Johanna Konta Pays Tribute To 'Incredible Ball-Striker’ Clijsters Following Monterrey Clash - UBITENNIS
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Johanna Konta Pays Tribute To ‘Incredible Ball-Striker’ Clijsters Following Monterrey Clash

The former Wimbledon semi-finalist gives her assessment of the level Clijsters is currently playing at following their meeting in Mexico.

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Johanna Konta (image via https://twitter.com/WTA)

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.

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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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