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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Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos claim their third Masters 1000 title in Madrid

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Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos claimed their third ATP Masters 1000 title with a 1-6 6-3 10-8 win over Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic after 73 minutes. 

 

Granollers and Zeballos avenged their 3-6 7-5 10-4 defeat against Mektic and Pavic in the semifinal at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. 

Both teams were tied at 1-1 after the first two games of the opening set before Mektic and Pavic earned two back-to-back breaks to win five consecutive games en route to claiming the first set 6-1 after 22 minutes 

Zeballos and Granollers got their first break of the match in the eighth game of the second set and served out for the second set in the next game forcing the final to the Match tie-break. 

Granollers and Zeballos won five of the next six points from 3-3 and converted their third match point to claim the Match tie-break 10-8. 

Granollers and Zeballos have extended their record to 5 wins to 3 defeats in eight ATP Tour finals. 

Mektic and Pavic have claimed 32 of their 36 matches in 2021. They won titles at the Antalya Open, at the Murray River Open in Melbourne, Rotterdam and finished runner-up in Miami and Monte-Carlo.

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David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta advance to the second round in Rome

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Former top 10 David Goffin beat Salvatore Caruso 6-4 6-1 after 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the second round after 1 hour and 23 minutes at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

The first set started with four breaks in the first five games, as Goffin raced out to a 4-1 with three break in the opening set. Caruso pulled one break back for 2-4, but Goffin earned his third break to open up a 5-2 lead. Caruso broke back in the eighth game, but Goffin served out the first set at love. 

The Belgian player went up a set and a break in the first game of the second set. Caruso wasted two break-back points in the fourth game. Goffin won four consecutive games with two breaks to claim the second set 6-1.  Goffin set up a second round match against either Karen Khachanov or Federico Delbonis. 

Pablo Carreno Busta came back from one set down to beat Laslo Djere 4-6 6-3 6-1 after dropping just seven of his first service points. Djere claimed an immediate break in the opening game. Carreno Busta saved a double break point in the third game, but he did not earn a chance on return and went to serve only once. 

Last year’s US Open semifinalist and 2018 Madrid quarter finalist Carreno Busta saved two break points to hold serve at deuce in the first game of the second set. The Spaniard converted his fifth break point in the sixth game and dropped just eight points on serve held his next two service games to win the second set 6-3. 

Carreno Busta broke three times in the first, fifth and seventh games to cruise through to a 6-1 win in the third set. The Spanish player will face either Fabio Fognini or Kei Nishikori in the second round. Reilly Opelka beat Richard Gasquet 6-1 7-5 in 67 minutes. The US player hit 18 aces and won 79 % of his first service points. He won 12 consecutive points to open up a 3-0 lead and faced only a break point at 5-1 but he served out the first set 6-1 at deuce. The second set went on serve until the 11th game when Opelka converted his only break point to close out the second set 7-5. Opelka will face either Hubert Hurkacz or Lorenzo Musetti in the second round.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Goes The Distance To Win First Match In Rome

The Canadian was pushed to three sets in his opening match by Filip Krajinovic.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the second round of the BNL D’ Italia Masters in Rome after beating his Serbian opponent Filip Krajinovic in three gruelling sets 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

 

The marathon encounter saw the Canadian hit 45 winners and 12 aces en route to victory. Avenging his loss to Krajinovic at the same tournament last year. His win-loss for the season now stands at 13-8.

” It’s always a tough match against him and I was happy I was able to win today,” the world No.20 said afterwards.

It was Krajinovic who got off to a fast start earning a breakpoint on the Montreal natives opening service game of the match and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. The Canadian responded at 2-1 earning his first two breakpoints of the match and breaking with a solid forehand winner to get the break back and go back on serve. At 3-2 the world number 20 had a chance to take the lead but it was saved by the world number 36. Nevertheless, he would go on to break for a 5-3 lead before serving out the match.

Auger-Aliassime started the second set with confidence and broke the Serb’s opening service game. It stayed on serve until the world number 20 was serving for the win when he ended up getting broken to level the set at five. The very next game the Montreal native had three looks at a breakpoint but again was denied and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker stayed on serve until 4-4 when Auger Aliassime managed to get the crucial break but squandered it the following point and gave his Serbian opponent a chance to serve it out which he did following a double fault.

The third and decisive set was a roller-coaster with the Canadian holding his opening service game and than having three more breakpoints which he would convert to take another early 2-0 lead. Krajinovic would respond once again earning a breakpoint the following game and getting the break back to go back on serve until 3-3 when the Serb had his first chance to take a lead in the third set but the Canadian would come up with a huge point to save it.

The next game Auger-Aliassime would have a look at another breakpoint and this time would convert to take a 5-3 and serve for the match but struggled to close it out and the world number 36 broke serve once again.

With the Serb serving to stay in the match the Canadian increased his game to another level and managed to earn two match points. Sealing his first match win in Rome with a huge forehand winner down the line.

After the match in his post match press conference Auger Aliassime spoke about how he was able to overcome the adversity of having two chances to serve it out.

” You have to believe and be resilient at times, I wanted to win badly so I dug deep and I found a way so I am happy that I was able to find a way with all the circumstances,” he said.

Auger Aliassime will next face the number eight seed at the tournament Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine currently has a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head with their last meeting coming last October in Cologne, Germany on a indoor hard court.

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