‘I Wish To Be Like Her’ - Carlos Alcaraz Hails Women’s No.1 Swiatek  - UBITENNIS
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‘I Wish To Be Like Her’ – Carlos Alcaraz Hails Women’s No.1 Swiatek 

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Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) - Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz has paid tribute to Iga Swiatek’s performance this season by describing her dominance on the WTA Tour as ‘incredible.’ 

Swiatek has held the No.1 position since April 4th and has established herself as a formidable force in the sport. This year the Pole won 37 matches in a row before her streak came to an end at Wimbledon. She has won eight out of nine finals she has played on the Tour, including the French Open and US Open. During the first 250 days of becoming the top-ranked player on the women’s Tour, she defeated 11 top-10 players and won 14 sets 6-0. 

The achievements of 21-year-old Swiatek are ones that Alcaraz said he aspires to achieve in his career. The Spaniard has also enjoyed a meteoric rise in 2022 by winning two ATP 500’s, two Masters 1000 and his first Grand Slam. At the age of 19, he is the youngest year-end No.1 in ATP history. 

“I see her year has been incredible, she broke a record I think for the longest winning streak (this century). It’s amazing,” Alcaraz said of Swiatek during an interview with Arab news.
“I wish to be like her, to not lose the No. 1. But I think it’s almost impossible. I’m going to lose it but the point is to recover it and stay there at No. 1 as much as I can.”

Alcaraz reached the top of the rankings after the US Open but faces the tough task of keeping hold of that position next year. Among the challengers is Novak Djokovic who could generate a considerable points boost in Australia which is a country he was barred from playing in last year due to being unvaccinated. 

Guiding the youngster is long-time mentor Juan Carlos Ferrero who is also a former world No.1 player. Ferrero admits that it hasn’t been easy for his compatriot to get used to his new status and his surge in success at such a young age.  

“After the US Open it was difficult to adapt to his new role on the tour for him,” said Ferrero.
“I was talking to him about how he had to manage everything but I think he needed to feel and to live it, go to a tournament and feel that pressure of being No. 1, playing matches being No. 1. It’s not very easy at the beginning and at the age of 19, it’s something that is not super mature to control everything that happened to him right now.
“He’s in a moment where he needs to live it like this and to feel what he’s going through and adapting. He knows it’s going to be like this until at least the Australian Open, so he needs to try to be normal but at the same time it’s not. But he has to.”

Similar to Swiatek, Alcaraz consults with a sports psychologist to help him navigate life as a professional athlete. He works with Isabel Balaguer who is a professor of special psychology at Valencia University. 

“She is a big and important side of our work,” Ferrero commented. 
“It’s been about two years he’s working with her. It’s not like every week but every time that he feels he needs to talk to her about something that maybe is not right or something that is giving him more trouble in a match, he talks to her and tries to fix it a little bit,” he added. 

Alcaraz will return to the court later this week at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship which is a three-day exhibition event held in Abu Dhabi. His opening match will be against either Andrey Rublev or Frances Tiafoe. 

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Jelena Ostapenko beats Greer Minnen to reach the second round at Eastbourne

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Number 6 seed Jelena Ostapenko beat Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after 1 hour and 29 minutes to secure a spot in the second round at the Rothesay international in Eastbourne. 

Ostapenko won the Eastbourne title in 2021 and reached the 2022 final before losing to Petra Kvitova. 

Minnen led by a break three times and served for the set at 5-4 and 6-5 but Ostapenko pulled back on serve each time. 

Ostapenko fired a backhand crosscourt winner to earn three set points at 6-3 in the tie-break. The Latvian player converted his first chance with a forehand return winner. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set. Ostapenko earned a second break in the third game, but she took an off court medical time-out after a fall at 3-1 in the second set. 

Ostapenko recovered by winning four consecutive games with two breaks to win the second set 6-1. 

“Grass is a great surface, but sometimes it can be slippery and really tricky. So I took the medical time-out just to make sure I am fine”, said Ostapenko.  

 “I think the surface suits me really well. The first I played on grass, I was like: ‘How can we play tennis on this surface ? I don’t understand what’s happening here, but then every year was better and better”, said Ostapenko. 

British wild card Harriet Dart battled past former Wimbledon quarter finalist Marie Bouzhkova 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 after 3 hours and 29 minutes in the third-longest match on the WTA Tour this year. 

Bouzhkova broke twice in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead, but Dart won six of the next seven games with three breaks of serve to win the first set 7-5. 

Dart fought back from 1-4 down to force a tie-break with two breaks of serve in the sixth and eighth games. The British player never held a match point in the second set. Bouzhkova converted her fourth set point to seal the tie-break 9-7 after a 88-minute second set. 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the third set, Dart earned a decisive break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The British wild card saved a break point at 4-3 en route to the win. 

Dart was scheduled to face 2022 Wimbeldon champion Elena Rybakina, but the Kazakh player withdrew from the tournament on Monday due to a change of schedule. Dart will face wild card Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open title and reached the final at Roland Garros in 2020.  

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(VIDEO) What A Weekend For Italian Tennis!

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta looks back on this week’s action on the ATP Tour.

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Jannik Sinner – ATP Halle 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

It has been a memorable Sunday for Italian tennis with the country winning two titles on the ATP Tour. 

In Halle, world No.1 Jannik Sinner claimed his first trophy on the grass with a hard-fought two-set win over Hubert Hurkacz. There was also success in the doubles tournament with top seeds Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori winning the title. Meanwhile, in London, Lorenzo Musetti was unable to make it a hatrick of wins for his country after losing in the final of the Cinch Championships to Tommy Paul.  

So how much can be read into these wins and should we be expecting similar results at Wimbledon which begins a week tomorrow? 

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Jannik Sinner reaches the first grass final of his career in Halle

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Jannik Sinner overcame Zhang Zhizhen 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to reach the first final of his career on grass at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Sinner achieved his best result on this surface when he reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2023. 

Sinner will face a final against his friend Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the first semifinal. The Italian player converted his only break point in the ninth game and fended off the only break point he faced at 5-6 in the second set with a forehand winner, one of his winners of the match. 

The Italian player earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead. Zhang Zhizhen pulled the mini-break back. Sinner earned two mini-breaks in the fourth and eighth points to win the tie-break 7-3. Sinner won the first of the four tie-breaks he played this week.

Sinner finished the match in straight sets after clinching three consecutive three-set wins at the start of his campaign at this year’s edition of the Terra Wortmann in Halle. 

The world number 1 player won three titles on hard court at the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Miami this year. 

“It means a lot. I had four tough matches to go to the final. It was a good match today. Definitely more rallies than yesterday. And that’s definitely what I needed today. I am happy and let’s see what’s coming tomorrow”, said Sinner.  

Earlier this week Zhang Zhizhen had previously beaten Danil Medvedev in the second round and came back from 2-5 down to beat Christopher Eubanks in the quarter finals. 

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