Aryna Sabalenka gets through to the Australian Open third round with a straight-set win over Daria Kasatkina - UBITENNIS
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Aryna Sabalenka gets through to the Australian Open third round with a straight-set win over Daria Kasatkina

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This year’s Abu Dhabi Aryna Sabalenka beat former top 10 Daria Kasatkina 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne. Sabalenka went up a 5-2 lead in the tie-break of the first set, but she let it slip away, when Kasatkina came back by winning three consecutive points to draw level to 5-5. Sabalenka claimed the final two points to win the tie-break 7-5. 

 

Sabalenka went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Kasatkina broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3, but Sabalenka earned two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games to seal the second set 6-3. 

Last year’s Australian Open finalist and two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza cruised past Liudmila Samsonova 6-3 6-1. The first set went on serve in the first six games of the opening set before Muguruza reeled off eight consecutive games with four breaks. Samsonova fended two match points in the sixth game on her serve to avoid the bagel at 0-5 down in the second set. Muguruza served out the win at 30 in the seventh game. 

Former Roland Garros finalist and world number 131 Sara Errani cruised past seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams 6-1 6-0 . Errani earned an early break in the first game. Williams earned three break points in the second game, but Errani saved them to hold her serve. The Italian player went up a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead. Williams won her first game, but she rolled on her left ankle and received a medical time-out at 5-1 15-0. She returned to a Grand Slam third round for the first time since the 2015 US Open. She will face Su-Wei Hsieh, who upset Bianca Andreescu. Errani had to get through the qualifying round in Dubai to reach her first main draw at the Australian Open since 2017. 

“I think it’s the passion for tennis. That is the real thing. I love so much tennis. I love playing, so I am just trying to get through anything”, said Errani. 

Last year’s Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek saved five of the six break points to beat Camlla Giorgi 6-2 6-4 to set up a third round match against France’s Fiona Ferro, who stunned Elena Rybakina. Swiatek had lost 6-2 6-0 to Giorgi in their only previous head-to-head match. 

Swiatek has now won 18 consecutive sets at Grand Slam level since her triumph at Roland Garros. The Pole built up a 6-2 2-0 lead. Giorgi won three consecutive games and earned break points to take a 4-2 lead, but Swiatek saved them to hold serve. Swiatek broke serve in the next game and held her next service games to cruise through to a straight-set win. 

“Honestly it’s pretty hard. I am pretty ambitious so I have my own expectations. I have to deal with deal with them, as well as the other expectations from outside. I am working on that with a psychologist at big tournaments and in the pre-season, so I feel like I am doing a good job. I just want to think about the outside world when I am here”, said Swiatek.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Reaches Quarters In Cincinnati After Three-Set Win Over Sinner

The world number nine reached the quarterfinals after battling back to beat the Italian in three sets.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the quarterfinals of the Western and Southern Open after beating Jannik Sinner 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 in two hours and 26 minutes.

 

The Canadian served 14 aces and hit 29 winners in a match where he had to fight back from losing the first set on his way to sealing a spot in the final eight of the tournament.

“Jannik was just playing too good. I didn’t have a great start, I was missing a lot. But I just had no time. He was playing so fast, so precise, serving well. For a set and a half, it was just too good,” atptour.com quoted Auger-Aliassime as saying during his on-court interview. “That game he broke me in the second, returning on the baseline for three returns in a row, you can’t do much better, so I had to give it to him.
“But at the end, I was still on the court trying to find ways, trying to fight and trying to see how I could make him miss a few more balls and to put myself in a competing position and I did that well… To come back and play that way in the tie-break and the third set, that means a lot to me going forward.”

Sinner got the early break in the first set to take a 2-0 lead and broke a second time with the Montreal native serving to stay in the first set to seal it.

The second set stayed on serve until 3-2 when once again the Italian got the break of serve to take a 4-2 lead but Auger-Aliassime broke right back the following game. The set was eventually decided by a tiebreaker in which the world number nine raced out to a 4-0 lead, hitting some solid forehands and it looked like he had turned the match around. He won the breaker only losing a single point and sent the match into a deciding set.

The number seven seed kept the momentum going by breaking in the first game of the third set. He then earned a double break lead and was up 3-0 and broke a third time for a 4-1. Auger-Aliassime served out the match to book a date with Borna Coric who beat the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes.

The pair have met twice before in 2019. Auger-Aliassime won their encounter in Miami but Coric triumphed in Rome.

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Andy Murray Outlines ‘Big Concern’ About His Current Fitness Ahead Of US Open

The 35-year-old is looking to see if he can find a reason behind his latest problem on the Tour.

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Andy Murray (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Britain’s Andy Murray has admitted that he is alarmed about the frequency of cramping he is experiencing during matches played in North America this season.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion crashed out of the Western and Southern Open on Wednesday after losing in three sets to compatriot Cameron Norrie. During the closing stages of their encounter, it was visible that Murray was once again struggling with cramps. A condition that occurs when a muscle shortens and causes a sudden pain that can make it hard to move.

It is usual for athletes to experience cramps but for Murray the issue is a ‘big concern’ for him. Saying that this year is the first time in his career he has suffered from the issue on a regular basis.

“I think pretty much every tennis player in their career has cramped usually in these sorts of conditions,” Murray said during his press conference.
“But the consistency of it for me is a big concern. It’s not something that I have really experienced. I have experienced cramping but not consistently like over a number of tournaments.
“It’s a big concern for me because it’s not easy to play when it gets bad like it was at the end (of his match against Norrie). I feel like it had an impact on the end of the match.”

Murray says his cramping occurs ‘predominantly’ in his legs but different parts. The former world No.1 is now looking into seeing if he can find a possible explanation as to what might be triggering the cramps. The issue comes less than two weeks before the start of the US Open.

“It’s a big concern for me that and something that I need to address and find a solution for,” he said. “No one knows exactly why cramps happen. There are many reasons, whether its hydration, whether it’s the food that you have taken in, whether it’s fatigue and lack of conditioning, stress.’
“I need to try and understand what’s going on there.”

Since Wimbledon, Murray has achieved a win-loss record of 3-4 on the Tour with his best run being to the quarter-finals in Newport. He is currently ranked 47th in the world.

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Rafael Nadal Sees Few Positives In Shock Loss To Coric At Cincinnati Masters

The Spaniard faces a race against time to be ready for the US Open which will begin in less than two weeks.

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Image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES/status/

Rafael Nadal says he didn’t play his best match after suffering a shock loss at the Western and Southern Open on Thursday to former top 20 player Borna Coric.

 

Nadal, who was playing his first match in over a month due to injury, was knocked out of the tournament 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3. Playing in Cincinnati for the first time in five years, the world No.3 has his chances with two set point chances coming and going in the first set. In the decider, it would be a single break of serve that would cost him.

Despite being a former champion of the tournament back in 2013, Nadal has experienced a mixed record at the Western and Southern Open. His career win-loss record currently stands at 22-13.

“I didn’t play my best match. It’s Something that can happen. Historically this tournament has been difficult for me,” the former world No.1 said during his press conference. “So coming back from a tough period of time, it’s something that is easy to accept and easy to say congrats to Borna that he played better.”
“For some weird reason at this tournament I never had the best feelings. On the other hand, I felt very welcome here all the time.” He later added.

Before this week, the 35-year-old hadn’t played on the Tour since Wimbledon after missing a series of tournaments due to an abdominal tear. He was set to return at the Canadian Masters but decided against doing so over concerns related to his abdomen.

Whilst too much can’t be read into Nadal’s latest defeat on the Tour given his recent absence, he faces a race against time to get back into shape for the US Open which will begin later this month.

“A lot of times coming back from injuries I have done positive things, but in this particular case, it’s obvious that I was not ready enough to win the match,” he admits.
“You lose. You move forward. I know the way. The main thing for me is to stay healthy. It has been a difficult injury to manage, to be honest. The last month and a half haven’t been easy because having a tear on the abdominal, you don’t know when it is 100%. So that affects a little bit in terms of not sure if you are able to try your best in every serve.”
“I need (to take things) step by step,” Nadal added.

Nadal has confirmed that he will now undergo some tests on his abdomen to make sure that the injury is progressing the right way. In the meantime, he will return to the practice courts to improve his game further.

As for the US Open, the 22-time Grand Slam champion is staying coy about his chances at the tournament. He last played at New York major in 2019 when he lifted the title for the fourth time in his career.

“It’s a Grand Slam. It’s a different kind of tournament. But at the same time, it’s tennis, no? If I am not playing well, I will probably follow the same route as here (in Cincinnati),” Nadal commented.
“I need to move forward and just start to think about the energy that the crowd gives me in New York. I know it’s a very special place for me, and I enjoy it. Unforgettable moments there and I’m gonna try my very best every single day to be ready for that.”

As for Nadal’s conqueror Coric, he will play Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round. This week is the first time the Croat has defeated a top 10 player since returning to the Tour following shoulder surgery.

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