Aryna Sabalenka Leads Title Contenders’ Surge At Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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Aryna Sabalenka Leads Title Contenders’ Surge At Wimbledon

Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Karolina Pliskova Madison Keys advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon 2021.



Aryna Sabalenka (@Wimbledon on Twitter)

The first real title contenders usually emerge around day five of Wimbledon. This is because it is the earliest moment when it is possible for players to seal a coveted second week spot.

Sabalenka Seals Rybakina Clash

Contender number one is Aryna Sabalenka. The big-hitting Belarussian survived a tricky encounter with Great Britain’s Katie Boulter in round two, but she had a much more comfortable time in round three as she dispatched qualifier Maria Camila Osorio Serrano 6-0 6-3.

The Colombian teenager performed superbly in the opening two rounds to reach her first-ever Grand Slam third round. However, she struggled with a thigh injury throughout her match with Sabalenka and she was never able to offer a serious challenge to the number two seed.

Next up for the Belarussian will be Elena Rybakina. The Kazakstani booked her place in the last 16 with an impressive 6-1 6-4 win over Shelby Rogers, the American who knocked out French Open semi-finalist Maria Sakkari in round two.

Rybakina could prove to be a very difficult opponent for Sabalenka. Therefore the match will provide a true test of her title credentials.

Swiatek Earns Jabeur Meeting

The second contender is Iga Swiatek. The 2020 French Open champion has proved to be a quick learner on grass. She is yet to drop a set at Wimbledon this year. And even though today was just her 11th professional match on the surface, she destroyed Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1 6-0 in just 55 minutes.

The Pole’s reward is a devilishly tricky-looking meeting with Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian possesses a huge repertoire of shots, which makes her a very difficult opponent for anyone when she performs well.

To make matters worse for Swiatek, Jabeur just produced one of the best displays of her entire career to knock out 2017 champion and Garbine Muguruza.

The 11th seed was not at her best, but she did not play badly by any means. Her Tunisian opponent was just brilliant on the day, as her 44 winners to 27 unforced errors ratio suggests.

She had to work hard for her victory though – particularly on the Spaniard’s serve. Muguruza saved a remarkable 24 break points during the match.

Pliskova Reaches Round Four Again, Plays Samsonova Next

Title contender number three is Karolina Pliskova. The Czech has always had sufficient talent to win a Grand Slam, but she has never produced her best when she has needed it most.

The 8th seed has had a particularly torrid time at Wimbledon. She has never made it past the fourth round. However, she will have another chance to break her quarter-final duck after she notched up a relatively straightforward 6-3 6-3 triumph over compatriot Tereza Martincova in round three.

Ludmilla Samsonova stands in her way in the last 16. The Russian was ranked outside the top 100 less than a month ago, but she has enjoyed a meteoric rise courtesy of her first WTA title in Berlin and her progress so far at SW19.

During her current 10-match winning streak, Samsonova has beaten Marketa Vondrousova, Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka, Belinda Bencic and Jessica Pegula. Today, she added Sloane Stephens to that list after battling to beat the American 6-2 2-6 6-4. She could prove to be a very dangerous opponent for Pliskova.

Keys Marches On

The fourth contender to emerge from the bottom half of the draw is Madison Keys. The American loves the grass and has won two of her five WTA titles on the surface. However, this has somehow never translated to success at Wimbledon, where she has never gone further than the last eight.

Things look promising for the 23rd seed this time around though. She has won all three of her matches so far in straight sets and has rarely looked troubled. And the American was understandably pleased with her 7-5 6-3 victory over 13th seed Elise Mertens today.

“I am absolutely beyond happy,” Keys said in her on-court interview. “I think I just played a really great match. Also, I think this is the first time I’ve ever won on this court, so that’s a bonus.”

Viktorija Golubic awaits the American in round four. The Swiss is currently enjoying arguably the best year of her career so far, and she dismissed Madison Brengle 6-2 6-1 in impressive style to reach the last 16. Despite this, it is hard to imagine her beating Keys unless the 23rd seed has a bad day.

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Rising Star Mirra Andreeva Teams Up With Wimbledon Champion Martinez



Mirra Andreeva – Australian Open 2024 (foto: X @WTA)

Teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva has begun working with a former Grand Slam champion on a trial basis ahead of the French Open.

The 16-year-old has linked up with Conchita Martinez, who is overseeing her run at this week’s Rouen Open in France. Martinez peaked at a ranking high of No.2 during her career and won 33 WTA titles. After retiring from the sport, she has coached Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova. 

Andreeva’s latest partnership was formed with the help of her agent ‘two or three weeks ago.’ According to the WTA website, their practice week went well and now they are testing working together during a tournament. 

“So far, so good,” said Andreeva“I like it, I hope she likes it too. We will see how it will go and then we will decide about our next tournaments. I cannot say there are special aspects we are working on. But the first thing we worked on was my slice, because she was a good slicer. So she told me some tricks, and I’m trying to use it when I have time and a good possibility on court.”

Andreeva is currently ranked 43rd in the world and is the youngest player in the top 100. She has already reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open but is yet to win a WTA title. So far this year the Russian’s best result was a quarter-final appearance at the Brisbane International. 

Martinez, who also reached the last 16 of a major at the age of 16, spoke about the teenager with Ubitennis during last year’s Wimbledon Championships. At the time she pointed out that consistency is key for the youngster.

“The most important thing is that she keeps practising and focusing on what she has to do to get better. It’s great what she is doing now but she has to maintain it,” she commented.

Andreeva kicked off her campaign in Rouen with a 6-1, 6-3, win over Nadia Podoroska. 

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Red-Hot Danielle Collins Ready To Take On Red Clay After Charleston Triumph



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Just how good is Danielle Collins?

Right now, she may be as good as anyone on the WTA Tour.

Just think about it. Who’s better?

Winning a seven-round near-major one week on hard courts, then putting together six straight victories the next week on green clay is fairly significant.

Collins didn’t go against a lame duck field in either tournament, especially at the Credit One Charleston Open where she defeated three of the best clay-courters on the tour in Ons Jabeur, Maria Sakkari and Daria Kasatkina, as well as the likes of Sloane Stephens and Paula Badosa. She defeated a Wimbledon champion, Elena Rybakina, on hard courts in the Miami final.


Collins lost only two of the 28 sets she played in Miami and Charleston.

Of course, second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka and third-ranked Coco Gauff are power players on any surface. But after those two, Collins looks capable of winning anything in sight. It would be interesting to see Collins take on either of those two on Europe’s red clay.

Collins now has played about as brilliantly in these two tournaments as Sabalenka, Gauff or top-ranked Iga Swiatek have played within the last year.

Collins has the type game no one wants to play against right now. She has jumped all the way to 15th in the world after her success at Miami and Charleston.


Against 2017 Charleston winner Kasatkina in Sunday’s final, Collins was dominant in a 6-2, 6-1 victory. The Russian didn’t have the game to match up with Collins’ power. Collins played to win, and wasted few opportunities.

No one on the WTA Tour attacks more aggressively than the 30-year-old Collins. Short balls end up being a “done deal” when Collins moves in on them and smashes forehands, backhands and lobs away. She nails high back-handed returns of lobs to the corners with the same type of precision she connects with high forehand put-aways inside the court. Few players can hit that type of backhand high volley with such power and precision.

 She also plays the baseline as aggressively as anywhere else, and her serve is solid enough to keep her out of early trouble. Few double-faults find her racket.


“I think one of my biggest areas of improvement over the course of the last few weeks has been my concentration and focus and really being locked into my process,” Collins said after winning Charleston.

“These women that I’m playing against, they’re the best in the world, and it’s — sometimes things go your way and then sometimes things don’t go your way, and you have to be open to that when those times do happen.

“I’m really looking forward to getting home (Bradenton, Fla.) and getting some time to spend where I don’t think about tennis, and then hopefully when Madrid comes around I am back in ‘Danimal’ mode. Then it’s back to reality. So it’s like spring break for me. I feel like a kid at spring break.”

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Danielle Collins Extends Winning Streak To 12 Matches



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Danielle Collins just goes out and wins.

She wastes few shots and is a master of shot placements.

The court surface doesn’t seem to matter. She did it a week ago on hard courts to win the Miami Open. And she is doing it again at the Credit One Charleston Open on clay courts.

Collins has won 12 straight matches and is one win away from a coveted second straight title on the WTA Tour.

She’s unseeded, but keeps winning. She is the last American standing.

In Saturday’s Charleston semifinals, Collins scored a relatively easy 6-3, 6-3 win over third-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece.


Just 2017 Charleston champion Daria Kasatkina is standing in the 30-year-old Collins’ way of a second straight tour title.

Oh, yes, Collins is playing her final year on the WTA Tour. She wants to go out a winner badly.

Kasatkina is the fourth seed, and she may already have played a key role in Collins’ drive to another title. Top seed Jessica Pegula appeared to be unbeatable in this Charleston Open until running  into Kasatkina in Saturday’s first semifinal and simply couldn’t close out the Russian when their  match was on the line.


Pegula’s 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) loss to Kasatkina was the biggest surprise of this tournament. Pegula had won the last 12 games of a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kasatkina in 2023 in Tokyo’s Pan Pacific Open.

Very tough match,” the ultra-conservative playing Kasatkina said about Saturday’s long match that ended in a third-set tiebreaker.
“Really happy with my win, with the way how I did it. And, yeah, really happy to be in the finals here again.”

Kasatkina has been impressed by Collins’ outstanding recent play.

“Danielle is, I think, playing the best tennis of her career right now. She’s fearless. When she feels her game, she’s one of the most dangerous players on tour, and she definitely feels it right now,” Kasatkina said.
“So, yeah, it’s going to be very tough battle. And it’s finals. I mean, it’s so nice. I’m so happy to be in the finals, and I think it’s going to be a good one. I think the atmosphere is going to be great because playing an American in the United States, it always brings some extra electricity on court. So, I’m really looking forward to it.”


Collins also has respect for Kasatkina’s style of play.

“We’ve played so many matches against each other over the years and battles. She’s one of my favorite players to watch because she makes these matches so interesting,” Collins said about Kasatkina.

“The way that she plays and her tennis IQ, how creative she is on court is phenomenal. I think against Daria I have to be very flexible. She has just about every tool in her toolbox. She can hit big. She can hit with shape. She can hit slices. She can come into the net. She does everything very, very well. She serves and returns well. She mixes up her pace. She’s just solid all over. And so, it’s going to be a battle, and I have to be ready to play a long, tough match, if that’s what’s needed.

“I’ll have to kind of take a little bit more of a look statistically at some things and some different patterns, but I think the biggest thing is just fighting until the end and being adaptable out there.”

About her win over the usually solid Sakkari, Collins said, “I think my aggressive game style helped me. I had to stick with it. And she was throwing a lot at me and doing a lot of different things.
“So, I had to try to counter that and use my aggressive game style as much as I could.”

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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