Serena Williams Becomes Latest Top Name To Pull Out Of Miami - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams Becomes Latest Top Name To Pull Out Of Miami

The 39-year-old says she ‘look forward to coming back soon.’

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Former world No.1 Serena Williams has confirmed that she will not be playing in the Miami Open in what is the latest blow for the mixed event.

 

The 23-time Grand Slam champion has confirmed to the Miami Herald that she will not be playing after undergoing ‘oral surgery.’ Details of the procedure were not disclosed in her announcement. Williams is an eight-time champion in Miami and has won the tournament more times than any other player in history. Although her most recent triumph was back in 2015.

“I’m disappointed to withdraw from the Miami Open because of recent oral surgery,” Williams told the Miami Herald.
“Miami is a special tournament for me because it’s my home. I am sad I won’t be able to see the incredible fans this year, but I look forward to coming back soon.”

Williams hasn’t played on the Tour since her semi-final loss to Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open. Following the match a tearful 39-year-old was quizzed about her future in the sport to which she said “If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone” before shutting down her press conference shortly after. However, since then her coach Patrick Mouratoglou has dismissed talk about retirement.

“I don’t think she will stop until she at least wins a Grand Slam, because she came back to win Grand Slams,” Mouratoglou told PEOPLE Magazine on February 21st.
“She doesn’t quit.” He added.

Williams joins a growing list of notable absentees from this year’s Miami Open which is the second biggest tournament of the season so far after the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic isn’t playing because he wants to spend more time with his family, Roger Federer has opted to conduct a training block and Dominic Thiem has withdrawn to ‘fully recover’ for the clay swing. Other withdrawals include Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Borna Coric.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is set to be the second seed in the men’s draw, recently admitted that he has ‘low expectations’ about playing in the event. Telling reporters that he fears ‘it won’t be as good as previous years’ due to the restrictions related to COVID-19.

“Honestly I like Miami as a tournament, but I feel, I won’t hide anything from you, I feel it won’t be as good as the previous years and I feel it won’t be as good as Acapulco this week,” Tsitsipas said following his loss in the final of the Mexican Open on Sunday. “I find it very difficult to believe. So I go there with low expectations, not expecting much from the tournament itself.“

On the other hand, Germany’s Alexander Zverev believes that the absence of the Big Three will not have an impact on the quality of the men’s tournament.

“Miami is definitely a tournament where I think a lot of players are looking for opportunities and chances. But we still have great players there. We still have Medvedev, we still have Tsitsipas so there are still a lot of great players there to beat. You can’t say that just because those three are not there it is going to be an easy tournament for anyone,” he said.

The Miami Open is categorised as a WTA Premier Mandatory event and ATP Masters 1000 event.

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Barbora Krejcikova reaches the second round in Abu Dhabi

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Former Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova cruised past Romanian qualifier Elena Gabriela Ruse 6-1 6-4 after 1 hour and 14 minutes in the opening round of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open.

 

Krejcikova won 80% of her first service points and converted five of her seven break points. The Czech now leads 2-0 in her two head-to-head matches against Ruse after winning their previous match in Buchrest in three sets. 

Krejcikova reached the fourth round at this year’s Australian Open and won five of her seven matches this year. She claimed her seventh Grand Slam doubles title in Melbourne alongside Katerina Siniakova. 

After a trade of breaks Krejcikova earned two breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the opening set 6-1. Both players exchanged breaks in the first two games of the second set. They held their next service games before Krejcikova sealed the win with a break in the ninth game to close out the second set 6-4. 

Liudmila Samsonova rallied from one set down to beat Claire Liu 3-6 6-2 6-0. Samsonova won 86% of her first service points. 

Liu earned the first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Samsonova pulled back on serve to draw level to 3-3. Liu won the final three games with a break in the eighth game to close out the first set 6-3. Samsonova earned five breaks in the second and third sets to seal the win. 

Liu replaced Paula Badosa, who was forced to withdraw from the match due to a respiratory illness. 

Brazil’s world number 14 Beatriz Haddad Maia came back from one set down to beat Marie Bouzkova 4-6 6-3 6-0 in two and a half hours. Haddad Maia will face Yulia Putintseva.

Haddad Maia broke in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Bouzkova pulled back on serve in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Bouzkova closed out the first set with her second break in the 10th game. Haddad Maia broke serve in the third and ninth games to seal the second set 6-3.The Brazilian player broke three times to take a bagel win in the third set. 

Karolina Pliskova cruised past Ysaline Bonaventure 6-1 6-3 after 47 minutes. Bonaventure replaced Garbine Muguruza. Pliskova set up a second round match against this year’s Australian Open finalist Elena Rybakina. Zheng Qinwen beat qualifier Rebecca Marino 6-3 6-3. The Chinese player faced just one break point at 4-2 in the second set and saved with a forehand winner. She will face Jelena Ostapenko for the second time in the past seven months. Zheng beat Ostapenko 6-3 3-6 6-4 in in the first round of the the US Open last year.

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Marc Andrea Huesler overcomes Luca Van Assche in Montpellier

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Marc Andrea Huesler had to dig deep to beat French 18-year-old Next Gen player Luca Van Assche 6-3 3-6 6-3 reaching the second round at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. 

 

Huesler came off a good Davis Cup campaign, where he scored two wins against German players Oscar Otte and Alexander Zverev to help Switzerland qualify for the Davis Cup Group Stage.  

Huesler saved five of the six break points he faced and fired 13 aces. The Swiss 26-year-old player won 86% of his first serve points. 

Huesler saved a total of four break points in in the first and third games. The Swiss player earned break in the sixth game for 4-2 and held his next two service games to close out the first set 6-3. 

Van Assche saved two break points to hold serve after five deuces before breaking serve in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. 

Huesler converted his only break point in the second game to win the third set 6-3. 

Huesler set up a match against last year’s Paris Bercy Masters 1000 champion Holger Rune. Huesler leads 2-0 in his previous two head-to-head matches against Rune, as he scored straight-set wins in Bastad and in the Sofia Open final. 

“It’s always different, every tournament starts from scratch. Today I felt the pressure was a bit more on my side because obviously I want to win. I want to start off the year well indoors as well. I am really happy I got it done”, said Huesler. 

Lorenzo Sonego beat Benjamin Bonzi 6-3 6-4. Sonego won his third ATP Tour title on French Indoor hard court in Metz. 

Sonego fired 5 aces and won 70% of his first service points. The Italian player started the match with an early break. He saved a break point tìin the sixth game before earning a double break to close out the first set 6-3. 

Sonego saved three consecutive break points at the second set. Bonzi went down 0-40 in the sixth game, but he held serve. Sonego sealed the win on his second match point with a passing shot winner. 

“I enjoy playing in Montpellier. I like the atmosphere. I was focused on my game. I played well on serve and on return. I want to enjoy every moment on court”, said Sonego. 

Quentin Halys needed three sets to see off Clement Chidekh 7-5 2-6 7-5. 

Marton Fucsovics overcame Geoffrey Biancaneaux 7-5 5-7 6-0 to set up a second round match against Jannik Sinner. In their recent Australian Open clash Sinner came back from one set down to beat Fucsovics 4-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-0.  

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Jelena Ostapenko overcomes Danielle Collins in a thrilling match in Abu Dhabi

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Number 5 seed Jelena Ostapenko battled past Danielle Collins 7-5 1-6 7-5 in 2 hours and 16 minutes in a rollercoaster match to advance to the second round at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open. 

 

Ostapenko has extended her winning streak to six consecutive matches on Emirati soil. The Latvian player clinched her fifth WTA Tour title in Dubai in February 2022. 

The 2017 Roland Garros champion beat Collins for the second time in as many meetings after beating Collins 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 in the 2018 Milami semifinals.

Ostapenko continued her good period of form after reaching the quarter finals at the Australian Open. She will face a second round against either Zheng Quinwen or qualifier Rebecca Marino. 

Collins earned her first break with a return winner to take a 4-3 lead, but she made a double fault, as she was a break point down when she serving for the set. Ostapenko reeled off four consecutive games to seal the first set 7-5. 

Collins bounced back in the second set by earning a double break with three consecutive return winners to seal the second set 6-1 forcing the match to the third set. 

Ostapenko converted her fifth break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Collins pulled back on serve in the eighth game after three double faults from Ostapenko to draw level to 4-4. Ostapenko won 12 of the last 15 points to close out the third set 7-5. 

“Danielle is a great player. It’s always a tough match against her because she plays really well and she’s such a fighter. The match is never over until we shake hands. I am really glad that, even I did not play  my best tennis, I was fighting and I managed to win the match. These kind of matches give confidence”, said Ostapenko. 

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