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.



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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Jannik Sinner reaches his second consecutive semifinal in Monte-Carlo



Second seed Jannik Sinner battled past Holger Rune 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 after 2 hours and 41 minutes to reach his second consecutive semifinal at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Sinner becomes the only player to reach the semifinals at all three Masters 1000 tournaments this season. 

Sinner has drawn level to 2-2 in his four head-to-head matches against Rune. 

Sinner has improved to 14-2 against top 10 opponents since last September. 

Sinner set up a semifinal clash against 2021 and 2022 Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-2 in the quarter final. Tsitsipas has a career win-loss record of 18-3 in Monte-Carlo. 

Rune did not convert a break point in the fourth game of the first set. Sinner earned the only break of the opening set in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Neither player earned a single break point in the next games. Sinner held on his next service games and served out the first set with a hold at love. 

Rune recovered from 0-40 to hold for 3-2. The Danish player fended off three break points at 6-5 to hold serve at deuce. Sinner earned two set points at 6-4 in the tie-break, but Rune fired a winner to start a four-point streak to clinch the tie-break 8-6. 

Rune held his second break point at 2-2 30-40, but Sinner saved it before winning 12 of the final 15 points to win the third set 6-3 improving his win-loss record to 25-1 this season. “It took a lot to win this match. Playing against Rune is never easy, especially on this kind of occasion, so I am very happy that I won today but mostly about the level I gave. I raised it today a little bit. It was more physical, there were more rallies today. My general feelings were better, so I am very excited about tomorrow’s match. Even I lose today, I learn again, so I am very happy about today. It has been  a very tough match. I am very happy about the win”, said Sinner.

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Injury Heartbreak Motivates Australia In Billie Jean King Cup Tie With Mexico



SEVILLE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Storm Hunter of Team Australia reacts during the Billie Jean King Cup Finals group stage match between Australia and Kazakhstan at Estadio de La Cartuja on November 09, 2023 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images for ITF)

The captain of the Australian Billie Jean King Cup team says they are supporting one of their top players after she suffered a serious injury on the eve of their latest tie. 

Storm Hunter, who is currently ranked No.3 in the world for doubles, has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon whilst training at a practice session on Thursday with her teammates. The severity of the injury means she will almost certainly be forced to pull out of this summer’s Olympic Games where she would have been a medal contender, as well as both the French Open and Wimbledon. Hunter has already won a WTA 1000 title this season in Dubai and was also runner-up in Indian Wells. In both of those tournaments, she was partnering Kateřina Siniaková. 

“Unfortunately yesterday in our last practice before the tie, I went down and scans last night confirmed that I have ruptured my Achilles tendon,” said Hunter.
“I am devastated and heartbroken, but incredibly grateful to be around the team and I know I have a great group of people around me that will help me get back on the court as soon as possible.
“Thank you everyone so much everyone for your messages of support and love. I’m excited to stay for the tie and support our Aussie girls.”

According to the Australian press, team captain Sam Stosur said Hunter’s teammates are ‘rallying behind‘ her and “wishing her the very, very best and the quickest recovery possible.”

As a result of the injury, Daria Saville was brought in to play in her country’s singles match on the opening day of their tie against Mexico on Friday. The world No.94 was in top form as she charged to a comprehensive 6-1, 6-0, win over Marcela Zacarias in less than an hour. 

“Yesterday was a pretty tough day for all of us, pretty emotional,” said Saville who has undergone surgery on her Achilles in the past. 
“It’s so nice to have Stormy here supporting us. Not long ago that kind of happened to me … so we’re giving Stormy a lot of love. 
“I felt like I was pretty determined and clearly that showed.”

Despite the blow, Australia is on the verge of beating Mexico. In the other singles match on the opening day, Arina Rodionova came back from a set down to beat Giuliana Olmos 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. With a 2-0 lead, they only need one more win to clinch the tie. 

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Great Britain is looking to avenge defeat against France in Billie Jean King Cup tie



France and Great Britain have drawn together once again after a thrilling Billie Jean King Qualifier tie last year.

France will take on Great Britain for the fifth time in Billie Jean King Cup. In their most recent clash France beat Great Britain 3-1 in a tight Qualifier one year ago on an indoor hard court in their first tie since 1981. Caroline Garcia and Alizé Cornet won their singles matches against Katie Boulter and Harriet Dart. 

Great Britain is looking to avenge last year’s result. 

The French team features Caroline Garcia, Karoline Mladenovic, Clara Burel and Diane Perry in a mix of experienced and young players. French captain Julien Benneteau was part of the Davis Cup-winning team in 2017. Benneteau is one of the select players to have beaten Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. 

Benneteau was named Billie Jean King Cup captain in 2018 and led France to victory against Australia in the Final in 2019. 

France was narrowly defeated by Italy in the group stages at the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Seville. 

Great Britain won their Play-Off tie against Sweden. Katie Boulter scored two thrilling singles wins. 

British captain Anne Keothavong, who won 22 matches during her playing career in the Billie Jean King Cup, has named world number 28 Katie Boulter, Harriet Dart, Heather Watson and 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu. 

Raducanu will make only her second appearance in the British team at this event. She missed most of the 2023 season after undergoing surgery on both wrists and her ankle. 

Boulter and Raducanu have been selected to play singles. 

Boulter will play against Diane Perry in the opening match. Raducanu will take on Garcia in the second match. 

Bolulter has a good chance to qualify for the Olympic Games at Paris Roland Garros. The British player, who won the San Diego Open this year, has not played a professional match on clay. Both the Billie Jean King Cup tie at the Chaudron Le Portel and the Olympic Games will be held on this surface. 

“The Olympics is always something I wanted to play as a kid and that is certainly a priority. I will be playing if I can, and I am looking forward to being a part of something which isn’t only tennis. I am sure it would be an experience I won’t forget”, said Boulter. 

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