WTA

Cirstea off to successful start in Istanbul Cup defence as Raducanu prepares for Porsche Grand Prix bow

By Sports Desk April 19, 2022

Second seed Sorana Cirstea breezed through the first round of the Istanbul Cup on Tuesday as US Open champion Emma Raducanu prepares for her bow in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

The Romanian made short work of lucky loser Kamilla Rakhimova in a 6-4 6-1 straight sets victory in Turkey to launch her defence of the title she won against Elise Mertens last year.

The Belgian – top seed once again in Istanbul – gets her campaign underway against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, there were wins for seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Jil Teichmann, though Tereza Martincova is out after a surprise 6-4 7-5 loss to qualifier Anna Bondar.

World number 12 Raducanu meanwhile is also poised to get her latest tilt for silverware underway in Stuttgart in midweek, with the eighth seed facing qualifier Storm Sanders.

The title is up for grabs on the WTA Tour following Ash Barty's retirement, with her world number one successor Iga Swiatek a potential quarter-finalist for the Briton if she gets that far.

There will be no Coco Gauff in the mix however after the American made a first round exit in straight sets, losing to Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-2.

Seventh seed Ons Jabeur, meanwhile, fought back to beat Marketa Vondrousova 4-6 6-2 6-3, while qualifier Eva Lys overcame Viktorija Golubic 5-7 7-5 7-5 to set up a second round clash with Swiatek.

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  • Nick Kyrgios charged with common assault Nick Kyrgios charged with common assault

    Nick Kyrgios has been charged with common assault and summoned to appear before a court in Canberra next month, it has been reported in Australian media.

    Australian Capital Territory Policing, who did not name Kyrgios directly, confirmed one charge of common assault relating to an incident in December 2021.

    A barrister representing the tennis player responded by saying Kyrgios "takes the allegation very seriously" but would not be making an immediate public comment.

    Kyrgios is in England, playing at Wimbledon, and is scheduled to face Cristian Garin in the quarter-finals of the competition on Wednesday.

    The player's barrister, Jason Moffett, confirmed the charge.

    "It's in the context of a domestic relationship," Moffett told the Canberra Times. "The nature of the allegation is serious, and Mr Kyrgios takes the allegation very seriously.

    "Given the matter is before the court – he doesn't have a comment at this stage, but in the fullness of time we'll issue a media release."

    An ACT Policing spokesperson in Canberra said: "ACT Policing can confirm a 27-year-old Watson man is scheduled to face the ACT Magistrates Court on the 2nd of August in relation to one charge of common assault following an incident in December 2021."

  • Wimbledon: 'For the moment I am healthy enough to keep going' – Nadal looks forward to quarter-final Wimbledon: 'For the moment I am healthy enough to keep going' – Nadal looks forward to quarter-final

    Rafael Nadal spoke about how he is fighting against his physical decline after defeating Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4 6-2 7-6 (8-6) to advance to the Wimbledon quarter-final.

    It was Nadal's second consecutive straight sets win after dropping a set to both Ricardis Berankis and Francisco Cerundolo in his first two rounds.

    After not competing at Wimbledon since reaching the semi-final in 2019, Nadal is back as he tries to keep his dreams of a calendar slam alive, having won the Australian Open and the French Open already this year.

    Speaking to the media after his fourth-round win, the Spaniard declined to give detail about his injuries, saying he is "healthy enough to keep going".

    "I am a little bit tired of talking about my body," he said. "It's not that I don't want to answer the question, but at the same time, sometimes I am tired of myself, and all the issues I'm having.

    "I'd prefer to not talk about it now – I'm sorry for that – but I am in the middle of the tournament, and I have to keep going. 

    "All respect to the rest of my opponents, I am just trying my best every single day, and for the moment I am healthy enough to keep going, and to fight for the things that I want."

    He added: "I think I made a big effort to be here.

    "It takes a lot of mental and physical effort to try to play this tournament after the things I went through the last couple of months.

    "But as everybody knows, Wimbledon is a tournament that I like so much, and it's been three years without playing here. I really wanted to be back, and that's what I'm doing, so that's why it means so much to be in the quarter-finals."

    Nadal did not want to get into a discussion about his physical struggles, but it was unavoidable when he was asked about how his grass-court play has evolved over the years.

    "I won here in 2008, and I played the final in 2006 and 2007," he said. "So I have to say that during that period of time there were a lot of things I did well [on grass courts].

    "At very early stages of my career I was able to play very well on this surface too, but of course I am running less than before, that is obvious.

    "When I am losing things, in terms of physical performance, you need to add things to keep being competitive. That's what I did all my career, try to add things to my game, and improve things I need to still be competitive after losing some physical capacities, and other things you lose during your career.

    "At the same time, one of the things I'm more proud of is the way I've been able to adjust and accept the challenges in terms of physical issues, and to be able to always find a way to be competitive and improve my game."

    Looking forward to his quarter-final clash with American Taylor Fritz – who defeated Nadal in the final of the Indian Wells Masters back in March – the legend said he was in too much pain during that contest to learn any lessons.

    "Honestly, what I learned out at our last match was zero, because I had a stress fracture in my rib," he said. "That made it difficult to learn many things, because honestly the pain was terrible playing that match. 

    "He's playing at a very, very high level, having a great season, winning matches everywhere, and you can see it. He won the tournament last week – the week before Wimbledon – and now the quarter-finals, winning already in a Masters 1000, he's in a very high position in the race already."

    He added: "At the same time, we're in a quarter-final, so you can't expect an easy opponent."

  • Wimbledon: 'I've come a long way, that's for sure' – Kyrgios feels he is a changed man Wimbledon: 'I've come a long way, that's for sure' – Kyrgios feels he is a changed man

    Nick Kyrgios reflected on what he feels is a new-found maturity after defeating Brandon Nakashima to earn his spot against Cristian Garin in the Wimbledon quarter-final.

    The 27-year-old Australian needed five sets to make it past the 20-year-old American, eventually winning 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2.

    In a match that was far from smooth sailing, Kyrgios needed a medical timeout following the first set to deal with some shoulder discomfort that has flared up since his fiery win against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

    Speaking to the media after his success, Kyrgios said everyone is dealing with niggling injuries this deep into a grand slam, but he is proud of the way he has handled adversity this time around.

    "I woke up after Tsitsipas and had some shoulder pain," he said. "I’ve played so much tennis over the last month and a half that I felt it was about time for my body to start feeling some niggles. 

    "I don’t think anybody is feeling 100 per cent at this time, Rafa – you see him dealing with something all the time – so it’s something I just manage. Mentally, I think I deal with these things a lot better now. 

    "I knew today I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent, but mentally I stayed quite calm, knowing that I wasn’t able to serve full out for the five sets."

    His ability to fight through his injury was just one aspect of how Kyrgios feels he has grown as both a player and a person, touching on how far he has come since being dragged out of the pub by his manager in 2019.

    "I feel like I’ve been through so much, now I can stay composed," he said. "It’s the first time in my career that I wasn’t playing well, but I was able to say ‘wow, look how far I’ve come’ – It was rewarding. 

    "I think I’m enjoying the battle a bit more – I’m expecting everyone to play well against me now. I was that kid once, the underdog, whereas today walking on Centre Court being the favourite was completely different for me, but I was able to navigate that.

    "There was a time when I was having to be forced out of a pub at 4am to play Nadal [in the second round of 2019] – my agent had to come and get me out of a pub at 4am before I played my match on Centre Court, Wimbledon. 

    "So I’ve come a long way, that’s for sure… to sit here, quarter-finals at Wimbledon, feeling composed, mature, completely blessed and comfortable in my own skin."

    Having burst onto the scene at such a young age, Kyrgios said he feels he helped pave the way for the current generation of young stars.

    "This is almost my 10th year on Tour," he said. "I kind of feel like I was the first guy who broke through young, like at 19, beating Rafa at Wimbledon. 

    "I was the first young guy to show all the other guys – like Zverev and Thiem and stuff – that they could do it as well, I feel like I was the first one to break the mould. You look at guys like Alcaraz, Sinner who are just absolutely fearless. 

    "I think a lot of players think that Federer, Djokovic and Nadal are almost Gods and you can’t hurt them. I feel like I showed at least one of them was human that day."

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