US Open Women’s Roundup: Swiatek Eases Through, Wimbledon Champion Rybakina Out - UBITENNIS
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US Open Women’s Roundup: Swiatek Eases Through, Wimbledon Champion Rybakina Out

Plenty of Grand Slam champions were in action early on during day 2 of the 2022 US Open.

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Iga Swiatek (@WTA - Twitter)

By Russell Miller

 

Iga Swiatek was among some of the big names to progress through in the women’s singles on Tuesday, while there were some hard-fought wins for some of the seeded players.

Here is your roundup so far of day 2 at Flushing Meadows.

Swiatek Puts Ball Concerns Behind Her

World number one Iga Swiatek kicked off her US Open campaign with a 6-3 6-0 win over Italian Jasmine Paolini to reach the second round in New York.
The Pole improved her opening round record at Majors to 14-1, and despite being broken twice in the first set, looked convincing throughout. She will face former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in a mouth-watering second round match.

Swiatek spoke before the tournament about her disdain of the balls used for the women’s tournament in New York but is feeling much better about her chances after her practices over the last couple weeks. After her victory today, Swiatek said “For sure, just the week before, which was in Cincinnati, which was pretty tough, here was much, much better, and I got a lot of confidence just from, you know, practicing and hitting the balls in, actually playing better and better every day.”

Rybakina and Venus Williams Fall at Opening Hurdle

25th seed Elena Rybakina lost in her first Grand Slam match since winning Wimbledon as she went down 6-4 6-4 to French player Clara Burel, in what was her first US Open main draw victory. The Kazakh hit 37 unforced errors in an uncharacteristic performance during the heat of the day at Flushing Meadows and failed to rediscover the form that saw her become a Wimbledon champion in July.

Rybakina has spoken candidly about how she doesn’t feel like a Grand Slam champion because of ‘weak leadership,’ which stemmed from the tournament’s decision to not award ranking points after the WTA
decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the 3rd Major of the year. Burel will face Alison Van Uytvanck in round 2, after the Belgian defeated Venus Williams 6-1 7-6(5) on the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

There is much speculation as to whether Venus will follow her sister Serena into retirement from tennis, although nothing is official yet from the older of the two sisters. Both players, however, will be pairing up on Thursday in women’s doubles action.

Big Names Progress Through to Round Two

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Garbine Muguruza broke a three-match losing streak at Majors after beating Clara Tauson 6-3 7-6(5) in the opening round. The Spaniard, looking to return to her best form, faces 17- year-old Czech Linda Fruhvirtova next. Muguruza’s compatriot Paula Badosa fought from a set down to beat Lesia Tsurenko, 3-6 7-6(4) 6-3 and took advantage of a cramping Ukrainian in the deciding set.

Badosa will next play Varvara Gracheva or Petra Martic. There were also straight-set wins for 6th seed Aryna Sabalenka, 8th seed Jessica Pegula and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, while 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko fell 6-3 3-6 6-4 to rising star Qinwen Zheng of China.

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Emma Raducanu Draws Inspiration From Andy Murray Ahead Of 2023

Emma Raducanu spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career.

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Emma Raducanu has spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career and is optimistic about turning her form in 2023.

 

The former US Open hasn’t had too bad of an off-season after receiving her MBE for her services to sport.

Raducanu made history in 2021 as she won the US Open as a qualifier at 18 years of age.

However the Brit has yet to back that up with Raducanu changing coach on a number of occasions as she looks for some stability in 2023.

Speaking in a recent interview with Grazia Raducanu said that she believes that momentum can change quickly in tennis and that confidence is the key to success, “[In tennis] it could look like it’s all going down, down, down and just not getting any better,” Raducanu was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Just one match can have a big influence on your confidence and once you have confidence and the momentum comes, you feel like you can’t lose. It’s a very individual sport – people are friendly but it’s difficult to be really close with those you’re competing with.”

One player that can relate to what Raducanu is saying is Andy Murray with confidence being a key theme of the highs and lows of Murray’s career.

Raducanu said that she talks to Murray regularly about the highs and lows of tennis, “Andy Murray is so good to talk to because he’s been through pretty much what I’ve been going through,” Raducanu said.

“I have always looked up to him and watched him winning his first Wimbledon and the Olympics.”

Raducanu will hope that she can use Murray’s words as inspiration for next season as she currently sits at 75 in the world.

The Brit will start her season in 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand on the 2nd of January.

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Fernando Verdasco Given Two Month Doping Ban

Fernando Verdasco has been banned from tennis until the 8th of January.

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Fernando Verdasco will miss the first week of the 2023 season after being provisionally suspended for two months after testing positive for the drug methylphenidate.

 

The former world number seven tested positive for the drug at the Challenger event in Rio De Janeiro and has accepted a voluntary ban until the 8th of January.

As well as testing positive for the drug methylphenidate, Verdasco had also forgot to renew his Therapeutic Use Exemption despite the Spaniard admitting that he was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In a statement published today the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), explained why his ban has been shortened from two years to two months, “The ITIA accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for it,” they said in a statement on his website.

“In the specific circumstances of this case, based on the player’s degree of fault the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme allows for the applicable period of ineligibility to be reduced from two years to two months.”

The 39 year-old will as a result miss the first week of the new season with the Spaniard being currently ranked at world number 125.

In 2022, Verdasco’s best results on the ATP tour were quarter-final performances in Buenos Aires and Estoril while he also won a challenger title in Monterrey in March.

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Canada Thumps Australia To Win Historic Davis Cup Title 

The dream of the North American team has finally become a reality.

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MALAGA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 27: Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2022 at Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena on November 27, 2022 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Silvestre Szpylma / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

109 years after making their Davis Cup debut, Canada has finally claimed the trophy after producing two clinical wins over Australia in the final on Sunday. 

 

The duo of Denis Shapovalov and Felix-Auger Aliassime both shined in their matches to give the North American nation an unassible 2-0 lead in the three-match tie. It is the first time Canada has won the title with 2022 being only the second time they have reached the final. Three years ago they missed out on the title to Spain. 

“The emotions are tough to describe,” said Auger-Aliassime. “All of us here, we’ve dreamt of this. All of these guys grew up together dreaming of this moment, dreaming of winning the Davis Cup. It’s a great moment for me and my country…. I am happy we were able to get our first Davis Cup with this group.”

Shapovalov kicked-off the final with a 90-minute 6-2, 6-4, win over Thanasi Kokkinakis who also lost his semi-final match against Borna Coric. The world No.18 blasted 28 winners past his opponent and broke him four times in the match. Besides handing Canada the crucial lead, it was a much-needed confidence boost for Shapovalov who earlier in the week lost to Lorenzo Sonego and Jan-Lennard Struff. 

“I’m very happy with my performance today,” said Shapovalov. “I had a long one against Sonego yesterday and was struggling with my back a little bit. So huge credit to the medical staff for putting me back in shape. There were a lot of doubts if I’d be ready to play today. It was amazing to play pain-free today.”

Closing in on the title, Felix Auger-Aliassime secured victory for his country with a 6-3, 6-4, triumph over world No.24 Alex de Minaur. Producing a total of six aces and saving all eight break points he faced. 

https://twitter.com/DavisCup/status/1596895388077674497

Canada’s run to their first title occurred with a bit of luck on their side. Originally they were eliminated from the finals after losing to the Netherlands at the start of this year. However, they received a wildcard to play in the group stages following the removal of Russia from the competition. Russia and Belarus are currently suspended from team events due to the war in Ukraine. 

In Group B they scored wins over South Korea and Spain to secure a place in the finale this week. Before dismissing Australia, they beat Italy 2-1 in the semi-finals and Germany 2-1 in the quarter-finals. 

“From juniors it was our dream, growing up watching Vasek (Pospisil), Milos (Raonic), and [Daniel Nestor] taking Canada to new [heights],” Shapovalov said. “We wanted to grow up and help the country win the first title. It’s so surreal right now. After we lost in the final in 2019, we really wanted this bad. It’s such a team effort; everyone was putting in 120 percent every day.”

Canada’s team captain is former player Frank Dancevic who has held the role since 2017. 

 “This is a historic moment,” Dancevic commented on the achievement. “We’ve never won this title in the past. It’s the first time for us. It’s an incredible feeling.”

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