‘I Felt The Pressure’ - Frustrated Iga Swiatek Crashes Out Of Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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‘I Felt The Pressure’ – Frustrated Iga Swiatek Crashes Out Of Australian Open

It is the first time the women’s top seed has failed to reach the quarter-final stage at Melbourne Park since 2019.

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Iga Swiatek says she feels that she has ‘taken a step back’ after suffering a shock 6-4, 6-4, loss in the fourth round at the Australian Open on Sunday. 

 

Swiatek, who had won two out of the three previous Grand Slam tournaments, was knocked out of the tournament in straight sets by Wimbledon champion Elena Rybankina. The Pole was broken twice in each set and produced 14 unforced errors during the match. She has failed to go beyond the fourth round of the Australian Open in three out of her last four appearances at the event. 

Coming to grips with her exit, the 21-year-old admitted that she wanted to win the title too much which hindered her performance on the court. Something she plans to work on over the coming weeks. 

“The past two weeks have been pretty hard for me,” she said during her press conference. 
“I felt like I took a step back in terms of how I approach these tournaments, and I maybe wanted it a little bit too hard. So I’m going to try to chill out a little bit more. That’s all.”

Elaborating further on her recent difficulties on the Tour, Swiatek admits that she has also been struggling with pressure and living up to high expectations following what was an impressive 2022 season. Last year she won eight titles on the Tour and at one stage was on a 37-match winning streak. 

“I felt the pressure, and I felt that I don’t want to lose instead of I want to win. So that’s, I think, a base of what I should focus on in the next couple of weeks.” She commented. 

Besides her frustrations, Swiatek also gives credit to Rybakina who has recorded her 10th win over a top-10 player in her career. She is the first female player representing Kazakhstan to reach the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park and It is the third time in her career she has reached the last eight of a major tournament following her run to the Wimbledon title last year, as well as reaching the French Open quarter-finals in 2021. 

Rybakina is currently ranked outside the top 20 but Swiatek says she plays at a higher level than that. Last year at Wimbledon organizers were not allowed to award ranking points due to their ban on Russian and Belarussian players participating. 

“She was just better today, honestly, and she played in a really solid way,” said Swiatek. 
“Her ranking should be better, but we all know what happened in Wimbledon.”
“I think tactically she was kind of composed and just able to stay focused. She was a better player today. I don’t know what to tell you in terms of analyzing the match.”

Meanwhile, Rybakina believes she has the potential to one day dethrone Swiatek and become world No.1 if she improves on her consistency. Since winning her first Grand Slam last July she has only reached one other Tour final which was at the Slovenia Open. At the Australian Open, she will next play Jelena Ostapenko. 

“Every opponent is really tough, and for sure for me, I think it’s still many things to improve,” Rybakina admits.
“If I perform like I did this week and it’s going to be consistent for sure, I will say that I can be No. 1, I can beat anyone. For now, I need to find my consistency also.”

As a result of Swiatek’s loss, it is the first time in the Open Era that the top two seeds in both the men’s and women’s draw have all lost before the quarter-final stage at a Grand Slam event. 

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Alycia Parks Stuns Garcia To Win First Tour Title In Lyon

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Rising star Alycia Parks is on the verge of breaking into the world’s top 50 for the first time after stunning world No.4 Caroline Garcia in straight sets to win the Lyon Open. 

 

22-year-old Parks, who contested just three WTA main draws last year, battled to a 7-6(7), 7-5, win over Garcia who is the first top-five player she has beaten on the Tour. Throughout the final, the American didn’t drop serve after saving all four break points she faced. In total, she produced 28 winners with 15 of those being aces. It is only the second time she has beaten a top 10 player on the Tour after Maria Sakkari at the Ostrava Open last year. 

“I want to thank you for all coming out, this title means a lot to me,” Parks said afterwards. “France has a special part in my heart right now. I want to congratulate Garcia, you had an amazing week, keep playing how you’re playing.”

The victory caps off what has been a breakthrough week for Parks who dropped two sets in five matches played which was in her opening two rounds. Earlier in the tournament, she also defeated seventh seed Danka Kovinic and fourth seed Petra Martic to become only the third unseeded player to win a WTA event so far this year.  

Parks was ranked 199th in the world 12 months ago but has climbed up the rankings and is now set to break into the world’s top 70 for the first time on Monday. Towards the end of last year, she won back-to-back WTA 125 tournaments and has now won 16 out of her last 17 matches played. Her only loss was to Czech teenager Sara Bejlek in the second round of qualifying at the Australian Open.

As for Garcia, Sunday’s clash was the first time she had contested a WTA final in her home city of Lyon. Coming into her clash with Parks, she had won 10 out of her last 11 finals played on the Tour. It is the 40th time in her career she has lost to an American player in a WTA main draw.

Congrats on an amazing week and the (past) couple of months have been unbelievable (for you),” said Garcia. “It’s your first WTA title today and it was well deserved. You played amazing and if you keep playing like this you are for sure going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks, who graduated from High School in 2019, is coached on the Tour by her father Michael who has been her main mentor since childhood. 

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Garbine Muguruza Switches Focus From Ranking Points To Enjoyment In Hunt For Form

Ranked outside the WTA top 80 for the first time since 2013, Muguruza is hoping to stage a comeback with the help of a new perspective.

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Garbine Muguruza (ESP) waves to the crowd after defeating Fiona Ferro (FRA) on No.2 Court in the first round of the Ladies' Singles at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 1 Monday 28/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

To say that last year was tough for Gabine Muguruza is a bit of an understatement. 

 

The Spaniard started 2022 among the best players in the world and was ranked No.3 as a result of her triumph at the WTA Finals just a couple of months earlier. However, the year didn’t go as planned for two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza who won just 12 matches. In total, she played in 17 tournaments but only managed to score back-to-back victories in two of them. In October she plummeted down the rankings from 13th to 57th. 

Muguruza’s problems have continued into this season. She is yet to win a match and is now down to 82nd in the world which is her lowest position in almost a decade. January 2013 was the last time the 29-year-old was ranked outside the top 100. 

“I’ve had so many moments in my career where I’ve been so high, and other moments when I’ve not been so high. It’s a process of trying to get back up there,” the former world No.1 told The National. “Now I’m focusing on training hard and being humble.
“You have to know that maybe you haven’t had the success recently as you had in other years, but that’s fine because things can change very quickly.
“With tennis, one week it can go wrong, then next week it can go well, then everything changes again. I think experience helps me to stay calm in the not-so-good moments when I haven’t been playing as well or results haven’t followed.”

It is a frustrating situation for somebody of Muguruza’s ability to be in. At the 2021 WTA Finals, she scored four wins over top-10 players but since then hasn’t beaten anybody ranked higher than No.31 in the world. 

Eager to get back to the top of the sport, she has decided to change her outlook on how she approaches the Tour. Muguruza, who is coached by Conchita Martinez, now says her main priority is enjoying her tennis. If this is achieved, she is confident the results will follow in due course. 

“I feel that this year it’s more about keeping it calm and more simple,” she said. “Last year I put myself under a lot of pressure, telling myself to keep going to stay at the top all the time. That definitely didn’t help me, and it was a bit of a struggle.
“This year, yes ranking is important – I’ve been at every possible ranking – but that is not my priority anymore. Now it’s about enjoying my time on court and taking the trophies back home, then we’ll see what the ranking is.”

Muguruza’s next test will be at the Abu Dhabi Open, which will get underway on Monday. She has been drawn to play Karolina Pliskova in the first round who recently reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Then if she wins, she faces Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. 

“I played some good tennis [in Australia]. A bit disappointed about the quarter-final but overall my level is there. Of course, there are some things to improve to become more solid but overall the situation is quite good,” Pliskova said ahead of the first round clash. 

12 months ago Muguruza reached the third round in Abu Dhabi before losing to Maria Sakkari. 

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Injured Bianca Andreescu retires From Semi-Final match In Hua Hin

The Canadian was looking to book a spot in her first WTA final of the year but was forced to retire after injuring her right shoulder.

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Lesia Tsurenko booked her spot in the final of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin after Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire whilst down 7-6, 4-0.

 

The first set was extremely tight with the first four games being breaks of serve. Andreescu got the crucial break to lead 5-3 and served for the first set but the Ukrainian fought back to level the set at 5-5. Then Tsurenko was the one to break serve but she was able to close out the first set.

After the opener, the semi-final clash went completely one-sided with Tsurenko taking over by winning four games off the trot before Andreescu decided to call it quits. The Canadian had a medical timeout during a second set changeover.

Tsurenko gave full credit to her opponent and despite the retirement says it was a very difficult match.

“Bianca is such an amazing player she said. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today”. She said.

Tsurenko is looking to win her fifth WTA title and will be playing in her first final since 2019 in Hua Hin. She faces the China’s Lin Zhu who earlier in the day beat the number seven seed Xinyu Wang 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and 38 minutes to book her spot in the final.

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