Day 5 Wimbledon 2015: Serena survives a thriller to face her sister Venus - UBITENNIS
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Day 5 Wimbledon 2015: Serena survives a thriller to face her sister Venus

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TENNIS – Day 4 ladies action was going along quite placidly until the match up of Serena Williams v Heather Watson. Watson came within two points of scoring this major upset but alas the 20-major champion Williams hung tough for the win Cordell Hackshaw

 

Serena Williams (1) found herself in an unexpected battle against British hopeful Heather Watson on Centre Court. It goes without saying that Williams was the clear favourite. However, after the American took the opening set 6-2 in 25 minutes. However, in the 2nd set, things got complicated. Watson spurred on by the clearly partisan crowd, broke Williams for a 3-2 lead. Williams broke back and was up 4-3. One figured that Williams would take control of the match but it was Watson who went into the ascendancy. She broke Williams for 5-4 and served it out to level the match at a set apiece.

The crowd was rabid. They were fervently cheering on their countrywoman. Watson fed off this charge and spurred herself on into the the 3rd set as Williams became noticeably rattled by the fever pitch. Williams was erratic and soon found herself down 0-3, a double break. Williams put her head down and reeled off 4 straight games for a 4-3 lead. However, serving to extend this lead at 4-4, she was broken at love. Watson served for the match up 5-4 and the crowd was delirious. Serena looked to be on her way out and her hopes of a “Serena Slam” and the “Grand Slam” were in serious jeopardy.

“I don’t think I’ve ever played the crowd here like that. They were really vocal – in between points, during points… I’ve never heard boos here, that was new for me. They were rooting for their champion. You can’t blame them – I would be too,” said Serena.

As Watson served for the match, Serena quickly asserted herself to get two break points to level it. The crowd became utterly unstoppable, calling out during points and at one point booing Serena, a 10-time champion here. It was distasteful. Serena held it together to level the match 5-5. Watson missed her opportunity as she came within 2 points of winning the match at deuce. Serena sensing the hesitation and the need for her own urgency, broke Watson and held comfortable for 6-5.

Now the pressure was all on Watson’s shoulder to serve to stay in the match. The Briton could not withstand the moment as Serena soon broke her to take the match 6-2 4-6 7-5 in 2 hours and 14 minutes. Watson said this of the match, “I was two points away so I’m pretty disappointed. Even now I just wish I could go back and play one point different to see if it would have changed things. It was a tough, tough ask. I was super, super close. That’s what hurts the most.”

“I honestly didn’t think I was going to win … How I pulled through I really don’t know. I was thinking I would be hanging around to watch Venus play. I couldn’t keep up with her. I thought maybe it just wasn’t my day. I should have won the second set and I didn’t. This was a match I think I would have lost last year or the year before. Mentally I’m stronger now. The older I get, the tougher I get upstairs,” said Serena after the match.

Serena will play her older sister Venus Williams (16) in the Round of 16 on Monday. Venus took out Aleksandra Krunic 6-3 6-2 in an hour and 11 minutes. Venus is looking to be in impeccable form. Her serve in particularly which has recently been a liability is now a valued asset. Venus is winning 85% of the points on her 1st serve and 73%  behind her 2nd serve. These are amazing numbers which would definitely bode well for her against Serena.

Maria Sharapova (4) and Victoria Azarenka (23) both were tested in their matches but got through in straight sets. Sharapova was broken by Carmila Begu (29) in the opening game of the match. However, Sharapova broke back and ran away with the match up 6-4 5-0 before Begu was able to break her again. However, Sharapova closed out the match 6-4 6-3. Azarenka had to contend with Kristina Mladenovic. Mladenovic was able to break Azarenka but she could not get a significant lead. Azarenka remained dogged in her pursuit to get back to major form. She took out the Frenchwoman 6-4 6-4.

There were several interesting matches on the day. American Coco Vandeweghe found herself down 0-2 at the start of her match against Australian Sam Stosur (22). Vandeweghe then reeled off 12 straight games to take it 6-2 6-0. Stosur capitulated inexplicably but then again, this has come to be her norm at Wimbledon. Bethanie Mattek-Sands looked to be in full control of her match verses Belinda Bencic (30) up 5-1 in the opening set. However, Bencic called for the trainer and upon resumption of play, took the next 6 games to take the set 7-5. In the 2nd set, Bencic got another crucial break for 6-5 and served out the match 7-5 7-5.

Sloane Stephens started off her match against Lucie Safarova (6) in good form. She was up 6-3 and had break points in the opening game of the 2nd set. Stephens failed to convert any of those break points and that allowed Safarova the leverage she needed to take over the match. Stephens never looked the same thereafter. Safarova broke Stephens and raced to a 4-1 lead to later take the 2nd set 6-3. Stephens just lost her way in the match as she only won a single game in the decisive set. Safarova through to the Round of 16 3-6 6-3 6-1.

In the other ladies’ match of the day, Zarina Diyas upset another seeded player at this tournament. She took out Flavia Pennetta (24) in the opening round and not has knocked out Andrea Petkovic (14) in the 3rd round 7-5 6-4. Diyas was leading 4-1 in the 2nd set, double break in hand when Petkovic broke down in tears. However, the tears helped as Petkovic was able to level to get one of the breaks back and saved two match points. Diyas sensing the door of opportunity for her to win this match might be closing, quickly closed out the match 7-5 6-4. This is the 2nd year in a row that Diyas has made it to the Round of 16 at Wimbledon. Unfortunately, she will face Sharapova as she did at the Australian Open.

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Aryna Sabalenka comes back from a set down to beat Zheng Saisai on a windy day in Doha

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Aryna Sabalenka came back from a set down and a break down in the third set to beat unseeded Chinese player Zheng Saisai 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 after 2 hours and 21 minutes on a windy day at the Qatar Total Open in Doha. Sabalenka took a re-match against Zheng, who won their first head-to-head match in San José last August.

 

Zheng saved three break points in her first service game. After a trade of breaks in the fifth and sixth games, Zheng came back from 40-0 down to break serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead after saving six game points. Zheng held serve for 5-3 before breaking serve for the third time in the ninth game, as Sabalenka made her sixth double fault.

Sabalenka broke serve in the third game at 30 to take a 2-1 lead. Zheng broke straight back after a backhand pass followed by a volley error from Sabalenka.

Sabalenka saved a break point in the sixth game with a service winner. Both players held serve in the next eight consecutive games to force the second set to the tie-break. Sabalenka raced out to a 3-0 lead with two volley winners and sealed the tie-break 7-2 with a croscourt backhand forcing the match to the third set.

Zheng earned the first break of the third set with a backhand winner down the line in the first game. Sabalenka broke back in a four-deuce sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Sabalenka reeled off 15 of the final 16 points to win the final three games with a break in the eighth game. The Belarusian player sealed the win with an ace setting up a semifinal against either Belinda Bencic or Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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Petra Kvitova edges Jelena Ostapenko in three sets to secure her spot in Doha quarter finals

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Petra Kvitova edged past Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 4-6 6-1 in two hours on a windy day in the Qatar Total Open in Doha. The Czech player advanced to the quarter finals for the fifth time in her six appearances at the Doha tournament.

 

Kvitova and Ostapenko were level at 3-3 in their six head-to-head matches. Ostapenko beat her Czech rival in their most recent clash in Miami 2018.

Ostapenko earned a break point after two double faults at the start of the opening set and converted her chance as Kvitova silced wide.

Kvitova broke back in the fourth game and held serve to take a 3-2 lead. The Czech player broke for the second time on the fifth deuce in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead after two double faults from Ostapenko. Kvitova won her fourth consecutive game from 2-2 with a break at love to win the first set 6-2.

Ostapenko saved three consecutive points from 0-40 down to hold her serve in the second game. A series of four consecutive games followed in the next games. Ostapenko broke in the ninth game for 5-4 earning a chance to serve for the set, but Kvitova broke straight back to draw level to 5-5. Ostapenko broke at love in the 11th game before closing out the second set 6-4 to force the match to the third set.

Kvitova raced out to a 4-0 lead, as she dropped four points. She saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game at deuce. The former Wimbledon champion sealed in her next service game to set up a second round match against either Karolina Pliskova or ons Jabeur.

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Dayana Yastremska upsets Sofia Kenin in Doha

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Dayana Yastremska edged this year’s Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-3 7-6 after 1 hour and 35 minutes. Yastremska hit 13 aces and saved four of the six break point chances she faced.

 

Yastremska saved a break point with two service winners, as she was serving at 1-1. The Ukrainian player earned a break point at love in the fourth game with a return winner to take a 3-1 lead. Yastremska consolidated the break with an ace for 4-1 and wrapped up the first set with another unreturned serve at 5-3.

Kenin got an early break to open up a 3-0 lead with a service winner. Yastremska held at 15 before breaking back with a return winner. The Ukrainian teenager hit a backhand down the line winner to draw level to 3-3. Yastremska earned another break in the seventh game and won four consecutive games. Kenin broke back, as Yastremska double faulted while she was serving for the win at 5-4. Both players held serve in the 11th and 12th games to set up a tie-break.

Yastremska earned a mini-break to take a 4-1 lead and earned four match points at 6-2. She converted her third chance to set up a third round match against 2020 Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza.

Kenin beat Anastasija Sevastova in her first match since her triumph at the Australian Open, but she lost to Jelena Ostapenko at the Fed Cup Qualifier. The US player lost to Elena Rybakina in Dubai and to Dayana Yastremska in Doha.

“It’s really frustrating. Obviously coming off of Melbourne where I felt I was playing the best tennis of my life coming down to playing, not the worst tennis, but not playing the tennis I want to be playing. Yastremska played really well. I just feel like I can’t find my game, I am not playing the way to be playing, so it’s pretty frustrating right now. Credits to her, she played well with some good shots at those moments. She just played better at important at important moments and I just made too many unforced errors”, said Kenin.

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