Caroline Garcia Overcomes 'Crisis Of Panic' To Reach WTA Finals Semis - UBITENNIS
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Caroline Garcia Overcomes ‘Crisis Of Panic’ To Reach WTA Finals Semis

The French No.1 reacts to her latest win at the end-of-season showdown.

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Caroline Garcia says her run to the semi-finals of the WTA Finals in Fort Worth is further proof that her game style is heading in the right direction.

The world No.6 sealed her place in the last four of the tournament on Saturday after edging out Daria Kasatkina 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), in a roller-coaster encounter. Garcia boasted a break advantage in the opener before losing the set. Then in the decider, she was also a break up twice before being pegged back by the Russian. Eventually, she prevailed in the tiebreaker on her second match point.

It was a very big match, for sure,” Garcia said afterwards. “I started the first set okay, but then I got pretty nervous, and kind of had a crisis of panic. I kind of lost my mind a little bit because she’s (Kasatkina) is bringing back a lot of balls and I went for too much.”
“I managed to get back more calm and do more controlled tennis. The second set was definitely very good and the third set was just a battle.”

Garcia’s latest win saw her hit a total of 42 winners against 48 unforced errors as she converted eight out of her 14 break point opportunities. She now leads Kasatkina 2-1 in their head-to-head.

It is the second time the Frenchwoman has reached the semi-final stage at the WTA Finals after doing so the last time she played the event in 2017. Garcia is only the fifth player in the event’s history to have reached the last four on her first two appearances.

2022 has been very much a comeback year for the 29-year-old who had a WTA ranking of 74 back in January. She has surged up the standings after winning titles in Bad Homburg, Warsaw and Cincinnati. Making Garcia the only female player this season to have won titles on three different surfaces. Then at the US Open, she reached the semi-finals in what was her best-ever performance at a Grand Slam event.

“It’s definitely a great achievement. I was already very proud to be in the top eight and to be able to go through the group, it’s even better.” She commented on her performance at the WTA Finals.
“I started (2022) very far from being in the top 10 or top eight, and made my way to it and played a lot of matches. Today it’s one more thing that proves to me my game style is working and I have to keep going that way.”

Bidding to become the first player from her country to reach the title match at the WTA Finals since 2006, Garcia will take on Maria Sakkari on Sunday. Sakkari achieved a perfect 3-0 record in her group with wins over Jessica Pegula, Ons Jabeur and Aryna Sabalenka. The Greek is yet to lose a set in the tournament.

“She’s a player of big moments. She’s proving it once again, making the semifinal again and it’s going to be a big match. She’s a way different player than the one I played (Kasatkina). Very powerful and moves well. So it’s going to be a good challenge again.” Garcia said of Sakkari.

Garcia leads Sakkari 2-0 in their head-to-head.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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