After Fairytale Breakthrough, Barbora Krejcikova Reaches New Highs At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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After Fairytale Breakthrough, Barbora Krejcikova Reaches New Highs At Australian Open

Krejcikova has already triumphed in doubles at Melbourne Park, now she has her sight set on singles glory.

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Image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen

The past 12 months have seen Barbora Krejcikova explode in the world of tennis from being a doubles specialist to becoming one of the top ranked singles players on the women’s Tour.

 

This time last year at the Australian Open the Czech fell in the second round to 29th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets. At the time she had only played in one WTA final in her career and was yet to break into the world’s top 50. Since then, Krejcikova has taken the Tour by storm following a shock run to the French Open title. During the same season she would win another two titles, as well as qualify for the WTA Finals in both singles and doubles.

Now seeded fourth at this year’s Australian Open, the 26-year-old is through to the quarter-finals after dropping one set in four matches played. Her latest victory was over two-time champion Victoria Azarenka who she defeated 6-2, 6-2, with relative ease. Azarenka was struggling with a neck issue throughout the match.

It’s just something special and magical. A couple months ago I wasn’t even in the top 100. Now I’m here and I’m playing on the biggest stadiums with the champions. I’m actually able to beat them,” said Krejcikova.
“I wouldn’t really say it’s disbelief anymore. I think it’s just a really amazing and special feeling that I go there and I want to win and I’m actually able to win against her.”

Now with the belief in her game, Krejcikova says she is not intimidated by the prospect of playing in arenas such as Rod Laver which has a capacity of almost 15,000 people. In fact, those situations are a big source of motivation for her.

I always wanted to play on a big stage, I always wanted to play on a big stadium where there are a lot of fans there giving us a nice atmosphere. It’s like a very nice motivation,” she explains.
“I really want to keep playing on these big courts. I really want the tournaments to have me there. I always loved it. It’s not really something new. I always loved it.”

Krejcikova has already achieved multiple success at Melbourne Park but in the doubles. She has won the mixed doubles title three years in a row (2019-2021) which is something that no other player have achieved in the Open Era. In 2021 she was also runner-up in the women’s doubles tournament with compatriot Kateřina Siniaková.

Now aiming to become the first Czech-born player to win the women’s singles title since Hana Mandlíková in 1987, Krejcikova switches her attention to her next match against Madison Keys. A former top 10 player and US Open finalist who has rediscovered some form lately. Keys, who is unseeded in the tournaments, thrashed Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-1, in her fourth round match.

“I think she’s really powerful, she’s always been very powerful,” the world No.4 said of her next opponent. ‘She does her things well and she likes to be aggressive.’
“We (my team) have to find a way to eliminate those things, and how to give her my game.”

Krejcikova is playing in the main draw of the Australian Open as a singles player for only the third time in her career.

Grand Slam

REPORT: French Open Qualifying Match Under Investigation Over Irregular Betting Patterns

An unusual number of bets were placed on the match in three different countries.

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A first round match at this week’s French Open qualifying tournament is being looked into after an abnormally high number of bets was placed, according to a leading French newspaper.

 

L’Equipe have cited police sources saying that the clash between eighth seed Bernabé Zapata Miralles and Dudi Sela has flagged up irregular patterns. Miralles defeated his Israeli rival 6-3, 6-0, in less than an hour. It is understood that the focus of the investigation is on the second set which lasted less than 20 minutes. A total of 32 points was placed in that set with Sela only winning seven of those.

According to the source, an unusually high number of bets were placed on the match in three different countries – Cyprus, Ukraine and Armenia. Prompting judicial authorities to look into the possibility that the match could have been fixed but at present no formal investigation has been confirmed.

“There is no business,” the French Tennis Federation (FFT) was quoted by Le Parisien as saying on the matter.

37-year-old Sela is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400 but managed to get into the qualifying draw with the use of a protected ranking. He has only played in two singles tournaments so far this season with the other being at the Australian Open where he also lost in the first round of qualifying.

Sela confirmed in January that 2022 would be his last as a professional. A former top 30 player, he has reached the final of two ATP events in China (2008) and Atlanta (2014). He also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2009 and has beaten three top 10 players during his career.

Meanwhile, Miralles sealed his place in the French Open main draw on Thursday after coming from a set down to beat Luca Nardi 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that either player has been involved in match-fixing. According to statistics from L’Equipe, there has been a 177% increase in online bets concerning the French Open over a five-year period to 128M euros in 2021.

This year players who lose in the first round of qualifying at the French Open will earn €14,000, which is a 40% increase on 2021.

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“Healthy Mind In A Healthy Body”: Asics To Include Psychological Support In Sponsored Players’ Contracts

Matteo Berrettini and Iga Swiatek are among those who will benefit from the help of mental health experts

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Iga Swiatek - Roma 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

by Andrea Mastronuzzi, translated by Massimo Volpati

The more the years pass, the more professional sport assumes the contours of a job like many others (certainly more profitable, but in some ways even more stressful), and the more officials realise how essential it is to be able to count on mental coaches or psychologists. Both to withstand external pressures and to achieve one’s goals and therefore endure another type of pressure, which comes from one’s inner self. 

 

Tennis players increasingly talk about their difficulties in terms of mental strength and underline the crucial role played by the psychologists who support them: From women’s world No.1 Iga Swiatek (she also spoke about it in the press conference after her victory over Andreescu in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open) to Denis Shapovalov, Alex de Minaur and Naomi Osaka. The new queen of women’s tennis, signed up by ASICS, will be able to take full benefit from psychological support provided by the Japanese company.

It is no coincidence that ASICS is the first sponsor to include this aid in the partnership agreements it has entered into with its tennis players. The company name is in fact the acronym of a variant of the famous Latin phrase “mens (which becomes anima) sana in corpore sano”, namely “healthy mind in healthy body.” The brand collaborated with some researchers from Kings College London on the realisation of a study (“State of Mind”) which allowed to identify a positive link between tennis and mental health. In the wake of these results, ASICS has set up a facility in Paris where fans are offered the opportunity to play tennis and deal with their psychological state at the same time.

In addition to its initiatives centred on mental health, ASICS has kicked off a mental health support project involving their sponsored professional tennis players. Among these there are Matteo Berrettini, David Goffin and de Minaur. Everyone will rely on a team of experts made available by the Japanese brand and led by Daria Abramovicz (who spoke with ubitennis.net last year) who has been working with Swiatek for some time. The young psychologist said that “by offering confidential support, it is possible to help normalize what is normal and assist players along their journey towards a healthy mind in a healthy body”.

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Richard Gasquet upsets Danil Medvedev in Geneva

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Richard Gasquet upset Danil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (7-5) with three breaks of serve in 90 minutes to reach the second round at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

 

Gasquet scored his first win over an opponent ranked in the top 2 since he beat world number 1 Roger Federer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2005. 

Medvedev had beaten Gasquet in their only previous head-to-head match at the 2021 US Open en route to his first Grand Slam title. 

Medvedev was playing his first match since Miami in March after undegoing hernia surgery.

Gasquet won six consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and built up a 6-2 2-0 lead.  

Medveved dropped his serve after three double faults with three double faults. The Russian player broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and held serve at love with an ace. 

Medvedev recovered from a mini-break down in the tie-break. Gasquet earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

The Frenchman will face Kamil Majchrzak, who cruised past Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-3.

Thanasi Kokkinakis earned his first win on clay in seven years with a 6-4 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini in 1 hour and 28 minutes. 

Kokkinakis went up a break to take a 4-1 lead. Fognini broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4.  Kokkinakis broke serve at love in the tenth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

Fognini made two double faults and missed three game points before dropping serve in the second game of the second set. Kokkinakis did not face any break points in his remaining four service games. 

Christopher O’Connell edged past Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to set up a second round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Paulo Sousa cruised past 2021 semifinalist Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-4. Sousa will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was leading 6-4 before Facundo Bagnis retired from the match.

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