TENNIS ATP Queen’s – Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the third round of the AEGON Championships at Queen’s club, after defeating British wildcard James Ward 7-5 6-3 under the eyes of girlfriend and French Open champion Maria Sharapova. Form London Giulio Gasparin
Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the third round of the AEGON Championships at Queen’s club, after defeating British wildcard James Ward 7-5 6-3 under the eyes of girlfriend and French Open champion Maria Sharapova.
The world number 13 was looking to put his first round loss at Roland Garros behind and his campaign on grass could not start any better.
The Bulgarian faced a strong opposition from his Londoner opponent, as Ward hold his nerves and serve until the very last game of the first set.
The second set went much faster and despite a small reaction from the English player, Dimitrov looked in full control and eventually closed with ease.
His serve worked almost perfectly, despite the five double faults, and with the games passing his return became more incisive.
On 6-5 for the Bulgarian, Ward had two points to force the set to a tiebreak, but nerves and a more aggressive opponent turned the situation around. Dimitrov took the next four points and closed the set.
Ward fought like a lion for the whole match, but once the fourth seed had conquered the first set, the gap in rankings between the two became more visible.
In the fourth game of the second set, the Bulgarian found the point of the match to break the English man. After slipping on a running forehand, Dimitrov got back on his feet and despite the clever wrong-footer of Ward, he found a spectacular down-the-line winner.
The crowd’s favourite tried a reaction, but the Bugarian closed few games later.
Petra Kvitova Grinds Past Badosa And Windy Conditions To Reach Last 32
Petra Kvitová grinded past Paula Badosa to reach the last 32 at the Australian Open.
Petra Kvitová battled past the windy conditions to defeat a spirited Paula Badosa 7-5 7-5 to reach the last 32 at the Australian Open.
Experience was the key for Kvitová as she grinded out a tough straight sets win over talented Spaniard Paula Badosa to reach the third round in Melbourne.
Next for last year’s finalist is Ekaterina Alexandrova or Barbora Krejcikova.
In windy conditions, Kvitová continued her bid for grand slam success against hard-hitting Spaniard Paula Badosa and immediately struggled to judge the flight of the ball.
As for the Badosa, she seemed unfazed by the occasion ripping balls and creating space to hit winners past the Czech Republican.
It was also the Spaniard’s ability to return deep into the court that gave her opportunities to break serve after surviving a few early scares.
Some of that great returning was on show as she secured the first break of the match at 4-2 and settled into the contest well.
There was an immediate fightback though from last year’s finalist as a few powerful forehand saw her wrestle the break back and let out a huge ‘Pojd’ scream.
After being unable to detect her opponent’s game, Kvitová went up a gear as she managed to neutralise Badosa’s big serving and hitting.
Eventually a second break towards the end of the set sealed the opening set for the 7th seed as she edged out control of the opening set, 7-5.
Another break at the start of the second set was the momentum that Kvitová needed against a gritty and powerful opponent like Badosa.
But the Spaniard’s resolve continued to shine as she forced more errors out of the two-time grand slam champion and broke back.
Both players proved threatening on return and had many opportunities to secure the crucial break as it was first-strike tennis at its very best.
In the end though Kvitova proved why she has been a top 10 player for so long as she saved three set points as she powered to another break in the eleventh game and held to secure a tight straight sets win.
It was a gritty, determined performance from Badosa who proved why she has a lot of potential to do well in the game.
However experience was the key for Kvitova as she dealt with the tricky conditions and the power of Badosa to make the third round against either Ekaterina Alexandrova or Barbora Krejcikova.
In the pick of the other results, Iga Swiatek and Anett Kontaveit both advanced to round two with straight sets wins over Timea Babos and Astra Sharma respectively.
Alexander Zverev Marches Past Cecchinato To Win First Match Of 2020
Alexander Zverev produced a rare straight sets win at a grand slam to reach the second round in Melbourne.
Alexander Zverev produced a solid match to beat Marco Cecchinato 6-4 7-6(4) 6-3 to reach the second round of the Australian Open.
The German was the more clinical player as he won his first match of the 2020 season with a straight sets win at a grand slam.
Next for Zverev will be either Casper Ruud or Egor Gerasimov as he looks to reach the last eight in Melbourne for the first time in his career.
At the start of another Alexander Zverev grand slam journey, the German produced a solid start as both players opened up the court nicely.
Trading hard-hitting groundstrokes from the back of the court, Cecchinato looked the more likely to gain the opening break as his backhand was on top form.
Eventually it was the Italian who sealed the breakthrough at 4-2 but the lead didn’t last long as his serve under pressure failed him.
Now back on track, Zverev’s return game was on form when it needed to be and some great athleticism was on show as he broke in a long-winded game to serve for the set.
Serve for the set is what the German did as he completed a run of four consecutive games to win the opening set.
There was more of the same from the world number seven as he remained solid on serve while Cecchinato looked to be more aggressive and move into the baseline more often.
Once again some aggressive backhands set up the chance to break the Zverev serve which he did on the fourth occasion in the game.
However once again the former Roland Garros semi-finalist cracked under pressure as Zverev glided around the court to force the errors out of Cecchinato.
A break back when serving for the set saw Zverev back in the match as he managed to cut out some unnecessary errors from his game.
The German’s determination and heart would be rewarded as he managed to produce his best tennis when it mattered as he took the second set tiebreak 7-4.
It was a roar of delight for Zverev as he secured a two sets lead while Cecchinato was left frustrated as he missed some simple returns.
The world number 77’s frustrations continued to grow as his early break advantage was once again snuffed out by the Opportune German.
Eventually it would be Zverev who would be the more clinical player and capitalised on his opponent’s mistakes better as another break in the eighth game secured an important victory for Zverev.
It isn’t often that Zverev wins in straight sets at a grand slam event in the first week, so to achieve that in the opening round is a big milestone for him.
Next for Zverev will be either Casper Ruud or Egor Gerasimov in the second round as he looks to reach the last eight in Melbourne and meet Daniil Medvedev in the second week.
Elena Rybakina reaches her second consecutive final in 2020
Elena Rybakina beat British qualifier Heather Watson 6-3 4-6 6-4 after 2 hours and 16 minutes in the Hobart International semifinal setting up a final match against China’s Zhang Shuai.
Rybakina has become the first player to reach back-to-back finals in the first two weeks of the year since Agnieszka Radwanska in 2013. The Kazakh player finished runner-up to Ekaterina Alexandrova last week in Shenzhen.
Rybakina earned the first break in the first game, but Watson broke back with two forehand winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Rybakina broke for the second time with a crosscourt forehand in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and sealed the first set with another break on the first set point, as Watson hit her dropshot into the net.
Rybakina saved three break points with two aces and a service winner, but Watson converted her fourth chance with her forehand return winner.
Watson went up a double break with a forehand pass and held her serve to race out to a 5-1. Rybakina converted her second break point chance to claw her way back to 3-5.
Rybakina earned two break points in the 10th game, but Watson saved the first chance with a backhand winner before serving out the second set with consecutive service winners.
Watson saved a break point in the second game of the third set as Rybakina made a backhand error. Rybakina fended off a break point chance in the fifth game with a down-the-line backhand winner. Rybakina converted her second break point chance with a drop-shot winner on the match point.
“It was a really tough match. I was still missing all these balls in the second set. In the last few games I was playing really risky, and I am really happy that I won this match”, said Rybakina.
Rybakina set up a final against Zhang Shuai, who reached the third WTA final of her career after a 6-3 6-4 win over Veronika Kudemertova.
Zhang earned three break point chances at 2-1 with a backhand crosscourt winner and converted her first chance after Kudemertova sent her forehand wide. Kudemertova won two hard-fought service game at 4-2 and at 5-3. Zhang closed out the set on her second set point in the ninth game.
Both players held on their service games in the second set until 4-4. Zhang earned a break point in the ninth game, as Kudemertova made a forehand error. The Chinese player got the break, as Kudemertova made her forehand error. Kudemertova earned her first two break points of the match, as Zhang was serving for the match. Zhang held her serve at deuce, as Kudemertova missed returns on the next four points.
“The winter training went really good for me. Training with the national team, a lot of coaches helped me, so I was already ready before this tournament. I think all matches I played really well this week, and also a lot of the Chinese fans are coming to cheer for me, so I have had a lot of motivationto win”,said Zhang Shuai.
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