Daria Kasatkina Fires Warning At Swiatek Ahead Of French Open Clash - UBITENNIS
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Daria Kasatkina Fires Warning At Swiatek Ahead Of French Open Clash

Despite losing to the world No.1 three times earlier this year, Kasatkina explains why she believes she can cause a upset in Paris.

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Daria Kasatkina says she is mentally and physically at the best level of her career ahead of her semi-final clash with Iga Swiatek at the French Open on Thursday.

 

Playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the 26th time in her career, Kasatkina has sealed her place in the last four for the first time by beating compatriot Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 7-6(5). Making it the fifth match in a row she has won in straight sets in Paris. Kasatkina has won 10 out of her last 12 Tour matches with her only losses being to Sara Sorribes Tormo in Madrid and Ons Jabeur in Rome.

The 28-year-old believes her recent clash with Jabeur and a growing maturity on the court has helped elevate her level of play coming into this year’s French Open.

I took that loss in a good way, let’s say. So I learned a lot from that and I just kept going because I knew that I have another big opportunity next week,” she explained in her press conference.
“This is the most important (thing) I was trying to learn for many years on tour because when I was losing matches like these it was drama for the next few days.’
“Now I’m taking these kinds of losses or matches differently. It was not an easy way to come to this point.”

In October 2018 Kasatkina peaked at a ranking high of 10th in the world and managed to hold that position for almost three months. However, since then she has endured a turbulent time on the Tour with a series of lacklustre results. At the start of last season she was outside the top 70.

She turned her fortunes around with the help of coach Carlos Martinez who has been working alongside her for three years. A former player on the men’s Tour who has also worked with the likes of Svetlana Kuznetsova, Marc Lopez, Kateryna Kozlova and Feliciano Lopez.

‘I’m really thankful to Carlos because we started to work together when I was at the bottom of the ocean,” the 28-year-old reflected.
“It was tough. The first year was maybe super tough until I got to some level last year. I’m thankful for his patience with me because I’m not an easy person as well, on the court and off the court. But he always finds ways. It’s unbelievable how he can adjust the way of working and the way of talking as well, compared to how I feel.”

It is hard to dispute Kasatkina’s confidence surge in the French capital where she made her main draw debut back in 2016. Although she is taking nothing for granted.

“Mentally and physically I feel the best I ever was which is good because it means that I’m improving,” she states.
“I don’t feel safe because when you’re in the comfort zone it means there’s something wrong.”

The world No.20 has the prime opportunity to test out how high her level is currently at on Thursday when she plays the formidable Swiatek. A player who is currently on a 33-match winning streak which is the third-longest run by a female player on the WTA Tour this century. Swiatek defeated Jessica Pegula in straight sets in her quarter-final match.

Kasatkina has a poor record against the world No.1 after losing to her comprehensively three times already this season. In all of those matches, she has never won more than five games.

“We played a few times this year. I lost those matches but it was a different story. It was a hard court, at the beginning of the year and I was not in the same shape as I am now,” Kasatkina said of her rivalry with Swiatek. “I cannot compare what we are going to have tomorrow (in the semi-final) and what we had in February, March when we were playing. So it’s going to be a completely different match. I want to win a lot, she wants to win as well, and it’s going to be a good match.”
“You never know what’s going to happen in the semifinal of a Grand Slam.”

Kasatkina is bidding to become the first Russian woman to win the French Open since Maria Sharapova in 2014.

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WIMBLEDON: Simona Halep Impresses After Troublesome Physical, Mental Battle

2022 has been far from straightforward for the Romanian but she is seeing light at the end of the tunnel at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

For Simona Halep reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon is an achievement in itself after her recent misfortunes. 

 

It all began at the Italian Open last year where she sustained a calf injury that would force her to miss two major events, as well as the Tokyo Olympic Games. Recovering from the setback was far from simple for the former world No.1 who soon found herself struggling mentally to the extent that she considered walking away from the sport altogether.

However, she managed to regain her desire and passion for tennis with the help of Patrick Mouratoglou who has officially been her coach since April. Halep continues to work her way back to top shape and her form at Wimbledon proves perseverance pays off. 

Playing her fourth round match against fourth seed Paula Badosa, Halep stormed to an emphatic 6-1, 6-2, win in just over an hour. She dropped only two points behind her first serve and hit 17 winners against just nine unforced errors. It is the third time this year she has beaten a top 10 player after previously beating Badosa on another occasion, as well as Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

“It means a lot that I’m back in the quarterfinals after I struggled so much with injuries and self-confidence,” said Halep.
“I’m working hard every day. I feel like if I do that, I will get better. I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. I’m really confident. It’s a pleasure to be on the court.”
“I think this helps me a lot to be able to do my best tennis. And everything comes together. I feel strong physically. I feel very good mentally.”

Speaking openly about her previous struggles, injury and confidence are two very different issues to deal with. But which one of those was the most difficult?

“It started with the injury, so I was not able to play for three, four months. Then I also lost the confidence, the belief that I can be good again, at the top. And I struggled for a long period,” she continued.
“But now it’s past. I’m here. I’m playing well. I’m feeling good on the court. So this is the most important thing, and I just want to focus on that.”

It is by no means a coincidence that Halep is thriving at Wimbledon considering her previous record. It was in 2019 when she produced a stunning display against Serena Williams to capture the title. Becoming the first and only player from her country to claim the women’s singles title. She has also reached the quarter-finals on three other occasions prior to this year.

“Grass is not an easy surface and you have to really connect with it. You have to get used to it.” Said Halep.
“I like it because it’s fast. I feel it. I feel stable on my feet. My legs are pretty strong for this surface. I feel my game fits it.”

As the only former Grand Slam champion left in the draw, Halep’s next test will be against Amanda Anisimova who defeated Harmony Tan 6-2, 6-3, in her fourth round match.

“I’m here to play as I did today, to focus on myself,” she states.
“I’m sure that I can play good tennis again. But it’s going to be a big challenge. It’s the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. I’m ready for it and I’m looking forward to it.”


Halep recently crushed Anisimova 6-2, 6-1, at the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. 

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‘She Got lucky’ – Jelena Ostapenko Has Dig At Opponent After Wimbledon Exit

The top 20 star was also not happy with the umpire following her latest loss.

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Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) - Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

Former Grand Slam champion Jelena Ostapenko believes her exit from Wimbledon was nothing but a stroke of bad luck after criticizing her match umpire.

 

Ostapenko, who was the 12th seed in the tournament, fell 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, to Germany’s Tatjana Maria. The clash was a frustrating encounter for the Latvian who had an array of chances to establish a strong lead. After winning the opener, she boasted a break advantage in each of the next two sets before losing them. Then at 5-4 in the third, she failed to convert two match points before losing the final two games of the match.

“I thought it was like my match. I had to win it and she got just so lucky in some moments so she could come back. I felt I was the player who had to win this match today,” said Ostapenko.

Claiming that she felt she was playing at a better level than Maria,  Ostapenko has taken a swipe at the match official for making in her view ‘a huge mistake.’   She is not the first player to criticize the court officials with Nick Kyrgios expressing his frustration about them multiple times at the tournament.

“She got lucky, she framed it, put the ball on the line,” she commented on how her match ended. “Then the chair umpire made a huge mistake on 5-All in the third set when it was breakpoint on my serve and I had no challenges left. People who watched the match texted me that it was quite big out.”
“All those small things together, they come and you can lose such a match. Of course, I’m really disappointed because if I lost against an amazing player who just beat me in a great match, but I just lost my match.”

A win would have elevated Ostapenko into the last eight of a major for the first time since Wimbledon 2018. The 25-year-old is currently ranked 17th in the world but has been as high as fifth before.

It was visible how annoyed she was with the match immediately afterward when she threw her water bottle onto her chair out of anger, knocking it out. Prompting an inevitable reaction of boos from the crowd.

“I’m an emotional player. I hate losing because I’m such a competitive person,” said Ostapenko.
“So I think it’s normal. Of course, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but it’s easy to say from the outside when you are not in my place, it’s easy to judge.”

As for Maria, she will play compatriot Jule Niemeier in the quarter-finals. 

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Who Is Marie Bouzková? Six Things To Know About The Wimbledon Quarter-Finalist

After previously never going beyond the second round of a major, the Czech is making a name for herself at The All England Club.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech Republic’s Maria Bouzkova has broken new ground at Wimbledon by reaching the quarter-finals on Sunday. 

 

Coming into the tournament, the 23-year-old has failed to win back-to-back matches in 12 Grand Slam appearances. However, the past week has seen her breakthrough with a surprise run to the quarter-finals. She secured a place in the last eight with a 7-5, 6-2, win over France’s Caroline Garcia. The player who defeated Emma Raducanu in the second round.

In her latest match, Bouzkova was by far the most consistent player on the court as she produced just four unforced errors against 13 winners. In comparison, Garcia’s tally was 25 against 24. She broke the Frenchwoman four times in the match en route to victory. 

“I don’t know how I got here,” said Bouzkova.
“Now we will celebrate with strawberries and cream. It’s one of our 100 routines at Wimbledon.”

Bouzkova’s run at Wimbledon has brought the Czech into the limelight for the first time. Although some may not be too familiar with the right-hander who plays with a two-handed backhand. Here are five things to know about the underdog. 

  1. As a junior, she won the 2014 US Open title and reached the final of the Wimbledon doubles event that same year. 
  2. Wimbledon is where Bouzkova won her first Grand Slam main draw match back in 2019 after defeating Mona Barthel in the first round. 
  3. Prior to Garcia, she defeated Danielle Collins, Ann Li and Alison Riske-Amritraj this week. Collins was the sixth top 20 player she has defeated and second this year after Karolina Pliskova.
  4. She was ranked as low as 97th in the world earlier this season but is currently up to 66. Her career-best is 46. 
  5. Has reached three WTA finals in as many years in Guadalajara (2022), Melbourne 250 (2021) and Monterey (2020).
  6. She has a win-loss record of 18-9 so far this season. Although prior to Wimbledon, she has not won any matches on the grass after losing in the first round of Eastbourne to Shelby Rogers. 

Bouzkova will play either second seed Ons Jabeur or Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.

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