After Solid Start To Her Wimbledon Bid, Ons Jabeur Sets Sight On Swiatek’s No.1 Ranking - UBITENNIS
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After Solid Start To Her Wimbledon Bid, Ons Jabeur Sets Sight On Swiatek’s No.1 Ranking

The 27-year-old doesn’t want to just be the best in the world by fluke, she wants to prove she has the ability to do so.

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Ons Jabeur (TUN) - Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

Surging in confidence, Ons Jabeur proclaims that she has earned the right to be world No.2 as she sets out her goal to one day dethrone Iga Swiatek from the top spot in the world rankings.

The Tunisian second seed began her Wimbledon campaign on Monday with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-3, win over Swedish qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund in less than an hour. She dropped just seven points behind her serve and blasted 11 winners past her opponent en route to the second round.

“I don’t like to make the same mistake twice,” said Jabeur who lost in the first round of the French Open earlier this year.
“I learned a lot from the first round in Roland Garros. Obviously, everything feels different here (at Wimbledon). I feel more ready. Starting Monday not Sunday is much better for me.’
“I enjoy playing a lot on grass. Scheduling, playing a few matches, just getting the perfect amount of playing on grass was great.”


Heading into this year’s grass-court major, Jabeur has already enjoyed success on the grass after winning the Berlin Open where she dropped one set in five matches played. More recently in Eastbourne, she played doubles alongside Serena Williams. An experience she believes will enhance her future form. 

“Playing along with Serena also helped me with the great attitude on the court. (To) kind of start to be a leader on the court. That’s what I’m trying to do. Trying to have that attitude,” she explains. 

 

Jabeur has already made an impression on the tour this season by registering a total of 31 wins. Only Swiatek (42) has won more than her on the WTA Tour this year. This year’s Wimbledon is the eight major in a row where she has been seeded in the draw.

A testament to her dedication to the Tour is the WTA rankings. This time last year she was 24th in the world and it wasn’t until last October that she broke into the top 10 for the first time. Although getting there hasn’t been easy both physically and mentally.

“I’ve worked hard a lot. I’ve struggled a bit before with my confidence. Tennis is a tricky sport. You can lose every week, which is not fun.” Jabeur admits.
“Now I feel like I deserve it (the No.2 ranking) even more. I feel like I even gained and won matches to prove myself on this level.”
“I do feel more confident. I do feel like I deserve to be at this level. Hopefully, the next step will be No. 1.”

Trying to overtake Swiatek will be a tough task with the Pole currently on a 35-match winning streak. Furthermore, ranking points are not being issued at Wimbledon as a response to their ban of Russian and Belarussian players.

Nevertheless, Jabeur is determined to succeed and is not afraid of the obstacles she may face.

“It’s going to be tough, but not impossible,” she said.
“I want to have the level to be No. 1. I don’t just want to be No. 1 like that, I put a lot of pressure on myself.
“I mean, everybody is looking forward to winning against No. 1. I want to really deserve that spot. Hopefully, I can be at the level that Iga is playing right now.”

Jabeur is aiming to improve on her best run at Wimbledon which was to the quarter-finals last year. 

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Alycia Parks Stuns Garcia To Win First Tour Title In Lyon

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Image via WTA Twitter

Rising star Alycia Parks is on the verge of breaking into the world’s top 50 for the first time after stunning world No.4 Caroline Garcia in straight sets to win the Lyon Open. 

 

22-year-old Parks, who contested just three WTA main draws last year, battled to a 7-6(7), 7-5, win over Garcia who is the first top-five player she has beaten on the Tour. Throughout the final, the American didn’t drop serve after saving all four break points she faced. In total, she produced 28 winners with 15 of those being aces. It is only the second time she has beaten a top 10 player on the Tour after Maria Sakkari at the Ostrava Open last year. 

“I want to thank you for all coming out, this title means a lot to me,” Parks said afterwards. “France has a special part in my heart right now. I want to congratulate Garcia, you had an amazing week, keep playing how you’re playing.”

The victory caps off what has been a breakthrough week for Parks who dropped two sets in five matches played which was in her opening two rounds. Earlier in the tournament, she also defeated seventh seed Danka Kovinic and fourth seed Petra Martic to become only the third unseeded player to win a WTA event so far this year.  

Parks was ranked 199th in the world 12 months ago but has climbed up the rankings and is now set to break into the world’s top 70 for the first time on Monday. Towards the end of last year, she won back-to-back WTA 125 tournaments and has now won 16 out of her last 17 matches played. Her only loss was to Czech teenager Sara Bejlek in the second round of qualifying at the Australian Open.

As for Garcia, Sunday’s clash was the first time she had contested a WTA final in her home city of Lyon. Coming into her clash with Parks, she had won 10 out of her last 11 finals played on the Tour. It is the 40th time in her career she has lost to an American player in a WTA main draw.

Congrats on an amazing week and the (past) couple of months have been unbelievable (for you),” said Garcia. “It’s your first WTA title today and it was well deserved. You played amazing and if you keep playing like this you are for sure going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks, who graduated from High School in 2019, is coached on the Tour by her father Michael who has been her main mentor since childhood. 

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Garbine Muguruza Switches Focus From Ranking Points To Enjoyment In Hunt For Form

Ranked outside the WTA top 80 for the first time since 2013, Muguruza is hoping to stage a comeback with the help of a new perspective.

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Garbine Muguruza (ESP) waves to the crowd after defeating Fiona Ferro (FRA) on No.2 Court in the first round of the Ladies' Singles at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 1 Monday 28/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

To say that last year was tough for Gabine Muguruza is a bit of an understatement. 

 

The Spaniard started 2022 among the best players in the world and was ranked No.3 as a result of her triumph at the WTA Finals just a couple of months earlier. However, the year didn’t go as planned for two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza who won just 12 matches. In total, she played in 17 tournaments but only managed to score back-to-back victories in two of them. In October she plummeted down the rankings from 13th to 57th. 

Muguruza’s problems have continued into this season. She is yet to win a match and is now down to 82nd in the world which is her lowest position in almost a decade. January 2013 was the last time the 29-year-old was ranked outside the top 100. 

“I’ve had so many moments in my career where I’ve been so high, and other moments when I’ve not been so high. It’s a process of trying to get back up there,” the former world No.1 told The National. “Now I’m focusing on training hard and being humble.
“You have to know that maybe you haven’t had the success recently as you had in other years, but that’s fine because things can change very quickly.
“With tennis, one week it can go wrong, then next week it can go well, then everything changes again. I think experience helps me to stay calm in the not-so-good moments when I haven’t been playing as well or results haven’t followed.”

It is a frustrating situation for somebody of Muguruza’s ability to be in. At the 2021 WTA Finals, she scored four wins over top-10 players but since then hasn’t beaten anybody ranked higher than No.31 in the world. 

Eager to get back to the top of the sport, she has decided to change her outlook on how she approaches the Tour. Muguruza, who is coached by Conchita Martinez, now says her main priority is enjoying her tennis. If this is achieved, she is confident the results will follow in due course. 

“I feel that this year it’s more about keeping it calm and more simple,” she said. “Last year I put myself under a lot of pressure, telling myself to keep going to stay at the top all the time. That definitely didn’t help me, and it was a bit of a struggle.
“This year, yes ranking is important – I’ve been at every possible ranking – but that is not my priority anymore. Now it’s about enjoying my time on court and taking the trophies back home, then we’ll see what the ranking is.”

Muguruza’s next test will be at the Abu Dhabi Open, which will get underway on Monday. She has been drawn to play Karolina Pliskova in the first round who recently reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Then if she wins, she faces Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. 

“I played some good tennis [in Australia]. A bit disappointed about the quarter-final but overall my level is there. Of course, there are some things to improve to become more solid but overall the situation is quite good,” Pliskova said ahead of the first round clash. 

12 months ago Muguruza reached the third round in Abu Dhabi before losing to Maria Sakkari. 

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Injured Bianca Andreescu retires From Semi-Final match In Hua Hin

The Canadian was looking to book a spot in her first WTA final of the year but was forced to retire after injuring her right shoulder.

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Lesia Tsurenko booked her spot in the final of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin after Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire whilst down 7-6, 4-0.

 

The first set was extremely tight with the first four games being breaks of serve. Andreescu got the crucial break to lead 5-3 and served for the first set but the Ukrainian fought back to level the set at 5-5. Then Tsurenko was the one to break serve but she was able to close out the first set.

After the opener, the semi-final clash went completely one-sided with Tsurenko taking over by winning four games off the trot before Andreescu decided to call it quits. The Canadian had a medical timeout during a second set changeover.

Tsurenko gave full credit to her opponent and despite the retirement says it was a very difficult match.

“Bianca is such an amazing player she said. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today”. She said.

Tsurenko is looking to win her fifth WTA title and will be playing in her first final since 2019 in Hua Hin. She faces the China’s Lin Zhu who earlier in the day beat the number seven seed Xinyu Wang 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and 38 minutes to book her spot in the final.

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