Coco Gauff Backs Idea Of Future ATP-WTA Merger After Lackluster Australian Open Win - UBITENNIS
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Coco Gauff Backs Idea Of Future ATP-WTA Merger After Lackluster Australian Open Win

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Coco Gauff says merging tennis’ governing bodies would help the women’s game following her scrappy quarter-final win at the Australian Open on Tuesday. 

The world No.4 was far from her best at Melbourne Park where she ousted Matra Kostyuk 7-6, 6-7, 6-2, in what was a below-par performance. Gauff was down 1-5 in the opening set but managed to claw her way back to win it in the tiebreaker. Then in the second frame, she failed to serve the match out when leading 5-4 which enabled her opponent to take proceedings into a decider. Despite the blip, Gauff broke Kostyuk three consecutive times in the final set en route to victory. 

It was a far-from-vintage performance from the American who hit 17 winners against 51 unforced errors. She also struggled behind her second serve, winning 39% of those points. 

“Today was definitely a C game, I didn’t play my best tennis but I’m really proud that I was able to get through today’s match. Hopefully, I have got the bad match out of the way and I can play even better.” Said Gauff. 
“Today was frustrating because I knew how I needed to play. I just couldn’t execute. Eventually, I was able to find it, which is what I’m proud of.
“At the end of the day you’re given a scouting report but you have to go with feeling and try your best to win. That’s what I did.”

Coming into the quarter-finals, the 19-year-old had only dropped 16 games in her first four matches played. She had previously played down the claim that she might be ‘uncooked’ due to a lack of challenging matches. 

However, did she have any sense that she wasn’t feeling at the top of her game heading into her latest clash?

“When I warmed up in the prematch earlier this morning I was hitting good. I was serving good. I actually felt really good.” She commented.
“When I went on court and I had two breakpoints in the first game, I still felt good. Then I don’t know where it all happened to be honest. It wasn’t something that I felt this morning or even in the warmup.
“I felt like I was going for shots that I normally make and was missing and missing by a lot, not even close.”

Gauff has become the youngest American player to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open women’s event since Mary Joe Fernandez in 1990. She has also become only the second female teenager this century to win her first 10 matches in a season after Justin Henin did so in 2001. 

Besides her Australian Open performance, Gauff has also weighed in on the idea of the ATP and WTA Tour’s potentially coming together in the future. In her view, such a move would have more positives than negatives for the sport.

“I definitely think it would help women, especially the women’s side of the game.” She replied when asked about her views on a possible merger.
“I find that when I’m at combined events I just feel like the energy amongst the crowd is better and for most of the events it’s equal prize money when they’re combined. It would definitely help our side of the game.’
“I feel like I generally enjoy when both men and women are at the same tournaments just because I have also friends on the guys’ side. Not even money-wise, it would just be more fun for me as a player around the grounds.”

Gauff will next play either Aryna Sabalenka or Barbora Krejcikova in the semi-finals at Melbourne Park. 

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World No.634 Laura Samson Reaches First WTA Quarter-Final At 16

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Laura Samon - image via itftennis.com/ photo credi: Manuel Queimadelos

Laura Samson has become the first player born in 2008 to reach the quarter-finals of a WTA event after producing a surprise win on Tuesday. 

The 16-year-old wildcard stunned second seed Katerina Siniakova 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, in the second round at the Prague Open. Her triumph occurred a day after she dropped just two games against Tara Wurth in her opening match. This week is Samson’s Tour debut after playing 10 events on the lower-level ITF circuit. 

“I’m extremely surprised,” she said during her on-court interview after beating Siniakova. “I didn’t go into it as favorite. I’m so proud of myself and I hope I will continue to play like this. As I was going into the second set I thought, ‘I have nothing to lose, I didn’t play good in the first set.’ I’m not really sure when [I thought I could win], I just believed myself in the third set.” 

Samson is the latest Czech player to break through following a sucessful junior career. Last year she won the Wimbledon girls’ doubles title and was runner-up in the French Open singles tournament in June. She is currently No.3 in the ITF junior rankings but has been ranked as high as No.1. 

Earlier this year, Samson decided to change her name on the Tour by dropping the last three letters (ova). The reason why she did so was to avoid getting confused with another player. 

“I first noticed it last year, there was a problem that I was getting strings (the) of Lyudmila Samsonova,” she told tenisovysvet.cz.

“I also talked about it with her and, for example, according to the schedule, she also sometimes thought she was playing, but it was me,” 

“I would have liked the ending -ová, but unfortunately it turned out like this.”

The teenager will next take on world No.248 Oksana Selekhmeteva with the winner of that match progressing to their first WTA semi-final.  21-year-old Selekhmeteva is a former top 10 junior player who came through two rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw. She is a two-time junior Grand Slam champion in doubles. 

There are five seeds remaining in the tournament, including top seed Linda Nosková who will play Germany’s Ella Seidel in her next match. 

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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.

ARMS UP FOR A CHAMPION

The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.

KREJCIKOVA COMES THROUGH UNDER PRESSURE

Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

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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Wimbledon Finalist Jasmine Paolini – ‘I’m A Little Bit Scared To Dream Too Much’

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After coming close to her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Jasmine Paolini believes consistency is key to having another shot at glory.

The 28-year-old dropped only one set en route to becoming the first Italian woman to reach a Wimbledon final. However, she was denied the title by Barbora Krejcikova, who won in three sets. Paolini was broken once in the decider which was due to a double fault from the Italian following an unsuccessful hawk-eye challenge made on her first serve. Then she failed to convert two break points when down 4-5 before Krejcikova held to seal glory.

“I started bad,” she reflected afterwards.

“I took some time and try to relax and to come back in the second set stronger to try to push the ball more because I was a little bit controlling too much, and I missed a lot of shots.

“She was playing, honestly, very good the first set. She was serving really, really good. High percentage of first serves.

“It was tough but I think I did better than the last final (at the French Open), but still it’s not enough.”

Prior to Saturday, Paolini had scored wins over former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Medison Keys (via retirement) and a marathon victory over Donna Vedic. She has now won 15 Grand Slam matches in 2024 compared to just one last season.

The defeat comes less than two months after the French Open where Paolini contested her first major final but lost in two sets to world No.1 Iga Swiatek. Since the start of this season, she has risen more than 20 places in the rankings and will reach No.5 on Monday.

Despite being in her late 20s, the Italian is producing some of her best tennis on the Tour. Something she credits to a combination of things. 

“I improved my game a little bit. I believe more in myself. I improved my serve. I think I improve the return.” She explained.

“I think physically I’m better than two years ago. I’ve been working with a new fitness coach for one-and-a-half years.

“There are many things, I think. Not just one. I think also winning matches helps a lot.”

Whilst she is heading in the right direction on the Tour, Paolini has vowed not to get too ahead of herself.

“Sometimes I’m a little bit scared to dream too much.” she said.

“I’m going back, trying to practice and stay in the present. This is the goal for me and my team, to try to keep this level as much as possible.

“If I keep this level, I think I can have the chance to do great things.

“Today I was dreaming of holding the (Wimbledon) trophy but it didn’t go well.

“I’m just enjoying the position where I am right now.”

Paolini has won 30 out of 43 matches on the Tour so far this season.

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