‘I’ve Earned The Right’ - Ash Barty Unsurprised By Surge In Form At Australian Open Despite Hiatus - UBITENNIS
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‘I’ve Earned The Right’ – Ash Barty Unsurprised By Surge In Form At Australian Open Despite Hiatus

The former Grand Slam winner has won five matches in a row since returning to the Tour following a 11-month break.

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Ash Barty says her recent winning streak hasn’t entirely caught her off guard after she made a dream start to the Australian Open on Tuesday.

The world No.1 was in clinical form as she thrashed Danka Kovinic 6-0, 6-0, on the Rod Laver Arena in what was her first Grand Slam match for 12 months. Barty missed both the US Open and French Open last year due to travel concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Against Kovinic she was in top form as she started the match with a 16-point winning streak. Impressively, she only dropped three points behind her serve and produced five unforced errors during the match.

“A night session at Rod Laver Arena is really, really special. It was pretty nice to be out there. Beautiful weather for it, and actually it made the night session, nice sky, just a really enjoyable one,” Barty commented on playing in front of fans again.
I think the processes and the things we go through before a match and trying to execute that, that’s always a challenge. I felt like I had that spot on, which was really pleasing, to be able to roll with the momentum throughout the whole match was really good.” She added.

Barty has now won five matches in a row after winning the Yarra Valley Classic last week. An impressive run for a player who spent 11 months away from the sport due to the pandemic. Although during that time she has maintained her No.1 ranking thanks to a change in the WTA points system. A decision that has been criticised by some.

As for the 24-year-old, she insists that her recent results are not exceeding her expectations as she seeks to become the first home player to win the Australian Open in over 40 years. Barty reached the semi-finals last year.

“I know deep down my team and I have done the work. We’ve earned the right to play at this level,” she explains. “There’s always a little bit of the unknown at the start of a season, particularly after such a long break, of what that level might be, knowing there’s every chance it’s not going to be exactly where we want it straight away.’
“But that’s the challenge, is coming out here every day and trying to bring my best stuff on that given day and I think knowing that we’ve done the work during preseason, done the work over the years, I feel comfortable in my own skin to go out there and find away, whether the tennis is great or it’s not, I know I’ve got other weapons that I can go to, not just hitting a tennis ball.”

Regardless of her previous successes on the court, which includes nine WTA title, Barty believes there is room for her to improve further in the coming years.

“I want to challenge myself to be the complete player. I want to challenge myself to grow and develop every single day, both as a human and as a tennis player,” she concluded.

Barty will play either compatriot Daria Gavrilova or Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second round.

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Sebastian Korda reaches his second semifinal of the season in s’Hertogenbosh

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Sebastian Korda beat Tommy Paul 6-4 6-2 in 67 minutes to reach his second ATP Tour semifinal of the season at Libema Open in s’Hertogenbosh. 

Korda hit 18 winners and won 84% of his first serve points. Korda earned his first break in the third game of the first set to take a 2-1 lead. Paul broke straight back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Korda broke for the second time in the seventh game to win the first set 6-4. Korda broke twice in the third and seventh game to close out the second set 6-2. 

Korda has improved his head-to-head record against Paul to 4-1. 

Korda reached the semifinal on grass at Queen’s in 2023. The US player is is aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since 2021, when he won in Parma on clay. 

Korda set up a semifinal clash against defending champion Tallon Griekspoor, who ccame back from one set down to beat Alexandar Vukic 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-3). Griekspoor has won his past eight matches at this tournament. 

Vukic broke in the ninth game to win the first set 6-4. Griekspoor earned his first break in the sixth game of the second set to win the second set 6-3. The third set went on serve with no breaks en route to the tie-break. Griekspoor earned two mini-breaks to open up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break. Vukic pulled one of the two mini-breaks, but Griekspoor held on his serve and sealed the tie-break on his first match point.

“I am very happy to be through. It was a very tough match once again. I think Alexandar played unbelievable grass court tennis, so it was not easy and I am very happy to find my way in the third set. I am enjoying the crowd, the atmosphere and the whole tournament”, said Korda. 

Alex De Minaur beat Milos Raonic7-5 6-2 in 1 hour and 26 minutes. De Minaur has improved to 3-0 in his head-to-head matches against Raonic, who was playing in just his fourth tournament of he year.

De Minaur earned his first break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Raonic broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. De Minaur broke for the second time in the 11th game and served out on his first set point after saving three break points in the 12th game. De Minaur broke twice in the fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

De Minaur is aiming to win the second title of his career on career following his win in Eastbourne in 2021.  

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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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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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