Aryna Sabalenka Topples Jabeur To Reach Wimbledon Semis - UBITENNIS
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Aryna Sabalenka Topples Jabeur To Reach Wimbledon Semis

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Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka is through to the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career after beating Ons Jabeur at Wimbledon.

 

The world No.4 roared her way to a 6-4, 6-3, victory with the help of some blistering serving and powerful hitting. In total she hit 27 winners against 20 unforced errors and broke three times en route to victory. Continuing what has been a dream run for Sabalenka who had never been beyond the second round of Wimbledon until this year.

Im really happy with this win. It is always tough matches against Ons. She’s such a great player and an amazing person so it’s always tough to play against her,” she said.
“I’m really happy that I could win today.”

The showdown was a clash of two of the most impressive female players in this year’s draw. Sabalenka, who had never reached the quarter-final of a Grand Slam until now, utilized her power to her advantage with her aggressive game-style. Meanwhile, Tunisian history maker Jabeur use of the drop shot and careful ball placement has seen her score wins over Iga Swiatek and Garbine Muguruza. Both players have won 33 matches in 2021 going into the Wimbledon quarter-finals which was more than any other player on the WTA Tour.

Fittingly the start of their encounter saw little difference between the two as they stood firm behind their serve. Nudging ahead 5-4, Sabalenka launched her first major offensive on Center Court. Punishing the Jabeur serve with some blistering returns, she earned three set points but was unable to convert any of them due to some tentative hitting. Nevertheless, she was not deterred. A failed drop shot from Jabeur from the baseline granted her a fourth opportunity. This time she converted by hitting a cross-court forehand which forced her opponent to return the ball into the net.

Continuing to win the mini battles, Sabalenka battled back from 0-40 to hold at the start of the second frame. The opposite happened in the following game with Jabeur trailing 0-40 but she failed to come back. Moving a determined Sabalenka closer to a milestone victory.

The route to victory wasn’t entirely straightforward with Jabeur once again hitting back to draw level at 2-2. Reviving her hopes of becoming the first Arab player in history to reach a major semi-final. However, Sabalenka continued to weather the storm against her rival who was becoming more frustrated with her game. Leading 4-3, another drop shot mistake from the world No.24 gave her yet another chance to break. She did so with a backhand drive which also awarded her the chance to serve out the match. On her first match point Sabalenka triumphed with a clean backhand winner, which prompted her to throw her fists into the air and celebrate.

“Sometimes there are really tricky shorts on the grass and it is tough to do anything with the ball,” Sabalenka reflected afterwards. “But I’m really happy that I’m still here in the tournament and somehow I’ve found a way to win matches here. This surface is amazing. It’s fit’s my game and I’m enjoying every second.”

The 23-year-old will next play Karolina Pliskova, who looked to be in top form during her quarter-final clash. She has beaten the Czech twice before on the Tour but that was back in 2018.

“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past,” she said. “You never know what is going to happen, especially on the WTA Tour. It’s going to be a tough match. She’s a great player, serves well and her games also fit well on the grass.”

Wimbledon is the 11th consecutive Grand Slam where Sabalenka has been seeded in the draw.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina Announces Pregnancy

Tennis’ power couple are set to become parents later this year.

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Former world No.3 Elina Svitoliva has announced that she is expecting a baby girl in October on social media.

 

The 27-year-old made the announcement on Sunday morning with a picture of her and her husband, French tennis star Gael Monfils. Known by some as the sports ‘power couple,’ the two tied the knot last July in Geneva ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games after first going public about their relationship in 2019. They even have their own Instagram account called ‘g.e.m.s. life’ which has more than 139,000 followers.

“With a heart full of love and happiness, we are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby girl in October,” the couple wrote on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/ElinaSvitolina/status/1525778313918177280

Svitolina hadn’t played on the Tour since losing to Heather Watson at the Miami Open in March after deciding to take time away from the sport due to events happening in her home country. Russia launched a military operation against Ukraine earlier this year which has claimed thousands of lives. Svitolina is one of the sport’s most outspoken players regarding the conflict. She has previously spoken out against the decision to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes from Wimbledon by arguing that they should be allowed to participate if they condemn the actions of their home countries.

We don’t want them banned completely,” Svitolina told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.
“If players don’t speak out against the Russian government then it is the right thing to ban them.”

Prior to announcing her pregnancy, Svitolina has achieved a win-loss record of 5-8 on the Tour this season with her best runs being to the third round of the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of a WTA event in Monterrey.

During her career, the Ukrainian has won 16 WTA titles and reached the semi-finals of two Grand Slams during 2019.

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Bianca Andreescu reaches Rome quarterfinals after beating Petra Martic

The Canadian was able to get by her Croatian opponent in straight sets on Thursday afternoon in the Italian capital.

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Photo by Roberto Dell’Olivo

Bianca Andreescu is through to the quaterfinals of the Italian Open being played at the Foro Italico in Rome after beating Petra Martic in 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 45 minutes.

 

The Toronto native served four aces and won 76% of her first serve points in a match that was pretty straight forward for the world number 90 who makes her first quaterfinal this season.

During the first set both players did a good job holding serve and it was pretty tight until 4-4 when the Canadian was able to convert and served out the first set to take a 1-0 lead.

Andreescu was hungry for the early break in the second set and she got it but the Croat broke right back the following game to level the set at 2-2. She was then put on the defensive as the world number 47 started putting pressure on the Canadian but Andreescu was able to save two breakpoints before being able to hold serve to make it 3-3.

The next game Martic produced a poor service game and the 2019 US Open champ took full advantage, getting the break and that one break was enough for her to serve out the match.

Her reward for reaching the quarterfinals a date with the world number one Iga Swiatek who had no issues beating the Minsk native Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-1.

This will be their first ever meeting on the WTA Tour.

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