Maria Sharapova Says Equality In Tennis Is ‘Tough’ To Achieve Following Australian Open Win - UBITENNIS
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Maria Sharapova Says Equality In Tennis Is ‘Tough’ To Achieve Following Australian Open Win

The Russian talks equality, injury and her next opponent following her winning start at Melbourne Park.

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Maria Sharapova (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Visio

After an emphatic start to the Australian Open that didn’t see her lost a single game, Maria Sharapova has called out male players over their attitude towards their female counterparts.

 

The former world No.1 told reporters during her press conference that it has been ‘tough’ to gain respect from the players on the ATP Tour in recent years. Although Sharapova was keen to point out that some players have been more welcoming than others. Her comments coincides with the near retirement of three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray. Murray is known for his vocal support for women’s rights and was one of the few top players on the ATP Tour to have a female coach (Amelie Mauresmo).

“Relatively speaking, I think they (men) have been really tough, especially when it came to equality, as a general point.” Said Sharapova.
“Sitting at a press conference in Wimbledon five, seven years ago, there was not a lot of warmth coming from that side or that perspective. That’s tough.’
“I think there is definitely a few exceptions in the game, and I’m sure that he’s (Murray) been one of them.”

There has long been a debate about gender equality in tennis, which has substantially improved over the past 30 years. Equal prize money has been available at every grand slam since the 2007 Wimbledon Championships. Although, Sharapova believes there is more to needed to be done.

“I hope so. That’s what we aspire to get to.” She replied when asked if the situation will get better in the future.

Murray’s decision to walk away from the sport is related to his troublesome hip, which was operated on 12 months ago. Sharapova herself has also experienced injury setbacks over the years. Ending her 2018 season early due to a shoulder problem. Reflecting on her win over Boulter, the world No.30 said it was a ‘good test’ for both her shoulder and leg.

“I think injuries are just part of the sport.” The five-time grand slam champion explained.
“I can only understand it (Murray’s decision) from the perspective of my shoulder, because that’s something that I have had to deal with since I was 21 years old and really at the peak of my career, kind of came unexpected.’
“And here I am about 10 years later kind of going through very similar struggles, not on the depth that I was then with the tear of a tendon. But you realize that you’re not immortal, you’re never going to play this forever, even though we have done it as long as we can think of.”

While she is currently winning her own battle against injury, Sharapova is eager for a deep run in the Australian Open. She will take on Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in the second round followed by a potential clash with defending champion Caroline Wozniacki.

“My next one (opponent) is someone I have never played against before. So that’s kind of tricky and a challenge.” She commented about playing Peterson.
“My coach is Swedish. I don’t know if that will maybe help me a little bit more.”

Sharapova has now won 55 main draw matches at the Australian Open.

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Madison Keys sets up an all-American semifinal against Sofia Kenin in Cincinnati

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Madison Keys hit 32 winners and never dropped her serve in her 6-2 6-3 win over Venus Williams in 77 minutes in an all-American quarter final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach her first semifinal since winning the Volvo Car Open title in Charleston.

 

Keys broke three times and faced just two break points in the match. She earned her first break in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead, as Venus made three double faults. Keys went up a double break at 15 to seal the first set 6-3.

Williams saved four break points to hold her serve in the fourth game for 2-2, after hitting her first winner of the match, but Keys sealed the win with her only break in the eighth game of the second set and a hold at love setting up an all-American semifinal clash against Sofia Kenin

“It was nice to see against a really aggressive player like Venus being able to defend as well as I did. Overall, I am pretty happy with almost everything I did tonight. I am happy with how well I served. She is a very good returner, and being able to have fairly straightforward service games was my favourite part. The biggest thing, after having a couple of tough losses in the last tournaments I have played, being able to bounce back, and especially after my first round here, being able to get that win and then just building on that”,said Keys.

 

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Svetlana Kuznetsova completes her come-back by reaching the semifinal in Cincinnati

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Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova came back from one set down to beat Karolina Pliskova 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to secure her spot in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

Kuznetsova, who was sidelined by a knee injury in the first half of the season, bounced back last week when she reached the third round at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. She beat Anastasija Sevastova, Dayana Yastremska and Sloane Stephens en route to the semifinal.

Kuznetsova hit 30 winners and broke three times to close out the match after 2 hours and 23 minutes.

Pliskova converted her only break point at love in the second game to win the opening set 6-3.

Pliskova saved three break points to hold serve at deuce in the fourth game before breaking serve at 15 to take a 4-3 lead. Kuznetsova broke back at 15 in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Kuznetsova earned four set points and converted her first chance to seal the tie-break 7-2.

Kuznetsova went up a break at love in the third game of the decisive set to take a 2-1 lead. Both Pliskova and Kuznetsova saved two break points in the fifth and sixth games. Kuznetsova sealed the win with a double break in the ninth game.

The Russian player set up a semifinal against 2019 Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty, who came back from one set down to beat Maria Sakkari 5-7 6-2 6-0.

 

 

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Madison Keys Finally Finds Her Footing After Tough Few Weeks

Can the former top 10 player return to peak form in time for the US Open?

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Madison Keys (@VolvoCarOpen on Twitter)

Entering into this week’s Western and Southern Open a single win would have been a much needed boost for Madison Keys ahead of the final grand slam of the season.

 

Keys, a former grand slam finalist herself, has been unable to shine on the women’s tour since reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open. In her past three tournaments, she has won one out of four matches played. To make it worse, two out of those three losses were to player’s ranked outside the top 100.

Fortunately for Keys her lull on the tour has ended this week in Cincinnati. An event where she made her debut back in 2012 at the age of 17. In the first round she saw off former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza in three sets before brushing aside Daria Kasatkina. However, her most impressive victory took place on Thursday. Taking on Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, Keys held her nerve to prevail 6-1, 3-6, 7-5, after just over two hours of play. Her first win over a top five player since Angelique Kerber at the same tournament 12 months ago.

“She’s been No. 1 for a reason, won Grand Slams for a reason. I knew that she wasn’t just going to, you know, ever give up or give in. I knew the entire time I had to fully win the match before, you know, I could actually take a deep breath.” Keys said following her latest win.
“I think I just kind of trusted myself a little bit, and I didn’t really hold back on any of my shots. I think I made a couple of bad misses, but at the same time I think I did a lot of really good things.”

The triumphs come as Keys and her rivals tune up their game ahead of the US Open. Where the 24-year-old will be defending a wealth of points after reaching the semi-finals there last year. Flushing Meadows is a place of fond memories for former finalist Keys and statistically her most successful grand slam. Winning 19 out of 26 matches played in New York so far in her career.

“It feels a little bit better, a little less stressed. Ask me again in a week and I will be just as stressed.” She commented about her preparation for the upcoming major.
“In order to find that level right before a slam, obviously feels good, but especially after having some tough weeks, being able to kind of put it all together makes me feel a little bit better going into the US Open.”

Growing in confidence once again, Keys takes on tour veteran Venus Williams next. Their head-to-head is currently tied at 2-2, however, they haven’t played each other since 2016. A win would move the American into her first tour semi-final since April when she won the Volvo Open in Charleston.

“But again, she’s obviously playing some really good tennis in order to beat Kiki and then Vekic and all that. I’m going to have to see what she’s been doing well.” Keys previewed about her clash with Williams.

The quarter-final clash between the two will take place on Friday evening not before 19:00 local time. Keys is one of four seeded players remaining in the draw.

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