Ons Jabeur Targets French Open Breakthrough After Roller-Coaster Clay Swing - UBITENNIS
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Ons Jabeur Targets French Open Breakthrough After Roller-Coaster Clay Swing

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Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur admits she has less pressure on her shoulders heading into the French Open this year but it isn’t necessarily a good thing. 

The past few weeks have been a challenge for the world No.7 whose preparation for the next Grand Slam was briefly interrupted by a calf injury which forced her to withdraw from her semi-final match in Stuttgart before pulling out of the Madrid Open where she was the defending champion. Then at the Italian Open, she could only manage to win five games during her opening match against Paula Badosa who prevailed 6-4, 6-1. 

It is a frustrating outcome for Jabeur who started this year’s clay swing by winning her fourth WTA title in Charleston. At the tournament, she produced back-to-back wins over Daria Kasatkina and Belinda Bencic. Overall, she didn’t drop a set in five matches played. 

Now with the French Open set to begin in just over a week, it remains to be seen how much of a contender the 28-year-old will be for the title. Despite her all-around game and reaching the final of two Grand Slams last year, Roland Garros is the only major where she is yet to reach the last eight. In 2022 she crashed out in the first round to Poland’s Magda Linette. 

“Maybe it doesn’t matter if you have a lot of matches coming in or the confidence is high. Maybe this year is better that I have no matches under my belt and just trying to get through the journey,” Jabeur told rolandgarros.com about her French Open preparation. 
“For me, maybe I have less pressure this Roland-Garros but you know I like pressure, so I’m trying to find the good pressure to keep me alive and play a good game.
“The thing that maybe worries me is that I want to be physically 100 percent; that’s going to help me get more matches and if I can do that, if I can have a good two weeks of practice, I think I will be able to have great results at Roland-Garros.”

Jabeur has her work cut out if she wishes to clinch the biggest title of her career in Paris given the depth of women’s tennis. Reigning champion Iga Swiatek is the favourite but recently had to retire from her match in Rome due to a right thigh injury. Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka triumphed in Madrid and was also runner-up in Stuttgart. Meanwhile, Elena Rybakina is a former quarter-finalist at the French Open. 

Despite being one of the top players in her sport, Jabeur doesn’t watch a lot of tennis in her free time. If she does, she likes to have a look at those players who she feels have something in their game that she doesn’t. 

“I am impressed by Aryna’s power game, I’m impressed by Iga’s mentality on the court, how she doesn’t give up anything. I like watching Petra Kvitova doing some crazy shots, doesn’t matter where she is. A lot of players. Something that I don’t have probably, I would want to watch. The opposite of my game,” she said. 

Named by her rival Swiatek as one of the best players on the clay, Jabeur is confident that she can produce a good run at the French Open regardless of her recent results and injury setback.

“The main key is that you adapt to clay, to grass, to hard courts; it’s very difficult to find a complete player. I love clay, I love playing on clay; it’s probably the only surface that I don’t need matches under my belt to play good, and I showed that in Charleston.” She concluded.

The French Open will begin on Sunday 28th May. 

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Sebastian Korda reaches his second semifinal of the season in s’Hertogenbosh

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Sebastian Korda beat Tommy Paul 6-4 6-2 in 67 minutes to reach his second ATP Tour semifinal of the season at Libema Open in s’Hertogenbosh. 

Korda hit 18 winners and won 84% of his first serve points. Korda earned his first break in the third game of the first set to take a 2-1 lead. Paul broke straight back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Korda broke for the second time in the seventh game to win the first set 6-4. Korda broke twice in the third and seventh game to close out the second set 6-2. 

Korda has improved his head-to-head record against Paul to 4-1. 

Korda reached the semifinal on grass at Queen’s in 2023. The US player is is aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since 2021, when he won in Parma on clay. 

Korda set up a semifinal clash against defending champion Tallon Griekspoor, who ccame back from one set down to beat Alexandar Vukic 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-3). Griekspoor has won his past eight matches at this tournament. 

Vukic broke in the ninth game to win the first set 6-4. Griekspoor earned his first break in the sixth game of the second set to win the second set 6-3. The third set went on serve with no breaks en route to the tie-break. Griekspoor earned two mini-breaks to open up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break. Vukic pulled one of the two mini-breaks, but Griekspoor held on his serve and sealed the tie-break on his first match point.

“I am very happy to be through. It was a very tough match once again. I think Alexandar played unbelievable grass court tennis, so it was not easy and I am very happy to find my way in the third set. I am enjoying the crowd, the atmosphere and the whole tournament”, said Korda. 

Alex De Minaur beat Milos Raonic7-5 6-2 in 1 hour and 26 minutes. De Minaur has improved to 3-0 in his head-to-head matches against Raonic, who was playing in just his fourth tournament of he year.

De Minaur earned his first break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Raonic broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. De Minaur broke for the second time in the 11th game and served out on his first set point after saving three break points in the 12th game. De Minaur broke twice in the fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

De Minaur is aiming to win the second title of his career on career following his win in Eastbourne in 2021.  

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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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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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