Jelena Ostapenko sets up a final against Clara Tauson in Luxembourg - UBITENNIS
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Jelena Ostapenko sets up a final against Clara Tauson in Luxembourg

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Defending champion Jelena Ostapenko remained unbeaten with a 6-1 7-6 (7-4) win over Liudmila Samsonova in the semifinals of the BLG BNL Paribas Luxembourg. 

 

Ostapenko cruised to a 6-1 5-1 lead, but she was unable to serve it out twice. Samsonova came back to fby winning six consecutive points from 1-4 down to win the tie-break 7-4. Ostapenko converted each of her four break points. 

Ostapenko has extended her winning streak at  Luxembourg to 9-0. The Latvian player won her third career title  at this tournament. She has reached her second final of the year after claiming the Eastbourne title last June. 

Ostapenko hit 25 winners to 14 unforced errors and won 62% of her first serve points. She saved three break points to hold serve in the third game and won nine consecutive points. Samsonova did not convert four break points in the first set.

“At some point I stopped playing my game. I missed so many balls and I started to rush, but the key was to fight to stay in the match. I played really well in the beginning but I could not close it. I had to fight and enjoy ir”, said Ostapenko. 

Ostapenko set up a final against Danish 18-year-old rising star Clara Tauson, who overcame this year’s Olympic silver medallist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the second semifinal. The Danish player, who was a former world junior number 1 player, won her first WTA singles title in Lyon this year. 

Tauson hit 41 winners to 20 unforced errors. She is the most recent player to beat US Open champion Emma Raducanu and pushed Ashleigh Barty in a two-set US Open defeat. 

Tauson earned an early break in the opening game to open up a 3-1 lead after a couple of double faults fom Vondrousova. The Czech player fended off four set points in the next game and drew level to 3-3. Tauson hit a forehand to earn another break in the seventh game for 4-3 and cruised through to a 6-4 win in the first set. ’21

Vondrousova earned a break to take a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set. The 2019 Roland Garros finalist broke Tauson for the second time to force the match to the third set.

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the third set. They held their next games to draw level to 4-4. Tauson broke serve in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead before closing out the match. 

Greet Minnen and Alison Van Uytvanck claimed their second WTA doubles title, as they beat Kimberley Zimmermann and Erin Routliffe 6-3 6-3 in just 59 minutes. Minnen and Van Uytvanck faced a break point and converted their three of their six break points. 

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Miomir Kecmanovic saves six match points to beat Daniel Evans in Tokyo

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Miomir Kecmanovic saved six match points in a single game, including one with a tweener, to beat Daniel Evans 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-4) reaching the quarter final at the Rakuten Japan Open in Tokyo. 

 

Kecmanovic won the opening set 6-3 with a single break in the sixth game. He went up a break at love in the first game of the second set, but Evans broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The British player earned his second break in the fourth game and held his next service games to seal the second set 6-3. 

Kecmanovic broke in the fourth game to take a 4-1 lead, but Evans pulled back on serve to win four consecutive games earning a chance to serve for the match. 

Kecmanovic went down 0-40, as Evans was serving at 5-4 in the third set. The Serbian player broke serve in a four-deuce game, but he wasted a match point on return at 6-5, before winning the final four points to seal the tie-break 7-4. 

“That was the first time that I was able to do that. I was tuned out of the match and I just went for it in that moment. It was the first time I ever made a tweener in a match. I am beyond happy that I was able to do it. I had a lot of ups and downs, especially in the third set , being 4-1. Somehow I managed to stay in, and thankfully I am still here”, said Kecmanovic. 

Frances Tiafoe beat Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-1 7-6 (9-7) in the opening match. Tiafoe earned three breaks to cruise through to a 6-1 lead. Zapata Miralles earned his first break in the third game to take a 3-1 lead. Tiafoe broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both Zapata Miralles and Tiafoe saved a break point in the the 10th and 11th games. Tiafoe went up a mini-break twice in the mini-break, but Zapata Miralles pulled back on serve both times. 

Tiafoe sealed the win on his fifth match point to reach his sixth quarter final of the season. The US player won his 13th tie-break to reach the quarter finals for the first time in Tokyo.

“I think handling those big moments, tie-breaks and stuff like that, the key is focusing on what you can focus on and just playing to win, playing aggressive. I have a lot of shots in the book, so I am trying to make the match on my terms and have that belief”, said Tiafoe. 

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Billie Jean King Praises Grand Slam Semi-Finalist Nadia Podoroska For Coming Out

The Argentine recently marked her girlfriend’s birthday with an Instagram post which was also the first time she went public about her personal life.

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Tennis legend Billie Jean King has congratulated Nadia Podoroska on being her authentic self after the tennis star recently confirmed she is in a same-sex relationship with another player. 

 

Podoroska, who shot to the limelight at the 2021 French Open by reaching the semi-finals before being hampered by injury, made a low key coming out on social media. In an Instagram post, the tennis star uploaded a series of photos of her with her girlfriend along with the caption “Today I celebrate you from afar, but I feel you by my side every day of my life.’ The post was done to mark her birthday. 

Fellow player Guillermina Naya is Podoroska’s partner and the two have been in a relationship for some time, according to Women’s Tennis Blog. Naya, who is also from Argentina, is currently ranked 814th in the world but has been as high as 533rd. Although she has not played on the Tour this year. 

Due to injury problems, Podoroska was unable to start her 2022 season until July on the lower-level ITF Tour. Since then she has made steady progress by reaching the final of an ITF W60 event in Gran Canaria and more recently reaching the semi-finals of the Chennai Open in India. 

“I had been suffering from physical discomfort in one leg. I decided to stop in order to recover. Then I had a bone oedema, I couldn’t walk, and I had to wear a boot. Then I got a knee injury in the other leg,” she said of her injury woes during an interview with Clay Tennis.

The 25-year-old credits her girlfriend Naya for the support she received during her 10-month absence from the sport. She is the latest player on the WTA Tour to open up about their sexuality, joining the likes of Daria Kasatkina, Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen.

“Congratulations to WTA player ⁦⁦Nadia Podoroska ⁩ on her announcement. Living authentically takes such courage, but it is always worth it,” multiple Grand Slam champion King wrote on Twitter. 

In response to the post, the tennis star also paid tribute to King for the impact she has had on the sport. King helped form the WTA Tour and was a key figure in the fight to equal prize money during the early part of the Open Era. She was also one of the first world-class athletes to publicly come out as gay back in 1981. 

Whilst there are various female LGBT players in tennis, there are still no openly gay players on the men’s Tour. 

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Iga Swiatek reaches her eleventh quarter final of the season in Ostrava

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World number 1 Iga Swiatek has reached her eleventh quarter final this year at the Agel Open in Ostrava after Ajla Tomljanovic was forced to withdraw from the match due to a left knee injury, when she was trailing 7-5 2-2. 

 

Swiatek raced out to a 4-1 lead with a break in the second game and came two points from a 5-1 lead, but Tomljanovic held serve. 

Tomljanovic broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4 and held two break points, but she was not able to convert them. Swiatek converted her second set point, as Tomljanovic netted a volley. 

All four games of the second set went to deuce. Tomljanovic earned an early break in the first game of the second set. Swiatek broke straight back in the second game after a six-deuce game. Tomljanovic started to clutch saved a break point to hold serve at deuce before retiring from the match. 

“We played in Toronto and I saw in the US Open how well Ajla played. It seems she is really on a roll and she is playing better and better. It was a great match and it’s unfortunate that something happened. I hope she is going to recover quickly”, said Swiatek. 

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