Day 6 Wimbledon 2015: Defending champion Kvitova upset by Jankovic - UBITENNIS
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Day 6 Wimbledon 2015: Defending champion Kvitova upset by Jankovic

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TENNIS – Petra Kvitova (2) will once again not defend her Wimbledon title. The defending champion was unexpectedly sent packing from the tournament in the 3rd round by Jelena Jankovic (28) 3-6 7-5 6-4 in 2 hours. “I cannot stop smiling. I’m really, really happy. I was just happy to be playing and competing on grass. Grass is not my favourite surface and Petra plays so well on it. I think it’s her favourite surface. It shows by winning two Wimbledon titles,” Jankovic said soon after the match. Cordell Hackshaw

It might be seen as ironic or sheer coincidence that last year Kvitova played the match of the tournament in the 3rd round when she beat Venus Williams in three tough sets. She was very much ready for that challenge as Williams is a 5-time Wimbledon champion. This year, she was caught unawares in this battle against Jankovic who has never gone past the 4th round here.

Coming into this match, the Czech had only dropped three games and looked to be playing the best tennis in the women’s draw. Jankovic on the other hand, had to play two 3-setters including a 10-8 scoreline in the 3rd set in the first round again Elena Vesnina. At the start of this match, it seemed that Kvitova was on her way to another Wimbledon final as she quickly broke Jankovic for 3-1 and maintained the lead to take the opening set 6-3.

Kvitova carried this momentum into the 2nd set as she again got out to a 3-1 lead. However, she began to miss and miss in ways only Kvitova can do it. When Kvitova misses, she misses badly. When her balls are out, they are way out. Jankovic is hardly the player to be making such unnecessary unforced errors against. The Serb sensed that she had a chance in this match and quickly took it. Jankovic began to clean up her game and hold serve far easier than she did earlier in the match. She made only 2 unforced errors in the 2nd set as Kvitova continued to misfire. Jankovic broke in the 8th game to level the set. As Kvitova served to stay in the set down 5-6, Jankovic broke again to take the set 7-5.

In the 3rd set, Kvitova remained off her game as she never made any inroads into the Jankovic serve. Jankovic appeared to be the one with the bigger serve as she never faced a break point in the set. Kvitova would later state, I’m not really sure what happened out there. I was kind of up in the second set. Suddenly I felt like she’s coming back, playing a little bit aggressive … Suddenly from my side, I didn’t have answer for it. My serve didn’t help me at all this time, as well. I was really struggling with each shot.”

They remained on serve through to the 10th game when Kvitova again had to serve to stay in the set and this time the match as well. She faltered as she made her 21st error, this time on the backhand to give Jankovic a spot in the Round of 16 on Monday. Jankovic has never made it past the 4th round of Wimbledon despite getting to the semifinal or better at all the other three majors.

Jankovic will take on Agnieszka Radwanska (13) who knocked out Casey Dellacqua 6-1 6-4. Radwanska is definitely showing herself to be a contender here. She had yet to drop a yet this tournament and playing the type of tennis that brought her success here at Wimbledon back in 2012 when she made her first major semifinal. Caroline Wozniacki (5) still on the hunt for her first major title, dismantled Camila Giorgi (31) 6-2 6-2. Despite having beaten Wozniacki in their last match up, Giorgi was completely outclassed on this day. Giorgi made 30 unforced errors including 9 double fault compared to only 3 errors from Wozniacki.

If Wozniacki wishes to get to a Wimbledon quarterfinal, she will have to get by the hard hitting Spaniard Garbine Muguruza (20) who knocked out Angelique Kerber (10) 7-6(12) 1-6 6-2. The opening set of this match revealed some spectacular tennis as both women were giving it their all. Kerber won the first 3 games of the match only to lose the next three. Neither player broke the other in the set and forced it to a decisive tiebreaker as Muguruza saved several set points. In the breaker neither player to get the crucial 2 point lead to take it and so it was only on the 26th point that Muguruza won it with a forehand volley winner.

In the 2nd set, Kerber ran away with it, winning 6 straight games after Muguruza held to open it, 6-1 Kerber. In the 3rd set, Muguruza reasserted herself and broke Kerber for a 2-1. She broke again for 5-2 and served it out. Kerber was not having a good serving day in the 3rd set as she won less than 50% of the points on serve. It has always been the case for Kerber that her serve let her down in crucial matches. She has been playing so well this year, winning three premier event titles including Birmingham on grass a couple weeks ago.

Madison Keys (21) is again having another nice run at the majors as she made it to the 2nd week of Wimbledon, a tournament that is well suited for her game and playing style. The American knocked out Tatjana Maria 6-4 6-4. Keys will take on Olga Govortsova, a Belarusian qualifier. Govortsova beat Magdalena Rybarikova 7-6 6-3. Also having another great time at the majors is Timea Bacsinszky (15), recent French Open semifinalist. Bacsinszky knocked out Sabine Lisicki (18) in straight sets 6-3 6-2 in 68 minutes. This result was a bit shocking since Lisicki made the finals here back in 2013. One did not expect such an easy match for the Swiss player but Lisicki had one of her infamous erratic cycle and unable to clean up her play. She had 24 errors to 10 from Bacsinszky. Monica Niculescu will play Bacsinszky in the 4th round as the Romanian beat Kristyna Pliskova 6-3 7-5.

So the Round of 16 are set for this Monday when all 8 matches will be played. They are as followed:
Serena Williams (1) v Venus Williams (16)
Victoria Azarenka (23) v Belinda Bencic (30)
Maria Sharapova (4) v Zarina Diyas
Coco Vandeweghe v Lucie Safarova (6)
Caroline Wozniacki (5) v Garbine Muguruza (20)
Timea Bacsinszky (15) v Monica Niculescu
Olga Govortsova (Q) v Madison Keys (21)
Agnieszka Radwanska (13) v Jelena Jankovic (28)

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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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Ons Jabeur Hoping For Better Fortunes In Doha Despite Injury Concerns

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Ons Jabeur (TUN) playing against Venus Williams (USA) on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Credit: AELTC/Jon Super

Ons Jabeur is optimistic that she will be ready in time to play at her next event in Doha after suffering an emotional exit from Dubai on Friday. 

The two-time Wimbledon finalist was in tears during her straight sets loss to Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals. Jabeur later revealed that her emotional reaction was linked to the reoccurrence of a knee injury in recent days which has troubled her in the past. She said the pain can differ at various tournaments but in Dubai, it was causing her significant discomfort. 

“I’m an open book, an emotional person. I like to show myself. One thing I have learned is to accept the emotion, and if I try to hide it, it will not make me feel good,” Jabeur told reporters in Doha at a pre-tournament press conference. 
“So it’s good to let it out and be done with it than to keep it inside and probably will make more problems for you later.”

Despite the setback, the world No.6 intends to play at the Doha Open which gets underway today. She will be the fourth seed in this year’s draw and will be playing in the event for the first time since 2022. Last year she was forced to skip the Middle East swing after having surgery to treat an enlarged nodule which was obstructing her airway and preventing oxygen from reaching her lungs. 

“I’m very happy to be back. I’m obviously happier than last year,” she said. “I’m glad to be united with my fans here, and hopefully it’s going be a great week for me.
“I have been struggling with the knee for a long time, and last week was very, very tough. Hopefully, I can recover in time and then play better here in Doha.”  

This time of the year has always meant a lot to the Tunisian, who has spoken on numerous occasions about her aim to inspire more players from her region to take up tennis. She is the first Arab player to reach a Grand Slam final, crack the top 10 in the WTA rankings and qualify for the season-ending Tour Finals. 

“It is very important to be here to connect with Arabic crowds. I feel so much love here in the region, and obviously, that’s one of the reasons I chose to play Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Dubai, because I feel so good here.” She said.

Declaring she is ‘happy’ with her rhythm on the court, Jabeur will begin her campaign in Doha against either Lesia Tsurenko or Turkish wild card Zeynep Sonmez.

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