Konta upset Petkovic as the Ladies Round of 16 is set - UBITENNIS
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Konta upset Petkovic as the Ladies Round of 16 is set

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US OPEN – Johanna Konta’s win streak continues to 16 matches as she knocked out Andrea Petkovic (18) in straight sets 7-6 6-3 for her first ever appearance in the 2nd week of any major. Konta will take on Petra Kvitova (5) who has equaled her best performance at the US Open when she made the 4th round by defeating Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova (32) in straights sets as well 6-2 6-1. The women’s draw Round of 16 have been set and despite the many upsets along the way, there are some cracking and scintillating matches set to take place.

 

Konta’s take down of yet another seed is by far one of the most impressive things at these championships. After losing in the opening round of Wimbledon, Konta has yet to drop a match, winning 2 ITF events and coming through qualifications to get into the main draw here at the Open. Her tennis is impressive and her mental fortitude in her matches thus far is even more noteworthy. Petkovic is not an easy player to get by but the British player is displaying a level of maturity beyond what her experience on the tour should denote. After failing to close out the opening set up 6-5, Konta dominated the breaker taking it 7-2 points. In the 2nd set she again seized early control of it racing to a 5-1 lead. She failed to serve out the match in the first go around but battled hard in the 9th game to take it 7-6(2) 6-3. Her matchup against Kvitova will not be easy. The Czech player usually struggles in the NYC heat and humidity but this year, both the scheduling and the weather have been favourable to her and she is looking every bit the 2-time major champion.

2011 champion Sam Stosur (22) took out 2012 semifinalist Sara Errani (16) in 3 sets. Errani is always a dangerous opponent to face at any event as she is as determined and resilient as the best of them. However, on this day, Stosur brought her A-game and showed why she won this event 4 years ago beating none other than Serena Williams (1) in the finals. Stosur won 7-5 2-6 6-1 and will face another Italian Flavia Pennetta (26) who also made the semifinals here back in 2013 and the quarterfinals last year. Pennetta took on Czech Petra Cetkovska who earlier beat Caroline Wozniacki (4). Pennetta won 1-6 6-1 6-4.

Varvara Lepchenko became the 4th American to get into the Round of 16. She took Germany’s Mona Barthel in 3 sets 1-6 6-3 6-4. Lepchenko will face 2-time finalist here Victoria Azarenka (20) for a place in the quarterfinals. Azarenka is looking like her former self again, showing that trademark resilience and fight in tough matches. She face Angelique Kerber (11) who recently won Stanford. Kerber served for the opening set 5-3 but was unable to close it out as Azarenka reeled off 4 straight games to take it 7-5. This would turn out to be crucial because had Kerber taken this set, she could have had the match in straight sets when she won the 2nd set 6-2. However, it was not to be for Azarenka was determined not to lose out at these championships. Azarenka took it 7-5 2-6 6-4.

Simona Halep (2) is looking impressive again. She is an underdog at these championships but she is playing the type of tennis that made her dangerous at majors last year. She took out American qualifier Shelby Rogers 6-2 6-3. Halep will take on Sabine Lisicki (24) who by right should not be in these championships. Barbora Strycova had Lisicki against the ropes having secured the double break in the decisive set and served for the match twice. The Czech player came within 2 points from winning the match but those 2 points were too far. Lisicki after taking a medical time out, found the better part of her game, winning 5 straight games. She barely dropped points in this effort as she made few errors and took up aggressive court positions. Strycova who only minutes before was in the ascendancy soon was flailing on court. She could not find her game. Lisicki took it 6-4 4-6 7-5.

This is how the Round of 16 is shaped up on the ladies side:
TOP HALF
– Serena Williams (1) v Madison Keys (19)
– Venus Williams (23) v Annett Kontaveit
– Kristina Mladenovic v Ekaterina Makarova (13)
– Roberta Vinci v Eugenie Bouchard* (25) 
* Bouchard’s fate at these championships are in question as she sustained a head injury Friday night in the ladies locker room. She slipped and hit her head forcing her to withdraw from both the women and mixed doubles events. The USTA released a statement saying that her condition is being monitored and a determination about her participation for the rest of the event would be made at some point on Sunday when she slated to play Vinci in the round of 16.

BOTTOM HALF
– Petra Kvitova (5) v Johanna Konta
– Sam Stosur (22) v Flavia Pennetta (26)
– Varvara Lepchenko v Victoria Azarenka (20)
– Sabine Lisicki (24) v Simona Halep (2) 

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Australian Open Daily Preview: The Round of 16 Concludes on Monday

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Marin Cilic on Saturday in Melbourne (twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

On Monday in Melbourne, the remaining singles quarterfinalists will be decided.  Major champions such as Simona Halep, Marin Cilic, Daniil Medvedev, and Iga Swiatek seek further Grand Slam glory.  Meanwhile, players like Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Aryna Sabalenka are looking for their first Major title.

 

Each day, this preview will highlight the most intriguing matchups, while outlining the other notable matches on the schedule.  Monday’s play will begin at 11:00am local time.


Elise Mertens (19) vs. Danielle Collins (27) – 11:00am on Rod Laver Arena

Collins was a surprise semifinalist here three years ago, and is coming off an intense three-set battle against Clara Tauson on Saturday.  Mertens was a semifinalist in the year prior, and has quietly advanced thus far without dropping a set.  Notably, both women are still alive in the doubles draw as well, so they’ve accumulated plenty of wins this past week in both disciplines.  Collins will look to dictate play with her aggressive groundstrokes, while Mertens will utilize her consistency and guile.  They have split two previous meetings, with Collins claiming their hard court encounter, which was just a few months ago in Chicago.  When the American is striking the ball as much confidence as she is now, she is tough to beat in these fast conditions.


Simona Halep (14) vs. Alize Cornet – Not Before 1:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

After an injury-laden 2021, Halep appears fully healthy and ready to contend for her third Major title.  She’s allowed her opposition only 12 games through six sets, and won a warm-up event on these same grounds.  Cornet considered retirement last year, but the 32-year-old is surely glad she decided not to, as she’s reached the fourth round of this event for the first time since 2009.  After upsetting Garbine Muguruza in the second round, she came back from a set down to take out another seed, Tamara Zidansek.  Surprisingly, Cornet is 3-1 against Halep, though they haven’t played in nearly seven years.  And based on Simona’s current form, the Romanian is a considerable favorite to achieve her sixth Australian Open quarterfinal.


Felix Auger-Aliassime (9) vs. Marin Cilic (27) – Not Before 2:00pm on John Cain Arena

It’s been two years since Cilic had advanced to the second week at a Major, and he’s now vying for his first quarterfinal since 2018.  Auger-Aliassime is seeking his third consecutive quarterfinal at a Major.  The 21-year-old Canadian crushed Dan Evans in the last round, while the 2014 US Open champion upset fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev in four sets.  Their head-to-head has been quite lopsided to date.  In three matchups since July of 2019, Cilic has been victorious all three times, and has claimed six of seven sets contested.  And Marin has done so during a span where his best tennis has often alluded him.  Felix will surely be eager to join his close friend Denis Shapovalov in the quarters, but I give the slight edge to Cilic considering their history.


Jannik Sinner (11) vs. Alex de Minaur (32) – Not Before 2:30pm on Rod Laver Arena

Both these young players have taken advantage of kind draws to this stage, as this will be the first seeded player either has met.  For Sinner, this is his third appearance in the round of 16 out of the last four Majors, and he was a quarterfinalist at the 2020 French Open.  De Minaur reached the quarters at the 2020 US Open, and this is the farthest he’s been at a Slam since.  Their only previous encounter also occurred in 2020, which went to the Italian in three sets, in the quarterfinals of Sofia.  De Minaur will be the underdog, as he does not possess the offensive weaponry of Sinner.  However, the Australian thrives when competing for his country, and will likely make this a compelling affair.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. Taylor Fritz (20) – 7:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

On his eighth attempt, Fritz has finally broken through to the fourth round of a Major, with a five-set victory over Roberto Bautista Agut, who as usual was not an easy out.  Tsitsipas arrived in Melbourne without much match play, and without many expectations, due to an elbow injury that forced him out of the ATP Finals in November.  But the Greek has advanced rather comfortably to the second week of this fortnight for the third time in four years.  When these two met at the Paris Masters in 2019, Tsitsipas prevailed in straight sets.  I expect Fritz to play rather freely coming off such a big, nerve-wracking win, and knowing he’s not the favorite in this matchup.  The 24-year-old American has the ability to apply plenty of pressure to the Roland Garros finalist with his strong serve and penetrating groundstrokes.  And considering Stefanos’s last few Majors ended with upsets to less-accomplished players (Tiafoe, Alcaraz), it would not be shocking to witness another upset on this day.


Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Daniil Medvedev (2) vs. Maxime Cressy – With Zverev eliminated from the tournament, Medvedev is an even stronger favorite now to win his second consecutive Major.  It will be interesting to see how his game matches up with the serve-and-volley style of Cressy, who has won 11 matches this month in Australia (including qualifying).

Iga Swiatek (7) vs. Sorana Cirstea – Swiatek has methodically dismissed her opponents thus far, which is reminiscent of her title run at Roland Garros two years ago.  Cirstea has already upset two top 20 seeds (Kvitova, Pavlyuchenkova), and is looking for her first Major quarterfinal since the 2009 French Open. 

Aryna Sabalenka (2) vs. Kaia Kanepi – The way Sabalenka continues to advance despite her double faulting woes is one of the most inspiring stories of this event.  Kanepi is 6-3 lifetime in the fourth round of Slams, and gained plenty of wins towards the end of last season, winning two ITF events.  When they played in a tune-up event last year on these same grounds, Kanepi won in three.


Monday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Italian perfection as Matteo Berrettini outlines Australian Open title credentials

Matteo Berrettini is into the Australian Open Quarter-Finals where he will face Gael Monfils.

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Matteo Berrettini (@Tennis - Twitter)

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini put on a masterclass performance to beat Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets.

 

Across some media outlets before the match, there was concern that previous abdominal and other injury issues may catch up with the seventh seed.

As well as the physical effects of the long five-set tussle with young star Carlos Alcaraz in the previous round, dubbed Matteo’s Escape from Alcaraz.

Berrettini swatted aside such doubts to outlast the Spaniard 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 in two hours and 22 minutes, to set up a mouth-watering quarter final against Gael Monfils.

The 35-year-old Frenchman is yet to drop a set. The two played out a five-set classic back in 2019, in the US Open quarter finals, where the Italian edged it.

Against Carreno Busta, however, the first set was nip and tuck with both players holding strong on serve.

In the first ever meeting between the pair, the Rod Laver Arena crowd knew they were in for a treat, as Berrettini nailed a fine passing shot down the line at two games all, 30-0 down.

And this was Berrettini’s hallmark throughout the match, fighting for every point against the Carreno Busta serve.

The 25-year-old Italian pounced at five games all, converting the first of two break points, and served out the set with some thunderous tennis, 7-5.

Carreno Busta had to play some clutch tennis in the second set, holding serve all the way through just to stave off the 6 ft 6 giant that is Berrettini.

It went to a tie-breaker where five successive points from the Italian’s racquet threw up four set points.

The 19th seed and two-time US Open semi-finalist saved two of them, with a monster forehand for the first.

But Berrettini was serving bombs, and Carreno Busta was powerless to return, and the Italian gladiator let out a roar as he stole the second set.

The third set was equally as impressive from Berrettini, who must surely be considered a serious title contender to match Daniil Medvedev, on this performance.

Carreno Busta was doing everything at the beginning of the third set just to keep in touch with the Italian.

At 2-1 up, Berrettini sensed an opening and nearly had the Spaniard, with four deuces, but Carreno Busta just about held on.

Out of nowhere, the end was nigh at 5-4 to the Italian, as Berrettini battled back from 15-40 down to deuce, and Carreno Busta completely capitulated, handing his opponent match point.

The seventh seed made no mistake and sealed an impressive straight sets victory, and with it a first quarter final in Australia.

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After Fairytale Breakthrough, Barbora Krejcikova Reaches New Highs At Australian Open

Krejcikova has already triumphed in doubles at Melbourne Park, now she has her sight set on singles glory.

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Image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen

The past 12 months have seen Barbora Krejcikova explode in the world of tennis from being a doubles specialist to becoming one of the top ranked singles players on the women’s Tour.

 

This time last year at the Australian Open the Czech fell in the second round to 29th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets. At the time she had only played in one WTA final in her career and was yet to break into the world’s top 50. Since then, Krejcikova has taken the Tour by storm following a shock run to the French Open title. During the same season she would win another two titles, as well as qualify for the WTA Finals in both singles and doubles.

Now seeded fourth at this year’s Australian Open, the 26-year-old is through to the quarter-finals after dropping one set in four matches played. Her latest victory was over two-time champion Victoria Azarenka who she defeated 6-2, 6-2, with relative ease. Azarenka was struggling with a neck issue throughout the match.

It’s just something special and magical. A couple months ago I wasn’t even in the top 100. Now I’m here and I’m playing on the biggest stadiums with the champions. I’m actually able to beat them,” said Krejcikova.
“I wouldn’t really say it’s disbelief anymore. I think it’s just a really amazing and special feeling that I go there and I want to win and I’m actually able to win against her.”

Now with the belief in her game, Krejcikova says she is not intimidated by the prospect of playing in arenas such as Rod Laver which has a capacity of almost 15,000 people. In fact, those situations are a big source of motivation for her.

I always wanted to play on a big stage, I always wanted to play on a big stadium where there are a lot of fans there giving us a nice atmosphere. It’s like a very nice motivation,” she explains.
“I really want to keep playing on these big courts. I really want the tournaments to have me there. I always loved it. It’s not really something new. I always loved it.”

Krejcikova has already achieved multiple success at Melbourne Park but in the doubles. She has won the mixed doubles title three years in a row (2019-2021) which is something that no other player have achieved in the Open Era. In 2021 she was also runner-up in the women’s doubles tournament with compatriot Kateřina Siniaková.

Now aiming to become the first Czech-born player to win the women’s singles title since Hana Mandlíková in 1987, Krejcikova switches her attention to her next match against Madison Keys. A former top 10 player and US Open finalist who has rediscovered some form lately. Keys, who is unseeded in the tournaments, thrashed Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-1, in her fourth round match.

“I think she’s really powerful, she’s always been very powerful,” the world No.4 said of her next opponent. ‘She does her things well and she likes to be aggressive.’
“We (my team) have to find a way to eliminate those things, and how to give her my game.”

Krejcikova is playing in the main draw of the Australian Open as a singles player for only the third time in her career.

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