Tributes Start To Pour In For Caroline Wozniacki Ahead Of Australian Open Farewell - UBITENNIS
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Tributes Start To Pour In For Caroline Wozniacki Ahead Of Australian Open Farewell

The 29-year-old is making her final preparations ahead of her last grand slam appearance.

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The Australian Open has been a tournament of many happy memories for former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.

 

During her 2008 debut, she won back-to-back grand slam matches for the first time in her career en route to the fourth round at the age of 17. Three years later she reached the semi-finals before losing to Li Na. However, the most special moment in Wozniacki’s career didn’t take place until 2018 when she finally claimed her first ever grand slam title. A perfect way to hit back at the many who criticised her in the past for being a world No.1 without a major title of any sort.

It is for these reasons why Melbourne Park is the perfect venue for the Dane to say goodbye to the sport. The upcoming Australian Open will be her 51st appearance in a grand slam main draw and the last tournament she plays before officially retiring.

“There’s been a lot of thoughts. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, for a while. I just looked at my life, at my career, everything else, and I just had a look inside of myself, and it felt right. It felt like the right time for many reasons.” Wozniacki told reporters on Saturday.
“I’m out here, and I love the sport, I love everything that it’s given me, I love being out there and competing, but I’m ready to start a new chapter in my life.”

During her career, the Dane has won 30 WTA titles and spent 71 weeks as world No.1. She insists that her decision to walk away from the sport at the age of 29 is not connected to her health. In 2019 Wozniacki was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. An auto-immune condition that affects a person’s joints.

Life on the tour hasn’t always been plain-sailing for a player who has also endured her injury issues. However, Wozniacki is confident that she will have no ill feelings regarding her decision in the future.

“I’m leaving with no regrets at all because I’ve worked so hard my whole life, my whole career. I’ve given it literally everything that I have to reach where I got.” She stated.
“I can look back at my career and say I’m very proud of everything that I’ve achieved, very proud of the ups and the downs. But especially to be able to just continually push myself to be a better player, I feel like I’ve given a lot to the sport that I can be very proud of.”

The upcoming departure is one that will gap in the women’s game, according to some of her closest rivals. Two out of Karolina Pliskova’s three WTA titles won during the 2017 was due to wins over Wozniacki in the final. The Czech said she was ‘very sad’ to see her opponent stepping away from the tour.

“I’m sure she’s going to be missed. I think she’s a great person and a great player, too.” Said Pliskova.
“I think she played very good tennis and very good to watch, too. Also in the practice, she always tried hard. Always in the matches, I think it was always great quality against her.”

Simona Halep was the player who Wozniacki beat to win the 2018 Australian Open. The Romanian echoed similar sentiments to Pliskova when speaking out about her.

“She’s a very nice person. We (my team) actually got used to seeing her every day in the tournaments on tour, for sure.” Said Halep.
“She’s going to be missed. Also, I’m sure she has many good things ahead. She will be happy.”

Petra Kvitova played down the idea that Wozniacki’s retirement is premature. The two have locked horns 15 times on the tour at events including the WTA Finals, 2016 Olympic Games Wimbledon. However, they have never got to face off against each other in a final.

“She looks very happy, so I hope that she going to be happy when she stop playing tennis as well. I just wish her the best.” She said.

Wozniacki, who is unseeded in the draw, will start her Australian Open campaign on Monday. In the first round she plays America’s Kristie Ahn.

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Gael Monfils advances to Australian Open fourth round without dropping a set

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Gael Monfils has reached the second week at the Australian Open with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 6-3 win over Cristian Garin. 

 

Garin saved an early break point and took a 4-2 lead in the tie-break with an early mini-break in the opening set, but Monfils came back by winning five consecutive points to claim the tie-break 7-4. 

Monfils earned two early breaks in the second and fourth games to race out to a 4-0 lead in the second set. Garin pulled one break back at love in the fifth game for 1-4, but Monfils broke for the third time to close out the second set 6-1. 

Both players traded breaks in the third and fourth games of the third set. Monfils broke in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, when Garin made three unforced errors. The Frenchman saved a break point in a 18-point game in the sixth game and held serve with his 17th ace and broke serve to close out the match with a forehand volley winner. 

The Frenchman has not dropped a set so far this week and recorded five sets at 6-1 or better this week. Earlier this year he won the Adelaide International 1 title.

“It was a tough match, the conditions were different today. It was hot. It was quicker. I felt that I needed to adapt the game plan a little bit. He was playing well. He was playing well. I had to battle  and was very lucky and fortunate to win this breaker in the first set, and I just think I was solid enough to win in straight sets”, said Monfils. 

Monfils will be aiming to reach his 10th Grand Slam quarter final against Miomir Kecmanovic, who beat Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-5. 

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Pablo Carreno Busta reaches the fourth round at the Australian Open for the third time in his career

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Pablo Carreno Busta reaches the second week in Melbourne after a four-set win over Sebastian Korda

 

Pablo Carreno Busta beat Sebastian Korda 6-4 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 in their first head-to-head match after 3 hours and 27 minutes to advance to the fourth round at the Australian Open in Melbourne for the third time in his career after achieving this feat in 2018 and 2019. 

Carreno Busta will take on Matteo Berrettini, who beat reigning Next Gen ATP champion Carlos Alcaraz 6-2 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 2-6 7-6 (10-5). 

Carreno Busta earned his first break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Korda broke straight back on his third break point in the ninth game. Carreno Busta broke again on his eighth set point to seal the first set 6-4. 

The Spanish player hit 18 winners to just 8 unforced errors and got the crucial break in the 12th game to close out the second set 7-5. 

Korda came back from 3-5 down to win a tight tie-break 8-6 in the third set. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the fourth set. Carreno Busta earned two breaks in the fifth and eighth games to close out the fourth set when Korda hit a forehand wide. 

Carreno Busta reached the US Open semifinals twice in 2017 and 2020 and won two ATP Tour titles in Hamburg and Marbella in 2021. 

Korda was aiming to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the third time after achieving this feat at Roland Garros in 2020 and Wimbledon in 2021. 

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Denis Shapovalov Handles Opelka To Reach Australian Open Fourth Round

The Canadian managed to get past his 6ft 11 American opponent in a match that lasted over three hours.

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Denis Shapovalov - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Denis Shapovalov is into the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating 23rd seed Reilly Opelka 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes on Margeret Court Arena.

 

The Canadian hit 39 winners and served 10 aces while limiting Opelka to just 17 aces. In contrast the American finished the match with a costly 46 unforced errors as Shapovalov booked his spot in the second week of the tournament.

” I think I did a really good job against Reilly (Opelka) today and I took a lot of my chances and managed to get a read on his serve,” said the world No.14.

Both players were doing a good job early on when it came to holding serve and at 3-3 it was the Toronto native who had three chances to break. On his third opportunity broke serve with his trademark backhand winner.

However, that break didn’t last long for Shapovalov as he struggled to consolidate the break and ultimately gave the break right back with a poor service game and it was back on serve at 4-4.

The first was decided by a tiebreaker and Shapovalov got the crucial break to take a 3-1 lead in the breaker which was enough for him to take the first set.

The second frame was much like the first with both players holding serve until 3-3 when Opelka broke serve. He was able to consolidate and serve out the set to level the match.

The third set stayed on serve until 3-2 and the momentum swung back in the Canadians favor. He got the break of serve this time using his forehand to great effect and served out the third to take a two sets to one lead.

Just like the third set the fourth set had no breaks until 3-2 when again the number 14 seed broke Opelka serve again and that break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match and the win.

After the match in his post-match interview, he was asked how he was able to limit his opponent to just 17 aces in the match.

” It’s never easy against Reilly (Opelka) but I am happy I was able to pull through and make it to the next round”. He said.

Shapovalov will face the number three seed Alexander Zverev in the round of 16.

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