Garbine Muguruza makes promising start at 2020 US Open - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza makes promising start at 2020 US Open

Garbine Muguruza returned to action with an encouraging 6-4 6-4 win over Nao Hibino in the first round of the 2020 US Open.




Garbine Muguruza returned to action with an encouraging 6-4 6-4 win over Nao Hibino in the first round of the 2020 US Open.


It was a commendable effort from the Spaniard, who was playing her first competitive match since 27 February. She intended to gain some match practice at the Western & Southern Open last week. However, she heeded medical advice and withdrew from the event after experiencing discomfort in her left ankle.

“I was a little bit anxious because I haven’t played for six months and I didn’t have the chance to play a serious match before the US Open,” Muguruza said in her on-court interview. “I’m happy with the way I played. I was expecting a tough match and it was.”

The Spaniard continued, “She was playing very well at the beginning. I think I started a little bit slowly for how well she was playing. Then I started to feel better and my game came with the flow of the match.”

Muguruza finds her range after slow start

At the beginning of the match, Muguruza looked very much like a player who had not set foot on a tennis court for months. She lost four of the first five games and did not hit many convincing shots.

However, the Spaniard gradually started to find her rhythm. And, once she found it, she cracked a succession of trademark winners as she reeled off five games in a row to take the first set 6-4.

In the second set, Muguruza kept it simple. She broke in the opening game and then gave absolutely nothing away on her serve for the rest of the set. In all, she won 19 of 26 points played behind it. This allowed her to claim the set 6-4 with a minimum of fuss.

With her place in the second round secure, the Spaniard can now look forward to a meeting with either Tsvetana Pironkova. The Bulgarian beat Liudmila Samsonova 6-2 6-3.

Mertens and Anisimova make progress

Elise Mertens (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

Elsewhere at Flushing Meadows, Elise Mertens picked up where she left off at the Western & Southern Open last week with a commanding 6-2 6-2 win over Laura Siegemund.

The Belgian, 24, reached the semi-final at last week’s event. And she could go far at the 2020 US Open because she has a favourable draw up until the fourth-round stage when she could meet reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin. Mertens will face either Claire Liu or Sara Sorribes Tormo next.

Amanda Anisimova is another woman who could do well at Flushing Meadows this year. The American, who turned 19 yesterday, has already reached a Grand Slam semi-final in her career and could take advantage of the absence of six of the world’s top ten.

To do that, Anisimova will have to get through a tricky quarter of the draw. She could face Maria Sakkari in round three and Serena Williams in round four. But the American made an encouraging start, as she hit 41 winners during a hard-fought 7-5 7-5 victory over Viktoriya Tomova. It was her first-ever main draw win at the US Open.

“I think every first round is going to be a little bit shaky,” Anisimova said in her on-court interview. “I wasn’t playing my best tennis but I stayed in it and stayed mentally focused. I’m proud of the way I kept fighting and came back and won in two sets.”

The American continued, “This year the conditions are very different. I don’t have any Americans cheering for me and that’s obviously disappointing. But not having won here motivated me to try and get through a couple of rounds in the beginning because this is my favourite tournament.”

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In-Form Liudmila Samsonova Storms To Tokyo Title

Tokyo is the second tournament this year the Russian has won without dropping a set.




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Liudmila Samsonova has continued her rapid surge on the Tour by defeating China’s Qinwen Zheng 7-5, 7-5, to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. 


The world No.30 dropped serve only once and hit four aces as she edged her way past rising star Zheng who is the first Chinese teenager to reach the final of a Tour-level singles event. Overall, Samsonova won 68% of her service points en route to becoming the first Russian player to win the tournament since Nadia Petrova in 2012. 

“It’s amazing, I don’t have too many words right now. I need a little bit of time,” said Samsonova, who beat Grand Slam champions Elena Rybakina and Garbine Muguruza earlier in the draw. 
“It was a really tough match. She is playing amazing. It was a nervous match, we were fighting every point. It was tough.”

Samsonova is becoming a formidable force in the women’s game and has now won 18 out of her past 19 matches. Last month she also won titles in Washington and Cleveland before reaching the last 16 of the US Open for the first time in her career at the age of 23. She is now 4-0 in tournament finals and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo this week. 

“I played a high level in all my five matches. I am incredibly happy about how I managed it,” she said.

There is also a reason for Zheng to celebrate with her run in Tokyo securing her place in the world’s top 30 for the first time on Monday when the rankings are updated. Making her the first Chinese player to do so as a teenager. She is also only the second teenager to reach the final of a WTA 500 event or higher this season after Coco Gauff at the French Open. 

Samsonova will also rise to a ranking high on Monday to just outside the world’s top 20. 

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Naomi Osaka Seeks Resurgence At Home Event After Rollercoaster Year




Naomi Osaka training at the 2021 Madrid Open (image by Media Hub Mutua Madrid Open)

Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka admits that there have been more downs than ups for her this year but she is maintaining a positive outlook. 


The four-time Grand Slam champion has played 22 matches so far this season with her win-loss record currently standing at 13-9. However, at her six most recent tournaments she has failed to win back-to-back matches and is currently on a four-match losing streak. Osaka also missed this year’s Wimbledon Championships due to an achilles injury. 

Currently ranked 44th in the world, Osaka is hoping to break her slump at this week’s Toray Pan Pacific Open which will be held in Tokyo. It will be the first time she has played since losing to Danielle Collins in the first round of the US Open. 

“I think, of course, the year has (not been) the best year for me,” Osaka said during her pre-tournament press conference. “But I think overall I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m just happy to be healthy. Because in Europe, I did injure myself, and that was like my first injury that took me that long to get healed.

“I think life is kind of ups and downs and this one was kind of more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”

Osaka is the defending champion in Tokyo, even though she won the tournament back in 2019. The event has been cancelled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has happened to the Japanese player since she won the title, both on and off the court. Osaka has spoken publicly about her mental health issues and took time away from the sport because of them. 

“It feels really weird to hear that I’m the defending champion because it was the last time I played in 2019,” she said. “I would love to win it again, but I think just taking it one match at a time … and also just playing in front of a crowd in Tokyo again, because the Olympics was crowdless, so it will just be nice to see people.”

This year Osaka does not have a seeding in the Tokyo draw which is in stark contrast to three years ago when she was the highest-ranked player in the tournament. She will begin her campaign against Australia’s Daria Saville and could then face fifth seed, Beatriz Haddad Maia, in the last 16. 

“I think every year for me since the first Slam, there’s been a lot of changes,” Osaka said. “But I think this year it has definitely been a real growing year for me. I think tennis-wise, I don’t really think I can go in a wrong direction. I feel like me as a player, my base is pretty solid. I can only really learn more about myself. I know that I am an aggressive player and I can only hope to keep doing that.

Away from the Tour, the 24-year-old remains one of the highest-earning players in the sport. According to a report published by Forbes in August, she earned in the region of £56.2M over 12 months with $55M of that coming from off-court ventures. She has also set up her own sports agency with long-time agent Stuart Duguid, signing Nick Kyrgios as one of her clients. 

“For everything off court, I think it’s really cool how tennis has let me get so many opportunities in things that I’m interested in, and it’s something I’m really happy and grateful for and I can only hope it keeps evolving.” She commented.

This week Osaka is seeking to win her first title of any sort since the 2021 Australian Open. 

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Simona Halep Ends 2022 Season With Nose Surgery And Mental Exhaustion

Simona Halep will return to the court in 2023.




Simona Halep (@NewsCentralTV - Twitter)

Simona Halep has ended her season after having nose surgery and suffering from mental exhaustion in recent months.


The two-time Grand Slam champion has had a mixed season this year with the Romanian almost quitting the sport in February.

However the former world number one reunited with Patrick Mouratoglou and produced a world-class grass court season and US Hard court swing to get back into the world’s top ten.

Despite this, Halep has also had her troubles having had a panic attack at Roland Garros and struggled with anxiety.

This was all produced by the Romanian in her statement when she announced she would not play the rest of the season due to a nose surgery which has been linked to her breathing.

Now Halep will look to recover mentally and physically in time for January’s Australian Open as she will look to become a Grand Slam champion for the third time in her career.

Simona Halep’s 2022 Season:

Melbourne Summer Set 1: Champion

Australian Open: R4 l. Cornet

Dubai: Semi-Finals l. Ostapenko

Qatar: R1 l. Garcia

Indian Wells: Semi-Finals l. Swiatek

Madrid: Quarter-Finals l. Jabeur

Rome: R2 l. Collins

Roland Garros: R2 l. Q. Zheng

Birmingham: Semi-Finals l. Haddad Maia

Bad Homburg: Semi-Finals l. Andreescu

Wimbledon: Semi-Finals l. Rybakina

Washington: R2 l. Kalinskaya

Toronto: Champion

Cincinnati: R2 – Withdrew

US Open: R1 l. Snigur

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