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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World No.634 Laura Samson Reaches First WTA Quarter-Final At 16

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Laura Samon - image via itftennis.com/ photo credi: Manuel Queimadelos

Laura Samson has become the first player born in 2008 to reach the quarter-finals of a WTA event after producing a surprise win on Tuesday. 

The 16-year-old wildcard stunned second seed Katerina Siniakova 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, in the second round at the Prague Open. Her triumph occurred a day after she dropped just two games against Tara Wurth in her opening match. This week is Samson’s Tour debut after playing 10 events on the lower-level ITF circuit. 

“I’m extremely surprised,” she said during her on-court interview after beating Siniakova. “I didn’t go into it as favorite. I’m so proud of myself and I hope I will continue to play like this. As I was going into the second set I thought, ‘I have nothing to lose, I didn’t play good in the first set.’ I’m not really sure when [I thought I could win], I just believed myself in the third set.” 

Samson is the latest Czech player to break through following a sucessful junior career. Last year she won the Wimbledon girls’ doubles title and was runner-up in the French Open singles tournament in June. She is currently No.3 in the ITF junior rankings but has been ranked as high as No.1. 

Earlier this year, Samson decided to change her name on the Tour by dropping the last three letters (ova). The reason why she did so was to avoid getting confused with another player. 

“I first noticed it last year, there was a problem that I was getting strings (the) of Lyudmila Samsonova,” she told tenisovysvet.cz.

“I also talked about it with her and, for example, according to the schedule, she also sometimes thought she was playing, but it was me,” 

“I would have liked the ending -ová, but unfortunately it turned out like this.”

The teenager will next take on world No.248 Oksana Selekhmeteva with the winner of that match progressing to their first WTA semi-final.  21-year-old Selekhmeteva is a former top 10 junior player who came through two rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw. She is a two-time junior Grand Slam champion in doubles. 

There are five seeds remaining in the tournament, including top seed Linda Nosková who will play Germany’s Ella Seidel in her next match. 

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Alex De Minaur Overcomes Injury To Fulfil Olympic Dream

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ASlex de Minaur - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Alex de Minaur says it is a ‘dream come true’ for him to represent Australia in the Olympic Games after missing the event three years ago.

The world No.6 had been in a race against time to be fit for the Olympic tennis event after suffering an agonising injury setback at Wimbledon earlier this month. At the All England Club de Minaur reached the quarter-final stage for the first time and was set to take on Novak Djokovic. However, he was forced to withdraw from the match after tearing the fibre cartilage in his hip region after suffering a ‘freak’ injury. At the time of the announcement, it was estimated that he would be sidelined from the Tour for three to six weeks. 

However, the 25-year-old appears to have recovered fairly quickly in time for Paris with the tennis tournament starting on Saturday. It will be de Minaur’s debut in the Olympics after he was forced to pull out of the Tokyo Games due to a positive COVID-19 test. 

“To finally be able to represent Australia in the Olympics is a dream come true,” he wrote on Instagram on Tuesday morning.

“I’m very passionate when I play for my country and wear the green and gold, so this is another one of those moments. 

“I’m extremely excited to lace up for Paris 2024.”

De Minaur is bidding to become the first male player from his country to win an Olympic medal in the singles event. He has already won two ATP titles this year in Alcapulco and s-Hertogenbosch. Since the start of January, he has won five out of 11 meetings against top 10 players. 

“It’s really great news – we’re actually expecting Alex to arrive in the village ahead of the official draw (on Thursday) and we know he’s been working with his rehab team quite extensively since the conclusion of Wimbledon,” Australian chef de mission Anna Meares told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

“He’s hungry to be here, he wants to be a part of this team and we will offer as much support as we can in that process.

“He’s coming – we will wait to see that process. He still has time … injury can be a really stressful thing for an athlete and the more you rush it, the more problems you can potentially cause.

“We’re leaving it in the hands of Alex and his rehabilitation team … it will be a decision purely by them.” 

De Minaur is one of five Australian men playing in the Paris Olympics. The others are Alexei Popyrin, Matthew Ebden, John Peers and Rinky Hijikata. 

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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