Garbine Muguruza Blames Covid Outbreak Among Team For Shock Australian Open Exit - UBITENNIS
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Garbine Muguruza Blames Covid Outbreak Among Team For Shock Australian Open Exit

The world No.3 reveals that her preparations for the new season was severely disrupted.

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Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza says issues with her preparation leading up to the Australian Open played its part in her shock defeat on Thursday.

 

The third seed fell 6-3, 6-3, to French veteran Alize Cornet in what is her earliest exit from the tournament since 2013. Muguruza struggled with her consistency on the court as she produced a total of 33 unforced errors which was twice more than that of her opponent. The Spaniard also dropped her serve twice in the match, once in each set. It is the second year in a row she has been beaten by Cornet on the Tour.

I didn’t feel my game at all. My serve wasn’t there. I think my shots weren’t there also,” Muguruza said afterwards.
“Tactically I think I wasn’t doing the right decisions either. On top of that she played very well, a very solid game. I think she plays better when she’s playing against top players.” She added.

Muguruza has now won just two matches out of four played so far this season. Prior to the first Grand Slam of 2022, she fell in the second round of the Sydney International to Daria Kasatkina. The result is a stark contrast to how she ended last year by winning her maiden WTA Finals trophy.

Reflecting on her recent form, the 28-year-old says her preparation in recent weeks has been affected by an outbreak of COVID-19 among her team. As a result, they were unable to travel to Australia on the date which was initially planned and Muguruza ended up being without her entourage for two weeks.

“It’s been a pretty stressful start of the year with my team. They all got COVID before coming here. We were, like, for 15 days apart,” she revealed.
“It was hard for my preparation to come to the Aussie swing and play and perform well. Physically here I wasn’t also feeling my best. It was a kind of a stressful start of the year I would say.’

All players at the Australian Open have to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival but it appears that the rules have been somewhat relaxed as the tournament progressed. Muguruza says she takes her own test twice a day but is not required to do so. However, she doesn’t have to show that test result upon arrival at Melbourne Park.

Muguruza is the fifth former Grand Slam champion to exit this year’s Australian Open women’s draw, joining Sofia Kenin, Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Sloane Stephens.

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Novak Djokovic reaches the semifinal in Tel Aviv

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Novak Djokovic beat Canadian lucky loser Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to reach the semifinal at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. 

 

Djokovic has improved his record to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Pospisil. He has won all 13 sets they have played. 

Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Djokovic earned two mini-breaks to race out to a 4-0 lead. Pospisil won five of the next six points to draw level to 5-5. Djokovic won the next two points to seal the tie-break 7-5. 

Djokovic went up a break at the start of the second set. Pospisil broke back in the fifth game to reduce the deficit to 2-3. Djokovic broke again in the eighth game before serving out for the match in the next game. 

Djokovic set up a semifinal against Roman Safiulin. The Serbian player is aiming to win his third title this season after his previous triumphs in Rome and Wimbledon. He is currently ranked 15th in the ATP Race to Turin. As he won a Grand Slam title at Wimbeldon this year, he will qualify for the ATP Finals if he remains in the top 20. 

“It was a great and positive win. Vasek is one of my best friends on the tour. We have known each other for many years. It is never easy playing someone you respect so much and like so much, but we are both professionals and wanted to win the match and you can see that. ”, said Djokovic. 

Constant Lestienne came back from one set down to beat Maxime Cressy 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-3) setting up a semifinal against Marin Cilic, who reached his fifth semifinal this year after receiving a walkover from Liam Broady.   

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Jannik Sinner reaches his third consecutive semifinal at the Sofia Open

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Jannik Sinner cruised past Aleksandar Vukic 6-2 6-3 to advance to his third consecutive semifinal at the Sofia Open. Sinner scored his 45th tour.level win this season moving up to 12th in the ATP Race to Turin. He will rise to 10th if he wins his third consecutive title in Sofia. 

 

Sinner has extended his winning streak to 11-0 at the Sofia Open. He claimed the trophy at this tournament at the Sofia Open in 2020 before he successfully defended his title last year.  

Sinner faced four break points after three double faults in the first game of opening set. Vukic saved a break point with a forehand at 1-2. Sinner broke twice in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. 

Sinner built up a 3-0 lead with a break at the start of the second set. Vukic broke back in the seventh game for 3-4. Sinner earned his second break in the eighth game. Sinner missed out on his first match point with his fifth double fault. Vukic fended off a second match point with a forehand passing shot. Sinner saved a break point with an ace before sealing the win on his third match point. 

“I hope to raise my level in the next match. I am happy to reach the third semifinal at this tournament. I feel at home in Sofia. I will try to play my best tennis in every match”, said Sinner, 

Sinner will face a semifinal match against Holger Rune, who will face Ilya Ivashka 6-2 5-7 6-4 after 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

Rune broke in the fifth and seventh games to win the first set 6-2. Ivashka saved four break points in th third game before breaking for the first time in the match in the 12th game to close out the second set 7-5. 

Rune earned a break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Rune broke for the second game in the ninth game and held serve on his second match point. 

Lorenzo Musetti moved past world number 132 player Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after 1 hour and 16 minutes to reach his second ATP Tour semifinal of the season. 

Struff earned an early break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead. Musetti came back from 15-40 down to break back in the fifth game with a backhand passing shot winner. Musetti went down 0-2 in the tie-break, but he rallied by winning seven of the next eight points to seal the tie-break 7-3. Musetti broke twice in the second and fourth games and sealed the win on his first match point with a forehand winner after 77 minutes. Musetti set up a semifinal match against Marc Andrea Huesler, who saved two match points in the tie-break of the second set to beat Kamil Majchrzak 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3. 

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Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin

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Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals singles tournament in Turin, Joining Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal and US Open winner Carlos Alcaraz. 

 

Ruud secured his spot in the year-end championships by winning his second-round match in Seoul. 

Ruud reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Miami and two Grand Slam finals at Roland Garros and at the US Open. He also won three ATP Tour titles in Buenos Aires, Geneva and Gstaad. The Norwegian player has scored 47 ATP Tour-level wins and is ranked third behind only Alcaraz (52) and Tsistipas (49). 

Ruud made his first appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin last year. He won his round robin matches against against Cameron Norrie and Andrey Rublev before losing to Danil Medvedev in the semifinal. 

“I just got the news that I qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin and I am looking forward to coming back to Italy. I had such a great time last year. It’s a great country for tennis”, said Ruud. 

Tsitsipas has become the fourth player to qualify to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals. The Greek player will make his fourth consecutive appearance at the year-end tournament. He won the title in 2019 beating Novak Djokovic in the final. Tsitsipas started the 2022 season with a semifinal at the Australian Open last January. He advanced to the final in Rotterdam where he finished runner-up to Felix Auger Aliassime.

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion won his second consecutive title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Last May Tsitsipas finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. During the US hard-court season the Athens native player lost to Borna Coric in the final of the Cincinnati Masters 1000 tournament. 

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