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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Caroline Wozniacki Pays Tribute To Father After Extending Career At Australian Open

The former world No.1 opens up about the influence Piotr Wozniacki has had on her.

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Caroline Wozniacki (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

Soon-to-be-retired Caroline Wozniacki believes she wouldn’t have been able to achieve the career she had without the support of her father.

 

The former world No.1 hailed Piotr Wozniacki following her latest win at the Australian Open. Unseeded in the tournament, she knocked out Ukrainian rising star Dayana Yastremska 7-5, 7-5, during what was a roller coaster encounter. In both sets the Dane went done a double break before battling back to edge out the 23rd seed. Trailing 1-5 in the opener and then 0-3 in the second.

“I was trying to think what to do out there to change that and she started making a few more unforced errors. I got a little more depth on the ball and I started serving a little bit better.” Wozniacki commented on her comeback.
“All of a sudden I kept getting one point after another and started getting the belief that I could get that set.”

In the end it was the greater consistency that saw Wozniacki over the finish line. During the match she hit 15 winners and unforced errors. Compares to big-hitting Yastremska’s more erratic tally of 36 and 47.

The win extends Wozniacki’s career on the tour for at least another match. She will retire from the sport following the conclusion of her campaign in Melbourne at the age of 29. It was at the Australian Open where Wozniacki won her first and only grand slam title back in 2018.

Looking back on her career, she pinpoints the guidance of her coach and father as one of the key factors behind her success over the years. Her milestones include winning 30 WTA titles and spending 71 weeks as world No.1. As of this week, Wozniacki is one of only five player in history to have made more than $35 million in prize money on the WTA Tour.

“I think sticking with my dad and that partnership has made me the player that I am today.” She told reporters in Melbourne.
“I definitely wouldn’t have been where I am today if it wasn’t for him because the trust that was there between us and just the journey I think was amazing.”

Regardless of her pending retirement, the Dane is very much living in the moment at the Australian Open. Relishing the support she is receiving from the crowd. In the third round she will play Tunisia’s One Jabeur. A player who had not won a main draw match at the tournament until this year.

“It feels great. The crowd is really supporting me out there and standing behind me and it’s amazing.” Wozniacki said.
“It’s a tournament where I have always had crowd support, so it just feels even more special because it’s even more now.’
“I feel just lucky to be out there and, you know, still playing on a high level.”

Despite being a former champion, Wozniacki had only reached the fourth round of the tournament once since 2014.

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Novak Djokovic Comes Out On Top At Windy Australian Open

It was a solid win for the world No.2 in far from ideal conditions.

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Second seed Novak Djokovic is through to the third round of the Australian Open after dismissing Japan’s Tatsuma Ito in straight sets.

 

The reigning champion battled to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, win over the world No.146 during blustery conditions in Melbourne Park on Wednesday. Despite facing some stern resistance throughout the second set, the Serbian managed to maintain his dominance with the help of a solid performance. Against Ito, Djokovic dropped only three points behind his first serve (43/46) and didn’t face a single break point in the match. Furthermore, he also hit 30 winners alongside 17 unforced errors.

“Credit to him for fighting till the end, the second set was pretty close,” Djokovic said during his on-court interview.
“They were tough conditions, pretty windy and it was hard to know where the balls were going. He was playing pretty aggressive and flat with not too many errors in the second set.’
“My serve helped a lot to get me out of trouble.”

Besides the challenge he faced from across the court, the world No.2 also had to deal with mother nature. After rain caused havoc on the first day of the tournament, the third day saw players trying to prevail in blustery conditions. Something that failed to unsettle somebody of Djokovic’s calibre.

“You have to focus on yourself and what you need to do. Having a low balance and not losing the base when you are moving around the court.” He explained.
“The wind can get you out of that comfort zone really quickly, but also it depends on who you play against.’
“Today I knew the shots would come pretty quick from the other side of the net so I had to stay low and put some variety in my shots. It worked well.”

The win is Djokovic’s 70th in the main draw at Melbourne Park since 2005. Making it the third grand slam tournament he has reached the milestone at. The only exception is the French Open, where he winning tally currently stands at 68.

This year the 32-year-old is trying to claim a record eighth title at the same grand slam. A milestone that has only previously been achieved by Rafael Nadal (12 French Open titles) and Roger Federer (eight Wimbledon).

Awaiting Djokovic in the next round is another Japanese player in the shape of Yoshihito Nishioka, who is through to the third round for the first time in his career. The world No.71 knocked out 30th seed Dan Evans 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

“I’m going to prepare for the match very similar to this one. Although Nishioka is a left-handed player.” Said Djokovic.
“He is probably one of the quickest players on the tour. I played him a couple months ago in the Davis Cup and I know what his strengths and weaknesses are to make a game plan.”

In their previous meeting at the Davis Cup last November, Djokovic thrashed Nishioka 6-1, 6-2.

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Petra Kvitova Grinds Past Badosa And Windy Conditions To Reach Last 32

Petra Kvitová grinded past Paula Badosa to reach the last 32 at the Australian Open.

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Petra Kvitova (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

Petra Kvitová battled past the windy conditions to defeat a spirited Paula Badosa 7-5 7-5 to reach the last 32 at the Australian Open. 

 

Experience was the key for Kvitová as she grinded out a tough straight sets win over talented Spaniard Paula Badosa to reach the third round in Melbourne.

Next for last year’s finalist is Ekaterina Alexandrova or Barbora Krejcikova.

In windy conditions, Kvitová continued her bid for grand slam success against hard-hitting Spaniard Paula Badosa and immediately struggled to judge the flight of the ball.

As for the Badosa, she seemed unfazed by the occasion ripping balls and creating space to hit winners past the Czech Republican.

It was also the Spaniard’s ability to return deep into the court that gave her opportunities to break serve after surviving a few early scares.

Some of that great returning was on show as she secured the first break of the match at 4-2 and settled into the contest well.

There was an immediate fightback though from last year’s finalist as a few powerful forehand saw her wrestle the break back and let out a huge ‘Pojd’ scream.

After being unable to detect her opponent’s game, Kvitová went up a gear as she managed to neutralise Badosa’s big serving and hitting.

Eventually a second break towards the end of the set sealed the opening set for the 7th seed as she edged out control of the opening set, 7-5.

Another break at the start of the second set was the momentum that Kvitová needed against a gritty and powerful opponent like Badosa.

But the Spaniard’s resolve continued to shine as she forced more errors out of the two-time grand slam champion and broke back.

Both players proved threatening on return and had many opportunities to secure the crucial break as it was first-strike tennis at its very best.

In the end though Kvitova proved why she has been a top 10 player for so long as she saved three set points as she powered to another break in the eleventh game and held to secure a tight straight sets win.

It was a gritty, determined performance from Badosa who proved why she has a lot of potential to do well in the game.

However experience was the key for Kvitova as she dealt with the tricky conditions and the power of Badosa to make the third round against either Ekaterina Alexandrova or Barbora Krejcikova.

In the pick of the other results, Iga Swiatek and Anett Kontaveit both advanced to round two with straight sets wins over Timea Babos and Astra Sharma respectively.

 

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