Garbine Muguruza finds form in Shenzhen while Eugenie Bouchard gains upset in Auckland - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza finds form in Shenzhen while Eugenie Bouchard gains upset in Auckland

Garbine Muguruza, Eugenie Bouchard and Madison Keys continued their excellent starts to 2020 in Shenzhen, Auckland and Brisbane.

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Garbine Muguruza (@En24_News on Twitter)

Garbine Muguruza advanced to the quarter-finals in Shenzhen with a 6-1 7-6(2) win over Shelby Rogers to record consecutive victories on the WTA tour for the first time since the 2019 French Open.

 

The Spaniard, 26, endured a torrid six months after she left Paris as she only won one match between the start of June and the end of her season in September.

To her credit, Muguruza has not dwelled on her struggles. She has re-hired Conchita Martinez, who guided her to Wimbledon glory in 2017, and she told wtatennis.com after her first-round win over Wang Xinyu that it was a “different team, different energy”.

The Spaniard elaborated, “We have worked together before – there’s no secret about it. We’ve known each other for a long time, we have a good connection – there’s no guarantees about it but so far, so good.”

Muguruza’s next task will be a last-eight clash with Zarina Diyas. The Kazakhstani edged out Belinda Bencic’s conqueror Anna Blinkova 6-1 6-7(9) 6-4 in a marathon 167-minute encounter.

The other quarter-final in the top half of the Shenzhen draw will be between Ekaterina Alexandrova and Wang Qiang. The Russian beat Peng Shuai 7-6(7) 6-1 and the Chinese overcame Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4 0-6 7-6(5).

Bouchard breezes through to Auckland quarter-final

The winning habit deserted Eugenie Bouchard for much of 2019. She recorded just eight victories in the 28 matches she played.

However, you would not guess that was the case if you watched her first two performances in 2020. She followed up a straight-sets triumph over Kirsten Flipkens with an even more impressive 6-4 6-4 win over Caroline Garcia.

Those victories have earned Bouchard an intriguing-looking quarter-final meeting with one of the best young players on tour: Amanda Anisimova.

Despite her new-found form, this may prove to be a step too far for the Canadian because the American has played some sparkling tennis so far in Auckland. She easily beat Kateryna Kozlova in round one and then unleashed an array of stunning winners during a comprehensive 6-2 6-4 win over Daria Kasatkina in round two.

Keys impresses in Brisbane

The Brisbane draw opened up on Monday when three of the best players suffered shock first-round exits.

One of the women who lost, Elina Svitolina, was seeded to face Madison Keys in the quarter-final. However, she was thrashed 6-1 6-1 by Danielle Collins. The talented American then backed up that win with similarly emphatic 6-1 6-0 victory over Yulia Putintseva to book her place in the last eight.

Keys also won her first and second round matches in straight sets. She beat Marie Bouzkova 6-2 6-3, which earned her a meeting with Angelique Kerber’s conqueror Sam Stosur. She knocked out the home favourite 7-5 6-3 to set up a potentially very exciting quarter-final with her compatriot Collins.

Elsewhere in Brisbane, Alison Riske maintained her remarkable recent upturn in results with a 6-3 6-4 win over Barbora Strycova. She will play either Karolina Pliskova or Alja Tomljanovic in the last eight.

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Sorana Cirstea Makes Winning Start To French Open After Seeking Help From Djokovic’s Coach

The Grand Slam winning mentor was seen in the crowd watching Cirstea play her first round match in Paris.

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Image via https://twitter.com/rolandgarros

Heading into her 14th French Open main draw Sorona Cristea decided to take a shot and ask for advice from one former Grand Slam champion.

 

The 32-year-old Romanian has endured a mixed results on the clay this year with a run to the semifinals of the Istanbul Open followed by three straight first round losses on the Tour. It has been a frustrating past few weeks for the Tour veteran who is currently ranked 27th in the world. Just six spots below her career-high.

Seeking further guidance for her French Open bid, Cirstea approached Goran Ivanisevic for help. The former Wimbledon champion who now works as coach of the men’s world No.1 Novak Djokovic. To her delight, he agreed to give her some pointers.

He came to one of my practices two days ago. Basically, I just asked for his help and I was lucky enough to get an hour of his time,” Cirstea told reporters.
“I talked with him a little bit about what’s going through my head and just tennis. It was a very, very pleasant hour.”

Ivanisevic was seen courtside watching Cirstea play her first round match at Roland Garros on Sunday morning. The 26th seed defeated Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-3, in just over an hour. Hitting a total of 34 winners against 26 unforced errors.

“I was very surprised to see him because I know he’s very busy with Novak,” she continued. “He was very, very kind to be there and I was happy to see him there.’
“He’s just been giving me a few tips and tricks from a Grand Slam champion, and as a coach of No. 1, and someone that has so much experience. I’m very grateful and very lucky to have the chance to spend that hour on court with him.”

This year’s French Open is the 53rd Grand Slam Cirstea has played in. She has reached six WTA finals, winning the 2008 Tashkent Open and 2021 Istanbul Open. Against top 10 players she has recorded a total of 16 wins to date.

Reflecting on her development as a player, the Romanian believes a change in perspective has enabled her to enjoy more success on the Tour in recent years. Cristea has been continuously ranked in the world’s top 100 since September 2019.

“When I was younger, I was taking the losses a bit much, they were hurting a bit too much, where now I am much more relaxed, much more at peace,” she explains.
“You cannot change what happened last week, so why bother? Try to learn and then just go forward with the positive mindset.”

Cirstea will play Sloane Stephens in the second round of Roland Garros. Stephens, who is unseeded in the draw, battled back from a set down to defeat Germany’s Jule Niemeier 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina Announces Pregnancy

Tennis’ power couple are set to become parents later this year.

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Former world No.3 Elina Svitoliva has announced that she is expecting a baby girl in October on social media.

 

The 27-year-old made the announcement on Sunday morning with a picture of her and her husband, French tennis star Gael Monfils. Known by some as the sports ‘power couple,’ the two tied the knot last July in Geneva ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games after first going public about their relationship in 2019. They even have their own Instagram account called ‘g.e.m.s. life’ which has more than 139,000 followers.

“With a heart full of love and happiness, we are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby girl in October,” the couple wrote on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/ElinaSvitolina/status/1525778313918177280

Svitolina hadn’t played on the Tour since losing to Heather Watson at the Miami Open in March after deciding to take time away from the sport due to events happening in her home country. Russia launched a military operation against Ukraine earlier this year which has claimed thousands of lives. Svitolina is one of the sport’s most outspoken players regarding the conflict. She has previously spoken out against the decision to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes from Wimbledon by arguing that they should be allowed to participate if they condemn the actions of their home countries.

We don’t want them banned completely,” Svitolina told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.
“If players don’t speak out against the Russian government then it is the right thing to ban them.”

Prior to announcing her pregnancy, Svitolina has achieved a win-loss record of 5-8 on the Tour this season with her best runs being to the third round of the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of a WTA event in Monterrey.

During her career, the Ukrainian has won 16 WTA titles and reached the semi-finals of two Grand Slams during 2019.

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