‘Like A Cold Shower’ - Iga Swiatek Sees Positives In French Open Wobble - UBITENNIS
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‘Like A Cold Shower’ – Iga Swiatek Sees Positives In French Open Wobble

The top seed explains how singing Dua Lipa in her head helped turn her latest match around.

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Iga Swiatek experienced her first scare at the French Open after being forced to battle back from a set down against China’s Qinwen Zheng in the fourth round.

The world No.1 endured a frustrating start to her match before battling back to win 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2, and register her 32nd consecutive victory on the Tour. Swiatek’s skills were matched by an impressive Zheng early on as she failed to maintain her 5-2 lead. Then in the opening tiebreak the Pole once again had a 5-2 lead before losing five points in a row.

Swiatek’s wobble clearly frustrated her as she let out bursts of anger and glared towards her entourage in the crowd. However, she managed to regroup to claim victory but in somewhat unfortunate circumstances. Her opponent struggled with a right thigh injury as the match progressed and had a medical time out during the second set. Paving way for the top seed to win 12 out of the last 14 games.

“I tried to loosen up my hand a little bit. She played really good tennis with heavy topspins. The key in the second set was kind of not letting her do that again. I’m pretty happy that I could play a little bit faster and put pressure on her,” said Swiatek.

The 2020 champion admits that part of her mixed performance was linked to her mentality. Swiatek has spoken openly about the importance of her work with sports psychologist Daria Abramowiz. How she managed to turn it around was with the help of ‘singing in her mind.’ Or to be more specific singing Dua Lipa who Swiatek describes as her ‘guilty pleasure.’

“In the second set I just kind of wanted to focus more and not really talk to the (players) box that much. I speeded up my forehand a little bit. Maybe that was the solution. But I felt like my mind was a little bit more clear,” she reflected.
“I was kind of singing songs and I realized in the first set when I was really focusing on that technical stuff it didn’t really work because I got more and more tense when I couldn’t do that and why I couldn’t really prepare to the shot the best way. So I was singing in my mind, basically.”

It is only the sixth time Swiatek has dropped a set in a match since she began her winning run at the Doha Open in February. Furthermore, she had only dropped a total of 12 games in her three previous matches played at Roland Garros this year which is an example of her dominance on the Tour in recent weeks.

Nevertheless, being forced to come from behind to win served as a reminder to Swiatek how easy it is to lose the momentum she has spent weeks gathering. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“I think it’s important that I had this kind of match which is kind of like a cold shower. It reminded me how to find these solutions after losing a first set,” she explains.
“I’m gonna take some positives from it. I think it’s going to give me a lot before the next matches.”

Swiatek will play Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals who she beat earlier this year in straight sets at the Miami Open. However, she has also previously lost to the American back in 2019 in Washington.

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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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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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