WTA Round-Up: Marie Bouzkova Wins Prague Without Hitting A Winner, Garcia Triumphs In Warsaw - UBITENNIS
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WTA Round-Up: Marie Bouzkova Wins Prague Without Hitting A Winner, Garcia Triumphs In Warsaw

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Marie Bouzkova (image via https://twitter.com/WTA)

Marie Bouzkova has clinched her first Tour title on home territory after thrashing Anastasia Potapova in the final of the Livesport Prague Open. 

The world No.66 stormed to a 6-0, 6-3, win over an opponent who is currently ranked seven places higher than her on the WTA rankings. Before today’s match, Bouzkova had settled for runner-up three times before on the Tour, including the Abierto Zapopan in Mexico earlier this year. However, in Prague, the eighth seed didn’t drop a set in five matches played. 

“It’s a dream for me to win my first title here at home,” Bouzkova said during the trophy ceremony. “I just couldn’t be happier. … It’s a dream come true and I enjoyed playing in front of the home crowd so much.”

In what was a one-sided final, Bouzkova astonishingly didn’t hit a single winning shot despite dropping just three games, according to official stats issued by the WTA. Something that rarely happens in the sport. In total, the 24-year-old produced no winners and eight unforced errors. However, an extremely erratic Potapova hit 12 winners against 44 unforced errors. To make the situation even stranger, in the previous round Potapova crushed world No.2 Anett Kontaveit 6-1, 6-1. 

“Marie, I mean this week for you was amazing and I’m very happy for you the first title at home,” the Russian said. “It’s very sweet and I’m very happy for you.
“Thank you to my team for the support, I know I’m not an easy girl to play, and lets see what the future will bring.”

Bouzkova is the fifth home player to win the Prague Open after Karolina Pliskova in 2015, Lucie Safarova in 2016, Petra Kvitova in 2018 and Barbora Krejcikova in 2021.

The Czech has now recorded 23 wins on the Tour this season against 10 losses.

Garcia returns to the winner’s circle

https://twitter.com/WTA/status/1553754098658185216

At the Warsaw Open in Poland, Caroline Garcia clinched her first title since 2016 with a comprehensive 6-4, 6-1, win over Ana Bogdan. 

Garcia, who has been ranked as high as fourth in the world, won 73% of her first service points as she broke her opponent five times in the match. It is the third time she has won a WTA trophy on the clay after Bogota 2014 and Strasburg 2016. Overall, she has won nine Tour titles so far in her career. 

Thank you to my parents who are watching from home. They have been behind me since the beginning,” Garcia said afterwards. “It means a lot as they are not travelling as much with me so they are not here (in Warsaw) today. But I’m thinking a lot about them and thank you for being behind me when it’s tough. Today is a great day and they deserve it as well.”

En route to the Warsaw crown, Garcia stunned Iga Swiatek to record her first-ever win over a world No.1 player on her tenth attempt. In her nine previous matches, she had only managed to win just two sets against No.1 players. She also defeated Italy’s Jasmine Paolini in the semi-finals. 

Garcia has now won 26 matches so far in 2022. To put that into context, throughout the entire 2021 season she only managed to achieve 21 wins.

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Jannik Sinner reaches his second consecutive semifinal in Monte-Carlo

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Second seed Jannik Sinner battled past Holger Rune 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 after 2 hours and 41 minutes to reach his second consecutive semifinal at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Sinner becomes the only player to reach the semifinals at all three Masters 1000 tournaments this season. 

Sinner has drawn level to 2-2 in his four head-to-head matches against Rune. 

Sinner has improved to 14-2 against top 10 opponents since last September. 

Sinner set up a semifinal clash against 2021 and 2022 Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-2 in the quarter final. Tsitsipas has a career win-loss record of 18-3 in Monte-Carlo. 

Rune did not convert a break point in the fourth game of the first set. Sinner earned the only break of the opening set in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Neither player earned a single break point in the next games. Sinner held on his next service games and served out the first set with a hold at love. 

Rune recovered from 0-40 to hold for 3-2. The Danish player fended off three break points at 6-5 to hold serve at deuce. Sinner earned two set points at 6-4 in the tie-break, but Rune fired a winner to start a four-point streak to clinch the tie-break 8-6. 

Rune held his second break point at 2-2 30-40, but Sinner saved it before winning 12 of the final 15 points to win the third set 6-3 improving his win-loss record to 25-1 this season. “It took a lot to win this match. Playing against Rune is never easy, especially on this kind of occasion, so I am very happy that I won today but mostly about the level I gave. I raised it today a little bit. It was more physical, there were more rallies today. My general feelings were better, so I am very excited about tomorrow’s match. Even I lose today, I learn again, so I am very happy about today. It has been  a very tough match. I am very happy about the win”, said Sinner.

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Injury Heartbreak Motivates Australia In Billie Jean King Cup Tie With Mexico

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SEVILLE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Storm Hunter of Team Australia reacts during the Billie Jean King Cup Finals group stage match between Australia and Kazakhstan at Estadio de La Cartuja on November 09, 2023 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images for ITF)

The captain of the Australian Billie Jean King Cup team says they are supporting one of their top players after she suffered a serious injury on the eve of their latest tie. 

Storm Hunter, who is currently ranked No.3 in the world for doubles, has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon whilst training at a practice session on Thursday with her teammates. The severity of the injury means she will almost certainly be forced to pull out of this summer’s Olympic Games where she would have been a medal contender, as well as both the French Open and Wimbledon. Hunter has already won a WTA 1000 title this season in Dubai and was also runner-up in Indian Wells. In both of those tournaments, she was partnering Kateřina Siniaková. 

“Unfortunately yesterday in our last practice before the tie, I went down and scans last night confirmed that I have ruptured my Achilles tendon,” said Hunter.
“I am devastated and heartbroken, but incredibly grateful to be around the team and I know I have a great group of people around me that will help me get back on the court as soon as possible.
“Thank you everyone so much everyone for your messages of support and love. I’m excited to stay for the tie and support our Aussie girls.”

According to the Australian press, team captain Sam Stosur said Hunter’s teammates are ‘rallying behind‘ her and “wishing her the very, very best and the quickest recovery possible.”

As a result of the injury, Daria Saville was brought in to play in her country’s singles match on the opening day of their tie against Mexico on Friday. The world No.94 was in top form as she charged to a comprehensive 6-1, 6-0, win over Marcela Zacarias in less than an hour. 

“Yesterday was a pretty tough day for all of us, pretty emotional,” said Saville who has undergone surgery on her Achilles in the past. 
“It’s so nice to have Stormy here supporting us. Not long ago that kind of happened to me … so we’re giving Stormy a lot of love. 
“I felt like I was pretty determined and clearly that showed.”

Despite the blow, Australia is on the verge of beating Mexico. In the other singles match on the opening day, Arina Rodionova came back from a set down to beat Giuliana Olmos 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. With a 2-0 lead, they only need one more win to clinch the tie. 

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Great Britain is looking to avenge defeat against France in Billie Jean King Cup tie

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France and Great Britain have drawn together once again after a thrilling Billie Jean King Qualifier tie last year.

France will take on Great Britain for the fifth time in Billie Jean King Cup. In their most recent clash France beat Great Britain 3-1 in a tight Qualifier one year ago on an indoor hard court in their first tie since 1981. Caroline Garcia and Alizé Cornet won their singles matches against Katie Boulter and Harriet Dart. 

Great Britain is looking to avenge last year’s result. 

The French team features Caroline Garcia, Karoline Mladenovic, Clara Burel and Diane Perry in a mix of experienced and young players. French captain Julien Benneteau was part of the Davis Cup-winning team in 2017. Benneteau is one of the select players to have beaten Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. 

Benneteau was named Billie Jean King Cup captain in 2018 and led France to victory against Australia in the Final in 2019. 

France was narrowly defeated by Italy in the group stages at the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Seville. 

Great Britain won their Play-Off tie against Sweden. Katie Boulter scored two thrilling singles wins. 

British captain Anne Keothavong, who won 22 matches during her playing career in the Billie Jean King Cup, has named world number 28 Katie Boulter, Harriet Dart, Heather Watson and 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu. 

Raducanu will make only her second appearance in the British team at this event. She missed most of the 2023 season after undergoing surgery on both wrists and her ankle. 

Boulter and Raducanu have been selected to play singles. 

Boulter will play against Diane Perry in the opening match. Raducanu will take on Garcia in the second match. 

Bolulter has a good chance to qualify for the Olympic Games at Paris Roland Garros. The British player, who won the San Diego Open this year, has not played a professional match on clay. Both the Billie Jean King Cup tie at the Chaudron Le Portel and the Olympic Games will be held on this surface. 

“The Olympics is always something I wanted to play as a kid and that is certainly a priority. I will be playing if I can, and I am looking forward to being a part of something which isn’t only tennis. I am sure it would be an experience I won’t forget”, said Boulter. 

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