Simona Halep cruises past Gracheva to reach quarterfinals in Cluj-Napoca - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep cruises past Gracheva to reach quarterfinals in Cluj-Napoca

Simona Halep is into the last eight in her home country despite suffering a back injury.

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The number one seed got by her Russian opponent in straight sets to reach the final eight.

 

Simona Halep is through to the quarterfinals of the Transylvania Open in Cluj Napoca after beating the Russian Varvara Gracheva in straight sets 6-4 6-2 winning 81% of her first serve points in a match that lasted one hour and 14 minutes despite suffering a back injury.

The Romanian seemed in charge for most of the match but late in the second set she was treated for a back issue but confirms after the match she didn’t want to stop playing and she wanted to fight.

“I think I played good tennis in the first set until my back got stiff after an awkward move. After that, I just wanted to finish the points fast. She helped me a bit, doing a few errors and things went my way so I was able to win.”

It was indeed the number one seed with the faster start to the match earning two breakpoints in the first game and breaking the world number 81 to take an early 1-0 lead but was broken the following game to go back on serve.

At 2-2 the world number 18 had four chances to break and she was able to break the Russian serve once again at the fourth time of asking to take a 3-2 lead. This time she was able to hold serve and consolidate the break.

The next game she had three chances to go up a double break but the Moscow native saved all three and was able to hold serve. The set stayed on serve after that and Halep was able to serve it out to take a one set lead.

That’s when she called the trainer during the break between the end of the first set and the beginning of the second and it seemed like she had made a false movement as the trainer had a look at her lower back.

She eventually took a medical timeout off the court but was able to continue and once again got the first break of serve of the set to take an early 2-1 lead.

It stayed on serve until 4-2 when the Romanian had two chances to go up a double break and she did just that and served out the match.

After the match in her post-match interview, she spoke about not giving up even if she was not 100% and the will she had to fight and keep going.

“I promised myself that I will not quit, and this is what I try to do every time I go on court. Like I said, I am not interested in a certain result, I just want to have a few matches. And today I fought because I am home and I like to play here.”

Halep will face another Romanian Jaqueline Cristian on Friday in the quarterfinals after she beat the number five and Aussie Alja Tomlijanovc on Wednesday night.

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Davis Cup: Great Britain Handed Wildcard For 2022 Finals, Qualifiers Draw Announced

The Davis Cup Qualifiers draw was announced with Great Britain and Serbia handed a wildcard to next year’s finals.

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Great Britain and Serbia have been handed a wildcard for the 2022 Davis Cup Finals as the qualifiers draw was announced.

 

As this year’s Davis Cup comes to a conclusion, plans for next year’s competition have been put in place.

Although it is still unclear if the Finals will be held in Abu Dhabi next year, we do know which four countries have qualified for the year ending competition next month.

Russia and Croatia will contest the 2021 final, therefore earning themselves an automatic spot in next year’s finals.

However joining them will be two wildcards and they have been given to Novak Djokovic’s Serbia who reached the semi-finals this year as well as Great Britain.

To the surprise of many there was no wildcard for Spain, who are hosting the final this year, further indicating that next year’s competition is unlikely to take place in the country.

Spain join a whole host of other top nations such as Germany, France, USA, Canada and Australia in March’s qualifiers.

Spain will host Romania for a place in next year’s finals while France and USA have been given home ties against Ecuador and Colombia respectively.

Here is the full draw for the qualifiers which will take place on the 4th and 5th of March:

France v Ecuador

Spain v Romania

Finland v Belgium

USA v Colombia

Netherlands v Canada

Brazil v Germany

Slovakia v Italy

Australia v Hungary

Norway v Kazakhstan

Sweden v Japan

Argentina v Czech Republic

South Korea v Austria

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Iga Swiatek Working With Agnieszka Radwanska’s Former Coach After Recent Coaching Split

Iga Swiatek has made some coaching changes ahead of the 2022 season.

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Iga Swiatek will start working with Agnieszka Radwanska’s former coach Tomasz Wiktorowski on a temporary basis after splitting up with her long term coach.

 

The Pole announced the news on Instagram yesterday that she and Piotr Sierzputowski had split up after five years working with each other.

Swiatek had achieved ultimate success with Piotr having won Wimbledon Juniors, reaching her first WTA final in Lugano and the most important achievement of winning her first grand slam title at Roland Garros.

However the 20 year-old now feels its time to move on ahead of the 2022 season, “I’ve started my pre-season, but today I would like to tell you something significant,” Swiatek wrote on Instagram.

“After more than 5 years I’ve decided to finish my cooperation with my coach Piotr Sierzputowski. This change is really challenging for me and this decision wasn’t easy, either… As tennis players we meet on our path a lot of people who contribute great value into our work and, often, into our life too, because we spend almost the whole year on tour together.

“I found out that sometimes in our professional life we need changes to develop more, evolve and meet other people with whom we’re going to create a cooperation for the next stages of our development. 

“I would like to thank you Coach for everything that you did for me. We gave each other so much and I hope that we’ll continue to grow and develop with this experience we’ve gained together. I owe you a lot and truly appreciate the time we’ve spent together. All those years enabled us to be in the place that we are now. 

“I suppose you may have questions about what’s next. I have everything I need to be able to work and I would like to focus on my pre-season without any outside pressure. I hope you’ll understand it.”

https://twitter.com/Sierzputowsky/status/1467456169161678851

Although the news comes as a surprise given that Swiatek was the only woman to reach the last 16 of every grand slam 2021, it is always better for players to change coaches at the end of the season rather than mid-season.

Swiatek’s long-term replacement is yet to be discovered however the Pole has appointed former coach of Agnieszka Radwanska, Tomasz Wiktorowski as an interim replacement according to TenisKlub.Pl.

Wiktorowski was there for most of Radwanska’s successes and knows the polish tennis system well so will have a good working replacement with Swiatek.

The former Roland Garros champion is now starting preparations for the new season as she looks to win a second grand slam title at the Australian Open.

The first grand slam of the season in Melbourne will start on the 17th of January.

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‘Proud’ Barty Reflects On 2021 Season Ahead Of Pre-Season Preparations

Ash Barty has reflected on a great 2021 season as she looks forward to more success in 2022.

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World number one Ash Barty has reflected on her 2021 season as she prepares for next season with a tough pre-season schedule ahead.

 

It was another successful season for the world number one who ended the year as the world’s best player for the third year in a row.

Barty claimed her second grand slam title by winning Wimbledon having also won a bronze medal at the Olympics and claiming regular tour titles on clay and hard courts.

As a result the Australian won Queensland athlete of the year and spoke to Tennis Australia about winning the award and her off-season preparations, “It was an honour to win the Ashley Cooper Medal,” the world number one told tennis.com.au.

“I’m a proud Queensland athlete, so being recognised in my home state is always special. It’s definitely been nice to have some time at home after such a long year.

“I did feel rested until preseason started a few weeks ago! I’ve still been training every day but have managed to have quality time with family and friends. I’ve been working hard on and off court, doing everything I possibly can to get ready for January. The first few weeks of preseason are always tough physically.”

Having achieved so much at just 23 years old, Barty is definitely proud of her season as she looks to win more grand slam titles on a competitive WTA circuit in 2022.

Regardless of her status Barty is always trying to show good personal qualities and is looking forward to competing well next season, “I am proud I was able to finish the year at No. 1, especially after the challenging and unpredictable season,” Barty admitted.

“Being away from home for so long was really tough for not only me but my whole team, everyone made sacrifices which I’m very grateful for. We went into 2021 knowing it was going to be an adventure and it definitely was, I wouldn’t change it.

“Being the world No 1 is something I am very proud of, but my ranking doesn’t change the way I am. I try and be a good person and do the right thing, regardless of the number next to my name.”

Barty will look to kick off her season in the best possible way when she looks to capture her first Australian Open title when the event takes place on the 17th of January.

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