Serena Williams Hails 'Amazing' Azarenka After Epic Indian Wells Battle - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams Hails ‘Amazing’ Azarenka After Epic Indian Wells Battle

Serena Williams has praised Victoria Azarenka after their fantastic Indian Wells battle which saw the American in straight sets.

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Serena Williams (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

Serena Williams praised an amazing Victoria Azarenka after the American won 7-5 6-3 in a fantastic second round match. 

 

The contest didn’t disappoint as these two former world number ones produced a sensational match in the evening session on Stadium One.

Eventually after 2 hours and 7 minutes the 20 time grand slam champion edged into the third round with a straight sets win.

After the match Serena praised the fellow mother as the Belarusian looks to use this as a platform to build her season on.

In her post-match interview Serena gave all the praise to Azarenka, “I truly love Vika. She is a fellow mom, a former number one. Just like me. An amazing person.”

Even though it was a match that many people will remember for a while, the American said that she couldn’t enjoy it too much, “You can’t really enjoy it, because then you’ll lose focus,” Serena told wtatennis.com.

“You’ve got to kind of stay in the moment, you know. And it’s important to — like, sometimes you realize, ‘Oh, my God, this is going to be a classic.’ But you can’t let your mind go there, because you wouldn’t want to watch it in the future,”

As for Azarenka, she was pleased with her own level after a rough last six months as she hasn’t been able to rise to her 2012 heights after becoming a mother.

But in her press conference the Belarusian admitted that Serena makes her best tennis, “Serena pushes me to play my best tennis,” Azarenka explained.

“You know, she really won. She deserved to win. She played better on those important moments. I felt that every game was ad, deuce, ad, deuce. It was all about who was going to take that chance, and she took them a little better today.”

All tennis fans will now be hoping Azarenka can build on this and become a regular feature on the world’s top 20 as she heads to the Miami Open.

As for Serena she will now play another former world number one and grand slam champion in Garbine Muguruza who has had an inconsistent last 12 months.

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Naomi Osaka Ends Title Drought With Pan Pacific Open Win

The 21-year-old has captured her fourth WTA title in the city where she was born.

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Naomi Osaka (image via https://twitter.com/torayppo)

Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka has returned back to the winner’s circle after easing to the Pan Pacific Open title on Sunday with a straight sets win.

 

The two-time grand slam champion disposed of Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3, in just 70 minutes. Claiming her first title of any sort since winning the Australian Open in January. Osaka was dominant behind her serve throughout the final. Winning all 20 of her first service points and dropping just six points behind her second. The top seed hit 22 winners to 12 unforced errors and broke Pavlyuchenkova three times.

“It is really special for me to win here (in Osaka). This is the city where I was born. I think that gave me a lot of power to play constantly match after match.” Said the new champion.

Prior to this week, the 21-year-old hadn’t progressed beyond the quarter-final stage of a tournament since April. She managed to end that trend on Saturday after being forced to play two matches due to poor weather affecting the tournament schedule. Recording wins over Yulia Putintseva and Elise Mertens. Osaka didn’t drop a single set in the entire tournament.

“I just wanted to win this really bad,” Osaka stated during her Sunday press conference.
“I think what I learned from this tournament is just to focus every point, and just to have really positive energy,” she later added.

There is also reason to celebrate for runner-up Pavlyuchenkova, who is yet to win a WTA title in Asia. This week is the first time she has reached a WTA final in 15 months. Last doing so at the 2018 Internationaux de Strasbourg in France. Earlier in the tournament she knocked out second seed Kiki Bertens and fourth seed Angelique Kerber.

“It is not the trophy you want standing here, but it has still been an amazing week.” The Russian reflected during the trophy ceremony.
“Congratulations Naomi you were really good today and played the better tennis.”

Osaka is the first Japanese player to win the Pan Pacific Open since Kimiko Date back in 1995. She exits the tournament with 470 ranking points and $137,125 in prize money.

https://twitter.com/WTA/status/1175671466496593921

 

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Sam Stosur Produces Comeback To Reach First WTA Final For 28 Months In Guangzhou

Sam Stosur reached her first WTA final for two and a half years with a three set win over Viktorija Golubic in Guangzhou.

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Sam Stosur (@TennisChannel - Twitter)

Sam Stosur came from a set down to beat Viktorija Golubic 2-6 7-6(4) 6-1 to reach her first WTA final in two and a half years. 

 

After losing the first set in comfortable fashion and surrendering her early break lead in the second set, the Australian fought back to reach the Guangzhou final.

The win means that Stosur will now compete in her first WTA final for two and a half years, when she won the Strasbourg title in 2017.

Speaking after the match the former US Open was delighted with the way she rallied back into the contest, “I just tried to hang in there and find a way to start playing a bit better,” she told the WTA website.

“She’s very tough to play against so I’m just happy to get through. This is where everyone wants to be, so to now make it to the final, I’m really happy and I’ll give it my best shot tomorrow.”

Having reached the final, she will now re-enter the world’s top 100 and compete for the 10th title of her career, which would be her first on hard courts since 2014.

Standing in Stosur’s way will be world number 20 Sofia Kenin after the American edged out Anna Blinkova 7-6(5) 4-6 6-1 in a tight contest.

Six breaks of serve was enough for Kenin as she aims to win her third title of the season having won in Hobart and Mallorca this season.

Seeds Deliver In Seoul As Rain Halts Play In Osaka

Meanwhile in the Seoul, the seeds managed to deliver to book their spots in the semi-finals. Yafan Wang, Karolina Muchova and Magda Linette all cruised into the last four in South Korea.

Although second seed Ekaterina Alexandrova had to survive a big scare against in-form Kristie Ahn with the Russian edging through 6-7(0) 6-4 6-4.

However there was a bleak day in Osaka, Japan where only one match was completed as three of the quarter-finals will have to be played tomorrow.

The one result saw Angelique Kerber reach the semi-finals having lead Madison Keys 6-4 4-6 2-1 before the American retired.

Tomorrow will be Kerber’s first WTA semi-final since reaching the final in Eastbourne in June.

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Serena Williams Confident In Bid For Grand Slam History Claims Patrick Mouratoglou

Patrick Mouratoglou says that Serena Williams is confident of another grand slam victory despite recent setbacks.

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Serena Williams and Patrick Mouratoglou (@BBCSport - Twitter)

Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has claimed that the American is confident in her bid for more grand slam history. 

 

Despite the American not winning a set in her last four grand slam finals, Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou has claimed that she is still confident in winning another grand slam again.

Serena’s last grand slam win was at the Australian Open in 2017 before taking a break from the sport to become a mother.

Although it has been a struggle, Mouratoglou believes time is on the 37 year old’s side, “I think time is working for her,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports.

“I think she was much better at the US Open than she was at Wimbledon and Wimbledon better than Roland Garros. 

“She is getting back in shape and the more in shape she will be the more dangerous she will be. I think she has started to play really good tennis.”

Losses to Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu have exposed Serena’s lack of confidence and how nervous she is in the grand slam finals.

However Mouratoglou believes that Serena’s historic moment will come sooner rather than later, “It is one match for history and the pressure is quite high,” he said.

“I am not in her mind but I can figure she is playing one match for history. This is the highest pressure anyone can have in life and on the other side of the court she plays girls who have zero pressure because it is their first final.

“They are going to play many [Grand Slams], they are young, they are excited, enthusiastic so they play without pressure and that makes a big difference. But at some point she will figure out how to deal with that.”

Serena’s next tournament is scheduled to be the WTA Finals in Shenzhen in late October, should she qualify although there is a good possibility that we won’t be seeing on a tennis court until next year.

Will 2020 be the year that Serena finally figures out how to deal with the pressure of creating more history for herself? Only time will tell.

 

 

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