Quarantine No Excuse For Shock Australian Open Exit, Says Petra Kvitova - UBITENNIS
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Quarantine No Excuse For Shock Australian Open Exit, Says Petra Kvitova

The Czech speaks out following her surprise straight sets loss.

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Petra Kvitova (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

Petra Kvitova has refused to look for excuses after crashing out of the Australian Open on Wednesday to a player ranked 60 places lower than her.

The world No.8 fell 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, to Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in what is her earliest exit from the tournament since 2018. Two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova was far from her best as she leaked seven doubles faults and 44 unforced errors. The lacklustre performance also saw the Czech get broken two consecutive times in the opener and then three times in the third set.

Kvitova’s loss concludes what has been a disappointing Australian swing after she also lost in the third round of the Yarra Valley Classic, which also took place at Melbourne Park. To put that into perspective at the 2019 Australian Open she reached the final and then the quarter-finals in 2020.

“I unfortunately couldn’t take the chances to win the first set. I think that was really the key of the match,” she commented on her loss to Cirstea.
“I played a great second set. But I think all the games which we played over those two hours were pretty close and there was a lot of deuces.’
“Of course, it’s a little painful and I’m really disappointed about my loss. I didn’t really bring the best tennis today. It’s really hurting. But I can’t really do anything right now.”

Preparation for the Grand Slam has been like no other with all players having to go into a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Australia. Some of whom had to stay in their rooms after being declared a close contact of somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. Kvitova was not one of those players as she dismissed the idea that the quarantine affected her form.

“This match wasn’t really about the quarantine or just practicing differently,” she stated.
“I should have taken the first set when I was leading a break. I was really fighting, losing four or five games in the row. This can’t happen to me, unfortunately.”

The defeat is Kvitova’s earliest loss in a Grand Slam since the 2019 US Open where she also lost in the second round.

Meanwhile, 30-year-old Cirstea is through to the third round in Melbourne for the fourth time in her career. She will next play 19th seed Markéta Vondroušová who beat qualifier Rebecca Marino in straight sets.

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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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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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