Aryna Sabalenka Seeks Improvement In Pressure Moments After US Open Defeat - UBITENNIS
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Aryna Sabalenka Seeks Improvement In Pressure Moments After US Open Defeat

Aryna Sabalenka reflected on a disappointing semi-final defeat at the US Open.

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Aryna Sabalenka (Darren Carroll/USTA)

World number two Aryna Sabalenka is looking for improvement in pressure moments after her US Open semi-final defeat to Leylah Fernandez.

 

The Belarusian lost her second consecutive grand slam semi-final in a matter of months after losing to 19 year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4.

Despite hitting 45 winners, Sabalenka’s 52 unforced errors in key moments cost her a place in her first grand slam final.

Those unforced errors cost her seven breaks of her serve as the world number two was made to rue a huge opportunity in what has been a great season for her.

In her post-match press conference Sabalenka admitted that in the pressure moments she needs to improve, “This is what we call pressure,” Sabalenka said.

“That’s why I’m a little bit disappointed about this match because, as I said, I had a lot of opportunities and I didn’t use it. Well, this is life. If you’re not using your opportunities, someone else will use it. This is what happened today.

“I will try to improve it. I will keep working and fighting, and I believe that one day it will come. As I said, on the key moment, I was up 4-2 serving, and I think I made double-faults. My first-serve percentage wasn’t really good. I wouldn’t say that she did something. I would say that I destroy myself.”

As Sabalenka’s results improve, expectations increase as she has proven to be the second best player in the world this season.

However the Belarusian has admitted that expectation is something that she is struggling to deal with, “As far you go in the draw, more expectation you have. This is something that actually I’m struggling with because
in the beginning of the tournament I was out of the shape honestly,”
Sabalenka confessed.

“I wasn’t playing well on the tournament before. I wasn’t playing well on the practice. I was, like, getting crazy on the practice. Because of the expectations and all this pressure and everything, I was trying to maybe make her move, I was going for closer to the lines.

“The mistakes was like this sometimes in important moments. Maybe sometimes I have to go back and start from the simple game, then if I feel I can go for bigger shots… Yeah, this is what I have to learn from this match I would say.”

Sabalenka will be expected to learn from these mistakes as she heads into the 2022 grand slam season.

Now the Belarusian will look to finish the season strong with her next tournament being in Indian Wells.

That tournament takes place from the 7th-17th of October.

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Gael Monfils advances to Australian Open fourth round without dropping a set

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Gael Monfils has reached the second week at the Australian Open with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 6-3 win over Cristian Garin. 

 

Garin saved an early break point and took a 4-2 lead in the tie-break with an early mini-break in the opening set, but Monfils came back by winning five consecutive points to claim the tie-break 7-4. 

Monfils earned two early breaks in the second and fourth games to race out to a 4-0 lead in the second set. Garin pulled one break back at love in the fifth game for 1-4, but Monfils broke for the third time to close out the second set 6-1. 

Both players traded breaks in the third and fourth games of the third set. Monfils broke in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, when Garin made three unforced errors. The Frenchman saved a break point in a 18-point game in the sixth game and held serve with his 17th ace and broke serve to close out the match with a forehand volley winner. 

The Frenchman has not dropped a set so far this week and recorded five sets at 6-1 or better this week. Earlier this year he won the Adelaide International 1 title.

“It was a tough match, the conditions were different today. It was hot. It was quicker. I felt that I needed to adapt the game plan a little bit. He was playing well. He was playing well. I had to battle  and was very lucky and fortunate to win this breaker in the first set, and I just think I was solid enough to win in straight sets”, said Monfils. 

Monfils will be aiming to reach his 10th Grand Slam quarter final against Miomir Kecmanovic, who beat Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-5. 

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Pablo Carreno Busta reaches the fourth round at the Australian Open for the third time in his career

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Pablo Carreno Busta reaches the second week in Melbourne after a four-set win over Sebastian Korda

 

Pablo Carreno Busta beat Sebastian Korda 6-4 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 in their first head-to-head match after 3 hours and 27 minutes to advance to the fourth round at the Australian Open in Melbourne for the third time in his career after achieving this feat in 2018 and 2019. 

Carreno Busta will take on Matteo Berrettini, who beat reigning Next Gen ATP champion Carlos Alcaraz 6-2 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 2-6 7-6 (10-5). 

Carreno Busta earned his first break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Korda broke straight back on his third break point in the ninth game. Carreno Busta broke again on his eighth set point to seal the first set 6-4. 

The Spanish player hit 18 winners to just 8 unforced errors and got the crucial break in the 12th game to close out the second set 7-5. 

Korda came back from 3-5 down to win a tight tie-break 8-6 in the third set. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the fourth set. Carreno Busta earned two breaks in the fifth and eighth games to close out the fourth set when Korda hit a forehand wide. 

Carreno Busta reached the US Open semifinals twice in 2017 and 2020 and won two ATP Tour titles in Hamburg and Marbella in 2021. 

Korda was aiming to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the third time after achieving this feat at Roland Garros in 2020 and Wimbledon in 2021. 

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Denis Shapovalov Handles Opelka To Reach Australian Open Fourth Round

The Canadian managed to get past his 6ft 11 American opponent in a match that lasted over three hours.

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Denis Shapovalov - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Denis Shapovalov is into the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating 23rd seed Reilly Opelka 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes on Margeret Court Arena.

 

The Canadian hit 39 winners and served 10 aces while limiting Opelka to just 17 aces. In contrast the American finished the match with a costly 46 unforced errors as Shapovalov booked his spot in the second week of the tournament.

” I think I did a really good job against Reilly (Opelka) today and I took a lot of my chances and managed to get a read on his serve,” said the world No.14.

Both players were doing a good job early on when it came to holding serve and at 3-3 it was the Toronto native who had three chances to break. On his third opportunity broke serve with his trademark backhand winner.

However, that break didn’t last long for Shapovalov as he struggled to consolidate the break and ultimately gave the break right back with a poor service game and it was back on serve at 4-4.

The first was decided by a tiebreaker and Shapovalov got the crucial break to take a 3-1 lead in the breaker which was enough for him to take the first set.

The second frame was much like the first with both players holding serve until 3-3 when Opelka broke serve. He was able to consolidate and serve out the set to level the match.

The third set stayed on serve until 3-2 and the momentum swung back in the Canadians favor. He got the break of serve this time using his forehand to great effect and served out the third to take a two sets to one lead.

Just like the third set the fourth set had no breaks until 3-2 when again the number 14 seed broke Opelka serve again and that break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match and the win.

After the match in his post-match interview, he was asked how he was able to limit his opponent to just 17 aces in the match.

” It’s never easy against Reilly (Opelka) but I am happy I was able to pull through and make it to the next round”. He said.

Shapovalov will face the number three seed Alexander Zverev in the round of 16.

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