Garbine Muguruza moves up to second place in the Race to Shenzhen after her triumph in Dubai - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza moves up to second place in the Race to Shenzhen after her triumph in Dubai

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Garbine Muguruza has moved up to world number 2 in this year’s Porsche Race to Shenzhen after winning the first WTA 1000 tournament of the season in Dubai beating Barbora Kreijcikova in the final. 

 

The Spanish player reached three finals this year at Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne, Doha and Dubai. She began her 2021 campaign in Abu Dhabi, where she scored wins over Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Kristina Mladenovic before losing to Maria Sakkari in straight sets. 

In her next tournament at the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne Muguruza dropped a total of ten games in matches against Alison Van Uytvanck, Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, Sofia Kenin and Vondrousova to advance to her first final since the Australian Open in 2020. In the final she was beaten by Ashleigh Barty in straight sets. 

At the Australian Open Muguruza beat Margaryta Gasparyan, Liudmila Samsonova and Zarina Diyas to advance to the the second week of the “Happy Slam” for the third consecutive year. She lost to eventual Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka in the fourth round in a three-set match, where she held two match points in the third set. 

Muguruza started her Middle-East campaign in Doha where she beat Veronika Kudemertova, defending champion Aryna Sabalenka before avenging her Abu Dhabi defeat against Sakkari to advance to th semifinals. Muguruza received a walkover after Victoria Azarenka withdrew before the match due to a back injury. Muguruza finished runner-up to Petra Kvitova after losing a straight-set final in a re-match of the 2018 Doha final.

Muguruza advanced to her second consecutive final in Dubai.  After straight-set wins over Irina Camelia Begu, Amanda Anisimova, 2020 Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek, Muguruza came back from a set and a break down to repeat her win over Sabalenka to get through to her third consecutive semifinal in Dubai. The Spaniard beat Belgium’s Elise Mertens in two straight sets in the semifinal before defeating former doubles world number 1 Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets to claim her eighth career title. 

“It was a tricky match because it was hard to get a feel for her game. I had to work so hard in the first set, ad the difference was just point. I think Barbora played great. She had an incredible run. I am just happy I was stronger today”, said Muguruza after the Dubai final. 

Muguruza needed 2 hours and 8 minutes to beat Kreijcikova in straight sets. The Czech player enjoyed a great week, dropping just 26 games and winning every match without losing a set. 

“It’s a great achievement. I have been coming to Dubai many years in a row and I felt I was close, but today finally I got the trophy and I am very happy to get this one. This week it all paid off. The other weeks I was close but perhaps I fought a bit harder this week. I feel like the consistency is so hard to get and being able to play in three finals is a good sign that we are on the right track”. 

Muguruza won her biggest title since Cincinnati 2017. She has extended her record to 18 wins to 4 defeats over five ournaments. She lost three of her four matches against top 10 players Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova. 

“I am very motivated. I have been working hard. I have a good team around me. I feel it’s a good moment in my career, with my age, with my knowledge, the things that I have achieved. I don’t think I have to prove no more that I can play a Grand Slam, that I can be number 1. This is over. Now it is time to just forget all those things that you are thinking when you are young, when I going to win a Grand Slam ? When I am going to number 2 or number 1 ? All of those things have gone already. Of course I want to be in those positions again but this is not the pressure anymore. I have done it and I want to do it again”, said Muguruza. 

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Another Defeat For Iga Swiatek – Should Her Fans Start To Worry?

Iga Swiatek unexpectedly lost to Beatrice Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals of the National Bank Open in Toronto. This was the third defeat of the WTA world No.1 in a month and a half. Is there anything to worry about?

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Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2022 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Article written by Dominik Senkowski (@dsenkowski07)

 

It was an extremely close match played in difficult conditions. Swiatek lost to Beatrice Hadad Maia 4:6, 6:3, 5:7 in Toronto.

The Polish woman admitted that she could not deal with the strong wind, saying during her press conference “I think without the wind I would manage. But it was pretty crazy out there.”

Haddad Miai, who is the first Brazilian to reach the last eight of a WTA 1000 event, revealed that she also had problems with the weather.

”We have no influence on the weather, we have to deal with it somehow. I think mentally I managed to overcome it,” she said.

Three failures

This was the third defeat for Swiatek in a month and a half. She had been undefeated since February, winning six tournaments in a row, including a Roland Garros. After that, however, she did not reach the semi-finals even once. In Wimbledon she was eliminated in the third round by Alize Cornet and then in Warsaw in the quarter-finals by Caroline Garcia. Now she did not make it past Beatrice Hadad Maia in Toronto. Do fans of the Polish woman have anything to worry about?

Of course, Swiatek as the top seed should have played better against the Brazilian. However, it must be remembered that she is still only 21 years old and has the right to fluctuate in form. Even the best tennis players of recent years – Roger Federer, Serena Serena, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – did not win all the games in their best time. Swiatek still has a phenomenal balance of 49 wins to 5 defeats this year. She is the undisputed leader of the WTA rankings and will probably end the year as number one in the world.

There is no doubt that the rivals are more motivated to clash with Iga. In addition, they increasingly believe that they are able to defeat her since Cornet, Garcia and Hadad Maia did it. But still, it all depends on Iga. If she improves her serve, she can be unstoppable again. Recently with Garcia and Hadad Maia, she had problems with the second serve. She must pay more attention to it.

Time for Iga

Time should play in favour of Swiatek. Before Toronto, she played exceptionally on clay courts in Warsaw in a tournament organized by her father Tomasz. Frequent changes of the surface from grass to clay and hard courts in 1.5 months are not easy at such a young age. In Poland Iga said that she had no experience with it, she was just learning. She continues to learn valuable lessons and still can be better. We should remember it.

It seems that in the coming days she will be training on hard courts. She could feel more confident and come stronger as in spring. In Warsaw Iga said that she treats the first tournament before the US Open swing less seriously. She was aware that she needed more playing time to get better results. Her increasing self-esteem makes her behave calmer, even after defeats. That is why she can return to the right path soon.

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Rafael Nadal Returns To Cincinnati With Shot At No.1 Ranking

This is what the king of clay has to do to reclaim the top position.

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ATP RAFAEL NADAL OF SPAIN - PHOTO: DIEGO SOUTO / MMO

It has been over a month since Rafael Nadal last played a match on the Tour but in the coming days, he will have a chance to return to the top of the ATP rankings.

 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been absent from action ever since pulling out of his semi-final match at Wimbledon due to an abdominal tear. He was set to play at this week’s National Bank Open in Montreal but withdrew after feeling a ‘slight bother’ in his abdominal region following training. Nadal decided not to play after consulting with his doctor.

Instead, the Spaniard will return next week at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. He confirmed his return in an Instagram post, where he wrote: “Very happy to play again in Cincy. Flying there tomorrow (Thursday).”

Whilst the Spaniard will be finding his feet in the coming days, in Cincinnati he has a chance to dethrone Daniil Medvedev from the world No.1 position. Medvedev lost his opening match in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios. To do this he would need to win the Masters 1000 event for the second time in his career and hope that Medvedev doesn’t make the quarter-finals. Nadal won Cincinnati back in 2013 after defeating John Isner in the final.

So far in his career, Nadal has spent 209 weeks as world No.1 with his longest streak being 56 weeks in a row (2010-2011). In total, he has been at the top of the rankings for eight separate periods and last held the position in February 2020.

Nadal’s No.1 stints
-Aug 18 2008 – Jul 5th 2009 (46 weeks)
-Jun 7 2010 – Jul 3rd 2011 (56 weeks)
-Oct 7th 2013 – Jul 6th 2014 (39 weeks)
-Aug 21 2017 – Feb 18 2018 (26 weeks)
-Apr 2nd 2018 – May 13th 2018 (6 weeks)
-May 21st 2018 – Jun 17th 2018 (4 weeks)
-Jun 25th 2018 – Nov 4th 2018 (19 weeks)
-Nov 4th 2019 – Feb 2nd 2020 (13 weeks)

At present nine out of the world’s top 10 players will participate in the Western and Southern Open. The only exception is Novak Djokovic who is currently banned from entering America because he isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Jack Draper Considered Skipping Montreal Masters Before Getting Biggest Win Of Career

The rising star completes a trio of British players who have booked their places in the third round of the Masters 1000 event.

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Image via https://twitter.com/OBNmontreal/

British qualifier Jack Draper says his decision to play in Montreal this week has paid off after he scored his first-ever win over a top 10 player on Wednesday.

 

The 20-year-old stunned world No.5 and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-6(4), in what is only his fourth appearance in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. Draper, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world, won 74% of his first service points and blasted 21 winners past his Greek rival. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the second set en route to a straight sets victory.

Leading up to this week, Draper and his team considered not playing in Montreal following his 6-4, 6-2, loss to Andrey Rublev in Washington. However, their decision to do so was the right one. After coming through two rounds of qualifying, he beat France’s Hugo Gaston in the first round before knocking out Tsitsipas.

“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said in an on-court interview. “Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan. I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.” He added.

Draper’s win comes during what has been a solid season for the Brit who has won four Challenger titles. A former top 10 junior player, he won his first main draw Grand Slam match in June at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International.

Awaiting the youngster in the third round will be French veteran Gael Monfils who is playing in his first tournament since May. Monfils defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6(10), 7-6(8).

Draper is one of three British players to have reached the last 16 in Montreal. Ninth seed Cameron Norrie will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dan Evans faces Taylor Fritz.

According to the Pepperstone live ATP rankings, Draper will break into the world’s top 70 for the first time next week.

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