‘She Doesn’t Really Have A Weakness’ - Karolina Pliskova Unsurprised By Swiatek’s Dominance - UBITENNIS
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‘She Doesn’t Really Have A Weakness’ – Karolina Pliskova Unsurprised By Swiatek’s Dominance

The Czech also opens up about her difficult start to the year where she has won just two matches.

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Karolina Pliskova (CZE) playing against Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) in the fourth round of the Ladies' Singles on Court 12 at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 7 Monday 05/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jon Super

Iga Swiatek’s current streak of 24 match wins might have caught some by surprise by not Karolina Pliskova.

 

The world No.1 is the first player this season to have won four WTA events and is the third youngest to have won 20 or more matches in a row on the Tour since 2000 after both of the Williams sisters. Against seeded players this year, she has a win-loss record of 14-2. The recent dominance by the Pole solidifies her position as the highest ranked player in the world. A position she obtained following the decision by Ash Barty to retire from tennis just weeks after winning the Australian Open.

Pliskova knows all too well what it is like to play Swiatek after she was thrashed by the 20-year-old in Rome last year. The Czech lost 6-0, 6-0, to her younger rival in the final. That was the only time in her career she has played a WTA match without winning a single game.

I’m not surprised at all. She has that kind of game. I think she beats so many players super easy because she doesn’t really give one ball no matter what the score is,” Pliskova said of Swiatek during an interview with Eurosport.
“You can have players, like for example Madison Keys, she can play amazing but then she’s always going to have that one game where she gives you a couple of mistakes. But I think Iga just doesn’t have those games.”

Swiatek is unsurprisingly one of the favourites to clinch the French Open title, which will get underway later this month. She won the Grand Slam back in 2020 but hasn’t reached another major final since then. During the off-season she made a change to her coaching team by pairing up with Tomasz Wiktorowski who is known for his work with Agnieszka Radwanska.

“Of course, she can still play better and worse, but still she doesn’t give any free mistakes. So that’s why it’s super difficult to stay close, and of course, if you feel bad then you’re just going to lose a lot,” Pliskova continued.
“Because especially on clay, I think she moves very well, she doesn’t really have a weakness. And of course now, the confidence, I suppose it cannot be much higher. So that’s I think a big part of the success.”

As Swiatek surges in the sport, Pliskova is hoping to gain some momentum in the near future. After missing the start of the year due to a hand injury, she returned to action in Indian Wells but has enjoyed limited success. Failing to win back-to-back matches in six straight tournaments. Her latest loss was in the second round of the Italian Open to Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann.

The 30-year-old has a wealth of points to defend during the second half of 2022. Last year she reached the final of both Wimbledon and the Canadian Open, as well as a run to the quarter-finals of the US Open.

I think I’m old enough to not always [live] by the results or have the moods, I think I can just separate these things now,” she said.
“I’m doing my best so everything is not just about results and about tennis. I feel happy, I feel okay, and mainly my wrist is fine so I’m feeling fine. I think if I can hold this kind of like, it’s not like I will be super positive, but this kind of mood, it can help me in the second half of the year.”

Pliskova is currently ranked sixth in the world.

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Carlos Alcaraz beats Yannick Hanfmann on his debut at the China Open

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This year’s Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz beat Yannick Hanfmann 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 37 minutes on his debut at the China Open in Beijing three weeks after reaching the semifinal at the US Open. 

 

Alcaraz has improved his win-loss record to 59-7, leading the ATP Tour. The Spanish player leads the ATP Tour with 8 titles and 5 finals. 

Hanfmann saved eight of the eleven break points and broke twice in the first set. 

Alcaraz earned an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, but Hanfmann broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Alcaraz converted his fourth break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Hanfmann pulled back on serve in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Alcaraz earned his third break with a forehand at 4-4 to seal the first set. 

Alcaraz broke twice in the third and ninth games to close out the second set 6-3. The two-time Grand Slam champion did not face a break point in the second set. 

Alcaraz converted five of the sixteen break points he faced. 

Alcaraz set up a second round match against Lorenzo Musetti, who beat Karen Khachanov 6-3 1-6 6-2. Khachanov won at the Zhuhai Open last week beating Yoshihito Nishioka  in the final. 

“Hopefully I have a lot of years to come here to China. Creating my chapter here in China would be great for me. To finally be able to come here to China and show my tennis in front of the Chinese people is something that I wanted a long time ago and I am really happy to do it, hopefully the first of many here”, said Alcaraz. 

Musetti converted his second break point in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Khachanov broke back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. Musetti broke for the second time in the eighth game to seal the first set 6-3. 

Khachanov broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the second set 6-1. 

Musetti broke Khachanov twice in the sixth and eighth games to seal the third set 6-2. 

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Jessica Pegula and Maria Sakkari advance to the semifinal in Tokyo

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Number 2 seed Jessica Pegula cruised past Daria Kasatkina 6-1 6-0 in just 59 minutes at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo to reach her seventh semifinal of the 2023 season.

 

Kasatkina earned an early break in the opening game of the match, but Pegula reeled off 12 consecutive games. The US player hit 25 winners and broke six times. She saved three break points as she served out the first set. Kasatkina was not able to convert eight game points across her first two service games. 

Pegula has scored her second win in as many matches against Kasatkina after beating her Russian opponent 7-5 6-3 in the first round in Rome 2021. 

Pegula has improved to 10-9 against top 20 rivals in 2023. 

Pegula set up a semifinal match against Maria Sakkari, who beat Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-2 in the quarter final. Sakkari claimed her second win in a week over her French rival equalling her career-best streak of seven consecutive match wins. Last week Sakkari beat Garcia 6-3 6-0 in the semifinal of the Guadalajara Open.  

Sakkari hit 15 winners to eight unforced errors and saved all six break points. 

The US player will meet her Greek rival for the ninth time in her career and for the third time this season. Sakkari leads 5-3 in her head-to-head matches against Pegula. They are 1-1 in their 2023 clashes. Pegula took the win 6-2 4-6 6-1 in the semifinal in Doha, but Sakkari turned the tables by winning the Washington semifinal 6-3 4-6 6-2. 

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Asian Games Champion Qinwen Zheng Reveals Shock Departure Of Coach Fissette

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

China’s Qinwen Zheng says she feels ‘hurt’ by the decision of her former coach to end their collaboration in order to work with another player. 

 

The US Open quarter-finalist had been working with Belgium’s Wim Fissette in recent weeks following the departure of Pere Riba who is now the coach of Coco Gauff. Fissette has a wealth of experience in women’s tennis after working with the likes of Kim Clijsters and Naomi Osaka. However, Zheng says she is now looking for a new mentor.

“I understand his decision, but my family and I feel hurt. Right now I don’t want to talk about this person (Fissette),’ journalist Bendou Zhang quoted her as saying. 

Fissette is yet to comment on his departure. He had previously coached former world No.1 Osaka between 2019-2022 and during this period she won two of her four Grand Slam titles. The American-based Japanese player is on maternity leave from the sport and gave birth to her first child in July.

20-year-old Zheng is currently ranked 23rd in the world and won her maiden WTA title in Palermo earlier this year. She is the youngest player from her country to have reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam in the Open Era following her run at Flushing Medows. This year she has beaten top 10 players Ons Jabeur and Daria Kasatkina. 

Zheng’s latest career milestone is winning gold at the Asian Games on Friday. in the final, she defeated Zhu Lin 6-2, 6-4, in the blistering Hangzhou heat.

“The feeling was incredible,” Zheng said. “I’m really happy about that. That was not an easy match today and also yesterday (in semifinal against Alex Eala). All of them are good fighters.”

It is not clear who Zheng will be working with during the Asian swing. 

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