Caroline Garcia Secures Return To WTA Top 10, Faces Old Foe Jabeur For Place In US Open Final - UBITENNIS
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Caroline Garcia Secures Return To WTA Top 10, Faces Old Foe Jabeur For Place In US Open Final

Enjoying her best-ever run at a major tournament, Garcia’s upcoming opponent is a player that has given her plenty of trouble in the past.



Image via US Open Twitter

Caroline Garcia has continued her recent surge in form by securing a place in her first Grand Slam-final at the US Open on Tuesday. 

Garcia, who was ranked 79th in the world in May, produced a convincing 6-3, 6-4, win over Coco Gauff in her quarter-final match. Hitting a total of 24 winners and dropping serve only once against the American. It is her sixth consecutive win over a top 20 player on the Tour. 

“It was a very intense match. Every point, every game was really tough. The atmosphere was really American with a lot of energy out there,” said Garcia. 

“I’m just very happy with the performance today, to manage the emotion in my game. I’ve been able to play my game, and that’s very important for me.”

The Frenchwoman has established herself as a force to be reckoned with in recent months. She has won 18 out of her last 19 matches played, claiming titles in Warsaw and Cincinnati. The only player to defeat her during this period was compatriot Alize Cornet at the Canadian Open. 

Garcia’s latest victory over Gauff has guaranteed that she will enter the top 10 next Monday when the standings are updated. It will be the first time she has done so since October 2018. She has been ranked as high as fourth in the world. 

“Obviously with a lot of wins, I’m having fun playing. I can see so many things I can still improve. So it’s a great challenge for our team.” She said. 

So what has triggered Garcia’s rise in the sport once again? One explanation is a change in tactics she uses during matches to play more aggressively. 

“Maybe I’m a little bit more inside the court on the return, trying to play as early as I can. Yeah, that’s maybe the biggest difference,” she commented on her current game.

“My coach is always challenging me to practice inside (the court). Now I like to do it more. It’s more under control. But obviously at the beginning was a challenge. It was my best way for me to return.”

Bidding to become only the second Frenchwoman to reach a US Open final and the first since Mary Pierce in 2005, Garcia faces the formidable Ons Jabeur in the next round. Jabeur edged out Ana Tomljanovic 6-4, 7-6(4), in her quarter-final match. Becoming the first African woman to reach the last four of the New York major in the Open Era. 

Jabeur has been problematic for Garcia in the past. Their rivalry began more than a decade ago on the junior circuit when they clashed four times between 2010-2011 with the Tunisian winning all of their encounters. Jabeur continued her perfect winning record on the WTA Tour by defeating Garcia at the 2019 US Open and 2020 Australian Open. 

Another thing that links the two players is Bertrand Perret, who is currently Garcia’s coach but had also previously worked with Jabeur. 

“We go way back, from juniors,” Tennis Majors quoted Jabeur as saying. “Honestly I’m happy for her that she’s back where she belongs. Also, she’s working with Bertrand; he was my coach before Issam. I’m just happy for them in general. “I know she plays really aggressive, and a tough game. So whoever is going to be able to impose her game is going to be in better form. So I will try to play my game. I will try to be me. Hopefully, it’s going to be a great match for both of us.”

Despite her losing record, Garcia will be hoping to get revenge when they clash once again at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday. 

“It was really a challenge for me to play her in juniors,” Garcia reflected. “Yeah, a few times she stopped me on my way to get a slam in juniors. It’s fun to see two players again in (a) semi-final in (the) US Open. It’s a great challenge for my game, for me. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing



Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai



Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro



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One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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