Clinical Iga Swiatek Storms Past Jabeur To Claim Second Successive Rome Title - UBITENNIS
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Clinical Iga Swiatek Storms Past Jabeur To Claim Second Successive Rome Title

Swiatek’s sensational 2022 season continues as she tames the world No.7 to claim her fifth Tour title in a row.

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Iga Swiatek has become only the fourth WTA player since 2000 to win a 28th match in a row after dismantling Ons Jabeur in the final of the Italian Open.

The world No.1 largely dictated proceedings throughout her 6-2, 6-2, triumph over the Tunisian in what was yet another clinical performance from the 20-year-old. Overall, she won 67% of her first service points and broke five times. Recording her first win over Jabeur since the 2019 Washington Open and only the second in her career out of four attemps.

I want to congratulate Ons. You’ve shown the fighting spirit, so much variety on court that really, it’s so nice to have you on tour because your tennis is just different and it’s really interesting for women’s tennis. Also off court you’re such a great person,” she said during the trophy ceremony.

Swiatek entered the final as the bookmakers favorites given her stellar run on the Tour in recent weeks. The Pole was on a 27-match winning streak and had impressively won 40 out of her last 41 sets played. Meanwhile, Jabeur also had momentum on her side after recently winning the biggest title of her career last week in Madrid and claiming 11 straight wins for the first time in her career at the age of 27.

With the trophy at stake, it was the world No.1 who dedicated the match early on with some clinical play. Swiatek’s ability to play quickly and take time away from her opponent during rallies enabled her to break in just the second game. Back-to-back Jabeur forehand errors handed the former French Open champion the break as she eased to a 3-0 lead with relative ease. Triggering flashbacks of Swiatek’s win in the Rome final 12 months ago where she thrashed Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0.

This time round Swiatek did drop games, but her performance was just as impressive. After missing her first set point, she earned a second chance by punishing a Jabeur dropshot with a cross-court forehand winner. The 6-2 lead was then sealed when a baseline exchange between the two concluded with a deep Swiatek forehand to the corner of the court which her opponent couldn’t return.

Historically winning the first set in the final of a WTA 1000 event is crucial with only 1 out of the last 24 title matches being won by a player who didn’t (Osaka at the 2019 China Open). On top of that, Swiatek boasted a staggering 30-0 record when claiming the opener at these tournaments.

Set number two was a case of deja vu with Swiatek once again utilizing her powerful shot-making to draw errors from across the court as she broke early on en route to a 3-0 lead. At this stage it was visible that Jabeur was getting fatigued and frustrated as she kicked one of the tennis balls.

Nearing towards the title, Swiatek encountered a blip by dropping one of her service games to the delight of a suddenly rejuvenated Jabeur and her fans. Then when leading 6-2, 4-2, she valiantly saved a quartet of break points to move to a game from victory. Avoiding the threat, Swiatek triumphed on her first championship point when yet another baseline exchange concluded with an error from across the court. Prompting a tearful Pole to collapse to the ground.

I want to congratrulate Iga for the great run,” said runner-up Jabeur.
“You’re a really great inspiration for all of us, so thank you.”
She added.

Swiatek has now won 35 WTA Tour matches this season which is 10 more than any other player, according to SAP Tennis Analytics.

ATP

Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.

ARMS UP FOR A CHAMPION

The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.

KREJCIKOVA COMES THROUGH UNDER PRESSURE

Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Jasmine Paolini’s Wimbledon Run Hailed By Italian Prime Minister

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The Prime Minister of Italy has praised Jasmine Paolini for lighting up the hearts of others during her Wimbledon run. 

Paolini missed out on her first Grand Slam title to Barbora Krejcikova, who prevailed in three sets to capture her second major trophy. Despite her defeat, she has made history at the tournament by becoming the first female player from her country to reach the final. Until this year, she had never won a Tour-level main draw match on the grass. 

Whilst disappointed about missing out on the biggest title of her career, Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni posted a tribute to Paolini on social media just moments after the final had concluded.

“Proud of Jasmine Paolini,” The Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) quotes Meloni as saying. 

“The first Italian tennis player to reach the final of the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. 

“Despite the defeat, you lit up the hearts of the Italian people, succeeding in conveying grit and passion to all of us who supported you”. 

Paolini is the first player ranked outside the top five to reach the final of both Wimbledon and the French Open within the same year since the ranking system was introduced in 1975. She is also only the fourth female player in the Open Era to have reached her first two Grand Slam finals in the same year at Roland Garros and Wimbledon after Chris Evert (1973), Olga Morozova (1974) and Steffi Graf (1987). 

Should she win three or more matches at the US Open later this year, she will also set a new Open Era record for the most Grand Slam wins achieved by an Italian female player in a single season. 

“The last two months have been crazy for me. I want to thank my team, and my family. They always support me and I wouldn’t be here without them. The crowd have been amazing. I received a lot of support. Just incredible to feel the love from them, I enjoy it so much.” Paolini said following her Wimbledon defeat. 

The 28-year-old will rise to a ranking high of No.3 on Monday. 

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