Qualifier Emma Raducanu Stuns Bencic To Reach US Open Semis - UBITENNIS
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Qualifier Emma Raducanu Stuns Bencic To Reach US Open Semis

The fairytale run of the world No.150 continues in what is only her second appearance at a Grand Slam tournament.

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

Emma Raducanu has become only the third woman in history ranked outside of the world’s top 100 to reach the last four of the US Open after stunning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in straight sets.

 

Taking on a top 20 player for the first time in her career, the British underdog never appeared overwhelmed by the occasion as she roared her way to a 6-3, 6-4, victory on the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Making Raducanu the youngest female player from her country to reach the semi-finals of a major since Sue Barker at the 1975 Australian Open.

“Playing Belinda, she is such a great opponent and she is in unbelievable form. Her ball speed definitely caught me off guard because she hits the ball so hard. I had to try to adjust and adapt, it was a really tough match for me,” Raducanu said during her on-court interview.
“I’m just so happy to come through.”

Initially, it was world No.12 Bencic who started the sharper of the two by winning six out of the first eight points played and breaking for a 2-0 lead. However, as the match progressed Raducanu began to find her footing by applying pressure onto her Swiss rival. Like in her previous matches, she continued her game style of hitting shots deep towards the baseline. The resilience eventually paid off for Raducanu who claimed four straight games from 3-3 to close out the first set.

Six games away from the biggest win of her career, there was still no visible nerves to be seen from the 18-year-old. In fact, it was Bencic who was the more tentative on the court as she struggled at times with her serve and began to let out outbursts of frustration. At 2-2, Bencic produced a costly double fault on break point which gifted Raducanu break number three and moved her closer to the finish line.

The two players continued to fight hard on the court until the match reached its pivotal moment. Serving for the biggest win of her career and a place in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu continued to win the mini battles by recovering from 0-30 to level. An ace out wide secured her first match point. She then claimed the historic win after a deep shot prompted Bencic to return the ball into the net.

“I was love-thirty in my last couple of service games so to hold them was pretty big. It was literally one point at a time, just trying to focus on what I can control – my serve and landing first serves (in),” said Raducanu who hit a total of 23 winners and won 65% of her service points.
“Belinda is an incredibly tough opponent so she was going to fight all the way until the end.”

Raducanu is the second player under the age of 20 to book her place in the next round of the women’s draw after 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez did so on Tuesday. The US Open has seen various young stars breakout in both the men’s and women’s draw. Something the Brit believes is a promising sign for the future.

“To have so many young players doing so well here just shows how strong the next generation is. Leylah is doing incredibly well,” she commented.
“Everyone is on their trajectory. I am just here, taking care of what I can control and it’s my own journey at the end of the day.”

Impressively Raducanu is still to drop a set in any of her eight matches played in New York. She now joins Billie Jean King and Kim Clijsters as the only female players ranked outside the top 100 to have ever reached the semi-finals.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Jasmine Paolini lifts her first WTA title in Portoroz

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Jasmine Paolini claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career in Portoroz. The Italian player came back from two breaks down in the opening set to beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in the final after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

 

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz. I just feel very happy. It’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hardcourts, it’s special. I think I was maybe a bit relaxed. I understood more about the game. I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key”, said Paolini. 

Paolini beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round, Sorana Cristea in the quarter final, and Yulia Putintseva. The 25-year-old Italian player beat three top 50 players in a row in her final three matches this week. 

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games, Riske went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Paolini pulled one break back in the eight game from 3-5. The Italian broke at love in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5, as Riske was serving for the set. Riske rallied from 2-5 to 4-5 in the tie-break. 

Paolini earned two set points at 6-4 and converted her first set point when Riske sent an overhead long. Paolini broke serve in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to take a 3-2 lead. Paolini won the final five games and sealed the second set 6-2 with an error-forcing forehand.

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Clare Tauson claims her second WTA Tour title at the age of 18

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World number 70 Clare Tauson has won the second WTA Tour title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open this season beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the final after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

 

Tauson enjoyed a great week in which she up number 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the second round and this year’s Olympic finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semifinals. Tauson won her first title as a qualifer in another indoor tournament in Lyon last March in just her second Tour-level tournament. Tauson also won the WTA 125 trophy in Chicago last August beating Emma Raducanu, who went on to win the US Open last week. 

Tauson is one of the four players born in 2002 ranked in the the tpè 100 alongside Raducanu, the other US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Marta Kostyuk. 

The Danish teenager is the seventh player to claim more trophies, joining Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasakina. 

Ostapenko won the Luxembourg tournament on her debut at this tournament in 2019 and had been undefeated before today’s tournament. 

Tauson has become the fourth player to successfully defend the Luxembourg title after Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova and Kim Cljisters. 

Ostapenko hit a smash to break Tauson to take a 6-3 lead. The Latvian player earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Tauson broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ostapenko fired return winners to take a 2-1 lead with a break. Tauson broke back with two straight return winners. Tauson fended off two break points to hold serve after a marathon five-deuce for 3-2. Ostapenko was broken after a fourth double fault, when she was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. 

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