Karolina Pliskova, Sofia Kenin React To Shock Losses At Western And Southern Open - UBITENNIS
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Karolina Pliskova, Sofia Kenin React To Shock Losses At Western And Southern Open

There was carnage at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center on Sunday with the top two names in the women’s draws both losing in straight sets.



Two title contenders at the upcoming US Open have suffered a blow in their preparations after sustaining shock losses in the Western and Southern Open on Sunday.

Top seed Karolina Pliskova failed to capitalise on a strong start to her match against Russian world No.41 Veronika Kudermetova as she was knocked out 7-5, 6-4. The Czech raced to a 4-1 lead initially before later in the set losing her serve twice to give the opener to her opponent. In the second set eight straight games went with serve until Pliskova was broken once again at 4-4. Enabling Kudermetova to serve the match out and claim only her third win over a top 10 player in her career.

“She played a couple matches already, a couple tournaments,” Pliskova said of the Russian. “I think she played something before in Europe, I think Prague or something.
“I thought I started quite well, actually. She was missing a lot. I think she improved during the match, during the first set, and I was just a couple points here and there.
“I think the first set I should serve much better. I thought actually I had a lot of mistakes on the return. Of course she played well. I thought she just was going for it.
“She won quite a tough match in the first round, so I think definitely she had nothing to lose today. She was playing free. She was playing quite good tennis. But it was not that I could not win this match.”

Sunday’s match was Pliskova’s first on the WTA Tour since the Qatar Open back in February. Although her opponent had previously played in the Prague Open earlier this month, she lost in the first round. The Czech admitted that she needs more time to get used to the court speed at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in New York.

“I don’t know what’s the reason to make it this fast, but, yeah, there is plenty of time to get used to it, but apparently one week was not enough for me,” said Pliskova.

It is the first time Pliskova has lost her opening match at a WTA Tournament since the Beijing Open last autumn. Kudermetova will take on either Kristina Mladenovic or Elise Mertens in the third round.

Frustrated Kenin bows out

Another high-profile casualty was Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin who fell 6-1, 7-6(7) to France’s Alize Cornet. The 21-year-old struggled behind her serve throughout the match as she was broken five times in total. Sher was particularly fragile behind her second serve where she won only five out of 20 points.

“It wasn’t easy,” Kenin said in her press conference. “Obviously it didn’t feel like I had any rhythm. I don’t know why I let that happen. I felt like I was playing well.
“Of course she was playing well, so I’m not taking any creds from her. I literally couldn’t feel the ball, like literally two sets. I don’t even know how I came back, to be honest. I just really didn’t feel my game at all.”

There were some positives to the American’s latest encounter on the Tour. She looked to be on the verge of a heavy defeat whilst trailing 1-6, 2-5, but she battled back to draw level in the second set. Then in the tiebreaker she had a duo of set points to force the match into a decider but failed to capitalise on her opportunities.

“Preparation-wise, I was playing well. I had a great practice four or five days, and then today just it completely fell apart,” said Kenin, who produced 53 unforced errors.

Cornet will play either former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka or Caroline Garcia next.

Following the duo of losses, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams is the highest seeded player left in the draw. She will get her campaign underway on Monday against the Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus.

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai



Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro



Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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Emma Raducanu Among Trio of Grand Slam Winners Handed Miami Open Wild Cards



Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has avoided the possibility of having to go through qualifying at the Miami Open after being awarded a wild card for the event on Thursday. 

The 2021 US Open champion is among four players to have received passes into the main draw of the prestigious event, which is classed as a WTA 1000 for the women and as a Masters 1000 for the men. It will be the third straight year that Raducanu has played in Miami but she is yet to win a match there. In 2022 she lost her opening match to Katerina Siniakova before getting beaten by Bianca Andreescu 12 months later. 

Raducanu has won two out of five Tour-level matches played so far this year. Recently her agent, Max Eisenbud, hit back at those who have criticised the tennis star’s results since winning the US Open. Raducanu also missed a chunk of last season due to injury after undergoing wrist and ankle surgery. 

“The girl did everything backward. She skipped every step. She won the US Open, she went to the next tournament, she didn’t even know where the player lounge was, she didn’t know where the practice courts were,” Eisenbud told the Served With Andy Roddick podcast.
“I don’t think just being tough on her or critical on her like any other player [is wrong]. But she is still figuring it out. I just think that people should not be malicious.”

Other players to have received wild cards into Miami include Venus Williams, who is a three-time champion at the event but hasn’t won the title since 2001. The 43-year-old hasn’t played on the Tour since August and is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400. 

Carolina Wozniacki completes the line-up of former Grand Slam winners being given wild cards. The Dane was a Miami finalist back in 2017 and has made 12 appearances at the tournament. Earlier this week, she suffered a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, loss to Anna Blinkova in the first round of the San Diego Open. 

As for the men’s tournament, the only confirmed wild card recipient is Kei Nishikori who will be making his first competitive start since July 2023. Recently the injury-stricken Japanese player added Thomas Johansson to his team. 

The Miami Open will get underway on March 17th.

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