Mixed Fortunes For Former World No.1s Venus, Azarenka In San Jose - UBITENNIS
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Mixed Fortunes For Former World No.1s Venus, Azarenka In San Jose

Veteran player Venus Williams has fallen at the first hurdle in San Jose.

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Venus Williams - Indian Wells 2019 (via Twitter, @BNPPARIBASOPEN)

Four-time Silicon Valley finalist Venus Williams has been knocked out in the first round after suffering a three-set loss to Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Williams, who was granted a wild card into this year’s event, claimed the opening set before falling 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-1, to her opponent. The world No.50 struggled behind her second serve as she managed to win only 16 out of 46 points. During the match, Williams hit 31 winners to 34 unforced errors and only converted three out of her eight break point opportunities.

“I think maybe she had a magic racquet that couldn’t miss because I definitely put pressure on her and shots where I would expect a short ball it was more like she hit a winner.” wtatennis.com quoted Williams as saying.
“She played freely with nothing to lose…. It was magical tennis from her.”

The win was Mattek-Sands’ first in singles for more than a year. The 34-year-old has suffered from numerous knee issues since seriously injuring it during the 2017 Wimbledon Championships. San Jose is her first singles tournament since the Australian Open back in January.

“Venus is a legend, and it was awesome playing here. I love night matches,” Mattek-Sands said after the match. “I really loved the atmosphere. I’m really enjoying it. It’s been a tough couple of years. I’ve had a few surgeries, I feel like I’ve had 12 surgeries, but I’m feeling really good.”

Following her triumph over Williams, Mattek-Sands will next play Carla Suarez Navarro. The Spanish sixth seed eased her way to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Poland’s Magda Linette.

There were better fortunes for 2010 champion Victoria Azarenka in her first round match. The two-time Australian Open winner rallied to a 6-2, 6-4, win over qualifier Harmony Tan. Coming back from 0-3 down in the second set.

“I felt that it wasn’t going to be easy,” Azarenka told wtatennis.com. “First rounds are obviously not easy, and I haven’t played in a while so I had to get used to the conditions. That was important.
“There were moments where I thought I played really well, and there were moments where I lost that concentration a little bit. But a win is a win, and I have to move forward from here.”

Azarenka is bidding to win her first title of any sort since 2016. She will next play fifth seed Donna Vekic, who ousted Japan’s Misaki Doi in three sets.

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Jelena Ostapenko beats Greer Minnen to reach the second round at Eastbourne

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Number 6 seed Jelena Ostapenko beat Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after 1 hour and 29 minutes to secure a spot in the second round at the Rothesay international in Eastbourne. 

Ostapenko won the Eastbourne title in 2021 and reached the 2022 final before losing to Petra Kvitova. 

Minnen led by a break three times and served for the set at 5-4 and 6-5 but Ostapenko pulled back on serve each time. 

Ostapenko fired a backhand crosscourt winner to earn three set points at 6-3 in the tie-break. The Latvian player converted his first chance with a forehand return winner. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set. Ostapenko earned a second break in the third game, but she took an off court medical time-out after a fall at 3-1 in the second set. 

Ostapenko recovered by winning four consecutive games with two breaks to win the second set 6-1. 

“Grass is a great surface, but sometimes it can be slippery and really tricky. So I took the medical time-out just to make sure I am fine”, said Ostapenko.  

 “I think the surface suits me really well. The first I played on grass, I was like: ‘How can we play tennis on this surface ? I don’t understand what’s happening here, but then every year was better and better”, said Ostapenko. 

British wild card Harriet Dart battled past former Wimbledon quarter finalist Marie Bouzhkova 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 after 3 hours and 29 minutes in the third-longest match on the WTA Tour this year. 

Bouzhkova broke twice in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead, but Dart won six of the next seven games with three breaks of serve to win the first set 7-5. 

Dart fought back from 1-4 down to force a tie-break with two breaks of serve in the sixth and eighth games. The British player never held a match point in the second set. Bouzhkova converted her fourth set point to seal the tie-break 9-7 after a 88-minute second set. 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the third set, Dart earned a decisive break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The British wild card saved a break point at 4-3 en route to the win. 

Dart was scheduled to face 2022 Wimbeldon champion Elena Rybakina, but the Kazakh player withdrew from the tournament on Monday due to a change of schedule. Dart will face wild card Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open title and reached the final at Roland Garros in 2020.  

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(VIDEO) What A Weekend For Italian Tennis!

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta looks back on this week’s action on the ATP Tour.

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Jannik Sinner – ATP Halle 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

It has been a memorable Sunday for Italian tennis with the country winning two titles on the ATP Tour. 

In Halle, world No.1 Jannik Sinner claimed his first trophy on the grass with a hard-fought two-set win over Hubert Hurkacz. There was also success in the doubles tournament with top seeds Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori winning the title. Meanwhile, in London, Lorenzo Musetti was unable to make it a hatrick of wins for his country after losing in the final of the Cinch Championships to Tommy Paul.  

So how much can be read into these wins and should we be expecting similar results at Wimbledon which begins a week tomorrow? 

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Jannik Sinner reaches the first grass final of his career in Halle

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Jannik Sinner overcame Zhang Zhizhen 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to reach the first final of his career on grass at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Sinner achieved his best result on this surface when he reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2023. 

Sinner will face a final against his friend Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the first semifinal. The Italian player converted his only break point in the ninth game and fended off the only break point he faced at 5-6 in the second set with a forehand winner, one of his winners of the match. 

The Italian player earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead. Zhang Zhizhen pulled the mini-break back. Sinner earned two mini-breaks in the fourth and eighth points to win the tie-break 7-3. Sinner won the first of the four tie-breaks he played this week.

Sinner finished the match in straight sets after clinching three consecutive three-set wins at the start of his campaign at this year’s edition of the Terra Wortmann in Halle. 

The world number 1 player won three titles on hard court at the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Miami this year. 

“It means a lot. I had four tough matches to go to the final. It was a good match today. Definitely more rallies than yesterday. And that’s definitely what I needed today. I am happy and let’s see what’s coming tomorrow”, said Sinner.  

Earlier this week Zhang Zhizhen had previously beaten Danil Medvedev in the second round and came back from 2-5 down to beat Christopher Eubanks in the quarter finals. 

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