Daria Kasatkina Storms Into First French Open Quarter-Final Since 2018, Faces Kudermetova Next - UBITENNIS
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Daria Kasatkina Storms Into First French Open Quarter-Final Since 2018, Faces Kudermetova Next

The world No.20 admits she was nervous heading into her latest match but is now looking forward to having a shot of reaching the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.

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Daria Kasatkina - image via https://twitter.com/rolandgarros/

Daria Kasatkina believes she is returning back to her best shape after easing into the last eight of the French Open without dropping a set.

The Russian world No.20 dropped only four games during her 6-2, 6-2, victory over Italy’s Camilia Giorgi who knocked out Aryna Sabalenka in the previous round. Kasatkina was unbroken throughout the encounter after saving all six of the break points she faced. She also produced a total of 16 winners and 10 unforced errors which was a stark contrast to her opponents more erratic tally of 29 and 37.

“Before the match I was a little bit nervous because I know how Camila can play so I knew what to expect, but at the same time I didn’t know what to expect.” Kasatkina said during her press conference.
“I’m happy with the way I was able to play, how I was managing the tough moments and I’m happy with the result, obviously.”

Kasatkina, who has been ranked as high as 10th in the world, is yet to drop a set in the tournament. Prior to Giorgi, she scored wins over Rebecca Sramkova, Fernanda Contreras Gomez and Shelby Rogers. It is the first time she has reached the last eight of a Grand Slam since 2018 when she did so at both the French Open and Wimbledon.

The 25-year-old has been showing signs of returning back towards her best form with runs to the third round of the Madrid Open followed by a semi-final appearance in Rome. So far this season she has won 22 out of 32 matches played. Furthermore, her latest win over Giorgi is her 90th against a top 50 player in her career.

“I think in Rome I started to feel like I’m getting there. I think after my match with Paula Badosa (at the French Open) I really enjoyed the level at the game I was playing and the match. And then watching the match and realizing I really like how everything was going. I think after that there was a little click, let’s say, and now I’m here,” the Russian replied when asked to analyse her current form.

Kasatkina will take on compatriot Veronika Kudermetova for a place in the semi-finals later this week. Kudermetova, who is currently experiencing her best-ever run at a major tournament, battled back from a set down to defeat Madison Keys 1-6, 6-3, 6-1. Until this year she had never won back-to-back matches in the main draw at Roland Garros.

“I tried to trust myself, I tried to believe and I tried to fight. I think that was the key,” she said following her win over Keys.
“It’s amazing (to be in the quarter-finals). That’s the only thing I can say.”

Whilst the two have only clashed on the WTA Tour once at the 2021 St Petersburg Open, they are more than familiar with each other’s game after growing up on the circuit together. In fact, Kasatkina is just two weeks older than her upcoming opponent.

“We were on one team winning the Billie Jean King Cup last year, so we have many good memories to share together,” Kasatkina said of her relationship with Kudermetova.
“Even before we played many championships in Europe together because we’re the same age, so we have a lot of memories to share.’
“Maybe we will have one more, playing in quarters at Roland Garros. I think this will be a very nice moment.”

Kasatkina is making her seventh appearance at the French Open this year.

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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Emma Raducanu Among Trio of Grand Slam Winners Handed Miami Open Wild Cards

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has avoided the possibility of having to go through qualifying at the Miami Open after being awarded a wild card for the event on Thursday. 

The 2021 US Open champion is among four players to have received passes into the main draw of the prestigious event, which is classed as a WTA 1000 for the women and as a Masters 1000 for the men. It will be the third straight year that Raducanu has played in Miami but she is yet to win a match there. In 2022 she lost her opening match to Katerina Siniakova before getting beaten by Bianca Andreescu 12 months later. 

Raducanu has won two out of five Tour-level matches played so far this year. Recently her agent, Max Eisenbud, hit back at those who have criticised the tennis star’s results since winning the US Open. Raducanu also missed a chunk of last season due to injury after undergoing wrist and ankle surgery. 

“The girl did everything backward. She skipped every step. She won the US Open, she went to the next tournament, she didn’t even know where the player lounge was, she didn’t know where the practice courts were,” Eisenbud told the Served With Andy Roddick podcast.
“I don’t think just being tough on her or critical on her like any other player [is wrong]. But she is still figuring it out. I just think that people should not be malicious.”

Other players to have received wild cards into Miami include Venus Williams, who is a three-time champion at the event but hasn’t won the title since 2001. The 43-year-old hasn’t played on the Tour since August and is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400. 

Carolina Wozniacki completes the line-up of former Grand Slam winners being given wild cards. The Dane was a Miami finalist back in 2017 and has made 12 appearances at the tournament. Earlier this week, she suffered a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, loss to Anna Blinkova in the first round of the San Diego Open. 

As for the men’s tournament, the only confirmed wild card recipient is Kei Nishikori who will be making his first competitive start since July 2023. Recently the injury-stricken Japanese player added Thomas Johansson to his team. 

The Miami Open will get underway on March 17th.

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