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Madison Keys Drawing Inspiration From Teenage Star Gauff

The world No.17 shares her thoughts on the newest star of women’s tennis.

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Madison Keys at the 2019 Volvo Car Open (photo Twitter @VolvoCarOpen)

The remarkable Wimbledon run by 15-year-old Coco Gauff didn’t just make an impact on the tournament. It also left a lasting impression of some of her future rivals on the tour.

At the All England Club Gauff became the youngest player since Jennifer Cappriatti in 1991 to reach the fourth round. Since then, the rising star has become headline news around the world and is generating a lot of interest in this week’s Citi Open. Her first tournament since Wimbledon. Earlier this year Forbes magazine projected that Gauff will earn $1 million in endorsements this year.

The rise of Gauff is something Madison Keys can relate to. In 2009 she won her first WTA match at the age of 14 years and 48 days. Defeating Alla Kudryavtseva in the first round of the MPS Group Championships. She would then go on to win her first WTA title, crack the world’s top 20 and reach her first grand slam semi-final at the 2015 Australian Open before the age of 20.

“Honestly, I don’t think I do much reflecting on my career. I’m pretty focused on what I’m going to do next,” Keys said during an interview with The Washington Post. “[Gauff] makes me reflect a little bit, on the last nine to 10 years on the tour. I really love just how exciting [Gauff] is. When you’ve been playing, you lose that a little bit.
“It’s been fun to watch her and remind myself that I was that excited to play once,” she added.
“I’m trying to get back to that.”

When comparing her rise in the sport, Keys believes she had it easier. Saying that the presence of social media wasn’t as prominent as it is now.

“There wasn’t really Twitter or Instagram or anything like that, so I slid under the radar for a lot longer,” Keys said.
“How (Gauff has) handled that and how she mature she is — she’s so wise beyond her years.”

2019 has been a mixed season for 24-year-old Keys, who is seeded second in Washington this week. In her previous four tournaments, she has only won back-to-back matches in one of those. Doing so at the French Open where she reached the quarter-finals. Overall, her win-loss record for the seasons stands at 15-9.

Aiming for more consistency in the coming weeks, Keys has a total of 900 ranking points to defend between next week and then end of the US Open. As to her goals, the American says she want to have ‘have more peaks and not so many valleys.’

Both Keys and Gauff will play their first round matches at the Citi Open on Tuesday. Keys will play wild card entrant Hailey Baptiste and Gauff faces Zarina Diyas.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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