Ash Barty Exceeding Expectations At Australian Open, Says Coach - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Exceeding Expectations At Australian Open, Says Coach

The mentor of the world No.1 has also shed some light on her plans for the year ahead.

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The return of Ash Barty to professional tennis couldn’t have gone much better than it has, according to her coach Craig Tyzzer.

 

The world No.1 took an 11-month break from the Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic before returning to action last month. Since then, Barty has already won a WTA title at the Yarra Valley Classic and is currently on a eight-match winning streak. At the Australian Open she has cruised to the quarter-finals without dropping a set. Recording wins over Danka Kovinic, Daria Gavrilova, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Shelby Rogers.

Barty’s winning comeback has been hailed by Tyzzer who was named WTA Coach of the Year back in 2019. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he believes the benefits of having ‘the longest pre-season ever’ is starting to pay off.

“She’s been playing well each match. There’s probably been a few dips and a few rises, so there’s a bit of that flow as well,” he said.
“I think it’s ideal that she’s still alive and still playing, still able to keep progressing in the Australian Open. It’s obviously great for us and for her.’
“She’s put it together really well, probably better than I expected.”

At the start of the Australian Open the 24-year-old had the added boost of being cheered on by fans in Melbourne Park but that has since changed. The city is currently in the middle of a five-day lockdown and therefore the event is taking place behind closed doors. Whilst the absence of a crowd is noticeable, Tyzzer believes that it will not affect how she plays over the coming days.

“I know from last year when she won, she loved the crowd in Adelaide last year when she won. It’s a nice venue, really close, really loud. I think she enjoys the Aussie crowd behind her,” he said.
“She’s also good at going, Okay, I have to focus on what’s going on on the court. It doesn’t distract her. I think she’s done that really well. We played with crowds the first week, a bit here during the Australian Open, and she’s been able to focus on what’s going on.”

This year Barty is seeking to become the first home player to win the Melbourne title since Chris O’Neal in 1978. She reached the semi-final stage last year before losing to eventual champion Sofia Kenin.

Looking ahead to what the rest of the season may have in store, Tyzzer confirmed that Barty plans to return to Europe, as well as the Middle East. She skipped the French Open last year where she was the defending champion due to concerns related to travelling during the pandemic.

“We’re hoping that we’ll set up some sort of base somewhere probably in Europe where we can at least switch off and relax and spend some time away from tennis, maybe a bit of golf for Ash,” Tyzzer outlined.
“We’re yet to finalise anything in that regard. But we’re planning on being away for a while.”

Another tournament on Barty’s mind is the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Only once in history has an Australian female tennis player won an individual Olympic medal. That was Alicia Molik at the 2004 Games.

She’s down to play. She’s pretty keen to play,” he commented on going to the Olympics.
“We’re hoping for her that goes ahead. She’s very excited.”

Barty will play Karolína Muchová is the quarter-finals at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

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Taylor Fritz saves two match points to upset Alexander Zverev in Indian Wells

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Taylor Fritz saved two match points to score the second top 5 win of his career against 2021 Olympic champion Alexander Zverev at he BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Fritz has reached his first Masters 1000 semifinal. 

 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the opening set, Fritz saved two break points in the fifth game. Zverev broke serve in the seventh game to win the first set 6-4. 

Fritz broke in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and served out 6-3 at deuce in the ninth game. 

Zverev earned an early break to take a 2-0 lead at the start of the third set and held on his next service games to open up a 5-2 lead. Fritz broke back in the ninth game, when Zverev made two double faults, as he was serving out the match.  

Fritz came back from 2-5 down in the third set and fended off two match points at 3-5 30-40 and 4-5 30-40 to beat Zverev 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) after 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

Despite today’s defeat Zverev still leads 3-2 in his head-to-head matches against Fritz. The US player will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4 to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal. 

“I was really down and out but I found a way to put myself into it. I really wanted to make him have to close me out and I was able to get back into the match Normally you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tie-break, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on”, said Fritz. 

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Nikoloz Basilashvili upsets Stefanos Tsitsipas in Indian Wells to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal

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Nikoloz Basilashvili upset world number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4 to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semfinal. 

 

Basilashvili, who was playing in his first Masters 1000 quarter final, went up a 4-1 lead with a double break in the first and fifth games. Tsitsipas pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4. Basilashvili held on his next service games to claim the first set 6-4. 

Tsitsipas broke twice in the fourth and eighth games and did not face a break point to seal the second set 6-2. 

After a trade of breaks in the first and fourth games of the third set, Basilashvili earned his second break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and fended off a break point in the eighth game to hold serve after three deuces. He served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game.   

Despite the defeat Tsitsipas still leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against Basilashvili. The Georgian player had never won a main draw match in Indian Wells in his four previous appearances at this tournament. Earlier this year he won two titles at Doha and Munich. 

Tsitsipas was aiming to reach his third consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal in North America after advancing to the last four in two consecutive hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati. 

“I have played really great matches this tournament. I was not played with how I played today but I was happy with how I managed my stress levels. First time in the quarter finals and it is a big court and Stefanos is still a tough player. I had to keep my physical levels and energy levels in a really good shape because I knew mentally I would be a little bit tight and stressed”, said Basilashvili.

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Carlos Moya, Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic are among the candidates for the 2022 International Tennis Hall of Fame

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Carlos Moya, the first Spanish player the number 1, and former Grand Slam champions Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic are among the candidates for 2022 International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

 

Ivanovic lifted the 2008 French Open Trophy after a final at the 2008 Australian Open and a semifinal at 2007 Wimbledon and claimed 15 WTA titles during her career. Since her French Open triumph, she spent 12 weeks as world number 1 player. She would become the first player representing Serbia to be voted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

“Many of the women who I looked up to as a young girl are Hall of Famers and to be nominated to receive an honour that places my career alongside those who inspired me is just incredible”, said Ana Ivanovic. 

Flavia Pennetta became the oldest first-time Grand Slam champion when she beat her childhood friend Roberta Vinci in the all-Italian US Open Final in 2015. Pennetta teamed up with Vinci in guiding Italy to four Fed Cup titles. 

“I loved competing and to have my tennis career recognized in this way among the sports all-greats is such an incredible honour”, said Pennetta. 

Moya won the 1998 Roland Garros title and reached the 1997 Australian Open final. He became the first Spanish player to reach the top of the ATP Ranking and won 20 ATP titles, including three ATP Masters 1000 trophies. Moya lifted the Davis Cup title in 2004 for Spain after taking his his second singles win of the tie with his straight-set win over Andy Roddick. 

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