News 26 May 2018, 23:49 IST 32 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova came from a set down and saved two match points to defeat Dominika Cibulkova in a marathon Internationaux de Strasbourg final that proved the longest match of the WTA season.A tight encounter that lasted three hours and 35 minutes finished 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (8-6) to Pavlyuchenkova, who avoided a break of serve while 5-4 down in the third set before winning a tie-break that swung back and forth.Cibulkova suffered the first break in the opening set but hit straight back to force a tie-break in which she won five successive points to come out on top and seize the advantage.The Slovakian stopped Pavlyuchenkova serving out the second set and later saved two set points, but this time it was her turn to lose five points on the trot as the match went to a decider.Both players showed incredible desire in the final set with gritty rallies proving frequent, but it was Pavlyuchenkova who sealed a … [Read more...] about Pavlyuchenkova saves two match points to win Strasbourg epic
Can Nadal win an unprecedented eleventh title this fortnight? Zverev, Thiem and Djokovic would be leading contenders to play spoilsport. Feature 26 May 2018, 23:42 IST 13 Nadal looks to claim his eleventh titleIn the lead up to the second slam of the year, Rafael Nadal has placed himself as the firm favorite to lift Coupe des Mousquetaires for an unprecedented eleventh time. Him being such a strong favorite after so many downs in his career is a tremendous achievement.Yet, something that is not so good for tennis, is the absence of a set of firm challengers to the world No.1. In the absence of Roger Federer and Andy Murray, and with Djokovic not being the expected challenger, the brunt of challenging Nadal falls squarely on the shoulders of the upcoming players, ones who could potentially replace the erstwhile Big 4, if the former does not reclaim that status soon.Potential Challengers: Zverev and ThiemSpeaking of the players to challenge Nadal, it should be … [Read more...] about Will Nadal win his eleventh French Open?
As the French Open prepares to get underway at Roland Garros in Paris, Tennis Podcast presenter Catherine Whitaker sits courtside to record the first of our daily podcasts. Next to her, Serena Williams goes through her Roland Garros preparations. How is she looking, having barely played over the last 18 months. What did Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko have to say ahead of Roland Garros? Whitaker has been talking to them. Who is scheduled to meet Rafael Nadal as he tries to win his 11th French Open title? Whitaker and co-presenter David Law look at his likely route. And what on earth is Dominic Thiem doing playing and winning the Lyon tournament the day before a Grand Slam tournament gets underway? Is he not going to wear himself out? Or does he know something we don’t? There’s talk of Kyle Edmund, Jo Konta, and a resurgent James Ward, who has reached the final in the Loughborough challenger tournament. Daily editions of The Tennis Podcast will record … [Read more...] about Tennis Podcast: Courtside with Serena Williams, French Open draw dissection, plus what is Dominic Thiem doing?
Look down the list of seeds at the French Open, and you’ll find players who learned their clay-court skills in Barcelona, or Hamburg, or Vienna. But only one man started out on the green granules of Goole Rugby Club. British players usually prefer slicker, faster surfaces, such as indoor hard courts or grass. So as the first clay-court expert to come out of Yorkshire, world No 17 Kyle Edmund is a significant outlier. “It’s one of those things that sounds funny,” Edmund admitted during a recent conversation with The Telegraph. “Goole – it’s nowhere. But everyone will have that sort of story because you won’t get many players who say ‘Yeah, when I was eight or 10, my first experience was at this amazing court’. Those were the nearest clay courts, when I was in Beverley with [Lawn Tennis Association coach] Richard Plews,” added Edmund. “We’d go down there once a week. It was American clay – my first … [Read more...] about Kyle Edmund’s unorthodox journey towards the top, from Goole’s green clay to French Open seed
As Simona Halep enters the interview room at Roland Garros, she asks the media manager politely for a bottle of water, room temperature. “Aha!” I say triumphantly. “You must agree with Novak Djokovic’s theory that iced water draws blood to the stomach and away from the muscles!” She looks at me blankly. “No, I’m not into all that. I just have a sore throat.” Halep might be the world No 1, but she is also resolutely unstarry. She could be preparing for a $25,000 Challenger or a grand slam, and no-one would know the difference. While Serena Williams hobnobs with royals, and Maria Sharapova promotes her panoply of brands, Halep is more likely to be found hanging out with friends in her Bucharest home. Or walking through the park here in Paris, her favourite place for a short holiday. By contrast with the above A-listers, no-one is likely to stop her for an autograph. Halep’s approachability, charm and infectious sense of humour … [Read more...] about Simona Halep puts trust in her instincts in bid to win breakthrough major at French Open
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, 27 May. Here's the order of play for the opening day. All times are BST. Court Philippe Chatrier 10:00: Viktor Troicki (Ser) v (4) Grigor Dimitrov (Bul), (32) Alize Cornet (Fra) v Sara Errani (Ita), (15) Lucas Pouille (Fra) v Daniil Medvedev (Rus), (5) Jelena Ostapenko (Lat) v Kateryna Kozlova (Ukr) Court Suzanne Lenglen 10:00: Ajla Tomljanovic (Aus) v (4) Elina Svitolina (Ukr), Elliot Benchetrit (Fra) v (32) Gael Monfils (Fra), Qiang Wang (Chn) v (9) Venus Williams (USA), Ricardas Berankis (Lit) v (2) Alexander Zverev (Ger) Court 1 10:00: Kurumi Nara (Jpn) v (26) Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Cze), (19) Kei Nishikori (Jpn) v Maxime Janvier (Fra), (22) Johanna Konta (Gbr) v Yulia Putintseva (Kaz), (8) David Goffin (Bel) v Robin Haase (Ned) Court 3 10:00: Madison Brengle (USA) v (25) Anett Kontaveit (Est), Jozef Kovalik (Svk) v (10) Pablo Carreno-Busta (Spa), Francesca Schiavone (Ita) v Viktoria Kuzmova (Svk), Federico Del Bonis (Arg) v … [Read more...] about French Open 2018: Order of play for day one at Roland Garros
More time to hit his forehand Put yourself in the reddened shoes of one of Kyle Edmund’s opponents. Above all, your overriding objective is to try and keep the ball away from Edmund's terrifying forehand. On a clay court this is extremely difficult to do. Because of the slower and higher bouncing balls Edmund has even more time than usual to smack away forehands, and where necessary run around his backhand to hit his signature shot. This puts his opponents at a massive disadvantage straight away. Allied to that is the fact that Edmund is one of the few players on the ATP Tour powerful enough to hit through his opponents on a clay court, even when conditions are damp and especially slow. ... To continue reading this article Start your free trial of Premium Access all Premium articles Subscriber-only events Cancel any time Free for 30 days then only £2 per week Try Premium Access one Premium article per week Register for … [Read more...] about Why Kyle Edmund is made for clay and the French Open
The life of an injured tennis player is not an easy one. Take Andy Murray: aside from being a victim of Michael McIntyre for an episode of the comedian’s Midnight Gameshow, the former world No 1 has virtually disappeared from view since undergoing hip surgery in January. Even his social-media feeds have been dormant: a deadpan expression while wearing a bright-coloured cake-shaped hat to commemorate his 31st birthday this month was one of only a handful of posts this year. Yet each player’s mentality towards an enforced sabbatical is different. Svetlana Kuznetsova, for example, positively launched herself into an array of “fun things” while recovering from surgery on her left wrist last November, and is a firm believer that the time away has rejuvenated her for a push at the French Open over the next fortnight. She will need every bit of that positive thinking, given she was handed a fiendish first-round draw – against Garbine Muguruza, the … [Read more...] about Svetlana Kuznetsova exclusive interview: On chasing Kim Clijsters’ pig and staying motivated after 18 years on tour
The life of an injured tennis player is not an easy one. Take Andy Murray: aside from being a victim of Michael McIntyre for an episode of the comedian’s Midnight Gameshow, the former world No 1 has virtually disappeared from view since undergoing hip surgery in January. Even his social-media feeds have been dormant: a deadpan expression while wearing a bright-coloured cake-shaped hat to commemorate his 31st birthday this month was one of only a handful of posts this year. Yet each player’s mentality towards an enforced sabbatical is different. Svetlana Kuznetsova, for example, positively launched herself into an array of “fun things” while recovering from surgery on her left wrist last November, and is a firm believer that the time away has rejuvenated her for a push at the French Open over the next fortnight. She will need every bit of that positive thinking, given she was handed a fiendish first-round draw – against Garbine Muguruza, the … [Read more...] about Svetlana Kusnetzova exclusive interview: ‘I had to chase Kim Clijsters’ pig around a road in Belgium’
When it comes to innovation, 2018 will be the year of the shot-clock. The US Open has already announced that it will be the first major to introduce the technology as part of its main-draw matches, with a limit of 25 seconds between serves. But which players will come under the most scrutiny? The Game Insight Group, based in Melbourne, has been logging the average speed between points at the Australian Open for the past two years. The evidence shows that, in 2018, the most dilatory server among all the men in the draw was – yes, you have guessed it – world No 1 Rafael Nadal, at an average of 23.6 seconds between serves. Slightly more surprisingly, Petra Kvitova finished bottom of the class among the women, with 26.3 seconds – a figure so high that, if she were to maintain it throughout the year, she could expect to lose every single service game at the US Open via time-violation penalties. Also lurking in the hall of infamy is a repeat offender: Maria … [Read more...] about Revealed: Petra Kvitova and Rafael Nadal took longest between points at Australian Open