In the first week after the US Open, Russian tennis players did not give fans many positive emotions. The only one who stood out was Anastasia Potapova, who beat the first seed, Ons Jabeur, in the 500 meters in San Diego, to lose without a chance against Sofia Kenin in the quarterfinals. But our girls were not successful in the WTA tournaments. But in the competitions held under the auspices of the ITF, Alina Korneeva, who turned 16 in June, made a real breakthrough.
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Let’s not forget that Korneeva performed excellently this year in the junior category. Alina won the Australian Open, beating Mirra Andreeva in the final in an incredibly dramatic showdown. She also won the title at Roland Garros. At Wimbledon, the young athlete reached the semifinals, but she did not reach the US Open because she did not have time to obtain a visa in time.
Additionally, in July, Alina won the W100 category tournament in Portugal; At the moment, this is her most important title at the adult level. After this, the athlete spoke about the attention from various organizations. “The agencies have been knocking on the door for a long time, but we are still in no hurry. It’s complicated. My parents want to choose the best for me. We read a lot and communicate. We are currently having negotiations. Maybe we’ll make a deal with someone,” he said in an interview with Championship.
“I’m afraid of star fever, there was such a period.” Interview with Korneeva after the most important title.
And this week the Russian tennis player performed successfully at the W80 tournament in Le Neubourg (France). The Russian, seventh seed, faced the French Fiona Ferro (5), 26 years old, in the semifinals: 7:5, 7:5. In the decisive match of the tournament, Alina’s opponent was the 18-year-old Swiss Celine Naef (4). For Korneeva, the situation was complicated by the fact that Naef did not play in the semifinals, since her opponent withdrew before the start of the match.
Despite this, our tennis player entered the game with confidence. In the first game he took someone else’s serve, after which, after overcoming three break points, he took his own game 2-0. Naef was able to level the score with a break in the fourth game (2:2). The sixth and seventh games were key: first, Korneeva escaped a break point and prevented her opponent from taking advantage, and then she took her opponent’s serve and led 4:3 with a break. At 5:4, Alina, who served for the set, did not give Naef a single point: 6:4 in 42 minutes.
In the second set there was a failure in Korneeva’s game, although nothing seemed to foreshadow it. After 1:1, Naef won four games in a row. The tennis players fought a tenacious battle in the fourth game, which the Swiss won only on the fifth break point. Korneeva, at 1:5, did not recover even a break in her favor, but then lost her game for the third time in a row and the game ended with a score of 6:2 in favor of her opponent.
Alina Korneeva plays at Junior Australian Open – 2023
Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
In the decisive third set, the rivals exchanged breaks after 1:1. Korneeva, after taking someone else’s serve, could not defend herself and the score remained 2:2. After this, Naef had the opportunity to squeeze the Russian woman. In the sixth game, the Swiss achieved another break that could have been decisive: 4:2. But at 5:3, Celine could not claim the title: Alina took advantage of the first break point, and then took the game from her and tied the score-5:5!
Having taken another game on serve, the rivals began to play a tiebreaker, which was to determine the fate of the title. Naef led 5-1, but after the transition Korneeva righted the situation: 5-5! Then the Russian reached match point twice, but did not take advantage of her opportunities. But the Swiss achieved her goal on the first attempt: 4:6, 6:2, 7:6 (9:7) in 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Thus Korneeva failed to win her fourth trophy in adult tournaments. Before that, she won three titles in adult competitions. Last September, the Russian won the trophy at the W15 tournament in Casablanca (Morocco), in March she won the W60 in Pretoria (South Africa), and then came the aforementioned W100 title in Portugal.
Furthermore, thanks to her successful performance at Le Neubourg, Korneeva will debut among the top 200 in the WTA rankings. The young athlete will be ranked 186 in the world rankings. And now, according to the classification, she will be eligible for adult helmets.
Parallels with Andreeva
Of course, Korneeva finds it difficult to avoid comparisons with Mirra Andreeva, whom she beat at the junior AO. But Alina, according to her, is not ashamed of this. “Are the parallels with Mirra annoying? No (smiles). On the contrary, I like it. Because girls from the same country, from the same year, have been going since they were little. It’s great. Without competition there is no sport.
This Gauff again. Mirra Andreeva, 16, lost again to the sixth racket, now at the US Open
We are communicating? It’s difficult now: we don’t bring up tennis in conversations. But we always congratulate each other on victories. Sometimes we text each other and ask how things are going. There is no jealousy on my part. I don’t know what it’s like with her. Because I like. We push each other. I am very happy for her success. But now I’m so old that I don’t want to know where she is and where I am. I think about my tournaments.
Do I want to see our rivalry with Mirra? I don’t want to make any assumptions, but that would be great!” — She said in an interview with “Championship” in August.
Andreeva, now the number 57 racket in the world, has already made a splash at the senior Slams: the third round of Roland Garros, the round of 16 at Wimbledon. In fact, it will be great if Korneeva catches up with her in terms of results!