Anett Kontaveit overpowers Krunic in Cluj-Napoca - UBITENNIS
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Anett Kontaveit overpowers Krunic in Cluj-Napoca

Anett Kontaveit took a step towards the WTA Finals with a straight sets win in Cluj today.

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The number two seed only needed two sets and 70 minutes to beat her Serbian opponent.

Anett Kontaveit is through to the second round of the Transylvania Open, being played at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca, beating the Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 10 minutes.

The world number 14 served two aces and won 69% of the points on her first serve in a match where she seemed to outhit her opponent using her powerful groundstrokes.

“The match was close and it was only break in the first set and I thought I was playing pretty well and winning a lot of points on my first serve but I actually think she served well and it wasn’t an easy match and the second set got really close”.

The Estonian had the better start to the match holding serve in her opening game and putting pressure on the Serb right away earning two chances to break serve and got the early break to take a 2-0 lead.

That one break was enough for Kontaveitt to serve out the first set and take it 6-3.

The second set was a more competitive affair and it stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Tallinn, Estonia native was able to break the Serb at love to take a 3-2 lead and she was able to consolidate the break.

It stayed on serve until 4-3 when the world number 44 fought back and was able to break the Estonian serve and the set went back on serve. Once again both players did a good job holding serve until 5-5 when Kontaveit got the crucial break of serve and served out the match.

After the match in her post-match press conference, Kontaveit spoke about how she was feeling energy-wise after such a short turnaround time from winning the title in Moscow last week.

” I feel like the energy has dropped a little bit but I did manage to bring some of the energy today and still be active and be aggressive.”

Kontaveit will now face Alison Van Uytvanck in her next match after the Belgian beat Danka Kovinic in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day.

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Elena Rybakina Looking To Adapt To Clay, Reaches Stuttgart Semi-Finals

Elena Rybakina has admitted it takes time to adapt to clay as she prepares for the semi-finals in Stuttgart.

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Elena Rybakina is into the semi-finals in Stuttgart after a 6-3 5-7 6-3 win over Jasmine Paolini.

After surviving a three set match against Veronika Kudermetova in her first round, Rybakina continued to struggle on the clay against the Italian.

However the former Wimbledon champion produced some big tennis in vital moments in order to reach the last four in Germany.

Although she has had success in the past on the clay, Rybakina knows that it will take time for her to adapt on the surface.

Speaking after her win over Kudermetova Rybakina explained the reasons why it is difficult to have immediate success on clay, “Well, I always believed that I can play good on clay. My first win on the WTA was on clay,” Rybakina was quoted by tennis365 as saying.

“It’s just the season is quite short, and of course me, for example, I need a bit more time to get used, to adapt, to play some matches. But overall I think that I can play well on all the surfaces. Last year it was a great tournament in Rome, and then the French Open, I actually feel also well there.

“I like the courts. It’s just I was unlucky with sickness, so I think I’m doing pretty well for now. I like a faster surface, and I think in Madrid it’s quite fast. For now I was not successful there, but I think that’s a great tournament for me.

“Rome was nice. As I said, French Open, I like the courts. It’s just the question of good preparation and being healthy. And then it all depends on you and of course on the opponent.”

Last year Rybakina claimed the title in Rome and was one of the favourites for Roland Garros.

However the Kazakh had to withdraw in the third round due to illness which hampered her progress throughout the season.

Now Rybakina will look to make amends for that as she is into the semi-finals in Stuttgart where she will play either defending champion Iga Swiatek or Emma Raducanu.

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Rafael Nadal Takes Positives From Barcelona Exit Against Alex De Minaur

Rafael Nadal exited the tournament in Barcelona in the second round to Alex De Minaur.

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Rafael Nadal believes that he can be competitive for Roland Garros despite his 7-5 6-1 defeat to Alex De Minaur in Barcelona.

The 12-time champion suffered a straight sets defeat to the in-form Australian in the second round.

There was a valiant comeback from Nadal in the opening set as he recovered from a break down to get back onto level terms.

However De Minaur was too strong for Nadal as the world number eleven won nine of the last ten games to set up a third round meeting with Daniel Altmaier or Arthur Fils.

After the match Nadal congratulated De Minaur on the victory and analysed his own performance, “I mean Alex is a great player but honestly no, in terms of tennis today he’s in better shape than me so he is playing at a really high level since the beginning of the season, I think he made a really important step forward in his level of tennis,” Nadal told reporters in Barcelona.

“So just happy for him and congratulate him for the level he played today. And I think I was able to show myself most important to show the world and show myself when I was really trying and showed a high percentage of intensity, my level was there to compete.

“And I didn’t practice a lot so that encourages me to keep going and tells me that if I spend the day on the tour and keep practicing with the players on this surface, I really hope and really believe that I can keep being competitive and my body will allow me to push the way that I know.”

The defeat to De Minaur was Nadal’s third match all season having struggled with injury with the Spaniard hinting this could be his last time playing in Barcelona.

Despite the loss Nadal admits he feels happier and more comfortable than he did a couple of weeks ago, “I feel much more comfortable and much more happier today than one week and a half ago,” Nadal explained.

“I managed to play two matches, playing against great players and I mean when I was able to play I was not very far without a doubt. And I feel myself that if I’m able to keep practicing days on the tour and if my body allows me to spend hours on court and have the practices the way that I need.”

Now the next goal for Nadal is to try to reclaim his Roland Garros title, a tournament he has won on 14 different occasions.

As for Roland Garros Nadal just hopes he can be competitive for the second Grand Slam of the season as he intensifies his preparations over the next few weeks, “I hope to be competitive, that’s the truth and I hope and believe that I can be competitive in a few weeks,” Nadal stated.

“That’s the way I need to perceive today and my final goal is to give myself a chance to be realistically competing at Roland Garros. In my tennis career I was able to compete at the highest level at every single tournament, trying to win tournaments and I was not able to do it today.

“But I hope to be ready in a few weeks.”

Before Roland Garros, Nadal will hope to play in Madrid which starts on the 25th of April.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Sinner; now aims for Third Title in Monte Carlo

Stylish Greek completes comeback win and re-enters the top ten.

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After winning two in a row in 2021-2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now in reach of a third title at the prestigious Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, after beating World number two Jannik Sinner in three gruelling sets.

The 25-year-old had to battle hard and come from a break down in the third to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and now plays Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The Greek has had an indifferent start to the year with a 11-6 win-loss record, but today was his first top three victory since the 2022 Cincinatti Masters – where he beat Daniil Medvedev – and ensures a return back into the top ten of the men’s rankings.

Tsitsipas recognised how hard he had to fight and revealed after the match just how satisfied he was of his performance:

“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play. Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game. He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and the way I overcame it is true excellence.”

Sinner double faulted at 30-40 to gift the break early with the score at one game all. From there, Tsistipas rallied with poise and confidence in a brilliant opening set lasting 44 minutes including a stunning backhand down-the-line winner to open the game when serving at 4-3. He took the first set 6-4 after a tiring 18-shot rally – where both players hit all angles of the court – before Sinner hit a forehand wide.

However, 22-year-old Sinner struck back immediately on his first breakpoint at the start of the second set when he won a close exchange at the net and then took a 3-0 lead.  He later survived a breakback point when 4-2 up and crucially held on for 5-2. He faced more pressure when serving for the set at 5-3 and was taken to deuce but levelled the match at one-set-all on his second set point to give the crowd exactly what they were asking f

Sinner was now in full flow hitting powerfully from the baseline and once again broke early at the start of the final set to take a 3-1 lead. But with the match now entering the third hour he began to tire physically and called for the trainer during the changeover with the score at 4-3.  When the match resumed, he lost the next three games and the Greek had completed a remarkable turnaround, handing his opponent just his second defeat of the season in two hours and forty minutes.

“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”

Sinner’s only loss prior to today was against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells semi-finals. He has been the stand out player this year after already winning titles in Rotterdam, the Miami Open, and his maiden Grand Slam in Australia. Despite having won 25 matches overall though, he now trails Tsitsipas 3-6 in their head-to-head rivalry.

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