WTA

Defending champion Ostapenko eases through to last 16 in Luxembourg

By Sports Desk September 14, 2021

Defending champion Jelena Ostapenko booked her place in the last 16 of the Luxembourg Open with a comfortable straight-sets win over Jule Niemeier.

The world number 30 came out on top 6-2 6-2 in a little under an hour to set up a meeting with Arianne Hartono, who earlier beat Anna-Lena Friedsam 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-6 (7-4).

Fifth seed Marketa Vondrousova also shuffled through to the next round thanks to a 6-2 6-3 triumph against Alison Van Uytvanck, while Zarina Diyas will face tournament favourite and Olympic champion Belinda Bencic next after beating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in three sets.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich was made to work harder for her 7-5 7-6 (8-6) win against Lesia Tsurenko, with that the longest straight-sets match of 2021 so far at two hours and 30 minutes, according to the WTA.

Greet Minnen and Mandy Minella were also victorious on Tuesday, overcoming Nuria Parrizas-Diaz and Varvara Gracheva respectively.

At Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz in Slovenia, meanwhile, home favourite Kaja Juvan eliminated top seed Petra Martic with a 6-3 6-4 win. Sweden's Rebecca Peterson was another seed to fall, going down in straight sets to Lucia Bronzetti.

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    There was a sense of deja vu as Clara Tauson upset fourth seed Ekaterina Alexandrova at the Luxembourg Open.

    The 18-year-old defeated the same opponent en route to claiming a maiden WTA Tour title in Lyon in March and repeated the feat here, again on an indoor court.

    On this occasion, Tauson needed to come back from a break down in the deciding set to clinch a 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-1) triumph and book her spot in the quarter-finals.

    Fifth seed Marketa Vondrousova had no such trouble, the Czech a comfortable 6-2 6-4 victor over Jana Fett. Alize Cornet (8) also made the last eight with a 6-3 6-3 win over Mandy Minella, while Ludmilla Samsonova (7) needed a pair of tie-breaks to overcome Oceane Dodin.

    In the first round, Zhang Shuai (6) lost in three sets to Marie Bouzkova.

    At the Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz in Slovenia, second seed Yulia Putintseva was a 6-3 6-1 winner over Katie Boulter. Alison Riske, Kristina Mladenovic and Lucia Bronzetti also made it through.

  • Raducanu 'hungry to get better' after record-breaking US Open triumph Raducanu 'hungry to get better' after record-breaking US Open triumph

    Emma Raducanu still has the hunger to continue improving following her record-breaking US Open triumph and is targeting a possible return to action at Indian Wells.

    The 18-year-old became the first qualifier in history to win a grand slam when defeating Leylah Fernandez ​in straight sets in Saturday's final at Flushing Meadows.

    Raducanu, ranked 150 by the WTA before beginning her three-week long tournament, did not drop a single set across her 10 matches.

    That victory in New York capped a life-changing couple of months for Raducanu, who also reached the last 16 of Wimbledon in her only other grand slam appearance before withdrawing due to medical reasons.

    After spending a few days away from the court and taking in some of the sights the Big Apple has to offer, the Briton is ready to start preparing for her next tournament.

    "I have a few days' rest and recovery," Raducanu, who became the first British female to win a major tournament since Virginia Wade on home soil at Wimbledon 44 years ago, told CNBC's Closing Bell programme.

    "I think it was needed after the last seven weeks but then I am straight back to training and hungry to get better and come back out and play some more tournaments."

     

    Raducanu was originally due to take part in qualifying for the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic later this month, but she may instead wait for next month's delayed Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where a wildcard entry is likely.

    "After the US Open I wanted to give myself this week to completely switch off from tennis because it's been an extremely intense but rewarding seven weeks," she told the WTA's official website. 

    "But I've worked very hard to finish on such a high with the US Open, a whole week off was needed.

    "I know I'll get back to work probably Monday or early next week to get back to training again. Schedule-wise, I'm not sure. Maybe Indian Wells, I don't know. I'm going back to London before my next tournament for sure."

  • Djokovic will be back stronger than ever in 2022, says Thiem Djokovic will be back stronger than ever in 2022, says Thiem

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    Medvedev prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slams in a single year, beating him 6-4 6-4 6-4 in Sunday's thrilling showpiece.

    Djokovic was seen in tears during the third set as his hopes of adding the US Open to his run of wins at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year slipped away.

    But Thiem tipped Djokovic to bounce back from the disappointment of defeat and return in 2022 even stronger.

    "One unbelievable goal slipped out of his hands yesterday," Thiem told Stats Perform.

     

    "I expect him to be as strong as ever in 2022. I think after he won in Roland Garros, everybody was only talking about the calendar slam – first about the golden slam, and then about the calendar slam.

    "He [Djokovic] was under pressure. Nobody can feel that or anything like that because of it being the calendar slam.

    "I can feel it in a smaller way, probably from last year's final and from some other matches. And at some points it's just getting to you. And so, I really felt for him as well towards the end of the match.

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    "For me, there are three GOATs in the game, and each of them has achieved something very unique," Thiem said of the trio locked on 20 major titles each.

    "So it's still the same for me as it was before. The three of them are the best in the history to me.

    "And I'm only super happy to be in the same era with them and to be able to compete with them. Hopefully many more times next year again."

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