Jelena Ostapenko Finds Form In Birmingham - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

WTA

Jelena Ostapenko Finds Form In Birmingham

Jelena Ostapenko spoke about the challenge of dealing with emotions on court after she thrashed Iga Swiatek at the Nature Valley Classic.

Published

on

Jelena Ostapenko (@rolandgarros on Twitter)

Jelena Ostapenko swept aside Polish qualifier Iga Swiatek 6-0 6-2 in a dominant display in the first round of the Nature Valley Classic in Birmignham.

 

It is a result that goes completely against the form book because the Latvian lost 16 of the 23 matches she played in 2019 before today and had only won once since 3 April.

By contrast, her opponent, 18, won 26 of the 36 matches she played this year before this encounter. She also made a suprise run to the quarter-final of the French Open.

Ostapenko attributes her superb performance to her state of mind. “If you have too many thoughts in your mind, it is very tough to play your best because those thoughts always distract you,” she said. “When your mind is free, it is much easier to play. That’s how I was today.”

The Latvian, who has slipped from her career-high of 5 to her current ranking of 37, was also hampered by a left wrist injury for a long time. It ended up wiping out her pre-season training for 2019 completely, which was very disruptive.

Ostapenko explained, “I’m trying to get my game back because I was injured last season, so I couldn’t really do the proper pre-season, which didn’t help me, and in the beginning of the season I was struggling a lot because I didn’t have enough time for practice.”

Happily for the Latvian, she now feels fully fit, and she is hoping for plenty of matches on the grass to improve her form.

“I think I’m getting better,” Ostapenko said. “Today I felt really good on court and I feel that grass is a surface I really love to play on. I think I will get my form back on grass.”

Ostapenko feeling calm ahead of Konta clash

The 2017 French Open champion will need to be at her best in the next round when she takes on Johanna Konta. The Brit is in brilliant form and her confidence is currently as high as it has ever been.

Ostapenko seems relaxed about facing her though. “I’ve played Konta a couple of times, including last year in Eastbourne on grass,” she said. “We have always had three-set matches. She’s a great player, she plays very well on grass and she is in good form, but grass is one of my favourite surfaces too and I am going to try to enjoy it.”

The Latvian almost had to deal with a nightmare scenario over the weekend after her luggage did not arrive in Birmingham at the same time she did.

“I just arrived on Friday and, unfortunately, my bags didn’t arrive, so I couldn’t even hit on Saturday,” Ostapenko said. “So I basically had one day to hit before this tournament because I was playing doubles on Monday.”

She continued, “But I think for me the less time I have the better it is because I’m more focussed.” It is funny how things work out sometimes.

Latest news

French Open Finalist Marketa Vondrousova Undergoes Surgery

It is a premature end to what has been a breakthrough season for the Czech.

Published

on

Czech rising star Marketa Vondrousova will miss the rest of the season after undergoing an operation on her left wrist.

 

The 20-year-old made the announcement on her Instagram account where she uploaded a picture of herself after undergoing the procedure. Vondrousova hasn’t played a match on the tour since Wimbledon, where she first sustained the injury. According to Czech media, she received treatment at the same facility which Petra Kvitova attended following a knife attack that severely injured her playing hand.

“For two months I tried to treat my wrist conservatively and tried everything possible. Unfortunately, nothing led to a significant improvement. That is why I decided on this solution, which should relieve me of my pain for good,” Vondrousova said is a statement issued by her team.
“Unfortunately for me, 2019 ended earlier than I wanted. I can’t wait to play back on the courts without pain anymore, she added.

The premature end draws the curtain on what has been a breakthrough season for Vondrousova. At the French Open she defeated Petra Martic and Johanna Konta en route to the final. Becoming the youngest player to do so at the tournament since Ana Ivanovic back in 2007. She was denied the title by Ash Barty, who prevailed in straight sets.

Yet to win a title, Vondrousova has managed to remain consistent on the tour by reaching the quarter-finals or better at six consecutive tournaments between February and June. Including the final of the Budapest Open. During that time, she managed to score two wins over Simona Halep. The highest ranked player she has defeated so far in her career.

Vondrousova is currently ranked 22nd in the world. She ends the season with a win-loss record of 29-9.

Continue Reading

WTA

‘Relaxed’ Su-Wei Hsieh Saves Match Point To Oust Muguruza In Osaka

Su-Wei Hsieh saved match point to eliminate Garbine Muguruza from the premier-level tournament in Osaka.

Published

on

Su-Wei Hsieh (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

Su-Wei Hsieh was in a relaxed mood as she saved match point to edge out Garbine Muguruza 3-6 7-6(1) 6-1 in Osaka. 

 

The Wimbledon doubles champion claimed her second straight win over the Spaniard having saved match point in the contest.

After winning a tight second set, Hsieh cruised through the deciding set to secure a spot in the second round against Elise Mertens.

Even though this final part of the season can prove quite tiring, Hsieh is approaching in a more relaxed manner, “I know that anything can happen because this is almost the end of the year,” Hsieh said to the press after the win.

“I just want to be more relaxed, going more to my game. Sometimes I lose a little bit of rhythm at the beginning, so I just need to play more games to get the rhythm.

“In the second set, I felt a little bit more rhythm, and more stable myself, my personal style. It helped me a lot to get into the match and to get more game.”

As for Muguruza, this loss would have hurt her confidence a lot having not won a WTA match since June and her ranking slowly falling by the week.

Next for Hsieh will be US Open doubles champion Elise Mertens, where they have split their opening two meetings which came last season.

In other results today there were comfortable wins for Madison Keys and US Open quarter-finalist Donna Vekic over Daria Kasatkina and Caroline Garcia respectively.

Here is the second round line-up, which matches will be played across Wednesday and Thursday:

Naomi Osaka (1) v Viktoriya Tomova – Wednesday

Varvara Flink v Yulia Putintseva – Thursday

Sloane Stephens (3) v Camila Giorgi – Thursday

Su-Wei Hsieh v Elise Mertens (9) – Wednesday

Madison Keys (5) v Zarina Diyas – Wednesday

Nicole Gibbs v Angelique Kerber (4) – Wednesday

Donna Vekic (7) v Misaki Doi – Thursday

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Kiki Bertens (2) – Thursday

 

Continue Reading

Focus

Despite New WTA Guidelines, Could Kim Clijsters’ Return Be Marred By Aberration?

Kim Clijsters will not have any restriction in the number of wildcards she receives. But she also deserves more in her upcoming third stint on the Tour

Published

on

Kim Clijsters, 2010 US Open, US Open
Photo Credit: WTA Tennis/Getty

By the time, Kim Clijsters makes her return to professional tennis in 2020, around eight years will have passed since her second retirement from the WTA Tour. In this near-about octet of years, there have been several changes on the Tour, especially for those women attempting a return post maternity. But where does the 36-year-old stand amid these alterations?

 

The Belgian was one of the earlier trendsetters – of this decade – to resume her professional activity after becoming a mother for the first time. In 2009, when she returned during the American hard-court summer, the subject never gained as much traction as it did when Williams returned to the game, in 2018 after her pregnancy hiatus in 2017.

Clijsters’ win at the US Open that year – the first for an unseeded player – stifled the mushrooming of any possible avenues of such ranking tweaks back then. Over the next couple of years, as Clijsters ascended in the rankings boosted by her performances, including re-attaining her career-high of no. 1, the topic became moot.

Now, after all these years, in spite of the WTA bringing in modifications to its rules – by way of provision of special ranking to women re-joining the Tour after motherhood, among other factors – Clijsters’ continues to remain an outlying scenario. The obvious reason for this is the lapsing of time of the four-time Major champion’s returning to pro tennis. According to the new rules, a player who is out of the Tour on account of pregnancy must make a comeback within three years after her child’s birth, at most.

Her previous successes and titles ensure Clijsters will never lack for wildcards from tournaments, as per the WTA regulations. However, the question stemming here is should an exception be made for the former world no. 1 vis-à-vis the special ranking while overlooking the passing of years?

When announcing her imminent return to the Pro Tour on the WTA Insider podcast, Clijsters mentioned about challenging herself. “I don’t feel like I want to prove something. I think for me it’s the challenge…,” she said.

“The love for the sport is obviously still there. But the question still is, am I capable of bringing it to a level where I would like it to be at and where I want it to be at before I want to play at a high level of one of the best women’s sports in the world. I don’t feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again. This is my marathon. This is where I’m saying, ‘OK, let’s try this’.”

Clijsters’ path to trying this while taking it on as a challenge need not come at a cost of her being immediately pushed off the deep end in terms of encountering a higher-seeded opponent. The present state of the WTA would make it for an interesting match-up – whenever it happens – but it would also be akin to defeating the purpose underlining her return, regardless of how confident the 2011 Australian Open champion is with her timing.

The norms, too, could be nudged into further relooking easing them towards a player’s preference in ascertaining her post-childbirth return instead of clubbing them, at large. After all, as significant as Williams’ laurels were to usher in changes, Clijsters’ stunner yet again proves the variety that exists in women’s decision-making.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending