Why Simona Halep Doesn't Want To Focus On Her Previous Australian Open Performances - UBITENNIS
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Why Simona Halep Doesn’t Want To Focus On Her Previous Australian Open Performances

The world No.2 is chasing after her first ever title at the Melbourne major this year.

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Whilst she is yet to win a title in Melbourne Park the Australian Open still has a special place in the heart of Simona Halep.

 

It was 10 years ago when the Romanian won her first ever main draw Grand Slam match with a run to the third round of the 2011 event before losing to Agnieszka Radwanska. Since then she has had a mixture of results in the tournament with four first round losses, two quarter-final appearances, one semi-final and one final. Overall, she has won 24 matches at the Australian Open in what is her joint-second highest tally in the Grand Slams.

Perhaps the most memorable match for the former world No.1 occurred in 2018 when she was just a few games away from the title before losing to Caroline Wozniacki in a three-set thriller. Halep’s record is one that provides her with plenty of confidence heading into this year’s tournament but she prefers not to look in the past for one particular reason.

I have the results in my head every time I come here. I always think if I did once, twice, I have the possibility to do it again,” Halep said on Saturday during a virtual press conference.
“But I don’t want to think that much because I put pressure on myself and I expect maybe too much sometimes. I will take it as a normal tournament, an important one, of course.’
“I’m focused on what I have to do, but I’m not thinking that much about the chances that I have here.”

Halep prepared for the major by playing in the Gippsland Trophy where in what was a mixed performance. She started off well with convincing wins over Anastasia Potapova and Laura Siegemund. However, her run ended on Friday with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-1, loss to Ekaterina Alexandrova.

It was the latest match which has prompted speculation over the current fitness of the 29-year-old who later confirmed that she has been coping with a ‘block’ in her back. Although she insists that it will not have a significant impact on her game over the coming days.

“I struggled a little bit from the air-conditioning with my low back. The muscle got a little bit blocked,” Halep explained. “But I did some treatment last night (Friday), this morning, so I’m getting better now.’
“It’s nothing dangerous. I’m used to it because it happens when it’s that cold. I had it also last year in French Open because it was cold outside. So I’m not very worried, but I’m taking care of it.”

Fortunately for the world No.2 she has been given a relatively generous opening first round draw at the Australian Open where she will play 23-year-old wildcard Lizette Cabrera. Somebody who is yet to crack the top 100 or win a Grand Slam main draw match.

“It’s a big challenge the first round everywhere. I’m very focused. I will train a little bit what I have to do against her. I will just get ready for the match.” Halep commented.

Halep has been ranked in the world’s top 10 continuously since January 27th 2014 in what is the eighth longest run in WTA history.

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Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori claim the doubles title in Cagliari

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An all-Italian doubles team formed by Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori claimed the doubles title at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari with a 6-3 6-4 win over Simone Bolelli and Andres Molteni n 75 minutes. 

 

Sonego and Vavassori got the first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Bolelli and Molteni broke straight back in the fifth game for 2-3, but Sonego and Vavassori claimed their second break to win the first set 6-3. Both teams traded breaks in the second and third games of the second set. They held their service games in the next five games before Sonego and Vavassori sealed the second set with their decisive break in the ninth game. 

Sonego and Vavassori, who both come from Turin, had beaten Marcelo Melo and Jean-Julien Rojer in the Cagliari first round. They have become the first Italian doubles team to clinch an ATP title on Italian soil since Giorgio Galimberti and Daniele Bracciali in February 2005 in Milan. 

Sonego will bid to become the first player to win the singles and doubles titles at the same tournament since Feliciano Lopez at the Queen’s in London in 2019. 

The last Italian player to score a double title was Matteo Berrettini, who won the singles and the doubles tournament with Daniele Bracciali in Gstaad 2018. For the first time at least three Italian players have contested an ATP Tour doubles title since Casablanca 1998 when Andrea Gaudenzi and Diego Nargiso beat Cristian Brandi and Filippo Messori.

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Pablo Carreno sets up all-Spanish final against Jaume Munar in Marbella

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Last year’s US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta battled past his compatriot Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-5) in an all-Spanish semifinal to secure his spot in the Any Tech 365 Andalucia Open in Marbella. 

 

Carreno Busta has improved his head-to-to-head record against Ramos Vinolas to 3-1. 

Carreno Busta raced out to a 5-0 lead with a double break to win a one-sided first set 6-1. Ramos Vinolas won just one point from ten on his second serve. 

Ramos Vinolas bounced back by winning the second set 6-3 with just one break in the fourth game. For the 12th time in his last 13 matches, Ramos Vinolas sent them into the third set. 

Ramos Vinolas went up a break in the third game and was just two points from victory as he served for the match at 5-4. Carreno Busta broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 after a double fault and a forehand error from Ramos Vinolas. 

Carreno Busta converted his third match point to seal the third set after 2 hours and 11 minutes securing his spot into the eighth final of his career. 

“It was so close. I don’t know what happened in the second set. At the beginning of the match, I was very focused on my game and my aggressive. After that, Albert started to push back more I started to lose my level a little bit. I just kept fighting all the time, and I want to thank everyone in the crowd for their support. This is what we missed last year, the crowd. It’s very important to play these close matches with a crowd like that”, said Carreno Busta.

Carreno Busta set up an all-Spanish final against Jaume Munar, who beat Carlos Alcaraz 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. Alcaraz got an early break in the second game of the opening set, but Munar broke straight back and saved a break point to hold serve at deuce for 2-2. Alcaraz earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead, but Munar won seven of the next nine points with two mini-breaks to claim the tie-break 7-4. 

Munar converted his fourth break point in the second game after five deuces to take a 2-0 lead. Alcaraz broke back at love in the third game and held serve at deuce to draw level to 2-2. After four consecutive on serve Munar went up a break at love in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Alcaraz broke straight back at love for 4-5. Munar sealed the second set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game.

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Lorenzo Sonego reaches his third career final in Cagliari

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Lorenzo Sonego battled past Taylor Fritz 6-4 5-7 6-1 after 2 hours and 39 minutes to advance to the final of the Sardegna Open in Cagliari. 

 

Sonego is one match away from becoming the first Italian player to clinch an ATP Tour clay-court title on home soil. Former world number 25 and current Italian Davis Cup captain Filippo Volandri was the last Italian player to win an ATP Tour on Italian soil, when he beat Nicolas Lapentti in Palermo 2006. 

Sonego converted his sixth break point with three powerful forehands in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Fritz broke back in the eighth game with a deep forehand to draw level to 4-4, but Sonego earned an immediate break to love. 

Sonego reeled off five consecutive games from 4-4 to build up a 6-4 3-0 lead with a break in the ninth game of the first set at love and two breaks in the first and third games of the second set. Fritz pulled back both times to draw level to 3-3. The US player earned his third break in the 12th game to claim the second set after 64 minutes when Sonego hit a backhand into the net. 

Sonego started the third set with an early break in the first game with a drop shot. The Turin-native player went up a double break with three consecutive forehands to take a 3-0 lead. The 2019 Antalya champion raced out to a 5-0 lead with his third break. Fritz pulled one break back in the sixth game for 1-5 but Sonego sealed the third set 6-1 with his fourth break to secure his spot in his third career final and his first title match on clay. Last year he upset Novak Djokovic in the semifinal before finishing runner-up to Andrey Rublev in the final at the Erste Open in Vienna. Yesterday Sonego came back from one set down to beat Yannik Hanfmann 3-6 7-6 6-3 in the quarter finals. 

Sonego will take on Laslo Djere, who cruised past Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2 6-0. Djere broke twice in the third and seventh games and got three consecutive breaks in the third set.

Djere dropped just one set against Lorenzo Musetti this week. He becomes the second Italian player after Andreas Seppi to reach finals on all surfaces after winning his first title on grass in Antalya 2019 and reaching the Vienna 2020 final on indoor hard-court last year. Sonego has also qualified for the doubles final alongside Andrea Vavassori against Simone Bolelli and Andres Molteni.

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