Kovinic, Kudermetova Both Aim For First WTA Tour Title In Chartleston - UBITENNIS
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Kovinic, Kudermetova Both Aim For First WTA Tour Title In Chartleston

Tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper James Beck reflects on the women’s semi-final matches.




Veronika Kudermetova (image via https://twitter.com/VolvoCarOpen)

Who would have thought last weekend when the Volvo Car Open published its initial draw that two players with a combined world ranking of 129 would be playing for their first WTA Tour title in Sunday’s final of the WTA 500 event in Charleston, S.C.?


But that’s the case. Take your pick between 91st-ranked Danta Kovinic of Montenegro and 38th-ranked Veronika Kudermetova of Russia.

Both played well in Saturday’s semifinals while facing players who also have never won a WTA Tour tournament title.


All of that is pretty surprising, especially when you consider that nine of the world’s top 20 players were scheduled to play in the tournament just a week ago. Four of those top 20 players had either withdrawn or retired before the quarter-finals, while three other top 20 players lost in the second round and the other two had fallen before the quarter-finals ended.

Is it possible that some of these stars didn’t bring their hearts to Charleston? Or is it that some of the upstarts might have had more incentive to fight to the end?

The likes of Kovinic and Kudermetova wore their hearts on their rackets in Saturday’s semifinals. Both demonstrated tremendous aggressiveness, the same type of fight that Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur and Spain’s Paula Badosa had demonstrated a day earlier in the quarter-finals when Jabeur upended young Cori Gauff and Badosa upset world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty.


 Jabeur and Badosa appeared to lose their fire on Saturday. That made Kovinic and Kudermetova even more dangerous as they played with even more motivation.

Jabeur was missing drop shots and beaten by Kovinic’s eagerness to rush forward  on other drop shots. Jabeur was only a shadow of the player she had been a day earlier as she lacked her usual consistency with her serve and ground strokes. Kovinic, who in her only other meeting with Jabeur had won only three games in an ITF tournament, sailed past the 28th-ranked Jabeur, 6-3, 6-2, this time.

That left Jabeur as the only world’s top 30 player without a WTA Tour title.


Kudermetova was full of fight against 2015 Junior French Open champion Badosa, who suddenly couldn’t find the court. Kudermetova aced Badosa to end the 6-3, 6-3 victory as Kudermetova will go into Sunday’s final without having dropped a set in the tournament.

Like against Badosa, Kudermetova is confident in that she defeated Kovinic in a qualifying tournament four years ago.

Both of Kudermetova’s two trips to a WTA Tour final have occurred this year, and both included victories over Badosa.

It should be an exciting final with everything on the line for the finalists.

James Beck has been the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his Post and Courier columns at postandcourier.com and search for James Beck.

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Marcos Giron overcomes Jaume Munar at the Sofia Open




Marcos Giron converted his 10th match point in a 20-minute final game to overcome Jaume Munar 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-4 in almost three hours at the Sofia Open. Giron claimed his seventh win in his past ten matches. 


The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break, where Giron edged Munar 7-2 with two mini-breaks. Munar broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the second set 6-1. 

Giron fended  off three break points in the 10th game before serving out the match in the 10th game of the decider. The US player saved all five break points he faced and converted three of his break point chances  

“The first set was close. I feel like I had chances, but he played better than me in the tie-break. I thought I did a great job resetting and adjusting in the second set, and then in the third set I was able to get the break early, but he kept holding on. I am happy to get through that, it was a battle. That might be the most match points I have ever had”, said Giron. 

Giron set up a second round match against Alex De Minaur. In their previous head-to-head match Giron beat De Minaur 7-5 7-6 (7-5). 

Bulgarian wild card Dimitar Kuzmanov came back from one set down to beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 after 3 hours and 5 minutes. 

Musetti went down 0-3 but he pulled the break back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. Musetti broke in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, but he dropped his serve in the tenth game. Musetti went up a 4-0 lead in the tie-break with two mini-breaks. He earned five set points at 6-1. Kuzmanov saved three set points, but Musetti converted his fourth chance to win the tie-break 7-4. 

Musetti missed six break points in three return games in the second set. The Italian Next Gen player saved two break points at 5-5. Kuzmanov rallied from 0-2 down to win the tie-break 7-3. Kuzmanov won 12 points from 2-2 in the third set to cruise through to a 6-3 lead. 

John Millman beat Mikael Ymer 6-2 6-4 in their first head-to-head match. Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the opening set. Millman broke serve at love in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. The second set started with three consecutive breaks, as Ymer took a 2-1 lead. Millman came back from 2-4 down by winning four consecutive games to close out the second set 6-4. “At this level every match is a bit of a battle, but I was really happy with how I played here in my first match. Getting used to the conditions is so important and right from the start I thought I set a really good level”, said Millman.

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Brandon Nakashima rallies from one set down to beat Fabio Fognini in San Diego




US Next Gen player Brandon Nakashima came back from one set down to beat former world number 9 Fabio Fognini 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 7-5 at the San Diego Open. Nakashima set up a second round match against Andrey Rublev. 


Nakashima won 80% of his first serve points, including hit eight aces, and won 63% of second serves. 

Fognini went up a 2-0 lead with a break, but Nakashima broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Fognini saved a break point in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and two match points n the 10th game but Nakashima broke serve at 15 in the 12h game to close out the third set 7-5. 

“I did not think I played bad in the first set. He just played a bit better at and that’s all it takes against a player like that, but luckily I was able to regroup quickly, get a break in the first game of the second set and tried to ride the momentum from there”, said Nakashima. 

Aslan Karatsev won 84% of his first set points and did not face a break point in his 6-1 7-5 win over Federico Delbonis. Karatsev broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the first set 6-1. Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games. Karatsev earned his second break in the 11th game on the fourth deuce to win the second set 7-5. Karatsev is bidding for his second ATP Tour level title after winning in Dubai last March. The Russian player will face either Metz Moselle Open champion Hubert Hurkacz or Australian qualifier Alex Bolt.

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International Tennis Hall Of Fame To Mark Emma Raducanu’s US Open Win

The teenager has donated some of her clothing to the ITHF collection.




2021 US Open Women's Singles Champion Emma Raducanu at the 2021 US Open, Saturday, Sep. 11, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

The outfit worn by Emma Raducanu during her historic run at the US Open has a new home after the tennis star agreed to donate it to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.


Raducanu stunned the tennis world in New York by becoming the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam title. The 18-year-old defeated two top 20 players en route to the title and didn’t drop a set in 10 matches played. She is the first British woman to win a major since Virginia Wade in 1977 and the first in history to win a Grand Slam on what was only her second main draw appearance.

To celebrate Raducanu’s rapid rise in the sport, her Nike Heritage classic style V-neck red tank top with contrast trims and a blue skirt with red pleats will be put on display in the Tennis Hall of Fame’s museum in Rhode Island.

“A legendary run: preserved,” the Tennis Hall of Fame tweeted.
“Thank you, @EmmaRaducanu, for donating your memorable #USOpen outfit to the ITHF collection!”

Raducanu is currently at a ranking high of 22nd in the world which is more than 300 places higher than the position she was in at the start of the year. She is currently on a search for a new coach after parting ways with Andrew Richardson. Raducanu says she wants to collaborate with somebody who has more experience of the WTA Tour.

In the wake of her US Open success, there have been suggestions that the rising star could be among the favourites to win the Australian Open which will take place in January. Coincidentally next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the last time a British woman won the tournament. However, Raducanu has dismissed such suggestions.

“If I’m seeded, then I’m seeded, but favourite? I think one tournament, you can’t really say I’m a favourite. I’m still so new to everything.” She said during a recent LTA event celebrating British winners of the US Open.
“I just feel like I’m learning and absorbing all the knowledge that I’m gaining like a sponge and soaking it all in.
“That’s what I really want to do. I’m not focused on results, I’m focused on how much I can learn because that’s what’s really going to drive me forward.”

Raducanu has pulled out of this week’s Chicago Fall Tennis Classic but she is expected to return to action next week in Indian Wells.

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