WTA

Cirstea off to successful start in Istanbul Cup defence as Raducanu prepares for Porsche Grand Prix bow

By Sports Desk April 19, 2022

Second seed Sorana Cirstea breezed through the first round of the Istanbul Cup on Tuesday as US Open champion Emma Raducanu prepares for her bow in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

The Romanian made short work of lucky loser Kamilla Rakhimova in a 6-4 6-1 straight sets victory in Turkey to launch her defence of the title she won against Elise Mertens last year.

The Belgian – top seed once again in Istanbul – gets her campaign underway against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, there were wins for seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Jil Teichmann, though Tereza Martincova is out after a surprise 6-4 7-5 loss to qualifier Anna Bondar.

World number 12 Raducanu meanwhile is also poised to get her latest tilt for silverware underway in Stuttgart in midweek, with the eighth seed facing qualifier Storm Sanders.

The title is up for grabs on the WTA Tour following Ash Barty's retirement, with her world number one successor Iga Swiatek a potential quarter-finalist for the Briton if she gets that far.

There will be no Coco Gauff in the mix however after the American made a first round exit in straight sets, losing to Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-2.

Seventh seed Ons Jabeur, meanwhile, fought back to beat Marketa Vondrousova 4-6 6-2 6-3, while qualifier Eva Lys overcame Viktorija Golubic 5-7 7-5 7-5 to set up a second round clash with Swiatek.

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    Andy Murray sympathises with Emma Raducanu's struggles since winning the US Open last year, noting her sudden rise to stardom has been "extremely difficult to navigate."

    Murray also revealed he remains torn on whether he would remain in tennis after retiring, admitting an interest in coaching but saying he was not yet certain he would follow that path.

    The two British hopes will both feature on Centre Court when Wimbledon begins on Monday, with Raducanu facing Alison Van Uytvanck before Murray takes on Australia's James Duckworth.

    Raducanu has endured an injury-hit 2022 season, only lasting 36 minutes when making her first grass-court appearance of the year at Nottingham earlier this month, but has since declared herself "ready to go" ahead of the year's third grand slam.

    Recalling Raducanu's stunning triumph in New York last September, Murray said the way she was thrust into the public eye has complicated her 2022 campaign.

    "I never experienced what she experienced, your life changing overnight," he told the Telegraph.

    "It's impossible to know if everyone who is then involved with you is looking out for your best interests. You know that your family wants the best for you. The families are of course going to make mistakes, because it's new to everybody.

    "I would have worked with coaches when I was younger who were not necessarily the right people for me – and management companies, too.

    "You question; 'Do they want what’s best for you or do they want to make lots of money off you?'

    "It's extremely difficult to navigate."

    Murray and Raducanu are the only British players to win a grand slam singles title since Virginia Wade's Wimbledon triumph in 1977, with the Scot's last major win coming at the All England Club Wimbledon in 2016.

    Ahead of his tilt at a third triumph at SW19, the 35-year-old said his post-retirement plans remained uncertain.

    "I have interests and things outside of tennis and I know that when I finally finish, everything will be fine. The world won't end," he added.  

    "Whereas maybe when I was 25, and maybe at times even at the beginning of the [Amazon Prime] documentary in 2017 [about his injuries], I was still a bit like that.

    "I've always been interested in coaching. There's also a chance that I might not be involved in tennis anymore.

    "I feel right now that I would always have some involvement in tennis, but there are also times when I've been away from the sport and I've not watched any of the tournaments.

    "That's when I'm just at home with the kids. It's pretty full-on, that side of things."

  • Wimbledon: 'There's still good tennis left in me' – Murray eyes success after Stuttgart run Wimbledon: 'There's still good tennis left in me' – Murray eyes success after Stuttgart run

    Andy Murray says recent form proves he can again compete at an elite level, declaring ahead of his Wimbledon opener on Monday: "There's still good tennis left in me."

    Murray will face Australia's James Duckworth on Centre Court when the year's third grand slam gets under way, looking to better last year's run to the third round.

    The last of Murray's three grand slam titles came at Wimbledon in 2016, but the 35-year-old impressed when beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios at the Stuttgart Open earlier this month, eventually going down in three sets to last year's Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini after struggling with an injury.

    Speaking at a pre-Wimbledon news conference, Murray said those displays had given him hope of a strong showing in London.

    "I think I showed a couple of weeks ago that there's still good tennis left in me," he said. "I beat a guy [Tsitispas] in the top five in the world [at the time] and I was neck and neck, before the injury, with Berrettini, who's one of the best grass-court players in the world.

    "I've been doing pretty well in practices, so I know the tennis is in there. I just need to bring it out during the event now."

    Murray teamed up with coach Ivan Lendl for a third time in March, having won each of his three grand slam titles and two Olympic gold medals under the watch of the eight-time major winner.

    The Scot revealed several coaches rejected the chance to work with him after he endured a series of injury-plagued seasons, and he hailed the 62-year-old Lendl for continuing to believe in him.

    "Obviously having Ivan in my team helps," Murray said. "We've had a lot of success in the past, we know each other well, and he still believes in me. There's not loads of coaches and people out there that have done over this last period, but he has.

    "For the most part in my career, when I had conversations with potential coaches it came off most of the time. Whereas this time round, I got turned down by a lot of coaches, so that was obviously difficult to deal with.

    "I don't know how many you'd say were really top level, who would be able to help you win the major events.

    "So that's also why I'm grateful Ivan has come back to work with me and help me try and achieve what I want to achieve."

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    Andy Murray says recent form proves he can again compete at an elite level, declaring ahead of his Wimbledon opener on Monday: "There's still good tennis left in me."

    Murray will face Australia's James Duckworth on Centre Court when the year's third grand slam gets under way, looking to better last year's run to the third round.

    The last of Murray's three grand slam titles came at Wimbledon in 2016, but the 35-year-old impressed when beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios at the Stuttgart Open earlier this month, eventually going down in three sets to last year's Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini after struggling with an injury.

    Speaking at a pre-Wimbledon news conference, Murray said those displays had given him hope of a strong showing in London.

    "I think I showed a couple of weeks ago that there's still good tennis left in me," he said. "I beat a guy [Tsitispas] in the top five in the world [at the time] and I was neck and neck, before the injury, with Berrettini, who's one of the best grass-court players in the world.

    "I've been doing pretty well in practices, so I know the tennis is in there. I just need to bring it out during the event now."

    Murray teamed up with coach Ivan Lendl for a third time in March, having won each of his three grand slam titles and two Olympic gold medals under the watch of the eight-time major winner.

    The Scot revealed several coaches rejected the chance to work with him after he endured a series of injury-plagued seasons, and he hailed the 62-year-old Lendl for continuing to believe in him.

    "Obviously having Ivan in my team helps," Murray said. "We've had a lot of success in the past, we know each other well, and he still believes in me. There's not loads of coaches and people out there that have done over this last period, but he has.

    "For the most part in my career, when I had conversations with potential coaches it came off most of the time. Whereas this time round, I got turned down by a lot of coaches, so that was obviously difficult to deal with.

    "I don't know how many you'd say were really top level, who would be able to help you win the major events.

    "So that's also why I'm grateful Ivan has come back to work with me and help me try and achieve what I want to achieve."

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