Qinwen Zheng Rues Missed Chances In Australian Open Final Defeat To Sabalenka - UBITENNIS
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Qinwen Zheng Rues Missed Chances In Australian Open Final Defeat To Sabalenka



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China’s Qinwen Zheng says she is ‘disappointed‘ with the level of tennis she produced during her straight-sets loss to Aryna Sabalenka in the final of the Australian Open. 

The 21-year-old was beaten 6-2, 6-3, by the Belarussian who has become the first woman in over a decade to win back-to-back titles in Melbourne Park. Zheng, who was playing in her first major final, struggled to find consistency on the court as she was overwhelmed by the power of her opponent. Despite producing 19 winners in the match, she struggled with her second serve where she won only nine out of 24 points played. She also hit 16 unforced errors.

“I think in this match I started pretty slow. I didn’t play my tennis there,” Zheng told reporters. 
“I think the difference was the beginning. I couldn’t hold the service game. Then later on, when I got the chance to break her 40-Love up, I was not able to make it.’
If I play against Sabalenka at this level, if you don’t take this chance the match went away really fast. She’s a really aggressive player. If you let a chance go, it will happen.”

Continuing to express her disappointment, Zheng admitted that she ‘didn’t perform her best‘ which she later described as a ‘pity.’ It is the second Grand Slam in a row where she has been beaten by Sabalenka. At the US Open last September, she managed to take five games off the world No.2 in their quarter-final clash. 

“I have to work more on my tennis, also work more on my mental side,” she stated.
“If you lose, there must be a reason behind why you lost and we (Zheng and her team) have to try to figure out why and then come back stronger and better next time.”

The youngster’s route to the final saw her not play a single player in the world’s top 50 in her first six matches. She is only the second woman in the Open Era to have reached the title match in Melbourne without playing a seeded player after Arantxa Sanchez Vicario did so in 1995. 

However, this doesn’t take anything from the significance of Zheng’s achievement who will enter into the world’s top 10 for the first time next week. She has only played in nine Grand Slam main draws so far in her career which is 15 less than that of Sabalenka. 

“Generally I improved bit by bit,” Zheng reflected.
“I think Sabalenka is one of the most tough opponents I have faced. But I think I need to improve more myself to be able to face this kind of situation for the next time.”

Zheng is only the second Chinese player to have reached an Australian Open final after Li Na. 

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing



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.



(@Eurosport - Twitter)

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 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.


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.


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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