Tennis Greats Hail Emma Raducanu’s US Open Run - UBITENNIS
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Tennis Greats Hail Emma Raducanu’s US Open Run

Mats Wilander believes the youngster will win multiple Grand Slam titles in the future as other former top players share their views.

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Emma Raducanu (Pete Staples/USTA)

The rise of Emma Raducanu in women’s tennis has earned her a barrage of praise from some of the sport’s former stars.

 

Raducanu has become the first qualifier – male or female – to reach the final of a Grand Slam tournament after defeating Maria Sakkari in straight sets. The 18-year-old is now set to break into the world’s top 40 next week following her run in what will be a jump of around 300 places since the start of 2021. Raducanu only made her WTA debut in June and has still played just 12 main draw matches heading into her first major final.

Achieving what is the best result of a British woman in a Grand Slam tournament since 1977, many are tipping her to be a star in the future with Mats Wilander leading the praise. Speaking to Eurosport, the Swedish former world No.1 believes she has the ability to go to the very top of the women’s game.

“She is a star – she is going to win multiple Grand Slams for sure, and she deserves to be in the final,” Wilander commented.
“When you are 18 years old and you go into these big matches, you know what you can do. You don’t know what you cannot do, but you know what you can do, and she’s been doing exactly what she’s been doing for nine matches.
“Her level is not going to go below that. She is confident; she is young; she has no fear of the unknown at all; and she is going to be really tough to beat in the final.
“With Raducanu and with Leylah Fernandez, they know how to win. They know how to stay calm in the most important moments. They have a natural gift of not panicking, and that’s amazing. I can’t even explain it.”

Wilander joins a growing list of former legends of the game to speak highly about Raducanu who also reached the fourth round of Wimbledon earlier this year. Martina Navratilova has hailed the teenager for being able to live up to the hype. Navratilova is one of the most decorated Grand Slam winners in the history of tennis with 18 titles in singles, 31 in doubles and 10 in the mixed doubles.

“When you make history you do it at one level or two. Emma is doing it at so many levels,” she said.
“You can’t even think about the repercussions. We’ve been hyping her up but it’s happening. She’s backing it up.”

Former world No.4 Tim Henman, who is working for Amazon Prime during the US Open, describes the achievements of his compatriot as ‘staggering.’ Prior to this year’s tournament, Raducanu had never played a top 20 player on the Tour. However, in New York, she has scored back-to-back straight sets wins over Belinda Bencic and Sakkari.

“It’s an absolutely staggering performance,” Henman told Amazon Prime. “If we just look at the way she came out and played, her quality of tennis from start to finish, she was so resilient. She never flinched.
“She never let up. It was relentless. And then you’ve got to throw in the scenario of being a qualifier, an 18-year-old, with all the legends who have ever played this game at Grand Slam level. She is the first person to qualify and reach the final. It’s simply stunning.
“She deserves all the credit in the world. On the biggest stage in our sport at every opportunity she plays on her terms. It’s incredible to watch. She’ll need to enjoy this tonight and then get ready for Saturday.”

1997 US Open men’s runner-up Greg Rusedski added to Henman’s praise with his own remarks.

I’m dumbfounded. That performance was worthy of a world No 1, a US Open champion, a multiple Grand Slam champion,” he said.
“The composure, the belief, the handling of the big points. This is her first Grand Slam semi-final and it was like she was playing in the first round. It was astonishing.”

Seeking to become the first British woman to win the US Open since Virginia Wade in 1968, Raducanu faces a tough test in the final against fellow rising star Leylah Fernandez who has already defeated three top five seeds in the tournament.

The women’s final will take place on Saturday.

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Marco Cecchinato saves seven break points he faced to beat Dominic Thiem in Geneva

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Marco Cecchinato saved all seven break points he faced to beat 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 34 minutes in the opening round of the Gonet Geveva Open. 

 

Cecchinato avenged his defeat against Thiem, who beat the Italian player in straight sets in the Roland Garros semifinal in 2018. 

Thiem missed the second part of the 2021 season due to a wrist injury. The Austrian player made his come-back last March at the ATP Challenger tournament in Marbella and he has not scored a single win in his six matches. 

Cecchinato saved two break points in a long third game after four deuces in the third game of the second set. Cecchinato dropped just three points in his remaining two service games to close out the first set 6-3. 

Cecchinato missed a break point at 1-1 in the second set before saving five break points in the fourth game to hold serve after four deuces. Cecchinato earned the decisive break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held his next two service games easily to seal the second set 6-3 after 1 hour and 33 minutes. 

Cecchinato set up a second round match against Kamil Majchrzak, who overcame Alexander Bublik 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-3. 

John Millman cruied past John Millman 6-3 6-1 setting up a second match against Danil Medvedev, who will play his first clay-court match of the year after a hernia problem. Federico Delbonis edged past Lithuanian wild card Rikardas Berankis 6-4 6-4. Last year’s Winston Salem champion Ilya Ivashka came back from one set down to beat Marcos Giron 4-6 6-3 6-2. 

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Daniil Medvedev ‘Happy To Play Wimbledon’ If Ban Is Lifted

The world No.2 says he is willing to speak with other players about the situation ahead of his return to action following surgery.

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Daniil Medvedev (RUS) in action against Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Daniil Medvedev says he is still hopeful that he might be able to play at this year’s Wimbledon Championships should officials at The All England Club decide to change their stance.

 

At present the reigning US Open champion will not be allowed to play at the grass court major due to his nationality. Officials at the Grand Slam have confirmed that Russian and Belarussian players have been banned from the event due to the war in Ukraine. Ian Hewitt, who is the chairman of The AELTC, said the action was taken in order to prevent ‘the propaganda machine of the Russian regime’ from potentially benefiting from their players’ success.

The ban is a controversial move for the sport which until now had a united approach when it came to allowing those players participate in tournaments but only as neutral athletes. Former Wimbledon champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokopvic and Andy Murray have all expressed some degree of opposition to the decision. Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA are considering the possibility of removing the allocation of ranking points at the event.

Speaking about the ban ahead of this week’s Geneva Open, Medvedev acknowledges that it is a ‘tricky situation’ but is still hopeful that a u-turn could occur which would allow him to play. The 26-year-old has made four main draw appearances at Wimbledon with his best result being a run to the fourth round last year.

“There has been a lot of talk around it. I just tried to follow what’s happening because I don’t have any decisions to make. It’s right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved,” news agency AFP quoted Medvedev as telling reporters in Switzerland.
“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.
“I can play: I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
“I cannot play: well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.”

The former world No.1 has been among a group of Russian players who have previously called for peace in the region. Although none of them have gone as far as publicly condemning the actions of their government. Something which has drawn criticism from Ukraine’s Elina Svitoliva.

“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev commented on the war.

Geneva will be the first event Medvedev has played in since reaching the quarter-finals of the Miami Open. He took time away from the Tour to undergo hernia surgery but has confirmed he intends to play at next week’s French Open despite his lack of match play on the clay.

During his time at those events, the tennis star says he is more than happy to speak with other players about the Wimbledon ban should they want to.

“Since I haven’t been on the tour, I haven’t talked to any of them face to face. It was the first time when I came here on Saturday when I can talk to players, and if they start talking about this, we can discuss,” he said.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening, what’s going to happen, if there are going to be more decisions made.
“Same about Wimbledon. I don’t know if this decision is 100 percent, and it’s over.”

Granted a bye in the first round, Medvedev will start his Geneva campaign against either Richard Gasquet or John Millman.

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Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic win their fourth ATP Masters 1000 doubles title

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Defending champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic battled past John Isner and Diego Schwartzman 6-2 6-7 (6-7) 12-10 to claim their fourth ATP Masters 1000 doubles title together at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Mektic and Pavic broke twice to win a one-sided opening set 6-2. Both teams went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break of the second set. The Croatians earned a championship point at 6-5 in the tie-break, but Schwartzman hit a pair of forehand winners to force a Match Tie-Break. 

Both teams did not convert match points before Mektic and Pavic won the final two points to seal the Match Tie-Break 11-9. 

Isner became the first player to reach three Masters 1000 doubles finals with three different players in the same year. The US player won two consecutive Sunshine Double trophies in Indian Wells with Jack Sock and the Miami Open with Hubert Hurkacz.  Mektic and Pavic won nine ATP Tour titles last year and finished the 2021 season as the world number 1 team in the ATP Doubles Rannking. They had not won a title so far in 2022 before the Rome tournament, but they showed their form this week, as they dropped just one set during the tournament. The Croatian Doubles team beat Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in the semifinal on Saturday.

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