Serena Williams Becomes Most Successful Singles Player In US Open History - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams Becomes Most Successful Singles Player In US Open History

Serena Williams began her 2020 US Open campaign with a solid 7-5 6-3 win over compatriot Kristie Ahn in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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Serena Williams became the most successful singles player in US Open history with a solid 7-5 6-3 win over compatriot Kristie Ahn.

It was the American’s 102nd win at Flushing Meadows and she has now surpassed the total racked up by Chris Evert.

Williams has struggled to find her rhythm since the WTA tour resumed. All five of her matches at the Top Seed Open and the Western & Southern Open went to three sets, and she lost to Shelby Rogers and Maria Sakkari at the semi-final and last-16 stages respectively.

Although the American never found her best tennis against Ahn, this seemed like an important step forward. She overcame a slow start and got stronger as the match went on.

“It’s been years since I won a match in straight sets,” Williams joked in her on-court interview. “It felt really good. I told myself to just close it out and I knew I could do that.”

The American continued, “It’s quiet, but it’s such a big stadium with screens and atmosphere. And it’s a Grand Slam, so I’m still as passionate and intense out there.”

Williams re-groups after sloppy start

From 40-30 up in the first game of the match, Williams made an unforced error and hit two double faults to gift Ahn an immediate break.

However, the 23-time Grand Slam champion soon levelled the score. She unleashed a couple of huge strikes to break back in game four.

For the next few games, neither player really excelled. Both Williams and Ahn produced solid games on their serve to move the score along to 4-4. The more experienced American then safely negotiated a nervy moment when she saved a break point in game nine.

After that hold and one more, Williams had the chance to swing freely when Ahn was serving to stay in the set at 5-6. And the more experienced American did exactly that. She hit the ball hard and deep and put her younger opponent under all kinds of pressure. It proved too much for Ahn, as she made a couple of errors which handed Williams the break she needed to seal the set.

At the beginning of the second set, Ahn capitalised on some sloppy play from Williams to establish a 2-0 lead. However, the younger American did not manage to maintain her form, and this enabled the 23-time Grand Slam champion to take control of proceedings and win five games in a row and turn the set on its head.

Ahn steadied herself to force Williams to serve for victory. But the experienced American produced some trademark huge serves to accomplish it with ease.

Williams’ next task will be a second-round encounter with Margarita Gasparyan. The Russian recorded an impressive 6-3 6-7(0) 6-0 victory over 2016 Olympic champion Monica Puig.

Kenin, Konta and Cornet advance

Sofia Kenin (@Australian Open on Twitter)

The experienced American will be joined in round two by the most recent Grand Slam champion on the WTA tour: Sofia Kenin. The young American clinically dispatched Yanina Wickmayer 6-2 6-2 in just 68 minutes.

Johanna Konta also secured a place in the next round. She came through a testing first set to beat compatriot Heather Watson 7-6(5) 6-1. The Brit will now play Sorana Cirstea, who defeated Christina McHale 6-4 7-5.

Some players sought out plenty of exhibition tournaments to participate in during the tour’s absence. Alize Cornet was certainly one of those players. She won six matches spread across three editions of the Challenge Elite organised by the French Tennis Federation. And she also reached the final of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown.

All of this match practice has served the Frenchwoman well so far in New York. She beat Kenin in impressive style in the Western & Southern Open. Then she continued her excellent form in round one of the US Open with a 6-3 1-6 6-0 victory over Lauren Davis.

Cornet will now play World No.121 Ysaline Bonaventure, who earned one of the biggest wins of her career when she beat 25th seed Zhang Shuai 4-6 6-3 6-2.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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