Daniela Hantuchova Heaps Praise On British Star Raducanu With Gauff Comparison - UBITENNIS
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Daniela Hantuchova Heaps Praise On British Star Raducanu With Gauff Comparison

The Slovakian former tennis star explains why she believes Raducanu is already technically better than her peer.

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image via https://twitter.com/usopen/status/

Emma Raducanu’s rapid rise in tennis has caught the attention of many with former world No.5, Daniela Hantuchova, tipping the youngster for Grand Slam glory in the future. 

 

The 18-year-old is playing in only her second major main draw this week at the US Open. After coming through three rounds of qualifying, Raducanu defeated Switzerland’s Stefanie Vogele in straight sets in the first round on Monday. Continuing what has been a breakthrough season for the Brit who reached the fourth round of Wimbledon as a wildcard and more recently finished runner-up at a WTA 125K tournament in Chicago.

Shooting up the world rankings from 345 in January to a current career-high of 150, Raducanu is attracting a rapidly growing fan base with Hantuchova being one of them. Working for Amazon Prime during this year’s US Open, the Slovakian has hailed the rising star by suggesting her technique is better than that of another promising youngster – Coco Gauff.

“Emma has it all, whatever it takes to become not only a top-ten player but I believe also a grand-slam champion,” The Telegraph quoted Hantuchova as saying on Amazon Prime. “There is not one part of her game where I would say ‘This needs to improve.’ Unlike Coco Gauff, where I feel like technically she needs to improve a lot of things. Emma is ahead.
“Technically there are no mistakes but also the mental strength she showed today, that is something very special,”
she added.

Hantuchova, who won seven WTA titles during her career, believes Raducanu has a unique ability to connect with fans in the sport which will help her in the future. On social media, she currently has an Instagram following of around 415,000 people and 145,000 followers on Twitter.

She really connects to the crowd. She is going to be able to gain a lot of energy from the fans all around the world. As soon as she smiles everyone is going to be on her side. We saw it today (Monday), playing on a big court for the first time in America, everyone is trying to get photos with her. I can’t even imagine the future that she has in front of her.” The former Slovakian player commented.

On the court, Raducanu will next play China’s Zhang Shuai on Thursday who she lost to in straight sets at the Silicon Valley Classic a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, she is high in confidence.

“I have played four matches at the US Open and I’m feeling very comfortable here in the conditions, I feel I have acclimatised well due to the few weeks I have had in the States,” Raducanu said of her current form. 

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Andy Murray wins his first match of the 2024 season in Doha

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Andy Murray beat Alexandre Muller 6-1 7-5 to clinch his first win of the 2024 season at the Exxon Mobil Open in Doha. Murray won two Doha titles in 2008 and 2009 and reached three finals in 2007, 2017 and 2023.

 

Murray converted three of his five break points he earned. 

Murray came back from 0-40 down to break serve on Muller’s first service game. The British player held serve to open up a 3-0 lead, but he asked for a medical time-out due to a knee issue. The double Olympic spoke to the physiotherapist on court, explaining that he had been feeling pain in the area for a few days and had received for a cyst on his meniscus the day before Tuesday’s match. 

Nevertheless, Murray returned on court and did not convert two break points. The Scotsman earned his second break and held serve to seal the opening set in 46 minutes. 

Murray did not convert break points in the fourth game of the second set. Both players held on their service games before Murray earned a break with another winner to take a 4-3 lead. Muller broke straight back to draw level to 4-4. Both players on serve in the next four games en route to the tie-break. 

Muller earned the first mini-break with a drop-shot to take a 4-2 lead in the tie-break, but Murray pulled back on serve to draw level to 5-5. Murray won the next two points and sealed the win with a backhand return. 

“Obviously the past few months have been really tough on the court for me. I have not won many matches and lost a lot of close ones as well and it was getting tight at the end there as well, so obviously I am delighted to get through”, said Murray. 

Murray set up a second round match against Jakub Mensik, who upset Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in just his eighth tour-level match to clinch his first win against a top 30 player. 

Mensik came back from a break down twice en route to winning the tie-break of the first set 7-3 with four mini-breaks. The 18-year-old Czech player earned a decisive break in the first game of the second set before sealing the win after 93 minutes on his first match point. Mensik won 70% of his first service points. 

Mensik, who is the youngest player in the top 200 in the ATP Ranking, reached the third round at last year’s US Open and beat Denis Shapovalov as a qualifier on his Australian Open debut last January. 

Mensik will face either Andy Murray or Alexandre Muller. 

“I just tried to play my best. It’s a crazy opportunity to play an ATP 250 here in Doha, so I reached the second round and I will do my best to show this performance in the second round”, said Mensik. 

Christopher O’Connell beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 6-4 to improve his head-to-head lead to 2-0. O’Connell broke twice in the second and seventh game to take a 5-2 lead. Struff pulled one break back in the eighth game from 3-5 but O’Connell closed out the first set 6-4 on his first set point. O’Connell broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 and sealed the win on his third match point. 

O’Connell set up a second round match against world number 46 Emil Ruusuvuori, who beat Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 in one hour and 47 minutes. Both players went on serve with no break points en route to tie-break. Ruusuvuori, who reached the quarter final in Rotterdam last week, earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. Ruusuvuori earned his first break of the match in the opening game and saved four break points to hold serve at deuce in the second game. Zeppieri broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ruusuovori converted his second break point in the 11th game and sealed the second set 7-5 on his first match point. 

Gael Monfils beat Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-1 7-6 (11-9). Monfils broke twice in the second and fourth games to win the first set 6-1. Van de Zandschulp broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Monfils broke back in the ninth game. Both players held on serve in the next games en route to a tie-break. Monfils earned three match points at 6-3 in the tie-break, but Van de Zandschulp  won three consecutive points to draw level to 6-6. Both players traded mini-breaks to draw level to 8-8. Monfils won two consecutive points to win the tie-break 11-9 on his fourth match point. 

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Jasmine Paolini beats Leylah Fernandez to reach the round of 16 in Dubai

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Jasmine Paolini beat 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez 6-3 6-4 in on 1 hour and 37 minutes at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. 

 

Fernandez earned an early break at love in the first game of the opening set. Paolini broke straight back in the second game, but Fernandez broke again at love in the third game and held her first service game to take a 3-1 lead. Paolini pulled back on serve in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 before saving four break points to go up 4-3. The Italian player converted her third break point in the eighth game with a forehand passing shot and served out the first set with a hold at love. 

Fernandez won 12 of the first 15 points and broke serve in the second game to race out to a 3-0 lead in the second set. The Canadian player earned a double break point in the sixth game, but Paolini saved it to hold serve after two deuces. Paolini won five consecutive games from 1-4 down with two breaks of serve to seal the second set 6-4 on her second match point. 

Paolini set up a Round of 16 match against Maria Sakkari, who beat Emma Navarro 6-2 6-4. The Italian player, who reached the fourth round at this year’s Australian Open, has won consecutive matches against former Grand Slam finalists (Angelique Keber at the United Cup and and Fernandez in Dubai).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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Donna Vekic comes back from one set down to beat Aryna Sabalenka in Dubai

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Donna Vekic came back from a set and a break down to beat two-time Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-0 after 2 hours and 22 minutes in the second round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. 

 

Vekic has scored her sixth win in eight head-to-head matches against Sabalenka dating back to 2016. The Croatian player beat her Belarusian rival at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo and in the 2022 San Diego quarter finals. 

Vekic has scored her eighth win against a top 5 opponent and the first since she beat Elena Rybakina in the 2023 Berlin second round. 

Vekic earned the first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Sabalenka broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Sabalenka broke for the second time in the eighth game to open up a 5-3 lead. Vekic broke straight back to draw level to 5-5 and saved three set points at 5-6. Sabalenka earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-5. Sabalenka earned an immediate break in the first game of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead. Vekic faced a break point in the third game, but she saved it with a backhand to hold serve at deuce.  

Vekic hit 25 winners to just nine unforced errors. The Croatian player broke for the second time in the third set to take a 3-0 lead, as Sabalenka made a double fault. Sabalenka made two more double faults to go down 5-0. Vekic served out the win on her first match point. 

“I know that I have a winning head-to-head, but she beat me in Australia last year in the quarter finals. That one hurt quite a lot. It was quite tough to serve out there today. It was windy. I think we were both breaking each other’s serves a lot. She played amazingly well in the tie-break. I had a great start in the second set. I think I got a bit lucky with that slice passing shot. That’s tennis, things can turn around in one point. At all times I did not give up. I did not stop believing that I could win. I just kept fighting”, said Vekic. 

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