Sofia Kenin Prepared To Seek Guidance From Djokovic Ahead Of Australian Open Defence - UBITENNIS
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Sofia Kenin Prepared To Seek Guidance From Djokovic Ahead Of Australian Open Defence

Could the men’s world No.1 be Kenin’s secret key to success?

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Sofia Kenin believes part of her bid to clinch a second consecutive Australian Open title could be linked to advice from a star of the men’s game.

 

The 22-year-old is aiming to become only the third American woman to have defended her title at the Melbourne major within the past 20 years after Jennifer Capriati and Serena Williams. Williams is also the last female player to defend a Grand Slam title of any sort by doing so at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships.

Looking ahead to the Grand Slam next month, Kenin says she is ready to seek advice from fellow player Novak Djokovic who has won the tournament a record eight times. The two also exchanged words last year before the world No.4 won her first major title but she is keeping coy about what they discussed.

“I definitely think I can talk to Novak. I think that will be helpful since we’re both defending champions,” Kenin told reporters in Abu Dhabi.
“He did give me great advice ahead of the final (last year) since we were practicing next to each other.
“He came up to me and he was really nice about it and told me some things before the final which was special because I was crazy nervous.
“He told me some things which I will not disclose since I’d rather keep it a secret.”

Kenin came back from a set down to defeat Garbine Muguruza in the final of last year’s Australian Open. Since then, she has managed to enjoy success on the Tour by winning the Lyon Open and reaching the final of the French Open. Overall, she has won 24 out of 33 matches played during 2020 and was named the WTA’s Player of the Year in December.

Like her peers, Kenin will also have to contend with the new challenge of quarantine. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Australian government has stated that all players arriving in the country must self-isolate for 14 days before they can play any professional tournaments. Although they will be allowed to train during this period. As a result of the regulations the Australian Open has been delayed until February for the first time in over 100 years.

“It’s not the most ideal situation,” Kenin commented.
“I wish we could go out and walk around the city but we can’t. It is what it is. I’m just happy to be here, I’m happy to be travelling, I’m trying to keep it as normal as possible.
“The rules are quite harsh, but it’s for everyone.”

Kenin is the top seed in this week’s Abu Dhabi Women’s Tennis Open which is the first WTA event of 2021.

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Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini reach the quarter finals in Madrid

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Alexander Zverev beats Dan Evans 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to reach the quarter final at the Madrid Mutua Open. Matteo Berrettini moved into the quarter final with straight-set win over Federico Delbonis

 

Evans earned an early break to take a 1-0 lead. Zverev broke twice in the second and fourth games to open up a 4-1 lead and closed out the first set 6-3 with an ace. 

Evans saved the only break point of the second set at 4-4. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Zverev got three mini-breaks to win the breaker 7-3. 

Matteo Berrettini has reached the third Masters 1000 quarter final of his career with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. 

The first set went on serve until the eighth game, when Delbonis saved the only break point. Delbonis went up a 4-1 lead, but Berrettini fought back by winning six consecutive games to take the first set 7-4. 

Berrettini went up an early break to take a 2-0 lead, but Delbonis broke straight back to draw level to 2-2, when Berrettini made two forehand unforced errors. The next games went on serve until the 10th game, when Berrettini earned the break to win the second set 6-4. 

Berrettini will face a quarter final against Christian Garin, who upset Danil Medvedev. Berrettini ties 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Garin. Garin beat Berrettini in the 2019 BMW Open final in Munich. Berrettini avenged this defeat against his South American player in Shanghai later that year. 

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Casper Ruud stuns Stefanos Tsitsipas to take the biggest win of his career

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Casper Ruud scored his first win over a top five player, beating this year’s Monte-Carlo champion and Barcelona finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 after 1 hour and 34 minutes without facing a break point. 

 

The Norwegian player has reached his third consecutive clay-court Masters 1000 quarter final following the semifinals in Rome in 2020 and in Monte-Carlo last month. 

The first set went on serve with no break points. Ruud won the tie-break 7-4 with two mini-breaks before earning the only break in the seventh game to close out the second set 6-4. 

Tsitsipas won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo and lost the Barcelona final after holding a championship point against Rafael Nadal. 

“Stefanos is one of the best players this year on the Tour, one of the ones who has the most matches. He has won his first Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo. He was very close to getting the title there, as well, but the conditiions are a bit different here than other clay courts with there, as well, but the conditions are a bit different here than other clay courts with the fast shots, the ball travelling faster through the air because of the altitude. You get a lot of free points with the serve that you don’t usually get on the clay courts. I think that also today went a bit in my advantage. I felt like he was doing some mistakes that he doesn’t always do. I was just trying t take care of the chance that I got”, said Ruud.Ruud set up a quarter final against Alexander Bublik, who beat Aslan Karatsev 6-4 6-3. Ruud beat Bublik in their only previous head-to-head match against Bublik in three sets in St. Petersburg.

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Ash Barty Eases Into Madrid Final

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Number 1 seed Ashleigh Barty beat Paula Badosa 6-4 6-3 to reach her fourth final of the 2021 season at the Madrid Mutua Open after winning three titles at the Yarra Valley Classic, Miami and Stuttgart.

 

The first set went on serve in the first nine games. Barty earned two break points in the 10th game with a lob and loose forehands from Badosa. Badosa saved two set points with winners, but Barty converted her third chance after a double fault from Badosa to close out the first set 6-4. 

After an early trade of breaks, Barty earned her second break after a double fault from Badosa in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. The Aussie star saved three break points in the fifth game and held serve for 4-1 with a dropshot. Barty dropped just two more points on serve to close out the second set 6-3. 

Barty has extended her red clay winning streak to 16 consecutive matches and her win-loss record to 25-3 this season. 

Barty has clinched her 16th consecutive win on red clay. The Australian player avenged her recent defeat against Badosa in the quarter finals in Charleston. 

“It was important for me to get that early break back in the second set and keep my nose in front, almost force her to come up with something that was going to be a really high level to be at a high level to be able to get back into the match. I have learnt a lot about clay, without a doubt. I promise you, I am still counting down to the grass court season. It’s one of the my favourite times of the year. I think the memories and the learnings now that we are getting from the red clay has been really cool, to be able to challenge myself in different ways”, said Barty.

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