Iga Swiatek Downs Pegula To Extend Winning Streak And Reach French Open Semis - UBITENNIS
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Iga Swiatek Downs Pegula To Extend Winning Streak And Reach French Open Semis

The former champion dropped just five games en route to her latest victory at Roland Garros to set up a last four meeting against Daria Kasatkina.

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Iga Swiatek is through to the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for only the third time in her career after defeating Jessica Pegula in straight sets at the French Open.

 

The world No.1 was far from her best but still managed to ease to a 6-3, 6-2, win on Court Philippe Chatrier. Swiatek’s latest victory is her 33rd in a row which is the third longest streak on the WTA Tour this century after both of the Williams sisters. Overall, she has already won 40 matches in 2022 which is a staggering 15 more than any other female player (Ons Jabeur is second with 25 wins).

“I think being low on my legs was the key (to the win) which was sometimes really hard because she was changing the rhythm,” Swiatek said during her on-court interview. “I’m pretty happy that I was playing good with the dynamics and able to push her back a little bit.”
“Today was warmer so I felt the ball fly a little bit faster. I had to adjust to that, especially with her (Pegula’s) serving.” She added.

Against Pegula, who was playing in her third major quarter-final at the age of 28, Swiatek sealed her latest victory with the help of 30 winners and won 67% of her service points. The triumph was far from a perfect performance from the Pole who appeared tentative at times and produced a total of 28 unforced errors. However, she utilized her brick-wall defensive skills to wear down her rival who produced glimpses of her best tennis at times.

Swiatek was tested early on by her American rival who had won 11 out of 14 matches on clay coming into the quarter-finals. Initially Pegula didn’t appear intimidated by the top seed who she lost to in straight sets at the Miami Open earlier this year as she matched her intensity shot-by-shot from the baseline.

After trading breaks at the start of their match, Swiatek overcame some uncharacteristic unforced errors by winning eight out of nine points midway through the opener to seal a second break and move ahead 4-3. Despite some impressive shots coming from across the court, she continued to maintain the upper hand. Much to the annoyance of Pegula who became visibly frustrated by slapping her thigh and chucking her racket to the ground after missing some golden opportunities. The 11th seed’s mood deteriorated further when back-to-back forehand mistakes handed Swiatek the first set after 45 minutes of play.

The 2020 champion was also far from satisfied with parts of her game as she glared towards her camp in the crowd multiple times with expressions of dismay. However, it failed to derail Swiatek in the match who broke four games into the second frame with a winning backhand return. From that point onwards Pegula began to drift away on the court and her belief that she could win subsided. Paving way for Swiatek to clinch victory on her fourth match point opportunity by hitting a clear backhand winner.

I think when you stop being nervous there is something going on because I am always nervous (playing matches). Sometimes stress is a positive thing. It can make you more active and more tense so you can play your best performance so I can use it that way.” She explained.

Standing in Swiatek’s way of a place in the final is Russia’s Daria Kasatkina who is enjoying her best-ever run at a major event. World No.20 Kasatkina defeated compatriot Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 7-6(5), in her quarter-final match. She is yet to drop a set in the tournament.

“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. “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.”

Swiatek leads Kasatkina 3-1 in their head-to-head with her only loss occurring during their first meeting on grass last year.

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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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