Angelique Kerber Hopes To Conquer Clay In Chase For Career Grand Slam - UBITENNIS
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Angelique Kerber Hopes To Conquer Clay In Chase For Career Grand Slam

The former world No.1 is chasing after a milestone that has only been achieved by six women in the Open Era.

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Angelique Kerber (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright : @Sport Vision)

This week will see Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber experience her first taste of how her game is on the clay this year when she participates in the prestigious Stuttgart Open.

 

The tournament is regarded as the first major event of the European clay court season for the women. Categorised as a Premier event, six top 10 players are set to take part. Including world No.1 Naomi Osaka. 31-year-old Kerber is already a two-time champion of the tournament and is one of seven players to have won it back-to-back.

Despite her success, Kerber admits that clay isn’t her strongest surface. It has been three years since she last reached a semi-final on the clay. However, the world No.5 is confident that she can still pose a threat over the coming months. Especially given the depth of the women’s tour. The first 18 tournaments of 2019 have all been won by different players.

“I think I understand a little bit now how to play on clay,” Kerber said during an interview with WTA Insider. “I think what is important for me is the mindset when I go on court, that I’m a little bit more positive with the clay and that I have a little bit more patience and everything. So, I think that I know already how to play, how is the best way to play, but of course, doing this on the court then is a different story. That’s why it’s good to have a lot of matches to get used to the game plan, what I want to play on clay.”

The pinnacle tournament of the clay season is the French Open, which takes place at Roland Garros. It is the only grand slam where Kerber is yet to reach a semi-final. Overall, she has a win-loss record of 17-11 at the event, which is her worst winning percentage out of all four majors.

Kerber’s grand slam record
– Australian Open 29 wins 11 losses (73% winning rate)
– French Open 17 wins 11 losses (61% winning rate)
– Wimbledon 30 wins 10 losses (75% winning rate)
– US Open 25 wins 10 losses (71% winning rate)

Over the coming weeks Kerber has pledged to take a step-by-step approach heading into the French Open. Should she triumph at Roland Garros, she would become only the seventh player in the Open Era to achieve a career grand slam. When a player wins ever major event at least once. In the Open Era Steffi Graf is the only German woman to have won the French Open.

“Of course, it is the greatest challenge,” Kerber commented about the career grand slam. “It’s a tough challenge, but I will not put too much pressure on my side because I know how it is with the pressure. I will right now focus on the tournaments ahead, and then when I’m in Paris I will think about the Paris situation.
“But you know, it’s always step-by-step, round by round like in every Grand Slam and I know of course how the feeling is to be in the Grand Slam, and Paris is the same. I will not think when I go to Paris, like too much ahead, just day by day.”

So far this season, Kerber has won 16 out 23 matches played on the tour. However, only two of those wins have been over top 20 players – Aryna Sabalenka and Annette Kontaveit. Her best run was in Indian Wells where she reached the final before losing to rising star Bianca Andreescu.

Kerber will kick-off her Stuttgart campaign on Wednesday. In the first round she will play Donna Vekic, whom she leads 2-0 in their head-to-head.

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Rebecca Peterson beats Heather Watson in Tianjin final to claim her second career title

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Rebecca Peterson clinched her second career title after beating Heather Watson 6-4 6-4 in the final of the Tianjin Open.

 

The Swedish player claimed her second title on Chinese soil after winning her maiden WTA maiden title in Nanchang. Earlier this week Peterson beat Venus Williams in the opening round.

Watson entered the Tianjin Open with just one WTA-level win in the opening round at Wimbledon. The British player beat Wang Qiang and Bronx champion Magda Linette en route to the final in Tianjin.

The final between Peterson and Watson was moved to an indoor facility after a five-hour delay due to rain.

Peterson rallied from 0-2 down in both sets en route to winning the final 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 37 minutes. The Swede converted on four of her ten break points.

Watson fended off two break points and earned a break in the next game to take a 2-0 lead. Peterson converted her fourth break-back point chance in the third game. Both players stayed neck and neck to draw level to 4-4.

Peterson earned another break in the ninth game when Watson sent her backhand drive volley wide. Peterson sealed the opening set 6-4 with a forehand down the line winner in the 10th game.

Watson held at love in the first game of the second set and broke serve in the second game. Peterson got the break back in the third game and took the lead with another break with a forehand down the line winner. The Swedish player held her next three service games and closed out the match with a forehand winner in the 10th game.

Thanks to this win Peterson will break into the top 50 reaching her career high of 44 in the WTA Ranking. Former world number 38 Watson will make her return in the top 100.

 

 

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Coco Gauff claims her maiden WTA title in Linz at the age of 15

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Fifteen year-old US rising star Coco Gauff claimed the maiden WTA title of her career beating former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 1-6 6-2 in the final of the Upper Austria Ladies in Linz (Austria).

 

Gauff crowned a remarkable week, in which she came back from losing the final qualifying round to win the first title of her carerer as a lucky loser. Earlier this week the US teenager claimed her first-ever top 10 win over Dutch star Kiki Bertens in her first WTA quarter final.

Gauff saved two break points in her opening service game, before breaking serve in the third game. She consolidated the break with an ace to open up a 3-0 lead. Ostapenko won her first game with a backhand down the line. Gauff did not face any more break points in the next games and earned a set point at 5-3 with an ace and hit a backhand slice to close out the opening set.

Ostapenko saved a break point in the first game of the second set with a forehand down the line before breaking serve for the first time at love. Gauff broke straight back in the next game, but Ostapenko hit a volley to get another break for 3-1. The Latvian player built up a 5-1 lead with a double break and sealed the second set with an ace on her first set point to force the match to the third set.

Gauff claimed an early break at the start of the third set to take a 2-0 lead after a backhand forced an error from Ostapenko on break point. Gauff went up a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead and earned two match points at 5-0. Ostapenko got one break back at love in the seventh game to claw her way back to 2-5. Gauff earned a third match point after Ostapenko netted a backhand and sealed the win, as Ostapenko fired a forehand long.

Gauff is projected to reach the top 75 of the WTA Ranking on Monday after starting her season ranked world number 600. She has become the youngest singles champion since Nicole Vaidisova lifted titles at Vancouver and Tashkent at the age of 15 in 2004.

Gauff is the second player in the last two seasons to win a maiden WTA singles season as a lucky loser equalling teenager Olga Danilovic, who won the Moscow Open last year.

 

 

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Tennis Sensation Bianca Andreescu Signs With Rolex

The Canadian has joined forces with the luxury watch brand

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US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has become the latest athlete to join the Rolex family after confirming she has signed a deal with the brand on Saturday.

 

The 19-year-old has enjoyed a breakout year by winning 42 out of 47 matches played. During that period she has won premier titles in Indian Wells and at the Rogers Cup. Although her biggest trophy occurred at the US Open where she stunned Serena Williams in the final. Becoming the youngest grand slam champion since Maria Sharapova back in 2006. Andreescu has also recorded  eight wins over top 10 players with her only loss being to Naomi Osaka at the China Open last week.

“Excited to announce that I’m officially a part of the Rolex family!! Can’t wait to get to work with the Rolex Team – stay tuned.” She wrote on Twitter.

No details have been released about her deal with Rolex or what the value of the contract is. The luxury brand also have contracts with other players such as Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki. Speculation has been mounting that the Canadian would be signing a substantial endorsement deal following comments made by her agent agent Jonathan Dasnières de Veigy. She is currently managed by Octagon Sports.

“We’re turning down a lot of opportunities and offers. We want to be careful and extremely selectively, to do the right partnerships.” de Veigy told The Globe and Mail.
“First and foremost, we want to ensure that Bianca is at the peak of her game as a professional athlete. Our job is to keep her life as simple as possible, so she can focus on tennis.” He added.

As of October 6th Andreescu has earned the second highest amount of prize money this year on the WTA Tour with earnings of $6,239,150. This is just under $650,000 less than world No.1 Ash Barty. The sums takes into account both singles and doubles tournaments played on the tour.

Andreescu is set to return to action at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen. A tournament which will have a record prize money pool of $14 million. The winner of the event could make as much as $4.75 million should they remain unbeaten in the round-robin competition. Andreescu is the youngest player to qualify for the season-ending event since Wozniacki back in 2009 and the fourth Canadian woman in history to have ever done so.

“This has been an incredible year for me and I’m really looking forward to ending the season at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen,” she told wtatennis.com. “I’ve always dreamt of competing at the WTA Finals and I’m so proud of all the work my team and I put in to get to this point.”

The WTA Finals will get underway on October 27th.

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