WTA report card from Eastbourne - UBITENNIS
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WTA report card from Eastbourne

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TENNIS – In this Monday of action at the Aegon Internationals of Eastbourne, a mix of surprises and confirmations characterised the WTA matches. From Eastbourne, Giulio Gasparin

 

Surely the biggest shock came from the hands of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who took down in three sets the first seed Agnieszka Radwanska in an entertaining but not high quality match.

The Russian started the match very well by seizing the first set 6-3, but in the second she started to be more erratic, while the Pole’s serve became more powerful and accurate.

Radwanska, who had lost her opening match at Eastbourne in the past two editions, knew her match this year was no less tough as she always had to battle against Pavlyuchenkova in the past matches and this time it was no different.

After the second set the Russian asked for the physiotherapist because of a small problem to her hand and it seemed that this would affect her as she started the final set with a horrid game in which she got broken.

However, she managed to regroup and with some great drop shot solutions, she immediately got the break back.

Both players then hold their serves until the decisive tiebreak, but what was most evident was the fact that, good or bad, the match looked to be always in the hands of Pavlyuchenkova.

In the tiebreak the feeling was confirmed as the Russian was the first one to go up of a mini-break, though she handed it back with a bad miss.

Despite the missed chances, Pavlyuchenkova kept her focus and managed to close at the second match point.

Angelique Kerber, the fifth seed, had a tough opener as well as she faced grass court specialist Alison Riske, but she got the job done in two tough and quality sets.

The German needed to fight back from a break down in the opener, when Riske had a point to go 4-1 up.

Both player showed their skills on the surface, especially the American, who often charged the net and found great points, despite the terrific passing shot of the world number nine.

In the first set tiebreak both players felt a bit nervous, but in the end the experience of the German prevailed, despite a very brave Riske saved three set points with as many stunning winners.

In the second set, everything seemed to go fine for Kerber, as she got a double break lead. The American reacted and tried a comeback, but it was too late and, in the end, the fifth seed closed 7-6 (6) 6-4.

The German’s next opponent will be Alize Cornet, who showed a great tennis to tame Bojana Jovanovski in two sets.

Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the second round too after coming back from a break down in both sets against Sam Stosur.

The Dane, whose conditions were all to be seen after the knee injury occurred in Madrid and the sorrows caused by the broken engagement, showed a very good version of her self in order to beat an overall positive Stosur.

The Australian broke Wozniacki in the very first game and managed to hold comfortably for most of the first set, but, when serving for the set, the Dane started to move the game around better and in the end Stosur hit a double fault on the break point.

The former world number one impressed once more with a very good service game and that seemed to get in her opponent’s head, as the game that followed was horrible for Stosur.

The Australian started the second set willing to put the missed chance behind as she broke Wozniacki for the second time and then hold serve showing great skills at the net.

The Dane reacted fiercely and, despite a very dodgy call on what would have been a forehand winner down the line –she actually asked the crowd to call the ball, but their confirmation did not change the umpire’s mind-, she broke back.

Both players played very well from then on, but it seemed as if Wozniacki was finding more and more confidence with the games passing.

Stosur managed to save four break points in the seventh game, but she could not replicate on 5-4 when serving to stay in the match, so that the former world number one could close 7-5 6-4.

Next up for Wozniacki will be Sloane Stephens, who easily dispatched a very erratic Caroline Garcia.

 

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Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic beat Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally to reach the semifinal in the Australian Open doubles tournament

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Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic saw off Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally 6-2 6-4 to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open doubles tournament in Melbourne.

 

Babos and Mladenovic broke serve in the opening game at love. They reeled off the first ten points of the match and went up a double break before closing out the first set 6-2.

Babos and Mladenovic broke serve at love in the third game of the second set. They missed a match point on Gauff and McNally’s serve at 5-3 before converting on their fourth opportunity on their serve.

Babos and Mladenovic set up a semifinal match against sisters Chan Hao-Ching and Latisha Chan from China Taipei, who beat reigning US Open doubles champions Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (9-7) 6-2.

The Chan sisters fended off four break points at 4-4 in the opening set en route to the tie-break. The Chinese Taipei sisters earned the only mini-break to win the tie-break 9-7.

The Asian pair earned a double break to race out to a 3-0 lead. Mertens and Sabalenka pulled one of the two breaks back, but Chan Hao-Chin and Latisha Chan broke again in the seventh game and closed it out on their first match point.

Top seeds Hsieh-Su Wei and Barbora Strycova cruised past Jennifer Brady and Caroline Dolehide 6-2 6-2 setting up a semifinal match against Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who came back from one set down to beat Gabriela Dabrowski and Jelena Ostapenko 3-6 6-2 6-3.

Dabrowski and Ostapenko earned an early break to open up a 3-0 lead. Krejcikova and Siniakova broke back in the seventh game for 3-4, but Dabrowski and Ostapenko got the second break to seal the opening set 6-3.

Krejcikova and Siniakova fended off the only break point they faced and broke twice to win the second set 6-2. After a trade of breaks in the third and fourth games Krejicikova and Siniakova earned the decisive break in the eighth game to win the third set.

 

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova sees off Angelique Kerber to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open

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Anastasya Pavlyudchenkova battled past Angelique Kerber 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 after 2 hours and 37 minutes to reach her sixth Grand Slam quarter final.

 

Pavlyuchenkova earned her first break with a volley and raced out to a 5-2 lead with a double break with a backhand return. Kerber came back by winning four consecutive games to take a 6-5 lead. Pavlyuchenkova hit seven consecutive winners from 3-5 to take a 3-0 in the tie-break. Kerber won seven of the next nine points from 0-3 down and sealed her first set point with a backhand winner.

Kerber saved two set points at 4-5 and another one at 5-6 in the second set. Pavlyuchenkova closed out the second set on her fifth set point with a return winner.

Pavlyuchenkova went up a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead. Kerber pulled back one of the two breaks with a forehand crosscourt. Pavlyuchenkova earned her third break of the decisive set to open up a 5-2 lead and closed out the match with her fourth ace setting up a quarter final against Garbine Muguruza, who beat Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-3.

“I was there pretty much every point, I mean, I tried to. That always paid off, or at least that gives some sort of confidence. Sometimes there were some moments or matches where I did not feel my best or I did not play my best, but I was still there”, said Pavlyuchenkova.

Anett Kontaveit came back from one set down to beat Polish teenager Iga Switek 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 7-5 becoming the first player from Estonia to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Kontaveit will face Simona Halep in the quarter final.

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Garbine Muguruza Doesn’t Care About Her Ranking As Australian Open Run Continues

The Spanish star has now achieved her best grand slam run in almost two years at Melbourne Park.

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After experiencing a roller coaster 2019 on the tour, Garbine Muguruza looks to be back on track at the Australian Open following her latest triumph.

 

The former world No.1 extended her winning run in Melbourne on Monday with a 6-3, 6-3, win over ninth seed Kiki Bertens. Making it the second top 10 player she has defeated in the tournament after Elina Svitolina. In her latest clash, the Spaniard was broken at the start of both sets, but managed to turn her fortunes around with the help of a dominant display behind her first serve. Where she won 28 out of 31 points. Muguruza also hit 19 winners to 18 unforced errors.

“I feel good in this tournament. I’m super concentrated on every single match, especially because I started the tournament so-so. I feel like my body’s getting healthier.” Said Muguruza.
“It’s a Grand Slam, we are all very concentrated here. For me, it’s one of the tournaments that motivates me the most.”

As a result of her latest win, Muguruza is through to the last eight of a major for the first time since the 2018 French Open. It is only the second time she has managed to reach the quarter-final stage in Melbourne and first since 2017.

The surge comes at a time where the 26-year-old is trying to establish her footing on the tour. Unseeded in the draw, she is currently ranked 32nd in the world. 14 places lower than where she was 12 months ago. Not that it bothers her in any way.

“You know what? Who cares about the ranking, honestly. I feel like it’s just a sign of probably the last results. At the end you go out there and you play.” She explained.
“I don’t even know the rankings of the ones I’m playing. I know who they are. I know the matches we’ve had. But it doesn’t affect me so much.’
“Of course, the higher you are, the more beautiful it is. But it’s not that important to me no more after these years.”

Muguruza’s laid back approach to her current position is understandable given the openness of women’s tennis. The past 12 major tournaments have been won by 10 different players. During that period Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep are the only players to win multiple titles. At present there are 16 active grand slam champions playing on the WTA Tour.

The question remains about whether Muguruza has what it takes to go all the way in Melbourne. No Spanish woman has reached the final of the tournament since Conchita Martinez back in 1998, who coincidentally is now coaching Muguruza on the tour.

“She’s very, very aggressive as she was when she was playing her best tennis.” Martinez told reporters about Muguruza’s current form.
“Physically, I see her (playing) very well. She’s getting to the balls early enough. You can see she’s holding her ground really well, accelerating, finishing at the net a lot. That’s always nice to see.’
“Things like that you can see a little bit more and more. So it’s good to see.”

Muguruza will play either Angelique Kerber or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the next round.

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