Fiona Ferro Stuns Kontaveit To Win Palermo Open - UBITENNIS
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Fiona Ferro Stuns Kontaveit To Win Palermo Open

The unseeded Frenchwoman has become the first player to win a title on the Tour following its five-month suspension due to COVID-19.

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France’s Fiona Ferro will rocket up the world rankings to a career best of 44 on Monday after claiming her second WTA title at the Palermo Open.

 

The 23-year-old unseeded player roared her way to a 6-2, 7-5, win over Estonian fourth seed Anett Kontaveit who is currently ranked 31 places above her on the Tour. Producing a series of blistering shots from both the forehand and backhand side, Ferro was relentless throughout the at times roller-coaster 103-minute encounter. Hitting a total of 51 winners to 24 unforced errors and converting five out of her seven break points.

“It was a very tough match, very close. Anett is a very consistent player and I had to fight for every point,” Ferro said during the trophy ceremony.
“At 3-5 in the second set I just had to keep fighting for every point.”
She added.

Playing in only her second WTA Final and first since July 2019, Ferro got off to the perfect start by breaking Kontaveit in the very first game of the match. Continuing to weather the storm, the Frenchwoman had all the answers to the questions her opponent asked of her during the opener. Breaking once again en route to clinching the opening set after 42 minutes of play.

Ferro didn’t have it all her own way with the second set seeing her being forced to come back from behind twice. At one stage it looked as if proceedings would be heading into a decider as she trailed 3-5, 30-30. Nevertheless, Ferro managed to battle back with the use of some more heavy hitting. Finishing the match off with a four-game winning streak, she triumphed on her first championship point after a Kontaveit return drifted beyond the baseline.

“Congratulations to Anett on a great week and congratulations to your coach as well. I wish you the best of luck in the next tournament and in the future,” the new champion said in tribute to her rival.

Prior to this week Ferro hadn’t won back-to-back matches on the Tour since the US Open last year. However, she has managed to regain her form during the five-month break by participating in a series of exhibitions organised by her federation. Where she won 10 matches in a row. Although it is her latest victory that is the most notable against Kontaveit, who last lost to a player outside of the top 50 at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

“It’s been so exciting that all of our people came to watch and I’m so thankful. I was really excited to play today,” said Kontaveit.
“I would also like to thank my coach for being with me always and supporting me. Not the result we wanted today but we will make it next time.”

After a mixed start to 2020 that saw Ferro win just four out of nine matches played over four tournaments, she is hoping Palermo will elevate her to more success in the future. She is currently entered to play at the Prague Open, which will start on Monday. In the first round she has been drawn against Spain’s Aliona Bolsova with a potential clash with Dayana Yastremska lurking in the second.

“I don’t want to speak so much about the rankings. My goal is to keep working as hard as I always do and bring home more trophies,” she stated.

Ferro exits Palermo with 280 ranking points and €20,161 in prize money.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Jasmine Paolini lifts her first WTA title in Portoroz

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Jasmine Paolini claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career in Portoroz. The Italian player came back from two breaks down in the opening set to beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in the final after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

 

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz. I just feel very happy. It’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hardcourts, it’s special. I think I was maybe a bit relaxed. I understood more about the game. I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key”, said Paolini. 

Paolini beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round, Sorana Cristea in the quarter final, and Yulia Putintseva. The 25-year-old Italian player beat three top 50 players in a row in her final three matches this week. 

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games, Riske went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Paolini pulled one break back in the eight game from 3-5. The Italian broke at love in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5, as Riske was serving for the set. Riske rallied from 2-5 to 4-5 in the tie-break. 

Paolini earned two set points at 6-4 and converted her first set point when Riske sent an overhead long. Paolini broke serve in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to take a 3-2 lead. Paolini won the final five games and sealed the second set 6-2 with an error-forcing forehand.

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Clare Tauson claims her second WTA Tour title at the age of 18

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World number 70 Clare Tauson has won the second WTA Tour title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open this season beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the final after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

 

Tauson enjoyed a great week in which she up number 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the second round and this year’s Olympic finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semifinals. Tauson won her first title as a qualifer in another indoor tournament in Lyon last March in just her second Tour-level tournament. Tauson also won the WTA 125 trophy in Chicago last August beating Emma Raducanu, who went on to win the US Open last week. 

Tauson is one of the four players born in 2002 ranked in the the tpè 100 alongside Raducanu, the other US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Marta Kostyuk. 

The Danish teenager is the seventh player to claim more trophies, joining Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasakina. 

Ostapenko won the Luxembourg tournament on her debut at this tournament in 2019 and had been undefeated before today’s tournament. 

Tauson has become the fourth player to successfully defend the Luxembourg title after Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova and Kim Cljisters. 

Ostapenko hit a smash to break Tauson to take a 6-3 lead. The Latvian player earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Tauson broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ostapenko fired return winners to take a 2-1 lead with a break. Tauson broke back with two straight return winners. Tauson fended off two break points to hold serve after a marathon five-deuce for 3-2. Ostapenko was broken after a fourth double fault, when she was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. 

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