On the 10th anniversary of her grand slam debut at the French Open, Petra Martic has achieved her best ever performance in a major.
The 28-year-old came into the tournament high in confidence after triumphing at the Istanbul Open to claim her first-ever WTA silverware. It has been a long time coming for Martic, who first broke into the world’s top 50 back in 2011. During what has been a turbulent journey for the Croat, she has had her fair share of injury issues. Including a back problem that sidelined her for 10 months between 2016-2017.
Those previous struggles are now a distant memory for Martic, who booked her place in the last eight at Roland Garros on Sunday. Making it her best run at a grand slam. She did so with a hard-fought 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, win over Kaia Kanepi. An unseeded, but a dangerous Estonian player who has already reached the quarter-final of a major on six previous occasions.
“It was tough mentally for me today, especially because I was defeated four times before in the fourth round, so it really felt like I was doubting whether I was ever going to get that fourth round.” Martic reflected afterwards.
“Two years ago. I was two points away (from winning). Didn’t happen. Today it played a role in my mind. It was not always easy to focus on my game, but I really just — I just tried to fight as hard as I could, and thank God, I finally made it.”
Martic’s milestone has been achieved under the guidance of coach Sandra Zaniewska. A former top 150 player from Poland who retired from the sport in 2017 at the age of 25. The decision to hire somebody with a small amount of coaching experience was a bold move, but one the world No.31 is happy she made. Even if she received some criticism from others at first.
“When I started working with her, everybody was doubting my decision.” She said. “People underestimated it, people even laughed at it, said I did a crazy thing, what am I doing? I’m not serious about my career because she’s so young and inexperienced.”
“But I always knew, I heard this girl talking about tennis and I knew she knows what she’s doing.
It was a pretty bold move, and I was a bit shaky at the beginning, because I also wanted to prove that I did the right thing.”
It is hard to question her decision. She has now won 15 matches on the clay this season. The highest amount on the WTA Tour to date. Earlier in the French Open, she dropped only six games on route to stunning second seed Karolina Pliskova.
Bidding to become the first woman from her country to reach the semi-finals of the tournament since Iva Majoli back in 1997, Martic faces a rising star of the game next. Markéta Vondrousova dropped only two games in her fourth round clash with a fatigued Anastasija Sevastova.
“I know her pretty well. We played three, four times already in the last year and a half. I know her on and off the court. I think she’s a great player, great person.” Martic said of Vondrousova.
“I’m really looking forward to this match. I think it’s going to be a fun one. She’s also got a few tricks in her game, but I like that. It’s going to be fun, I think.”
Martic currently leads their head-to-head 4-0.
Stefanos Tsitsias Draws Positives From Huge Scare At Queen’s
It was a difficult day at the office for the world No.6.
London: Stefanos Tsitsipas narrowly avoided a shock exit from the Fever-Tree championships after coming through a marathon second-round encounter.
Gracing his presence on the grass courts in London for the second time on Thursday after finishing his first round match earlier, he faced France’s Jeremy Chardy. A semi-finalist at the tournament 12 months ago, who has lost his last seven matches against top 10 opposition. On paper, the Greek was the heavy favorite to triumph, but in reality, it was a more closely contested encounter with Tsitsipas coming out on top to win 4-6, 7-6(0), 7-6(4). Hitting 40 winners to 26 unforced errors, and saving seven out of the 11 break points he faced.
“I didn’t play very well at the beginning of the match. I found my rhythm for some reason when he (Chardy) was serving for the match.” Tsitsipas said afterward.
“Everything was working, positive and good. I managed to win the tiebreak in the second set, kept the momentum going.’
“I didn’t play my best, but somehow I survived.”
The roller coaster encounter saw the Greek struggle with his consistency early on against Chardy, whose use of slice came in handy for him. Down a set, it looked as if it was over for Tsitsipas after he got broken at 4-4 in the second. Handing the Frenchman a chance to serve the match out. Nevertheless, the top seed battled back to force the proceedings into a tiebreaker. Which he emphatically dominated with a seven-point winning streak.
All to play for, a marathon Chardy service game lasting almost 15 minutes opened up the decider. Fighting hard, Tsitsipas secured his breakthrough two games later as he broke for only the second time in the entire match. Closing in on the victory, the seesaw continued with an exchange of breaks occurring twice. With little disparity between the two, it was only fitting that a tiebreaker should separate the two. Which Tsitsipas managed to prevail in after spending two hours and 38 minutes on the court.
“In my first round match, I didn’t feel very good on the court. Now I feel a little bit better. Like I am advancing and proceeding with my play.” The world No.6 evaluated.
“It’s a very short period that you play on the grass. You kind of forget when you leave the grass season. You mentally forget how it is because there are certain thoughts on the grass that takes time to digest.”
Next up for the Australian Open semi-finalist will be Canadian rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime. The world No.21 toppled the controversial Nick Kyrgios 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-5. The match ended with Kyrgios allegedly tanking on match point before throwing his racket outside of the court.
“I’ve never beaten Felix in the singles. He has a big game and big potential. He can play really well, really aggressive and can be unpredictable.” Tsitsipas previewed.
Earlier in the day, a duo of seeds crashed out of the tournament. Kevin Anderson, who was playing in his first tournament since Miami, lost 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, to Gilles Simon. Meanwhile, Stan Wawrinka was stunned by Nicolas Mahut. Wawrinka was leading the decider 5-3, but failed to serve the match out and ended up losing 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(2).
“I just kept fighting and I came back at the end of the second set.” Said 2007 finalist Mahut.
“I kept playing better and better. I’m so happy to play on this court. It is one of the best courts I have ever played on. It’s a great win for me, I have so much respect for Stan.”
Mahut and Simon will play each other in the quarter-finals.
Nick Kyrgios Kicks-Off Queen’s Campaign In Controversial Style
The Australian accused the match umpire of ‘taking the f***ing p***’ at The Queen’s Club.
LONDON: Nick Kyrgios caught the attention of many at The Fever-Tree championships on Thursday, but not for good reason.
The Australian rallied to a 7-6(4), 6-3, win over Roberto Carballés Baena. Although the talking point wasn’t his win, it was his behavior on the court. Leading 5-4 with a set point in his favor, Kyrgios raged at the officials after a second serve from his opponent was called in. Something he believed was out.
Kyrgios: “you are taking the fucking piss. the ball was this far out. What are you doing up there? Seriously what are you doing up there? I refuse to play.”
Fergus: “code violation. Unsportsmanlike conduct. Warning Mr. Kyrgios.”
— Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) June 20, 2019
Engaged in a fiery conversation with umpire Fergus Murphy, Kyrgios demanded to speak with the tournament supervisor. Arguing that he has been hard done by concerning the calls which have been made. The supervisor arrived three games into the second set.
“Twenty people over there are saying it was way out,’ he pointed at the crowd. ‘Go and ask them yourself. They’re not going to lie to you, they’ve got no reason to. ‘An 80mph second serve. You actually can’t be that bad… That sh*t can’t happen. Know what I mean? Just ask the crowd. He’s the chair umpire and he doesn’t overrule it. I was waiting for a call.’ George Bellshaw from The Metro quoted Kyrgios as saying.
The words from the Australian failed to get him anywhere, but by now his mentality on the court was anything, but stable. Making jibes at the linesman, vocally criticizing himself and even choosing to watch the match next to him during a change of ends.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) June 20, 2019
During the closing stages of the match, a poor lob shot from the Australian prompted him to criticize himself for his late-night gaming.
“So lazy, do something, so lazy you are. You were playing FIFA until 3am, what do you expect?”
It is not the first time Kyrgios has raised eyebrows at Queen’s for his antics. 12 months ago he was fined £13,000 for ‘inappropriate behavior’ after being caught making a lewd gesture with a water bottle.
Seriously Kyrgios ?! 💦 pic.twitter.com/V8fJD14pJC
— poetcurious (@poetcurious) June 23, 2018
Kyrgios will return to the courts later today to play his second round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Rafael Nadal To Play Grass-Court Warm-Up Event Ahead Of Wimbledon
The world No.2 will return to action next week in London.
Reigning French Open champion Rafael Nadal will tune up his game ahead of the Wimbledon Championships at the Aspall Tennis Classic in Hurlingham next week.
The world No.2 has confirmed that he will play at the exhibition event, which is situated on the north bank of the River Thames in London. During its 25-year history, the event has featured an array of top names from both the men’s and women’s tour. Last year Maria Sharapova, Grigor Dimitrov, and Lucas Pouille all played. The tournament is run by management group IMG.
“I am always happy to play at The Hurlingham Club and be close to UK tennis fans. It is a prestigious ground in one of the best settings in the UK, making it the perfect way to warm up for Wimbledon.” Nadal said in a statement.
Joining Nadal is this year’s edition will be Nick Kyrgios, Marin Cilic, Lucas Pouille and Felix Auger-Aliassime. More names could also be added to the entry list in the coming days. For Nadal, it will be his eighth appearance in Hurlingham. In 2018 he scored a win over Australia’s Matthew Ebden, before losing to Pouille.
“The Aspall Tennis Classic is one of the most unique and wonderful tournaments in the country, set on the stunning 42-acre grounds of The Hurlingham Club. The tournament offers spectators the chance to watch some of the world’s best players in an intimate environment as they play in a series of singles exhibition matches. It’s the perfect warm up to Wimbledon.” Said Charlie grave from IMG.
Nadal has opted not to play an ATP tournament on the grass prior to Wimbledon. A common approach he has taken in recent years. He will be bidding to win the grand slam title for the third time in his career and the first since 2010.
The Aspall Tennis Classic will get underway on Tuesday.
Back From The Brink Of Retirement, Andy Murray Lights Up Queen’s In Comeback
Furious Nick Kyrgios Slams Court Officials After Queen’s Exit
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