Emma Raducanu Plays Similar To Djokovic, Says Former World No.1 - UBITENNIS
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Emma Raducanu Plays Similar To Djokovic, Says Former World No.1

The seven-time Grand Slam winner says the teenager has an ‘unbelievably mature serving performance.’

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Emma Raducanu reacts to her win during a Women's Singles quarterfinal match at the 2021 US Open, Wednesday, Sep. 8, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Pete Staples/USTA)

The surprise run by Emma Raducanu at the US Open has caught the attention of many with one former player going as far as saying her game resembles that of world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

 

Playing in only her second Grand Slam tournament at the age of 18, the British qualifier has stunned the women’s draw by reaching the semi-finals. Becoming only the third woman ranked outside of the world’s top 100 to do so after Billie Jean King and Kim Clijsters. In her latest match, Raducanu defeated Belinda Bencic in straight sets in what was her first-ever Tour meeting with a top 20 player. Earlier in the tournament, she has also scored wins over Stefanie Voegele, Shuai Zhang, Sara Sorribes Tormo and Shelby Rogers.

The rise of the teenager has earned her praise from Mats Wilander who believes her service is one of the strongest parts of her game. Speaking on Eurosport the Swede says she has characteristics that are similar to Djokovic, who is bidding to win his fourth Grand Slam in a row in New York.

“I think we have to start talking about Emma Raducanu’s serve a little bit more because at 18 years old, to have a serve like that is very unusual,” said Wilander.
“It’s unusual to have the motion and the strength, but it’s also unusual to know where she needs to serve. She serves placement wise, at the right time, at the right moment. So an unbelievably mature serving performance.
“Her movement, especially out to the backhand side, is just incredible. She’s flexible, she’s strong, hits the ball in the middle of the racket just like a certain Serbian player going for the calendar Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic. There are so many similarities.
“And the forehand is still a little bit of a weakness, but she found a way to work around that and that’s what’s so impressive.”

Whilst it is flattering to be compared with one of the sports greatest athletes of all time, it is unlikely that Raducanu will pay any attention to the hype. On multiple occasions, she has spoken about the importance of players following their own trajectories and not that of others. A view she stressed once again after her win over Bencic.

“I think to compare yourself and your results against anyone is probably like the thief of happiness, and everyone is doing their own thing,” she said.
“I didn’t compete for 18 months, but here I am, and it just shows that if you believe in yourself, then anything is possible.”

Raducanu is now set to surge up the world rankings towards the top 50 and she will claim the British No.1 spot for the first time. A sensational outcome for a player who started 2021 ranked 338th in the world with no WTA Tour wins in her career.

“I think that the calmness and the mental strength definitely comes from my upbringing,” said Raducanu who was born in Canada to a Chinese mother and Romanian father but moved to the UK at the age of two.
“I think my parents have both instilled in me from a very young age to definitely have a positive attitude on court because when I was younger it was definitely an absolute no-go if I had any sort of bad attitude.”

Raducanu will play either Maria Sakkari or Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals on Thursday.

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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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