‘Some Good Things And Some Bad Things’ - Kim Clijsters Undeterred By Chicago Loss - UBITENNIS
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‘Some Good Things And Some Bad Things’ – Kim Clijsters Undeterred By Chicago Loss

The 38-year-old shares her thoughts on playing her first competitive match in over a year.

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Kim Clijsters (image via https://twitter.com/usopen)

Former world No.1 Kim Clijsters says she is heading in the right direction despite losing her opening match at the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic on Monday.

The four-time Grand Slam champion was ousted 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, by Hsieh Su-Wei in what was the latest match in her comeback. Prior to this week Clijsters hadn’t played on the Tour since the 2020 US Open due to a knee injury, as well as catching COVID-19 earlier this year. The Belgian announced in September 2019 her intention to return to the Tour but has only been able to play four tournaments since then and is yet to register a win.

Despite her lacklustre return to professional tennis, Clijsters have insisted that she has no intention of giving up just yet as she looks to the positives of her latest performance. Against Hsieh, she produced a total of 45 winners against 54 unforced errors and won 65% of her first service points.

“The match, some good things and some bad things,” Tennis Now quoted Clijsters as saying after the match. “Inconsistency but I think for me the most important thing, what I talked with my coach and my trainer about, and my fitness coach, was basically being able to get through these matches without big concerns. That was the main goal.
“I came close today but still have a good feeling – I’ve made progression. I think that’s the most important thing that I am looking at, is that I’m improving overall and that’s the positive thing.”

The 38-year-old has won 41 WTA titles during her career but the last time she did so was at the 2011 Australian Open. She first retired from the sport in May 2007 before returning two years later. Clijsters continued playing for another five years before calling it quits at the 2012 US Open following a lengthy battle with injuries.

Reflecting on her latest comeback, the Belgian says she has noticed that parts of her game have improved in recent months as she targets further improvement.

“I think just in general, the overall feeling, the way that I’ve felt in the first matches I played, it’s already a long time ago, but I felt like I was definitely anticipating better, maybe not the whole time but I definitely felt like I was doing the things I wanted to do, whereas in the past I was kind of just working my way into the match and trying to be in the right position,” she said.

Looking ahead to the coming weeks, Clijsters is hoping to gain entry into Indian Wells next week via a wild card. She is a two-time champion of the tournament after capturing the title in 2003 and 2008. The last time she played there was a decade ago.

“It’s not like I never made mistakes in the past. I’m okay with the mistakes where I felt within myself that I went for the shots. Sometimes the timing can still be off where I over hit it or don’t put enough spin on it. But those are mistakes that I can live with, it’s the ones where I’m not going for it.” She concluded.

Clijsters is also playing in the doubles draw this week in Chicago along with Kirsten Flipkens who hasn’t played a match since March due to an ankle injury.

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Rafael Nadal To Play Laver Cup In Berlin

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Rafael Nadal has eased speculation that he might be retiring from the sport soon after signing on to play in the Laver Cup later this year. 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion is the latest player to join the line-up for this year’s team competition which features Europe taking on the rest of the world over three days. It will be Nadal’s fourth appearance in the competition and his first since 2022. He competed in the inaugural edition of the event back in 2017 alongside co-founder Roger Federer. 

“I am very happy to be playing Laver Cup in Berlin for Team Europe,” Nadal said in a press release. “I have some really special memories from my Laver Cup experiences, including all the emotions from London two years ago playing alongside Roger for the last time.”

Nadal’s decision to play comes amid questions about his future in the sport. The former world No.1 has previously indicated that this year could be his last on the Tour but he has stated that no decision has been made. In recent months he has been sidelined from action due to injury setbacks and has only been able to play in two tournaments so far this year. 

“At this stage in my career I really want to go out there and make the most of every opportunity I am given,” he explains.
“Teaming up is always an incredible experience and I have always enjoyed it, the competition is different and exciting. I’m looking forward to going to Berlin and helping Team Europe win back the Laver Cup.”

Other European players confirmed to be playing are Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev. Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur, Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul have agreed to play for Team World. This year’s event will be held in Belin at the Uber Arena between September 20-22. 

The Laver Cup was inspired by golf’s Ryder Cup. It was co-founded by Federer’s Team8 management company (which he formed with agent Tony Godsick), businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann and Tennis Australia. In 2019 it became an official ATP sanction event and now has a place on the official calendar. 

Nadal is set to return to competitive action at the Madrid Masters which he has won on five previous occasions. He has been drawn to play teenage wild card Darwin Blanch in the first round. If he wins, Nadal will then play Alex de Minaur who knocked him out of the Barcelona Open last week. 

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Iga Swiatek beats Emma Raducanu to extend her winning streak to ten consecutive matches in Stuttgart

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Two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek held off 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 after 2 hours and 3 minutes to extend her winning streak to 10 consecutive matches at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. 

Swiatek set up a semifinal match against 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, who came back from a break down in the third set to beat this year’s Dubai champion Jasmine Paolini.

Raducanu came back from 0-40 down to earn the first break of the opening set. Swiatek converted her third break point in the second game in a seven-deuce second game. Raducanu saved the only other break point at deuce in the sixth game. Swiatek won the first four points and five of the first six points to win the tie-break 7-2. 

Swiatek earned five break points in the second, sixth and in the 12thgame, but she converted only one opportunity. Raducanu converted her only break point in the first game. Swiatek won nine more points than Swiatek. 

Swiatek broke Raducanu in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead. This break was decisive, as both players held on their next serve in their next games. 

Swiatek earned six break points in the third, fifth and ninth games, but she converted one chance. The Pole did not face a single break point and won eight more points than Raducanu.

“Raducanu started playing at the beginning pretty loose, like she had nothing to lose, and I totally get that. Sometimes it is like that. I knew I was questioning if she is going to be able to keep the same intensity throughout the whole match. It was not about service games or return games. I was just waiting for my chances to break back and I was sure that I am going to get them”, said Swiatek.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Sebastian Ofner in Barcelona to extend his winning streak

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Sebastian Ofner 6-4 7-5 at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell to extend his winning streak to seven consecutive matches after claiming his third title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters last week. 

Tsitsipas earned an immediate break in the first game. Ofner broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Tsitsipas earned his second break  in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and served out the first set 6-4 with a hold at 15. 

Tsitsipas broke in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner won three consecutive games with two breaks of serve to take a 5-3 lead. Tsitsipas came back by winning four consecutive games with two breaks of serve to seal the second set 7-5.

Tsitsipas has a record of 17 wins to 5 defeats in Barcelona. The Greek player reached three finals at this tournament in 2018, 2021 and 2023.  

“I feel pretty good, but it is still early in the tournament. The conditions here are very different to Monte-Carlo and I felt it today when I was playing. My job is to adapt and to ensure I can bring my A game again in Barcelona this week. Today was a great test to see where I stand. I am hoping to keep on improving and getting good wins like this under my belt”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitssipas set up a third round match against Roberto Carballes Baena, who beat Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

Musetti saved three break points in the first game of the opening set. The Italian player earned two break points with a backhand down the line. Musetti saved two break points in the seventh game. Both players went on serve un the 12th game when Carballes Baena saved a set point. Carballes Baena went up a 5-1 lead with two mini-breaks in the tie-break. Musetti won three consecutive points to reduce to 4-5. Carballes Baena won the final two points to take the tie-break 7-4. 

Carballes Baena converted his fourth break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Musetti broke back in the fifth game. Carballes Baena saved a break point in the sixth game. The Spanish player sealed the win with a break on his second match. 

Last week’s Monte-Carlo finalist Casper Ruud beat Alexandre Muller 6-3 6-4 to claim his 25th tour-level win of the season. Ruud has drawn level with Jannik Sinner for the most wins in 2024 on the ATP Tour. 

Ruud set up a third round match against Jordan Thompson, who beat Jaume Munar 6-4 2-4 6-4. Roberto Bautista Agut beat Andrea Vavassori 4-6 6-4 6-1 to claim his milestone 400th match win on the ATP Tour. Bautista Agut set up a third round match against Cameron Norrie. 

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