AO15: Venus Williams battles past Camila Giorgi - UBITENNIS
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AO15: Venus Williams battles past Camila Giorgi

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TENNIS AO15 – Venus Williams fought back from a 4-6 3-5 deficit to battle past Italian Camila Giorgi in three sets with 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-1. Diego Sampaolo

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Venus Williams survived a big scare when Camila Giorgi was leading 6-4 4-2 0-40 on Venus’s serve but the Italian did not convert three break points. Camila came within two points of winning the match when she was serving for the match at 5-4 but she made a forehand error and committed her 9th double fault. Venus bounced back from the brink of defeat and turned the match around. The US star saved two set points at 5-6 15-40 before clinching the tie-break with 7-3 before winning the decider with 6-1. Giorgi tried to fight back after losing the first two games of the third set when she won a very long third game of 17 minutes after saving seven break points. In the fifth game the young Italian went up 30-0 but she committed her 13th double fault to fall behind 1-4.

Venus collected her 223rd win on the WTA Tour in her legendary career which started in the 1990s.

Williams has reached the second week in a Grand Slam for the first time since Wimbledon 2011. She will take on Agnieszka Radwanska who beat Varvara Lepchenko 6-0 7-5. Lepchenko had a late surge when she rallied from 2-5 down to almost push the match to the decider but Radwanska held on to clinch the second set with 7-5.

Venus leads 5-4 in the previous nine head-to-head matches but Agnieszka won all the last three matches in straight sets since Venus recovered from the Sjogren syndrome which sidelined her for seven months from September 2011 to March 2012. Venus will be looking to qualify for the quarter final in a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2010 US Open.

This old cat has a few tricks up her sleeve. She wasn’t doing anything wrong She was playing so aggressively. I had never played her before and to play someone of her level for the first time in a major, I didn’t know what to expect”, said Venus Williams in the post-match interview.

Camila played amazing. I thought she played awesome and just so aggressive. Everything was working for her. I have never played her before, so it’s challenging to get a rhythm against her. It’s challenging to know what the exact plays are. As the match went on I think I was able to get a little bit more settled and figure that out a little bit. But she played great. I just kept trying to get games on my board so hopefully I would get an opening at some point”

Venus went down a break in the second set and faced a triple break point at 4-2 but Venus managed to keep her focus and managed to recover.

When that was happening, my whole focus was: “Let me try to hold serve instead of saying: It’s almost over. I felt like I had some chances on the 5-4 return game. In the second set I just felt like if I play one or two points better then I am in there.

It feels fantastic to reach the second week. Especially when things happen in your life and it’s not in your control. It just feels awesome to be here but I don’t want to leave it at that. I will try to keep going”, continued Venus.

Venus started her career against players who are now long retired and now faces rivals who are much younger than her.

I think we talk maybe more about the players we see that aren’t playing anymore. We just can’t figure out how we are still here. That’s probably more on our mind. When you walk on that court, there is no such thing as age, height, any of that stuff. It’s really an even playing field. It’s a matter of: Can you get the ball in ? Can you win the point or not. It does not matter any of those variables. That’s what they are: I don’t think that enters our mind out there”

Venus praised Camila Giorgi saying that she is a potential to become a top-10 player. “I think that she has a potential for sure. She has a big game. She has motivation. She looks like she is working hard. She is moving up the rankings. I think the more she plays, she is going to learn. It’s about dealing with the pressure. I think that’s one of the hardest things to learn to do. Every point of the match. Every day that you are playing, it’s not easy for any player.

Venus’ sister Serena also got through to the fourth round. Serena fought back from a set down to overcome Elina Svitolina from the Ukraine in three sets with 4-6 6-2 6-0 to set up a fourth round against Garbine Muguruza who beat Swiss Timea Bacsinszky in three sets. It will be a re-match of the second round clash at last year’s Roland Garros where the young Spanish player upset Serena.

The last time both Williams’ sisters reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, Serena lift her fifth her fifth and last Trophy at Melbourne Park in 2010. She failed to advance the fourth round in 2012 and 2014 and was knocked out in the quarter final in 2013.

Viktoria Azarenka followed up her wins against Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova to set up a fourth round match against last year’s Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova. Azarenka built up a 6-4 3-0 lead but Zahlavova Strycova clawed her way into the match by drawing level to 3-3. Azarenka broke serve in the seventh game for 4-3 but the Czech player broke straight back to draw level to 4-4. Azarenka broke again for 5-4 before serving out for the match in straight sets. Azarenka clinched 21 of her last 22 matches in Melbourne after winning two titles in 2012 and 2013 and losing to Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter final in 2014. Her next match rival Cibulkova beat France’s Alizé Cornet 7-5 6-2. Cornet earned four set points at 5-3 and two more at 5-4 in the opening set and went up 2-0 in the second set but Cibulkova fended off all six set points and fought back in the second set by reeling off six consecutive games.

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Karolina Pliskova hires Sascha Bajin as new coach

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Former world number 1 player Karolina Pliskova has hired German coach Sasha Bajin for the upcoming 2021 season. The Czech player has split up with Daniel Vallverdu. 

 

Under the guidance of Vallverdu Pliskova has not won a single title in 2020 but she reached her second final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, the tournament she won in 2019 beating Johanna Konta. This year she was forced to withdraw from the Rome final against Simona Halep due to an injury problem. 

Pliskova successfully defended her 2019 title in Brisbane and lost to Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the third round of the Australian Open and was defeated by Elena Rybakina in the quarter finals in Dubai. She lost to Ons Jabeur in Doha. In her first tournament after the suspension due to the pandemic Pliskova was beaten by Veronika Kudemertova in the second round at the Western and Southern Open in New York. At the US Open Karolina was knocked out by Caroline Garcia in the second round. 

The Czech star lost in the first round in Ostrava after winning the first set. 

Bajin parted his ways with Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska in 2020. The Ukrainian player was not happy after Bajin praised Naomi Osaka, who beat Yastremska at the US Open. 

Pliskova introduced her new coaching team to her fans on Twitter. 

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WTA will change the names of tournament categories

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The WTA will change the names of its tournament categories to be in line with ATP, according to Spanish sports newspaper Marca. 

 

The Premier Mandatory tournaments (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing) and Premier 5 tournaments (Doha, Rome, Rogers Cup in Canada, Cincinnati and Wuhan) will shift to 1000s. Premier tournaments will be renamed 500 tournaments under the new system. International events will change to 250 events. $125Ks will be renamed as 125-events. 

Points given to the winners might not be the same as the event level unlike the ATP tournaments. The WTA currently awards 1000 points, 900 points and 470 points.The WTA tournament in Madrid will extend by three days. It will be a 11-day event. 

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Elise Mertens sets up Linz final against her doubles partner Aryna Sabalenka

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Number 2 seed and two-time US Open quarter finalist Elise Mertens came back from one set down in her 2-6 6-1 7-5 win over number 4 Ekaterina Aleksandrova 2-6 6-1 7-5 after 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach the final at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz. Mertens will face Aryna Sabalenka, who beat Barbora Krejikova 7-5 4-6 6-3 in the second semifinal.

 

Mertens reached the Prague Open final, the Western and Southern Open semifinals and the US Open in a successful post-covid season. Aleksandrova beat 2020 Roland Garros Nadia Podorska 6-2 6-1 in the quarter finals. 

The Russian player won the Shenzhen Open and reached the St. Petersburg semifinal. She did not drop a set en route to the semifinals. 

The Belgian player was beaten by Aleksandrova 6-4 6-2 in their only previous clash on grass at the s’Hertogenbosch Open. 

Aleksandrova earned two breaks and served out the first set 6-2 on her first chance. Mertens went up a 4-0 lead with a double break and sealed the second set, when Aleksandrova made a backhand error. Mertens converted her fourth break point in the eighth game to seal the third set, when Aleksandrova made a backhand error. 

Mertens set up a final clash against her doubles partner Aryna Sabalenka, who battled past former Doubles world number 1 Barbora Krejikova 7-5 4-6 6-3. Sabalenka ended the year in the top 10 for the first time in her career. With a win in the final against Mertens Sabalenka would tie Simona Halep for most titles won this year. Sabalenka clinched two WTA titles earlier this season in Doha and Ostrava. The Belarusian player has not dropped a set in her three mathces this week against Jasmine Paolini, Stefanie Voegele and Oceane Dodin. 

Sabalenka and Krejikova traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games of the opening set. Sabalenka sealed the first set 7-5. Sabalenka earned an early break in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Kreijikova broke back in the third game. The Czech player sealed the second set with a break at love in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4 forcing the match to the third set. Both players saved a break point in the first seven games. Krejikova came back from 0-40 down in the eighth game but Sabalenka converted her fourth break point at deuce to win the third set 6-3 on her first match point. 

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