Pain-Free Petra Kvitova Ready For US Open Challenge - UBITENNIS
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Pain-Free Petra Kvitova Ready For US Open Challenge

After having doubts over travelling, the former world No.1 provides a fitness update as she looks ahead to the resumption of her season.

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Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova says she is unfazed by the new set of protocols that will be introduced at the US Open as she commits to playing in the event.

 

The world No.12 has lent her full backing behind the New York major amid a series of high-profile withdrawals in recent days due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three top 10 players on the women’s Tour have pulled out (Ask Barty, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitoliva), as well as reigning men’s champion Rafael Nadal. The US Open is set to take place behind closed doors for the first time in history will players being essentially kept in what is being described as a ‘bubble.’ They will be restricted as to where they will be able to go in the city and subjected to regular testing.

Nevertheless, Kvitova still intends to depart for America next Wednesday. She is also set to play in the Western and Southern Open which has been relocated from Cincinnati to New York due to the pandemic. The Western and Southern Open will be her first WTA event since winning the Qatar Open on March 1st.

They’ve allowed us a two-member escort, so we’ll fly in three with a coach and a physiotherapist,” Kvitova told reporters on Monday about travelling to New York.
“I’m not the type of player who needs a lot of people around me. It’s enough for me, it will probably be worse for men,”
she added.

The 30-year-old admits that she did contemplate not attending the Grand Slam before later having a change in heart. Deciding that she didn’t want to have any regrets later on in her career.

“I’ll try my best and have a clear conscience, let it turn out as it turns out. I’m really looking forward to the matches, adrenaline and everything around. It’s a long time and tennis after all. I miss it. It will be nice,” she stated.

During the Tour break Kvitova has managed to maintain her competitive thirst by participating in a series of exhibition events. In her home country, she won a hardcourt event in Prague before losing her opening match at the clay equivalent a week later. More recently, she took part in the Bett1 Aces events in Berlin where she recorded three wins and two losses. Scoring two victories over Andre Petkovic, as well as Bertens.

Besides the occasional niggle that is associated with a professional tennis player, Kvitova says she is fully fit at present with no pain in her left hand. Which was badly injured during a run in she had with an intruder in her apartment back in 2016 that subsequently required surgery.

“Everything is fine, fortunately the hand is painless. It is taken care of so that it lasts. I played one match on clay, then it hurt. Since then, I’ve been playing more on hard surfaces. It’s better,” she said.

The absence of a crowd at upcoming tennis events have led to some wondering how it would affect players. Serena Williams told reporters on Sunday that she is unsure what impact it will have on her. As for Kvitova, she described her experience of playing exhibitions in silence as ‘strange.’

“It was very strange. We played beautiful exchanges and no one applauded us. This is the time, but it is harder to deal with it on the court,” she recalled.
“We have reports that they will put virtual fans there (at the US Open), so hopefully it will be a little more enjoyable.”

Kvitova started the year by winning 12 out of 15 matches played before the sport was halted for five months due to COVID-19.

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Matteo Berrettini reaches his second Masters 1000 semifinal

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Matteo Berrettini has reached the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his career with his 5-7 6-3 6-0 win over Cristian Garin at the Madrid Mutua Open at the Caja Magica. 

 

Berrettini fought back from 3-6 1-3 down by winning 11 consecutive games to take the win in the third set. 

Garin earned an immediate break in the first game, but Berrettini broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Garin won seven consecutive points from 5-5 15-30 to claim the first set 7-5 with a break in the 11th game thanks to a backhand passing shot. 

Garin went up a 3-1 lead in the second set with a break in the third game. Berrettini broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 with a forehand winner on the break point. 

Berrettini earned his second break to take a 5-3 lead, when Garin made three unforced errors. The Italian player served out 6-3 at love with an ace.

Berrettini broke serve in the first game and saved two break-back points in the second game to hold serve for 2-0. Berrettini earned his double break in the third game, as Garin made two consecutive unforced errors at 40-40. Berrettini held serve at duece to race out to a 4-0 lead. Garin missed four game points in the fifth game before dropping serve to trail 0-5, when he committed a double fault and an unforced error. Berrettini served out the third set at love with his 14th ace after 2 hours and 6 minutes to secure his spot in his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Shanghai 2019.    

“I am really proud that I came back from not an easy place mentally after my injury. I really worked hard. There were days. There were days where I wasn’t really feeling into practice because I felt like kind of there was a lot of work to be done. Sometimes I was feeling kind of unlucky that I got injured again. It was just tough, but I came back stronger in Belgrade. For here, I proved to myself that I am strong inside”, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini will take on Casper Ruud in the semifinals. They will battle for a spot into their first Masters 1000 final. Ruud beat Berrettini in the quarter final in Rome last year. 

“I think he is a great player, especially on clay. He has been playing really good, really solid so far this season. We always had tough matches. Last year in Rome it was a really tough match. Still if I think about it, it hurts. I am really looking forward to get my revenge, not in a bad way, but just in a way that’s in a sport way”, said Berrettini. 

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Casper Ruud reaches his third consecutive clay Masters 1000 semifinal

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Casper Ruud beat Alexander Bublik 7-5 6-1 to reach his third career Masters 1000 semifinal at the Madrid Mutua Open after advancing to this stage in Rome in 2020 and Monte-Carlo in 2021. 

 

Ruud backed up his win in the third round against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday with a straight set win over Bublik. Ruud won 8 of the final nine games and hit 19 winners to seal the win in 69 minutes. Ruud hit nine forehand winners to just two unforced forehand errors.

Ruud broke Bublik in the 11th game on his fourth set point to take the first set 7-5, as Bublik was serving at 5-6. The Norwegian player broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to claim the second set 6-1 in 69 minutes. 

The son of former Norwegian player Christian Ruud has not broken yet and faced his first break point this week against Bublik. 

Ruud becomes the seventh unseeded ATP player to advance to the semifinals in Madrid. He will face either Matteo Berrettini or Christian Garin in the semifinal. 

 “It’s a great feeling. It’s my third Masters 1000 semifinal and my third in a row on clay. I am just playing the tennis of my life for the moment and I am enjoying it. I have just had an unbelievable motivation to play the European clay swing and when we didn’t get to play it last year, I was very sad. I think I have just double motivation compared to last year”, said Ruud.

Ruud will move up to at least world number 16 in the ATP Ranking next week. 

“I did a lot of good work when we had the corona break last year. I trained really hard on the weekdays and took the weekends off. I think that worked well. When we started well, I felt good again. I think I am a much better player mentally, physically and playing-wise as well. I am hitting the ball and playing the heavy clay-court game that I like to play”, said Ruud. 

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Aryna Sabalenka beats Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova to set up a re-match of the Stuttgart final against Ashleigh Barty

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Aryna Sabalenka has reached her third final of the season with a 6-2 6-3 win over six-time Grand Slam quarter finalist Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinal of the Madrid Mutua Open. 

 

Sabalenka earned her first break to take a 3-1 lead. She hi a series of forehands in the final game to close out the first set 6-2. 

Sabalenka raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break. Pavlyuchenkova earned her first break points, but Sabalenka held serve for 5-0. Pavlyuchenkova pulled one break in the seventh game and held serve to claw her way back to 3-5. Sabalenka hit two backhands to earn her first match point and sealed the win with her fourth ace .  

Sabalenka has extended her win-loss record to 23-6 (including 9-1) this year. She has won the opening tournament of the season and lost the Stuttgart Porsche Grand Prix final to Ashleigh Barty. 

Barty and Sabalenka will meet again in the Madrid Mutua Open this week in the re-match of the Stuttgart final

The Belarusian player has not dropped a set this week. The Belarusian player won 73 % of her second service points and converted four of her break points against Pavlyuchenkova, who had won their only previous head-to-head match in Toronto in 2019. 

“I think my game has improved a lot on the clay court. For sure, it’s given me some confidence, but there are still so many things to work on. I am just really with my level here in Madrid. I think from the side it looks like everything is going my way. Some games I did not feel my serve. Some games something wasn’t working. It’s always part of the process, but I am really happy that from the side, it looks like everything is going my way”,said Sabalenka. 

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