Day 3 Wimbledon 2015: Williams Sisters and Sharapova through as Ivanovic bids adieu - UBITENNIS
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Day 3 Wimbledon 2015: Williams Sisters and Sharapova through as Ivanovic bids adieu

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TENNIS – Serena and Venus Williams Sisters remain on course to meet each other in the Round of 16 as they both won their 2nd round matches in straight sets. They join Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka in the 3rd round. However, Ana Ivanovic was been dismissed in straight sets by Betthanie Mattek-Sands Cordell Hackshaw

USUAL SUSPECTS
Serena Williams (1) needed only 59 minutes to get past Timea Babos 6-4 6-1. Serena had 12 aces included her her 23 winners to 9 errors. However, it was hard to tell whether these were impressive numbers for Serena as she looked often to be uptight and far too tensed. Nonetheless, it was solid performance and will play Heather Watson in the 3rd round. Serena is on course to meet her big sister, Venus Williams (16) in the 4th round as Venus also got through her 2nd round match 7-6(5) 6-4 over Yulia Putintseva. It was a tough match but Venus played all the important points better relying on her big serve to get her out of trouble.

Maria Sharapova (4) had another easy day at the office. Richel Hogenkamp never looked to challenge the Russian at all. Sharapova broke for 4-2 in the opening set but soon allowed Hogenkamp back into the set with 3 consecutive double faults. However, Hogenkamp could not withstand the pressure on her own service game as Sharapova broke back and quickly closed out the set 6-3. In the 2nd set, it was all Sharapova as she got out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back; 6-3 6-1 in 65 minutes.

Victoria Azarenka (23) got by the tricky opponent Kirsten Flipkens. Flipkens fought hard but in the end, she could not withstand the massive groundstrokes from Azarenka who dictated play from the opening point. Azarenka always took the early lead but Flipkens always found a way to get back into the set. It was at this point that Azarenka would put her head down and just quickly assert herself into the match, taking it 6-3 6-3. Azarenka had 21 winners and 13 errors compared to 14 winners and 11 errors from Flipkens. Also through in straight sets is French Open finalist Lucie Safarova (6) who got through Su-Wei Hsieh 6-2 6-3.

UPSETS
Bethanie Mattek-Sands upset Ana Ivanovic (7) in straight sets 6-3 6-4. Mattek-Sands took this match from the very start. She broke Ivanovic for a 3-0 lead and maintained this advantage for the set. Ivanovic just never looked comfortable on the day as she broke back for 2-3 but got broken immediately thereafter to be down 2-4. Mattek-Sands was not about to relinquish lead as she took it 6-3. In the 2nd set, the sudden charge that one expected from Ivanovic to level the match never came as she made unforced error after unforced error. One of the more difficult task for the Serbian was to deal with the superior net game from the American. Mattek-Sands won 29/38 points up at net compared to 6/9 for Ivanovic. The American had twice the number of errors of her opponent, 32 to 15. Particularly more glaring for Ivanovic was the fact that she only broke Mattek-Sands once, 1/8 in break point conversion. Mattek-Sands will take on Bencic for a spot in the 2nd week of Wimbledon.

Karolina Pliskova (11) has been dismissed by American Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets. Pliskova just never looked comfortable throughout the match. Having had a wonderful 2015 with so many solid results at tournaments, the Czech player is having difficulties managing matches. Both big servers, it was no surprise that the opening set was decided in a tiebreaker. However, Vandeweghe had 4 chances to close out the set up 6-5. They were all on the Pliskova serve and the Czech hammered down some big serves to force the breaker. In the breaker, Pliskova got out to a 3-0 lead but again, she lost her way as the American surged ahead to take it 7-5 points. In the 2nd set, Pliskova again took the early lead 3-0 but could not maintain it. Vandeweghe won 5 straight games and then closed out the match 7-6 6-4 for the 3rd round.

SURPRISES
Local favourite, Heather Watson had a very easy time against veteran Daniela Hantuchova. One expected a stronger showing from the Slovakian but Hantuchova was unable to sustain any lead she achieved in the match. Up 3-1 in the opening set, Watson reeled off 4 straight games for 5-3 and then closed out the set 6-4. In the 2nd set, it was all Watson. She broken to open the set and though she was broken immediately, Watson again went on a 4-game streak for 5-1. Watson then served it out 6-4 6-2.

Sloane Stephens got through unscathed against fellow American Lauren Davis 6-4 6-4 in 68 minutes. It was a nervy match for both players but it was Stephens who was able to steady the ship when things got to rocky. She moves into the 3rd round to Safarova for a place in the 4th Round. Belinda Bencic (30) had a tough fight on her hands v. Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany. Friedsam who recently caused Serena Williams some trouble at the French Open, showed once again that she is no pushover. However as in the French Open, she cannot sustain the high level of play. After splitting the first two sets, she ran out of steam in the 3rd as Bencic took it 7-5 4-6 6-0. Bencic will take on Mattek-Sands for a place in the 2nd week of Wimbledon.

Kristina Mladenovic finds herself in the 3rd round of Wimbledon after getting by Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets 6-4 7-5. Ostapenko took out 9th seed, Carla Suarez-Navarro in quick fashion in the opening round but Mladenovic provided a much bigger challenge that the Spaniard.

OTHER WINNERS
Sam Stosur (22) got through the unpredictable opponent Urszula Radwanska 6-3 6-4. She will play Vandeweghe in the 3rd round. Zarina Diyas got by Aliaksandra Sasonovich 7-5 6-1. Sasonovich was in the ascendency in the opening set but could not maintain the lead as Diyas wrest control of the match for the win and a place in the 3rd round. Irina Begu (29) is also through to the 3rd round when she defeated Lesia Tsurenko. Both Madison Keys (21) and Elizaveta Kulichkova both completed their 1st round matches were were suspended late on Day 2 because of poor lighting.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Karolina Pliskova Finding Her Footing With The Help Of New Coach Krajan

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Karolina Pliskova (CZE) playing against Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) in the semi-final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 10 Thursday 08/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Karolina Pliskova’s resurgence on the Tour comes at a time when she has formed a new partnership with a well-known coach. 

After her first round loss at the Australian Open to Elena Rybakina, the Czech won nine consecutive matches on the Tour. In Romania, she claimed her 17th WTA title at the Winners Open before reaching the semi-finals of a WTA 1000 event in Doha. However, she was unable to play her semi-final clash against Iga Swiatek due to a lower back injury. During this period she has improved her ranking from 77th to 36th. 

Pliskova began the season without a coach at her side but is now working with Croatia’s Zeljko Krajan. A partnership she believes is showing promising signs already. 

“Personality-wise, I think he’s kind of similar to me,” Pliskova told WTA Insider. “Not really high or low. Relaxed and very like calm. 
“We didn’t really plan yet anything because now the schedule was difficult. I might be in qualifying in Indian Wells. Maybe I enter San Diego. So I don’t really know what’s gonna be. I’m just living day by day at the moment.” 

Krajan has worked with a series of players on both the WTA and ATP Tour’s. He guided Dinara Safina to three Grand Slam finals between 2008 and 2010. He has also worked with Borna Coric, Laura Robson, Marcos Baghdatis, Jelena Jankovic and Dominika cibulkova.

Pliskova, who is a former world No.1 and two-time Grand Slam finalist, has endured a roller-coaster journey on the Tour in recent months with mixed results. Last season she failed to win back-to-back matches at 11 consecutive tournaments. 

So how has she managed to regain her form on the Tour?

“Motivation was never really a problem for me,” Pliskova said. “If I go on the court no matter how bad or good I feel, I always want to win. I always want to compete. 
“But my game is based on confidence and I need to feel that. Even if I’m not playing well or winning many matches, I just need to find that confidence in that moment or in that game because it’s just so risky. My shots are so flat, so I go for mostly lines. If something is not going well or you start to doubt, then of course you miss a little bit. Everything is about this.”

Unseeded at this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships, Pliskova beat China’s Zhang Shuai in the first round. She will next play Ashlyn Krueger in the second round on Tuesday.

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Elena Rybakina Eases Past Kasatkina To Win Abu Dhabi Open

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Elena Rybakina has captured her second title of the season after beating an erratic Daria Kasatkina in straight sets at the Abu Dhabi Open. 

The world No.5 stormed to a 6-1, 6-4, win over the Russian in just over an hour. It is the third time in Rybakina’s career that she has beaten Kasatkina on the Tour and she now leads their head-to-head 3-2. The triumph comes a month after she won the Brisbane International, which is also a WTA 500 event. 

Rybakina’s latest match saw her capitalise on her opponent’s costly mistakes. Kasatkina struggled with her serve throughout the majority of the final and only managed to hold twice in eight attempts. Opening the door for the former Wimbledon champion who hit 17 winners against 12 unforced errors en route to victory. 

“I want to thank the fans who came this week,” said the new champion. “It has been an amazing atmosphere, especially to see flags from Kazakhstan. It means a lot, thank you so much.”

A one-sided 25-minute opening set saw Rybakina claim four straight games to clinch an early lead. During to the opener, Kasatkina only managed to win 26% of her service points. It was the fourth time in the tournament that the Kazakh had won a set by conceding two or fewer games. 

Fortunately for world No.14 Kasatkina and the crowd, there was more of a battle in the second frame. Twice in a row Rybakina worked her way to a break advantage before losing it in the following game. Then at 4-4, she dealt the decisive blow by hitting a clean forehand winner to break yet against and this time had a chance to serve for the title. With the rain starting to fall, she converted her first championship point with the help of another error from across the net. 

The defeat for Kasatkina comes a day after she came through a marathon three-hour semi-final match before criticising the WTA over their tournament scheduling. She is currently set to play in the Qatar Open with her opening match taking place tomorrow. It is the sixth time in a row she has been beaten by a top-five player on the Tour. 

“Congratulations to Elena, you’ve had a great week,” she said.
“Thanks to my team who has always been next to me. I am really proud of the job we’ve done and how we are doing. Thanks for always believing in me.”

Rybakina also referred to the demanding calendar during the trophy presentation. 

“Tough week (for Kasatkina), especially the last matches. Tomorrow there is already a match in Doha but hopefully, we will both recover and do well there. Maybe also play (against each other) in the final there,” she said. 

Unlike Kasatkina, Rybakina has a first round bye in Doha. She has now won seven WTA trophies so far in her career. 

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