Once Again Serena Williams Is On The Brink Of History At The US Open - UBITENNIS
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Once Again Serena Williams Is On The Brink Of History At The US Open

The former world No.1 speaks out about her ‘crazy’ journey to yet another major final.

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Serena Williams (picture from Twitter @USOpen)

It is just a single win that separates Serena Williams from matching Margaret Court’s all-time grand slam record.

 

The 37-year-old illustrated why she is still a formidable force on the women’s tour after brushing aside Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-1, in the semifinals of the US Open. Whilst she admits that it wasn’t her best performance, the American still managed to drop only four points behind her first serve as she hit 34 winners to 20 unforced errors. More crucial was her ability to save all of the six break points she faced against Svitolina.

“To be in yet another final, it seems honestly crazy. But I don’t really expect too much less.” Said Williams.
“I think today was solid. It definitely wasn’t my best tennis. It’s interesting that she (Svitolina) knows that.’
“She’s a super professional to know that. She probably could have played better, as well. I definitely know I could have played better.”

21 years have passed since Williams made her debut at Flushing Meadows back in 1998. She finds herself in a somewhat different scenario compared to then. Now married with a child, her on-court battles have been well documented. Since returning to the tour after giving birth back in September 2017, she has failed to win a single title. Settling for runner-up at three major tournaments.

Yet this time round, the feeling is different for Williams. After experiencing a season marred my numerous injury issues, she feels that the stars are starting to align for her. Something she puts down to her training prior to New York.

“I felt more prepared this tournament. Wimbledon, I probably had a week to prepare, so that was amazing. Australia, I was super prepared. I did great, then rolled my ankle. I shouldn’t have even played the French Open. That was just a bonus just to compete in another Grand Slam.” She reflected.
“I just feel like I actually had time to train. I trained more for — I joked I trained more for Canada than I did for any other tournament this year, which was kind of funny.’
“I just had a really tough year with injuries, mostly bad luck. I just needed to get injury-free.”

Should Williams prevail in the final it would rewrite the tennis history books. She would overtake Chris Evert to become the most successful woman in US Open history with 102 match wins. Furthermore, she would finally draw level with Court’s all-time record of 24 grand slam singles titles. It is Court’s milestone that has been the constant measuring stick used by the media for Williams.

“I definitely would still be playing if I had already passed it. I’ve had so many chances to pass it and to have a lot more, but it’s cool because I’m playing in an era with so many — five eras with so many amazing players (smiling).” She commented about the prospect of major title No.24.
“If you look at the span of the career, the players I’ve played, it’s amazing that I was able to get this many.”

Standing in the way of Williams’ first trophy of any sort since the 2017 Australian Open will be rising star Bianca Andreecu. Who defeated Belinda Bencic in straight sets in her semi-final match. The Canadian has been a revelation this year after triumphing in Indian Wells and at the Rogers Cup. Against top 10 opposition she has won all seven meetings.

“She’s a great player. She mixes things up. You never know what is going to come from her. She does everything else. She serves well, moves well, has a ton of power. She’s very exciting to watch. It’s good. I think it’s great for women’s tennis.” Williams said of the 19-year-old.

The two previously clashed before, but that encounter came to an abrupt halt. Facing each other in the final of the Rogers Cup, Williams had to retire after 19 minutes of play due to injury.

The upcoming final will be Williams’ 33rd at a grand slam. This year marks the 20th anniversary of her first back in 1999.

 

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Elena Rybakina and Belinda Bencic take hard-fought wins to reach the third round in Doha

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Elena Rybakina saved a match point to beat Alison Van Uytvanck 5-7 6-2 7-6 (10-8) to secure a hard-fought 5-7 6-2 7-6 (10-8) win over Alison Van Uytvanck on his fifth match point after 2 hours and 21 minutes at the Qatar Total Open in Doha.

 

Both players went on serve in the first ten games with no breaks, before Van Uytvank earned her first break in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5.

Rybakina broke twice in the second and eighth games to win the second set 6-2 forcing the match to the third set. Van Uytvanck converted her third break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Rybakina broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Rybakina earned two match points at 5-4. Van Uytvanck saved two match points on her serve in the 10th game. Rybakina did not convert a match point after a double fault. Van Uytvanck failed to convert her own match point, before Rybakina won the final three points to advance to the third round, where she will face 2019 Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty.

Barty beat Rybakina in the third round at last January’s Australian Open.

Belinda Bencic recovered from missing a match point to beat Veronika Kudemertova 6-4 4-6 7-6 (8-6) after 2 hours and 38 minutes. Both players traded breaks in the third and fourth games. Bencic wrapped up the first set with a break in the 10th game.

Kudemertova earned an early break in the second set. Bencic pulled the break back on her third opportunity in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Kudemertova won the final two games with a break in the ninth game to seal the second set 6-4.

Bencic went down a break in the third game of the decider, but she broke back in the eight game to draw level to 4-4 and earned a match point in the 10th game. Kudemertova saved it and earned four break points on Bencic’s serve. Bencic saved them and forced the third set to the tie-break. Bencic won three consecutive points from 3-3 to earn three match points. The Swiss player closed it out on her third match point setting up a third round match against Yulia Putintseva.

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Elena Rybakina scores her 20th match of the season in Doha

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Elena Rybakina came back one set down to beat Sorana Cristea 3-6 6-3 6-1 to score her 20th match win of the season at the Qatar Total Open just two days after losing to Simona Halep in Dubai.

 

Rybakina has improved her seasonal record to 20 wins to 4 defeats this season. The Kazakh player won the Hobart International and reached three finals in Shenzhen, St. Petersburg and Dubai.

Rybakina went down a break in the opening game, but she broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Cristea broke twice in the fifth and ninth games to win the opening set 6-3. Rybakina broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Cristea broke back in the sixth game at deuce to draw level to 3-3. Cristea broke straight back at deuce to draw level to 3-3. Rybakina won the final three games with two consecutive games to win the second set 6-3. Rybakina won the first nine points of the third set including a break in the second game and got the break with a backhand return in the sixth game before serving out the win to secure her spot in the second round.

“I still have energy. I am just fighting in every match. Hopefully I can can keep making finals and finally win another. It’s my first time here, and it’s a really nice place. Hopefully I will have time to walk around, but I am enjoying Doha so far”, said Rybakina.

US teenager Amanda Anisimova cruised past last year’s semifinalist Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-3 to reach the third round at the Qatar Total Open in Doha.

 

Anisimova hit 27 winners to 31 unforced errors and fended off all three break points she faced.

 

Anisimova scored her top 10 win since last  year’s Roland Garros, where she beat Simona Halep en route to her first Grand Slam semifinal.

 

Anisimova saved two break points in the third game of the first set. The US player earned the only break of the first set and held on her serve to seal the opening set on her second set point.

 

Anisimova converted her fourth break point at deuce to take a 3-2 lead. Svitolina earned two game points as she served to stay in the match, but Anisimova won three consecutive points to clinch the second set with her second break.

 

Anisimova will face either Svetlana Kuznetsova or Polish teenager Iga Swiatek.

 

“I think the most important thing was just staying focused and clearing my head, just not putting too much pressure on myself and just trying to enjoy. I love playing here. I love this stadium and the crowd is great. I am glad I get to see everyone again in the next round”,said Ansimova.

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Epic Dubai Triumph Fuels Belief And Motivation For Simona Halep

The world No.2 reacts to the latest milestone achieved in her career.

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On Saturday Simona Halep survived a marathon encounter at the Dubai Tennis Championships to become only the sixth active player to win 20 on more WTA titles on the tour.

 

The two-time grand slam champion, who was the top seed in the tournament, required almost two-and-a-half hours to see off the in-form Elena Rybakina 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5). A player who has reached the final in four out of her five tournaments played so far in 2020. The clash was far from easy for the Romanian, who trailed 1-3 in the decider and failed to serve the match out when leading 6-5 before eventually prevailing in the tiebreak. Earning her first WTA trophy since lifting the Wimbledon trophy last July.

“It feels great that I could win it,” Halep said. “Actually, it was amazing. She fought till the end. She didn’t give up any balls. It was really tough mentally. The pressure was very high. But I wanted it badly, so that’s why I fought till the end.”

Besides Rybakina, the 28-year-old also scored wins over Jennifer Brady, Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur in the tournament. Out of those matches, Halep’s only straight sets win was over Brady in the semi-finals.

It is the second time Halep has won the Dubai crown after 2015. She believes her latest triumph reiterates why she still belongs at the top of the women’s game. Prior to this week, she also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open and quarter-finals in Adelaide.

“I’ve done a lot of results, many results these six, seven years,” said Halep. “I’m staying here in the top 5, top 10, which is not easy. I’m proud of my job. Also, this tournament gives me confidence that I’m still there.”

Whilst she has only won two titles over the past 16 months, it is the consistency of the former world No.1 that has enabled her to be in the world’s top 10 for so long. To date she has spent 317 weeks consecutive weeks in the top 10 since January 2014. The 10th longest streak in the history of the WTA Tour.

“I always had in my mind that I had to be consistent. I didn’t like the way you win a tournament and then don’t do anything for a few months. I like to build my power and consistency every week.” She explained.
“Since I met Darren (Cahill) I was told that we had to look at the big picture and not just this week.’
“This makes me more proud than winning titles because if you’re able to be there means that you have everything power, strong mental, physical also, very strong.” She added.

There will be no Middle East double for Halep this year after she withdrew from the upcoming Doha Open. A Premier 5 event that will feature six top 10 players in the draw this year. Halep was runner-up in the tournament last year to Elise Mertens.

“It’s a decision I took before the match … I started this tournament a little bit injured with my foot.” Halep stated.

The only active players to have won more WTA titles than Halep are Serena and Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova.

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