Elina Svitolina Upsets No.1 Swiatek To Reach Wimbledon Semis - UBITENNIS
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Elina Svitolina Upsets No.1 Swiatek To Reach Wimbledon Semis



Elina Svitolina (@Wimbledon on Twitter)

Just four months after returning to the Tour from maternity leave, Elina Svitolina has reached her second Wimbledon semi-final after knocking out top seed Iga Swiatek.


The wild card struggled at times with her serve but used the support of the animated crowd to guide her to a shock 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-2, win over the Pole. It is the seventh time in her career that she has defeated a world No.1 player but it is only the third time she has beaten a top 10 player at a major tournament.

Incredibly four out of Svitolina’s five wins at SW19 this year have been over Grand Slam winners. Earlier in the tournament she knocked out Venus Williams, Sofia Kenin and Victoria Azarenka. 

“I’m going to have a beer, probably!” she joked after her latest win.
“I don’t know what is happening right now in my head.’
“I’m really happy I got this chance to play here again, playing this great match in a great atmosphere – it was a really unbelievable feeling for me.”

Two days after coming through her marathon clash with Belinda Bencic, Swiatek found herself facing another stern test against former world No.3 Svitolina in what was their first meeting since Rome 2021. At the start of their latest match on Center Court, both players struggled to hold their serve with three out of the first five games being breaks of serve. Although crucially two of those breaks were in Swiatek’s favor as she rallied to a 5-3 lead. 

Yet the crowd appeared to be largely on Svitolina’s side after they let out a huge roar when the Ukrainian fired a thunderous forehand winner down the line to hold for 4-5. This reception appeared to have rejuvenated her as she drew level once again in what was a rollercoaster opener. 

Switek’s error count mounted which paved the way for Svitoliva to snatch a 7-5 lead. The Pole produced a total of 16 unforced eros during the first set which was twice the number of her opponent.

As the rain started to fall, proceedings came to a brief halt for the roof to be activated. Then when they resumed the cat-and-mouse chase continued with Swiatek working her way to 3-1 before getting pegged back. Eventually, her perseverance paid off in the tiebreak when she edged her way to a 6-5 lead before a Svitolina shot landed beyond the baseline and granted her the second set. 

However, Swiatek’s comeback was short-lived thanks to some inspired and gutsy play from a fired-up Svitolina who race through the decider by winning five out of six games played. Serving for the match, she surged to 40-0 after hitting a clean backhand down the line before triumphing on her second match point after a Swiatek forehand crashed into the net. 

“Iga is not only a great champion, she is an unbelievable person,” Svitolina said in reference to her rivals support for Ukraine since the Russian invasion. “It is not easy to play someone with whom you share a lot of good moments.”

Awaiting Svitolina in the semi-finals will be Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova who pulled off an upset of her own. The former French Open finalist defeated fourth seed Jessica Pegula 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. 

“I don’t know what happened. I was 1-4 down (in the third set). It’s an amazing feeling. Thank you guys for the support, it was amazing.” Said Vondrousova.
“My best result here was the second round. I just got better. I’m just loving grass now.” She later added. 

Svitolina leads Vondrousova 3-2 in their head-to-head but they have not played against each other on the Tour since 2021. 

Should Svitolina go on to clinch the Wimbledon title she would become only the second woman in history to win a major title as a wild card. The first to do so was Kim Clijsters in 2009 at the US Open.

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Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova Hires Ex-Wimbledon Champion As Coach



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

Marie Bouzkova has enlisted the help of Gabine Muguruza’s former coach to help her crack the top 20 in the new year. 


The 25-year-old Czech has appointed Conchita Martinez as her new coach for the upcoming season. A former world No.2 player who won 33 WTA titles during her career, including the 1994 Wimbledon championships. After retirement, Martinez ventured into coaching with her most notable success being with Garbine Muguruza which earned her the honor of being named WTA Coach of The Year in 2021. She has also previously mentored Karoline Pliskova, captained her country’s Billie Jean King Cup team and most recently served as tournament director of the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

“Since February I have taken advantage of the time to rest, after some intense years of travelling. Now I have the energy to train again and enjoy my work. I am very happy to be able to contribute my experience again,” Martinez said during an interview with Eurosport Spain.
“Her (Bouzkova’s) agent contacted me to inquire about my availability and to ask if I wanted to train again. And now that we are at the end of the year and after evaluating everything, I have decided that it was a good time to return because I am excited about the project.”

Buzkova is a former US Open junior champion who is currently ranked 34th in the world. She has won one WTA title so far in her career which was at the 2022 Prague Open. She also reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2022 which is her best Grand Slam run to date. This season, Bouzkova was runner-up at a WTA 250 event in Nanchang, China and produced an overall win-loss record of 27-23.

Despite her success, Martinez believes Bouzkova has plenty of room for improvement in her game. 

“I love her because she is a very feisty and competitive player. She has many to continue growing and improving as a tennis player. She is very professional and is focused on her work 100%,” she commented.
“Honestly, I think it has a lot of room for improvement in many aspects. It is true that she is quite complete, but I would like to focus on her gradually playing more aggressively without losing her essence as a great fighter. I definitely think she has the potential to be high in the rankings, but it takes time to work on.”

Bouzkova is also an accomplished doubles player who is currently ranked in the world’s top 30. She has won five WTA doubles trophies with two of those triumphs occuring during 2023. 

The new tennis season begins in less than a month. 

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Emma Raducanu To Begin Comeback In Auckland



Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Former US Open champion Emma Raducanu will end her eight-month absence from tennis at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, at the start of next year. 


The 21-year-old has been sidelined from the Tour since April after undergoing surgery to treat issues with both of her wrists, as well as one ankle. Raducanu hasn’t played a Tour-level match since the Porsche Open in Germany where she was beaten 6-2, 6-1, by Jelena Ostapenko in the first round. This year she has only managed to play in four tournaments with her best performance occurring at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells where she reached the fourth round. 

It will be the second year in a row that the Brit has opted to start her season in New Zealand. At the start of 2023, she won her opening match at the event but rolled her ankle in the process which forced her to withdraw from the tournament. 

Raducanu’s decision to play in Auckland comes as she faces the prospect of having to go through qualifying at the Australian Open. She has a protected ranking of 103 which is significantly higher than her current position of 296. However, she has not made the cut-off to play in the main draw. The only way she can enter the main draw will be with the help of a series of withdrawals, receiving a wildcard or playing three rounds of qualifying. 

Should she have to play qualifying at Melbourne Park, the event will follow immediately after the ASB Classic. The last time she took part in a Grand Slam qualifying draw was at the 2021 US Open where she stunned the field by going on to win the title in what remains her only WTA trophy to date. 

Raducanu, who has been ranked as high as 13th in the world, is understood to have been training at the National Tennis Center in recent weeks leading up to her return. It is still not known who will be coaching her in 2024 with the tennis player yet to comment on the topic.

The ASB Classic will begin on January 1st. 

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Iga Swiatek Criticises WTA’s Reform Of 2024 Calendar



Iga Swiatek has hit out at the WTA by claiming that only a handful of players were made aware of changes being made to the Tour calendar before they came into effect.


In recent weeks there has been an increase in frustration among players on the women’s Tour with letters being sent to the head of the WTA, Steve Simon, about their concerns. Swiatek has also sent her own letter to the governing body. According to The Athletic, some of the concerns that have been raised relates to higher pay on the Tour, adjustments to scheduling to help support players, expanded childcare and calls for a member of the PTPA to be present on the WTA Player’s Council.

The WTA has also been in the firing line concerning their management of the Tour finals which took place in Cancun last month and was won by Switek. Some of those who took part complained about the court conditions and lack of preparation they had. The stadium court wasn’t fully constructed until the same weekend the tournament began. 

Although, for the world No.1 her principle criticism concerns the 2024 calendar and the rules in place reagrding playing in mandatory events. Swiatek says some of the decisions have been made following discussions with ‘third parties’ and believes players are not being listened to. 

“There is room for improvement,” she said during an interview with newspaper Rzeczpospolita.
“As players, we are dissatisfied with the calendar for next year and the increase in the number of mandatory tournaments and restrictions related to withdrawing from them.’
“We want to change this. We need more balance and time to get back home. Sometimes, however, we beat our heads against the wall. Some decisions seem to be the result of promises made to third parties, federations and tournament organizers.’
“We find out about them after the fact. This causes frustration. Only a handful of players were aware of the calendar reform and the WTA cannot lead to such a situation again, since it considers itself an organization created for tennis players.”

The 22-year-old argues that these changes would give players more time to rest and see their families. Although Swiatek admits that she is in a more fortunate situation than some of her peers from a financial perspective. This season the Pole has earned $9,857,686 in prize money this year which is more than any other female player. 

“I hope that we will be able to change something – for example in the rules regarding withdrawing from tournaments,” she continued.
“Fortunately, I am in a situation where I can afford for my family to go on a trip with me, but not everyone can afford it. Many players rather save all their money to pay their coaches.’
“However, there is a difference between taking your family with you and returning home, when you can wash your clothes and spend time in the place where you grew up. I often miss Warsaw.”

Swiatek has won 68 out of 79 matches played this season, claiming six titles on the Tour. In the Grand Slams, she won the French Open, and reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the other two. She currently has a 245-point lead over second-place Aryna Sabalenka in the WTA standings. 

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