Former World No.1s Mats Wilander, Kim Clijsters Praise Naomi Osaka At French Open - UBITENNIS
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Former World No.1s Mats Wilander, Kim Clijsters Praise Naomi Osaka At French Open

The two former players share their opinions about the two-time grand slam champion.

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Naomi Osaka has a level of fighting spirit that places her among the great champions of the sport, according to former player Mats Wilander.

 

Osaka kicked-off her campaign at the French Open on Tuesday with a roller-coaster three-set win over Slovenia’s Anna Karolína Schmiedlová. Coming back from 0-6 down. The Japanese player is bidding to become the first woman to win a third consecutive grand slam since 2015, as well as maintain her No.1 position. However, she is yet to go beyond the third round at Roland Garros.

Speaking about the 21-year-old on Eurosport, three-time French Open champion Wilander drew similarities between her opening performance and that of Serena Williams. Williams also endured a slow start to her match against Vitalia Diatchenko before prevailing 2-6, 6-1, 6-0.

“Naomi Osaka’s fighting spirit is up there with the great champions and that’s what I think we’re going to see with her for the rest of her career.” Said Wilander.
“She goes for her shots and she is so similar to Serena Williams in so many ways. Her first set was horrendous, just like Serena. But somehow she turns it around, keeps going for her shots and then they start to go in.”

Whilst he praised Osaka’s first round performance, Wilander is concerned about how she will fair as the tournament progresses. The Japanese player has had a mixed run on the clay heading into Paris. In Stuttgart she was forced to withdraw from the semifinals due to an abdominal injury. Then in Rome, it was a hand injury that forced her out of the tournament.

“You have to hold something back on clay though, and that’s what worries me about Osaka as the tournament goes on.” He said.
“However, Naomi has won two Slams in a row, she’s number one in the world and she managed to get through this match on a windy, cold day on Philippe-Chatrier. I think there are more positives than negatives for her.”

On the other hand Kim Clijsters, who is a two-time finalist of the tournament, says she has been impressed by the level of Osaka’s maturity on the court. Over a 12-month period between 2018-2019, she broke into the top 40 before becoming the first Asian player to top the world rankings.

“When you look at what she showed us at the US Open last year against Serena and in Australia this year against Kvitova… It’s unbelievable that she’s able to turn it around mentally. To be able to do that regularly without having much experience is very impressive.” Clijsters told Eurosport Germany.
“I’ve seen her play amazing tennis in years past, when she couldn’t quite sustain her level. She’s been able to become consistent. She has changed her coach as well. She is mentally very mature.” She added.

Osaka will take on Victoria Azarenka in her second round match on Thursday. Their head-to-head is currently tied at 1-1.

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Nick Kyrgios and Amanda Anisimova lose to Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic in the second round of the Australian Open mixed doubles tournament

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Nick Kyrgios returned to the court to play with Amanda Anisimova for the mixed doubles tournament just one day after losing to Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the men’s singles tournament.

 

Kyrgios and Anisimova lost to Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic 4-6 6-4 10-8 in the second round after 1 hour and 19 minutes.

Both teams traded holds in the first two games before Anisimova dropped serve, as she netted a backhand. Krejcikova consolidated the break by holding serve with a service winner. Kyrgios broke back to draw level to 3-3 with a return winner. Kyrgios saved a break point in the ninth game with his serve, before breaking serve in the 10th game with a return winner to seal the first set 6-4.

Kyrgios and Anisimova fended off three break points in the fifth game of the second set with a service winner from Kyrgios.

Mektic hit a volley winner on the fourth break point chance in the seventh game to break serve for 4-3. Kyrgios and Anisimova broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Krejcikova and Mektic broke serve to take a 5-4 lead. Krejcikova held serve at love to seal the second set 6-4, as she was serving for the set, forcing the match to the decisive tie-break. Krejikova and Mektic raced out to a 5-1 lead, when Amanda netted a backhand.

Kyrgios and Anisimova won three consecutive points to claw their way back to 4-5. Krejicikova and Mektic won four of the next five points to take a 9-5 lead. Kyrgios and Anisimova saved three match points before Krejikova sealed the win with a service winner to reach the quarter final.

Men’s doubles tournament: Ram and Salisbury reach the semifinal at the Australian Open

The US and British team formed Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury beat Finland’s Henri Kontinen and German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 6-4 to advance to the Australian Open doubles semifinal.

Ram and Salisbury will face Alexander Bublik and Kikhail Kukushkin, who reached the semifinal on Monday.

Last year’s Wimbledon semifinal Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek eased past Marcelo Arevalo and Jonny O’Mara 6-3 6-2 in 1 hour and 19 minutes. Dodig and Polasek set up a semifinal against Max Purcell and Luke Saville, who beat Santiago Gonzalez and Skupski 6-2 6-4 after 68 minutes.

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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win

The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.

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Novak Djokovic posing for a photo ahead of his quarter-final match with Milos Raonic at the Australian Open (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

 

The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.

“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.

Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’

“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”

Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)

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(VIADEO) Australian Open Day Eight: Rafael Nadal Muzzles Kyrgios At Night

The match that everybody was talking about on the second Monday of the grand slam lived up to expectations.

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Rafa Nadal - Australian Open 2020 (via Twitter, @AustralianOpen)

Ben Rothenberg from The New York Times joins Ubitennis to look back on Rafael Nadal’s latest win over Nick Kyrgios. The four-set triumph now sees the top seed extend his winning head-to-head record to 5-3. However, was the latest match between the two tennis stars as good as their clash at Wimbledon last year?

 

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