Coco Gauff Undeterred By Mouthwatering Australian Open Showdown With Osaka - UBITENNIS
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Coco Gauff Undeterred By Mouthwatering Australian Open Showdown With Osaka

The rising star looks ahead to her clash with the world No.4.

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Teenage sensation Coco Gauff says she has nothing to lose in her upcoming clash with Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open.

 

Gauff, who is the youngest player in this year’s draw at the age of 15, battled into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday. Taking on Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, the American prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, after more than two hours of play. Coming back from a 0-3 deficit in the deciding set to progress into the last 32 of the tournament on her debut. Gauff has now won six main draw grand slam matches before her 16th birthday.

“I think I was just trying to stay calm mostly and stay positive. I’ve always believed that I can come back regardless of the score.” She commented about her latest win.
“The whole match I knew I needed to be more aggressive. I guess I finally decided to do that even though I wish I decided earlier.’
“I think I kind of felt the momentum changing. I knew I had to keep pressing.”

Tipped to be a future star of the women’s game, Gauff achieved another record with her latest win. She is the first female American player to reach the third round of her first three grand slam tournaments in 30 years. A fete that wasn’t even achieved by the formidable Williams sisters.

The reward for the youngster is a second meeting with two-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka, who won the Australian Open title 12 months ago. They first clashed at the US Open last September with the Japanese player dropping only three games against Gauff.

Despite being the underdog in the upcoming match, Gauff has vowed to give it her all. Now familiar with Osaka’s game on the court, the world No.67 believes she will be ‘less nervous’ during their next meeting.

“I think in general my mindset has always been nothing to lose really. Even when in juniors, even though I was ranked pretty high in juniors, I was technically supposed to win. Then I still felt like I had nothing to lose.” She explained.
“I still feel that now. I think my mindset just is I’m going to fight. If I lose, the world is not going to end. I’m going to have another match in maybe a week or so.’
“I think it’s just less pressure to win. I feel like for me, I’m not trying to win so much, but trying to play my best tennis on the court. Winning comes with that if I play good.”

Reflecting on their previous encounter, Gauff paid tribute to her rival. Who consoled her tearful opponent on the court following their match at the Arthur Ashe stadium. A gestured hailed by the teenager as ‘true sportsmanship.’

“I think that’s something if I had a child or something, that’s something I would want my child to see.” She said.
“It just shows what being a competitor really is. You might hate the person on the court, but off the court you love them, not really like hate. But you want to win.’
“Sometimes when we’re on the court, we say things we don’t mean because we have that mentality.”

Gauff will play Osaka on Friday. Osaka beat China’s Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4, in her second round match earlier in the day.

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‘I Know How To Get There’ – Karen Khachanov Targets Return To Top 10

The world No.31 has showed signs of his talent this season with a run to the Olympic final but a lack of consistency and changes to the ATP ranking system has hindered him too.

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Karen Khachanov - Credit: AELTC/Ian Walton

It wasn’t that long ago when Karen Khachanov was the highest-ranked Russian man on the ATP Tour and billed as the next big thing from his country.

 

A breakout 2018 season saw Khachanov claim three Tour titles with the biggest of those being at the Paris Masters which remains his most prestigious trophy to date. He also reached his first major quarter-final at the French Open during the same season and scored five wins over top 10 players. Those triumphs helped elevate him in the ranking to a high of eight.

However, since that breakthrough Khachanov has found himself on a a rollercoaster journey. He is yet to win another title since Paris but came agonisingly close at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev. In his nine previous Grand Slam tournaments his best run was at Wimbledon this season where he reached the last eight before losing to Denis Shapovalov.

Now ranked 31st in the world, the 25-year-old is aiming to claim back up the ladder after the ATP changed their ranking logic to the method used prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The rankings turned out to be a big pun, it was frozen for a year and a half, only now normal counting has begun. I am not fixated on this,” Khachanov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. “My main goal is to get back to the Top10. I know how to get there. And the intermediate goals are to be healthy and motivated.”

Khachanov has been ranked outside the world’s top 20 since February and hasn’t been in the top 10 since October 2019. He is currently coached on the Tour by Jose Clavet who has previously worked with a series of top Spanish players such as Feliciano Lopez, Alex Corretja, Tommy Robredo and Carlos Moya.

“He travels with me everywhere, for which I am grateful to him. I trust him as a specialist, as a coach and as a friend,” Khachanov said of Clavet.

Khachanov has returned to his home country this week where he is playing in Moscow at the Kremlin Cup. A tournament he won three years ago by defeating Adrian Mannarino in the final. Seeded third in the draw this time round, he began his campaign on Wednesday with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, win over James Duckworth. In the next round, he faces another Australian in the shape of John Millman which he believes will be a far from easy task.

He is a fighter, a complete player, he does everything well, forehand and backhand with good intensity. He does everything at a good level, but the main quality is that he fights till the end, so it will be hard for me,” he said of his next opponent.

Moscow is the seventh tournament this year where Khachanov has reached the quarter-final stage.

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Karen Khachanov and Marin Cilic advance to the quarter finals at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

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Karen Khachanov came back from one set down to beat James Duckworth 3-6 6-3 6-1 with four breaks of serve reaching the quarter finals at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow. 

 

Khachanov played at this tournament for the first time at the age of 17 in 2013 beating Albert Ramos Vinolas one month after earning his first ATP Tour win in St. Petersburg.

Duckworth saved four break points in the first and seventh games of the first set before breaking serve in the eighth game to seal the first set 6-3. 

Khachanov broke serve in the fourth game and saved two break points in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. The Russian player broke three times to cruise to a 6-1 win in the decider. 

“It always feel great to be back in your hometown, in a tournament where everything started for me as a professional tennis player. This is where I won my first matches. I got my first points. Since then, it’s always great to come back home to see the crowd, get home support. It’s also little bit more nervous, of course, but on the other side, I always enjoy playing at home”, said Khachanov.

Khachanov set up a quarter final clash against John Millman, who overcame Ilya Marchenko 6-1 5-7 6-4 after 2 hours and 28 minutes. 

Marin Cilic broke serve four times to beat Tommy Paul 7-5 6-3. Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games to draw level to 3-3. Cilic earned his break in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5. Cilic got the decisive break in the sixth game when Paul missed a backhand long. Cilic never looked back and held his final two service games to close out the second set 6-3.  

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Jannik Sinner wins all-Italian Next Gen clash against Lorenzo Musetti in Antwerp

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Jannik Sinner edged Lorenzo Musetti 7-5 6-2 in an all-Italian Next Gen clash to reach the quarter finals at the European Open in Antwerp. 

 

Musetti showed his impressive shotmaking in the first set, but Sinner broke his younger compatriot in the 11th game at deuce by forcing a volley error with a forehand passing shot. 

Sinner did not drop his serve in the second game and broke twice in the third and fifth game to race out to a 5-1 lead. Musetti saved two break points in the seventh game to hold serve at deuce for 2-5. Sinner served out the second set on his first match point. 

Sinner reached the semifinal in Antwerp in 2019 as a semifinal when he ranked outside the top 100. The 20-year-old player is currently 11th in the ATP Race to Turin and is fighting for a qualifying spot for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. 

“In these past two years some things have changed obviously, I am happy to be in the position where I am right now. There are still a couple of tournaments to play this year, and hopefully I can play great tennis”. 

Sinner will face Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech, who edged Dusan Lajovic 6-3 4-6 6-2. Lajovic broke at love in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Rinderknech won five of the next six games with two breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-3. Lajovic saved a break point in the third game of the second set and earned his only break in the 10th game at love to close out the second set 6-4. 

Rinderknech saved three break points in the second game of the third set before breaking serve on his third chance at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. The Frenchman earned a double break at deuce in the seventh game to seal the third set 6-2. 

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