Naomi Osaka Sets Up Showdown With Unseeded Rogers At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka Sets Up Showdown With Unseeded Rogers At US Open

The world No.9 says her upcoming match at Flushing Meadows will be ‘challenging’ as she seeks to add to her Grand Slam title collection.

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Former champion Naomi Osaka is gaining in momentum at the US Open after easing her way into the quarter-finals of the US Open.

The fourth seed didn’t face a single break point throughout her 6-3, 6-4, win over Annette Kontaveit in what was her second triumph over the Estonian within as many weeks on the Tour. In her latest encounter Osaka won 84% of her first service points and produced 21 winners to reach the last eight in New York for the second time in her career. The latest victory is also her 20th in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

“I feel like the most important thing that I wanted to do was start being really positive from the get-go, like sort of overwhelm her in a sense,” Osaka said during her press conference.
“I think I did that fairly well. Compared to my last match I played her in Cincinnati, the first game was good,but I was a bit moody. I wasn’t that focused on the match. For me, it was really important, like, the turnaround time and my attitude to be very positive.”

The 22-year-old has endured a roller-coaster journey so far in New York. In her past four matches she has been pushed to three sets twice by Misaki Doi in the first round and Marta Kostyuk in the third. However, in her other two matches, including the one against Kontaveit, she breezed through.

The next test for the Japanese player will be Shelby Rogers who defeated Petra Kvitova in a marathon clash. The world No.93 saved four match points before stunning two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(6), after more than two-and-a-half hours of play. It is the second time she has reached the quarter-finals of a major after also doing so at the 2016 French Open.

“I just remember playing Shelby in Charleston. I don’t know, it feels like such a long time ago. I have to definitely watch a couple more matches of hers. I watched her toward the end of the Kvitova match. But I’ll have to talk to Wim (her coach) about it,” said Osaka.
“it’s going to be challenging. She’s in the quarters of a slam. She’s a great player. If I remember I think she has a great serve and she’s a good returner.”

Despite being the overwhelming favourite on paper against Rogers, Osaka has previously encountered difficulty against the American on Tour. In fact, in their head-to-head she trails 0-3 but they haven’t played each since the 2017 Charleston Open which was before Osaka won either of her Grand Slam titles.

“I’ll just have to focus on myself, what I can do on the court as well. Hopefully bring my best tennis because I’m going to need it,” Rogers said about the upcoming clash.

Osaka is just one out of three top-10 seeds remaining in the women’s seeds this year. The other two are Serena Williams and Sofia Kenin who will play their fourth rounds matches on Monday.

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World No.634 Laura Samson Reaches First WTA Quarter-Final At 16

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Laura Samon - image via itftennis.com/ photo credi: Manuel Queimadelos

Laura Samson has become the first player born in 2008 to reach the quarter-finals of a WTA event after producing a surprise win on Tuesday. 

The 16-year-old wildcard stunned second seed Katerina Siniakova 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, in the second round at the Prague Open. Her triumph occurred a day after she dropped just two games against Tara Wurth in her opening match. This week is Samson’s Tour debut after playing 10 events on the lower-level ITF circuit. 

“I’m extremely surprised,” she said during her on-court interview after beating Siniakova. “I didn’t go into it as favorite. I’m so proud of myself and I hope I will continue to play like this. As I was going into the second set I thought, ‘I have nothing to lose, I didn’t play good in the first set.’ I’m not really sure when [I thought I could win], I just believed myself in the third set.” 

Samson is the latest Czech player to break through following a sucessful junior career. Last year she won the Wimbledon girls’ doubles title and was runner-up in the French Open singles tournament in June. She is currently No.3 in the ITF junior rankings but has been ranked as high as No.1. 

Earlier this year, Samson decided to change her name on the Tour by dropping the last three letters (ova). The reason why she did so was to avoid getting confused with another player. 

“I first noticed it last year, there was a problem that I was getting strings (the) of Lyudmila Samsonova,” she told tenisovysvet.cz.

“I also talked about it with her and, for example, according to the schedule, she also sometimes thought she was playing, but it was me,” 

“I would have liked the ending -ová, but unfortunately it turned out like this.”

The teenager will next take on world No.248 Oksana Selekhmeteva with the winner of that match progressing to their first WTA semi-final.  21-year-old Selekhmeteva is a former top 10 junior player who came through two rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw. She is a two-time junior Grand Slam champion in doubles. 

There are five seeds remaining in the tournament, including top seed Linda Nosková who will play Germany’s Ella Seidel in her next match. 

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Alex De Minaur Overcomes Injury To Fulfil Olympic Dream

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ASlex de Minaur - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Alex de Minaur says it is a ‘dream come true’ for him to represent Australia in the Olympic Games after missing the event three years ago.

The world No.6 had been in a race against time to be fit for the Olympic tennis event after suffering an agonising injury setback at Wimbledon earlier this month. At the All England Club de Minaur reached the quarter-final stage for the first time and was set to take on Novak Djokovic. However, he was forced to withdraw from the match after tearing the fibre cartilage in his hip region after suffering a ‘freak’ injury. At the time of the announcement, it was estimated that he would be sidelined from the Tour for three to six weeks. 

However, the 25-year-old appears to have recovered fairly quickly in time for Paris with the tennis tournament starting on Saturday. It will be de Minaur’s debut in the Olympics after he was forced to pull out of the Tokyo Games due to a positive COVID-19 test. 

“To finally be able to represent Australia in the Olympics is a dream come true,” he wrote on Instagram on Tuesday morning.

“I’m very passionate when I play for my country and wear the green and gold, so this is another one of those moments. 

“I’m extremely excited to lace up for Paris 2024.”

De Minaur is bidding to become the first male player from his country to win an Olympic medal in the singles event. He has already won two ATP titles this year in Alcapulco and s-Hertogenbosch. Since the start of January, he has won five out of 11 meetings against top 10 players. 

“It’s really great news – we’re actually expecting Alex to arrive in the village ahead of the official draw (on Thursday) and we know he’s been working with his rehab team quite extensively since the conclusion of Wimbledon,” Australian chef de mission Anna Meares told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

“He’s hungry to be here, he wants to be a part of this team and we will offer as much support as we can in that process.

“He’s coming – we will wait to see that process. He still has time … injury can be a really stressful thing for an athlete and the more you rush it, the more problems you can potentially cause.

“We’re leaving it in the hands of Alex and his rehabilitation team … it will be a decision purely by them.” 

De Minaur is one of five Australian men playing in the Paris Olympics. The others are Alexei Popyrin, Matthew Ebden, John Peers and Rinky Hijikata. 

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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