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

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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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Nicolas Jarry Breaks New Ground To Win The Swedish Open

The 23-year-old has become the latest player to win their first ATP title in 2019.

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Nicolas Jarry (@FOXSport_Chile - Twitter)

Chilean fifth seed Nicolas Jarry has won his first ATP title at the Swedish Open after prevailing in straight sets on Sunday.

 

The world No.64 held his nerve to edge his way past Argentina’s Juan Inacio Londero 7-6(3), 6-4. Playing in only his third ATP final, Jarry dropped serve once as he blasted 10 aces and won 76% of the points behind his first serve. Becoming the first person his country to win the tournament since Luis Ayala back in 1960.

“I’m very happy to be able to have this (the title). I know it is not very easy to get the first one in anything that you do. I’m really happy.” Jarry said during the trophy presentation.
“I want to say thank you to my team. I have a big team back home and we are very united. This is for all of them and all of my family who has been there since I was born.”

Jarry achieved his career milestone without dropping a set during the entire tournament. Earlier in the week he also scored wins over Jeremy Chardy and Frederico Delbonis. Londero was the only seeded player he faced in Sweden this year. Overall, he was broken eight times in six matches played.

The 23-year-old isn’t the first member of his family to win a title on the men’s tour. His grandfather is Jaime Fillol, who is a former top 20 player that reached the quarter-finals of the 1975 US Open. During his career, Fillol claimed eight trophies and was the former president of the ATP.

“He is one of the best Chilean tennis players. He taught me the sport since I was little,” Jarry told atptour.com earlier this week. “He took me to great tournaments. I remember Wimbledon when I was 12 and I remember going to the US Open a couple of times. There used to be an ATP [tournament] in Santiago, so I was always involved in the tennis.”

The new Swedish Open champion is the second player from Chile to win a title in 2019. Christian Garin claimed his maiden title back in April at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston. He then went on to win the Munich Open, which is also a clay-court event.

Jarry exits Sweden with 250 ranking points and €90,390 in prize money earnings. He will next travel to Germany to play in the Hamburg Open.

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REPORT: Roger Federer Set To Play South American Exhibition Tour

Details about what the Swiss maestro plans to do during the off-season later this year is emerging.

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20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer will play in South America during November as part of an exhibition tour, according to various sources.

 

The world No.3 is reportedly set to play a tennis match at the Plaza de Toros México in Mexico City. The venue is the largest bullring in the world with a capacity of approximately 42,000 people. Excelsior, which is a daily newspaper in the country, has reported that the match will take place on November 23rd. It is not yet known who Federer will be playing. The report, which cites a source linked to Mexican media conglomerate Grupo Imagen, has also been reported by Argentine journalist Sebastian Torok.

Federer is also set to play in Chile prior to Mexico as part of the tour. A report by 24 Horas, which is linked to the national broadcaster of the country, claims that match will take place on November 20th at the Movistar Arena. A building with a mixed history in the world of tennis. Back in 2000, Chile was stripped of hosting Davis Cup ties for two years after members of the crowd threw fruit, coins and plastic chairs at the Argentinian camp during a tie that was played at the venue.

Other countries rumoured also to be part of the tour could be Argentina and Colombia. However, the media in those countries have been less confident about stating whether or not he will be visiting.

Federer has won 102 ATP titles so far in his career, however, none of those have ever occurred in South America. It is rare that he plays tournaments in that region due to his scheduling commitments. Since making his professional debut back in 1996, he has never played a tournament in Chile, Argentina, Colombia or Mexico.

There is yet to be any official comment from either Federer or his management team about the November Tour. Should it happen, it will take place shortly after the conclusion of the ATP Finals.

 

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Serena Williams Named Most Stylish Athlete Of 2019 As She Brushes Off Critics

The 37-year-old says she ‘doesn’t care’ about what people think about what she wears.

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23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams has been awarded with another accolade in her record-breaking career.

 

The 37-year-old has come top in this year’s Most Fashionable list by Sports Illustrated in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers In America. The honour recognizes athletes who have stood out from the crowd with what they wear. Those who make the shortlist are selected by a panel of stylists, fashion editors and executives and other influencers across the sports and fashion industries.

“My whole career has been really about tennis and fashion. I always try to make a statement when I walk out on the court—to be bold and to be unique and to kind of transcend. I always try to send the message of just being confident and being fierce.” Williams told Sports Illustrated.

Williams has made headlines on the court for the outfits she wears. After wearing a catsuit at last year’s French Open, she opted for a more straightforward design in this year’s tournament. Wearing a zebra-striped outfit decorated with the words ‘mother, champion, queen, goddess’ in French. It was designed by Virgil Abloh, who was named in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world back in 2018. At Wimbledon, the Nike tick on her all-white clothing was made up of 34 Swarovski ® crystals to mark the last time she won the title at the age of 34.

The fashion sense of the American wasn’t a hit with everybody. Her catsuit triggered criticism from the head of the French Tennis Federation. Bernard Giudicelli told France’s Tennis Magazine in 2017 ‘I believe we have sometimes gone too far. Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.’ Williams later played down those comments.

“People always have things to say when you’re wearing fashion. It could be good things. It could be bad things. I don’t care what people say. I’m like just so past it—you could say whatever you want to say.” She said.
“Honestly, you’re allowed to have your opinion. My life is far too complicated to worry about people that want to say mean things. I have a daughter, I have a family, I have a career. I have too much to worry about.”

Williams recently finished runner-up at Wimbledon after losing to Simona Halep in the final. She is set to play at both the Rogers Cup in Canada and Cincinnati Open before the next grand slam tournament.

Note: video embedded from si.com.

 

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