Wimbledon Top Seed Ash Barty Was In ‘Best Ever Form’ Prior To Recent Injury Setback, Says Coach - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Top Seed Ash Barty Was In ‘Best Ever Form’ Prior To Recent Injury Setback, Says Coach

Craig Tyzzer says the world No.1 is getting better but they have ‘one more job to do’ with Wimbledon glory within touching distance.

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Ashleigh Barty (AUS) reaches for the ball in her match against Anna Blinkova (RUS) in the second round of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 4 Thursday 01/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/David Gray

The coach of Ash Barty admits that he didn’t know what to expect from the world No.1 heading into this year’s Wimbledon Championships following what he described as a ‘freakish’ injury.

 

Barty has become the first Australian woman to reach the final at The All England Club since 1980 after beating Angelique Kerber in the semifinals on Thursday. Despite being the top seed in the draw, there was uncertainty over how she would fare after withdrawing from the French Open with a left hip injury. Resulting in her just having over three weeks to recover and prepare for the grass-court major.

Guiding Barty back into shape is long-time coach Craig Tyzzer who has been working alongside her since 2016. He is a former player who played on the ATP Tour between 1979-1983.

“I felt she was in the best form I’ve seen her in prior to a tournament coming into that (the French Open),” Tyzzer told reporters on Friday. “It was a bit of a freakish thing that happened and put her out.’
“It’s been really different here (at Wimbledon). We weren’t able to do a lot of court time in the build-up coming in on court. Did a lot of rehab and a lot of building her strength back up. So it’s been a different preparation.”

Whilst the preparation has been different to what was initially planned by Barty’s camp, it seems to have done wonders for her. She is yet to drop a set at Wimbledon on what is the 10th anniversary of her junior triumph at the same event. Prior to Kerber, she defeated compatriot Ajla Tomljanović and reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejčíková.

Her confidence level has been really good. She’s been playing good tennis. She’s been building, it’s getting better. We’ve got one more job to do,” Tyzzer commented.

Barty already has the experience of what it is like playing in a major final following her run to the Roland Garros title back in 2019. Since then the 25-year-old has won six additional titles but none of those have been in a major. Although she has been ranked continuously at the top of the rankings for almost 50 weeks.

Standing in her way of the Wimbledon title will be former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova who has also previously played in a major final herself. Like Barty, the Czech has also had a roller-coaster journey into the tournament but for a different reason. Pliskova lost in the first round of Berlin and Eastbourne, as well as falling in the first round of the French Open.

She’s an incredible player. She’s got a phenomenal serve and got a big game off the ground as well,” Barty’s coach said of Pliskova.
“She’s obviously had a great tournament. You don’t get to the final of Wimbledon without playing well. She’s been playing some great tennis. It’s going to be an extremely difficult match. I know Ash is looking forward to it.”

It isn’t just Barty’s physical side which Tyzzer said has improved in recent times, it is also her mentality. In the past she has opened up about dealing with mental health issues and even took a break from the sport to reset. During that break she had a stint in women’s cricket and played in the Big Bash League.

There have been times when she just questioned herself. I think all athletes go through that sort of thing. I think there’s a lot more acceptance of that and understanding of all that,” he said.
“She’s handling that stuff a lot better. It’s an ongoing thing. It’s like hitting a forehand and backhand, you just keep working on it, you keep building. She’s getting better and better at those things all the time.”

Barty leads Pliskova 5-2 in their head-to-head going into Saturday’s Wimbledon final.

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Felix Auger Aliassime leads the ATP Next Gen Race to Milan

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Felix Auger Aliassime rose to the top of the ATP Next Gen Race to Milan after strong performances at Wimbledon, Cincinnati and at the uS Open. 

 

After reaching the quarter final at Wimbledon the Canadian player advanced to the last eight at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas. It was the second time he reached the quarter final in a Masters 1000 tournament. 

At the US Open the 21-year-old Canadian player edged Roberto Bautista Agut in a five-set match before beating Frances Tiafoe to reach the semifinals. Auger Aliassime became the first Canadian player to reach the semifinals at the US Open in the tournament history and the youngest player since Juan Martin Del Potro won the tournament in 2009. 

“I am happy with the level I have been playing at times, with the results I have had. It’s a positive week. Things are moving in the right direction”, said Auger Aliassime. Carlos Alcaraz has become the fourth player to secure a spot in the Next Gen ATP Finals after Auger Aliassime, Jannik Sinner and Sebastian Korda. Alcaraz became the youngest US Open quarter finalist in the Open Era after scoring an upset third-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. The player coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero also won the ATP 250 title in Umag and reached the semfinals in Marbella and Winston Salem.

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Liudmila Samsonova sets up semifinal against Jelena Ostapenko in Luxembourg

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Liudmila Samsonova upset this year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 6-1 6-4 with three breaks of serve to reach her third semifinal of the season at the Luxembourg Open. 

 

Samsonova broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. The Russian player claimed the second set 6-1 with a break in the third game and sealed the win on her first match point. 

Samsonova beat Bencic for the second time this season after beating the Swiss player in the final of the WTA grass tournament in Berlin. 

Bencic dropped serve three times in her first tournament since reaching the quarter finals at the US Open where she lost to eventual champion Emma Raducanu. 

Samsonova will face 2019 Luxemburg Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who edged past Alizé Cornet 7-6 (8-6) 6-2. Ostapenko improved her winning streak to 8-0. Ostapenko went down a break twice in the first set. Cornet earned a chance to serve for the set at 5-4, but Ostapenko did not face any set point. Ostapenko saved the first set point in the tie-break before earning the mini-break to win the tie-break 8-6. Ostapenko broke twice in the third and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

Marketa Vondrousova completed the semifinal line-up with a 7-5 6-2 win over number 2 seed Elise Mertens after 1 hour and 37 minutes. Mertens broke serve in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Vondrousova won four consecutive games with two breaks to take a 7-5 lead. The Czech player broke twice in a row in the third and fifth games to win the second set 6-2. 

Clara Tauson broke twice in each set to beat Marie Bouzkova 6-3 6-2. 

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Venus Williams Explains Met Gala Photo With Maria Sharapova

The former world No.1 says she and her sister Serena have ‘respect and love’ for Sharapova.

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Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams at the 20201 Met Gala (image via Instagram)

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams says there are no hard feelings between her, her sister Serena and Maria Sharapova after the trio took a photo together at the Met Gala.

 

The former world No.1s was seen smiling and laughing together at the New York fundraising event with both of the Williams sisters uploading a photo of them all on their Instagram story. Prompting surprise from some fans considering the at times icy rivalry between Serena and Sharapova that dates back to the 2004 Wimbledon Championships.

In her 2017 autobiography, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, Sharapova mentioned Serena’s name more than 100 times. She says the American hated her for beating her at Wimbledon that year and that the two were ‘not friends.’

“What I heard when I came in to the locker room was Serena Williams bawling,” Sharapova wrote.
“Guttural sobs. I got out as quickly as I could, but she knew I was there.
“I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds … I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment.
“But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She’s never forgiven me for it.”

Responding to the claims, Serena hit back at the book in 2018 by describing it as ‘hearsay’ and said she never had any ‘negative feelings’ towards Sharapova. The two clashed on the Tour no fewer than 22 times with Serena winning 20 of those meetings.

“So I don’t have any negative feelings towards her, which again, was a little disappointing to see in that hearsay book,” Williams commented back in 2018. “So I have always, you know, and especially having a daughter, like, I feel like negativity is taught. One of the things I always say, I feel like women, especially, should bring each other up.”

Three years later and it now seems that all parties have put their disagreements behind them. At the Met Gala they were seen getting on pretty well. Besides posing for a photo together, they were also seen together in the bathroom at the event. A photo taken by pop star Anitta and rapper Saweetie which showed them in the background.

Speaking about the event for the first time, 41-year-old Williams said she wishes Sharapova was still playing before adding that they still ‘respect and love’ each other.

“First of all, Serena and I were talking about Maria the day before,” the 41-year-old explained on Instagram.
“We were like, ‘Damn, I wish Maria was still playing.’
“And we saw her, and we both told her separately, ‘Oh my gosh, we were just talking about you yesterday, we wish you were still on tour.’
“We were so happy to see each other. There was hugs, there was laughing, there were stories, and there was a photo.
“So the backstory is that even though us players compete really hard of the court for years, we still respect and love each other, and love Maria
.”

Williams, Serena and Sharapova have won a total of 35 Grand Slam singles titles between them.

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