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.



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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Injury-Hit Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Reaches French Open Quarters



Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova said ‘anything is possible’ after winning her marathon fourth round match against Elise Mertens at the French Open on Sunday. 


Pavlychenkova, who reached the finals of Roland Garros in 2021, bounced back from a set down to beat 28th seed Elise Mertens 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3, after more than three hours of play. The Russian struggled early on in the match after winning just two out of her first six service games. She found herself down 3-6, 1-3 (0-40), at one stage before producing a triumphant comeback. Overall, she hit 50 winners alongside 48 unforced errors. 

“I’m really proud of myself. It was an incredible match,” Pavlychenova said on the court afterwards. “Losing the first set and in the end, finding the strength to win.’
“I’m glad to be here playing on this court (Phillippe Chartier) again, especially after my injury. I didn’t play for a year so I am very happy to be here.”

The win comes after what has been a turbulent battle for Pavlychenkova over the past year with her fitness. In 2022 she missed eight months of the Tour due to a serious knee injury which prohibited her from walking or even sitting down. Fearing for the future of her career, she underwent successful knee surgery. 

Since beginning her comeback in January, the 31-year-old had only won eight matches in nine tournaments played, which include two at the ITF level, coming into Paris. Despite this, she has regained her form at Roland Garros with Mertens being the third consecutive top 30 player she has beaten after Liudmila Samsonova and Anastasia Potapova. 

“I was sure that I could do that,” she commented on her resurgence. “I’ve enjoyed playing here in Paris ever since I was a junior, especially on this court. I think mentally I am stronger than before. We will see where it goes from here.”

A former world No.11 player, Pavlychenkova’s belief in her game is still as high as ever as she refuses to rule out the possibility that she could stun the tournament by lifting the trophy next Sunday. 

“I think anything is possible, that’s why I’m here and that’s why I came back after my injury,” she stated. 
“Since last year in November, it has been difficult. But I’ve been practising well and I thank my team for getting me in this position.”

Currently ranked 333rd in the world, Pavlychenkova is the lower-ranked player to reach the last eight of a Grand Slam since Kaia Kanepi at the 2017 US Open. She will next play either Karolína Muchová or Elina Avanesyan. 

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Doubles Pair Disqualified From French Open Match



A women’s doubles match at the French Open on Sunday ended in tears with one of the pair being disqualified midway through the second set.

Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi were facing Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzková in the third round. After losing the opening set in a tiebreaker, the pairing worked their way to a 3-1 lead in the second before the match came to a sudden end.

After the end of a game, Kato hit a ball to the other end of the court which accidentally struck a ball girl in the head. The umpire then initially issued a warning to Kato. However, a protest from Tormo and Bouzkova who pointed out that the ball girl was crying resulted in the tournament supervisor being called to the court. Both Tormo and Bouzkova were heard saying that Kato should receive a default.


 After a discussion, it was decided that Kato and Sutjiadi would be defaulted from the match due to a violation of the rules, giving the opponents the win. Naturally upset by the accident, Kato was left in tears when informed about the decision with her partner consoling her.

Kato did speak with the ball girl shortly after the incident to make sure she was fine. This occurred before the supervisor entered the court. 

According to the Grand Slam rulebook, ball abuse is defined as ‘intentionally hitting a ball out of the enclosure of the court, hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences.”

It is not the first time a player has been defaulted from a Grand Slam match after accidentally hitting an official on the court. The most famous incident was when Novak Djokovic was defaulted from his fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta at the 2020 US Open after hitting a ball hit a female lines judge in the neck. He was later fined $10,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

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Grand Slam Glory Is The Main Goal For America’s Coco Gauff



Cori Gauff - Australian Open 2023 (Twitter @AustralianOpen)

 Coco Gauff has big aspirations and she isn’t afraid to speak openly about them. 


Following her second round win over Julia Grabher at the French Open on Thursday, the 19-year-old played down the fixation on her current ranking which is No.6 in the world. Gauff admits that her position is something that doesn’t concern her in the sport unless she is sitting at the top of the world rankings. 

“I’m not a ranking person at all. The goal is No.1, and I think that’s when I would care about the ranking,” she stated in her press conference. 
“Anything in between two and 10, I mean, I’m going to be honest, it’s not that important to me.”

Gauff first broke into the world’s top 10 in September 2022 and has remained there ever since. At the time she was the youngest top 10 debutant on the WTA Tour since Nicole Vaidisova in 2006. She has been ranked as high as No.4 in the world.

“When I made the top 10, it was a cool accomplishment, but for me it was never about staying there. I only want to go upwards,” she said. “The biggest goal is to win Grand Slams, and I think the ranking will come with Grand Slams.”

It was 12 months ago at Roland Garros where Gauff achieved her best performance at a major by reaching the final before losing in straight sets to Iga Swiatek. The tournament is her best Grand Slam in terms of match wins (13) and is the only one where she has reached the quarter-finals or better on multiple occasions. Gauff also won the French Open girls’ title back in 2018 at the age of just 14. 

Five years on from the junior triumph, she has become a regular fixture on the Tour. So much so, that there is already another generation of players on the rise. One of those includes Russia’s Mirra Andreeva who says her ultimate goal in tennis is to break Novak Djokovic’s all-time Grand Slam title record which currently stands at 22. Andreeva, who is only the seventh player under the age of 17 to reach the third round of Roland Garros since 1993, will be Gauff’s next opponent. 

“I think she knows the game well, and she’s proved her position to be here and proved in her results in the past, so I don’t think the age thing matters,” Gauff commented on her next opponent. 
“I’ve never thought about my age, to be honest. This will be my third time playing someone younger than me.
“Honestly, the first two times I didn’t even think about it because when you step on the court, you just see your opponent, and you don’t really think about the personal side of things. You just see forehand, backhand, serve, and all the same.”

Gauff will play Andreeva on Saturday. 

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