Kim Clijsters Impresses, But Falls To Muguruza In Dubai Comeback - UBITENNIS
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Kim Clijsters Impresses, But Falls To Muguruza In Dubai Comeback

The former world No.1 proved to be a stern test for the Australian Open runner-up.

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Kim Clijsters’ eagerly anticipated return to tennis has started in defeat after she was edged out of the Dubai Tennis Championships by eighth seed Garbine Muguruza in straight sets.

 

The 36-year-old Belgian took to the courts of the Aviation Club Tennis Centre on Monday to play her first competitive match since the 2012 US Open. The tournament where her Spanish rival made her main draw grand slam debut. Clijsters showed glimmers of the play that has guided her to 41 WTA titles, but the inevitable rustiness was a factor throughout her 6-3, 7-6(6), loss. Meanwhile, Australian Open runner-up Muguruza remained mainly calm and focused on the court as she closed out the victory after 97 minutes of play.

“I’m very happy. It was a special match.” Muguruza said during her on-court interview.
“You know, she’s (Clijsters) come back (to the tour) and she is an incredible player. I didn’t know how it was going to go, but I’m happy to be the one to face her and I think she is going to give (players on the WTA Tour) a hard time.”

Inevitably nerves would be a factor for Clijsters, who announced her intention to return to the tour last year. Dropping her opening service game, she found herself fighting hard to keep in contention with Muguruza. The most problematic issue for Clijsters during the opener was her second serve as she only managed to win three out of nine points played. Then in the seventh game she went down a double break before losing the opening set.

With Muguruza gaining in momentum and racing to a 3-0 lead in the second frame, it appeared as if Clijsters’ Dubai debut would be short lived. However, she refused to go down without a fight. Capitalising on some nervous shot-making coming from across the court, the four-time grand slam champion retrieved one of her lost breaks to narrow the deficit to 3-2. Three games later Clijsters drew level at 4-4 with the help of two consecutive Muguruza unforced errors. Triggering an almighty cheer from the crowd.

With both players hitting powerful shots and engaging in numerous baseline rallies, Muguruza managed to come out on top during a roller-coaster tiebreaker. Both had their opportunities with each dropping serve three times. The world No.16 failed to convert her first match point at 6-5 after hitting a forehand long, but prevailed on her second. Firing a deep serve that Clijsters was unable to return.

“I think she was very good.” Muguruza said of her opponent. “A player who has played incredible can play incredible again. So I was expecting that it was going to be hard.”
“I was just trying to stay calm, play my game and hoped that it was going to go my way.” She added.

Officially kicking-off her return to tennis, Clijsters will be shortly travelling to Mexico, where she will be playing in the Monterrey Open. Whilst she didn’t win in Dubai, the high standard of tennis illustrated by a player who has been absent for almost eight years is a solid indication that she means business.

As for Muguruza, she will play either Dayana Yastremska or Veronika Kudermetova in the next round.

Match statistics

CLIJSTERS

MUGURUZA

3

ACES

8

10

DOUBLE FAULTS

3

69%

1ST SERVE

65%

15

WINNERS

19

23

UNFORCED ERRORS

21

2/5

BREAK POINTS WON

4/15

67

TOTAL POINTS WON

82

 

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International Tennis Hall Of Fame To Mark Emma Raducanu’s US Open Win

The teenager has donated some of her clothing to the ITHF collection.

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2021 US Open Women's Singles Champion Emma Raducanu at the 2021 US Open, Saturday, Sep. 11, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

The outfit worn by Emma Raducanu during her historic run at the US Open has a new home after the tennis star agreed to donate it to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.

 

Raducanu stunned the tennis world in New York by becoming the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam title. The 18-year-old defeated two top 20 players en route to the title and didn’t drop a set in 10 matches played. She is the first British woman to win a major since Virginia Wade in 1977 and the first in history to win a Grand Slam on what was only her second main draw appearance.

To celebrate Raducanu’s rapid rise in the sport, her Nike Heritage classic style V-neck red tank top with contrast trims and a blue skirt with red pleats will be put on display in the Tennis Hall of Fame’s museum in Rhode Island.

“A legendary run: preserved,” the Tennis Hall of Fame tweeted.
“Thank you, @EmmaRaducanu, for donating your memorable #USOpen outfit to the ITHF collection!”

Raducanu is currently at a ranking high of 22nd in the world which is more than 300 places higher than the position she was in at the start of the year. She is currently on a search for a new coach after parting ways with Andrew Richardson. Raducanu says she wants to collaborate with somebody who has more experience of the WTA Tour.

In the wake of her US Open success, there have been suggestions that the rising star could be among the favourites to win the Australian Open which will take place in January. Coincidentally next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the last time a British woman won the tournament. However, Raducanu has dismissed such suggestions.

“If I’m seeded, then I’m seeded, but favourite? I think one tournament, you can’t really say I’m a favourite. I’m still so new to everything.” She said during a recent LTA event celebrating British winners of the US Open.
“I just feel like I’m learning and absorbing all the knowledge that I’m gaining like a sponge and soaking it all in.
“That’s what I really want to do. I’m not focused on results, I’m focused on how much I can learn because that’s what’s really going to drive me forward.”

Raducanu has pulled out of this week’s Chicago Fall Tennis Classic but she is expected to return to action next week in Indian Wells.

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Ash Barty Joins Osaka And Williams In Skipping Indian Wells

Will the Australian play again this year?

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Ashleigh Barty (AUS) Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

The decision by Ash Barty to withdraw from next week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells has cast doubts on the chances of her playing again this year.

 

The world No.1 has been absent from the Tour ever since her third round loss to Shelby Rogers at the US Open. Since then, Barty has not spoken publicly about her plans for the rest of the season and if she will play again.

On Monday the official social media feeds of Indian Wells confirmed the 25-year-old will not be playing in the tournament but didn’t provide a reason as to why. She is the latest high profile name to miss the event along with Naomi Osaka who is taking a break from the Tour due to personal reasons and Serena Williams. This year’s tournament, who is one of the most prestigious outside of the Grand Slams in terms of ranking points and prize money awarded, is taking place more than six months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest development has raised further doubt over the prospect that Barty will defend her title at the WTA Finals in November. The season-ending championships has been relocated from its usual home of Shenzhen, China to Guadalajara, Mexico due to the pandemic.

Craig Tyzzer, who is Barty’s coach, told the Australian Associated Press two weeks ago that the reigning Wimbledon champion may skip the WTA Finals due to the conditions and time of year it is taking place. In Barty’s native Australia she is required to spend two weeks in quarantine upon arrival back into the country and therefore the later she returns, the less time she will have to prepare during the off-season.

“It certainly isn’t easy for us to get there and to play that event in Mexico and then to come back and have to do two (more) weeks (in quarantine) and then your summer is sort of ruined as well. It’s a decision we’ll have to sit and mull over quite a bit.” Said Tyzzer.

So far this season Barty has achieved a win-loss record of 42-8 and has won five WTA titles which is more than any other player on the WTA Tour. Besides lifting her second major trophy at Wimbledon, she also triumphed at tournaments in Melbourne, Miami, Stuttgart and Cincinnati. Barty also currently leads the 2021 WTA Prize Money leaderboard with earnings of $3,945,182.

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Tereza Martincova and Belinda Bencic reach the quarter final in Ostrava

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Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova upset Roland Garros Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) after 2 hours and 19 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Martincova claimed her third top 20 win of her career and reached her second quarter final on home soil this season after finishing fourth in Prague. 

Pavlyuchenkova earned the first break to take a 4-3 lead and served for the first set in the 10th game, but she never reached a set point. The Russian player came just two points away from winning the first set at 5-4 30-15, but Martincova won four consecutive points before winning the tie-break 7-5. 

Martincova dropped just eight points in the first six games of the second set. The Czech player fended off two break points to consolidate her lead for 2-0. She raced out to a 7-6 (7-5) 5-1 lead, but Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to hold serve forcing Martincova to serve for the match. Martincova dropped four consecutive points. Pavlyuchenkova got another break, when Martincova was serving for the match for the third time at 6-5. Martincova went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Pavlyuchenkova drew level to 4-4 before saving a third match point. Martincova won the final two points to claim the tie-break 8-6. 

Martincova set up a quarter final match against Maria Sakkari, who beat last week’s Luxembourg finalist Jelena Ostapenko. 

This year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo in just 88 minutes. Bencic claimed her 15th win in her last 18 matches. Bencic broke six times and reeled off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set to cruise through to a a straight-set win. Sorribes Tormo saved a break point to win her first game for 1-4 and pulled one break back in the sixth game, but Bencic sealed the win with her third break in the ninth game. “I think I prepared well for this match tactically, and also mentally, because it’s very tough. You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface, where it’s very slow. I am happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match”, said Bencic. 

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