WTA Indian Wells: Azarenka to meet Sharapova in the 3rd round - UBITENNIS
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WTA Indian Wells: Azarenka to meet Sharapova in the 3rd round

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TENNIS WTA INDIAN WELLS – Viktoria Azarenka set up a blockbuster third round clash against Maria Sharapova with a 6-2 6-4 win over Kirsten Flipkens. Vika eased through the first set with 6-2 before fighting back from a 2-4 deficit in the second set. Diego Sampaolo

 

Viktoria Azarenka set up a blockbuster third round clash against Maria Sharapova with a 6-2 6-4 win over Kirsten Flipkens. Vika eased through the first set with 6-2 before fighting back from a 2-4 deficit in the second set.

Azarenka faced a point for 2-5 but she clawed her way back to clinch the second set with 6-4.

Sharapova edged Yanina Wickmayer with 6-1 7-5. The Belgian player saved five match points before Masha clinched the win on her sixth match point.

Sharapova won the Indian Wells in 2006 and 2012. Azarenka beat Sharapova in the 2012 Indian Wells final. Azarenka leads 7-6 in her previous head-to-head matches against Sharapova.

I definitely need to play my best tennis because she is playing great. I am really looking forward to it. It’s been a while since we last played. It’s going to be exciting”, said Azarenka

Indian Wells defending champion Flavia Pennetta made her debut with a 6-4 6-2 win over Madison Brengle, who had won their previous head-to-head match in Los Angeles in 2007.

Last year Pennetta completed a sensational week in which she beat two top-3 players Li Na in the semifinal and Agnieszka Radwanska in the final

Pennetta suffered from an injury problem in Doha where she was beaten by Agnieszka Radwanska but she appeared in good shape. The Italian converted her break point in the seventh game and held serve in the next game for 5-3. Pennetta rallied from 0-30 in the tenth game of the first set and earned two set points. Brengle saved the first two set points but Pennetta converted the third to clinch the opening set with 6-4. Pennetta converted on her third break point in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead with her down-the-line backhand. Pennetta never looked back and converted on her sixth break point after a long fifth game and cruised to 6-2. Pennetta will take on the winner of the match between Taylor Townsend and Samantha Stosur.

Sabine Lisicki won just her second match of the year with 6-1 5-7 6-4 over Roberta Vinci. The German, who lost six first round matches in seven tournaments, dropped her serve with a double fault at the start of the first set but Vinci was broken in her three service games and lost the first set with 6-1. Vinci recovered from two breaks down and drew level to 3-3. Vinci went down 3-5 but she fought back before clinching the second set with 7-5 on the third set point. Vinci trailed 1-3 in the decider. She managed to draw level to 3-all but she was broken again before losing the match after two hours.

Vinci’s close friend Sara Errani, winner in Rio de Janeiro and semifinalist in Monterrey, opened her Indian Wells campaign with a 6-0 4-6 6-2 win over Liu Zhu from China. Errani won 69 percent of her first serve points in the first set and 57percent of her second serve points to win the first set with a bagel. The Chinese player won 64 percent of her first serve points in the second set and drew level with a 6-4 win in the second set. Errani broke serve early in the third set. Liu Zhu recovered it but Errani wrapped up the match with 6-2 to set up her next match against Lisicki.

Caroline Wozniacki overcame Ons Jabeur 7-6 (7-3) 6-4. Ana Ivanovic eased past Yuliya Putintseva 6.3 6-1. Eugenie Bouchard cruised past Lucie Hradecka 6-2 6-2. Lesia Tsurenko battled past Andrea Petkovic with 6-3 4-6 6-4 to take her first top-10 win.

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In-Form Liudmila Samsonova Storms To Tokyo Title

Tokyo is the second tournament this year the Russian has won without dropping a set.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Liudmila Samsonova has continued her rapid surge on the Tour by defeating China’s Qinwen Zheng 7-5, 7-5, to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. 

 

The world No.30 dropped serve only once and hit four aces as she edged her way past rising star Zheng who is the first Chinese teenager to reach the final of a Tour-level singles event. Overall, Samsonova won 68% of her service points en route to becoming the first Russian player to win the tournament since Nadia Petrova in 2012. 

“It’s amazing, I don’t have too many words right now. I need a little bit of time,” said Samsonova, who beat Grand Slam champions Elena Rybakina and Garbine Muguruza earlier in the draw. 
“It was a really tough match. She is playing amazing. It was a nervous match, we were fighting every point. It was tough.”

Samsonova is becoming a formidable force in the women’s game and has now won 18 out of her past 19 matches. Last month she also won titles in Washington and Cleveland before reaching the last 16 of the US Open for the first time in her career at the age of 23. She is now 4-0 in tournament finals and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo this week. 

“I played a high level in all my five matches. I am incredibly happy about how I managed it,” she said.

There is also a reason for Zheng to celebrate with her run in Tokyo securing her place in the world’s top 30 for the first time on Monday when the rankings are updated. Making her the first Chinese player to do so as a teenager. She is also only the second teenager to reach the final of a WTA 500 event or higher this season after Coco Gauff at the French Open. 

Samsonova will also rise to a ranking high on Monday to just outside the world’s top 20. 

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Naomi Osaka Seeks Resurgence At Home Event After Rollercoaster Year

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Naomi Osaka training at the 2021 Madrid Open (image by Media Hub Mutua Madrid Open)

Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka admits that there have been more downs than ups for her this year but she is maintaining a positive outlook. 

 

The four-time Grand Slam champion has played 22 matches so far this season with her win-loss record currently standing at 13-9. However, at her six most recent tournaments she has failed to win back-to-back matches and is currently on a four-match losing streak. Osaka also missed this year’s Wimbledon Championships due to an achilles injury. 

Currently ranked 44th in the world, Osaka is hoping to break her slump at this week’s Toray Pan Pacific Open which will be held in Tokyo. It will be the first time she has played since losing to Danielle Collins in the first round of the US Open. 

“I think, of course, the year has (not been) the best year for me,” Osaka said during her pre-tournament press conference. “But I think overall I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m just happy to be healthy. Because in Europe, I did injure myself, and that was like my first injury that took me that long to get healed.

“I think life is kind of ups and downs and this one was kind of more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”

Osaka is the defending champion in Tokyo, even though she won the tournament back in 2019. The event has been cancelled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has happened to the Japanese player since she won the title, both on and off the court. Osaka has spoken publicly about her mental health issues and took time away from the sport because of them. 

“It feels really weird to hear that I’m the defending champion because it was the last time I played in 2019,” she said. “I would love to win it again, but I think just taking it one match at a time … and also just playing in front of a crowd in Tokyo again, because the Olympics was crowdless, so it will just be nice to see people.”

This year Osaka does not have a seeding in the Tokyo draw which is in stark contrast to three years ago when she was the highest-ranked player in the tournament. She will begin her campaign against Australia’s Daria Saville and could then face fifth seed, Beatriz Haddad Maia, in the last 16. 

“I think every year for me since the first Slam, there’s been a lot of changes,” Osaka said. “But I think this year it has definitely been a real growing year for me. I think tennis-wise, I don’t really think I can go in a wrong direction. I feel like me as a player, my base is pretty solid. I can only really learn more about myself. I know that I am an aggressive player and I can only hope to keep doing that.

Away from the Tour, the 24-year-old remains one of the highest-earning players in the sport. According to a report published by Forbes in August, she earned in the region of £56.2M over 12 months with $55M of that coming from off-court ventures. She has also set up her own sports agency with long-time agent Stuart Duguid, signing Nick Kyrgios as one of her clients. 

“For everything off court, I think it’s really cool how tennis has let me get so many opportunities in things that I’m interested in, and it’s something I’m really happy and grateful for and I can only hope it keeps evolving.” She commented.

This week Osaka is seeking to win her first title of any sort since the 2021 Australian Open. 

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Simona Halep Ends 2022 Season With Nose Surgery And Mental Exhaustion

Simona Halep will return to the court in 2023.

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Simona Halep (@NewsCentralTV - Twitter)

Simona Halep has ended her season after having nose surgery and suffering from mental exhaustion in recent months.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion has had a mixed season this year with the Romanian almost quitting the sport in February.

However the former world number one reunited with Patrick Mouratoglou and produced a world-class grass court season and US Hard court swing to get back into the world’s top ten.

Despite this, Halep has also had her troubles having had a panic attack at Roland Garros and struggled with anxiety.

This was all produced by the Romanian in her statement when she announced she would not play the rest of the season due to a nose surgery which has been linked to her breathing.

Now Halep will look to recover mentally and physically in time for January’s Australian Open as she will look to become a Grand Slam champion for the third time in her career.

Simona Halep’s 2022 Season:

Melbourne Summer Set 1: Champion

Australian Open: R4 l. Cornet

Dubai: Semi-Finals l. Ostapenko

Qatar: R1 l. Garcia

Indian Wells: Semi-Finals l. Swiatek

Madrid: Quarter-Finals l. Jabeur

Rome: R2 l. Collins

Roland Garros: R2 l. Q. Zheng

Birmingham: Semi-Finals l. Haddad Maia

Bad Homburg: Semi-Finals l. Andreescu

Wimbledon: Semi-Finals l. Rybakina

Washington: R2 l. Kalinskaya

Toronto: Champion

Cincinnati: R2 – Withdrew

US Open: R1 l. Snigur

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