Sloane Stephens and Sam Stosur both upset in Wimbledon 1st Round - UBITENNIS
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Sloane Stephens and Sam Stosur both upset in Wimbledon 1st Round

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – Both Sam Stosur and Sloane Stephens probably came into 2014 Wimbledon Championships feeling very confident about their game. They both got to the 4th round of the French Open a few weeks ago and the grass courts of Wimbledon do favour their style of play. However, Stosur was ousted by Belgian’s Yanina Wickmayer 3-6 4-6 and Stephens by Russian Maria Kirilenko 2-6 6-7. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Results, Order of Play, Draws and Interviews from The Championships

Both Sam Stosur (17) and Sloane Stephens (18) probably came into 2014 Wimbledon Championships feeling very confident about their game. They both got to the 4th round of the French Open a few weeks ago and the grass courts of Wimbledon do favour their style of play. However, watching their matches today, one would have figured that Stosur and Stephens were playing their first match on grass as they both looked so unsure of themselves. They were outplayed and outwitted by their opponents and in the end sent packing in straight sets to provide the tournament with its first upsets on Day 1. Stosur was ousted by Belgian’s Yanina Wickmayer 3-6 4-6 and Stephens by Russian Maria Kirilenko 2-6 6-7.

Wickmayer started the match by breaking her Australian opponent and held serve for 2-0. Stosur then picked up her play. She was serving up aces whenever in trouble, 13 for the entire match, and going for her big forehand. However, whenever pushed to the backhand side, she found herself in danger as Wickmayer kept pressuring it relentlessly. Wickmayer was able to stay ahead for 5-3 by escaping a tricky 8th game. Continuing her aggressive style of play, Wickmayer secured two more break points on the Stosur serve for set points in the 9th game. Stosur’s backhand was again under pressure and Wickmayer with her a more formidable backhand was able to break to take the set 6-3 in half an hour.

Wickmayer raced to a 5-2 lead after she broke Stosur in the 6th game. Stosur favoured running around the backhand for a huge forehand return whenever she had the chance on the Wickmayer serve. However, this left the court wide open on the forehand side and Wickmayer made her pay for this as she hit all short balls into the open court. Stosur now serving to stay in the match, held serve at love and forced Wickmayer to serve for the match. Wickmayer found herself down triple break points. She saved one with an ace but a scorching forehand return from Stosur got things back on serve 4-5. Stosur, again serving to stay in the match, could not hold on to the momentum as she opened with a double fault. She was now facing two match points and though she saved one, she could not save the other. Wickmayer with an amazing forehand crosscourt winner, knocked out the 17th seed Stosur 6-3 6-4 in 69 minutes.

In 2012, Kirilenko made it to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, one of her best efforts in a major. She quickly followed that up with a 4th place in the singles and bronze medal in doubles at the London Olympics, which was held at Wimbledon. However, since then, the former top-10 Russian has been plagued with injury and now ranked 109th in the world. Perhaps Stephens, ranked 18th in the world, was looking Kirilenko’s current status and not considering that she was facing a formidable opponent as she started the match very flat. The American failed to convert a break point chance in the 3rd game of the match and then saw Kirilenko raced ahead 5-2 in the 1st set. Stephens found herself being outmatched by Kirilenko’s big forehand and making careless errors at key moments in the match. Kirilenko, with the momentum largely on her side, broke Stephens again to the take the set 6-2 in 35 minutes.

In the 2nd set, Stephens looked more alert for the match. She broke Kirilenko in the 3rd game of the set and led 3-1. She maintained the lead to 4-2 but Kirilenko hungry for more Wimbledon success continued going for her forehand and broke Stephens for 4-4. Kirilenko then held serve for 5-4 to have Stephens serve to stay in the match. Stephens up 40-0, lost concentration once again and saw her game points disappeared for deuce. Stephens sensing the end close at hand, held her serve with a clutch forehand down the line. Kirilenko held serve for 6-5 and again pressured Stephens to hold serve. Stephens fought off five match points in this 12th game to push the match in a 2nd set tiebreaker. Stephens then captured the momentum in the breaker up 6-4. However, Kirilenko would not be denied as she capitalized on Stephens errors on these big point to take it 6-2 7-6(6) in just over an hour and a half.

Wickmayer and Stosur were near dead even in almost all categories. They both got 61% of 1st serves in and won over 70% of those points. They each had 25 winners and very close on errors; Stosur had 9 errors and Wickmayer 8. However, the main difference was the 2nd serves as Wickmayer won 13/20 of those points and Stosur 7/20. This in turn saw Wickmayer able to break Stosur four times and only being broken once in the match. Kirilenko, on the other hand, had a wonderful serving day as she got an impressive 85% of her 1st serves in and winning 73% of those points and 60% on her 2nd serves. She had 27 winners to 14 errors compared to Stephens who had 25 winners and 18 errors. Stephens got 70% of her 1st serves in but was only winning 63% of them and 46% on her 2nd serves. Kirilenko would be hoping to carry this fine form into the 2nd round where she will far Shuai Peng for a place in the 3rd round. Wickmayer will play Ana Konjuh of Croatia in the 2nd round.

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Simona Halep wins the all Romanian battle in Cluj

Simona Halep is into the second round in Cluj after a dominant performance.

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Simona Halep (@TransylvaniaOpn - Twitter)

The world number 18 and the top seed managed to beat her Romanian counterpart in straight sets.

 

Simona Halep is through round one of the Transylvania Open, being played at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca, after beating a fellow Romanian Elena Gabriella Ruse in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 13 minutes.

The number one seed served six aces and won 83% of her first serve points in a match that seemed one-sided and Halep was pulling amazing shots and winners throughout the entire match.

“It’s not easy to face a Romanian in the first round of a Romanian tournament but I was very focused and concentrated on what I have to do and I didn’t really think of who I would play, I just wanted to play my game and I felt great on court today.”

It was actually the world 85 with the first breakpoint of the match in the first game but it was denied when Halep stepped up to the service line and fired an ace to save it.

After holding serve the world number 18 started looking for the early lead and she was able to get it after a poor service game from Ruse and after consolidating the break managed to turn it into a double break.

Halep served out the first set in a mere 29 minutes and it was clear she was the better player today.

She continued to ride the momentum into the second set and at 1-1 earned three more chances to break and broke with a stunning return winner that caught Ruse off guard for the 2-1 lead.

At 4-2, the top seed managed to go up a double break with another amazing passing shot and she served out the match and after the match in her post-match press conference, she spoke about pulling off those amazing shots on breakpoints.

“When I have a chance to do it I always do because I love these kinda shots and today it was a great one so it made me very happy.”

Halep will next face the Russian Varvara Gracheva in the next round after she beat the German Andrea Petkovic in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 on Tuesday night.

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Anett Kontaveit overpowers Krunic in Cluj-Napoca

Anett Kontaveit took a step towards the WTA Finals with a straight sets win in Cluj today.

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Anett Kontaveit (@TransylvaniaOpn - Twitter)

The number two seed only needed two sets and 70 minutes to beat her Serbian opponent.

 

Anett Kontaveit is through to the second round of the Transylvania Open, being played at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca, beating the Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 10 minutes.

The world number 14 served two aces and won 69% of the points on her first serve in a match where she seemed to outhit her opponent using her powerful groundstrokes.

“The match was close and it was only break in the first set and I thought I was playing pretty well and winning a lot of points on my first serve but I actually think she served well and it wasn’t an easy match and the second set got really close”.

The Estonian had the better start to the match holding serve in her opening game and putting pressure on the Serb right away earning two chances to break serve and got the early break to take a 2-0 lead.

That one break was enough for Kontaveitt to serve out the first set and take it 6-3.

The second set was a more competitive affair and it stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Tallinn, Estonia native was able to break the Serb at love to take a 3-2 lead and she was able to consolidate the break.

It stayed on serve until 4-3 when the world number 44 fought back and was able to break the Estonian serve and the set went back on serve. Once again both players did a good job holding serve until 5-5 when Kontaveit got the crucial break of serve and served out the match.

After the match in her post-match press conference, Kontaveit spoke about how she was feeling energy-wise after such a short turnaround time from winning the title in Moscow last week.

” I feel like the energy has dropped a little bit but I did manage to bring some of the energy today and still be active and be aggressive.”

Kontaveit will now face Alison Van Uytvanck in her next match after the Belgian beat Danka Kovinic in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day.

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Emma Raducanu battles back to beat Hercog in Cluj

Emma Raducanu won her first match on the WTA tour after beating Polona Hercog in Cluj.

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Emma Raducanu (@usopen - Twitter)

The US Open champion was pushed to the limit in a three-set win over her Slovenian opponent.

 

Emma Raducanu is through to round two at the Transylvania Open in Cluj-Napoca after beating the Slovenian Polona Hercog in three sets 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in a match that lasted two hours and 27 minutes.

The Brit served four aces and won 75% of her first serve points in a match that went back and forth for all three sets and had a rollercoaster feel to it and it was the first time at tour-level Raducanu played a three-set match.

“I feel really happy to have won that match it was actually very difficult and I wasn’t playing my best tennis but Polona (Hercog) is a great opponent and she is really experienced so I really had to fight hard to pull that one through.”

After holding serve in the opening service game of the match the world number 23 put pressure on Hercog’s serve right away and in a game that lasted 10 minutes, it took the Brit six break points before she was able to get the first break of serve of the match.

It stayed on serve until 4-2 when the world number 124 struck back and managed to get the break back to go back on serve and at 4-4 got the crucial break needed to serve out the first set.

The second set stayed on serve with the 18-year-old getting the first chance to break at 2-1 but Hercog saved all three break points she faced and at 4-4 it was the Slovenian applying pressure and looking for the break.

Raducanu was able to save it and hold serve and at 6-5, she found herself at set point as she managed to win it to force a third and deciding set.

Winning the second set seemed to give the Britt a boost and the motivation to keep fighting and she managed to get the early break to take a 2-0 lead and at 3-0 broke again to go up a double break.

The next game she found herself at match point but the world number 124 was able to save it and the next game Raducanu serve out the match. In her post-match press conference, she spoke about what the key was to turn the match around.

“It feels like a huge win for me and it’s my first WTA tour win which makes me very happy and I think the key was to stay mentally composed and I knew myself I wasn’t playing very well so I just needed to keep going one point at a time and I am really proud of myself how I fought today.”

Raducanu will face a Romanian in her next match on Thursday in Ana Bogden who beat the Serb Ivana Jorovic on Monday and this will be their first-ever meeting.

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