After Multiple Setbacks Ana Konjuh Is Living Her Miami Open Fairytale - UBITENNIS
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After Multiple Setbacks Ana Konjuh Is Living Her Miami Open Fairytale

The 23-year-old has missed almost three years of competitive action due to a serious elbow issue.

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Ana Konjuh (image via https://twitter.com/WeAreTennis)

A few years ago Ana Konjuh was tipped to be the next superstar of women’s tennis after having achieved so much as a young age.

 

It all started in 2013 when she won two junior Grand Slam titles before her 16th birthday. Following on from that she started to make a name for herself on the WTA Tour with a win over top 20 player Roberta Vinci in her first tournament of 2014. Racing up the ranks Konjuh eventually broke into the world’s top 20 and had a WTA title to her name by the age of 20. However, the breakthrough at a young age came at a cost.

Still only 23, Konjuh has undergone four elbow surgeries after admitting when she was younger she used to play through the pain. Her latest comeback started last September when she won a $25,000 tournament in Zagreb in what was her first taste of competitive tennis in almost 19 months. Building her way back on once again, she continued playing on the ITF Tour, as well as the qualifying draws for WTA events.

Now ranked 338th in the world Konjuh received a wildcard into the Miami Open where she has reminded the Tour of the talent she processes. After knocking out Madison Keys in straight sets in the second round, she stunned French Open champion Iga Swiatek 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, on Saturday.

“I’m really happy to be back. It’s been frustrating the past couple of years, just having been through all these surgeries and comebacks and just never getting it right,” Konjuh said following the win.
“I just appreciate things much more right now. When you are just hitting the ball and there is a possibility that you might never play again or that you might never be on this level, you just kind of put things in perspective. It means a lot to me right now.”

In total the Croat has missed roughly three years of the Tour due to her surgeries. She could be forgiven to just walk away from the sport due to the setbacks but Konjuh says she is driven to continue playing due to her love for the sport.

“Those key moments where you’re sick of everything and you’re just questioning yourself like should I go back and is it worth it and whatnot, I just remember why I started playing this sport and why I love it so much and just the feeling that I had when I was in the top and having these great results and what it meant to me,” she explained.

Konjuh’s section of the Miami Open draw has opened up following the withdrawal of Simona Halep due to a shoulder injury. Instead, she will next play Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova who she played before back in 2016 on Grass at the Mallorca Open.

“That saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is kind of true,” said Konjuh.
“Having my coach with me, he’s just trying to produce this new level of my game, not being as offensive but keeping it but also being smart about it and not going for the killer shots at the moments that are not there for.”

The fourth round meeting between Konjuh and Sevastova will take place on Monday.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Jasmine Paolini lifts her first WTA title in Portoroz

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Jasmine Paolini claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career in Portoroz. The Italian player came back from two breaks down in the opening set to beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in the final after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

 

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz. I just feel very happy. It’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hardcourts, it’s special. I think I was maybe a bit relaxed. I understood more about the game. I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key”, said Paolini. 

Paolini beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round, Sorana Cristea in the quarter final, and Yulia Putintseva. The 25-year-old Italian player beat three top 50 players in a row in her final three matches this week. 

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games, Riske went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Paolini pulled one break back in the eight game from 3-5. The Italian broke at love in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5, as Riske was serving for the set. Riske rallied from 2-5 to 4-5 in the tie-break. 

Paolini earned two set points at 6-4 and converted her first set point when Riske sent an overhead long. Paolini broke serve in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to take a 3-2 lead. Paolini won the final five games and sealed the second set 6-2 with an error-forcing forehand.

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Clare Tauson claims her second WTA Tour title at the age of 18

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World number 70 Clare Tauson has won the second WTA Tour title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open this season beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the final after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

 

Tauson enjoyed a great week in which she up number 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the second round and this year’s Olympic finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semifinals. Tauson won her first title as a qualifer in another indoor tournament in Lyon last March in just her second Tour-level tournament. Tauson also won the WTA 125 trophy in Chicago last August beating Emma Raducanu, who went on to win the US Open last week. 

Tauson is one of the four players born in 2002 ranked in the the tpè 100 alongside Raducanu, the other US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Marta Kostyuk. 

The Danish teenager is the seventh player to claim more trophies, joining Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasakina. 

Ostapenko won the Luxembourg tournament on her debut at this tournament in 2019 and had been undefeated before today’s tournament. 

Tauson has become the fourth player to successfully defend the Luxembourg title after Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova and Kim Cljisters. 

Ostapenko hit a smash to break Tauson to take a 6-3 lead. The Latvian player earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Tauson broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ostapenko fired return winners to take a 2-1 lead with a break. Tauson broke back with two straight return winners. Tauson fended off two break points to hold serve after a marathon five-deuce for 3-2. Ostapenko was broken after a fourth double fault, when she was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. 

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