Mixed Fortunes For Grand Slam Champions Ash Barty And Simona Halep In Adelaide - UBITENNIS
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Mixed Fortunes For Grand Slam Champions Ash Barty And Simona Halep In Adelaide

The Barty Army was given a reason to celebrate on Thursday, but Romanian fans were left disappointed.

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Ash Barty (image via twitter.com/AdelaideTennis)

Top seed Ash Barty continued her quest for a maiden WTA title on home soil with a comprehensive win in the quarter-finasls of the Adelaide International.

The world No.1 dropped only six games during her 6-3, 6-3, win over Czech Republic’s Markéta Vondroušová. Who was playing in her first tournament since June due to a wrist injury. Barty managed to find a way to dismantle her opponent’s serve as the match progressed. Breaking once in the opening set and a further three times in the second. Extending her perfect head-to-head record against Vondroušová to 4-0.

“It was really nice to see Marketa back out here. She’s had an injury right after the French Open. She’s a really nice girl.” Barty said in tribute to her rival.
“I know our matches are always played in the right way. They are always tough.” She added.

The encounter was a rematch of last year’s French Open final. Where the 23-year-old Australian also prevailed in straight sets to clinch her maiden grand slam title. In their latest clash, Barty produced 20 winners alongside 19 unforced errors.

Despite the victory, the home favourite believes there is still room for improvement. Last week she lost her opening match at the Brisbane International, but has managed to turn her fortunes around in Adelaide. Prior to Vondrousova, she also drowned Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets.

“I think it’s (my form) getting better and better.” She said. “There were times in the match where I wanted to be a bit tighter and clinical, but all in all it’s good to be back here generating opportunities for myself (on the court).”

Awaiting Barty in the last four will be Danielle Collins, who stunned the tour 12 months ago with a run to the Australian Open semifinals on her debut. The American was in ruthless form as she crushed fourth seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-1. Recording her second win over a top 10 player this season after Elina Svitolina last week.

“Danielle is an exceptional ball striker. She has the ability to take the match out of your hands very quickly.” Barty previewed.
“She’s very aggressive off the first return and first strike so I have to put my running shoes on and might sure I bring some variety (to the match) tomorrow.”

There was disappointment for Simona Halep in her quarter-final match. The reigning Wimbledon champion failed to tame Belarussian star Aryan Sabalenka as she tumbled out of the draw 6-4, 6-2. Throughout the match Halep struggled with her own serve. Winning only 55% of points compared to Sabalenka’s tally of 59%.

“I knew she’ll fight until the end — it doesn’t matter what the score. When the score was 5-Love, I kind of expected that she’ll try to do everything she can to come back in the match,” wtatennis.com quoted Sabalenka as saying.
“I wasn’t really disappointed after that two games. That helped me to stay in the match and to not lose my mind. I’m happy with this win, especially against big fighters like Simona and the great players. [It] feels good.”

Halep now heads into the Australian Open playing just two competitive singles matches this month.

Meanwhile, conqueror Sabalenka has booked a showdown with Dayana Yastremska on Friday. Yastremska defeated Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-3.

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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Emma Raducanu Among Trio of Grand Slam Winners Handed Miami Open Wild Cards

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has avoided the possibility of having to go through qualifying at the Miami Open after being awarded a wild card for the event on Thursday. 

The 2021 US Open champion is among four players to have received passes into the main draw of the prestigious event, which is classed as a WTA 1000 for the women and as a Masters 1000 for the men. It will be the third straight year that Raducanu has played in Miami but she is yet to win a match there. In 2022 she lost her opening match to Katerina Siniakova before getting beaten by Bianca Andreescu 12 months later. 

Raducanu has won two out of five Tour-level matches played so far this year. Recently her agent, Max Eisenbud, hit back at those who have criticised the tennis star’s results since winning the US Open. Raducanu also missed a chunk of last season due to injury after undergoing wrist and ankle surgery. 

“The girl did everything backward. She skipped every step. She won the US Open, she went to the next tournament, she didn’t even know where the player lounge was, she didn’t know where the practice courts were,” Eisenbud told the Served With Andy Roddick podcast.
“I don’t think just being tough on her or critical on her like any other player [is wrong]. But she is still figuring it out. I just think that people should not be malicious.”

Other players to have received wild cards into Miami include Venus Williams, who is a three-time champion at the event but hasn’t won the title since 2001. The 43-year-old hasn’t played on the Tour since August and is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400. 

Carolina Wozniacki completes the line-up of former Grand Slam winners being given wild cards. The Dane was a Miami finalist back in 2017 and has made 12 appearances at the tournament. Earlier this week, she suffered a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, loss to Anna Blinkova in the first round of the San Diego Open. 

As for the men’s tournament, the only confirmed wild card recipient is Kei Nishikori who will be making his first competitive start since July 2023. Recently the injury-stricken Japanese player added Thomas Johansson to his team. 

The Miami Open will get underway on March 17th.

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