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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Injured Bianca Andreescu retires From Semi-Final match In Hua Hin

The Canadian was looking to book a spot in her first WTA final of the year but was forced to retire after injuring her right shoulder.

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Lesia Tsurenko booked her spot in the final of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin after Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire whilst down 7-6, 4-0.

 

The first set was extremely tight with the first four games being breaks of serve. Andreescu got the crucial break to lead 5-3 and served for the first set but the Ukrainian fought back to level the set at 5-5. Then Tsurenko was the one to break serve but she was able to close out the first set.

After the opener, the semi-final clash went completely one-sided with Tsurenko taking over by winning four games off the trot before Andreescu decided to call it quits. The Canadian had a medical timeout during a second set changeover.

Tsurenko gave full credit to her opponent and despite the retirement says it was a very difficult match.

“Bianca is such an amazing player she said. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today”. She said.

Tsurenko is looking to win her fifth WTA title and will be playing in her first final since 2019 in Hua Hin. She faces the China’s Lin Zhu who earlier in the day beat the number seven seed Xinyu Wang 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and 38 minutes to book her spot in the final.

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The US team secure their spot in the Davis Cup Group Stage with a 4-0 win over Uzbekistan

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Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek beat Uzbekistan’s Sayniar Fayziev and Sergey Fomin 6-2 6-4 after just 52 minutes in the doubles match of the best-of five qualifier to secure the US team a spot in the 2023 Davis Cup Group Stage. 

 

Ram and Krajicek broke twice in the third and seventh games to win the first set 6-2. The US team earned an immediate break in the first game and held their service games to win the second set 6-4. Ram praised the Uzbek team after the match. 

“Rankings-wise the Uzbek opponents are the underdogs. They are not the favourites in this match, but even in the singles they tried their best and they really fought until the end and that’s a pretty good quality to have. It helps you win matches you are not supposed to win”, said Ram. 

Denis Kudla beat Amir Milushev 6-4 6-4 to complete the 4-0 sweep.

The US team did not drop a set in four matches this weekend. 

The previous day Davis Cup rookie Mackenzie McDonald secured the first point for the US team with a 6-4 6-1 win over Fomin before Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul came back from 0-4 down in the second set to beat Khumoyun Sultanov 6-1 7-6 (8-6).

“I was excited to see Raj and Austin play today.They have practiced well all week. They had five great days of preparation and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. After that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them”, said US team captain David Nainkin.

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Cameron Norrie draws Great Britain level to 1-1 against Colombia

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Colombia and Great Britain have drawn level to 1-1 after the first two singles matches on the opening day of the Davis Cup Qualifier at altitude on clay in Bogotà. 

 

Colombia’s Nicholas Mejia clinched the first top 100 win of his career with a 6-2 2-6 6-4 victory against Daniel Evans after 2 hours and 31 minutes. 

Mejia fended off three break points in the first game of the third set. The 22-year-old Colombian player was not able to convert on two break points as Evans held serve in a marathon game to level to 4-4. 

Mejia sealed the win over Evans with his third break in the final game thanks to a backhand passing shot.

“The key to victory ? The attitude, the dedication, not getting nervous more than necessary. I have also learned a lot from previous defeats. I wanted to go out and win. I was not going to give them anything. I am very happy for the point that I was able to give to Colombia. There is a long way to go to think about victory”, said Mejia in the post-match interview. 

Cameron Norrie overcame Nicolas Barrientos 6-2 7-5 in the second singles rubber to level the tie at 1-1. 

Norrie earned an early break at the start of the first set. The British player closed out the first set 6-2 with a double break in the seventh game. 

Norrie started the second set with an immediate break in the first game. Barrientos broke straight back with his first break of the match in the second game to draw level to 1-1. The Colombian player earned five break points on return at 1-2, but Norrie held serve at deuce in a hard-fought fourth game. 

Barrientos earned another break point at 2-3, but Norrie saved it to hold serve. Norrie earned the crucial break in the 11th game to close out the second set 7-5 after a missed volley from Barrientos. 

“Especially given that we are the away team, they have got a huge advantage with us coming here on clay, at altitude, with the fans out there. That’s why we love it and that’s why we are out here playing. I really enjoyed the match today and I can improve on a lot of things going into tomorrow. I was able to put enough balls in the court to get over the line”, said Norrie. 

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