Former World No.5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Unsure If He Will Play French Open Again - UBITENNIS
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Former World No.5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Unsure If He Will Play French Open Again

One of France’s most successful players in recent time bowed out of Roland Garros on Monday.

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (image via https://twitter.com/TennisMagazine1)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga says playing his first round match at the French Open in front of fans has given him a ‘boost’ but admits that retirement from the sport may not be too far away.

 

The 36-year-old took to the Court Suzanne Lenglen on Monday evening to play Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka. Despite putting up a valiant fight the Frenchman was ousted 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(5). Cheered on by the crowd Tsonga produced 37 winners against 36 unforced errors before crashing out of his home Grand Slam in what was his 12th main draw appearance there.

(I’m) Disappointed to have lost. I would have liked to push him into a fifth set and go see what’s going on there. But I am also satisfied. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve managed to develop a game that comes a little closer to what I’m capable of doing,” Tsonga told reporters.
“However, it remains a defeat at Roland Garros and it is always heartbreaking to go out of there in the first round.’
“After all these hardships, it would have been nice to be rewarded a little. I try to continue to work and I hope that at some point things will smile a little more to me and that I will manage to find a little more physical capacity.”

At his high Tsonga was consistently ranked inside the top 20 for a decade until 2018 when injury struck. In a recent interview with The Guardian he spoke about his chronic back condition which is linked to calcified ligaments that can cause inflammation and other issues. The injury resulted in him missing 14 months of the Tour before returning in March.

Now approaching the closing stages of his career, Tsonga’s latest experience at the French Open was also bittersweet. His match was scheduled at the end of the day and continued after the local curfew. Meaning that he finished what may have been his final match at Roland Garros in silence as fans had to leave the venue.

“It was touching. It gave me little chills and I couldn’t help but smile at them (the crowd). I’m glad I got to taste this again,” he said.
“Afterwards, it is true that the situation was funny, when everyone had to go right in the middle (of the match) and no one wanted to do it. They were all there: “Do something, Jo!” But I couldn’t do anything … It was sad.”

In the short-term Tsonga is optimistic that he will feel more comfortable on the grass following his recent performance in Paris. As for the long-term, he admits himself that he doesn’t know what the future has in store. Acknowledging that it is possible this year’s French Open might have been his last.

“I can’t assure anything at all,” he replied when asked if he would be returning to Roland Garros. “The thing that is certain is that if I do not win a lot of matches, I will be quite far in the standings. There is the desire, and the reality of things. It will be time to make decisions if I no longer fit into this kind of tournament.”

Tsonga reached the final of the 2008 Australian Open and has won 18 ATP titles so far in his career.

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Anett Kontaveit Set To Battle For WTA Finals Spot After Lifting Moscow Crown

It is the third time Kontaveit has won a tournament within the past six months but will she be able to qualify for the season-ending championships?

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Anett Kontaveit (image via https://twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN)

Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit has continued her recent surge in form on the Tour by fighting back from a set down to win her fourth career title at the Kremlin Cup on Sunday.

 

The world No.20 was on the verge of losing to home favourite Ekaterina Alexandrova before battling to a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, victory. At one stage in the match Kontaveit was trailing by a set and 0-4. Then in the decider she was broken at 4-4 before going on to win three games in a row to clinch the title. Overall, she won 69% of her first service points and broke her opponent five times.

“Of course, I am very happy, the match was extremely difficult, I feel relief and joy,” she said afterwards. “I got lucky at match-point, but during the match there were moments when she (Alexandrova) got lucky too. It always takes a little luck to win. She took the lead, controlled the match, it was very difficult for me, I tried to fight for all the points and this helped me to win.”

Kontaveit, who defeated former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza and Markéta Vondroušová earlier in the tournament, has now won 14 out of the last 15 matches she has played on the Tour. Her only loss was to Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals at Indian Wells. She has played in five finals this year which is the second-highest on the WTA Tour after world No.1 Ash Barty who has played in six.

The 25-year-old is now on the verge of qualifying for the WTA Finals for the first time in her career. However, the prospect of her playing in the season-ending event depends on the results of next week’s tournaments. Kontaveit is playing in Romania and she needs to win the tournament and for rival Jabeur to lose before the semi-finals to qualify.

Meanwhile, runner-up Alexandrova exits Moscow frustrated with her missed opportunities in the match. It was the first time she has played in a final this season and only the third time in her career. Prior to Kontaveit, she scored back-to-back wins over Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to win, I’m very sorry. But I will work on it and I hope next time I will be able to get a better result,” Alexandrova said during the trophy ceremony.
“I want to congratulate Anett, she played great, it was hard for me to do something.” She added.

Kontaveit, who has won three WTA titles since August, is the first Estonian player to win the Moscow trophy. Compatriot Kaia Kanepi reached the final of the tournament back in 2011.

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Bad news for the Transylvania Open as no fans are allowed

There will be no fans for next week’s event that includes Simona Halep and Emma Raducanu.

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(@TransylvaniaOpn - Twitter)

Mere days before the event was going to start the government announced a new measure that won’t allow for spectators.

 

The Transylvania Open a brand new WTA 250 event being held at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca got some bad news when the government announced due to a spike in covid cases the event will be held without fans.

The tournament was able to get some big names for its tournament with the likes of Simona Halep, Paula Badosa, and 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu who were hoping to feed off the crowd energy.

Now they will have to play in an empty stadium which is something that happened a lot last year and another hurdle the players will have to go through, it’s disappointing because things were getting better but the fourth wave of Coronavirus keeps ravaging the world.

This will be the first tournament back for Raducanu after being upset in Indian Wells and was supposed to be a homecoming since she is of Romanian descent.

The tournament went on Twitter to announce the news that they will be hosting the event behind closed doors.

Halep was hoping to be able to also play in front of her home fans but will now look to win another title in her native country without any spectators or fan support.

As mentioned in the tweet the effect won’t happen till Monday so the fans will still be able to attend the qualifying matches that will happen on Saturday and Sunday.

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‘I Know How To Get There’ – Karen Khachanov Targets Return To Top 10

The world No.31 has showed signs of his talent this season with a run to the Olympic final but a lack of consistency and changes to the ATP ranking system has hindered him too.

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Karen Khachanov - Credit: AELTC/Ian Walton

It wasn’t that long ago when Karen Khachanov was the highest-ranked Russian man on the ATP Tour and billed as the next big thing from his country.

 

A breakout 2018 season saw Khachanov claim three Tour titles with the biggest of those being at the Paris Masters which remains his most prestigious trophy to date. He also reached his first major quarter-final at the French Open during the same season and scored five wins over top 10 players. Those triumphs helped elevate him in the ranking to a high of eight.

However, since that breakthrough Khachanov has found himself on a a rollercoaster journey. He is yet to win another title since Paris but came agonisingly close at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev. In his nine previous Grand Slam tournaments his best run was at Wimbledon this season where he reached the last eight before losing to Denis Shapovalov.

Now ranked 31st in the world, the 25-year-old is aiming to claim back up the ladder after the ATP changed their ranking logic to the method used prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The rankings turned out to be a big pun, it was frozen for a year and a half, only now normal counting has begun. I am not fixated on this,” Khachanov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. “My main goal is to get back to the Top10. I know how to get there. And the intermediate goals are to be healthy and motivated.”

Khachanov has been ranked outside the world’s top 20 since February and hasn’t been in the top 10 since October 2019. He is currently coached on the Tour by Jose Clavet who has previously worked with a series of top Spanish players such as Feliciano Lopez, Alex Corretja, Tommy Robredo and Carlos Moya.

“He travels with me everywhere, for which I am grateful to him. I trust him as a specialist, as a coach and as a friend,” Khachanov said of Clavet.

Khachanov has returned to his home country this week where he is playing in Moscow at the Kremlin Cup. A tournament he won three years ago by defeating Adrian Mannarino in the final. Seeded third in the draw this time round, he began his campaign on Wednesday with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, win over James Duckworth. In the next round, he faces another Australian in the shape of John Millman which he believes will be a far from easy task.

He is a fighter, a complete player, he does everything well, forehand and backhand with good intensity. He does everything at a good level, but the main quality is that he fights till the end, so it will be hard for me,” he said of his next opponent.

Moscow is the seventh tournament this year where Khachanov has reached the quarter-final stage.

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