WTA

Raducanu: Cincinnati run was a 'great step' ahead of US Open title defence

By Sports Desk August 19, 2022

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  • Bartoli backs Swiatek to win 'between five and 10 slams, easily' but serves Wimbledon warning Bartoli backs Swiatek to win 'between five and 10 slams, easily' but serves Wimbledon warning

    Iga Swiatek could reach double figures for grand slam titles but Wimbledon may be a stumbling block, according to Marion Bartoli.

    Speaking to Stats Perform, Bartoli said she did not expect any player on the WTA Tour to match the "greatness" of Serena or Venus Williams.

    The Frenchwoman, who won the 2013 Wimbledon women's singles title, also claimed the level of competition is currently not as strong as it was for the previous generation.

    She is sold on Swiatek, though, who added to her 2020 and 2022 French Open titles by winning the US Open earlier in September.

    The 21-year-old Polish player has emerged as the clear world number one since Ash Barty retired in March, stringing together 37 consecutive wins at one point until Alize Cornet beat her in round three at Wimbledon.

    A lull in her performances followed that exit on the grass, but Swiatek fought her way through the field to triumph in New York.

    "I was very impressed by how Iga this time with the US Open came with absolutely zero confidence and still found a way to win, and that is really a champion's mind," Bartoli said.

    ""She played really not great tennis in Toronto, not good tennis in Cincinnati, didn't play that well before the US Open. Whatever she worked on with her coach, she went on and plugged in for seven matches and to win the title, which is very impressive.

    "So I think the level it's not at the highest, but I think the way she has been able to handle the pressure and go for it and win was absolutely very, very impressive.

    "And she will win more. For sure she will win more on clay, she will win more on normal, slower hardcourts. Maybe not grass, but slow hard court is really a good surface for her as well. So easily between five and 10 for Iga, easily."

    With Serena Williams saying a fond farewell to competitive tennis at the US Open, the women's tour has lost a 23-slam giant. In Bartoli's mind, there may be nobody of the great American's prowess to emerge for many years to come.

    She said: "I think it's unfair to ask any of the current women's players to be as dominating as Serena was, or you know Venus as well.

    "You just can't ask them to be at that level of greatness. You get that one out of a century or even two centuries. So I think we will have to wait a while before we get the next Serena Williams.

    "And even Coco [Gauff] has talked about it, [saying] 'I'm not Serena, I will probably not get 23 grand slams like Serena you know, so stop putting pressure on me'.

    "I think they're just trying their hardest, they're just trying their best, but obviously as Maria Sharapova said and I agree with her, the level of competition we used to have when all of us were playing was I think higher than what it is now."

    Bartoli pointed to the example of Emma Raducanu, as a near-unknown, winning the US Open last year. She said that triumph for the British teenager was "out of any rational thoughts".

    "This year she lost first round [to Cornet] and she dropped to 80 in the world," Bartoli added.

    "You know that someone at 80 and someone at five, there is not so much of a difference in terms of level. And that's why you see those sort of upsets and constant change."

  • Raducanu retires from Korea Open semi-final Raducanu retires from Korea Open semi-final

    Emma Raducanu was forced to retire from her Korea Open semi-final against Jelena Ostapenko due to injury, leaving the Latvian to face second seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in Sunday's final.

    The 2021 US Open winner was featuring in her first semi-final since that fairytale triumph at Flushing Meadows, and took the opening set 6-4 after making a flying start on Saturday.

    Ostapenko then fought back to level the match, with Raducanu first appearing to struggle with her movement when she was a break up in the second, forcing her to take an off-court medical timeout.

    The 19-year old later retired citing a left glute injury when 3-0 down in the decider, ending her confidence-boosting run in Seoul and teeing up a final meeting between the top two seeds.

    Indeed, Alexandrova enjoyed a more routine outing in her meeting with Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria, downing the German 6-2 6-4 to advance to her second final of the year.

    At the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, meanwhile, Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen reached her first WTA Tour final with a hard-fought win over world number 13 Veronika Kudermetova.

    Having required over three hours to seal her 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-3) triumph, the world number 36 said: "After the match when I won the last point, the feeling was incredible. 

    "The opponent, she's playing unbelievable tennis. She has a really good serve and hits the ball hard, she moves well. It's my first time in the final. I'm so happy."

    Her compatriot Zhang Shuai was unable to replicate those exploits, however, as Liudmila Samsonova eased into her third WTA final of the year with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win. 

    In-form Samsonova has won both of her previous final appearances this year - each of which came last month - and is 3-0 in showpiece matches for her career.

  • Raducanu cruises into Korea Open semi-finals Raducanu cruises into Korea Open semi-finals

    Emma Raducanu raced into her first semi-final of 2022 by beating Magda Linette at the Korea Open, teeing up a meeting with top seed Jelena Ostapenko. 

    Raducanu required just 77 minutes to see off the third seed for a 6-2 6-2 win, dominating from the outset to clinch her first final four spot in any tournament since last year's famous US Open triumph.

    Having wrapped up the opener with a fierce backhand winner, Raducanu was forced to endure a brief revival from Linette in the second set, before the Pole was troubled by a thigh injury.

    Linette lost 14 of the first 17 points on resumption after a medical time out, struggling with her movement as Raducanu saw out the match.

    Raducanu has yet to drop a set during her run in Seoul, but will face a stern test in the semi-finals after Ostapenko overcame 17-year-old Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva 6-2 6-1, setting up a first career meeting between the duo.

    On the other side of the draw, Ekaterina Alexandrova earned a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 (8-6) win over Lulu Radovcic, but fourth seed Zhu Lin crashed out to Tatjana Maria, losing 6-1 6-1.

    In the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, meanwhile, Garbine Muguruza fell to a shock 6-4 6-2 quarter-final defeat to Liudmila Samsonova, handing the Russian her 16th win in her last 17 outings.

    She will meet Zhang Shuai in the next round, after she became the first Chinese player to make the last four in Tokyo since 2009 by beating Petra Martic 7-5 6-2. 

    In a battle between the competition's fourth and fifth seeds, meanwhile, Veronika Kudermetova rallied to beat Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-1.

     

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