Iga Swiatek Impresses In WTA Finals Opener, Garcia Also Wins - UBITENNIS
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Iga Swiatek Impresses In WTA Finals Opener, Garcia Also Wins

It was an almost perfect start for the Pole and her bid to win the end-of-season event for the first time in her career.

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Iga Swiatek said a ‘solid start’ to her opening match at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth proved pivotal to her latest win. 

The world No.1 breezed past Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-3, in just over 80 minutes to record her 65th victory of the season. Swiatek was unbroken throughout the encounter as she hit 22 winners against 18 unforced errors. At the start of both sets, she surged to a 3-0 lead en route to a relatively straightforward victory. 

“I’m pretty happy that I could start so solid,” Swiatek said during her press conference. “I feel like it gave me confidence throughout the whole match. (Against) Dasha, I knew it’s gonna be hard to balance being aggressive and not making a lot of mistakes because she can really reset the rallies.’
“I’m pretty happy that in the beginning I was able to be proactive, but on the other hand, really solid.”

Swiatek, who has already won eight Tour titles this year, extends her dominant record against her Russian opponent. It is the fifth time this season she has beaten Kasatkina on the Tour and all of her victories have been in straight sets. Kasatkina’s only win in their rivalry was in their first meeting at the 2021 Eastbourne International.

“I think the level and the points of the rallies of the match were pretty decent. Physically it was a tough match as well. So I hope the next one’s going to be even better,” the world No.8 commented on her latest performance. 

As a result of her latest victory, Swiatek has now recorded 13 wins over a top 10 player in 2022 which is more than double that of anybody else on the WTA Tour. To put that into context, before this year the 21-year-old had only ever achieved five such victories in her career. 

Amid all the success, there have also been blips for the three-time Grand Slam champion who admits she found it hard to motivate herself after triumphing at the US Open.

“After the US Open it was pretty hard to find another goal because I achieved even more than I thought, this season,” she said. “But on the other hand, I wasn’t pushing myself to have these goals. I just realized that when I’m going to go on court, and when I’m going to be competing, I’m going to have the same feeling as always with wanting to win.”

Awaiting the top seed in her next match will be France’s Caroline Garcia who eased her way past 18-year-old Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-3. It is the second time in a row she has beaten the American following their meeting at Flushing Meadows a few weeks back. She has now drawn level in their head-to-head at 2-2. 

Garcia, who is the only player to have won WTA titles on three different surfaces this year, belongs to a small group of players who have beaten Swiatek within the past 12 months. Something she hopes to capitalize on when they clash once again on Wednesday. 

“It gives me confidence,” she said of her victory over Swiatek at the Poland Open. “To be aggressive is probably the best way to try to beat her. When she has time to do her things, she is very complicated. She changes direction so well, moves very well on court with her sliding and she looks like she’s covering like two courts when you cover only One.’
“So she’s very impressive, especially on the hard court since the beginning of the year, doing so well at 21 years only.’
“We’ll (Garcia and her team) have to recover well, prepare my match very well, take the positive things I did in Poland, and try to put it in my game style. So that’s the most important for me.”

Garcia is the first Frenchwoman to win a match at the WTA Finals in straight sets since Amelie Mauresmo in 2005. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Sinner; now aims for Third Title in Monte Carlo

Stylish Greek completes comeback win and re-enters the top ten.

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After winning two in a row in 2021-2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now in reach of a third title at the prestigious Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, after beating World number two Jannik Sinner in three gruelling sets.

The 25-year-old had to battle hard and come from a break down in the third to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and now plays Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The Greek has had an indifferent start to the year with a 11-6 win-loss record, but today was his first top three victory since the 2022 Cincinatti Masters – where he beat Daniil Medvedev – and ensures a return back into the top ten of the men’s rankings.

Tsitsipas recognised how hard he had to fight and revealed after the match just how satisfied he was of his performance:

“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play. Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game. He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and the way I overcame it is true excellence.”

Sinner double faulted at 30-40 to gift the break early with the score at one game all. From there, Tsistipas rallied with poise and confidence in a brilliant opening set lasting 44 minutes including a stunning backhand down-the-line winner to open the game when serving at 4-3. He took the first set 6-4 after a tiring 18-shot rally – where both players hit all angles of the court – before Sinner hit a forehand wide.

However, 22-year-old Sinner struck back immediately on his first breakpoint at the start of the second set when he won a close exchange at the net and then took a 3-0 lead.  He later survived a breakback point when 4-2 up and crucially held on for 5-2. He faced more pressure when serving for the set at 5-3 and was taken to deuce but levelled the match at one-set-all on his second set point to give the crowd exactly what they were asking f

Sinner was now in full flow hitting powerfully from the baseline and once again broke early at the start of the final set to take a 3-1 lead. But with the match now entering the third hour he began to tire physically and called for the trainer during the changeover with the score at 4-3.  When the match resumed, he lost the next three games and the Greek had completed a remarkable turnaround, handing his opponent just his second defeat of the season in two hours and forty minutes.

“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”

Sinner’s only loss prior to today was against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells semi-finals. He has been the stand out player this year after already winning titles in Rotterdam, the Miami Open, and his maiden Grand Slam in Australia. Despite having won 25 matches overall though, he now trails Tsitsipas 3-6 in their head-to-head rivalry.

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Casper Ruud Reveals Shock After Knocking Out Novak Djokovic In Monte-Carlo

Casper Ruud is into his second career Masters 1000 final after beating Novak Djokovic for the first time.

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Casper Ruud is into his second Masters 1000 final of his career after recording his best ever win by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4.

The Norwegian defeated the world number one for the first time in his career as he overcame a mini-comeback from Djokovic to seal his place in the Monte-Carlo final.

Having lost his five previous meetings to Djokovic, Ruud played some fearless tennis under pressure as the eighth seed broke to close out a career-best win.

Speaking after the win Ruud admitted he was in a state of shock and was pleased with the victory, “I am super happy,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

After achieving the seemingly improbable, Ruud will now look to win his first ever ATP title that’s above a Masters 1000 event when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Monte-Carlo final.

That’s a prospect Ruud is looking forward to as he prepares for one final challenge, “There is always one more match in tennis,” the Norwegian explained.

“Tomorrow is going to be a special day, playing a final here in Monte-Carlo. It is a great result but I have been chasing a big title for a few years now and tomorrow I will have another shot at it. I am going to give it my all. Stef is playing well. He is a great player on clay and on other surfaces as well, but I guess clay is maybe where he has had the most success and especially this tournament.

“So it is going to be another tough task, but I am up for it.”

The final will take place at 14:00 BST.

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Rafael Nadal Set For Opening Round Test Against Cobolli In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal will look to make his ATP tour return in Barcelona this week.

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Rafael Nadal is set for his return to tennis in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Nadal has been struggling with injury after being injured again in Brisbane this year.

The tournament in Brisbane was his first tournament back for a year as he suffered a hip injury at the Australian Open last year.

Now Nadal aims to return to competitive action in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Speaking earlier in the week Nadal was hopeful of a return to the tour in Barcelona, “Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“I’m here to see how it goes… can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see.”

Should Nadal play and win his opening round match then the Spaniard will play fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round.

The former world number one has won the title on 12 different occasions but hasn’t won the title since 2021.

Elsewhere in the draw defending champion Carlos Alcaraz will begin against Luca Van Assche or Zhizhen Zhang with the Spaniard projected to meet Borna Coric in the third round.

Alcaraz suffered an injury in Monte-Carlo and will be beginning his clay court campaign in Barcelona.

Also in action in Barcelona are Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.

Main draw action will begin on Monday.

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