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Jubb Ready For Wimbledon After Successful Challenger Debut

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2019

Jubb Ready For Wimbledon After Successful Challenger Debut

NCAA champ Paul Jubb is gaining valuable pro experience on home soil

It was nearly one month ago that Paul Jubb celebrated the greatest moment of his young career.

The 19-year-old became the first British player to win the NCAA singles title, making a statement on the U.S. college scene. As Jubb fired a forehand winner, he collapsed to the court in ecstasy. A rapturous applause greeted him from his University of South Carolina teammates and coaches.

Jubb defeated top seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State to complete the fairytale run and thrust himself into the history books. It was the culmination of years of hard work and perseverance, both on and off the court.

Where many college players would welcome a summer of rest and relaxation after a long season, Jubb is wired differently. Within days of lifting the NCAA trophy, it was announced that he was given a wild card into the Surbiton Trophy, the first stop on the ATP Challenger Tour grass swing. Subsequent wild cards were awarded for Nottingham and Ilkley. With the opportunity to kick off his Challenger career and test his talents at the pro level, it was too good to pass up.

“It was a really good test for me, to play those Challengers,” Jubb told “And it was important for me to go out there, compete really hard and see what I can do. It’s been a good reality check and showed me that I’m on the same level as these guys.”


With one year of eligibility left, his college career might not be completed, but Jubb was ready to make his Challenger debut. After falling to countryman James Ward in Surbiton, he defeated former Top 100 stalwart Jurgen Zopp in Nottingham and went one step further in Ilkley, reaching the Round of 16.

“I learned a lot about my ability and what I can do. Just to trust in my game, because it is good enough to compete at this level. I’m just trying to rack up confidence at this level. It’s all new to me, but I’m really happy with how it’s going.

“My time at South Carolina prepared me for these moments. It was a very busy season and I was playing against good players throughout the whole year. It was my best year yet at USC. It did a lot for me, for these moments.”

From taking the NCAA title to earning his first Challenger match wins, and then qualifying for his first ATP Tour main draw in Eastbourne, it has been a whirlwind month for the Hull native. He would stun Andrey Rublev to book his spot in the main draw at the Nature Valley International, securing his first Top 100 win in the process. And it’s not over yet. Jubb will make his Grand Slam debut at the All England Club, after learning he was awarded a Wimbledon wild card. He will open against World No. 66 Joao Sousa on Tuesday.

“I’ve been really grateful for the chance to play in Ilkley, Nottingham and Surbiton over the past few weeks and now Wimbledon. As a young lad growing up in Hull it was a big dream to get to SW19 so thank you to the AELTC and LTA for giving me this opportunity.”

Jubb is hoping to follow in the footsteps of a long lineage of NCAA champions who have enjoyed success on the professional circuit. Bradley Klahn (2010), Steve Johnson (2011-12) and Mackenzie McDonald (2016) are all in the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings. And World No. 158 Marcos Giron (2014) qualified for Wimbledon on Thursday.


Jubb’s story is one of sheer perseverance and conquering the odds. Through unimaginable loss following the death of his parents, his disadvantaged background provided obstacles to overcome at an early age. Tragically, his father Shaun, a soldier, took his own life when Paul was one year old and his mother Jacinta also passed away when he was child. Today, he honours his parents with a tattoo of their names on his left torso.

Raised by his grandmother Valerie from the age of four, it was around that time that he first picked up a racquet. Jubb was an under-the-radar recruit by South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi and entered his freshman year with the Gamecocks without expectations. Two years later, he is the NCAA champion and will compete at the All England Club for the first time.

“Josh came to my hometown club in Hull and I told him if he gave me the same opportunity as all the other players, I’ll be the best and rise to the top. Somehow it happened. I worked so hard to get to that point. The first time we spoke, we hit it off straight away. I’ve already spoke to Josh about next season, attacking it with the same mentality and being relentless. I want to not be satisfied with any of this but keep striving for more.

“What I like about tennis is that it’s all on me. If I fail, it’s on me. If I lose, I normally leave it all out there on the court, and I’m happy in knowing I gave all that I could. You have to be able to control your own mind because it can be so hard not to allow yourself to become negative in certain moments.”

Jubb, whose mother was born in Kenya, says that fellow #NextGenATP star Frances Tiafoe has been a source of inspiration over the years. Tiafoe’s parents emigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone. When Jubb first became aware of the American’s story, it immediately gave him belief that he could thrive as a professional tennis player as well.


The 19-year-old can also take inspiration from countryman and former NCAA standout Cameron Norrie, who took a similar path and rose to the top spot in the college rankings with Texas Christian University. Norrie has since risen to a career-high No. 41 in the ATP Rankings last month and reached his first ATP Tour final in Auckland in January.

“I just need to keep working hard, keep pushing myself and hopefully the results will come. It’s all about bettering myself now. I’ve always had a level head and I’m not letting this get to me. I’ve got way more to go and I know that. I just have to stay focused and on track.”

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Facing Williams at Wimbledon 'a dream' for 15-year-old Gauff

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2019

Fifteen-year-old American qualifier Cori Gauff says it is “a dream” to be facing her idol Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon.

The world number 301 became the youngest player to qualify for the main Wimbledon draw since the Open era began in 1968.

She says the Williams sisters were her idols growing up and that Serena is “the reason why I play tennis”.

“I kind of felt like I was going to play one of them,” Gauff said.

“Many people have been like ‘do you like your draw?’ – I love my draw. Playing one of the greatest players of all time is a dream – I’m excited to see how I do.”

Gauff, who will be the first 15-year-old in the main draw since Britain’s Laura Robson in 2009, received a wildcard to get into qualifying.

“I found out last minute,” she said. “I wasn’t even packed to come here so it’s just crazy how life can turn around in a second.”

In facing Venus, she takes on a player 24 years her senior who has won seven Grand Slam singles titles, five at the All England Club.

Of the age gap, Gauff said: “I don’t think of Venus as old – she’s still killing the game right now.

“It’s crazy to show her longevity – that’s how I look at it. I hope I’m still playing and doing well at 39.”

‘She reminds me of Venus’

It is Venus’ younger sister Serena who features in a poster on Gauff’s bedroom wall in Florida – “a reminder to work hard every day”, according to the youngster.

And the 37-year-old, winner of 23 Grand Slams, is a fan.

“She’s an exciting young player, and she’s so cool,” she said. “She’s a great girl, I love her dad – they’re just really cool people

“It’s a great moment for her and for Venus.

“It’s going to be a big moment for Venus as well – she’s playing against a player who reminds me of Venus. Just her body and everything.”

Gauff reached the US Open girls’ final aged 13 in 2017, and won the French Open girls’ singles title a year later.

Asked about being called “the future of tennis”, she added: “It’s crazy that people call me the next this, next that. I’m just trying to be me.”

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First-Time Winner Spotlight: Taylor Fritz

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2019

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Taylor Fritz

American captures maiden tour-level crown in Eastbourne

Four years after making his ATP Tour debut at the Nature Valley International, when the event was held in Nottingham, Taylor Fritz ended his week at the ATP 250 grass-court tournament as the champion.

The 21-year-old American, competing in his second tour-level championship match, defeated countryman Sam Querrey in straight sets to lift his first trophy on the British South Coast. Fritz’s maiden ATP Tour championship match came over three years ago at 2016 Memphis, but the American has finally captured his first tour-level crown: one of his major goals for the 2019 season. caught up with Fritz after his win…

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It was a big surprise when you reached your first final in Memphis, what does it mean to you to win your first title more than three years later?
It’s just an amazing feeling. I can’t even describe it. After waiting what feels like so long to win a title after almost winning when I was 18, over three years ago, it is just great to finally win.

When you hit the ace on championship point, you threw your racquet and screamed. What were your emotions in that moment?
There was just so much going on. You play the whole match and obviously you’re nervous, but I just tried not to think about it and keep my emotions in the whole match. Everything just came out when I hit the serve and knew that I had won.

You and Sam Querrey are both Californians who practise often together and you have played each other five times. Was it difficult to play someone you know so well?
No. We’ve played lots of times and I got used to playing other Americans in the juniors all the time. I guess it is tough as we both know each other’s tricks and what kind of things we like to do on the court. But luckily for me today, I handled everything well and played well.

You become the third current 21-year-old American to own an ATP Tour title, joining Frances Tiafoe and Reilly Opelka. Was there added pressure to join that club?
I wouldn’t say added pressure, but maybe added desire to win my first title and be alongside those Americans with titles. It feels really good to be with them now.

In 2016, you reached No. 53 in the ATP Rankings and then fell out of the Top 100. How would you describe your journey to your first ATP title?
It has just been a lot of work. At the end of 2016, I just mismanaged my body and kept playing on an injury. It took me longer to come back and set me back in 2017 and I just wasn’t myself. But since 2018, I have felt like I have really done a good job staying healthy. A bit of ankle issues here and there, but [I’ve] been really on top of it. I am working hard and training hard. What I have thought about is 2017 was the off-year and 2018 is how I felt like I should have continued from 2016. I keep progressing forward and I am more motivated than ever to keep working.

Now that you have won an ATP Tour title, what are your goals for the rest of the season?
One of my biggest goals was to win a title and one of my other goals was to finish the year and be seeded for the Australian Open next year. I just want to keep playing well, I’d love to finish the year [in the] Top 20 and just keep improving my game.

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Djokovic's Changing Attitude Towards Competing Against Federer & Nadal

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2019

Djokovic’s Changing Attitude Towards Competing Against Federer & Nadal

The top seed reflects on his great rivalries before the start of The Championships

What would have happened if Novak Djokovic did not have to compete against the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal during his career?

That is an impossible question to answer, and the same question could be posed from both Federer and Nadal’s perspectives. But while Djokovic was not always a fan of having to compete against two of the greatest players ever, the World No. 1 has grown to appreciate it. And he will look to overcome the challenges the two stars and the rest of the stacked field pose once again as he pursues a fifth Wimbledon title.

“I think there are a lot of benefits for the sport because of it. I obviously had not been so happy to be part of the Federer-Nadal era at the beginning of my career. I wasn’t winning many of the major events,” Djokovic said. “It’s a different story right now. I think I’m very grateful to be part of this era. It made me a better player. I’ve talked about this numerous times, that they complemented my game. They made me understand what I need to do in order to surpass and overcome the biggest challenge, and that is to win against these guys in a major event.

“I think the rivalries we have between three of us, and Andy [Murray], of course, has kind of highlighted probably the past 10, 15 years of professional men’s tennis. I see a lot of positives out of it. I think that the sport has benefited a lot because of these rivalries, all of us winning that much.”

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Djokovic (15), Federer (20) and Nadal (18) have combined to win 53 Grand Slam championships. And the top seed will look to move closer to his great rivals over the coming fortnight, as he tries to win his 16th major trophy. He can also retake the top spot in the ATP Race To London if he emerges victorious.

The Serbian, who opens his tournament against German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber, is high on confidence, with a 28-6 record in 2019, which includes titles at the Australian Open and the Mutua Madrid Open. This time last year, however, Djokovic arrived at the grass-court Grand Slam in a far different position as the World No. 21.

“There is quite a difference. Obviously I’m approaching this year’s Wimbledon as defending champion, No. 1 in the world,” Djokovic said. “Coming off from the surgery [last year], being unable to have a consistency with the results, this was a huge springboard for me, the win at Wimbledon last year. That’s what kind of gave me that push and also a huge relief.

“After that, it was all upwards, winning Cincinnati for the first time, US Open. One Grand Slam can definitely change anyone’s career in a few weeks. Even though after winning 15 Slams, I still value these tournaments very much and understand the importance they have, the importance of winning them on my entire career, my confidence, my future.”

Djokovic elected not to play a tournament before Wimbledon this year, whereas he advanced to the final of the Fever-Tree Championships last season. But over time, he has grown accustomed to adjusting to grass after the clay-court swing. It’s only gotten easier to make that change as his career has gone on. Djokovic says there were no grass courts in Serbia when he was growing up, so he never played on the surface as a junior.

“I did struggle a little bit at the beginning, in the first couple of years of my career on the grass to really understand how I need to move on the court, how I need to adjust my swing and my game in general, tactically, what I need to do,” said Djokovic, whose first professional grass-court event was the 2005 Wimbledon main draw.

“I’ve always been a baseline player, but grass is the quickest surface in sport and very unique. It makes you come in more, try to use short balls and slices and chip returns. You need more variety in your game, so to say. Everything happens very quickly. I think this surface requires more hours spent on the court training than any other, really, to get used to it.”

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In Djokovic’s four Wimbledon title campaigns, he lost a set in the first two rounds just once. So he knows the importance of getting off to a fast start at SW19 over the course of the fortnight. And it won’t be easy against Kohlschreiber, who beat the top seed at this year’s BNP Paribas Open.

“In the back of my mind, of course, I always have the big goal, why I’m here, trying to get to that final match and fight for the trophy,” Djokovic said. “The more efficient you can be, if I can call it that way, in the first week, the better it is. It is kind of tricky because you can’t really think about what happens in the second week. You need to balance it.

“Kohlschreiber, my first-round opponent, is a very good, quality tennis player on grass, or any surface for that matter. He won against me earlier this year in Indian Wells. You need the right intensity. You need to kind of be in the moment, focus only on the next challenge.” 

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Federer On The Big Three: 'We Push Each Other To Greater Heights'

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2019

Federer On The Big Three: ‘We Push Each Other To Greater Heights’

Swiss reflects before chasing record ninth Wimbledon title

Two decades ago, Pete Sampras held the most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era with 14. Incredibly, three men — Roger Federer (20), Rafael Nadal (18) and Novak Djokovic (15) — have all surpassed that mark. And Federer, who enters Wimbledon with a record eight titles at The Championships, believes that they have benefitted from competing at the same time.

“I think these things don’t come around maybe so often. It also shows that side-by-side we can have incredible careers,” said Federer, who debuted at Wimbledon 20 years ago. “Funny enough, you always think somebody takes away something from the other. Probably we have. At the same time, we also pushed each other to greater heights.”

The Big Three of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic has won 14 of the past 16 Wimbledon titles dating back to Federer’s maiden major triumph here in 2003. Yet 14 years after all three of them competed in The Championships together for the first time, the legendary trio is still going strong. They occupy the top three seeds (No. 1 Djokovic, No. 2 Federer and No. 3 Nadal) at The Championships for the first time since 2012.

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“I think we definitely became better because of one another. I don’t know if we’d all still be playing, maybe [if we] would have played in different eras,” Federer said. “But it’s been fun having us, from my side. I don’t know, I hope the fans enjoyed it. Because I think we’re all very different characters, they could like either player.”

Federer continues etching his name in the grass-court history books, winning a record 19th title on the surface in the Open Era at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle. He can earn his 100th win at this event by advancing to the semi-finals, and his 87.4 winning percentage on grass is better than his rate on any other surface.

“I still think it is very different. Maybe for some, they feel it’s not as far from hard. I think it’s still quite different,” Federer said. “I think the movement requires different talents or different movement. I believe also the way the ball bounces, the way it takes the spins or not, I think is quite a change still.

Watch Highlights Of Federer’s Halle Triumph:

“Obviously you can play better than ever on the grass courts. Every single year they get better and better, so it’s easier to play from the baseline. Especially I would say the first week at Wimbledon, it’s still a huge change to hard courts. The second week, it gets more similar. You can move better from the baseline. I think it speeds up a little bit more, as well. It takes a bit more of the spin. But at the beginning it’s still very soft, it’s tough to move.”

For the first time since 2016, Federer competed on clay this year. The 37-year-old achieved some solid results, including a run to the Roland Garros semi-finals, where he fell to eventual champion Nadal.

“I don’t know if I have a massive benefit from having played on clay,” Federer said. “I do believe it plays very different. Not only does the spin not take effect like it does on clay, but also the guys are not returning from so far back. Naturally everybody is much closer to one another.”


Federer opens his chase for his ninth Wimbledon title against South African Lloyd Harris, and he still wants to take charge of points and play on his own terms.

“So far I’m really happy I played the clay-court season. I’m happy I was able to adjust again on the grass,” Federer said. “I came through Halle, the clay-court season, French Open, without any injuries, feeling good. I guess I would be ready for longer rallies. But am I seeking out to play longer rallies because I played the clay-court season? I don’t think so.”

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Could Murray and Williams team up in Wimbledon doubles?

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2019
Wimbledon 2019 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 1-14 July
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Andy Murray says he still wants to play mixed doubles at Wimbledon – and Serena Williams says she is “available”.

Murray, 32, is still searching for a partner after being turned down by several players including French Open champion Ashleigh Barty.

The Scot will play in the men’s doubles with Pierre-Hugues Herbert as he builds up his fitness after hip surgery.

“We just have to wait and see,” said American great Williams, adding she “likes to be tongue in cheek”.

Williams, 37, has only played five tournaments this year because of a knee injury, although the 23-time Grand Slam champion says she is “feeling better” going into Wimbledon.

Williams has not played a competitive match since losing in the French Open third round to fellow American Sofia Kenin.

“Let’s see how my knee’s going,” she said.

Williams reached the mixed doubles final in four Grand Slams earlier in the career, winning the Wimbledon title with Belarusian Max Mirnyi in 1998, but has not played the format much competitively in recent years.

Former world number one Murray, who won the Wimbledon men’s singles in 2013 and 2016, said he understood the singles tournament was the priority for Williams.

“If the singles players are up for it and want to try and win and be competitive I’m all for it,” he said.

“Serena is obviously a brilliant player, has a great doubles record and is brilliant on grass obviously. She’s arguably the best player ever.”

Laughing, he added: “So she’d be a solid partner.”

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Murray played down suggestions he might decide to skip the mixed competition because of concerns about the wear and tear on his body.

“Everybody wants me to play, my whole team would like me to play,” he said.

“But from speaking to more experienced doubles players who have been in situations where they have been in the doubles and the mixed, if the weather has not been good the matches can end up getting backed up and you play a lot of tennis over a few days.

“That’s when you decide whether to focus and prioritise on one or you hedge your bets. The weather is meant to be good, I want to play, my team are keen, so it’s most likely I’ll do it.”

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Nadal: 'The Only Thing That Matters Is To Win Matches'

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2019

Nadal: ‘The Only Thing That Matters Is To Win Matches’

Spaniard begins his tournament against Sugita

Rafael Nadal faces a tough draw at Wimbledon, with a potential blockbuster against Nick Kyrgios in the second round, and a possible match with #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov or former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round.

But the World No. 2 is not worrying about the toll that difficult matches early on could take on him at The Championships, where he is pursuing a third title.

“The only thing that really matters is [to] win the matches,” Nadal said. “Doesn’t matter how, what is the score. So I just really believe that the main thing is [to] win at the beginning, of course, especially in my situation. Every hour and every match I am able to win helps a lot because I am playing well, I am coming with good confidence after playing a good end of the clay-court season.”

When Nadal triumphed at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010, the Spaniard competed at the Fever-Tree Championships ahead of the grass-court Grand Slam. In 2010, he had to battle through two five-setters in his first three matches, but ultimately found his best form to emerge victorious.

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This year, his most recent event was Roland Garros, where he captured a record 12th Coupe des Mousquetaires.

“There are no two equal situations,” Nadal said. “I won 2010 I think here after a very, very tough first couple of rounds. Sometimes that helps, especially in this event, that you arrive here without playing much on this surface.

“It’s a different situation, different surface, so I need to spend time on court. I’m improving every day. Of course, in terms of a competitive match, on Tuesday [it’s] going to be my first match. Going to be a tough one, a tough start against a player who already played three matches here. So it’s a challenge.”

Nadal has been working hard at home in Mallorca. There was a women’s grass-court tournament there last week, allowing the Spaniard to prepare well on the surface.

“If I will not have this court in Mallorca, maybe I will do another story. But having a women’s tournament in Mallorca, I have the chance to practise there. That’s positive news for me because I can keep practising on grass and being at home,” Nadal said. “Sometimes that is important, too. Close to the family, close to the people that you love. Sometimes it’s tough to be away for such a long time.”

Nadal will now look to make history at SW19, where he is trying to join Swedish legend Bjorn Borg (1978-80) by completing the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double for the third time. And history is on the Big Three’s side, as Nadal (2), Roger Federer (8) and Novak Djokovic (4) have won 14 of the past 16 Wimbledon titles.

“Of course we have been playing so well for such a long time. That’s something unique in this sport because, of course, it never happened in the past that three players more or less during the same time achieved that much,” Nadal said. “But here we are.”


Nadal is not thinking that far ahead, though. In the first round, he faces Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita for the first time. That is the only player or match he is concerned with.

“I feel ready to practise this afternoon and to practise tomorrow. That’s my goal. It’s day-by-day, step-by-step. I have been improving every single day since I arrived here. I hope to be ready, being honest. I think I see the normal evolution,” Nadal said. “I play against Sugita the first round. That’s the main thing for me, the main preparation for me.”

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Pliskova beats Kerber to win Eastbourne title

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2019

World number three Karolina Pliskova outclassed Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-4 to win her second Eastbourne title in style.

Pliskova, from the Czech Republic, will head to Wimbledon full of confidence after a superb display sealed victory over the German in 71 minutes.

She broke fourth seed Kerber’s serve three times to take the first set and once on her way to winning the second.

The 27-year-old did not lose a set during the Nature Valley International.

“All week I was playing quite perfect,” said Pliskova. “But not all the matches were as easy the score says, especially today.”

In the men’s tournament, 21-year-old Taylor Fritz won his first ATP title with a 6-3 6-4 victory over fellow American Sam Querrey.

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The women’s final between two former world number ones was billed as a battle between Pliskova, the great server, and Kerber, the great returner.

Pliskova’s big serve dominated all week but it was the way the second seed attacked 31-year-old Kerber’s serve that proved the difference.

The Czech player broke Kerber’s opening service game and the German did not manage to hold her serve until the third game of the second set.

Pliskova then broke Kerber’s serve at the first opportunity in the second and although the three-time Grand Slam champion played much better, the depth and power of the Czech’s groundstrokes continued to give her control of the key points.

She dropped just seven points on her serve in the set and finished with seven aces and 33 winners in the match.

Pliskova, who has yet to win a Grand Slam, gets her Wimbledon campaign under way against China’s Zhu Lin on Monday.

She will bid to become the first player since Jana Novotna in 1998 to win Eastbourne and go on to triumph at Wimbledon.

Kerber, now a three-time Eastbourne runner-up, will open the defence of her Wimbledon title against compatriot Tatjana Maria on Tuesday.

“It will be a special moment stepping onto Centre Court again,” said Kerber. “I’m feeling good, I’m playing good and hopefully I can continue on my play from last year.”


Former British number one Sam Smith on BBC TV

I think that was one of the best performances we’ve seen on this court.

It was such an intelligent display tactically. The way Pliskova mixed up her serving Kerber didn’t know which way to go and was standing so far back.

There was also clear thinking about where she wanted to hit her returns and clear thinking in the exchanges with the way she changed the pace of her shots which meant she gave Kerber constant problems to solve.

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