Serena Williams Finding Life ‘Harder,’ But Still Inspiring The Next Generation At French Open - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams Finding Life ‘Harder,’ But Still Inspiring The Next Generation At French Open

Life on the tour isn’t a walk in the park for the 37-year-old, but her legacy is already having a positive impact on some.



Serena Williams (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

When Serena Williams made her debut at the French Open back in 1998, her second round opponent in this year’s tournament was only seven.


21 years after that debut, the former world No.1 remains a fierce opponent to face on the WTA Tour. At Roland Garros on Thursday she disposed of Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-2 on Court Philippe Chatrier. Recording her 65th win at the tournament and 801st overall. The fifth highest amount in the history of women’s tennis.

“I think she was playing tennis the whole time, really good tennis the whole time.” Williams said of her opponent. “She was just playing really tactical tennis, and I just had to play a little bit better.”

Contesting only her fifth tournament of the season, 2019 has been far from plain-sailing for the 23-time grand slam champion. Shortly after the Australian Open, an ankle injury derailed her off-court preparations. Meanwhile in Rome, she pulled out of the tournament after only one match due to her knee. This week is only the second time this year she has managed to achieve back-to-back wins on the tour since January.

“I have had a tough year since I twisted my ankle in Australia,” she said.
“It’s just been really tough after that. So everything definitely feels a little bit harder than normal, but at the same time, I know that it’s going to get better.”

The concerns are not just on the court. Last week Williams was seen at Disneyland Paris in a wheelchair. A picture that continues to baffle many. Williams refuses to discuss why she was in a wheelchair, but assures that everything’s ‘all good.’

Despite the concerns over her current form and fitness, Williams remains a heavyweight in women’s tennis for numerous reasons. Besides her 72 WTA titles, she is seen as a role model for many of her younger rivals. One being Amanda Anisimova, who stunned Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets to become the youngest American woman to reach the third round of the tournament since Williams back in 1998.

“She’s done so much for the sport. She’s a huge inspiration to me. I really look up to her.” Said Anisimova.

It was during the Miami Open where Anisimova got up close with one of her idols. Being consoled by her compatriot after getting knocked out in three sets by Anett Kontaveit. Something Williams felt she had a duty to do.

“I just needed to do that, and I know she’s super young. I really love all the new young players. It’s just so exciting.” Williams explained. “I feel like tennis has done so much for me, and to see a new generation come through is great.”

In the last 32 Williams will lock horns with another American youngster – Sofia Kenin. The 20-year-old is currently ranked 35th in the world and won her maiden WTA title back in January at the Hobart International. Like Anisimova, she has also caught Williams attention.

“I know her game really well. She had a really great run in Australia, and I have been watching her.” She said.
“I think it will be a good match. She has a lot to bring to the table. She has a lot of excitement, and she’s a good player.”

Neither Anisimova or Kenin was born when Williams made her grand slam debut at the Australian Open more than 20 years ago (1998). A true testament to the longevity of one of the most successful players in the history of the sport.


Rebecca Peterson clinches her maiden WTA title



Twenty-four year-old Swedish player Rebecca Peterson lifted the first title of her career at the Jangxi Open in Nanchang after beating Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 6-2 6-0.


The world number 78 Petterson, who had reached only a quarter final so far this season, has become the 14th first-time winner on the WTA Tour so far in 2019.

Peterson reeled off nine consecutive games from 3-2 in the first set to clinch the win, breaking serve four times.

Peterson dropped only nine points in her service games and did not face any break points. The Swede earned her first break in the first game after a double fault from Rybakina. Peterson consolidated the break by holding serve at love and opened up a 4-2 lead, when Rybakina sent a forehand long.

Peterson broke serve in the seventh game to race out to a 5-2 lead, as Rybakina made a backhand error. Peterson sealed the first set with a forehand crosscourt winner in the eighth game.

Peterson earned an early break, after Rybakina sent a forehand long, and went up a 3-0 lead. Rybakina did not win a single game point and sent Petersen to deuce in the fifth game of the second set, but she dropped serve. Petersen wrapped up the match with a bagel thanks to a service winner on her first championship point.

Rybakina, who scored two three-set wins against Viktoria Golubic in the quarter final and Peng Shuai in the semifinal, hit 3 winners to 11 unforced errors. She had won her maiden title in Bucharest last July.



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Karolina Pliskova lifts her fourth title of the season in Zhengzhou



Number 1 seed Karolina Pliskova cruised past number 7 seed Petra Martic 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and 36 minutes in the final of the Zhengzhou Open, an inaugural WTA Premier tournament. The final was postponed by six hours after torrential rain.


Pliskova came back from 0-2 in the first set by winning 12 of the next 15 games to win her fourth title this season after Brisbane, Rome and Eastbourne. The Czech player is the fifth top seed to win a tournament this season after Aryna Sabalenka in Shenzhen, Alison Van Uytvanck in Budapest, Caroline Garcia in Nottingham and Anastasjia Sevastova in Jurmala.

Pliskova took a re-match against Martic, who beat the Czech player in four of their previous five head-to-head matches and won their third round clash at Roland Garros.

Pliskova saved two of her three break points and converted four of her eight break points.

Martic earned an early break with a forehand return winner to open up a 2-0 lead in the first set. As the match resumed after a rain delay Martic did not convert a double break point. Pliskova broke back in the fourth game with a forehand winner to draw level to 2-2.

Pliskova saved a break point chance in the seventh game with a forehand down the line. The Czech player broke serve in the eighth game, when Martic made a forehand error and sealed the first set 6-3 with a service winner.

Pliskova dropped only six points on her first serve in the second set and broke serve in the third game when Martic sent a backhand slice wide. The former world number 1 player held her serve with an ace before breaking for the second time in the fifth game. She hit four winners to seal the win, as she was serving for the match at 5-2.

“I think I played good matches. Of course, not all the matches were perfect, the week never can be really perfect because it’s so many days and so many things can be just different every day. I beat tough players, which I maybe lost to a couple of times before. I think that was the biggest plus of this week, especially with Petra. These wins are always important. It doesn’t matter where you play, which tournament you play, but it’s always important. To get the trophy is always special. It does not matter really which tournament or how big the tournament is, it’s always good”, said Pliskova.  

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Nao Hibino beats Misaki Doi in all-Japanese final in Hiroshima



World Number 146 Nao Hibino beat Misaki Doi 6-3 6-2 in the all-Japanese final of Haa-Cupid Japan Open in Hiroshima.


Doi broke serve at 15 in the second game with a deep return, but she dropped her serve at love in the third game. Dou earned another break with a forehand to open up a 3-1 lead. Hibino pulled the break back in the fifth game, when Doi sent her backhand long.

Hibino reeled off nine consecutive games from 1-3 down to build up a 6-3 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games of the first set and two more breaks in the first and third games of the second set. Doi dropped her serve in six consecutive service games and hit 8 winners to 14 unforced errors. Doi pulled back one break in the fifth game. Hibino broke for the third time at deuce to win the second set 6-2.

Hibino claimed both the singles and the doubles titles at the same tournament for the first time in her career. She teamed up with Doi to clinch the doubles title with a 6-3 4-6 10-4 win over Christina McHale and Valeria Savinykh.

“I was so nervous today, so much more than the semifinals, but because I experienced being nervous in the semifinals, I knew what to expect. I was able to stay positive during the match today”, said Hibino.

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