Barbora Krejcikova Eyes Return To The Top After Dubai Triumph - UBITENNIS
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Barbora Krejcikova Eyes Return To The Top After Dubai Triumph

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Photo by Roberto Dell'Olivo

Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova says she is hopeful of returning to ‘where she belongs’ on the Tour after her sensational run at the Dubai Tennis Championships. 

The former French Open champion secured the title on Saturday by defeating an erratic world No.1 Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-2. Swiatek, who was on a six-match winning streak, won less than 50% of her service points against Krejcikova and produced a series of mistakes. Paving the way for the world No.30 to clinch her sixth WTA trophy. 

“I feel great. I think I showed my best tennis this week,” she said. “I’m really happy with the way how I was able to play my tennis and also hold my nerves, just enjoy everything that was happening during this week on the court.”

Krejcikova’s latest win followed up on her victories over world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka and world No.3 Jessica Pegula earlier in the tournament. She also defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and top 10 player Daria Kasatkina in Dubai. Krejcikova is only the fifth WTA player to defeat the world’s three highest-ranked players within the same tournament in the past 40 years. Before her, the last player to do so was Sabalenka at the 2022 WTA Finals. 

“It’s a huge privilege,” Krejcikova commented on the milestone. “I’m not really following that much, these things. I try to focus on tennis and on my performance.’
“But it’s a big achievement and I think it’s going to give me a lot of confidence that I can play with the best ones.”

The 27-year-old was ranked as high as second in the world rankings less than a year ago before an injury derailed her momentum. An elbow issue sidelined her from the Tour for four months in 2022 and when she returned Krejcikova only managed to win back-to-back matches in two out of 10 tournaments played. However, she ended last year by winning back-to-back titles in Tallinn and Ostrava. 

As for this season, prior to Dubai Krejcikova had won five out of nine matches with her best run being to the fourth round of the Australian Open. 

“Last year was really tough, especially being out for so long. I really couldn’t find my game till the end of the season. Then at the end of the season I got injured,” Krejcikova said.
“During the off-season I started off Christmas playing tennis, I didn’t start before that. In the beginning of the season it was a miracle wherever I got.
“I felt like with me playing and practising, being healthy, I can achieve big things. I’m really happy I’m here with this trophy and I can celebrate. I hope I’m going to get back to where I belong.”

Krejcikova is set to return to the world’s top 20 on Monday for the first time since October. 

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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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