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Emma Raducanu Unfazed By Possibility Of Big Rankings Drop At US Open

The British tennis sensation says she is ready to deal with whatever happens in the coming weeks.

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Emma Raducanu reacts during a Women's Singles match at the 2021 US Open, Monday, Sep. 6, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

Emma Raducanu says it will be nice for her to close a chapter in her career when she returns to the US Open later this month to defend her title. 

 

The 19-year-old stunned the tennis world last year in New York when she won 10 matches in a row without dropping a set en route to claiming her maiden major title. Becoming the first qualifier in history to win the title in what was only her second appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam. The triumph elevated her from a ranking position of 150th to 23rd. Since then, she has peaked at a career-high of 10th which is her current position. 

Faced with a surge in media attention and endorsements, Raducanu has found it tough going on the Tour in recent months. She is yet to reach the final of another tournament and has won 11 out of 24 matches played on the WTA Tour so far this season. Reaching the quarter-finals of tournaments in Stuttgart and Washington.   

Besides her lacklustre results, the Brit has also had to contend with a series of physical issues which has hindered her. Despite those setbacks, Raducanu insists that she isn’t feeling the pressure heading into the US Open. 

“Pressure is either what I put on myself or what I expect from myself, I think that is the biggest thing which determines how you deal with it,” she explains during an interview with Sky Sports. 
“I only feel the pressure or think about it whenever I’m in my press conference because every single question is about pressure. So the only pressure is from you guys really (the media).”

2022 is the first full season the youngster has played on the WTA Tour after making her debut last summer on the grass. Still getting to grips with various aspects of life as a professional tennis player, she has also undergone various stints with numerous coaches. Including Angelique Kerber’s former mentor Torben Beltz and more recently Dimitry Tursunov. 

Suffering second round defeats at her past three major events, Raducanu is well aware that another early exit at the US Open could result in a big drop in the rankings. As the reigning champion, she will be defending 2000 points. 

“I love New York as a place, as a tournament and as a city. I love everything about it so I’m looking forward to going back and whatever happens, I think it’s going to be a nice close to a chapter,” said Raducanu. 
“Regardless of whatever the result is, I can just start again with a clean slate. If all my points drop off then I will work my way back up. I think regardless of what happens it will be a fresh start.”

Raducanu is the ninth seed at this week’s National Bank Open in Toronto. A WTA 1000 event that features every member of the world’s top 10. She will begin her campaign against Italy’s Camila Giorgi. Should Raducanu reach the final she would be the first British woman to do so since Virginia Wade in 1972. 

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Novak Djokovic sets up blockbuster final against Marin Cilic in Tel Aviv

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Novak Djokovic reached the 127th final of his career and his fourth championships match of the year at the Tel Aviv Open after his 6-1 7-6 (7-3) win over Roman Safiulin in their first head-to-head match. 

 

Djokovic converted three of his seven break point chances. The Serbian player held his opening game with a service winner and earned three break points in the second game. 

Djokovic converted his first break point after Safiulin made a double fault and fired a service winner in the third game. Safiulin faced three break points in the fourth game and saved them. Safiulin saved the fourth break point with a backhand down the fine before dropping serve with a forehand error on the fifth opportunity to trail 0-4. 

Djokovic hit an ace in the fifth game to race out to a 5-0 lead in 17 minutes. Safiulin held serve with a forehand winner to win his first game. Djokovic held serve at love to seal the first set 6-1 in 23 minutes. 

Safiulin hit an ace in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The world number 104 earned his first break point in the sixth game, but the 2022 Wimbledon champion fended it off with his serve. The former world number 1 saved the second break point to hold serve with an ace for3-3. 

Safiulin wasted a game point at 4-4 before Djokovic broke serve with a volley winner at the net. Djokovic dropped his serve after a double fault as he was serving for the match. 

Both players served well in the 11th and 12th game to set up a tie-break. Djokovic built up a 4-1 lead after Safiulin made a double fault in the fifth game. 

Djokovic earned four match points in the eighth game and sealed the second set 6-3 with an ace. 

Novak Djokovic: “I think it was a very competitive match, especially in the second set. I must say I was quite emotional on the court today in the second set. There was a lot of tension. It was due to his aggressive style of tennis”. 

Djokovic dropped just three points to win the opening set 6-1. Safiulin raised his level in the second set, when he broke serve, as Djokovic was serving for the match at 5-4. 

Djokovic will be aiming to win his third title of the year against Marin Cilic, who beat Constant Lestienne 7-5 6-3. Cilic went down 2-5 in the opening set and saved two set points before taking five consecutive games to seal the first set 7-5. The Croatian player reeled off four consecutive games from 2-3 down to close out the second set 6-3.

Djokovic leads 18-2 in his head-to-head matches against Cilic. “It was a great fight. In the first set he was serving for it, and I just managed to stay In there. I kept my focus and served fantastic from that point. It was a really exciting match. It’s always a fantastic challenge to play against Novak. No matter the tournament, he is an unbelievable competitor and always gives his incredible best. We first played in 2008 and we have known each other since we were 14. It’s going to be another great match”, said Cilic. 

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Holger Rune reaches his second ATP Tour final at the Sofia Open

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Holger Rune reached his second ATP Tour final of the 2022 season and the first on indoor hard court at the Sofia Open after Jannik Sinner retired from the semifinal due to an ankle injury. Rune won his first title in Munich and reached the quarter final at Roland Garros earlier this year.

 

Rune was leading 5-7 6-4 6-2 against Sinner, when the Italian player withdrew from the match. 

Sinner wasted three break points in the sixth and eighth games of the opening set. The Italian player earned the decisive break at 6-5, as Rune sent his down the line backhand wide on the set point. Sinner held his service games without facing any break points. 

Rune broke serve at 2-2 at love after Sinner made three forehand errors. Rune hit a forehand winner on the break point. Rune saved two break points at 5-4 with an ace and a forehand error from Sinner. 

Rune converted his second set point 6-4 with a forehand winner.

Sinner dropped his serve at 15 after three unforced error. Sinner saved a double break point at 1-3 to hold his serve.  Sinner injured his ankle at 2-3 0-15. Rune broke for the second time in the seventh game for 5-2 before Sinner retired from the match.  

“It’s obviously never the way you want to win and it was such a great match. It’s the worst possible way it could end and I just want to wish Jannik all the best. He’s an amazing player and what he has shown this year has been unbelievable. I wish him a speedy recovery. I think it was a great match up until the end. I think I was obviously a little bit tired after yesterday, but I really puhed hard and ran for everything. I am happy with the way f fought and happy with my level”, said Rune. 

Marc Andrea Huesler upset Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 96 minutes to reach his first ATP Tour final. 

Huesler won six consecutive points from 1-5 down to seal the tie-break of the first set 7-5.  The Swiss player saved two match points in the tie-break of the second set against Kamil Majcrzak in the quarter finals. 

The first semifinal featured just two break points. Huesler saved a break point to hold for the second set before converting his only break point in the 12th game. 

Huesler fired 10 aces and won 40 of his 48 first serve points. 

Both players went on serve with no break points en route to tie-break. Musetti raced out to a 5-1 lead in the tie-break with two mini-breaks after a backhand passing shot and a double fault from Huesler. Musetti made his second double fault to give back the mini-break for 5-4. Huesler hit a service winner and drew an error to earn a set point. Huesler sealed the tie-break, when Musetti missed a forehand. 

Huesler saved the only break point he faced with a serve and volley to hold for 5-4. Musetti made his third double fault to face a match point, as he was serving to force the tie-break. Huesler closed out the match with a backhand return in 1 hour and 35 minutes to reach his first ATP Tour final. 

“For sure, I mean I have never been in the final of an ATP Tour event. I am obviously a bit speechless. I can’t quite believe that I was able to win today and make it to the finals. but I played a really great match today and I am just really happy”, said Huesler. 

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Denis Shapovalov sets up final against Yoshihito Nishioka in Seoul

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Denis Shapovalov rallied from a break down in the first set in his 7-5 6-4 win over Jenson Brooksby in 1 hour and 35 minutes at the Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul. 

 

Brooksby earned a break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Shapovalov broke straight back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. Shapovalov broke for the second time in the seventh game and held on his service game to take a 5-3 lead. Brooksby broke back to draw level to 5-5. Shapovalov  broke for the fourth time in the 11thgame to close out the first set 7-5. 

Shapovalov earned his first break at deuce in the ninth game to close out the second set 6-4. The Canadian player will be aiming his second career title following his only previous ATP Tour level title in Stockolm in 2019. 

This year Shapovalov has reached the quarter final at the Australian Open and the semifinal in Dubai. Brooksby was aiming to reach his third final this season after advancing to championship matches in Dallas and Atlanta. 

Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka overcame Aleksandar Kovacevic 6-3 4-6 6-3 to advance to his second final this year. Nishioka, who reached the championship match in Washington, has moved up to world number 45, has won the only ATP title of his title in Shenzhen in 2018. Nishioka won the first set 6-3 with two breaks in the fifth and ninth games. Kovacevic earned his first break in the fifth game to win the second set 6-4. Nishioka went up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game of the third set. Kovacevic broke back in the seventh game to reduce his deficit to 3-4, but Nishioka closed out the match with his second break in the eighth game.  

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