Second seed Johanna Konta has said it was a ‘privilege’ to play Kim Clijsters after seeing off her Belgian rival in straight sets at the Monterey Open on Tuesday.
The world No.16 rallied to a 6-3, 7-5, win over the 36-year-old. Earning her first tour victory this year after losing in the first round of three consecutive tournaments. Konta has been troubled by a knee problem in recent months and cut short her 2019 season due to the injury.
In her latest clash, the Brit was impressive behind her serve against the four-time grand slam champion. In total she won 80% of her first service points and didn’t face a single break point throughout the 86-minute clash. Konta broke Clijsters twice in the first set and once in the second.
“As a young player, I never thought I’d get to play Kim Clijsters in my career,” the 28-year-old said during her on-court interview. “I feel truly privileged and honoured to share the court with such a champion. It’s nice to have her back.”
Konta said she was impressed by the level of play her opponent is still able to produce on the court. A similar compliment to that of Garbine Muguruza, who also recently played Clijsters in Dubai. Clijsters was playing in only her second tournament since the 2012 US Open, which is coincidentally the same grand slam where Konta won her first main draw match.
“It was very tough. She’s an incredible ball-striker. Her ability to do things with the ball is what made her a multiple Grand Slam champion. It’s why she was able to come back and play, in her second match back after seven years, at a level like this. That’s not exactly an every day thing, that’s for sure. I feel so honoured to have played her, and really happy with my performance.” Konta said in tribute.
Clijsters, who is currently unraked on the tour, said there are still things she would like to improve further. Against Konta she won 68% of her first service points, but only 42% of her second. She is coached on the tour by Fred Hemmes Jr. A former top 200 player himself who has also previously worked with Ruben Bemelmans and the Belgian Tennis Federation.
“I felt some things were better,” Clijsters reflected during her press conference. “Some things still need a lot of improvement. That’s why it’s good to play matches.
“I’ve been through different generations and played many players throughout my whole career. I’m still at a stage where I want to focus on what I’m doing and how I’m feeling, and also start reading my opponents.
“It’s a process that I have to trust and keep working hard to improve in every match I play. I’d like to take big steps but I have to focus on small steps and improving day by day.”
Konta will next take on Germany’s Tatjana Maria. Maria knocked out last week’s Acapulco Open champion Heather Watson in three closely contested sets. As for Clijsters, her focus has now switched to Indian Wells where she has been awarded a wild card to play in the main draw.
Simona Halep Beats Erractic Anisimova To Reach Wimbledon Semis
The former world No.1 dropped six games against her opponent who produced a series of costly errors.
Simona Halep has stormed into the last four at Wimbledon after producing a comprehensive win over Amanda Anisimova.
The 2019 champion survived a last-minute resurgence from her rival to prevail 6-2, 6-4, over the American on the Center court. Halep was able to dictate the play throughout with the use of her aggressive shot-making in a match that resembled their meeting in Bad Homburg just two weeks ago. It is the first time she has reached the last four of a major since the 2020 Australian Open.
“It’s great to be back in the semi-finals. I am very emotional right now because it means a lot,” said Halep.
“I played a tough opponent today who could crush the ball in the end and I didn’t know what to do. I just believe in myself. I believed until the end that I could win.”
The 16th seed hit fewer winners than her rival (11-13) but the most telling factor was the unforced error count. Halep’s tally of six was more than four times less than that of Anisimova (28).
Out of the active players on the WTA Tour, Halep is only the third to reach a fifth Wimbledon quarter-final after both of the Williams sisters. Taking on Anisimova, the Romanian got off to a blistering start by breaking just three games into their clash. Producing some powerful ball-striking Halep forced her rival to commit back-to-back forehand errors which granted her the early break. Two games later the lead was extended further after yet more Anisimova errors moved the former champion to 4-1. She took the opener after exactly 30 minutes of play with the help of a serve down the line Anisimova returned.
It was a case of deja vu in the second set with Halep’s game simply overwhelming her error-stricken opponent who looked growingly lost on the court. Anisimova continuously looked towards her entourage out of frustration. It eventually all got too much for the world No.25 who began to cry during a changeover after going down 1-4 once again.
Halep’s only struggle in the match occurred when she was tasked with serving it out. With Anisimova hitting more freely and with nothing to lose, suddenly she was the aggressor and retrieved one of the breaks to gradually close her deficit to 4-5. Prompting a big cheer from the crowd.
After going through a period where 13 out of 16 points played went to her opponent, Halep eventually held her nerve to clinch victory.
“I am definitely playing my best tennis (since winning the 2019 Wimbledon title),” she said.
“Last year I struggled a lot and now I am just trying to build my confidence back. My tennis here and all I need to do now is to start to believe in myself.”
Halep is yet to drop a set at Wimbledon after five matches played.
WIMBLEDON: 10 Facts About Semi-Finalist Ons Jabeur
All you need to know about the Trailblazing Tunisian who has created history at The All England Club.
Second seed Ons Jabeur achieved a new milestone for both her and her country at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
The world No.2 battled back from a set down to defeat Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the last four of a major event for the first time in her career. Jabeur has now dropped only one set in five matches played and is the highest ranked player remaining in the draw. Her major breakthrough comes seven years after she made her Grand Slam debut at the 2015 Australian Open.
“I played really good from beginning of the second set, especially having a early break kind of helps me gain confidence,” said Jabeur.
“I know it wasn’t easy playing Marie. She gets all the balls and doesn’t make, to win a point, easy for me. I’m glad I stepped in with my game. I was more aggressive in the second set, and especially tactically I was playing some angles that she didn’t like much.”
To mark Jabeur’s Wimbledon milestone, here are 10 facts to know about her:-
- She is the first North African player – male or female – to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. The last woman from the entire African continent to reach a major semi-final was Amanda Coetzer at the 1997 French Open.
- Her win over Bouzkova is Jabeur’s 26th Tour-level win on the grass.
- Jabeur has now won 83 matches over the past two seasons. This is more than any other player on the WTA Tour.
- Has won 21 out of her last 23 matches.
- She is the only Tunisian woman currently ranked in the world’s top 700.
- Jabeur had failed to win back-to-back matches on her three out of her four previous appearances at Wimbledon in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She reached the quarter-finals in 2021.
- Coming into Wimbledon she has already earned more than $6.2m in prize money in her career.
- She has won three Tour titles in Birmingham (2021), Madrid (2022) and Berlin (2022).
- Has beaten a top 10 player four times in her career – Dominika Cibulkova (2017 French Open), Simona Halep (Beijing 2018), Sloane Stephens (Moscow 2018) and Karolina Pliskova (Doha 2020).
- In October 2021 she became the first Arab player (mae or female) to crack the world’s top 10 in tennis.
Tatjana Maria – Reaching Wimbledon Semi-Finals is ‘Amazing’ But It Doesn’t Beat Parenthood
The underdog is enjoying her best-ever run at a major 15 years after making her debut.
Germany’s Tatjana Maria reveals people once doubted her ability to return to tennis after having her first child. Now a mother-of-two, she has secured a place in the Wimbledon semifinals.
The fairytale run of the world No.103 continued on Tuesday when she ousted compatriot Jule Niemeier 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in her quarter-final match. Until the tournament, Maria had never been beyond the third round of a major event. However, that changed with high-profile wins over Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko prior to Niemeier.
“It’s amazing. I mean, I tried to calm down a little bit in the locker room and to realize something, but it’s still hard to realize it,” she said of reaching the last four at Wimbledon.
Whilst some players prepare for their Grand Slam matches in the gym, Maria’s routine is somewhat unique. She began her day by taking her 8-year-old daughter to her tennis lesson. It wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a 15-month-old baby.
“Outside of the court, nothing changes for me for the moment,” she said. “I try to keep this going, everything the same. We keep going (to the tennis lessons) even if I’m playing the semifinals.”
Incredibly the 34-year-old returned to the circuit following maternity leave less than a year ago. It was during that absence that she decided to switch to a one-handed backhand. She has been ranked as high as 46th in the world and has two Tour titles to her name.
“A lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already after Charlotte and when I changed my backhand,” she said.
“I showed it last time already that I am back. I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child. Still, everybody was doubting.’
“I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming.”
Relishing in her best-ever performance at a major event, Maria is another example of a player having a breakthrough later in their career. To put her run in perspective, in the Open Era only five other women have reached the semifinals at Wimbledon after turning 34.
However, in Maria’s eyes, her achievements on the court can’t beat her top priority off the court.
“To be a mum is for me on the top of my life. So I think it helps me in tennis too because now my priority is my kids,” she explains. “I play tennis, I want to do my best, that’s all that I want. But my kids are the priority.’
“If I go out there, I want my kids to be happy, that they are healthy, that everything is okay. That’s the most important thing for me in my life.”
Maria made her Grand Slam debut back at Wimbledon in 2007.
(EXCLUSIVE) Francesca Schiavone On Jannik Sinner, Future Plans
Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Ladies’ Semifinals
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Rafael Nadal Doesn’t Care How Much Pain He’s In, He Gets The Job Done
Will Rafael Nadal Withdraw From Wimbledon?
Nick Kyrgios Insists Bombshell Assault Charge Didn’t Affect Wimbledon Prep
REPORT: Rafael Nadal And Wife Mery Expecting First Child
Wimbledon Shocker: Stefanos Tsitsipas Accuses Kyrgios Of Bullying
Andy Murray Cautiously Optimistic About Recovering From Injury In Time For Wimbledon
Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz Set To Skip Pre-Wimbledon Tournaments
Dutch Fairytale: World No.205 Tim van Rijthoven Stuns Medvedev To Win s-Hertogenbosch
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Rafael Nadal Doesn’t Care How Much Pain He’s In, He Gets The Job Done
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) The Wimbledon Clash Between Djokovic And Sinner Could Have Been Better
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Why Rafael Nadal Faces His Biggest Test Yet
(VIDEO) Day 7 at Wimbledon: Jannik Sinner Stuns Alcaraz, Djokovic Fights Back
(VIDEO) Nick Kyrgios And Stefanos Tsitsipas’ Controversial Contest Headlines Day Six At Wimbledon
ATP3 days ago
WIMBLEDON: Rafael Nadal Coy Over New Injury Speculation
ATP3 days ago
Wimbledon: Nick Kyrgios Shakes off Injury Trouble During Epic Clash To Reach Quarter-Finals
Hot Topics2 days ago
(EXCLUSIVE) Former Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli On Why Tennis Needs Nick Kyrgios
Hot Topics3 days ago
Nick Kyrgios Was Once Forced To Leave Pub On Same Day As Major Wimbledon Match
Latest news3 days ago
WIMBLEDON: Simona Halep Impresses After Troublesome Physical, Mental Battle
Hot Topics1 day ago
(EXCLUSIVE) Kim Clijsters Is ‘Done’ With Professional Tennis And This Is What She Wants To Do Next
ATP2 days ago
Novak Djokovic Survives Almighty Sinner Scare to Reach Wimbledon Semis
Hot Topics2 days ago
Novak Djokovic Says His Focus Is On Wimbledon Amid Possible US Open Ban