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.

Grand Slam

Simona Halep Destroys Kontaveit With Sublime Display To Clinch Semi-Final Spot

Simona Halep moved a step closer to a third Grand Slam title with a dominant win over 28th seed Anett Kontaveit.

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Simona Halep (@AustralianOpen on Twitter)

Simona Halep put on a masterclass on Rod Laver Arena as she dismantled Anett Kontaveit 6-1 6-1 to seal her place in the semi-finals of the 2020 Australian Open.

 

The Romanian, 28, looks to be in exceptional form as she chases her third Grand Slam title. She is yet to drop a set at the event and, naturally, she is hoping to continue in the same vein.

“I’m really happy that I can play my best tennis,” Halep said in her on-court interview. “For the first time in my life, I did my off-season away from home so I could focus on what I had to do. I had no days off and I’ve started the year very well. I’m feeling much stronger than I did before.”

The Romanian also paid tribute to her coach Darren Cahill. “He’s been very important since I met him four or five years ago,” she said. “We’ve worked hard on my attitude and my game and today I’m a better person and a better player, so I really want to thank him for the help he gave me. He’s a great person and he understands me so that makes the job easier.”

Halep’s game plan against big hitters like the Estonian is very simple, but much harder to execute. She makes them hit as many shots as possible (preferably from difficult positions) because this increases the chances that they will make errors. To do this, the Romanian needs speed, flexibility immense skill and variety of shot, and the ability to make smart decisions during rallies.

Halep has all these things in her arsenal. At her best, she combines them to make life extremely difficult for her opponents. If they play well, she beats them narrowly. If they play poorly, she thrashes them.

Halep applies pressure early on

In the Romanian’s quarter-final against Kontaveit, she looked focused from first minute to last. And she cranked up the pressure in just the third game.

During it, the Estonian hit some high-quality winners. However, she also made several errors to repeatedly return the score to deuce. Eventually, she cracked, and made an error on break point.

Two games later, the World No.31 saved three break points to recover from 0-40 down. Unfortunately for her, Halep was not discouraged. She outlasted Kontaveit in a 14-shot rally to seize the fourth break point of the game and extend her lead to 4-1.

Some players would relax a little at this stage. Some days, Halep might even do that. But not this time. She relentlessly closed out the first set (with a hold and another break) without giving the Estonian an inch.

Halep reaches new heights

Simona Halep (@rolandgarros on Twitter)

Extraordinarily, the standard of play from the two-time Grand Slam champion seemed to increase at the start of the second set. She came up with some brilliant shots as she raced into a 3-0 lead to extend her run of games to nine.

At that point, Kontaveit looked disconsolate. She made two wayward errors as she dropped her serve for the fifth time in a row.

The Estonian tried her best to make something happen in the next game. During one remarkable point, she hammered the ball as hard as she could to try and get it past her opponent. Maddeningly for Kontaveit’s supporters, Halep retrieved it every time and eventually won the point thanks to a let-cord. Minutes later, the score was 5-0.

The World No.31 finally stopped the rot after losing 11 games on the spin. But it hardly mattered. The Romanian held her serve easily to seal one of the most convincing wins of her whole career.

Halep recalls 2018 Final

In the last four, Halep will face either Garbine Muguruza or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. If she wins that encounter, she will contest an Australian Open final for the second time in three years.

“(My previous final) wasn’t negative at all,” the Romanian said in her on-court interview. “It hurt a lot because I lost 6-4 in the third. I had 4-3 and serve but I couldn’t finish the match. Maybe I was too nervous at that moment. But now I have more experience. That match helped me to win the two Grand Slams that I have already. Maybe I’m on my way to the third one. But it’s very far still, so I just want to focus on my next match.”

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Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic beat Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally to reach the semifinal in the Australian Open doubles tournament

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Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic saw off Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally 6-2 6-4 to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open doubles tournament in Melbourne.

 

Babos and Mladenovic broke serve in the opening game at love. They reeled off the first ten points of the match and went up a double break before closing out the first set 6-2.

Babos and Mladenovic broke serve at love in the third game of the second set. They missed a match point on Gauff and McNally’s serve at 5-3 before converting on their fourth opportunity on their serve.

Babos and Mladenovic set up a semifinal match against sisters Chan Hao-Ching and Latisha Chan from China Taipei, who beat reigning US Open doubles champions Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (9-7) 6-2.

The Chan sisters fended off four break points at 4-4 in the opening set en route to the tie-break. The Chinese Taipei sisters earned the only mini-break to win the tie-break 9-7.

The Asian pair earned a double break to race out to a 3-0 lead. Mertens and Sabalenka pulled one of the two breaks back, but Chan Hao-Chin and Latisha Chan broke again in the seventh game and closed it out on their first match point.

Top seeds Hsieh-Su Wei and Barbora Strycova cruised past Jennifer Brady and Caroline Dolehide 6-2 6-2 setting up a semifinal match against Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who came back from one set down to beat Gabriela Dabrowski and Jelena Ostapenko 3-6 6-2 6-3.

Dabrowski and Ostapenko earned an early break to open up a 3-0 lead. Krejcikova and Siniakova broke back in the seventh game for 3-4, but Dabrowski and Ostapenko got the second break to seal the opening set 6-3.

Krejcikova and Siniakova fended off the only break point they faced and broke twice to win the second set 6-2. After a trade of breaks in the third and fourth games Krejicikova and Siniakova earned the decisive break in the eighth game to win the third set.

 

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova sees off Angelique Kerber to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open

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Anastasya Pavlyudchenkova battled past Angelique Kerber 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 after 2 hours and 37 minutes to reach her sixth Grand Slam quarter final.

 

Pavlyuchenkova earned her first break with a volley and raced out to a 5-2 lead with a double break with a backhand return. Kerber came back by winning four consecutive games to take a 6-5 lead. Pavlyuchenkova hit seven consecutive winners from 3-5 to take a 3-0 in the tie-break. Kerber won seven of the next nine points from 0-3 down and sealed her first set point with a backhand winner.

Kerber saved two set points at 4-5 and another one at 5-6 in the second set. Pavlyuchenkova closed out the second set on her fifth set point with a return winner.

Pavlyuchenkova went up a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead. Kerber pulled back one of the two breaks with a forehand crosscourt. Pavlyuchenkova earned her third break of the decisive set to open up a 5-2 lead and closed out the match with her fourth ace setting up a quarter final against Garbine Muguruza, who beat Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-3.

“I was there pretty much every point, I mean, I tried to. That always paid off, or at least that gives some sort of confidence. Sometimes there were some moments or matches where I did not feel my best or I did not play my best, but I was still there”, said Pavlyuchenkova.

Anett Kontaveit came back from one set down to beat Polish teenager Iga Switek 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 7-5 becoming the first player from Estonia to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Kontaveit will face Simona Halep in the quarter final.

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