Australian Open 2015: 19 Times Serena! The World Number 1 Wins her 6th Melbourne title - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open 2015: 19 Times Serena! The World Number 1 Wins her 6th Melbourne title

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2015 – Serena Williams edged Maria Sharapova 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to clinch her sixth Australian Open title (her first since 2010) and her 19th overall Grand Slam trophy. She has overtaken Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert in the all-time ranking of the players with most Grand Slam wins. Only Steffi Graf won more times with 22 titles. Diego Sampaolo

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Serena won 16 consecutive matches against Maria and extended to 17-2 in her head-to-head matches against her Russian rival. She clinched 12 of these matches in straight sets. Sharapova has not beaten Williams since the WTA Championships final in Los Angeles.

Williams won her previous Australian Open final against Sharapova in 2007 in straight sets with 6-1 6-2 They met only once more in 2005 in the semifinals when Williams won in three sets with 2-6 7-5 8-6. The Russian star won one of her four finals Down Under in 2008 when she defeated Ana Ivanovic.

Williams earned a break point in the first game as Sharapova hit a backhand wide. Serena got the break for 1-0 with a double fault from the Russian player. Serena won the first significant rally of the match with a backhand winner with 40-30 and held serve with a backhand winner.

Sharapova capitalized on a couple of errors and to go up 30-0 before winning her first game to love with a serve and a forehand winner. In the fourth game Sharapova won the point after the best rally of the match with a drop-shot. Serena hit a forehand winner and her first ace of the match before going up 40-30. Williams won the game to pull away to 3-1 after an unsuccessful challenge from Sharapova.

The Russian five-time Grand Slam champion kept the pace by holding serve for 3-2. Sharapova hit a forehand winner and came close to a break point in the sixth game but Williams clawed her way back to draw level to 30-30. The match was stopped for 13 minutes at 30-30 in the sixth game when rain came down heavier. After the roof was closed and the match was resumed Williams hit an ace and a forehand to win the game for 4-2.

Sharapova double faulted to hand Williams three break points. Serena converted on her first break point chance for 5-2 as Maria hit a forehand long.

In the next game Sharapova earned three chances to break back as Williams hit her backhand into the net. Williams saved the first chance with her forehand and the second with an ace but Sharapova converted the break-back point chance on the third opportunity when Williams made a double fault.

After an exciting rally Sharapova missed a forehand down the line to hand Williams a break point. Williams hit a backhand winner to convert on the break point to close out the first set with 6-3

There were no breaks of serve in the second set. Williams hit her fifth and the sixth aces in the opening game of the second set before going up 1-0 with a forehand down-the line winner. Williams earned a break point chance but Sharapova saved it when Williams sent a backhand long. Williams held serve for 2-1 in the third game.

Sharapova missed a forehand to go down 15-30 but she held on and hit a backhand winner into the corner to draw level to 2-2. Sharapova hit 18 of her 21 winners and saved four break points during the second set

Sharapova hit a winner to go up 0-30 on Williams’ serve but the US legend hit two aces to draw level to 30-30 before clinching the fifth game with tow more aces for 3-2. Williams earned a break point in the sixth game with a backhand winner but failed to convert it when she sent a forehand long.

Sharapova started the seventh game with a forehand winner but Williams survived a tough game with her 13th game for 4-3. Sharapova won the 8th game to draw level to 4-4.

Williams brought up a match point with Sharapova serving at 4-5 30-40. Masha hit a forehand down the line winner to save the first of two match points and held her service game in the 10th game.

Sharapova won a long and exciting rally to draw level to 30-30 but Williams hit two aces to clinch the 11th game and edge ahead with 6-5 but Sharapova won the service game to force the second set to the tie-break.

Sharapova hit a winner into the corner on Williams’ serve to get the mini-break but was broken back immediately. With her 17th ace Williams pulled away to a 4-1 lead but Sharapova clawed her back into the match after a couple of misses from Williams.

Williams build up a 6-4 lead in the tie-break. Sharapova saved the second match point with a winning service return. Williams hit her 18th ace to clinch her 19th Grand Slam title on her third match point. Only Steffi Graf won more titles with 22 Grand Slam titles. With her sixth title Serena has become the oldest winner of the Australian Open women’s tournament.

Williams won 37 of her 44 first serve points and hi 38 winners.

I have to congratulate Maria. She played a wonderful match. She really pushed me tonight. She gave us a great final not only for you guys but for women’s tennis. I am really honoured I got to play you in the final. Growing up I wasn’t the richest, but I had a rich family in spirit and support and standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen. It feels really good to be sitting here as the champion. I definitely didn’t think I would be here at the beginning of the week or the beginning of the two weeks, but it feels pretty excellent. I was not feeling great. Every time I didn’t feel great I started to feel better, and then the next day I got worse. I had a bad cough. I ended up throwing up. I have just got a bad cold. When that happens, you stay in bed, you don’t play matches every day. There was a lot of ups and downs. So I just thought that I was somehow still in the tournament and now I somehow I have won. It’s really exciting”, said Williams

The match definitely got tough in the second set. Maria started playing a lot better. She started being a little more aggressive. I think I got a little more passive. She was just trying to get the ball back in play but I started serving better in the second set because I knew if I wasn’t having my groundstrokes where I wanted them to be. I knew I could serve it out. It got really interesting. I had a lot of moments. I had some easy shots that I missed in the second set on her serve, and then she came up with a big serve when she was down a breakpoint, which was great. I definitely can look back and say: I could have done a few things better just for the future”

Sharapova admitted in the post-match press conference that she fell short in the finish during the tie-break.

It’s always tough getting to a final stage of an event where it’s down to two players and you end up become the one that’s going home with the smaller trophy. There is no doubt about it. No matter how you played, well or not, whatever the scoreline is. It’s always tough. In the finish I definitely thought I could have put a few more serves in the tiebreaker. Giving her many looks on the second serve. Event though they were good, deep second serves, she was ready. She was aggressive. She hit a couple of winners. Then in some of the service games where I had 15-30 and 30-all, she came up with really big serves, ones I sometimes couldn’t get my reach at. Those you just have to let go and keep going. One of her biggest strengths is her serve. Maybe it’s something that has saved her in many matches, situations where you cannot get her racquet on the ball. When the games on her serve were 30-all. 40-30 or 15-30 a few times, she came up with really great serves. I have not beaten her for a long time but I love every time I step out on the court with her. I have had some of the best memories of my career on this court and some of my toughest losses but that’s the life of a tennis player”, said Sharapova

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Victoria Azarenka Survives Three-Set Battle With Pegula In Berlin

Azarenka is one of two seeded players left in the draw along with Belinda Bencic.

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Victoria Azarenka is into the semifinals of the Bett1 Open after outlasting America’s Jessica Pegula 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.

 

The two-time Australian Open champion won 70% of her first service points and broke Pegula six times en route to the victory. It is only the second time Azarenka has reached the last four of a WTA tournament this season after the Doha Open back in March. This week she is bidding to reach her first Tour final on the grass since 2010 and win her first title on the surface at the age of 31.

“I’m really happy that I made it out, I played really well at the beginning of the match,” said Azarenka. “In the second set she played some good shots and I felt like I slowed down but I was glad I was able to turn it around”.

The number seven seed got off to a great start earning three chances to break in the opening game of the match and getting the early break. At 4-2 she earned the double break when the American produced a poor service game and double faulted on breakpoint. Enabling Azarenka to take the opener in just 26 minutes.

The beginning of the second set was identical to the first with the world No.16 earning three more breakpoints and breaking to take an early lead. However, Pegula fought back to earn three chances to break but Azarenka saved all three and held serve. The set stayed on serve until 4-3 when the American had another chance to break. This time a poor service game from the Belorussian gave up the break of serve.

At 6-5 with Azarenka serving to stay in the middle set Pegula found herself at set point and clinched the set after the world number 16 hit another unforced error.

Into the decider and again just like the first two sets it was the 31 year old who broke in the opening service game of the set but the world number 26 responded by breaking right back the very next game and the next two games followed suit with two breaks of serve.

At 3-3 the Azarenka had three more breakpoints and got the break once again but this time the break was enough for her to serve out the match. After the match Azarenka spoke about losing the momentum in the second set and how she was able to get it back and push through.

” I paid too much attention on the things that I didn’t take opportunities and matches on grass can go fast with one or two breaks and it’s more difficult and hopefully I can stop putting myself into too much trouble”. She said.

Azarenka will next face Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova who stunned Madison Keys in three sets – 7-6, 2-6, 7-6.

Elsewhere, Alize Cornet also continued her amazing run by beating the number six seed Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, and Belinda Bencic booked her spot in the final four beating another Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4, 4-6, 7-6.

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Alize Cornet stuns Bianca Andreescu in Berlin

Andreescu was playing in the main draw of a WTA grass-court tournament for only the second time in her career after Wimbledon 2017.

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Alize Cornet’s run at the Bett1 Open in Berlin continues as she managed to upset Bianca Andreescu 7-6(2), 7-5 in two hours and six minutes on Steffi Graff Stadion.

 

“At the beginning of the match I was feeling very good,” said Cornet. “I played some of my best tennis at the start of the match and I think I felt more comfortable than in the first round. The first match helped get me more comfortable on the surface but it was a huge battle playing a match that lasted over two hours and I am really happy that I got through”.

It was the number three seed who got off to a fast start being the more aggressive player earning two chances to break in the opening service game of the match but failed to convert. The very next game it was Cornet with three chances to take the lead and she did just that and it stayed on serve until 4-2 until Andreescu had a chance to break to go back on serve and she would get the break back.

At 5-4 the world number 63 reached set point but Andreescu managed to save it with one of her big serves and held serve before going back on the offensive. Earning another breakpoint but again couldn’t finish and the set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

Cornet ran away with the breaker jumping out to a 4-1 lead and would win it 7-2 to take the first set 7-6.

She carried the momentum into the second frame and in the first game she set up two breakpoints with a stunning forehand winner and broke to take a 1-0 lead. At 3-1 the world number 63 had a chance to go up a double break and she did just that breaking again to get a 4-1 lead but the Canadian responded right away by breaking right back the very next game.

At 4-3 the Toronto native had a break chance to go back on serve which she converted on to level the set at 4-4 and it stayed on serve for two more games until it Cornet managed to get the crucial break to take a 6-5 lead and serve out the match.

” She’s a really talented player, she plays amazing and she is dangerous on every surface but I think today my experience on grass helped me”. Cornet commented on her opponent.

She will now face either Garbine Muguruza or Elena Rybakina in the quarter-finals.

There were three other second round matches being played on Steffi Graff Stadium. The day started with another upset as Ekaterina Alexandrova beat the number two seed Elina Svitolina in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 in only an hour and 30 minutes.

Belinda Bencic, the number five seed, had no issue dispatching the Croat Petra Martic 6-3, 6-4. In the final match of the day, a third upset occurred when Madison Keys beat the top seed Aryna Sabalenka in three sets 6-4, 1-6, 5-7.

The action continues on Thursday with four more second round matches featuring the local favourite Angelique Kerber taking on Victoria Azarenka.

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Berlin Round-up: Garbine Muguruza Cruises Past Cirstea In Berlin

The number six seed only needed 80 minutes to advance past her Romanian opponent.

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Garbine Muguruza started her grass court season on the right foot beating Sorana Cirstea in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 20 minutes on Steffi Graff Stadium.

 

She will next face Elena Rybakina who was pushed to three sets by the American Shelby Rodgers 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match that lasted one hour and 43 minutes.

Angelique Kerber only needed one hour to dispatch the Japanese player Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-1 and after the match she gave her thoughts on what seemed like a comfortable first win on grass for the local favourite.

“It was a really solid match and it’s never easy to play a first match on a grass court, especially against a lefty as well, so I’m really happy about my performance and how I started the grass court season,” She said.

Kerber will now face the daunting task of playing the Belorussian Victoria Azarenka who beat another German Andrea Petkovic in a tough straight sets victory (6-4, 7-6).

In the other results of the day the Croat Petra Martic needed three sets to beat the American qualifier Asia Muhammad 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 to set up a second round match with Belinda Bencic.

In an all American battle Jessica Pegula only played 12 games against Hailey Baptiste who was forced to retire due to injury, Pegula will next face Karolina Pliskova in the next round.

The young Russian Veronika Kudermetova needed three sets to beat the Czech Karolina Muchova in a match that went two hours and 28 minutes 7-6, 5-7, 6-2. She will now face Liudmilla Samsonova who pulled off the only upset of the day by beating Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (6).

Round two begins on Wednesday with four second round matches and will feature Elina Svitolina taking on Ekaterina Alexandrova, as well as Bianca Andreescu facing Alize Cornet.

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