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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Sorana Cirstea Makes Winning Start To French Open After Seeking Help From Djokovic’s Coach

The Grand Slam winning mentor was seen in the crowd watching Cirstea play her first round match in Paris.

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Image via https://twitter.com/rolandgarros

Heading into her 14th French Open main draw Sorona Cristea decided to take a shot and ask for advice from one former Grand Slam champion.

 

The 32-year-old Romanian has endured a mixed results on the clay this year with a run to the semifinals of the Istanbul Open followed by three straight first round losses on the Tour. It has been a frustrating past few weeks for the Tour veteran who is currently ranked 27th in the world. Just six spots below her career-high.

Seeking further guidance for her French Open bid, Cirstea approached Goran Ivanisevic for help. The former Wimbledon champion who now works as coach of the men’s world No.1 Novak Djokovic. To her delight, he agreed to give her some pointers.

He came to one of my practices two days ago. Basically, I just asked for his help and I was lucky enough to get an hour of his time,” Cirstea told reporters.
“I talked with him a little bit about what’s going through my head and just tennis. It was a very, very pleasant hour.”

Ivanisevic was seen courtside watching Cirstea play her first round match at Roland Garros on Sunday morning. The 26th seed defeated Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-3, in just over an hour. Hitting a total of 34 winners against 26 unforced errors.

“I was very surprised to see him because I know he’s very busy with Novak,” she continued. “He was very, very kind to be there and I was happy to see him there.’
“He’s just been giving me a few tips and tricks from a Grand Slam champion, and as a coach of No. 1, and someone that has so much experience. I’m very grateful and very lucky to have the chance to spend that hour on court with him.”

This year’s French Open is the 53rd Grand Slam Cirstea has played in. She has reached six WTA finals, winning the 2008 Tashkent Open and 2021 Istanbul Open. Against top 10 players she has recorded a total of 16 wins to date.

Reflecting on her development as a player, the Romanian believes a change in perspective has enabled her to enjoy more success on the Tour in recent years. Cristea has been continuously ranked in the world’s top 100 since September 2019.

“When I was younger, I was taking the losses a bit much, they were hurting a bit too much, where now I am much more relaxed, much more at peace,” she explains.
“You cannot change what happened last week, so why bother? Try to learn and then just go forward with the positive mindset.”

Cirstea will play Sloane Stephens in the second round of Roland Garros. Stephens, who is unseeded in the draw, battled back from a set down to defeat Germany’s Jule Niemeier 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

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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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