US Open: Clara Burel, the unexpected second wind

US Open: Clara Burel, the unexpected second wind

What makes a great Grand Slam adventure? Sometimes next to nothing, or a little twist of fate. This is perhaps what Clara Burel is saying to herself at the moment, she who could have failed last week at the gates of the big picture. When she had to clear a match point in the 3rd qualifying round against the Japanese Misaki Doi, the rain then made its appearance. A few hours, a good nap, a second interruption and four other match points saved later, she finally managed 12 points to 10 in the decisive tie-break.

This sacred turning point, the 21-year-old Breton took full advantage of it, since once in the big picture of this US Open, she offered herself the scalps of recent Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakinathen from World 43rd Alison Van Uytvanck – Burel was only 131st before the tournament – to match his best performance in Majors. In the fall of 2020, when she was only 19 years old, she thus became the youngest Frenchwoman since Alizé Cornet in 2008 (18 years old) to qualify for the 3rd round of Roland-Garros.

U.S. Open

Burel still has fun in Flushing


Burel: “It’s my biggest victory”

Promising but too prone to physical glitches

Of precocity and talent, Clara Burel has never lacked it. Selected in the Davis Cup as a substitute in a first round against Belgium by Yannick Noah when she was only 16, she quickly attracted attention among the juniors. In the antechamber of the professional circuit, she had thus reached the finals of the Australian Open and the US Open in 2018, before ending the year as world number 1 and therefore with the title of champion of the world of this category.

Very quickly expected, the Rennaise by birth was also quickly cut off in her tracks by her body. A serious wrist injury contracted in February 2019 forced her to have surgery and draw a line under her season, before seeing her rebound plans thwarted by the interruption of competitions in 2020 linked to the Covid pandemic. But like any good self-respecting Breton, Burel is stubborn and persistent.

Under the aegis of Thierry Champion, she made a tremendous comeback in 2021. While she started the year 235th in the world, she finished it 77th, reaching her first final on the circuit in Lausanne in July of that same year. The upturn did not last, however, and injuries resurfaced this season, including two abdominal tears and shoulder problems that caused him to relapse. His best result? An anecdotal quarter-final in the WTA 125 of Makarska in Croatia on clay.

A long line setback to sign his feat: Burel’s match point against Rybakina

Without a coach, she ended up finding herself: “I changed my state of mind”

Coming out of the Top 100 in July and without a regular coach now, she had no illusions when she landed in qualifying at Flushing Meadows. Especially since she remained on three defeats, the latest in the first round of an ITF tournament in the Bronx against the 137th world Erika Andreeva. But in a few days, everything changed.

It’s a breath of fresh air when you don’t win matches for a while. It is the fact of succeeding in chaining that makes the difference. I knew it was going to get better and better. I changed my state of mind when I came here: I told myself that I was going to train better and more to find the desire and a little more pleasure.“, she then confided after her exploit against Rybakina in the 1st round.

How can this sudden resurgence be explained? Perhaps the fact of finding herself alone with herself and her tennis (although accompanied by her boyfriend and physical trainer Paul Quétin in New York, editor’s note) acted as a trigger. Now on a series of five victories, Burel is once again a pleasure to see on the court, showing qualities capable of launching his career definitively: a great eye, an ability to take the ball early both forehand and On the backhand side, a good presence at the net and above all a certain tactical intelligence.

Sabalenka, the incredible comeback

A clean technique and a lot of tactical intelligence

I tried to adjust it with small variations and it worked pretty well. I had watched a few videos and I knew her a little. It was really the plan to avoid the ‘boom boom’ with her because I knew she was probably going to be better than me at this game. I really tried using slice, a few rounds, it always works!“, she further analyzed after her success against Alison Van Uytvanck.

Facing 6 seed Aryna Sabalenka, a power freak but who hates running sideways and changes of pace, the goal will be the same. Burel, who has nothing to lose, knows how to do everything and undeniably has the tennis to disrupt the Belarusian who is out of it miraculously exited in her 2nd round against Kaia Kanepi (led 6-2, 5-1, she made a superb comeback by saving two match points elsewhere).

After a possible new exploit, a first round of 16 in a Major and a return to the Top 100 would reach out to him. Something to sublimate and confirm, when she probably least expected it, that she embodies (with Diane Parry in particular) the future of tricolor women’s tennis.

U.S. Open

Paire considers the long break: “I don’t even want to get angry on a pitch anymore”

08/30/2022 At 10:00 PM

U.S. Open

The Burel feeling!

08/30/2022 At 7:31 PM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.