Bianca Andreescu: Yet To Lose To A Top 10 Player And Ready To Dash Williams’ US Open Dream - UBITENNIS
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Bianca Andreescu: Yet To Lose To A Top 10 Player And Ready To Dash Williams’ US Open Dream

The giant-killing player has her eyes set on the ultimate prize in New York.

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Bianca Andreescu US Open 2019 (photo Twitter @USOpen)

It seems surreal that Bianca Andreescu has achieved history in only her fourth main draw appearance in a grand slam tournament.

 

Taking on Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in the semi-finals of the US Open on Thursday, the 19-year-old battled to a 7-6(3), 7-5, win during what was a roller coaster encounter. After coming  through a tough opener, she recovered from a 1-4 deficit in the second set by breaking Bencic four consecutive times on route to the milestone victory. Becoming Canada’s first ever singles finalist at Flushing Meadows.

“It wasn’t easy at all. She hits the ball really hard and really flat I think every shot. My knees were to the ground. I think it wasn’t too fun playing her. But that’s what makes her such a great player.” Andreescu said of Bencic.
“I’m just really glad with how I managed that. I tried to change the rhythm as much as possible. That was the goal right from the beginning of the match.’
“But it wasn’t easy. When someone is hitting flat and deep, it’s hard to do that. But the main reason I won I think is because I just kept fighting. I never let up.”

The win is the latest stage of Andreescu’s meteoric rise in the world of women’s tennis. Prior to this season, she had never broken into the world’s top 100 or won a WTA title. Yet over the past nine months she has blossomed into one of the most notable players in the sport. It all started back in January where she reached the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland, which she lost to Julia Goerges. Gaining in belief and momentum, two months later she won her first trophy in Indian Wells before claiming the Rogers Cup trophy in August. Even more impressive was that between those two titles, she was sidelined from the tour for almost five months due to injury.

“I’ve always dreamt of this moment ever since I was a little kid. But I don’t think many people would have actually thought that it would become a reality.” She said of reaching her first grand slam final.
“I think for me, it all started in Auckland, then in Indian Wells. I just kept believing in myself. But I think that moment after the match, I was just in shock. At the same time I fought really hard to get to this point, so I really think I deserve to be in the finals on Saturday.”

One notable thing about the teenager is her confidence. She feels like she deserves and belong to play in a major final. Speaking candidly in her press conference she said she would have ‘believed’ somebody if they tipped her to reach a grand slam final leading into this year’s tournament.

Serena awaits

Andreescu has become somewhat of a big time player. She is yet to lose against a top 10 player after winning all seven of those meetings. More notable was six out of those seven victories took place on North American hard courts.

In order to claim the biggest title of her career, Andreescu needs to get past Serena William in the final. Somebody who won their maiden US Open title the year before she was even born. Their only previous meeting on the tour lasted just 19 minutes after Williams was forced to retire due to injury.

“I remember watching her when I was about 10. I don’t remember specifically a moment. I watched her win most of her Grand Slam titles.” She said of the former world No.1
“I think she’s fighting for her 24th on Saturday. I’m sure she’s going to bring her A game.’
“I’m going to try to bring my A game, too. Hopefully I guess may the best player win.”

Despite her rapid rise, Andreescu heads into the final as very much the underdog. Given the fact it is Williams’ home grand slam and that she has a wealth of experience. However, she refuses to accept anything less than victory. Providing a glimpse of the mentality that has helped her achieve so much success this season.

“I think it’s just inside of me somehow. I think it’s just my passion for the game, as well. I don’t like to lose, so I just try my best every match.” She explained.
“I expect a lot from myself, so I think that pressure also helps me do my best in matches.”

The women’s final will take place on Saturday.

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French Open Finalist Marketa Vondrousova Undergoes Surgery

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

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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.

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‘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.

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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

 

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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

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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.

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