Ash Barty Defends Her Title In Miami After Tearful Andreescu Retires - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Defends Her Title In Miami After Tearful Andreescu Retires

The world No.1 has clinched her second title of the season after another her injury-stricken opponent suffered another blow.

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Ash Barty has defended her title at the Miami Open after Andrea Andreescu was forced to retire following a fall. 

The world No.1 was leading the final 6-3, 4-0, in a match where she got off to a great start and never relinquished control. Much to the frustration of her Canadian rival who suffered a tumble on court during the second set and had to take a medical time out. She continued playing for another game before calling in quite in what is yet another injury setback for Andreescu who was sidelined from the entire Tour last year.

“It’s brutal. It’s never the way you ever want to finish a tennis match,” Barty said following the final.
“I feel for Bianca. She’s had a lot of injuries in her very young career and I think it’s held her back in some of the biggest moments. I Hope from here this will be the first of many battles for us. But you never like to see her injured at all and hopefully she will recover quickly.”   

After holding her serve Barty went on the attack right away and earned two breakpoints after it seemed the number eight seed got off to another slow start. She broke with an amazing forehand passing shot to take an early 2-0 lead.

After consolidating the break Andreescu started to find her game a bit and responded by holding serve and getting a break back. However, the Aussie would respond once again by breaking right back to take a 4-2 lead with a winner this time off her backhand.

Barty served out the set to put herself in a great spot to be one set away from the title.

She kept the momentum in the second set and got the early break once again as the Canadian was struggling on serve and double faulted to give her the 2-0 lead.

During the next game there was a scary moment for Andreescu after she lost her footing during an intense rally and slipped and fell. She appeared to be ok initially but then called for the trainer before resuming play.

Resuming play Barty earned two more breakpoints and managed to break once again to take a commanding 3-0 lead. At the next changeover Andreescu took a medical timeout with her foot being taped and wrapped, hoping it would be enough to stay in the match.

However, after holding serve the Canadian decided she could no longer continue and decided to retire. Resulting in Barty winning her 10th WTA title and becoming the first player to win back-to-back titles in Miami since Serena Williams. .

“It is incredible. It is the first time I have defended a title which is really exciting,” Barty commented. “I have so many good memories in Miami.’
“I’m excited, it’s going to kick start a really long season away from home for us (my team) in the best possible fashion.”

There is a silver lining for Andreescu, who is playing in just her third tournament since returning from a knee problem. She will rise to sixth in the world rankings when they are updated on Monday.

“For me, getting back on my feet wasn’t easy but I continued to believe in myself and I never gave up. So for everyone out there who’s going through a tough time, like me right now, I just wanna say keep your head up and continue to believe in yourself,” Andreescu said during the trophy ceremony. 

Barty is the sixth woman in history to defend a title in Miami.



 

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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