Simona Halep Gains Momentum In Her Beloved Madrid Despite Pesky Cold - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Gains Momentum In Her Beloved Madrid Despite Pesky Cold



Simona Halep ( photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

MADRID: It is a bit like a love story when it comes to Simona Halep and the Madrid Open.


The reigning French Open champion is one of only four women to have recorded 20 or more wins in the tournament. She is also only the second woman to have won back-to-back Madrid titles after Serena Williams.

On Tuesday Halep continued her love affair in the Spanish capital with a rollercoaster 7-5, 6-1, win over Johanna Konta. Their first tour meeting since 2017. Konta entered the match fresh in confidence after reaching the final of the Marrakech Open on Sunday. Initially, it was that confidence that proved problematic for the former world No.1. Halep initially struggled to break the brick wall defensive play of her opponent as she trailed 2-4.

Despite the setback, a gutsy Halep battled back into contention with the help of some misses from the Brit. With little to separate the two throughout the opener, Halep eventually prevailed on the 60th minute. After missing four set points, she triumphed on her fifth with the help of a Konta backhand drifting wide.

Snatching the lead, Halep’s momentum gained rapidly as her opponent faded away in the second. Winning 15 points in a row to race through the second set in half the time it took her to triumph in the first. Overall, she won 62% of her service points and saved six out of the eight break points she faced.

“I feel good every time when I come to Madrid and I’m happy to be back and winning matches.” Halep said during her press conference. “It’s a special place for me. Many friends are coming. Ilie Nastase was there today, Nadia Comaneci, many others. It’s nice to play in front of them and when you feel like home, you can play better. So that’s why here I can play one of my best games.”

Madrid is the first test for Halep on the clay this season. It is a later than scheduled start due to a hip injury, which she has since recovered from. However, she has fallen victim to illness. A relatable situation Rafael Nadal also finds himself in.

“I have no pain anymore. I had a rest at home.” The Romanian assured. “When I arrived here, I got a cold and I’m not 100 percent. But, as it looks, it doesn’t affect my game that much. Just that recovery is more difficult. ‘
“I’m here to give everything I have and I have no expectations for this week.”

Whilst declaring that she has ‘no expectations,’ the 27-year-old must fancy her chances. Besides her record at the venue, there has been no clear frontrunner on the tour. In fact, five months into 2019 and Petra Kvitova is the only player to have won multiple grand slam titles.

“It’s a good thing for tennis and for the spectators as well,” Halep explains. “It’s more exciting to see many champions. Tennis is open now and everyone has the chance to win and to be there, to be in the top.”

Whilst relishing in the unpredictability of the tour, Halep will be hoping that no surprises occur in her next match. Awaiting her will be Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova. Somebody who reached the doubles finals of the Prague Open on clay and stunned Kiki Bertens earlier this year.

“It’s a big challenge always when I play with someone that I never played before. So I just want to see what I have to do against her. But the main thing is to focus on myself, on my game, and if I feel it, then I have a better chance.” The world No.2 previewed.

Halep will play her third round match on Wednesday.

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(VIDEO) Australian Open Day Three: Roger Federer Gains Momentum As Wind Causes Havoc

It was a blustery day at Melbourne Park but it failed to derail the big names in the tournament.



Playing in only his second competitive match of 2020, Roger Federer has reminded his rivals of the threat he posed with a clinical win over Filip Krajinović where he dropped only five games. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic was in equally impressive shape during his victory over Japan’s Tatsuma Ito. In the women’s draw a fiery Serena Williams also blasted her was into the third round.


Ubitennis’ Ubaldo Scanagatta reviews all the action that took place on Wednesday.

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Coach Of Dayana Yastremska Blasts Wozniacki’s Claim Of Fake Medical Timeout At Australian Open

One of the rising stars of the women’s tour is facing allegations of poor sportsmanship.



The chief coach of Dayana Yastremska has insisted that the world No.21 had been suffering from a problem with her leg after it was alleged that she deliberate called a medical time out to disrupt her opponent’s momentum.


The 23rd seed crashed out of the Australian Open in straight sets on Wednesday to Caroline Wozniacki. Despite having a double break advantage during both of those sets. Towards the end of the match, proceedings were halted when Yastremska sought medical assistance. She called for a trainer whilst trailing 5-7, 4-5. Prompting the former world No.1 to question her motives on the court.

“Obviously she tried to break my rhythm. And at 5-4 I don’t think there is anything wrong. She was running just fine. So that’s a trick that she’s done before, and I knew that it was coming.” Wozniacki commented during her press conference.
“But I was just trying to stay focused. I had match point. I had chances. I didn’t take them. Some of them she played well; some of them I played too passively.’
“In the end I just tried to keep focusing, just keep grinding, keep hanging in there. And I finally made it at 6-5 for me, and that was a nice relief.”

Despite the timeout, it had little impact on the outcome. With the soon-to-be-retired Wozniacki prevailing 7-5, 7-5. A case of sweet revenge for the Dane who lost to Yastremska last year in Cincinnati.

The allegations made against the 19-year-old has prompted a furious response from her coach Sascha Bajin on social media. Bajin is best known for previously guiding Naomi Osaka to both of her grand slam titles and has also previously worked with Kristina Mladenovic.

“Just to shut some people up and end this useless convo. Dayana was really struggling since days with her leg, but since y’all are all doctors and coaches you know better then she herself or our whole team who’s working with her.” He wrote on Twitter.

Historically, Yastremska does have a history of taking late media timeouts during matches. In the final of the Thailand Open last year, she requested a break whilst down 2-5 in the final set of the title match. Upon resumption, she went on to win the title. Meanwhile, Kiki Bertens also previously cast shade on her rival.

“Well, I played her three times and three times it happened, so that’s my answer,” The Dutch player said earlier this month during the Brisbane International.

Yastremska have won three WTA titles so far in her career with two of those triumphs occurring last year. It is the first time she has failed to win back-to-back matches at a grand slam since the French Open.

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Coco Gauff Undeterred By Mouthwatering Australian Open Showdown With Osaka

The rising star looks ahead to her clash with the world No.4.



Teenage sensation Coco Gauff says she has nothing to lose in her upcoming clash with Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open.


Gauff, who is the youngest player in this year’s draw at the age of 15, battled into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday. Taking on Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, the American prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, after more than two hours of play. Coming back from a 0-3 deficit in the deciding set to progress into the last 32 of the tournament on her debut. Gauff has now won six main draw grand slam matches before her 16th birthday.

“I think I was just trying to stay calm mostly and stay positive. I’ve always believed that I can come back regardless of the score.” She commented about her latest win.
“The whole match I knew I needed to be more aggressive. I guess I finally decided to do that even though I wish I decided earlier.’
“I think I kind of felt the momentum changing. I knew I had to keep pressing.”

Tipped to be a future star of the women’s game, Gauff achieved another record with her latest win. She is the first female American player to reach the third round of her first three grand slam tournaments in 30 years. A fete that wasn’t even achieved by the formidable Williams sisters.

The reward for the youngster is a second meeting with two-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka, who won the Australian Open title 12 months ago. They first clashed at the US Open last September with the Japanese player dropping only three games against Gauff.

Despite being the underdog in the upcoming match, Gauff has vowed to give it her all. Now familiar with Osaka’s game on the court, the world No.67 believes she will be ‘less nervous’ during their next meeting.

“I think in general my mindset has always been nothing to lose really. Even when in juniors, even though I was ranked pretty high in juniors, I was technically supposed to win. Then I still felt like I had nothing to lose.” She explained.
“I still feel that now. I think my mindset just is I’m going to fight. If I lose, the world is not going to end. I’m going to have another match in maybe a week or so.’
“I think it’s just less pressure to win. I feel like for me, I’m not trying to win so much, but trying to play my best tennis on the court. Winning comes with that if I play good.”

Reflecting on their previous encounter, Gauff paid tribute to her rival. Who consoled her tearful opponent on the court following their match at the Arthur Ashe stadium. A gestured hailed by the teenager as ‘true sportsmanship.’

“I think that’s something if I had a child or something, that’s something I would want my child to see.” She said.
“It just shows what being a competitor really is. You might hate the person on the court, but off the court you love them, not really like hate. But you want to win.’
“Sometimes when we’re on the court, we say things we don’t mean because we have that mentality.”

Gauff will play Osaka on Friday. Osaka beat China’s Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4, in her second round match earlier in the day.

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