US Open: Krunic eliminates Kvitova. Serena into the 3rd round - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Krunic eliminates Kvitova. Serena into the 3rd round

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TENNIS US OPEN – Unlike on Day 5 when several big names tumbled out of the draw, things were relatively calmer in the women’s draw. Flavia Pennetta played first up on the Arthur Ashe stadium and she was the first woman into the Round of 16 when she knocked out American Nicole Gibbs for the 2nd straight year 6-4 6-0. The real big upset of the day also happened early when reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (3) got dismissed by Aleksandra Krunic. From New York, Cordell Hackshaw

 

US Open: All the interviews, results, draws and OoP

Unlike on Day 5 when several big names tumbled out of the draw, things were relatively calmer in the women’s draw. Flavia Pennetta played first up on the Arthur Ashe stadium and she was the first woman into the Round of 16 when she knocked out American Nicole Gibbs for the 2nd straight year 6-4 6-0. The real big upset of the day also happened early when reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (3) got dismissed by Aleksandra Krunic 6-4 6-4. Kvitova has always struggled in the heat and humidity during the North American hardcourt swing and it clearly showed in her play.

In other matches, Serena Williams (1) has finally made it past the 3rd round of major since the Australian Open this year. Williams took on yet another American, her third successive in this tournament, Varvara Lepchenko. Again Williams made winning easy look very difficult. She seemed rather bothered through much of the match as she won 6-3 6-3 in just over an hour and a half. Lepchenko played very well within herself but in the big moments, she could not capitalize. Williams was very gracious to her opponent as they practice and hit together often, “[S]he gives 100% on the court. She always tries to do the best … She is an incredible fighter.”

Two-time finalist here, Victoria Azarenka (16) is seemingly getting better and better with each round. She dismantled Elena Vesnina 6-1 6-1 in 57 minutes. This victory marked Azarenka’s 100th major win in her career. She will play Krunic in the Round of 16. Azarenka said, “I don’t know about her much … [S]he obviously is playing great tennis and really inspired here, you know, so many matches in a row and upsetting such a great player.” Nonetheless, it might be that Azarenka is extremely grateful for Krunic’s upset win over Kvitova as she has never beaten the Czech in any of their encounters.

The other top named player who made it through to the 4th round was Eugenie Bouchard (7) who is continuing to show that when it comes to the major stage, she is ready, present and willing to play. She took on Czech Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova. Zahlavova-Strycova is no stranger to playing big names as she had a wonderful Wimbledon this year making it to the quarterfinals for the first time in 33 appearances at a major. However, Bouchard has had an even better year at the majors and her experience showed through on the big points. Bouchard took the 1st set 6-2 but went down 3-5 in the 2nd set. Zhalavova was getting more aggressive on court and benefitting from the random errors from Bouchard. However, Bouchard fought her way back into the set to lead 6-5 but Zahlavova was able to hold serve to force a tiebreaker where she was able to level the match.

In the decisive set, there was definitely shifting momentums after the 6th game; 3 games all. There were 3 consecutive breaks of serve which saw Bouchard serving for the match up 5-4. The Canadian was able to serve it out for the win 6-2 6-7 6-4. “I was disappointed in myself, not necessarily about going to a third, but by my level in the second set. I was surprised I could do so many unforced errors in one set. You know, that’s something I definitely don’t want to repeat again. But I’m determined to do better in my next match,” Bouchard said after the match.

Bouchard’s next round opponent will be Ekaterina Makarova (17) who go to the Round of 16 when she took out Zarina Diyas 6-2 6-4. Other winner on the day was Kaia Kanepi who is continuing to have a wonderful tournament after she knocked out Sam Stosur (24) in the 1st round. Kanepi again upset another seeded player, this time Carla Suarez-Navarro (15) in straight sets knocked out another seeded player Carla Suarez Navarro (15) 7-5 6-0. She will have to maintain this winning form as she faces Williams in the next round. Casey Dellacqua (29) also finds herself in the Round of 16 after she knocked out Karolina Pliskova 6-3 3-6 6-4. It was a hard fought contest all the way to the end. Dellacqua will play Pennetta for a spot in the quarterfinals.

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Fiona Ferro reaches the semifinal in Palermo

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French player Fiona Ferro cruised past Sara Errani 6-4 6-1 to advance to the semifinal of the Ladies Open in Palermo. World number 53 Ferro scored her third straight-set win this week. 

 

Errani earned an early break in the opening game of the first set. Ferro missed a break point chance at 2-1, but she broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. 

Ferro saved four break points in a 13-minute seventh game. Errani earned her fifth break point after a forehand error from Ferro and converted it with a backhand error to take a 4-3 lead. 

Ferro broke straight back with a backhand return winner down the line to draw level to 4-4. The French player held serve for 5-4 before earning three set points in the next game with three forehand. Ferro converted on her first set point after Errani netted a backhand. 

Ferro earned the first break of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead with a backhand winner. Ferro went up a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead. Errani pulled one break back at love and earned two game points at 4-1, but Ferro converted her third break point chance with a return winner to pull away to 5-1. Ferro earned three match points with a backhand winner and converted her first chance with a forehand winner down the line. 

Ferro will face either Dayana Yastremska or Camila Giorgi in the semifinal. 

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova skips the US Open

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova has decided to skip the US Open. The Russian player wrote a post on her Instagram account.

 

“I have been thinking a lot and decided not to play at the US Open. It was not easy because I hadn’t missed any Grand Slam in my entire career. Tennis is everything for me. The main reason is insecurity. The US Open does not guarantee any guarantees. I don’t feel comfortable to travel to the USA in such circumstances. I thank the USTA and the WTA that give a chance to play. From this moment, every player is on his own. My team and I have decided it would be for the best not to participate”, said Pavlyuchenkova. 

Pavlyuchenkova has joined the list of players, who have decided to miss the US Open. The list includes Nick Kygios, Rafael Nadal and Ashleigh Barty. More players are expected to make a final decision on travelling to the USA for the Western and Southern Open and the US Open in the coming weeks. 

Pavlyuchenkova advanced to the quarter finals at last January’s Australian Open and reached her career-high of world number 13 in the WTA singles ranking in July 2011. She is currently ranked world number 30 and claimed twelve singles and five doubles titles on the WTA Tour, including her biggest title at the Open GDF Suez and the Moscow Kremlin Cup in 2014. She got through to a Grand Slam quarter final six times and reached the top eight at least once in all four Grand Slam tournaments in singles and doubles. 

Last weekend Pavlyuchenkova won the Ultimate Tennis Showdown near Nice in the tournament organized by Patrick Mouratoglou. 

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Donna Vekic suffers shock loss to Italian wildcard

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Donna Vekic sensationally crashed out of the Palermo Ladies Open after slipping to a surprise 6-2 6-4 defeat to World No.156 Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

 

The Croatian, 24, was one of the favourites to win the tournament before it started. And her chances of glory looked even better after she produced an excellent display in the first round and three of the eight seeds were knocked out.

However, Vekic struggled from the outset against the 19-year-old Italian. She had to save three break points just to get to 2-2 in the opening set. Then she squandered a break point with a wild return in game five.

From that point on, the errors started piling up from the Croatian. She hit a forehand just wide on break point to enable Cocciaretto to go 4-2 up. Then she served poorly to allow the Italian to break her again and clinch the set 6-2.

Vekic wastes her chances

Elisabetta Cocciaretto (@LadiesOpenPA on Twitter)

Had she been playing well, Vekic would probably have established a 3-0 lead in the second set. She wasted a break point chance in the first game, meekly dropped her own serve in the second and then actually managed to break in the third game.

Somewhat surprisingly, the match then settled into a predictable rhythm as both players held serve comfortably during the next six games.

At 5-4 down, the Croatian faltered again. She hit an awful drop shot into the net to fall 15-30 behind. Then she hit a short serve and a short forehand and could only watch in horror as Cocciaretto crunched successive winners past her to seal victory.

“I’m really excited and really happy for the win and I want to thank all the fans,” the Italian said in her on-court interview. “I watched Flavia Pennetta and Sara Errani playing here when I was six years old and I dreamed of following in their footsteps. It’s incredible to think that I’m doing it now.”

Cocciaretto played well throughout the match. She defended resolutely and picked the right times to attack. However, Vekic let her dictate points far too often, and she never did anything to tip the momentum back in her favour. This may be what disappoints her the most about her performance.

As for the Italian wildcard, she can bask in the glow of her first-ever win over a Top-30 player. On Friday, she will play in her first-ever WTA quarter-final. She will face either Annet Kontaveit or Laura Siegemund.

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