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Simona Halep Plays Down Injury Fears Following Australian Open Falls

Is the two-time grand slam champion facing the prospect of playing another grand slam tournament with an injury cloud looming over her head?

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Simona Halep (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

Fourth seed Simona Halep has said there is ‘nothing dangerous’ about her wrist after she awkwardly landed on it during her first round match at the Australian Open.

 

The reigning Wimbledon champion suffered a couple of falls throughout her at times tricky 7-6(5), 6-1, win over America’s Jennifer Brady. The person who stunned world No.1 Ash Barty in Brisbane earlier this year. During the first set it appeared as if the two-time grand slam champion hurt her right wrist following a fall. In the immediate aftermath, she had heavy strapping put on it.

It is not the first time Halep has suffered an early injury scare at the tournament. Two years ago, she rolled her ankle during her first round match. That was the same year where she reached the final of the tournament for the first time.

“A little bit sore, but nothing dangerous at this moment. So I will see tomorrow morning after I wake up.” Halep commented on her wrist.
“I don’t know why in the first round I always fall down. Maybe it’s a good sign. Let’s hope for that.” She added.

Despite the scare, the 28-year-old managed to secure a place in round two with the help of a dominant 27-minute second from from her. Producing 20 winners and winning 65% of her service points. Making it her 20th main draw match win at the Australian Open since 2011.

“I had just to push her back as much as possible, to make her run, playing a little bit both sides. I served pretty okay. And after that very tough set, in the second set I’ve been more relaxed. I’ve been a little bit more aggressive. I tried to finish some points, which I did.” She commented on her latest performance.

As one of a group of former grand slam champions in the women’s draw, Halep is among the favourites to lift the Melbourne title. Although she dismisses the theory that her previous triumphs place her on a stronger footing for her current tournament. On the women’s tour the last 12 major tournaments have been won by 10 different players. During that period Halep and Naomi Osaka are the only to have won multiple titles.

“It’s just a big, huge thing that I could win Wimbledon. For myself, it’s huge. But normally in life, it’s the same.” She explained.
“I had confidence before Wimbledon because I won the (2018) French Open, I won so many titles. So I don’t stay related to one tournament about the confidence. The confidence is coming with the matches. I feel good on the court now.”

Halep will play British qualifier Harriet Dart in the next round. The world No.173 scored a marathon 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) win over Japan’s Misaki Doi.

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Marin Cilic wins his first title since Queen’s 2018

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Marin Cilic claimed the 19th ATP Tour title of his career and his first since Queen’s 2018 with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 win over Felix Auger Aliassime  after 1 hour and 50 minutes in the final of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. 

 

Cilic won 100% of his first-serve points in three of his five matches and did not drop a set this week. 

The Croatian star is not 3-3 in grass court finals and 19-14 in his overall title matches. 

Both Cilic and Auger Aliassime saved three break points in their first service games. Cilic converted his ninth break point to take a 6-5 lead in the 11th game. Cilic was not able to serve out the first set, but he cruised through the tie-break 7-2, when Auger Aliassime hit a forehand long. 

The second set went on serve in the first seven games. Auger Aliassime won 64% of his first-service points, while Cilic claimed 90% of his second serve points. Cilic earned the only break of the second set in the eighth game to seal the second set 6-3. 

Cilic will play at Queen’s next week. 

“It was a very important win. I played two semifinals and did not win a title since 2018, also on grass at Queen’s. Winning here brings out joy for me, good confidence and a good feeling. Experience plays a big part, especially on grass. The conditions can be difficult, the court plays quite quick. I felt this was a good chance for me to give it my all, keep my intensity. Even though  some games were up and others down, that was a big part of my victory today”, said Cilic. 

Auger Aliassime has dropped to 0-8 in his eight ATP Tour Finals. “Today I am not facing a final. I am facing Marin Cilic. It is two different things. There has been times when I have not played my best then I felt I was not playing well, but this time around, I felt like it was close, but overall I think he was a better player overall”, said Auger Aliassime. 

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Felix Auger Aliassime sets up Stuttgart final against Marin Cilic

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Felix Auger Aliassime beat Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 in 80 minutes to advance to the eighth ATP Tour Final of his career at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart without dropping a set this week. 

 

Auger Aliassime did not face a break point and hit seven aces. The Canadian Next Gen converted his first break point in the ninth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

The 20-year-old Canadian rising star won 89% of his first service points before earning a break point at 6-5 to seal the win. He lost to Matteo Berrettini in the 2019 final in Stuttgart. 

Auger Aliassime will face 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who won the first set 6-3 before Jurij  Rodionov, before the Austrian wild card was forced to withdraw from the match at 0-1 due to an injury problem at the start of the second set. 

“I am feeling really good and very excited to be in the final after quite a period that I didn’t reach a final. I think this was very positive week. I have played good tennis, served very well. Considering it is a shorter season, with one week less. It was great to play this week. Losing to Roger Federer gave me more time to prepare for the week. I have not enjoyed being at a tournament so much in a long period of time, because it is the first time my son, my wife and I are together at one tournament. The set up in Stuttgart is really nice. There is a lot of grass and open space aroung the hotel for my sonto play and it is so much fun having them around”, said Cilic. Cilic leads 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Auger Aliassime. They will play their first match on grass. 

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Barbora Krejcikova reaches both singles and doubles final at Roland Garros

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Barbora Krejcikova has qualified for the singles and doubles finals at Roland Garros this weekend, as she and Katerina Siniakova claimed a 6-1 6-2 win over Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera. 

 

Krejcikova has the chance to become the first player to win both the women’s singles and doubles titles at Roland Garros since Mary Pierce claimed both tournaments in 2000. Serena Williams is the most recently player to win both the singles and doubles titles at any Grand Slam tournament, at Wimbledon 2016.

The Czech team will take on Bethanie Mattek Sands froand last year’s Roland Garros singles champion Iga Swiatek, who beat Irina Camelia Begu and Nadia Podoroska 6-3 6-4. Swiatek reached the quarter final this year in the singles tournament. Krejcikova and Siniakova have qualified for both Grand Slam women’s doubles finals this season. They lost to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka at the 2021 Australian Open last February. 

Krejcikova and Siniakova are bidding to win their second Roland Garros women’s doubles title. 

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