Former No.1 Ana Ivanovic Names The Toughest Opponent Of Her Career - UBITENNIS
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Former No.1 Ana Ivanovic Names The Toughest Opponent Of Her Career

The three-time grand slam finalist didn’t chose the likely candidates such as Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova when asked about her most difficult rival.

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2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic has played many stars of the WTA Tour throughout her career, but has made a surprising revelation about who she felt was the most difficult to play.

 

Ivanovic took on the likes of Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Dinara Safina in all three of the grand slam finals she contested. She only managed to win one out of her 10 meetings with Serena Williams and formed a high-profile rivalry with compatriot Jelena Jankovic. Nevertheless, when asked who her ultimate test is on the Tour, she mentioned none of them names.

Instead, she said her most troublesome rival during her career was Karolina Pliskova. The 2016 US Open runner-up who is currently ranked third in the world on the WTA Tour. The two clashed five times over a two-year period (2014-2016) with the Czech winning all of those encounters. Overall Ivanovic won just one out of 11 sets played between the two.

“For me the hardest player to play against was Pliskova. It was really hard. The last few years (of my career) we played a few times and to read her serve, you wouldn’t expect the shot to be coming the way it was,” she told Eurosport’s Hanging out with Babsi.
“She could really disguise her game very well and I like to read and play the game. Which is why I love playing on the clay. But with her it was very difficult.“

Fellow former tennis pro Barbara Schett, who conducted the interview with Ivanovic, agreed with the verdict on Pliskova. Pliskova has won 16 WTA titles so far in her career and earned $19,997,689 in prize money. Which is $4 million more than what Ivanovic has earnt.

“She takes control really early in the rally and doesn’t give you any time. I’ve never played against her but I can imagine it is very uncomfortable,” said Schett.
“You don’t really get into rallies and she has a great serve. She disguises (her shots) very well and it is not always easy to see,” Ivanovic then added.

Tough task for Clijsters

Besides looking back on her career, Ivanovic is still keeping a watchful eye on what is taking in place in the sport. Recently another former rival Kim Clijsters began her comeback to the Tour at the age of 36. The mother-of-three has played in two tournaments so far, but has lost both of her opening matches to Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta.

Ivanovic, who is four years younger than the Belgian, says she has been impressed by the comeback. Although she believes it will be hard for her to return back to the top.

“I have been watching some of her matches and she has been striking the ball amazingly well, but I really hope she can get back to that level to play like she used to,” she said.
“Personally, I don’t think it’ll be easy after being out for so many years.”

Clijsters first retired back in 2007 before returning a couple years later by winning three out of her four grand slam titles. She then hung up her racket for a second time in 2012 before returning once again this season.

“It’s amazing what she achieved. I still respect her so much, it’s just difficult to imagine now after having three kids and being out for so long to make a comeback,” Ivanovic commented.
“Not because she’s not fit, but because your body just reacts differently. When you are out of competition you realise how much fine-tuning is necessary and she’s been out a while.”

Ivanovic retired from Tennis in December 2016 at the age of 29.

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Andrey Rublev, Dominic Thiem and Roberto Bautista Agut secure their spot in the semifinals at Thiem’s 7 tournament

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Andrey Rublev edged Casper Ruud 6-2 3-6 10-4 at the Thiem’s 7 tournament in Kitzbuhel. After losing the first set Ruud came back to win the second set forcing the match to the third set. Rublev won the super tie-break when Ruud made a double fault on the match point. Rublev needed a win from Dominic Thiem against Jan Lennard Struff to secure his spot in the semifinal.

 

Thiem beat Struff 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to score his third consecutive win at this tournament after defeating Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev in the first two days.

The first set went on serve until the 10th game, when Thiem converted on his first break point at 5-4 to clinch the first set in 30 minutes. In the second set Thiem did not convert two break points at 3-2 and another chance at 4-3. It came down to the tie-break. Thiem earned a mini-break to take a 2-1 lead and held on his serve to create three match point at 6-3. The home player converted on his first chance, as Struff’s backhand sailed long. Thiem set up a semifinal clash against Roberto Bautista Agut.

The Spanish player converted five of his six break points and won 73% of the rallies of the rallies in his service game in his 6-0 6-1 win over Dennis Novak to get the second point in his round robin group and secure his spot in the semifinals in the Group B.

Bautista Agut won 5 of the 7 games of the match before Novak earned his only game of the match by holding his first service game in the second set. Bautista Agut won five consecutive games to win the second set 6-1.

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Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios pull out of Berlin exhibition tournament

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Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios have withdrawn from the exhibition bett1 ACES tournament in Berlin. Both players were expected to join Dominic Thiem in the tournament, which will take place in the Steffi Graf Stadium from 13 to 15 July and in the Hangar 6 from 17 to 19 July. Caroline Garcia has pulled out from the women’s tournament due to a knee injury and will be replaced by Anastasija Sevastova.

 

“I was planning to play in Berlin this month, but I have made the decision to stay put and train with my team and not play any tournaments at the moment. It’s never nice to miss the chance to play, but I will be back soon”, said Zverev on the social media.

Zverev updated his fans on his latest news on his twitter account.

“I wanted to update you on a few things. First, on Friday I took my third test for Covid-19 and I am happy to say it also came back negative. Secondly, I am going through a trial period with David Ferrer on my team. I could not be more excited to get to work. I can’t wait for the tour to be back”, said Zverev.

Berlin organizers doubt that Zverev will play in Berlin. Last week Edwin Weindorfer said that he was considering refusing to allow Zverev to play in Berlin and warned he would have zero tolerance of any player who parties during the exhibition tournament.

“Zverev’s management said that he is not planning to play in any tournament at the moment. We are obviously disappointed, because he would have had a good opportunity to play in front of his fans”, said Weindorfer.

 Dominic Thiem, Jannik Sinner and Jan Lennard Struff in the men’s field and Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and Andrea Petkovic are the top names of the Berlin tournament.

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Donna Vekic Splits With Coach, Disputes The Reason Behind Move

The world No.24 has questioned a statement from her ex-coach concerning the reason behind his departure.

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Croatia’s top women’s player has been left searching for a new mentor on the Tour after parting ways with her coach after more than two years.

 

Donna Vekic has confirmed that she is no longer working with Torben Beltz, who previously guided Angelique Kerber to two of her Grand Slam titles. Under Beltz’s guidance, the world No.24 reached three WTA Finals as well as the quarter-finals of her first Grand Slam at the 2019 US Open. Last year the 24-year-old also broke into the top 20 for the first time in her career.

News of the split was confirmed by Beltz after the German coach posted a statement on his Instagram account. In it, he cites ‘different views’ in practicing and scheduling as the reason behind them going separate ways.

“Unfortunately Team Donna and I had different views in setting up the practice and tournament schedule for the restart of the tour which is why we will go separate ways! Thanks Donna for the last 2.5 years, it was a great ride and I always enjoyed our time together. Good luck for you in the future. Ready for a new adventure,” Beltz wrote.

However, it appears that there is more to it than what Beltz has said. Taking to Twitter, Vekic called him out by questioning his view on why the two split. Although she didn’t comment on why the decision was made.

“Well this is the first time I’m hearing of different views in practice and tournament schedules…?” She wrote on Twitter.

The separation comes after what was a mixed start to the season for Vekic prior to the Tour suspension. In her first five tournaments she only won back-to-back matches in Adelaide and at the Australian Open. Her 2020 win-loss record currently stands at 5-5.

So far in her career Vekic has earned more than $4.2 million in prize money which is the fourth highest tally ever made by a female Croatian player. Petra Martic holds the record with $5,128,866 in earnings.

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