WTA Birmingham: Mladenovic upsets Halep to reach the semifinals - UBITENNIS
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WTA Birmingham: Mladenovic upsets Halep to reach the semifinals

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TENNIS – Kristina Mladenovic came back from a set dwon to knock out Simona Halep with 2-6 6-0 7-6 (7-4) to reach the semifinal of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham. Mladenovic broke serve in the 8th game but Halep broke back as Mladenovic served out for the match. Mladenovic held her nerve and earned two match points- Diego Sampaolo

 

Mladenovic clinched the tie-break with 7-4 scoring her fifth win against a top-10 player. Mladenovic had already beaten Halep in their only previous head-to-head match at the 2011 Indoor Tournament in Paris

“It was an amazing match and a big win for me today. I don’t know if it’s the best one. I have had a few matches where I have beaten top-10 players but’s an amazing feeling to beat Simona in this way because she is such a good player”, said Mladenovic

“I think she was solid in the first set and I was struggling with my rhythm and the sun. In the second I just tried to start over again and be aggressive and she perhaps gave me a couple of unforced errors that got me back in the match. I think it was a great quality match especially because it’s on grass and it’s always tough to find a rhythm”, said Mladenovic

Mladenovic will take on Karolina Pliskova who beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-2 in one hour and 4 minutes. Suarez Navarro led 3-1 in their previous head-to-head matches but big-server Pliskova was the favourite on the grass surface. Pliskova opened up a 4-1 lead in the first set. Suarez Navarro got her only break of the match in the sixth game but Pliskova broke again before wrapping up the first set with 6-2. Pliskova wrapped up the match on her third match point with a double 6-2.

“I wasn’t really thinking if she is Top 10 or not. I just went on the court. I had played her three times already this year and it was always a tough match. While she is playing really well on hardcourt and clay, I think grass is not the best surface for her. I just tried to play really aggressive”, said Pliskova.

Sabine Lisicki beat Daniela Hantuckova 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 setting up an all-German semifinal against Angelique Kerber. Lisicki took a 5-3 lead but dropped her serve. Lisicki won the tie-break with 7-2. Lisicki, a former Wimbledon finalist, broke serve for 3-2 in the second set and won the next three games to clinch the win with 6-2

Kerber defeated Katerina Siniakova from Czech Republic 6-2 6-4. Siniakova produced one of the major upsets of the tournament earlier this week when she beat another German Andrea Petkovic.

“It was a very close match. The score wasn’t so close but every game went to deuce. Siniakova played very well”, said Kerber.

Kerber leads 5-0 in their previous head-to-head matches against Lisicki.

 

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Reigning Champion Simona Halep Pulls Out Of Wimbledon

The Romanian says she is ‘down and upset’ about missing the major.

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There will be a new Wimbledon champion in the women’s draw this year after Simona Halep formally withdrew due to injury.

 

The former world No.1 was in London training with her team but has been forced to pull out of the grass-court major after failing to fully recover from a calf injury. An issue which also sidelined her from the French Open. It is the first time the Romanian has missed Wimbledon since making her Grand Slam debut at the tournament back in 2010.

“It is with great sadness that I’m announcing my withdrawal from The Championships as my calf injury has not fully recovered,” the 29-year-old said in a statement.
“I gave it everything I had in order to be ready to play Wimbledon and after having such special memories from two years ago, I was excited and honoured to step back on these beautiful courts as defending champion.
“Unfortunately, my body didn’t cooperate and I’ll have to save that feeling for next year.”

Halep first sustained the injury back in May when she was playing Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Italian Open. After undergoing an MRI, it was confirmed that the multiple Grand Slam winner had a tear in her left calf.

“I can honestly say that I’m really down and upset about having to take this decision. This period has been difficult but to miss the last two majors has made it even more challenging mentally and physically,” she said.
“We will see what the future holds but I’m hoping it will make me a stronger person and athlete.”

As a result of the withdrawal, Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova has moved into the seedings at 32nd. She has only won one match in four previous appearances at the Championships.

Halep has won 22 WTA titles during her career and has won more than $37.5M in prize money.

The Wimbledon Championships will get underway on Monday.

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Kontaveit upsets Bianca Andreescu in Eastbourne

Anett Kontaveit knocked Bianca Andreescu out of Eastbourne.

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Anett Kontaveit (@ribella96 - Twitter)

The Estonian beat the Canadian on Center Court in straight sets in an hour and six minutes.

 

Anett Kontaveit only needed 66 minutes on Center Court to dispatch the world number seven and the third seed at the tournament Bianca Andreescu 6-3, 6-3 firing 16 winners while the Canadian hit 28 unforced errors.

“I thought I played a really good match today and I was consistent throughout the whole match and I feel like I kept my level up and played some good tennis”.

It was the world number 27 with the aggressive start earning the first breakpoint of the match in the opening game with a stunning forehand winner and on the following point ripped a forehand return winner to take a 1-0 lead.

The Canadian was keen to bounce back and earned her first breakpoint the following game with a backhand winner up the line and broke right back to go back on serve.

The Talinn, Estonia native once again responded by breaking right back and this time was able to consolidate the break until 3-2 when once again the Toronto native broke again to level the first set at 3-3.

Once again the Estonian broke Andreescu serve to take another lead and at 5-3 had two set points set up by a powerful backhand winner and took the first set 6-3 in 31 minutes.

The second set started with both players holding serve for the first three games until the 25 year old earned three more breakpoints and got the first break of the set.

After that it went back on serve until 4-2 when the Canadian once again had two chances to go back on serve and she broke when the Estonian struggled with her serve.

Again the resiliency and the determination of the Estonian kept her going and she broke right back the following game and served out the match. In her post match press conference she was asked how she was able to keep bouncing back in the face of adveristy.

“I think I am a pretty good returner and she is as well so sometimes it’s difficult when the other person so consistent hitting deep returns off your serve so I just tried to stay with it especially in the second set and she never gives up so I had to keep playing and be ready for it”.

Kontaveit will now face the Swiss player Viktorija Golubic who pulled off another upset beating the number six seed and fellow Swiss player Belinda Bencic.

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Dayana Yastremska Cleared Of Wrongdoing Over Failed Drugs Tests

The tennis has star had been provisionally suspended from the Tour since 7 January 2021.

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Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska said she looks forward to ‘returning to her passion’ after getting her doping ban lifted with immediate effect following a hearing.

 

The former world No.21 has been sidelined from the sport with a provisional suspension after testing positive for the banned substance mesterolone which is prohibited under category S1 of the 2020 WADA Prohibited List (Anabolic Agents). The positive test came from a sample which was taken on November 24th that Yastremska argued was linked to cross-contamination. She had appealed for her provisional ban to be lifted earlier this year but was denied.

Following her official hearing on May 21st, the Independent Tribunal under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has concluded that the tennis star didn’t deliberately take performance enhancing drugs. In their ruling, the panel says they ‘accept’ how the substance managed to get into Yasstremska’s body. She has previously claimed to have ‘scientific evidence’ of cross contamination.

Ms. Yastremska’s provisional suspension is lifted with immediate effect, and she will not serve any period of Ineligibility for her violation. For the avoidance of doubt, Ms. Yastremska is eligible to resume competition immediately.” The ITF stated.

In a statement, Yastremska says she has struggled over the past six months with the negative comments related to her suspension from the sport. Earlier this year she flew to the Australian Open hoping to compete, but wasn’t allowed to under anti-doping rules.

“I’ve been through a lot in the last 6 months and found it difficult to deal with all the negative comments,” she wrote.
“I want to thank my family, my lawyers, my agent and the entire Top Five Management team for their continued and unwavering support. I would also like to thank my fans for the love and messages that I received during this difficult period.’
“Now I look forward to returning to my passion – tennis. It was taken away from me for too long, I can’t wait to get back on tour.”

The 21-year-old has won three WTA Premier titles so far in her career with her most recent triumph occurring at the 2019 Strasbourg Open. Her best run in a Grand Slam was two years ago at Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round before losing to Zhang Shuai of China.

Yastremska is currently ranked 37th in the world. She has not given any details about when or where she plans to return to competitive tennis yet.

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