WTA Charleston: Bouchard into the semifinals - UBITENNIS
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WTA Charleston: Bouchard into the semifinals

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TENNIS – It has been a bad week for top seeds at the WTA Charleston, but a good one for the youngsters. Three under-21 players have reached the semi-finals at the Family Circle Cup, including No.6 seed Eugenie Bouchard and it’s the first time since 2008 that this happens in a Premier-level tournament. Joshua Bosco

 

The Canadian player, ranked No.20 in the world, defeated No.2 seed Jelena Jankovic in a three setter to advance to her first Premier semi-final; it’s good news for Bouchard, who was experiencing a slight slump, having won only four matches in four tournaments since reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open earlier this year.

If Bouchard now advances to the final she will pass Sloane Stephens, another young WTA prospect, in the rankings but she’ll have to beat Andrea Petkovic on the way, and it won’t be an easy task for her: the German is in great form this week, having allowed No.4 seed Sabine Lisicki just one game in their third round match and then beating Lucie Safarova in the quarterfinals. Bouchard and Petkovic have met twice in their careers, in 2011 and 2013, with the German leading the Head2Head 2-0.

In the other half of the draw, Serena William’s conqueror Jana Cepelova will play qualifier Belinda Bencic in an “unseeded” semi-final. After beating Serena in the second round, Cepelova battled past No.13 seed Vesnina and No.12 seed Hantuchova to get to the last four, while Bencic got past Elina Svitolina and World No.11 Sara Errani in two three-set matches.

Things haven’t been going well for seeded players in Monterrey either: just four seeds got through the first round and only two of them have reached the semi-finals.

In the bottom half, No.2 & No.3 seeds Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki will play for a place in the final after they both completed three-set wins over their quarterfinal opponents: Ivanovic beat No.6 seed Rybarikova 6-1 0-6 6-2 while Wozniacki fought back from a set down to defeat Karolina Pliskova 6-7(3) 6-3 6-3.

In the top half World No.98 Kimiko Date-Krumm, the oldest player in the Top 100 at 43 years old, will face a player 23 years her junior, Jovana Jaksic, who made her WTA tour debut here in Monterrey last year.

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World No.1 Ash Barty Outlines Ultimate Career Goal

The 24-year-old has named the tournament she dreams of winning.

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Reigning French Open champion Ash Barty has made clear the one thing she wants to achieve before hanging up her racket for good.

 

The world No.1 is dreaming of adding to her Grand Slam tally in the future, but her sights aren’t set on her home tournament at the Australian Open. Which hasn’t been won by a local female player since Chris O’Neal back in 1978. Instead, her dream lies with the All England Club which hosts the Wimbledon Championships.

My dream is winning Wimbledon. Without a doubt,” AFP quoted Barty as saying during an interview with broadcaster ABC.
“It took a long time for me to say that out loud. It took a long time for me to have the courage to say that out loud, but that’s what I want. That’s what I want to work towards.
“Being able to win junior Wimbledon was really special, but it just gave me a taste of what it’s really like.”

It was at Wimbledon where Barty first rose to prominence by winning the girls title at the age of 15 in 2011. Becoming the first indigenous Australian to win a title of any sort at the event since 1980. Progressing onto the senior circuit, she is yet to get the breakthrough she wants with her best result being a run to the fourth round last year despite being the top seed.

Barty will not have a chance of winning the grass-court major this year after it was cancelled for the first time since the Second World War due to COVID-19. She is also set to miss the upcoming US Open due to travelling concerns related to the virus and its unpredictability.

“That was a massive part of it for our team – accepting that this is something greater than what we can control, we can’t do anything about it,” she commented on skipping New York.
“We just have to play our part and do the right thing. And then hope we get an opportunity some time in the year to get back to some kind of normal.”

The 24-year-old isn’t the only top name missing from this year’s US Open. Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens are the two other top 10 women’s players that have pulled out so far. Meanwhile, Simona Halep is yet to reach a decision. As for the men, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka will not be playing.

Prior to the five-month break in tennis due to the Pandemic, Barty started the season winning 11 out of 14 matches. She won the Adelaide International before reaching the semi-finals at both the Australian Open and Doha Open.

Barty currently leads the WTA rankings by 2641 points ahead of second place Halep.

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Elise Mertens beats Camila Giorgi to reach her third quarter final in 2020

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Number 3 seed Elise Mertens from Belgium edged Last week’s Palermo semifinalist Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 44 minutes to secure her spot in the quarter final at the Prague Open. 

 

Mertens reached her third quarter final of the 2020 season after Shenzhen and Auckland and scored her second win in as many matches against Giorgi. 

Giorgi got an early break in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead, as Mertens hit her backhand into the net. Mertens broke straight back in the third game for 1-2. Giorgi saved two break points in the fifth game. 

Mertens broke for the second time in a eight-deuce seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held her next two service games and served out the first set 6-4 with a backhand pass. 

Mertens got the first break of the second set in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The Belgian player saved four break-back points in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead before breaking serve in the seventh game. The 2019 Doha champion hit her third ace on her first match point setting up a quarter final clash against either Tamara Zidansek or Canadian wildcard Eugenie Bouchard.   

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Krystina Pliskova upsets Petra Martic to reach the third round at the Prague Open

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Krystina Pliskova upset Petra Martic 6-1 7-5 after 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the third round at the Prague Open. Pliskova hit 28 winners to 13 unforced errors. The twin sister of Karolina Pliskova scored her seventh career top 20 win and the second this season after beating Aryna Sabalenka in Shenzhen last January. 

 

Krystina reached the Prague tournament final in 2017. The Czech player reached her eighth WTA clay quarter final or better since 2017. 

Pliskova won the first game with four unreturned serves and reeled off nine of the first ten to open up a 3-0 lead. The Czech player saved two break points with heavy groundstrokes in the third game before breaking serve in the sixth game to close out the first set with three consecutive aces. 

Martic saved a break point in the third game of the second set. Pliskova fended off a break point in the fourth game with a service winner. Martic saved the first three break points, but Pliskova converted her fourth opportunity to take a 6-5 lead in a marathon five-deuce game before sealing the win on her second match point. 

“I feel I am playing on clay each year. Everybody was saying I cannot move and stuff, but I don’t think it’s like this. I have more time, so it’s good for me that clay is not that fast, I can focus on my game”, said Pliskova. 

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