Magda Linette reaches her first Grand Slam quarter final with three consecutive wins against seeded players - UBITENNIS
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Magda Linette reaches her first Grand Slam quarter final with three consecutive wins against seeded players

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Thirty-one year-old Polish player Magda Linette has reached the first quarter final at Grand Slam level of her career in her 30th appearance in a Major tournament after taking an upset win over last season’s WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia at the Australian Open. 

“Garcia started very fast. I think I did not serve very well at the beginning. Then when I picked it up a little bit more, I think my game started coming together a little bit. I that the serve was a crucial part today for me”. 

The world number 45 player beat Mayar Sherifthree seeds at this year’s edition of the Australian Open. After defeating world number 16 Anett Kontaveit and world number 18 Ekaterina Alexandrova, Linette upset world number 4 Caroline Garcia 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in the fourth round. 

“It’s great. I don’t know. I feel quite calm actually. It feels really good. I don’t know. If I can still believe or I am just really happy and still focused maybe on the next round.”, said Linette. 

Linette had previously reached the third round at Roland Garros in 2017 and 2021, at Wimbledon in 2019 and 2021 and the US Open in 2020. Two years ago she showed her potential by beating Ashleigh Barty in the second round before losing to Ons Jabeur in three sets at the French Open. Later that year the Polish player beat Amanda Anisimova and Elina Svitolina before losing to Paula Badosa in three sets. 

“I was not completely far away from the second week. In Wimbledon I was quite close one year to get through to the second week when I was kind of having a break up in the third set against Paula Badosa. When I was at Roland Garros, I was a set up against Ons Jabeur, I have been in the third rounds for so many times that I knew I am capable. Then when I start beating players like Ash Barty and Ons Jabeur, that gave me an ex extra kick that really showed me that I can really go far in Grand Slam tournaments. I think it was more frustrating than I would wonder or worry about it. I think it was just more frustration why I can’t do it”. 

Linette reached the final in Chennai, the quarter final in Seoul and won the 125k in Tampico last autumn. 

“The win in Tampico was the turning point. In the first set I was playing against one girl, and she was giving me a lot of trouble. I completely broke in tears in the first set. My coaches were really surprised by that. I felt like I threw all the anger out of me. That was the last time when I really lost it. Since then I really controlled it better”, said Linette. 

Linette scored wins over Karolina Pliskova and Madison Keys at the Billie Jean King Cup last year. 

“I think it started already last year because I had played a couple of  important matches in lower ranked tournaments, but also in the Billie Jean King Cup when I was starting up with 0-1 every single time. I think that was important, then it carried over towards the United Cup. I was just more ready for the situation. I think it was just overall experience. Just the whole team vibe and having extra support was helpful just to be there and stay calm and have a little bit more support right there at the bench. I think that helped me to start the season a little bit better”.

Linette started the 2023 season with wins over Zhibek Kulambayeva, Jill Teichmann and Lucia Bronzetti at the United Cup en route to the semifinals before she lost to Madison Keys in straight sets. 

“We did a little bit easier preseason than usual. I was usually really working very hard physically. This time we took it really a little bit different. We thought: ‘I am not young anymore. I am after one surgery, so we need to really be careful how we approach this. I think I am so much fresher. We worked a lot actually on my emotional management. I think dealing with some kind of losses, but not necessarily match losses, just even throughout the match losses, like small mistakes here and there”. 

Linette set up a quarter final against Karolina Pliskova in a re-match of their Billie Jean King Cup, where Linette prevailed 6-4 6-1. Pliskova leads 7-1 in their eight head-to-head matches. Pliskova reached two Grand Slam finals at the US Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2021 and the semifinal at the Australian Open in 2019.

“It’s very difficult. I am 31 and I am just getting it right, so obviously it one of the toughest things for me, but I am happy that I have this opportunity, that actually I tapped into something that finally I am breaking something that you can’t really measure in any way. For me it was something really difficult to change”. 

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Rising Star Mirra Andreeva Teams Up With Wimbledon Champion Martinez

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Mirra Andreeva – Australian Open 2024 (foto: X @WTA)

Teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva has begun working with a former Grand Slam champion on a trial basis ahead of the French Open.

The 16-year-old has linked up with Conchita Martinez, who is overseeing her run at this week’s Rouen Open in France. Martinez peaked at a ranking high of No.2 during her career and won 33 WTA titles. After retiring from the sport, she has coached Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova. 

Andreeva’s latest partnership was formed with the help of her agent ‘two or three weeks ago.’ According to the WTA website, their practice week went well and now they are testing working together during a tournament. 

“So far, so good,” said Andreeva“I like it, I hope she likes it too. We will see how it will go and then we will decide about our next tournaments. I cannot say there are special aspects we are working on. But the first thing we worked on was my slice, because she was a good slicer. So she told me some tricks, and I’m trying to use it when I have time and a good possibility on court.”

Andreeva is currently ranked 43rd in the world and is the youngest player in the top 100. She has already reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open but is yet to win a WTA title. So far this year the Russian’s best result was a quarter-final appearance at the Brisbane International. 

Martinez, who also reached the last 16 of a major at the age of 16, spoke about the teenager with Ubitennis during last year’s Wimbledon Championships. At the time she pointed out that consistency is key for the youngster.

“The most important thing is that she keeps practising and focusing on what she has to do to get better. It’s great what she is doing now but she has to maintain it,” she commented.

Andreeva kicked off her campaign in Rouen with a 6-1, 6-3, win over Nadia Podoroska. 

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Roberto Bautista Agut is within one win of a milestone 400th win on the ATP Tour

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Roberto Bautista Agut beat Roman Safiulin 6-3 7-6 (10-8) after 1 hour and 59 minutes to win the 399th match win on the ATP Tour of his career. 

Bautista Agut earned his first game in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. The Spaniard converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to seal the first set 6-3. 

Both players held on their service games en route to the tie-break. 

Bautista Agut saved a set point at 8-7 in the tie-break of the second set before winning the final three points to seal the tie-break 10-8 after nearly two hours on Pista Rafa Nadal. 

Bautista Agut drew level to 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Safiulin. 

The former world number 9 set up a second round against Karen Khachanov. In this match Bautista Agut will have the chance to reach the milestone 400th win on the Tour. 

Nick Hardt came back from one set down to beat Spanish Next Gen player Martin Landaluce 2-6 6-4 6-3. Hardt won his ATP Tour main draw debut match. He has become the first Dominican player to win an ATP Tour match since Victor Estrella Burgos in Quito in 2018. 

Hardt converted his third break point in the first game of the opening set and held serve at 15 to take a 2-0 lead. Landaluce broke three three times to win the first set 6-2. Hardt earned a break in the third game to win the second set 6-4. Hardt broke twice in the third and ninth games to close out the third set 6-3. 

“It was a crazy day, obviously a very special day. I feel at home here in Barcelona. Two weeks ago I won my first Challenger here, this week I qualified for my first ATP 500, and I won my first Tour match in the main draw”, said Hardt.   

Brandon Nakashima beat Daniel Evans 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to set up a second round match against Andrey Rublev. Evans earned his first break to take a 1-0 lead. Nakashima won four games in a row with two consecutive breaks to take a 4-1 lead. Evans broke back in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. Both players traded two mini-breaks to draw level to 3-3 in the tie-break. Nakashima earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break. Nakashima broke serve at deuce in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The US player converted his fifth break point in the seventh game and held serve at love in the eighth game to close out the second set 6-2. 

Matteo Arnaldi was drawing level to 5-5 in the first set against Arthur Cazaux, when the Frenchman was forced to withdraw from the match due to an ankle injury. 

Facundo Diaz Acosta beat Daniel Rincon 6-1 6-4. 

Marco Trungelliti beat Duje Ajdukovic 6-2 7-6 (7-3). 

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