Johanna Konta Sails Into Semi-Final At Western & Southern Open - UBITENNIS
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Johanna Konta Sails Into Semi-Final At Western & Southern Open

Johanna Konta showcased her title credentials during a commanding 6-4 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari at the Western & Southern Open in New York.

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Johanna Konta showcased her title credentials during a commanding 6-4 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari at the Western & Southern Open in New York.

The Greek, 25, knocked out Serena Williams in the previous round but the Brit proved to be far too good for her on this occasion.

“It was really tricky conditions,” Konta said in her on-court interview. “Maria has quite a lot of variety in the way she hits the ball off both sides, so I have to adapt a lot to the way she plays. I was really pleased I was able to adapt well and stay tough when I needed to.”

The early exchanges set the tone for the match. Konta held serve with ease and put Sakkari’s serve under intense pressure with aggressive returning.

The Greek withstood the Brit’s onslaught in the opening game, but Konta broke through in the third game and established a 3-1 lead.

In game seven, the World No.15 took Sakkari to deuce and looked like she might increase her advantage. Ultimately, she did not manage to break, but she continued to serve superbly and soon wrapped up the opening set.

Konta maintains momentum

The second set began with a scrappy game. Sakkari made three errors to hand Konta a break point. She saved it well with a powerful forehand. The Brit then earned herself another break point with a backhand winner. However, she could only watch and admire as the World No.21 skilfully crafted an excellent opportunity for a volley winner to save it.

Despite her high-class play on the break points, Sakkari continued to struggle to close out the game. Eventually, it cost her dearly as Konta drew an error to seize a vital break.

The Greek played well to earn two chances to break back in game four. However, she wasted the first by missing a forehand. Then the Brit saved the second with a clinical backhand.

Konta could have finished the match off quickly. She had chances to break Sakkari in both of her next two service games.

Although she did not manage to take those opportunities, the Brit eventually broke the Greek for a third time in the last game to clinch a well-deserved win and a place in the semi-finals.

Konta to play Azarenka in last four

Konta has a great chance to go on and claim the title at the Western & Southern Open. She is playing superb tennis this week and is yet to drop a set at the event.

In order to reach the final, the Brit will have to beat two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka. The Belarussian is also having an excellent week, and she continued her impressive progress through the draw today with an encouraging 7-6(9) 6-2 victory over dangerous Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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