Jelena Ostapenko Edges Out Kasatkina In Epic Wimbledon Tussle - UBITENNIS
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Jelena Ostapenko Edges Out Kasatkina In Epic Wimbledon Tussle

Jelena Ostapenko survived a turbulent 6-1 3-6 8-6 encounter with Daria Kasatkina to book her place in the third round of Wimbledon 2021.

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Jelena Ostapenko (@ETribuneSports on Twitter)

Jelena Ostapenko survived a turbulent 6-1 3-6 8-6 encounter with Daria Kasatkina to book her place in the third round of Wimbledon 2021.

The Latvian, who claimed her fourth WTA title in Eastbourne last Saturday, hit 48 winners and made the same number of unforced errors during a typically unpredictable display.

Despite this inconsistency, Ostapenko looked in superb form at times and she eventually did enough to come through. She will now face either Alja Tomljanovic or Alize Cornet in the last 32.

Ostapenko Races Ahead

Ostapenko made an excellent start. She served and hit a few trademark winners as she surged into a 3-0 lead.

The Latvian was helped out by Kasatkina, who made a couple of poor errors in the second game to hand her opponent the chance to break.

Ostapenko sealed her second break in the sixth game with a superb forehand winner. Then she held serve comfortably to wrap up the first set in just 22 minutes.

Kasatkina Fights Back

The second set was a chaotic affair. Kasatkina out-fought Ostapenko in a long game to earn an early break. Then the Latvian dialled up the aggression and unleashed some ferocious winners to break back immediately.

Breaks were traded again in the fifth and sixth games to make it 3-3. After holding serve to edge ahead, the Russian profited from some sloppy errors from Ostapenko to seize another break. Then she won a tight game on serve to clinch the set.

Ostapenko Edges Anarchic Decider

In the third set, serving was made to look virtually impossible. The first six games went against the server to leave the score locked at 3-3.

Both players returned well during that time. However, because Ostapenko was dictating the play, the points typically ended with either a winner or an error from the Latvian.

Due to the chaotic nature of the set, it seemed pivotal when Ostapenko finally held in game seven. And it looked like that hold might be decisive when she gained a 15-30 advantage on Kasatkina’s serve in the next game.

However, the Latvian failed to capitalise. She made three consecutive errors to let the Russian off the hook.

The drama did not stop there. Ostapenko played two awful service games to gift Kasatkina two chances to serve for the match. Then, on both occasions, she fought with everything she had to deny the Russian.

Buoyed by these escapes, the Latvian held to love in game thirteen. Then she hit two excellent winners to move within two points of victory.

Kasatkina claimed the next three points, but Ostapenko drilled a forehand into the corner to crank up the pressure at deuce. Then she hammered a drive volley winner to earn her first match point.

The Latvian sealed the win when the Russian hit a forehand into the net. And it was obvious how much it meant – she clenched her fist and let out a loud roar of ‘Come on!’

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

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 Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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