Ash Barty Hails Australian Open’s Inaugural First Nations Day After Dominant Win - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Hails Australian Open’s Inaugural First Nations Day After Dominant Win

The world No.1 explains why Tennis Australia’s latest initiative means so much to her.

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Image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen

Ash Barty said it was ‘really cool’ to be involved in celebrating a brand new initiative that has began at the Australian Open this year.

Wednesday at Melbourne Park marked the inaugural First Nations Day at the tournament which celebrates the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. A topic close to Barty’s heart. The reigning Wimbledon champion has Aborigine roots with her father, Robert, coming from the Ngarigo community of indigenous people. Following her first round win at the Australian Open she described herself as a ‘proud Ngarigo woman, a very very proud Indigenous woman.’

“It was really cool. It was nice for me to be a part of it in a way that I feel most comfortable I suppose. Out on the tennis court is how I express myself as an athlete, it’s how I’m able to express myself as a person as well,” Barty told reporters on Wednesday.
“On a day we’re bringing cultures together, bringing people together, it was really nice for me to go out and enjoy that.’
“I just met a few of the kids that have come down from Alice Springs and all around Australia, which is amazing for them to come and experience the Australian Open on a really special day for our culture and our heritage.”

On the court Barty was in ruthless form as she stormed past Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 6-1, in less than an hour. Dropping only three points behind her first serve as she hit a total of 21 winners against 14 unforced errors. She has dropped only three games in two matches played so far at the Grand Slam.

“I felt like I wanted to try to use my experience a little bit today, get off to a quick start. I felt like I was able to do that. I served well. I was able to find plenty of forehands and control the match quite well, so pleased with that one.” Said Barty.

This year the 25-year-old is seeking to become the first home player in more than 40 years to win the women’s title at the Australian Open and one of only four to do so in the Open Era. Following in the footsteps of Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, and Chris O’Neil.

One particular area of Barty’s game that she hopes will help take her to the title is her serve. Something which she has been working on during the off-season.

“I’m not the biggest girl out there, but I know I’ve got a sound technique and I know if I can get my rhythm right and use it effectively, it can be a weapon,” she explained.
“I think Tyz (her coach Craig Tyzzer) and I put a lot of emphasis on my serve, I always have as a kid. I was always serving baskets and baskets of serves to try to create that weapon, try to create a really sound shot.’
“I think I’ve just been able to find some good rhythm and a big part of that is protecting my second serve when I need to do as well. I thought I’ve done a pretty good job of that over the last half dozen matches or so.”

Awaiting Barty in the third round will be Italy’s Camila Giorgi who is seeded 30th in the draw. Giorgi defeated Tereza Martincová 6-2, 7-6(2), in her second round match. It is the fourth time in her career she has reached the round of 32 in Melbourne.

“She has the ability to hold baseline, to control the center of the court, be super, super aggressive off her serve and first shot, particularly off her return,” Barty said of her next opponent.
“It’s going to be a match where I’m going to have to serve well, bring in variety, make sure I can cover the court, neutralize the best that I can.”

Barty leads Giorgi 3-0 in their head-to-head but one of those wins was via retirement.

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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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