Serena Williams ‘Super Confident’ Injury Blow Won’t Derail Historic Grand Slam Bid - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams ‘Super Confident’ Injury Blow Won’t Derail Historic Grand Slam Bid

The American tennis star speaks out about her current form as she aims to end her four-year title drought in major tournaments.

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Serena Williams (image via https://twitter.com/usta)

Serena Williams insists she is raring to go at the Australian Open despite having to pull out of a lead-up tournament due to injury.

 

The former world No.1 scored a three-set win over Danielle Collins at the Yarra Valley Classic on Friday before announcing her withdrawal from the competition later in the day. A statement from the WTA confirmed that Williams’ decision was due to soreness in her shoulder. Making it the second tournament in a row she was unable to finish after also pulling out of the French Open last October due to an Achilles injury.

Despite her latest setback, 39-year-old Williams says she is confident that it will not have a significant impact on her ability to play at the Australian Open which starts on Monday. The American will be seeded tenth in the Melbourne draw and faces the possibility of playing Aryna Sabalenka, Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty to win the title.

I feel pretty good. I’ve gotten a lot of treatment already on my shoulder,” Williams told reporters on Saturday.
“I’m super confident it’s going to be great. I’m feeling very confident and getting ready for hopefully the next two weeks.”

Whilst brushing aside her shoulder issue, Williams admits that it is going to be something she has to ‘deal with’ over the coming days with adjustments made to her post-match exercise regiment. Although she believes her knowledge of the issue prior to the start of the Melbourne major will work in her favour.

Williams is once again seeking to make history by winning her 24th Grand Slam title. An achievement which would put her level with Margareat Court for most major singles titles won in the history of tennis. However, her success in the majors has been limited in recent time with her last triumph being at the 2017 Australian Open. Since becoming a mother, she has reached four additional Grand Slam finals but lost them all in straight sets.

It’s definitely on my shoulders and on my mind,” she commented about reaching the milestone. “I think it’s good to be on my mind. It’s a different burden on my shoulders because I’m used to it now. It’s more relaxing I would like to say.”
“I think at my age, my career, I really just try to go on how I’m feeling physically and not put myself in a bad position in general for my health
.”

The first test for Williams at the Australian Open will be Germany’s Laura Siegemund. A world No.51 player who reached the quarter-finals of the French Open last year. The two met twice before with Williams winning both of those encounters.

She has had lots of great wins over top players. She has a different game. She mixes up the pace a lot. It will be a really good match for me to get in there early and play my best,” she previewed of her upcoming clash.

This year will be the 20th time Williams has played in the Australian Open main draw in her career. Her record at the tournament currently stands at 87 wins to 12 losses with seven titles won. Making her the most successful female player at the event in the Open Era.

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Reigning Champion Simona Halep Pulls Out Of Wimbledon

The Romanian says she is ‘down and upset’ about missing the major.

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There will be a new Wimbledon champion in the women’s draw this year after Simona Halep formally withdrew due to injury.

 

The former world No.1 was in London training with her team but has been forced to pull out of the grass-court major after failing to fully recover from a calf injury. An issue which also sidelined her from the French Open. It is the first time the Romanian has missed Wimbledon since making her Grand Slam debut at the tournament back in 2010.

“It is with great sadness that I’m announcing my withdrawal from The Championships as my calf injury has not fully recovered,” the 29-year-old said in a statement.
“I gave it everything I had in order to be ready to play Wimbledon and after having such special memories from two years ago, I was excited and honoured to step back on these beautiful courts as defending champion.
“Unfortunately, my body didn’t cooperate and I’ll have to save that feeling for next year.”

Halep first sustained the injury back in May when she was playing Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Italian Open. After undergoing an MRI, it was confirmed that the multiple Grand Slam winner had a tear in her left calf.

“I can honestly say that I’m really down and upset about having to take this decision. This period has been difficult but to miss the last two majors has made it even more challenging mentally and physically,” she said.
“We will see what the future holds but I’m hoping it will make me a stronger person and athlete.”

As a result of the withdrawal, Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova has moved into the seedings at 32nd. She has only won one match in four previous appearances at the Championships.

Halep has won 22 WTA titles during her career and has won more than $37.5M in prize money.

The Wimbledon Championships will get underway on Monday.

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Lorenzo Sonego reaches the semifinal in Eastbourne

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Third seed Lorenzo Sonego beat Alexander Bublik 6-1 7-5 in 79 minutes to reach the semifinal at the Viking International in Eastbourne. Sonego claimed his 17th tour-level match win of the year. 

 

Sonego broke twice in  the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. The Italian player won 65 % of his first service points  in the opening set. 

The 2021 Sardegna Open champion went up a break in the third game of the second game, but he missed two double break points at 4-2. He saved a break-back point at 4-3 before dropping his serve at 5-4. Sonego broke serve from 0-30 down to win the second set 7-5. 

Sonego has improved to 3-0 in his head-to-head matches against Bublik. 

“I am full of energy because I like playing here. My serve is good for grass court and I like playing in Eastbourne. There are a lot of Italian fans, and it is good for me. Sasha is an amazing player”, said Sonego. 

Sonego will face Max Purcell, who beat Italian veteran Andreas Seppi 6-4 1-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 58 minutes. Seppi had won his previous head-to-head against Purcell in Kitzbuhel in three sets. 

Purcell bounced back from losing the second set, winning 82 % of his first service points. 

Purcell went up a break twice in the first set to take a 3-2 lead, but Seppi broke back both times to draw level to 4-4. Purcell broke for the third time in the ninth game to claim the first set 6-4. Seppi broke twice to take a 4-0 lead, but wasted two set points in the sixth game. Seppi broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, but Purcell broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Purcell earned three match points at 5-4 and converted his second chance on Seppi’s serve. 

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Danil Medvedev reaches the third grass-court semifinal of his career in Mallorca

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Top seed Danil Medvedev beat Casper Ruud 7-5 6-1 at the Mallorca Championships to reach the third grass-court semifinal of his career without dropping a set. Medvedev had prevously reached two semifinals in Eastbourne in 2017 and at Queen’s in 2019. 

 

Medvedev hit 8 aces and won 87 % of his first service points. He did not face a break points and dropped one point behind his first serve. 

Medvedev broke serve in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. The Russian player went up a break in the first game. Ruud broke straight back in the second game. Medvedev broke three times in a row to win nine of the last ten games. He closed out the match with a drop shot and a volley to reach the semifinal after 1 hour and 17 minutes. 

“I feel like it was a funny match. Maybe it was not the highest level, but I am really happy to win and be in the semifinals here. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I don’t think grass is his best surface, but in the first set he was playing top level and I could not get any break points. As soon as he started serving a bit worse and making some errors, I tried to use it as fast as I could. It was important to win the first set and not not in a tie-break”, said Medvedev.

Medvedev will face Pablo Carreno Busta, who fended off all three break points he faced in his 6-4 6-4 win over Jordan Thompson. Medvedev leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against Carreno Busta.   

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