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

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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

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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

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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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