Top seed Iga Swiatek Dumped Out Of Tokyo By Kudermetova - UBITENNIS
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Top seed Iga Swiatek Dumped Out Of Tokyo By Kudermetova

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Iga Swiatek’s unbeaten record against Veronika Kudermetova has come to an end after she was knocked out of the Pan Pacific Open by the world No.19.

The four-time Grand Slam champion came into the clash having dropped just 10 games in her four previous meetings against Kudermetova. However, she came undone in Tokyo with the Russian battling to a shock 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, win. It is the 15th time in Kudermetova’s career that she has beaten a top 10 player and the fifth time this season. 

“My serve worked really well today,” said Kudermetova. “I’m really happy it was like that. In the last game, I just focused on playing points. I didn’t need to hit aces, I just needed to put the serve in and try to play a rally. I think this was the key.”
“I just tried to believe that I could beat her. I’m really happy that I managed to win one match.” She added. 

Throughout the match, Swiatek struggled with her consistency on the court with the Pole hitting a total of 50 unforced errors against only 18 winners. Overall, she was broken twice in the first set and once in the decider. It is the fifth time this season that she has lost to a player outside of the top 10 and it is the second tournament in a row that she has done so after the US Open where she was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko. 

Meanwhile, 28-year-old Kudermetova is relishing a resurgence in her form following what has been a tough few weeks on the Tour. Prior to playing in Tokyo, she had failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments. 

The sixth seed will next play her doubles partner Anastasia Pavlychenkova in the semi-finals who beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 7-5. Pavlychenkova, who is playing in just her third event since the French Open, is a two-time finalist in Tokyo. 

“It will be a tough match,” Kudermetova previewed. “She plays really well, we play doubles together and know each other. It will be a very interesting and a very match but I will try to do what I can.”

This week Kudmertova is seeking to win her second WTA title. 

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Paula Badosa Continues French Open Bid Alongside Ongoing Injury Battle

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Shortly before this year’s French Open Paula Badosa had doubts that she would be able to play in the tournament due to an issue that has hampered her progression in the sport.

The former world No.2 plays on the Tour with pain in her back that originated from a stress fracture she suffered last season. Doctors have previously told Badosa that it would be ‘complicated’ if she continues her career but the Spaniard has opted to do so. Although it is a far from easy task. 

Badosa began her French Open campaign on Tuesday with a hard-fought 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, win over 26th seed Katie Boulter. The victory follows up on her recent encouraging run at the Italian Open where she reached the fourth round before losing to Coco Gauff.

“It’s not easy,” the world No.139 said of her physical issues after beating Boulter.
“After Rome, I felt pain in my back again, I had to return to Spain. Many doubts arose, and uncertainty. I wondered how I am going to continue like this, depending on the injections.”
“Today, I have to live with the pain and stop training. It happened to me a couple of days ago, in fact. Then, in some sections of the game, I feel it a little more and I get scared.”

It is tough for any player to cope with such a situation whilst also having to deal with their opponent on the court.Badosa has won a trio of WTA titles so far in her career, including the prestigious Indian Wells Open in 2021. She is also a former quarter-finalist at the French Open. 

“In the end, I’m struggling with that, with the rival in front of me and with myself, because I also miss a lot of points,” she said.
“There are so many things when I play a game that it becomes difficult for me. Sometimes it is difficult for me to control my emotions.”
“In the first set (against Boulter) I feel like a mountain and I think, I can’t continue like this. On the other hand, when the match ends, I am proud of how I was able to overcome those thoughts and I say to myself, come on, come on, tomorrow I have another chance “Let’s see how I get up and how I am. But I’m struggling with a lot of things.”

Given her back problem, questions have been raised about why Badosa has opted to also play in the mixed doubles tournament alongside her partner Stefanos Tsitsipas. The two recently confirmed they are in a relationship again after going through a brief separation. 

“Honestly, I don’t rest on a rest day, I have to train… As I have many things to improve in my tennis, especially the first shots, the volleys, the serve, the rest… It seemed to me that it was a good idea being able to play doubles or mixed,” she explained. 
“In this case, because of the relationship I have and the partner I have [Tsitsipas], who is going to do a lot of work and is going to help me a lot in that aspect, I think it is a good idea.
“In the end, the mixed doubles is an hour, an hour and a half, and it helps me train.”

In the second round of the French Open singles tournament, Badosa will play Yulia Putintseva. 

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“It’s Purely Psychological” – Maria Sakkari Berates ‘Unacceptable’ French Open Defeat

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Maria Sakkari - Roma 2023 (foto Francesca Micheli, Ubitennis)

Greece’s Maria Sakkari said she felt ‘intense anxiety’ before her first round match at the French Open after crashing out of the draw on Monday.  

The sixth seed suffered a shock 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, loss to Varvara Gracheva who is currently ranked 88th in the world. Sakkari produced a costly 39 unforced errors and dropped serve five times in her latest match. It is the first time she has lost her opening match at a tournament since February.  

Heading into Paris, the 28-year-old had produced encouraging results on the Tour after reaching the semi-finals in Charleston before making fourth round appearances at WTA 1000 events in Madrid and Rome. 

 “It’s the first time I don’t know what to say…” Sakkari told SDNA
“I’ve been very well these days. It was very sudden for me too, I started feeling intense anxiety before the match. I would really like to give the right answers, but all I have to say is that I have been very well these days. No matter what set I played, no matter what practice I did, everyone could see that I was fine. It’s definitely psychological, purely. It’s nothing else.” 

Since appearing in two Grand Slam semi-finals in 2021, Sakkari has struggled to make an impact at the major events. Her defeat to Gracheva makes it the fourth time she has lost in the first round of a Grand Slam since the start of last year. Overall, she has only managed to win back-to-back matches in two out of her nine most recent appearances at these tournaments. 

 “I won the first set and I kept getting nervous. My pulse was very high throughout the match, especially until the middle of the third set,” she said of her latest performance.
“I was feeling a panic, it’s not like I won the first set and relaxed. Maybe if I had broken the first game of the second set things would have been different. But what can we say now?’  
“It’s purely psychological, I’m not hiding. I will not look for excuses. I put too much pressure on myself, not to lose another game in the first or second round of a Grand Slam. Everyone around me tries to tell me that it happened in New York too, but then I recovered. However, it is not the same. I’ve recovered and I’m playing well in the other tournaments, but it’s proven that I’m not playing well in the Grand Slams. I feel it’s one thing, another thing.” 

Whilst praising her opponent, Sakkari describes her defeat as ‘unacceptable’ and hopes it will serve as a wake-up call for her.  

She now heads to the grass season with a win-loss record of 19-10 so far this year.

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French Open: Ons Jabeur ‘Physically And Mentally’ Ready For Major Glory After Rollercoaster Run

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Ons Jabeur knows what it is like to come within touching distance of claiming a Grand Slam trophy and she aims to use this experience to her advantage at the French Open. 

The 29-year-old has twice settled for runner-up at Wimbledon where she was the higher-ranked player in both of those finals, as well as reaching the last eight in Paris 12 months ago. It is a frustrating situation for Jabeur who is currently ranked ninth in the world and has five WTA trophies to her name. 

She began her latest campaign at the French Open on Monday with a straightforward 6-3, 6-2, win over Sachia Vickery who she frustrated with the repeated use of drop shots. Jabeur has now won 33 matches on clay over the past three years which is the third-highest on the WTA Tour after Iga Swiatek (52) and Aryna Sabalenka (34). 

“I aim for a deep run. I did a wonderful preparation. I practised a lot, and I never dropped a set during practice sessions.” She told reporters when asked about her goals. 
“I hope that I will see that again on the major courts, such as Philippe Chatrier, and I hope to get the upper hand every time. But I will see it point after point, ball after ball, game after game, and we’ll see. 
“After three Grand Slam finals and a few quarterfinals, I think I can go up till the end. It’s like a marathon.”

The confident outlook comes after what has been a difficult start to 2024 for Jabeur. She only managed to win three out of her first 12 matches played this season and during that period was also hampered by a flare-up of a knee injury. However, more recently she reached the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open leading up to Paris.

“I know I can play amazing on clay,” she stated.
“I feel mentally, physically, I’m ready to be until the end (of the tournament). There are just some key moments that I need to focus on. 
“I feel like I’m improving a lot in that area and just taking it one step at a time. If I make it to the quarterfinals, I want to push to win three more matches. That’s how it works. Sometimes a bit of luck from here, bit of luck from there, and it could help you be in the final.”

Jabeur will play either Camila Osorio or Anhelina Kalinina in her next match. 

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