Petra Kvitova Seals Top 10 Return After Winning Biggest Title In Five Years At Miami Open - UBITENNIS
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Petra Kvitova Seals Top 10 Return After Winning Biggest Title In Five Years At Miami Open

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Petra Kvitova says she has proven that she can still compete with the best players in the world after winning her biggest title since 2018 at the Miami Open. 

The 33-year-old Czech defeated Elena Rybakina 7-6(14), 6-2, to win her 30th WTA title and first-ever in Miami. Kvitova’s triumph has brought Rybakina’s career-best 13-match winning streak to an end and has secured her re-entry into the world’s top 10 for the first time since September 2021. She has also joined Serena Williams as the only female players to have won Miami after turning 33. 

During her latest match, the two-time Wimbledon champion played what she described as the longest tiebreak of her entire career. During the business end of the first set, Kvitova survived a gut-busting 30-point tiebreaker which saw her fail to convert four set points before prevailing. 

“Before our final, I read that Elena didn’t lose a tie-break yet this season,” Kvitova said. “So, you know, I had a break up—I was like, ‘Okay, good, I’m going to serve it out.’ And boom, it was a tie-break. I was like, ‘Oh, very nice. What are you going to do now?’
“But I was telling myself that she has to lose at some point one tie-break this season. So I was going to try.”
“It was like one mini-break and then other one and we just kept going on the serves—I mean, I totally lost the control of who is serving, who is not, when we are changing the sides and so on.’
“I was a little bit passive in the tie-break in the end, I think, and that’s why I had to tell myself to go a little bit forward for it to take it—as me, as Petra—playing aggresive to take it and not to wait for the missing, which she didn’t miss.
“It was really the hardest tie-break I’ve played, probably.”

Before Miami, Kvitova’s 2023 season was yet to take off. In her first five tournaments played this year, she won nine out of 14 matches played with her best performance being a run to the quarter-finals in Indian Wells last month. She also reached the quarter-finals of the Adelaide International.

As to the impact of what her latest triumph could have on her season, the former world No.2 has played down its significance heading into the clay swing of the Tour. Kvitova has a golden opportunity of claiming plenty of points over the coming weeks after winning just one Tour match on the clay last year between April and May. 

“I have no idea what this (win) will do on my the season. I’m just happy that I won it from nothing,” she said. “I think I’m playing pretty good tennis starting the year but I didn’t go really deep in a tournament. Finally, I have.’
“I think I just take it very positive that I can still compete with the best. The clay is waiting and then it’s grass. The tennis world is very fast and I can’t really stand there and be watching this trophy all the time. I have to move forward, of course, as everybody would. It means a lot to me that even at my age I can still win a big tournament. That’s the biggest thing.”

Kvitova has now contested at least one WTA final every year since 2011. Out of active players on the WTA Tour, only Venus Williams has won more singles trophies than her. 

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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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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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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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