Petra Kvitova Hopes To Use Dubai As Springboard To Return To The Top - UBITENNIS
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Petra Kvitova Hopes To Use Dubai As Springboard To Return To The Top

After a disappointing start to the year, the Czech is hoping to turn her fortunes around.

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Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has mixed emotions coming into this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships.

 

The Czech won the tournament back in 2013 and was then runner-up three years ago against Belinda Bencic. This year she isn’t seeded in the draw due to her world ranking of 25th which is her lowest position since January 2018. However, there are some advantages for Kvitova who in some ways has less pressure to perform well in the tournament compared to those who are seeded.

Perhaps it was the status of an underdog which helped Kvitova during her straight sets win over world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka on Wednesday. It was the first time she has beaten a top two player on the Tour since Ash Barty at the 2020 Qatar Open.

“There are a lot of things I want to improve if I am to get back to the top but I know I can play my best,” Kvitova told reporters following her win. “At 31 I am still learning this time, this match, I would say yes, the pressure was a little bit better. On the other hand I’m like, Oh my god, it’s the second round, I’m playing first seeded, it’s not good. I’m not getting used to it.”

In recent weeks the 31-year-old has been hindered by a wrist injury which has slowed down her practice schedule. Now back to full fitness, she is eager to return to the top of women’s tennis again. Motivated by not wanting to face top seeds early on in tournaments like she has done in Dubai this week.

“The pressure was a little bit better today (Wednesday), I suppose,” she said. “On the other hand I’m like: ‘Oh my god, it’s the second round and I am playing the top seed — that’s not good.’ I’m not getting used to that.
“But that is my ranking right now and I have to come back somehow. If I want to come back, I have to beat some seeded players. There’s no question about it.
“It’s challenging because from the first round you have great players. But as we saw today, I mean, everything is possible. Of course, in women tennis, it’s pretty open. Maybe it will be better because I always play a little bit better against better ranking players. Maybe it could be good for me in the end.”

Prior to this week, Kvitova has had a disappointing start to the season by failing to win back-to-back matches at four consecutive tournaments. Her only wins were over Arantxa Rus in Sydney and Jule Niemeier in St. Petersburg.

The next test will be against Jelena Ostapenko. Another unseeded player in Dubai who knocked out Iga Swiatek in a battle of former French Open champions. She narrowly leads their head-to-head 4-3 but they last played against each other in 2020.

Kvitova has been ranked as high as two in the world and has won 28 Tour titles so far in her career. She has also played in 52 Grand Slam main draws where she has recorded 118 wins.

Grand Slam

(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) The Wimbledon Clash Between Djokovic And Sinner Could Have Been Better

It was an epic five-set clash but imagine how better the match would have been if both were playing well at the same time…

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Hall of Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis’ Ubaldo Scanagatta analyse the dramatic events that unfolded on Tuesday at Wimbledon.

 

Top seed Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to oust Jannik Sinner in a match of two halves. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie brought delight to the British fans.

On the other side of the draw, how will Rafael Nadal fair against the in-form Taylor Fritz? The Spaniard recently sidestepped a question about a potential new injury. 

As for the women’s draw, Ons Jabeur made history by becoming the first Arab player to reach a major quarter-final. She will next play 34-year-old mum-of-two Tatjana Maria who had never been beyond the third round of a major until now. 

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WIMBLEDON: 10 Facts About Semi-Finalist Ons Jabeur

All you need to know about the Trailblazing Tunisian who has created history at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Second seed Ons Jabeur achieved a new milestone for both her and her country at Wimbledon on Tuesday. 

 

The world No.2 battled back from a set down to defeat Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the last four of a major event for the first time in her career. Jabeur has now dropped only one set in five matches played and is the highest ranked player remaining in the draw. Her major breakthrough comes seven years after she made her Grand Slam debut at the 2015 Australian Open. 

“I played really good from beginning of the second set, especially having a early break kind of helps me gain confidence,” said Jabeur.
“I know it wasn’t easy playing Marie. She gets all the balls and doesn’t make, to win a point, easy for me. I’m glad I stepped in with my game. I was more aggressive in the second set, and especially tactically I was playing some angles that she didn’t like much.”

To mark Jabeur’s Wimbledon milestone, here are 10 facts to know about her:-

  1. She is the first North African player – male or female – to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. The last woman from the entire African continent to reach a major semi-final was Amanda Coetzer at the 1997 French Open. 
  2. Her win over Bouzkova is Jabeur’s 26th Tour-level win on the grass.
  3. Jabeur has now won 83 matches over the past two seasons. This is more than any other player on the WTA Tour. 
  4. Has won 21 out of her last 23 matches.
  5. She is the only Tunisian woman currently ranked in the world’s top 700.
  6. Jabeur had failed to win back-to-back matches on her three out of her four previous appearances at Wimbledon in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She reached the quarter-finals in 2021.
  7. Coming into Wimbledon she has already earned more than $6.2m in prize money in her career.
  8. She has won three Tour titles in Birmingham (2021), Madrid (2022) and Berlin (2022). 
  9. Has beaten a top 10 player four times in her career – Dominika Cibulkova (2017 French Open), Simona Halep (Beijing 2018), Sloane Stephens (Moscow 2018) and Karolina Pliskova (Doha 2020).
  10. In October 2021 she became the first Arab player (mae or female) to crack the world’s top 10 in tennis. 

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Tatjana Maria – Reaching Wimbledon Semi-Finals is ‘Amazing’ But It Doesn’t Beat Parenthood

The underdog is enjoying her best-ever run at a major 15 years after making her debut.

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Image via twitter.com/wta

Germany’s Tatjana Maria reveals people once doubted her ability to return to tennis after having her first child. Now a mother-of-two, she has secured a place in the Wimbledon semifinals. 

 

The fairytale run of the world No.103 continued on Tuesday when she ousted compatriot Jule Niemeier 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in her quarter-final match. Until the tournament, Maria had never been beyond the third round of a major event. However, that changed with high-profile wins over Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko prior to Niemeier.

“It’s amazing. I mean, I tried to calm down a little bit in the locker room and to realize something, but it’s still hard to realize it,” she said of reaching the last four at Wimbledon.

Whilst some players prepare for their Grand Slam matches in the gym, Maria’s routine is somewhat unique. She began her day by taking her 8-year-old daughter to her tennis lesson. It wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a 15-month-old baby.

“Outside of the court, nothing changes for me for the moment,” she said.  “I try to keep this going, everything the same. We keep going (to the tennis lessons) even if I’m playing the semifinals.”

Incredibly the 34-year-old returned to the circuit following maternity leave less than a year ago. It was during that absence that she decided to switch to a one-handed backhand. She has been ranked as high as 46th in the world and has two Tour titles to her name. 

“A lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already after Charlotte and when I changed my backhand,” she said.
“I showed it last time already that I am back. I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child. Still, everybody was doubting.’
“I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming.”

Relishing in her best-ever performance at a major event, Maria is another example of a player having a breakthrough later in their career. To put her run in perspective, in the Open Era only five other women have reached the semifinals at Wimbledon after turning 34.

However, in Maria’s eyes, her achievements on the court can’t beat her top priority off the court.

“To be a mum is for me on the top of my life. So I think it helps me in tennis too because now my priority is my kids,” she explains. “I play tennis, I want to do my best, that’s all that I want. But my kids are the priority.’
“If I go out there, I want my kids to be happy, that they are healthy, that everything is okay. That’s the most important thing for me in my life.”

Maria made her Grand Slam debut back at Wimbledon in 2007. 

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