held three consecutive service games at love to close out the opening set 6-4. The Japanese player held his service games in his service games and got two breaks in the third and seventh games to close out the second set 6-2.

Osaka won 24 of her 25 points behind her first serve and fired six aces.

The 21-year-old Japanese player will take on Tamara Zidansek, who stunned Daria Gavrilova 7-5 6-3 in her debut at the Australian Open.

“I had a lot of fun. It’s not often that I get to play a night match at Rod Laver. For me it was the first time. I did not feel nervous either, which was a bit unexpected. I thought that I would, being that it’s the first match. I just felt like I had a lot of fun today. For me it was more a test. I was testing myself on how well I can move”,said Osaka.

This year’s Brisbane International champion Karolina Pliskova broke serve four times and dropped her serve twice to cruise past her compatriot Karolina Muchova 6-3 6-2.

Elina Svitolina dropped just three games in her 6-1 6-2 win over Viktorija Golubic with five breaks of serve.

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