Serena Williams' 1000th Match Ends In Defeat To Podoroska - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams’ 1000th Match Ends In Defeat To Podoroska

Serena Williams was defeated in Rome as she reaches a landmark milestone of 1000 WTA matches.

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Serena Williams (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Serena Williams’ 1000th WTA tour match has ended in a 7-6(6) 7-5 defeat to Nadia Podoroska in Rome.

 

The American made her return to tour for the first time in 84 days as she looked to build momentum heading into Roland Garros.

If the first few games were to set the tempo of the match then it would prove to be a long contest with Serena struggling to get any free points on her serve.

It was the Argentinian who got the first break of the match in the third game as she tested Serena’s stamina early on in the contest.

In typical Serena fashion, the 23-time grand slam champion produced some stunning ground-strokes especially from central positions to break to love straight away.

On serve, Serena looked fairly comfortable as she ended the match with eight aces although she only made a first serve percentage of 48%.

That was her key downfall as it was Podoroska who looked the more comfortable on return as she used some devastating angles to force unforced errors from the Serena racket.

A break for a 5-4 lead ensured that the last year’s Roland Garros semi-finalist would serve for the opening set.

However Serena used her power and good point construction to once again break back which was met with a roar from the world number eight.

Eventually the first set would head towards a tiebreaker with Podoroska dominating the majority of it.

She had three set points which came and went as Serena used her fighting qualities to roar back into the match.

But once again some unforced errors would cost the four-time champion as Podoroska took the next two point to claim the opening set in 66 minutes.

In the second set, Serena was the early aggressor as she dictated points better setting the pace of the match.

Again though Podoroska extended the rallies and made the American move all round the court exposing as much space as possible.

The Argentinian was rewarded for her court coverage when she broke in the sixth game as Serena began to tire.

As in the first set, Podoroska couldn’t serve out the second set as her cautious play lead to Serena levelling it up at 5-5.

However Serena’s serve was just not working when she needed it too and Podoroska secured the final blow to seal a fantastic victory for her.

For Serena its onto Roland Garros as she will look to improve her fitness in the next couple of weeks.

As for Podoroska she will play Petra Martic after the Croatian beat Kristina Mladenovic today 7-5 6-3.

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Andy Murray Battles Past Basilashvili In Three Hour Marathon At Australian Open

Andy Murray produced a resilient performance to reach the second round at the Australian Open.

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Andy Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Andy Murray battled past 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-7(5) 6-4 to reach the second round of the Australian Open.

 

It was another typical Andy Murray grand slam match as a three hour marathon was won by the Brit to reach round two.

The three-time grand slam champion has beaten Basilashvili twice in the space of seven days and will now face Taro Daniel on Thursday.

Murray dominated the opening set against an error-prone Basilashvili as his defence was already peaking.

Three consecutive breaks gave Murray the set lead after taking the first set 6-1.

Basilashvili would return the favour in the second set as the Georgian continued to hammer his shots off of both wings.

A 4-1 double break lead was established as we would get the first frustrated mutterings from Murray.

The former world number one would get one of the breaks back but Basilashvili’s consistent firepower would prove too much for Murray’s stubborn defence as another break sealed the second set 6-3.

Into the third set, Murray would control the dynamic of the set on serve as he made bold patterns of play on big points.

An exchange of three breaks in a row saw Murray come out on top as he looked to use a mixture of power and defensive solidity to outmanoeuvre Basilashvili.

The Georgian saved three set points to force Murray to serve out the set but that didn’t matter as the Brit closed out the set comfortably for a 2 sets to 1 lead.

Nothing was easy for Andy Murray in grand slam tennis though and although he recovered a break deficit and saved set point, a poor start to the tiebreak saw Murray playing catch-up.

Basilashvili held his nerve and closed out the tiebreak 7-5 to force a deciding set.

In the final set Murray set a fast tempo winning the first eight points and being the aggressor taking 3-0 and 4-1 leads.

Once the Brit took his foot off the gas that allowed Basilashvili to get back into the match and continue to hit winners that would outpower Murray’s defence.

4-1 was 4-4 and Murray had to rely on his good returning skills when it really mattered to come through.

A 99th unforced error from the Georgian sealed Murray’s emotional delight in clinching another five set triumph at a grand slam.

After the match a delighted Murray reflected on his journey, “It’s been a tough three or four years but I’ve put in a lot of hard work to get here,” Murray said in his on-court interview.

“I’ve played on this court many times and the atmosphere is always incredible. It is where I thought I had potentially played my last match but to win a five-set battle like that, I couldn’t have asked any more.”

Murray will now return on Thursday to play Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel.

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Casper Ruud Withdraws From Australian Open Due To Ankle Injury

Casper Ruud has had to withdraw from the first grand slam of the season.

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Casper Ruud (@TennisChannel - Twitter)

Casper Ruud has withdrawn from the Australian Open after rolling his ankle in practice a couple of days ago.

 

The eighth seeded Norwegian announced the news in a press conference ahead of his scheduled match with Alex Molcan.

In a statement Ruud explained the injury and told journalists that it was very disappointing to not play the opening grand slam of the season, “I had to pull out of this year’s Australian Open due to an ankle injury,” Ruud said in his press conference.

“Two days ago in practice I rolled or twisted my ankle. I hoped that I would be able to recover and be able to step on court today with the two days that I had, but rolling an ankle usually maybe needs some more time. I tried everything I could to be ready, but unfortunately I’ve decided that I’m not a hundred percent ready and I will not be able to play a hundred percent like I have to compete at this level. That’s the final decision.

“Disappointing. I had a great time here last year, reaching the fourth round, the best result I had in a Grand Slam. Was hoping I could try to do the same this year obviously, maybe a step further.

“This year the Grand Slams will be a big goal for me because last year, except for this one, I felt like I didn’t do as well as I had hoped in a Grand Slam. My game relies a lot on having good footwork. When you’re ankle is not responding, cannot take your explosive movements, take the stopping/starting movements, then it’s tough to perform well.”

Despite the injury Ruud is optimistic that he can still make the golden swing in South America next month and revealed it was more a tendon issue.

Ruud will lose 180 ranking points after reaching the second week here last week and hopes to recover in order to make a deep run at Roland Garros in May.

Lucky loser and ATP Cup hero Roman Safiullin has now taken his spot in the draw.

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Australian Open: I’m feeling great’, says Gaël Monfils after straight sets win

Gael Monfils is feeling good ahead of the second round at the Australian Open

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Gael Monfils (https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

17th seed Gaël Monfils cruised through to the second round of the Australian Open seeing off Federico Coria 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.

 

The Argentine was no match for the former world number six who goes on to face Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, who beat America’s Ernesto Escobedo in four sets.

Monfils started the match quickly taking the opening game in just 42 seconds.

Coria held his opening service game before a hold of serve and a double break allowed Monfils to serve out the opening set 6-1.

The second set was almost a carbon copy of the first. Coria began well with a comfortable hold of serve but then it was all Monfils.

The Frenchman delivered a strong hold to love, before three breaks of serve gave him the second set by the same scoreline.

https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen/status/1482920325499486209?s=20

Coria, the younger brother of 2004 French Open finalist Guillermo Coria, improved in the third set, going toe-to-toe with the Frenchman at two games all.

However, Monfils quickly turned the screw to hold serve and a backhand long from the Argentine gifted the Frenchman a critical break.

Monfils never looked back and saw out the match to cement a 15th Australian Open second round appearance.

After winning the title in Adelaide, the 35-year-old was forced to withdraw from its second version of the event last week due to a neck injury, but was quick to play down the issue.

“I’m feeling great. Great match. I think I played very solid tennis. Can’t complain when you start a slam like that,” said Monfils.

“I was just worried about my neck because I blocked my neck last week. Obviously, it’s better and today was good. I’m happy.”

The world number 19 continued: “I’m just happy to have another opportunity to win another match and maybe go to another third round in the Australian Open.”

Today’s performance was even more spectacular following a recent interview where the Frenchman admitted to having doubts about his future in the sport.

He credited his wife and fellow player Elina Svitolina in helping him persist.

“I want to thank my wife, Elina. “It was a really tough last year for me, almost wanting to quit,” he said.I lost the faith a little bit for tennis but she was there and always caring.”

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