Alex Corretja On Why He's Backing Garbine Muguruza For Australian Open Glory - UBITENNIS
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Alex Corretja On Why He’s Backing Garbine Muguruza For Australian Open Glory

The two-time French Open finalist explains why he believes Muguruza is the favourite in the final.

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Former world No.2 Alex Corretja believes Garbine Muguruza has the upper hand heading into the women’s title match at the Australian Open on Saturday.

 

Muguruza, who is unseeded in the draw, will take on 21-year-old American Sofia Kenin. Who will be playing in her first ever grand slam final. The Spaniard has endured a revival in her form at the Melbourne major as she dropped just two sets in six matches played. Both of which was during the first two rounds. En route to the final, she has knocked out top 10 players Kiki Bertens, Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep.

“I’m feeling good.” Muguruza told reporters on Thursday. “I think I played many top-10 players in a row and got victories. It’s definitely a sign that my tennis is good.’
“I’m excited to have one more match here (in Melbourne), and hopefully get it.”

Looking ahead to the final, Corretja believes Muguruza’s previous experience gives her an advantage against Kenin. She won the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon Championships. Muguruza was also runner-up at Wimbledon back in 2015. However, the Spaniard lost to the world No.15 in their only previous meeting at the China Open last year. Kenin defeated world No.1 Ash Barty in her semi-final match.

“For Garbine, we’ve been talking about her a lot and I always trusted her because she has got the potential and it was just a matter of time before she got back the pieces of the puzzle.” Corretja said on Eurosport.
“She found them a few months ago, started working with Conchita (Martinez), it was good she worked hard in the off-season and then played a lot of matches before coming here. Even though she got ill, she was ready, if she didn’t have those kinds of matches before she got ill she would be panicking because she knew she was in good shape and she overcame it strongly.’
“I think Garbine showed she is aggressive, she is serving well, she’s going to try to dictate and put pressure on her opponents. Kenin can defend well, hit good groundstrokes and she’s also a good mover. But I am thinking considering Garbine has been there and she knows what it takes to deal with those emotions of a final, I give her the advantage.”

Coach Conchita Martinez admits that aggression will be key for Muguruza in the upcoming final. A former Australian Open finalist herself back in 1998, the 47-year-old reunited with her compatriot at the end of 2019 after working with Karolina Plskova. She previously worked with the former world No.1 between 2017-2018 and guided her to her only Wimbledon title.

“She is a great player, a very good fighter. She strikes the ball good. She is aggressive. So the key is going to be to stay with her, to stay aggressive, try to be the one in command.” Martinez said of Kenin.
“It’s not going to be easy, but hopefully she (Muguruza) can do it.”

Women’s grand slam tennis has been renowned for its unpredictability in recent years. 10 out of the last 12 major tournaments have been won by different players. During that period, Halep and Naomi Osaka are the only ones to have claimed multiple titles. At the Australian Open, the last woman to win back-to-back titles was Victoria Azarenka in 2012 and 2013.

Should Muguruza win the title in Melbourne Park on Saturday she would become the first Spanish woman in history to ever do so.

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Marin Cilic wins his first title since Queen’s 2018

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Marin Cilic claimed the 19th ATP Tour title of his career and his first since Queen’s 2018 with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 win over Felix Auger Aliassime  after 1 hour and 50 minutes in the final of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. 

 

Cilic won 100% of his first-serve points in three of his five matches and did not drop a set this week. 

The Croatian star is not 3-3 in grass court finals and 19-14 in his overall title matches. 

Both Cilic and Auger Aliassime saved three break points in their first service games. Cilic converted his ninth break point to take a 6-5 lead in the 11th game. Cilic was not able to serve out the first set, but he cruised through the tie-break 7-2, when Auger Aliassime hit a forehand long. 

The second set went on serve in the first seven games. Auger Aliassime won 64% of his first-service points, while Cilic claimed 90% of his second serve points. Cilic earned the only break of the second set in the eighth game to seal the second set 6-3. 

Cilic will play at Queen’s next week. 

“It was a very important win. I played two semifinals and did not win a title since 2018, also on grass at Queen’s. Winning here brings out joy for me, good confidence and a good feeling. Experience plays a big part, especially on grass. The conditions can be difficult, the court plays quite quick. I felt this was a good chance for me to give it my all, keep my intensity. Even though  some games were up and others down, that was a big part of my victory today”, said Cilic. 

Auger Aliassime has dropped to 0-8 in his eight ATP Tour Finals. “Today I am not facing a final. I am facing Marin Cilic. It is two different things. There has been times when I have not played my best then I felt I was not playing well, but this time around, I felt like it was close, but overall I think he was a better player overall”, said Auger Aliassime. 

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Felix Auger Aliassime sets up Stuttgart final against Marin Cilic

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Felix Auger Aliassime beat Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 in 80 minutes to advance to the eighth ATP Tour Final of his career at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart without dropping a set this week. 

 

Auger Aliassime did not face a break point and hit seven aces. The Canadian Next Gen converted his first break point in the ninth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

The 20-year-old Canadian rising star won 89% of his first service points before earning a break point at 6-5 to seal the win. He lost to Matteo Berrettini in the 2019 final in Stuttgart. 

Auger Aliassime will face 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who won the first set 6-3 before Jurij  Rodionov, before the Austrian wild card was forced to withdraw from the match at 0-1 due to an injury problem at the start of the second set. 

“I am feeling really good and very excited to be in the final after quite a period that I didn’t reach a final. I think this was very positive week. I have played good tennis, served very well. Considering it is a shorter season, with one week less. It was great to play this week. Losing to Roger Federer gave me more time to prepare for the week. I have not enjoyed being at a tournament so much in a long period of time, because it is the first time my son, my wife and I are together at one tournament. The set up in Stuttgart is really nice. There is a lot of grass and open space aroung the hotel for my sonto play and it is so much fun having them around”, said Cilic. Cilic leads 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Auger Aliassime. They will play their first match on grass. 

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Barbora Krejcikova reaches both singles and doubles final at Roland Garros

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Barbora Krejcikova has qualified for the singles and doubles finals at Roland Garros this weekend, as she and Katerina Siniakova claimed a 6-1 6-2 win over Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera. 

 

Krejcikova has the chance to become the first player to win both the women’s singles and doubles titles at Roland Garros since Mary Pierce claimed both tournaments in 2000. Serena Williams is the most recently player to win both the singles and doubles titles at any Grand Slam tournament, at Wimbledon 2016.

The Czech team will take on Bethanie Mattek Sands froand last year’s Roland Garros singles champion Iga Swiatek, who beat Irina Camelia Begu and Nadia Podoroska 6-3 6-4. Swiatek reached the quarter final this year in the singles tournament. Krejcikova and Siniakova have qualified for both Grand Slam women’s doubles finals this season. They lost to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka at the 2021 Australian Open last February. 

Krejcikova and Siniakova are bidding to win their second Roland Garros women’s doubles title. 

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