Naomi Osaka Keeps The Momentum Going In Brisbane - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka Keeps The Momentum Going In Brisbane

It was another tough day at the office for the world No.4.

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Two-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka is hoping for better fortunes at the upcoming Australian Open after fighting her way into the semi-finals of the Brisbane International.

The world No.4 rallied to a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, win over Kiki Bertens in what was the first clash between two top 10 players on the women’s tour this year. Osaka, who is the third seed in Brisbane, fired 12 aces and won 85% of her first service points against the Dutch player. After splitting the match a set piece and saving four break points at the start of the decider, Osaka held her nerve by breaking once on route to victory.

“I think I started off really well today as opposed to yesterday,” wtatennis.com quoted Osaka as saying after. “I feel like we were both feeling each other out, though, and [Bertens] sort of adjusted better to me in the second set.”
“In the third set, I just decided to stop complaining and try to fight for every point.”

It is the third consecutive match where the Japanese player has been pushed to three sets. Earlier in the week she also produced hard fought wins over Maria Sakkari and Sofia Kenin. She is now on a 14-match streak and hasn’t lost since the US Open (at the WTA Finals she won one match before withdrawing).

“I know I’m playing like the best players in the world here and every round for me is really hard, so I’m just thinking about the things I can control during the match,” she explained.
“My automatic reaction is just to like tell myself I’m doing bad and I need to do better, but most of the time I think I need to realize that the better players that I play, they will also figure things out.”

The win means Osaka will rise to third in the world rankings on Monday when they are updated. Overtaking rival Simona Halep. She will be hoping to continue her winning run at the Australian Open, where she is defending her title from 12 months ago.

“I tried to defend in my U.S. Open title and that didn’t work out so well, so I hope it’s better for me this time around,” Osaka said.

Osaka will play either Alison Riske or Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals.

In the other section of the draw, fifth seed Petra Kvitova dropped only six games during her 6-4, 6-2, win over Jenifer Brady. The player who knocked world No.1 Ash Barty out of the tournament. Kvitova remained unbroken throughout the 80 minute encounter as she won an impressive 93% of her first service points, but only 55% of her second.

The next test for Kvitova will be a meeting with Madison Keys, who defeated Danielle Collins 6-4, 6-1. The two are tied at 3-3 in their head-to-head.

“Petra is Petra. Great serve, great forehand,” Keys said.
“It seems like every year she comes out and she’s gotten something else in her game a little bit better and it just makes her even tougher to play.”

Kvitova last won the Brisbane tournament back in 2011.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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