Garbine Muguruza Stuns Halep To End Spain’s 22-Year Wait For A Women’s Australian Open Finalist - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza Stuns Halep To End Spain’s 22-Year Wait For A Women’s Australian Open Finalist

The two-time grand slam champion produced a gutsy display to send the world No.3 packing in Melbourne Park.



Garbine Muguruza is through to her first grand slam final in almost three years after ousting third seed Simona Halep in a thrilling encounter at the Australian Open.

Muguruza, who is unseeded in Melbourne Park this year for the first time since 2014, overcame some stern resistance from across the court to prevail 7-6(8), 7-5. Sending her into her first grand slam final since Wimbledon 2017 and her first ever on Australian soil. The encounter saw Muguruza hit 39 winners to 44 unforced errors as she saved 10 out of the 13 break point she faced. Extending her winning head-to-head record against Halep to 4-2.

“I was thinking keep going and at some point I will have an opportunity. I knew it would be a hard match facing Simona. So it was just about hanging in there and fighting with all the energy that I had.” Muguruza said during her on-court interview.

Despite being separated by 29 places in the WTA rankings, there was little disparity between the two players throughout a roller-coaster opening set. In what was a battle of the former world No.1s, Muguruza was able to tame Halep’s attacking play with her own powerful shot-making. The Spaniard first struck in the seventh game of the match after a backhand drive volley granted her the first break for a 4-3 lead. In control, Muguruza’s first attempt to close the set out was unsuccessful after a tentative service game enabled a fired up Halep to break back and eventually level at 5-5. It was then Mugurza’s turn to have the pressure as she fended off a duo of set points en route to a tiebreak.

Continuing the trend of momentum changes, both players had their opportunities to clinch the opener during the tiebreak. First, it was the Spaniard who had both a 3-0 advantage and two set points in her favour that she was unable to capitalise on.  Then Halep also had her chances, but failed to convert them. Eventually, it would be Muguruza who would prevail. Leading 9-8, she eventually snatched the first set with the help of a failed cross-court forehand shot from her rival crashing into the net. Much to the annoyance of the Romanian who smash her racket shortly after.

The cat and mouse chase continued into the second frame, but this time it was Halep who initially looked the better of the two. Breaking twice in a row to eventually open up a 4-2 lead before moving to a game away from forcing the match into a decider. However, Muguruza refused to buckle in the blistering Melbourne heat. Staging yet another comeback, she drew level at 5-5 with the help of a Halep shot drifting beyond the baseline. Back in contention, Muguruza then nudged ahead 6-5 before working her way to two match point opportunities. She failed in her first attempt, but victory was secured on her second after another Halep shot failed to go over the net.

“You start (the Australian Open) day-by-day and that what I was doing. Each match at a time.” Said the world No.32.
“I’m very excited to be in the final. It’s a long way to come and I have one more match on Saturday.”

Awaiting the 26-year-old next will be American rising star Sofia Kenin. Who stunned top seed Ash Barty earlier in the day to reach her first ever grand slam final. Muguruza lost to  the world No.14 in three sets (6-0, 2-6, 6-2) last year at the China Open. That was the only previous tour meeting between the two.

“I’ve played Garbine in Beijing. It was a tough match. She’s playing some really good tennis right now. She’s had some great wins. She’s not easy. She’s really aggressive.” Kenin previewed.

Muguruza is just the third Spanish woman to reach the Australian Open final in history and the first since 1998. When her current coach Conchita Martinez lost to Martina Hingis in the title match. Should she win the trophy on Sunday, she would become the first female player from her country to ever do so.

As a result of her run to the final, Muguruza will rise to at least 16th in the world rankings. Her highest position since March.

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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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