Venus Williams crushes Anett Kontaveit - UBITENNIS
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Venus Williams crushes Anett Kontaveit

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Venus Williams (photo by Clive Brunskill)

Venus Williams required 50 minutes on the court during her 6-2,6-1, dismissal of Estonian teenage qualifier Anett Kontaveit.

 

Playing in her 17th US Open,  Williams demonstrated that age is no barrier in tennis as she dismantled the 19-year-old in front of her home crowd. Both players started the match in solid form by holding their opening service games. The start of the match was the only time that Kontaveit was on par with Williams as the 35-year-old went on to blow her away in the opening set by breaking her twice to take it.

The second set was even more one-sided with the former world number one storming to 5-0. Kontaveit prevented the bagel set by holding to love in the sixth game before bowing out of the match. The final game was however the most challenging for Williams in the entire match. Williams was forced to save a break-point before booking her place in the last eight.

The loss is a steep learning curve for Kovtaveit, who is playing in the third Grand Slam of her career. The former junior world number 4 is currently ranked 152 in the world and claimed the biggest title in her career earlier this year at an ITF $50,000 event in Eastbourne, England.

Throughout the short match Williams won 84% of her first serves and 71% of second. In addition, she also produced 15 winners and four aces.

In the last eight, Williams could play world number 1 and younger sister Serena  if she wins her fourth round match. If the world number one is successful, it will be the 27th time that the sisters have played each other on the tour. Venus currently trails the head-to-head 11-15.

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Paula Badosa Stuns Ash Barty in Charleston

The 23-year-old has recorded the biggest win on her career to date.

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Paula Badosa (image via https://twitter.com/paulabadosa)

Spain’s Paula Badosa has beaten world No.1 Ash Barty 6-4, 6-3, at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston.

The world No.71 fired 7 aces with 19 winners while the top seed hit 24 unforced errors in a match where she didn’t look like herself. The win is is by far the biggest of Badosa’s career so far and she was ecstatic in her on court interview after the match. Prior to this week she had never defeated a top 20 player on the Tour.

 

“I can’t believe it, I still can’t believe I just beat number one in the world, I was quite nervous but I think I served very well,” said Badosa. “I think that was the key of the match and it was a tough match but I was there until the last moment and I could win.”

After holding serve in the first game of the match Barty had an early chance to break but the Spaniard would dig in and save both before holding serve. At 2-2 it was the world No.71 with a chance to break and she would earn the first break of the match with a stunning backhand winner.

The world number one had a chance to go back on serve but the Barcelona native hung in and held serve to consolidate the break. The next game the Aussie was struggling on serve and she would double fault to give her Spanish opponent another chance to break.

She would break to take a 5-2 lead but when she was serving for the first set she got tight and the Aussie earned three break points to get one of the breaks back. The world number 71 managed to save all three but the Brisbane native earned a fourth winning a great point with a volley winner and would break to make it 5-3.

At 5-4 the Aussie was pushing hard to go back on serve and once again had three chances to break but the Spaniard saved all three playing some great tennis and would serve out the set with a smash.

Badosa rode the momentum into the second set and earned two breakpoints right away in the first game and broke to take a 1-0 lead. The break wouldn’t last as the world number one would break right back the very next game to level the set at one.

Barty then saved two breakpoints at 2-2 to hold serve and then went on the offensive earning two breakpoints of her very own but the Spaniard saved them both.

At 3-3 the world number would serve a double fault to give her Spanish opponent three chances to break and she would get the break to take a 4-3 lead.

Badosa saved a breakpoint while serving to consolidate the break and would earn two matchpoints on her opponents serve. She won the match after Barty hit an unforced error.

In her post match press conference Badosa spoke about how she was able to overcome all the adversity she faced in the match.

” I’m quite happy because I was quite intense with the returns, I knew I had to be intense because she serves very good, she changes a lot the serve, she mixed a lot so I knew I had to be very focused on my returns and than in my serve I think I served very well which was the key of the match because I had a lot of breakpoints down but then I could do a good serve so I’m quite happy about that and I think I was intense the first balls against her the first two-three balls and I think that was very important.”

She will next face Veronika Kudermetova in the semifinals on Saturday who defeated former US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-4.

“It’s going to be a very tough match, a little bit different than today, they (both Kudermetova and Stephens) play more from the baseline. Ash mixes a lot the game so it will be different, very tough and both of them are amazing players”

Barty did take the opportunity after the match to speak to the press. She addressed if she felt fatigue played a factor in the match after a tough three set win against Shelby Rodgers.

“It’s probably been a collective of the last three weeks of playing a lot of matches which is always a good problem to have but without a doubt, I had to adjust with the way I wanted to approach the match and I tried to be super aggressive and all in all it was probably taking a few too many risks but it’s been an exceptional three weeks out of our trip and we can take nothing from the positives from it,” she said.

In other matches at the tournament, 12th seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia beat Coco Gauff in straight sets 6-3, 6-3, and Danka Kovinic continued her amazing run by beating the number 11 seed Yulia Putintseva 6-7, 7-5, 6-1.

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EXCLUSIVE: Leylah Fernandez On Why She Isn’t Fully Satisfied With Her Season So Far

The Canadian took the time to speak to Ubitennis after her three set loss in Charleston.

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Leylah Fernandez - WTA Monterrey 2021 (ph. by Abierto GNP Seguros)

Leylah Fernandez was ousted by Danka Kovinic at the Volvo Car Open on Wednesday and UbiTennis had the chance to speak with her about the match, the season so far and the road ahead.

 

The 18-year-old is a rising star of the women’s game after showing success on the junior Tour. In 2019 she won the French Open girls title to become the first Canadian woman to win a junior Grand Slam title since Eugenie Bouchard. Since then Fernandez has made a steady rise on the professional Tour where she is currently at a ranking high of 72nd in the world. Earlier this season she won her maiden WTA title at the Monterrey Open.

“I’ll give credit to my opponent she played a good match but honestly today wasn’t my best day especially serving and I think that gave her confidence in the match but this is a great opportunity for me to learn and to get better for my next tournament,” Fernandez commented on her latest match in Charleston.

Due to her young age, there is always room for improvement of her game in the future. One particular area which appeared to trouble the Canadian in her clash with Kovinic was the ball toss. She produced six double faults and won less than 50% of her service points.

“We (my team) are discussing training-wise how to improve it and we have to take it step by step and need to find a way to get around and get it back on the positive side,” she explained.

Not too disheartened by her latest loss, Fernandez has already switch her focus to the next tournament. She will be representing Canada at the newly named Billie Jean King Cup. Her country faces Serbia and she is thrilled about the opportunity.

“I am very excited, I’m happy that our captain has nominated me to represent Canada once again and I’ll try to do my utmost best to have us qualified for the next round and we will go out there and have fun and do our best as a team and hopefully our result will be on our side,” she said.

It will be only the third time the teenager has played in the team competition. Her sole win at the event took place last year when she upset Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic.

Despite winning her first WTA title in Monterrey a couple weeks back the Montreal native admits that she is not happy with her season so far and would like to make it better.

“I’m not satisfied until now, yes I’m happy I won Monterrey but that’s in the past and now I want to focus on the future and my upcoming tournaments and hopefully it will be getting better from here on out,” she stated.

Fernandez plans to play the clay court season in Europe as she outlines her schedule.

“That is the plan to go to Europe for the Madrid and Rome tournaments and then French Open, we will see how the body feels, we will take it one tournament at a time and hopefully I’ll be there,” she concluded.

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‘It Came Back Quite Naturally’ – Ash Barty Returns To The Charleston Clay In Clinical Fashion

The world No.1 said she was just hoping not to ‘trip and fall’ on the clay in her return.

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Ash Barty experienced little difficulty in her first competitive match on the clay for almost two years at the Volvo Open in Charleston.

 

The Australian Grand Slam winner hasn’t played on the surface since her triumph in the final of the 2019 French Open. Since then Barty missed a large chunk of the Tour after skipping most of last season due to travel concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. She started her comeback to the Tour in January and has since won titles in Melbourne and Miami.

Taking to the green clay courts of the Family Circle Tennis Center on Wednesday, Barty was in clinical form as she brushed aside Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-1, in her opening match of the tournament. The 62-minute encounter saw the top seed impressively win 90% of her first service points as she broke Doi five times in total.

There was an adjustment period, without a doubt,” Barty said. “It was a very quick turnaround from Miami, just had a couple of hours of practice. I was, honestly, just hoping I didn’t trip and fall over trying to slide. But it came back quite naturally. So really happy to be back here, particularly in Charleston, but back on clay.”

The 24-year-old is likely to face stiffer competition in the next round when she plays local favourite Shelby Rogers who is playing in the tournament for the 10th time in her career. The American world No.52 upset 14th seed Amanda Anisimova 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, in what was a roller-coaster encounter with there being 18 breaks of serve.

“She’s pretty darned good, that’s what I’ve learned,” Rogers said of Barty. “She’s serving great, like we saw in Miami, and she’s got a lot of confidence on her serve. That will be a huge factor, whether I can get in some of those games. But you are doing something right if you get to play the No. 1 player in the world three times already.”

It will be the third time the two players have faced each other on the Tour this season. Barty dropped a set against Rogers at the Yarra Valley Classic before winning. Then at the Australian Open she prevailed in straight sets.

Following a series of high-profile exits, Barty is the only top 10 seed left in the top half of the draw. The only other seed in her section is Veronika Kudermetova (15) who could play Barty in the semi-finals. In contrast, the bottom half still has five seeds playing.

Despite being a French Open champion, Barty is yet to win a WTA title on the clay anywhere else.

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