Jelena Ostapenko Target's Return To Top Following Dubai Triumph - UBITENNIS
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Jelena Ostapenko Target’s Return To Top Following Dubai Triumph

The 24-year-old has big ambitions for the future after winning her fifth Tour title.

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Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) - Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

After her fairytale run at the Dubai Tennis Championships, Jelena Ostapenko has set some big goals which she hopes to achieve in the coming months.

 

The Latvian was in clinical form throughout her participation in Dubai which is categorized as a WTA 500 event. Impressively Ostapenko scored wins over Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep en route to the final. All of whom are former Grand Slam champions. Then in the final she dropped just four games against Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova. She also reached the final of the doubles tournament with Lyudmyla Kichenok where standing on the other side of the court was Kudermetova once again with her partner Elise Mertens.

It’s not very often you have to play singles and doubles [finals] against the same person,” said Ostapenko. “I was really happy after my singles, I was in a very positive place.
“But I think Veronika, she wanted to win at least doubles because it’s not the best thing to lose in the [singles] final, to go to the [doubles] final and lose it. At least she has a doubles title. For me was very important to win in singles, which I did, so I’m happy.”

Ostapenko’s win continues what has been a solid start to the season for her. She also reached the semi-finals of the St. Petersburg Open, as well as the third round of the Australian Open. Last year she didn’t win any titles on the Tour.

Now with a spring in her step, the 24-year-old is eyeing a return back inside the top 10 for the first time since September 2018. On top of that, Ostapenko hopes to win a second Grand Slam title in the near future. Since claiming the 2017 French Open crown, she has only reached the second week of a major twice with the most recent of those being almost four years ago at Wimbledon.

“Of course, my goals are big: to win in another Grand Slam and to be back in top 10,” she said. “I didn’t expect that I would have such a great beginning of the year – not like I didn’t expect, but I never thought about it. I had a good pre-season, I was working hard. I’m playing well and getting some confidence, which is great.”

One of the people guiding Ostapenko on the Tour is former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli who first started working with the tennis player towards the end of 2019. Speaking to Tennis Majors following the conclusion of the Dubai tournament, Bartoli believes one of the key issues which has been troubling her player in recent years is the mental side of her game.

“She has a very aggressive game, but sometimes she’s lacking a bit of confidence in herself, and obviously having so much pressure of winning very early on a Grand Slam and you expect yourself to do so well every single time,” she said.
“Sometimes she just felt like every time she was on the court she had to play the same way as she did to win Roland-Garros.”

Ostapenko’s next challenge will be at the Doha Open where she is the 15th seed in the draw. In the first round she will play French qualifier Oceane Dodin. In her section of the draw, she could then face Amanda Anisimova in the second round followed by second seed Barbora Krejčíková.

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‘She Got lucky’ – Jelena Ostapenko Has Dig At Opponent After Wimbledon Exit

The top 20 star was also not happy with the umpire following her latest loss.

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Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) - Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

Former Grand Slam champion Jelena Ostapenko believes her exit from Wimbledon was nothing but a stroke of bad luck after criticizing her match umpire.

 

Ostapenko, who was the 12th seed in the tournament, fell 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, to Germany’s Tatjana Maria. The clash was a frustrating encounter for the Latvian who had an array of chances to establish a strong lead. After winning the opener, she boasted a break advantage in each of the next two sets before losing them. Then at 5-4 in the third, she failed to convert two match points before losing the final two games of the match.

“I thought it was like my match. I had to win it and she got just so lucky in some moments so she could come back. I felt I was the player who had to win this match today,” said Ostapenko.

Claiming that she felt she was playing at a better level than Maria,  Ostapenko has taken a swipe at the match official for making in her view ‘a huge mistake.’   She is not the first player to criticize the court officials with Nick Kyrgios expressing his frustration about them multiple times at the tournament.

“She got lucky, she framed it, put the ball on the line,” she commented on how her match ended. “Then the chair umpire made a huge mistake on 5-All in the third set when it was breakpoint on my serve and I had no challenges left. People who watched the match texted me that it was quite big out.”
“All those small things together, they come and you can lose such a match. Of course, I’m really disappointed because if I lost against an amazing player who just beat me in a great match, but I just lost my match.”

A win would have elevated Ostapenko into the last eight of a major for the first time since Wimbledon 2018. The 25-year-old is currently ranked 17th in the world but has been as high as fifth before.

It was visible how annoyed she was with the match immediately afterward when she threw her water bottle onto her chair out of anger, knocking it out. Prompting an inevitable reaction of boos from the crowd.

“I’m an emotional player. I hate losing because I’m such a competitive person,” said Ostapenko.
“So I think it’s normal. Of course, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but it’s easy to say from the outside when you are not in my place, it’s easy to judge.”

As for Maria, she will play compatriot Jule Niemeier in the quarter-finals. 

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Who Is Marie Bouzková? Six Things To Know About The Wimbledon Quarter-Finalist

After previously never going beyond the second round of a major, the Czech is making a name for herself at The All England Club.

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Czech Republic’s Maria Bouzkova has broken new ground at Wimbledon by reaching the quarter-finals on Sunday. 

 

Coming into the tournament, the 23-year-old has failed to win back-to-back matches in 12 Grand Slam appearances. However, the past week has seen her breakthrough with a surprise run to the quarter-finals. She secured a place in the last eight with a 7-5, 6-2, win over France’s Caroline Garcia. The player who defeated Emma Raducanu in the second round.

In her latest match, Bouzkova was by far the most consistent player on the court as she produced just four unforced errors against 13 winners. In comparison, Garcia’s tally was 25 against 24. She broke the Frenchwoman four times in the match en route to victory. 

“I don’t know how I got here,” said Bouzkova.
“Now we will celebrate with strawberries and cream. It’s one of our 100 routines at Wimbledon.”

Bouzkova’s run at Wimbledon has brought the Czech into the limelight for the first time. Although some may not be too familiar with the right-hander who plays with a two-handed backhand. Here are five things to know about the underdog. 

  1. As a junior, she won the 2014 US Open title and reached the final of the Wimbledon doubles event that same year. 
  2. Wimbledon is where Bouzkova won her first Grand Slam main draw match back in 2019 after defeating Mona Barthel in the first round. 
  3. Prior to Garcia, she defeated Danielle Collins, Ann Li and Alison Riske-Amritraj this week. Collins was the sixth top 20 player she has defeated and second this year after Karolina Pliskova.
  4. She was ranked as low as 97th in the world earlier this season but is currently up to 66. Her career-best is 46. 
  5. Has reached three WTA finals in as many years in Guadalajara (2022), Melbourne 250 (2021) and Monterey (2020).
  6. She has a win-loss record of 18-9 so far this season. Although prior to Wimbledon, she has not won any matches on the grass after losing in the first round of Eastbourne to Shelby Rogers. 

Bouzkova will play either second seed Ons Jabeur or Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.

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Rafael Nadal Apologizes To Opponent After Wimbledon Win

The Spaniard admits he made a mistake.

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Rafael Nadal said he was ‘wrong’ to call his opponent to the net during the third set of their third round match at Wimbledon.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion booked his place in the last 16 of the tournament by defeating Lorenzo Sonego 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Nadal, who hasn’t won Wimbledon for more than a decade, was out in full flow as he raced to a two-set and 4-2 lead. At that point, Sonego managed to get the roof to be closed due to poor lighting.

After speaking to the umpire, Nadal called his opponent to the net for a discussion over what is believed to be about the noise he was making during the match. After losing his 4-2 advantage, Nadal battled back by breaking once again to secure victory.

“Well, first of all, I have to say that I was wrong. Probably I should not call him on the net. So I apologize for that. My mistake in that. No problem. I recognise that,” said Nadal.
Then after that, all the stuff during the match that I don’t want to comment (on), because is something that I spoke with him in the locker room and it stays there. Only thing I can say is I saw him personally. I apologise for that.
“My intention was never to bother him at all. Just to tell one thing that was bothering me that I think he was doing in that moment, but that’s it.
“I think there is some code between players. Yeah, we had some issues there. But that’s it.”


The two shared a lengthy exchange at the net after the conclusion of the match and there were no hard feelings between either player.

Controversy aside, Nadal has hailed what he believed is his best performance at The All England Club yet. Against Soego, he won 73% of his service points and hit 24 winners.

“It was my best match, without a doubt, since the tournament started,” said Nadal. “I have made improvements and I’m very happy.’
“I’ve made I think a lot of things much better than the previous days, the determination, the way that I manage to play more aggressively and going to the net plenty of times.”

 

Nadal will play Dutch world number 25 Botic van de Zandschulp in the last 16. 

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