Linda Fruhvirtova beats Katie Volynets to reach the second round at the Madrid Open - UBITENNIS
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Linda Fruhvirtova beats Katie Volynets to reach the second round at the Madrid Open

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Czech 17-year-old rising star Linda Fruhvirtova won the first of her career at the Madrid Mutua Open, beating US Katie Volynets 6-3 7-5 in 1 hour and 43 minutes in the first round of the Madrid Mutua Open. 

Fruhvirtova converted four of her seven break points. She hit 15 winners and had 11 unforced errors less than Volynets. 

Volynets earned an early break to open up a 2-0 lead. Fruhvirtova reeled off four consecutive games to take a 4-2 lead. Volynets pulled back on serve at 4-3, but Fruhvirtova earned a break at love in the ninth game and held serve to win the first set 6-3. 

Both players went on serve with no breaks of serve until 5-5. Fruhvirtova earned the first break in the 11th game after a long rally and closed out the match with an ace. Fruhvirtova lost to Kaia Kanepi in the first round at last year’s edition of the Madrid Mutua Open. 

Fruhvirtova set up a second round match against 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko. 

Ostapenko beat Fruhvirtova 6-2 6-0 in their only previous head-to-head match in Dubai last February. 

Fruhvirtova, who turns 18 on 1 May, is the youngest player ranked in the top 100. She claimed her first first title in Chennai last January. 

Maryna Zanevska eased past 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-0 6-3 in 58 minutes. Zanevska hit 19 winners to just seven unforced errors. She avenged her recent defeat against Kenin, who had won their only previous head-to-head match in Hobart last January.

Zanevska set up a second round match against Liudmila Samsonova. 

The winner of match between Samsonova and Zanevska will face either Ostapenko or Fruhvirtova.

Elisabetta Cocciaretto beat Barbora Strycova 6-3 7-6 (7-5). Former world number 16 Strycova was playing her first match since her maternity leave. 

Strycova saved a total of four break point in the first and fifth games of the first set. Cocciaretto reeled off six consecutive games with three breaks in a row to build up a 6-3 2-0 lead. Strycova broke straight back and held serve after saving a break point to draw level to 2-2. Cocciaretto broke again in the sixth game to open up a 5-2 lead. Strycova broke back in the 10th game after two double faults from Cocciaretto and held her service to draw level to 5-5. Strycova went up a mini-break twice in the tie-break to take a 3-1 lead, but Cocciaretto pulled back on serve and won her fifth game to earn three match points at 6-3 with her third mini-break and closed out the win on her third match point after Strycova made a forehand error. 

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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