Pavlyuchenkova upsets Azarenka to reach French Open Quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Pavlyuchenkova upsets Azarenka to reach French Open Quarterfinals

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova edged out Victoria Azarenka to reach the Roland Garros quarter-finals for the first time in 10 years.

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

The Russian came back from a set down to pull off the upset against the two time grand slam champion.

 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is into the quarterfinals of the French Open after coming back to beat Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in three sets 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and nine minutes. The Russian hit 45 winners in the win while the number 15 seed hit 30 unforced errors in the loss.

“It’s incredible that 10 years later I’m still playing tennis and it’s a little surprise for me and I fought for every ball, every point and I thought I played well but I think she played super well especially in the first set but I fought and I am very happy to win”.

Pavlyuchenkova is referencing the fact that last time she reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros was exactly 10 years ago back in 2011 and now she is back in the final eight of the tournament.

The Russian didn’t have the best start to the match as in the first game of the first set she would serve a double fault to give the number 15 seed a breakpoint and the Belarusian would break with a backhand winner to take an early 1-0 lead.

The world number 32 would respond the next game by earning three breakpoints of her very own and would get the break back when the world number 16 served a double fault.

After finally holding serve the Russian would earn two chances to break and at the second time of asking would break to take a 3-1 lead but was unable to consolidate the break.

It would stay on serve until 5-5 when this time it was the Minsk, Belarus native who would break to take a 6-5 lead and serve for the first set saving two breakpoints as well as converting a set point on her second opportunity to take the first set.

The Russian would storm back in the second set and after holding the opening service game of the set would earn her first chance to break and convert to take an early 2-0 lead.

Again the Belarusian would respond by earning a breakpoint with a great forehand winner and breaking back to go back on serve but was broken once again the following game.

Once again holding serve seemed to be an issue for both players and Azarenka would break back. At 4-3 the Russian would break once again to take a 5-3 lead and serve out the second set to send it to a decider.

The Russian continued to have the momentum going into the third set and earned two breakpoints in the first game, breaking with a forehand winner of her very own.

The Belarusian responded by breaking back the next game and holding serve before going on the offensive but the Russian hung in and held serve again.

The Russian earned two more chances to get a break and she did just that and this time managed to consolidate the break to take a 4-2 lead and keep the momentum once again, getting a double break lead before serving out the match.

In her on court interview Pavlyuchenkova spoke about reuniting with her brother as her coach and how things have been going since they rejoined forces.

“He actually plays tennis really well but now he stopped which is good because he can play with me and we already worked together in the past and it worked well and now I am very happy because he is my brother and tactically I like what he tells me and he is always so positive and even today when I lost the first set and I think that’s very important for me”

Pavlyuchenkova will either face the American Serena Williams or Elena Rybakina from Kazakstan in the quarterfinals.

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Bianca Andreescu delays season won’t travel to Australia

Bianca Andreescu will miss the start of the season in Australia after a tough 2021 season.

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The Canadian went on social media to break the news that she needs a little more time to rehab, prepare and focus on mental health.

 

Bianca Andreescu’s most recent tennis season wasn’t easy and amid a difficult year with highs and lows with twists and turns, she has decided to delay the beginning of her season.

The Toronto native took to Twitter to break the news to announce she was going through a difficult time including the fact she was worried about her grandmother who was in the ICU due to Covid.

Andreescu got off to a slow start last season losing in the second round of the Australian Open but bounced back in Miami in the first WTA 1000 tournament of the year making the final.

In that final, she faced the world number one Ash Barty but was actually forced to retire after a scary tumble for her first injury of the season. The clay-court season was even more hectic as she had tested positive for Covid herself and played one tune-up event prior to the French Open.

She won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out of precaution due to an ab tear and ended up being upset in the first round of Roland Garros to the Slovenian Tamara Zidansek.

She then turned to the grass-court season where she won one match in Eastbourne, one where she struggled to get past the American qualifier Christina Mchale but managed to pull it off in three sets.

She lost her next match to the Estonian Anett Kontaveitt in straight sets and went on to her next grass-court event in the German capital of Berlin. She was upset once again by Alize Cornet of France.

She faced Cornet once again in round one of Wimbledon but again failed to get the win. She then played her home event the National Bank Open in Montreal where she lost in the round of 16 to the Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

In Cincinnati, she suffered another first-round exit at the hands of the Czech Karolina Muchova but managed to have a great US Open run in New York where again she made the round of 16.

She eventually lost to Maria Sakkari of Greece in a tough three-set match and played two more events in Chicago and Indian Wells. In the windy city, she lost her opening match to Shelby Rodgers and made the second round in California losing once again to Kontaveitt.

After all her 2019 points dropped off she is now ranked 46 in the world.

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Davis Cup: Great Britain Handed Wildcard For 2022 Finals, Qualifiers Draw Announced

The Davis Cup Qualifiers draw was announced with Great Britain and Serbia handed a wildcard to next year’s finals.

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Great Britain and Serbia have been handed a wildcard for the 2022 Davis Cup Finals as the qualifiers draw was announced.

 

As this year’s Davis Cup comes to a conclusion, plans for next year’s competition have been put in place.

Although it is still unclear if the Finals will be held in Abu Dhabi next year, we do know which four countries have qualified for the year ending competition next month.

Russia and Croatia will contest the 2021 final, therefore earning themselves an automatic spot in next year’s finals.

However joining them will be two wildcards and they have been given to Novak Djokovic’s Serbia who reached the semi-finals this year as well as Great Britain.

To the surprise of many there was no wildcard for Spain, who are hosting the final this year, further indicating that next year’s competition is unlikely to take place in the country.

Spain join a whole host of other top nations such as Germany, France, USA, Canada and Australia in March’s qualifiers.

Spain will host Romania for a place in next year’s finals while France and USA have been given home ties against Ecuador and Colombia respectively.

Here is the full draw for the qualifiers which will take place on the 4th and 5th of March:

France v Ecuador

Spain v Romania

Finland v Belgium

USA v Colombia

Netherlands v Canada

Brazil v Germany

Slovakia v Italy

Australia v Hungary

Norway v Kazakhstan

Sweden v Japan

Argentina v Czech Republic

South Korea v Austria

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Iga Swiatek Working With Agnieszka Radwanska’s Former Coach After Recent Coaching Split

Iga Swiatek has made some coaching changes ahead of the 2022 season.

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Iga Swiatek will start working with Agnieszka Radwanska’s former coach Tomasz Wiktorowski on a temporary basis after splitting up with her long term coach.

 

The Pole announced the news on Instagram yesterday that she and Piotr Sierzputowski had split up after five years working with each other.

Swiatek had achieved ultimate success with Piotr having won Wimbledon Juniors, reaching her first WTA final in Lugano and the most important achievement of winning her first grand slam title at Roland Garros.

However the 20 year-old now feels its time to move on ahead of the 2022 season, “I’ve started my pre-season, but today I would like to tell you something significant,” Swiatek wrote on Instagram.

“After more than 5 years I’ve decided to finish my cooperation with my coach Piotr Sierzputowski. This change is really challenging for me and this decision wasn’t easy, either… As tennis players we meet on our path a lot of people who contribute great value into our work and, often, into our life too, because we spend almost the whole year on tour together.

“I found out that sometimes in our professional life we need changes to develop more, evolve and meet other people with whom we’re going to create a cooperation for the next stages of our development. 

“I would like to thank you Coach for everything that you did for me. We gave each other so much and I hope that we’ll continue to grow and develop with this experience we’ve gained together. I owe you a lot and truly appreciate the time we’ve spent together. All those years enabled us to be in the place that we are now. 

“I suppose you may have questions about what’s next. I have everything I need to be able to work and I would like to focus on my pre-season without any outside pressure. I hope you’ll understand it.”

https://twitter.com/Sierzputowsky/status/1467456169161678851

Although the news comes as a surprise given that Swiatek was the only woman to reach the last 16 of every grand slam 2021, it is always better for players to change coaches at the end of the season rather than mid-season.

Swiatek’s long-term replacement is yet to be discovered however the Pole has appointed former coach of Agnieszka Radwanska, Tomasz Wiktorowski as an interim replacement according to TenisKlub.Pl.

Wiktorowski was there for most of Radwanska’s successes and knows the polish tennis system well so will have a good working replacement with Swiatek.

The former Roland Garros champion is now starting preparations for the new season as she looks to win a second grand slam title at the Australian Open.

The first grand slam of the season in Melbourne will start on the 17th of January.

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