Elina Svitolina battles past Ashleigh Barty in the longest match so far on the WTA Tour this year - UBITENNIS
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Elina Svitolina battles past Ashleigh Barty in the longest match so far on the WTA Tour this year

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Elina Svitolina battled past Ashleigh Barty 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 6-4 in 3 hours and 12 minutes in the longest match on the WTA Tour so far this year.

Both players held their service games until 4-4 in the first set. Barty saved three break points in the 9th game, but she faced a fourth chance after an unforced error. Svitolina got the first break of the match, when Barty made a double fault.

Svitolina dropped her serve at love in the 10th game, while she was serving for the set at 5-4. The Ukrainian player saved a set point at 5-6 to win her next service game to set up a tie-break. Barty earned a mini-break at 3-3 with a forehand winner crosscourt and held two service points to bring up three more set points. Svitolina fended them off, but Barty earned her fifth set point at 7-6, but she did not convert it after a backhand error. Barty saved a set point at 8-7 with a strong serve. Svitolina sealed the first set 10-8 on her second set point, as Barty netted a backhand.

Svitolina converted her fourth break point chance to take a 3-1 lead in the second set, but Barty broke straight back with a backhand winner. Svitolina broke serve again in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead after Barty made a series of forehand errors. Barty fought back from 3-5 down by winning four games to win the second set 7-5. The Australian player saved two match points on serve in the 10th game and sealed the second set on her sixth set point in the 12th game to force the match to the third set.

Barty opened up a 3-1 lead thanks to an immediate break in the opening game with a backhand passing shot winner. Svitolina broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Svitolina got a second consecutive break to open up a 5-3 lead and served for the match for the second time, but she made a backhand error on Barty’s second break point of the game. Barty broke serve, as Svitolina was serving for the match at 5-3. Svitolina sealed the win in the 10th game with a break on her third match of the game and her fifth match point overall.

“It felt pretty long, because we had long rallies and long games. It actually felt longer than three hours and 12 minutes”, said Svitolina in the post match interview.

Pliskova digs deep to beat Anett Kontaveit

Two-time Indian Wells semifinalist and this year’s Australian Open semifinalist Karolina Pliskova had to dig deep to edge Estonian Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (7-0) 4-6 6-2. The Czech star converted five of her seven break points.

Pliskova led 6-5 in the first set, but she was broken at 15 in the 12th game. Pliskova cruised to a 7-0 lead in the tie-break. In the second set Kontaveit fought back from 3-4 down by winning three consecutive games to take a 6-4 win forcing the match to the decider. Pliskova reeled off four games from 2-2 to seal the third set 6-2 with a break at love in the eighth game.

Kerber sets up quarter final against Venus Williams

Last year’s Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber battled past Aryna Sabalenka 6-1 4-6 6-4. Kerber cruised through in the first set with three consecutive breaks. The German player opened up a 2-0 lead in the second set winning her eighth consecutive game, but Sabalenka broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. The Belarusian player got her second break at 4-3 and did not drop a single point on serve in her final service games of the set forcing the match to the third set. Sabalenka went up a double break to race out to a 4-1 lead, but Kerber reeled five consecutive games to seal the decider 6-4 setting up a quarter final match against Venus Williams.

“It was the toughest match of the tournament for me. It was an up and down match. There were a lot of emotions on court. I played really well in the first set, she came back really strong. The third set was just another fight and another comeback for me”, said Kerber.

Venus Williams beat German Mona Barthel 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the quarter finals. Williams got three consecutive breaks in the first set to open up a 5-2 lead. Barthel pulled one break back, but Williams sealed the first set with a hold of serve at 5-4. Venus broke serve at 3-3 and held serve at 15 in the 10th game.

“I was pretty determined this year. I have not played that much, so I wanted to make it count. It’s not going to get any easier from here, so I just have to continue to raise my game”, said Venus Williams.

 

 

 

 

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Roland Garros 2024: Practice Makes Perfect For Carlos Alcaraz In Roland Garros Title Bid

Carlos Alcaraz is looking to overcome the pain barrier as he searches for Roland Garros glory.

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Carlos Alcaraz is bidding for a first Roland Garros title but the Spaniard will need to overcome the pain barrier in order to achieve his goal.

The world number three enters this year’s tournament with mixed preparations having suffered an injury during practice in Monte-Carlo.

Alcaraz failed to play in Barcelona, where he was defending champion, before exiting Madrid at the quarter-finals stage to eventual winner Andrey Rublev.

Despite Alcaraz’s lack of fitness, the Spaniard will feel he has a good chance of achieving a special landmark as he has the opportunity to win 75% of the career Grand Slam.

Speaking ahead of the fortnight Alcaraz admitted he is feeling better but needs to change some psychological feelings when hitting the forehand again, “I’m feeling better. At least I can practise, hit balls without pain. That’s a really good point for me,” Alcaraz explained in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I’m not feeling any pain in the practices when I step on the court. But I’m still thinking about it when I am hitting forehands. Probably I’m gonna say I’m a little bit scared about hitting every forehand 100 percent. So I have to change it in my first match.”

Roland Garros holds a special place in Alcaraz’s heart having had good memories and matches in the past with the Spaniard reaching the semi-finals last year.

Now Alcaraz is aiming to win his maiden title in Paris as he continues his development at an elite level.

The Spaniard spoke about how special Roland Garros is and spoke about how wide open this year’s tournament is given the form and fitness of Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, “Right now, I don’t see a clear favourite to win the tournament, but there is a wide range of players who can do it,” Alcaraz explained.

“It’s Roland-Garros and it’s a really special tournament. Everybody wants to do good results here. This tournament is one of the main reasons that I’m practicing every day. I want to be a better player, to be able to win these kinds of tournaments.”

Alcaraz starts his Roland Garros on Sunday against lucky loser J.J. Wolf.

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Tomas Machac Stuns Novak Djokovic To Reach Maiden ATP Final In Geneva

Tomas Machac is into his first career ATP final after stunning Novak Djokovic in Geneva.

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Tomas Machac is into his first ATP final after defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4 0-6 6-1 in Geneva.

The world number one seemed to be struggling physically throughout the contest as Machac earned the biggest win of his career.

After trailing 4-1 in the opening set, Machac played aggressive tennis against a sub-par Djokovic to win five games in a row and take the opening set.

In the second set Djokovic was back to his brilliant best as he won six consecutive games to level the match at one set all.

However the Serb was clearly struggling with his fitness and conditioning as Machac secured the biggest win of his career, reaching a first ATP final.

Speaking after the match Machac was lost for words as he looks ahead to Saturday’s showdown, “I have no reaction right now, I just fought for every ball,” Machac told the ATP website.

“When you play against Novak you just hope. You just try to play your best and see what it looks like. I am looking forward to playing in a final for the first time.”

As for Djokovic, the Serb is yet to reach a final this year and will need to get his form back on track as he prepares to begin his Roland Garros title defence against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

Meanwhile Machac will play either Casper Ruud or Flavio Cobolli in the final.

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Roland Garros 2024: Coco Gauff Preparing For Uncomfortable Changes In Paris

Coco Gauff is ready to make uncomfortable changes to her game ahead of Roland Garros.

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Coco Gauff has said that she is ready to make uncomfortable changes to her game as she prepares for Roland Garros.

The American is a former finalist having reached the final in 2022 but has struggled with her game throughout the clay court season.

However there was hope in Rome as she did reach the semi-finals in Italy before losing comfortably to Iga Swiatek in the last four.

Speaking ahead of the start of the tournament Gauff is confident of a good run in Paris after an encouraging display in Italy, “I have been here for a couple days now, and I feel like I have been preparing great,” the American was quoted by Reuters as saying on media day.

“Had a good tournament in Rome, so I’m excited, hope I can have good vibes here. Last week I felt like from the start of the week till the end of the week I improved a lot. It gave me a lot of confidence for this tournament.”

Despite a recent poor run of form, Gauff has had an incredible last 12 months and is looking to reach a third consecutive Grand Slam semi-final.

However Gauff would like to be more competitive when facing her rivals at the big events which is something that hasn’t improved since she won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Now the 20 year-old has admitted that she will have to make some uncomfortable changes to her game as she prepares for her Roland Garros campaign, “I feel like, overall, if I want to be the player that I want to become, I have to be uncomfortable and make changes to my game, not just to my serve, but other things, as well,” Gauff explained.

“I have been trying to improve it with every tournament, from the start of the clay to Rome. My last match it was a lot better in terms of percentage and the double faults. I think I’m confident.

“I feel like it’s getting better but it’s obviously a shot that is tough to change because when you’re tight you revert back to what you know works. Sometimes it’s tough to push yourself to do the uncomfortable things which you know in the long term are better for you.”

Gauff will begin her campaign against a qualifier on Monday.

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