Britain’s Konta Retires From Tennis

Johanna Konta of Great Britain returns a shot to Karolina Muchova of Czech Republic during the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 17, 2021 in Mason, Ohio. AFP

 

Former British number one Johanna Konta announced her retirement from tennis on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old has struggled with persistent knee trouble over the past couple of seasons and has slipped to 113 in the world rankings — a far cry from her career-high of number four.

Konta, who reached the semi-finals of three of the four majors, plus the quarter-finals of the US Open, made her announcement on social media with a post headlined ‘Grateful’.

She wrote: “This is the word that I’ve probably used the most during my career and is the word that I feel explains it best in the end.

“My playing career has come to an end, and I am so incredibly grateful for the career that it turned out to be. All the evidence pointed towards me not ‘making’ it in this profession.

“However my luck materialised in the people that came into my life and impacted my existence in ways that transcended tennis.

“I am so incredibly grateful for these people. You know who you are. Through my own resilience and through the guidance of others, I got to live my dreams. I got to become what I wanted and said as a child.

“How incredibly fortunate I count myself to be. How grateful I am.”

In June, Konta won the Nottingham Open, becoming the first British woman to lift a WTA title on home soil since Sue Barker in 1981.

But that victory was soon overshadowed by the astounding success of then 18-year-old compatriot Emma Raducanu in becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam when she took the women’s singles title at the US Open in September.

AFP

Pliskova Sweeps Past Konta To Win Italian Open

Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova poses with the trophy after winning against Britain’s Johanna Konta the WTA Masters tournament final tennis match at the Foro Italico camp in Rome, on May 19, 2019. Tiziana FABI / AFP

 

Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova swept past Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4 to win the WTA Italian Open on Sunday.

Pliskova, the 2017 French Open semi-finalist, clinched her 13th career title, in her final warm-up tournament on clay before Roland Garros starts on May 26.

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AFP

Muguruza Advances As Sharapova Returns At US Open

Gabrine Muguruza of Spain looks on during her first round Women’s Singles match against Varvara Lepchenko of the United States on Day One of the 2017 US Open.
Richard HEATHCOTE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

Reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza advanced while British seventh seed Johanna Konta was ousted on Monday at the US Open, where Maria Sharapova’s long-awaited return to Grand Slam tennis was finally at hand.

Spanish third seed Muguruza defeated American Varvara Lepchenko 6-0, 6-3 for her first triumph in Arthur Ashe Stadium, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on the first day of New York hardcourt matches.

Muguruza, last year’s French Open champion, can reach the US Open third round for the first time on Wednesday by defeating China’s Duan Ying-Ying.

“Very happy I’m in the second round,” said Muguruza. “I’ve been here so many times and I’ve never done very well. I will try again and hopefully, it will happen.”

Serbia’s 78th-ranked Aleksandra Krunic upset Australian-born Konta 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, ending her slim hopes at taking the world number one ranking at the tournament.

“I’m happy I had everything together and was able to put some serves in,” said Krunic, whose deepest Slam run was to the last 16 here in 2014.

Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion and last month’s Wimbledon runner-up, had not played since losing the All England final to Roger Federer due to an adductor strain.

But the Croatian fifth seed ousted 105th-ranked American Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

“I feel just a little bit rusty,” Cilic said. “I need a few matches to get into the rhythm. It’s a matter of me getting consistency point after point and match after match and I’ll be working on that.”

Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova was set to face Romania’s second-ranked Simona Halep in the night feature, the Russian’s first Grand Slam match since serving a 15-month doping ban and only her second on hard courts.

“I don’t think any tennis fan in the world is not going to have that match on,” said US 15th seed Madison Keys.

Former world number one Sharapova is 6-0 lifetime against Halep, although she last played the 25-year-old Romanian in the 2015 WTA Finals.

“It’s going to be a big challenge, first round of a Grand Slam, to face her,” Halep said. “I feel better and I feel that I’m ready to face her again.”

Sharapova, whose major titles include the 2006 US Open, tested positive for the banned drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. Her comeback began in April with the aid of wildcards, which drew complaints from many rivals.

“When someone has been banned or out of competition, I think you have to work for it a little bit to go and play your tournaments and not help that much sometimes,” Muguruza said Saturday.

The French Open denied Sharapova a wildcard and she missed Wimbledon with a thigh injury, but US Open officials offered her a wildcard as “a past US champion who needed the wildcard for entry into the main draw,” according to a tournament statement.

Sharapova, ranked 146th, played only one hardcourt tune-up match before a forearm injury sidelined her.

On the other hand, Halep has lost three times in three months with a chance to claim the world number one ranking, falling in the French Open final and Wimbledon semi-finals and to Muguruza in the Cincinnati final.

– ‘A dark past’ at US Open –

Muguruza improved to 17-2 since the start of her London Grand Slam title run, but the 23-year-old Spaniard resists the notion she can be favored with a poor US Open history.

“Coming to US Open and having a dark past in the results, I keep it with low expectations,” Muguruza said. “I take every match as a final.”

US 10th seed John Isner blasted 22 aces in eliminating France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Herbert won 14 points in a row at one stage, including the final 12 of the third set, but Isner took the next 10 and advanced to a second-round affair with South Korea’s Chung Hyeon.

“I was playing well out there,” Isner said. “He won the third set but I just had to have faith in what I was doing and I’m moving on.”

AFP

Australian Open: Serena Williams Through To Fourth Round

Serena Williams, Australian OpenSerena Williams has beaten fellow American Nicole Gibbs to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The world number two won 6-1 6-3 in 63 minutes on Saturday.

She is chasing a 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

The 35-year-old six-time champion will play Czech’s Barbora Strycova, who also beat France’s Caroline Garcia 6-2 7-5.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova came through a dramatic match to beat Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-7 (3-7) 6-3.

She goes on to face Britain’s Johanna Konta, who trashed Caroline Wozniaki 6-3 6-1.

Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni also advanced to the last 16 for the first time with a 3-6 6-2 6-3 win over Greece’s Maria Sakkari.

US Open: Konta Beats Bencic To Qualify For Fourth Round

Johanna-Konta-Belinda-Bencic-TennisBritish Tennis player, Johanna Konta, has defeated her Swiss opponent, Belinda Bencic to qualify for the fourth round of the US Open.

The 25-year-old put up an amazing performance to beat Bencic 6-2 6-1 on Saturday in New York.

Despite the health issues that affected the 13th seed during the second round, Konta knocked out her 19-year-old challenger in 52 minutes.

She served with pace and accuracy from the start to keep her opponent on the back foot and a run of seven unanswered games gave her complete control.

She did not give away a single break point, won 19 out of 20 points on her first serve and hit 29 winners to Bencic’s nine.

“I feel overwhelmingly happy.

“I felt I did a good job playing the match at hand and I focused all my energies into this match.

“I was happy how I dealt with things,” she told BBC.

Konta would contend with Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova in the next round.

She had reached the fourth round in 2015 and made the Australian Open semi-finals in January.