Serena Williams Wins Historic French Open Match - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams Wins Historic French Open Match

Williams was put through her paces early on before becoming the first player ever to have won a night session match at the tournament.

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Former champion Serena Williams was forced to dig deep in her opening match at the French Open after seeing off Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets.

 

The 39-year-old, who is playing in only her fifth tournament of the season, rallied through a tough opening set to prevail 7-6(6), 6-2, on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Whilst it wasn’t a perfect display from Williams, who hit 22 winners to 28 unforced errors, her powerful ball striking gave her the upper hand. Making it the 77th time she has won her first round match in a Grand Slam out of 78 attempts. Her only loss was to Virginie Razzano back in 2012.

It wasn’t easy in that first set. I was up and I felt like I had some opportunities,” said Williams.
“She (Begu) played really well. She’s a great player and has so many great wins so I’m happy that I was able to pull (off) that first set and then the match.”

In what was the first ever night session match to take place in French Open history, Williams was pushed to her limits during what was a lackluster 63-minute opening set from both players. Initially the 23-time Grand Slam champion looked to be the one with momentum after breaking Begu twice in a row en route to a 5-2 lead. However, her lead rapidly evaporated thanks to some resilient tennis produced by the Romanian who battled back to level 5-5. Much to the annoyance of an animated Williams.

The rollercoaster tussle continued into the tiebreak with each having their own opportunities. Begu, who has scored six wins over top 10 players in her career, worked her way to two set points at 6-4. But was unable to convert after hitting a shot in the net before Williams fired another forehand winner to draw level. Then it was the turn of the former world No.1 to have a shot of closing out the opener. Something she achieved with the help of a winning volley that prompted an almighty roar from Williams.

In the driving seat Williams continued her momentum into the second set by breaking right away. Weathering the storm, a Begu backhand crashing into the net a couple games later granted her a double break. Giving the world No.8 enough of a margin to close the match out on her first opportunity with the help of a serve out wide which her opponent returned out.

Awaiting Williams in the second round will be yet another Romanian player. World No.174 Mihaela Buzărnescu defeated Arantxa Rus 7-5, 7-5, to record her first Grand Slam win since Wimbledon 2019 earlier in the day.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since Kei Nishikori in 2008

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Carlos Alcaraz beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag becoming the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach in 2008 and the youngest Spanish ATP Tour champion since RafaelNadal in Sopot 2004. 

 

Alcaraz earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with an inside-in forehand winner and he never looked back by holding his next service games. The Spanish teenager broke serve in the third game as Gasquet made a double fault. Alcaraz converted his third break point in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet earned three break points but he was not able to convert them. 

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players. I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and  I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future”, said Alcaraz. 

Gasquet was aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since s’Hertogenbosch in 2018. 

“It was tough for me to play with his full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin. He is playing unbeievable. He is only 18 and of course he had a great future and Ijust could not play at his level and his intensity”, said Gasquet. 

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