Former Champion Angelique Kerber Looks On The Bright Side Despite Defeat At Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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Former Champion Angelique Kerber Looks On The Bright Side Despite Defeat At Wimbledon

The former world No.1 exits the Grand Slam with a fresh burst of confidence after turning around her fortunes on the Tour.

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Angelique Kerber (GER) celebrates her win against Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) in the third round of the Ladies' Singles on No.2 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 6 Saturday 03/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Germany’s Angelique Kerber has experienced a turbulent 2021 season and she is still only half way through it.

 

The former world No.1 didn’t appear to be in the kind of form to challenge for a Grand Slam title a few weeks ago after starting the year by winning back-to-back matches in two out of 10 tournaments played. In the first round of the French Open she fell to a qualifier ranked 139th in the world. However, once she set foot on the grass a dramatic turnaround occurred.

It started in her home country where she won the Bad Homburg Open in what was her first title for almost three years. Carrying that momentum into Wimbledon, she defeated players such as Coco Gauff and Karolína Muchová to reach the semi-finals. Making it her best run in a major since she lifted the Wimbledon title back in 2018. Her journey came to an end on Thursday after a straight sets loss to world No.1 Ash Barty. Immediately after that loss, one eagle eye journalist noticed the German smiling as she walked towards the net to shake hands.

“I came back after such a long time, I was able to turn everything around, I won the tournament at home in Germany, I played unbelievable tennis, I put so many emotions and my heart on the court,” Kerber replied when asked about her emotions.
“If you go out and you have a standing ovation at the Centre Court in Wimbledon, I mean, that’s the best feeling you can have even if you lose.’
“I tried everything. I put everything on court today.”

Whilst the 33-year-old may not be the most decorated player on the Tour. Her results on the grass speaks for itself. Impressively, only Serena Williams and Venus Williams have won more matches than her on the surface among active players. At Wimbledon alone, she has won 36 matches out of 48 played.

Now playing as one of the oldest on the Tour, Kerber is reluctant to compare her current level of tennis to that of the past. For her, there is another reason why she continues to play.

“For me, it’s more that I still have the passion for the sport, that I played well, that I played great matches against the best players in the world,” she said.
“I know that I also improved my game in a few things. But still I have my game style. I think it’s similar to 2018.”

It remains to be seen how Kerber’s resurgence will fair when she switches to the hardcourts. Unsure about her Olympic participation, she will be consulting with her team over the coming days concerning her schedule. She is coached by Torben Beltz who has also previously worked with Donna Vekic.

“I think it’s important that I really take the confidence with me from the last three weeks,” she states. “I know that I’m on the right way. I know how it is to work hard and now to continue my play.’
“I think this will be the challenge to stay on this level and playing good matches again on hard court.”

Kerber will move up to 22nd in the WTA rankings next Monday.

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Botic Van de Zandschulp beats Joao Sousa to reach the second round in Tel Aviv

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Botic Van de Zandschulp cruised past Joao Sousa 6-2 6-3 to reach the second round at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. Van de Zandschulp won 83% of his first serve points and hit 28 winners to Sousa’s six. 

 

The Dutchman will face Liam Broady, who Serbian wild-card Hamad Medjedovic 7-5 6-3. 

Tomas Martin Etchevery edged past 2021 Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev 6-2 6-7 (0-7) 6-4  scoring the biggest win of his career. 

Arthur Rinderknech came back from one set down to beat Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3. Rinderknech set up a second round against third seed Diego Schwartzman. 

Emil Ruusuvuori broke serve five times in his 6-3 6-2 win over J.J Wolf. 

Sebastian Korda beat Turkish qualifier Cem Ilkel 6-4 6-4 setting up a second round match against Maxime Cressy. Novak Djokovic is the top seed of the Tel Aviv tournament, which returns for the first time since 2021.

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Holger Rune reaches the second round at the Sofia Open

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Danish Next Gen rising star Holger Rune edged past Tim Van Rijthoven 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) to reach the second round at the Sofia Open in his first appearance at this tournament. 

 

Both players went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Rune earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

The second set started with a trade of breaks in the first two games. There was little to separate both players in the next games, which went on serve en route to the tie-break. Rune saved a set point at 5-6 in the tie-break of the second set and won the final three points to close out the second set 8-6. 

Rune won his first title in Munich and reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter final at Roland Garros. 

 “I did not want to go to three sets. I had the break and led 5-2 in the second set tie-break. If it had happened, I was going to fight for sure and try to take it in three, but I am very happy to win in two. I am really working hard every day and trying to improve any small things I can. I think today I stayed very focused all the time. I lost my focus one time on serve, when maybe I should not have been broken, but other than that I am very happy with my first match. The first match is always a  bit difficult”, said Rune. 

Australia’s Alexander Vukic beat Fabio Fognini 7-6 (13-11) 7-5 after 1 hour and 11 minutes. Vukic broke serve in the fifth game to take a 4-2 lead. Fognini converted his fourth break-back point to draw level to 4-4 before saving a break point at 5-5. Fognini went up a 6-3 lead, but he wasted six set points in the tie-break. Vukic closed out the tie-break 13-11 on his third set point. 

Fognini earned a break to take a 2-1 lead. Vukic broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2 in the fourth game. Fognini lost four consecutive points from 4-5 30-0. Vukic earned the decisive break on his first match point to seal the second set 7-5. 

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