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Weekly Recap: Pro Tennis Around the Globe

Weekly Recap: Pro Tennis Around the Globe

What happened in pro tennis around the globe in the past week? Plenty. We can't cover it all here but a few key highlights follow below in order to catch you up on all the action... 

Rublev Wins Surprising Clash in Madrid

It’s been a bit rocky for some players out there right now, like Andrey Rublev and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Both have faced poor results recently, and have struggled to live up to their full potential, even though they still show promise as younger players on the tour. But maybe, things are looking up. And after a great week in Madrid, these guys have shown a surprising fast return to form. 

Both reached the final, with Rublev writing his name on the trophy this year, but not after a fierce battle. It was won by the Russian 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, a thrilling result for the high-strung 26-year-old who kept his cool during the tough moments. Also a thrilling result for the fans after one of the semi finals was shortened after Jiri Lehecka retired against the Canadian due to injury. 

Above: Andrey Rublev rips a forehand. Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Rublev played spectacular tennis all week, taking out dangerous foes like Facundo Bagnis, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and Tallon Griekspoor, as well as raising his game to match a whole other caliber of tennis against Carlos Alcaraz, Taylor Fritz, and of course, the finalist Auger-Aliassime. The Canadian had a bit of an easier route to the final, with his two prior matches to the Sunday showdown ending with a retirement. He didn’t even need to hit a ball against Jannik Sinner, who called it quits before the match started. And while the Lehecka fight looked tight, the 23-year-old was able to slip by as well. His earlier battles against Adrian Mannarino and Casper Ruud ended with a dominant defeat, while his second round clash against Jakub Mensik, funnily enough, also ended with a retirement when the Czech left the court after a set and a game. 

While Felix was fresher with plenty of down time, Rublev’s time on the surface and adjustment to the conditions in the city which is known for its high elevation proved to be a factor that won him the match. Stats wise, they were pretty even with the Canadian and the Russian making 68% on first serve, 67% on first serve, respectively. Rublev utilized his serve a bit more, winning 77% of points on first serve, with his opponent only taking 71%. But a big factor that gave the Russian the win was second serve, with Auger-Aliassime only winning 41% compared to Rublev’s 72%. This let Rublev win 49 receiving points, compared to the Canadian’s 26. 

Swiatek Is Victorious On The Clay

Unlike the men’s side, the women’s draw worked out exactly as it should—-the top two seeds cruised to the final and the top seed emerged victorious. But not without a fight. And what a fight it was. Iga Swiatek defeated her rival, Aryna Sabalenka, in a very competitive three sets. The Pole won 7-5, 4-6, 7-6, and 9-7 in the final set tiebreak. 

Throughout the week, Swiatek produced very solid results, and despite the final, only endured one other three set match. She took down Wang Xiyu in her first match, Sorana Cirstea in her second, Sara Sorribes Tormo in her R16, Beatriz Haddad Maia in her quarterfinal, American Madison Keys in the semis, and of course, Sabalenka in the final. Her quarterfinal clash against the Brazilian was the other tough fight this week, with Haddad Maia winning a comfortable first set. After that, Swiatek turned her game face on and sprinted to the finish, winning the next two 6-0, 6-2. 

Above: Iga Swiatek. Photo: © On.

Sabalenka had to fight for her final spot, with only one match this week ending in a comfortable 2-set victory for the Belarusian. She defeated Magda Linette in her first match. After a solid first set, Linette put her foot to the pedal and won that set. But Sabalenka was able to seal that one in an easy third, and put it in the history books. A similar pattern emerged against American Robin Montgomery. The American fought in the second and the third, and almost won, but Sabalenka was able to hold her nerves and tear through into the Round of 16. Up against Danielle Collins, the Belarusian lost the first set but once again, held her nerves and scraped through to the quarterfinals. Thankfully, her flash against Mirra Andreeva was easy, and while her semi-final fight against Elena Rybakina was difficult, after a long week and much more time on court compared to her final opponent, Sabalenka was through. 

Maybe the fatigue got to her, because Sabalenka didn’t serve well in the final, producing very mediocre stats. Swiatek also had a tricky time stats-wise, but when the final set tiebreak came, the Pole kept the game face on, just edging Sabalenka for the title. And with the weekend wrapped up, the fans happy, and flights to Rome to catch, the top dogs will once against fight in Italy, the penultimate event before Roland Garros. 


Written by William Turvey. Top photo: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

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