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)
Ash Barty Eases Into Madrid Final
Number 1 seed Ashleigh Barty beat Paula Badosa 6-4 6-3 to reach her fourth final of the 2021 season at the Madrid Mutua Open after winning three titles at the Yarra Valley Classic, Miami and Stuttgart.
The first set went on serve in the first nine games. Barty earned two break points in the 10th game with a lob and loose forehands from Badosa. Badosa saved two set points with winners, but Barty converted her third chance after a double fault from Badosa to close out the first set 6-4.
After an early trade of breaks, Barty earned her second break after a double fault from Badosa in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. The Aussie star saved three break points in the fifth game and held serve for 4-1 with a dropshot. Barty dropped just two more points on serve to close out the second set 6-3.
Barty has extended her red clay winning streak to 16 consecutive matches and her win-loss record to 25-3 this season.
Barty has clinched her 16th consecutive win on red clay. The Australian player avenged her recent defeat against Badosa in the quarter finals in Charleston.
“It was important for me to get that early break back in the second set and keep my nose in front, almost force her to come up with something that was going to be a really high level to be at a high level to be able to get back into the match. I have learnt a lot about clay, without a doubt. I promise you, I am still counting down to the grass court season. It’s one of the my favourite times of the year. I think the memories and the learnings now that we are getting from the red clay has been really cool, to be able to challenge myself in different ways”, said Barty.
Ash Barty Battles Past Petra Kvitova In Madrid
Ash Barty is into the semi-finals of Madrid for the first time after defeating Petra Kvitova.
The world number one needed three sets and just under two hours to beat the three time Madrid champion.
Ashleigh Barty is into the semi finals of the Mutua Madrid Open after beating the number nine seed and three time champion Petra Kvitova in three sets 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in a match that lasted just under two hours.
The world number one hit 15 winners, served six aces while her Czech opponent his 44 unforced errors in the loss. It was the Aussie who got off to the best possible start holding her opening service game and earning three chances to break in the following service game.
“I started off particularly well, Petra (Kvitova) struggled to find the court a little bit and gave me some cheap points, In the second she served particularly well and I feel like she made a lot more first serves so it was important for me to try and manufacture a break early in the third just to break some momentum and try to find my way back in”
She would break the number nine seed with a sublime return winner to take an early 2-0 lead before the Czech tried to get back into the set earning a break chance of her very own the next game but it was immediately saved with a big serve and Barty held serve.
The world number one continued to dominate the first set earning two more chances to go up a double break which she would convert and would serve out the set in 25 minutes.
The second set is where the Czech number nine seed bounced back and after holding the opening service game broke to take an early lead before the Aussie tried to get the break back but was denied and Kvitova saved three breakpoints.
She would serve out the second set to force a third and deciding set and once again that’s where the number one responded earning the first break of the third set.
The number nine seed had a chance to back on serve but the Aussie would save the break opportunity with a gutsy second serve ace but the resilient Czech stayed in the match and got the break back to go back on serve at 3-2.
Unfortunately for her the Aussie pushed hard once again for the crucial break in the match and would convert on her third attempt and that break was enough for her to serve out the match.
She will next face Paula Bodosa who earlier in the day became the first Spanish women to reach the semifinals at the Madrid Open after upsetting the number eight seed Belinda Bencic and she told Ubitennis what the experience will be like playing in a stadium with fans who will be cheering against her.
“It doesn’t bother me, I’ve played matches in Australia where I’ve had them on my side but it’s a different element, it’s exciting to be able to play in front of a crowd, were grateful this week that we got people to be able to enjoy it with us and enjoy the matches and she’s had an exceptional week, having played her a couple of weeks ago there were things from that match that I learned and we try and take those into account tomorrow as best we can and go out there and try to execute”
Ash Barty Explains How Rise In Tennis Has Affected Her Life
The world No.1 outlines how tennis has impacted her as a person following her latest win in Madrid.
With prize money earnings exceeding more than $18 million Ash Barty says she still sticks to the same ‘10 or 15’ t-shirts over the past five years and rotates between them.
The former French Open champion is currently the highest ranked player in women’s tennis and has won 11 WTA titles so far in his career. Including two this year in Miami and Melbourne. However, the Australian has insisted her rise in the sport hasn’t changed her as a person. Instead she describes it as more of a learning experience.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have many experiences over the last two or three years in my growth and development as a tennis player,” she said following her third round win at the Madrid Open.
“My experiences as a tennis player haven’t changed me as a person. They’ve certainly helped me grow and develop and become a better person, but they certainly haven’t changed any of my true values or anything that I live by. Whether it’s 1 or 100, as a person I couldn’t care less how the tennis works out.”
Despite her success, the Australian stresses that she is no different to everybody else. Last season Barty missed a major of the Tour due to travelling concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since returning to action in February, she has won 22 out of 25 matches played and is currently on a 14-match winning streak when it comes to playing on the red clay.
“I’m not a massive person to go out shopping,” she admits. “I’m a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl. I’ve had the same 10 or 15 T-shirts for five years. I rotate through. Sometimes I’ll go out on a limb and get a different colour that’s not gray, black or white.”
Taking to the court in Madrid this week, the Jaguar logo is placed in the centre of Barty’s dress. She has been endorsed by the company since late 2018 and even drives their F-Pace SUV back in Australia. Although she has recently gained a Porsche after winning the Stuttgart Open in Germany. Is there a temptation to change car brands in the future?
“I don’t know. I love my Jag, that’s all I’m going to say,” she commented. “It was obviously a very cool gift. The tournament in Stuttgart has been doing it for a long time. Porsche has been a great sponsor for them. But I love my Jag.”
On the court in Madrid Barty faces a potentially tricky encounter in the quarter-finals against Petra Kvitova who has already won the tournament on three previous occasions which is more than any other female player. She has won four out of their five most recent meetings on the Tour but still trails their head-to-head 4-5.
“I love to play Petra. She brings out the best in me,” Barty stated. “I just said to Tyz (coach Craig Tyzzer) that we’re going to be counting in Roman numerals the amount of times we’ve played. It’s another challenge, another test. She’s won this tournament multiple times, loves the conditions here. It’s a fresh challenge for me.”
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