Veronika Kudemertova comes back from the brink of defeat to beat Beatriz Haddad Maia - UBITENNIS
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Veronika Kudemertova comes back from the brink of defeat to beat Beatriz Haddad Maia



Veronika Kudemertova came back from one set down to beat Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 after 3 hours and 14 minutes at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. 

Kudemertova earned an early break to take a 2-0 lead in the opening set. Haddad Maia won the next five games with two breaks of serve to take a 5-2 lead. Kudemertova broke back in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. Haddad Maia won five consecutive points from 2-4 down to claim the tie-break 7-4. Kudemertova broke serve in the fourth game to take a 4-1 lead in the second set. Haddad Maia broke back in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. 

Kudemertova came within two points of defeat at 6-6 in the tie-break of the second set before she hit a backhand winner on set point. 

Kudemertova reeled off the last six games of the match with three breaks to win the third set 6-1 improving her three-set record to 12-5 this year. The Russian player has a win-loss record of 8-7 against top 20 opponents this season. 

Kudemertova has reached her fifth WTA 500 semifinal this season. She will take on either Zheng Qinwen, who beat Claire Liu 6-4 7-5. Kudemertova has reached her ninth quarter final of the season. Only Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur have reached more quarter finals than Kudemertova this year.  

With her quarter final in Tokyo Kudemertova has risen to world number 9 by reaching the quarter finals in Tokyo. 

Kudemertova converted six of the fifteen break points and hit 45 winners, including 11 aces. 

Zhang Shuai secured her spot in the semifinal with a 7-5 6-2 win over Petra Martic. Zhang scored her first ever win over Martic, who had won their previous two head-to-head matches on hard-court at the 2015 US Open and at the 2019 Miami Open. 

Zhang has reached her third semifinal of the season. The Chinese player clinched the third title of her career in Lyon and advanced to the final in Birmingham. During a successful summer hard-court season she reached two consecutive quarter finals in Cincinnati and Cleveland and the Round of 16 at the US Open. 

Zhang earned only two break points in the first set but she converted both of them. The Chinese player won seven games from 5-5 in the first set to build up a 7-5 5-0 lead in the second set before sealing the win on her fifth match point after 1 hour and 22 minutes. 

Zhang Shuai has become the first Chinese player to reach the semifinals in Tokyo since Li Na in 2009. 

“Last season I had a tough half year. I had an injury because in 2020 I went back to China twice and I had a long quarantine after. When I started to play, I felt shoulder pain, arm pain, everywhere. In the first half of the year I did not win any matches. I did not play well. I took a lot of rest and treatment. Last year’s 15 wins were in the second half of the year, so it looks the same every half-year I have 15 wins. That feeling is good”, said Zhang Shuai. 

Zhang Shuai will face Liudmila Samsonova, who beat Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-2 in the quarter finals. Samsonova won four consecutive games from 4-4 in the first set to build up a 6-4 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke five times and hit 23 winners to Muguruza’s 11. 

Samsonova has won 16 of the 17 matches and has reached the semifinals or better at three of her last four tournaments. She won two back-to-back titles in Washington and Cleveland and reached the fourth round at the US Open for the first time at this Grand Slam tournament before losing to Ajla Tomljanovic. 

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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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