Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova upsets US Open champion Flavia Pennetta in Beijing - UBITENNIS
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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova upsets US Open champion Flavia Pennetta in Beijing

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World Number 32 Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova rallied from a set down to edge this year’s US Open champion Flavia Pennetta with 3-6 6-4 6-3 after two hours. The first set went on serve until the fifth game when Pavlyuchenkova broke for 3-2 but Pennetta broke back en route to winning four consecutive games. The Italian clinched the first set with 6-3 with an ace after 36 minutes. The Italian star won 76 percent of her first serve points and hit 4 aces.

Pavlyuchenkova played a solid second set winning 86 percent of her first serve points. In the 8th game Pennetta fought back from 15-40 to save two break points with four consecutive points but two games later Pavlyuchenkova broke to love en route to closing out the 42-minute second set with 6-4

Pavlyuchenkova went up a break to love to race out to a 3-0 lead. Pennetta did not give up and broke back for 2-3. The Russian player broke serve to love in the sixth game. Pennetta held her serve in the 8th game for 3-5 but Pavlyuchenkova sealed the win on the first match point in the ninth game after 42 minutes. Pavlyuchenkova won for the first time in her career against Pennetta who won their previous two head-to-head matches in the Roland Garros in 2008 and in Cincinnati in 2011

Timea Bacsinszky overcame a second-set loss to edge past Carla Suarez Navarro with 6-4 4-6 7-5 setting up a quarter final against Sara Errani. The Swiss player went up a set and a break but she lost six consecutive games to drop the second set. She bounced back building a 4-2 lead in the third set with a break of serve but Suarez Navarro broke back to draw level to 5-5. Bacsinszky won the final two games to clinch the third set with 7-5.

Bacsinszky enjoyed a great spring winning two back-to-back tournaments in Monterrey and Acapulco before reaching the semifinals at the Roland Garros. She went on to reach the quarter finals at Wimbledon but lost her last four matches before the China Open.

The Lausanne player beat her quarter final rival Errani in three sets with 6-0 4-6 7-6 in their only previous head-to-head match in Monterrey earlier this year.

Bethanie Mattek Sands overcame this year’s US Open finalist Roberta Vinci 6-1 3-6 6-2. The US player raced out to a 3-0 lead with a break of serve. Vinci held her serve to win her first game for 1-3.. Mattek Sands played a great tennis producing a series of inside-in forehands and stop-volleys and cruised to winning the first set with 6-1. Vinci held her serve in the first game of the second set before converting the second of her three break points to take a 2-0 lead. Mattek Sands broke back but dropped her serve to go down 1-3. Vinci held her service game to pull away to 5-1. Mattek Sands recovered one of the breaks for 3-5 but Vinci sealed the second set on her first set point with her forehand after 36 minutes.

Mattek Sands went up a break in the 20-point fourth game of the third set on her third break point opportunity. Mattek Sands saved five break point chances in the third set and broke serve in the 8th game on the third match point after 1 hour and 43 minutes

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Former Champion Alexander Zverev Crashes Out Of Mexican Open As Rune Progresses

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Alexander Zverev’s quest for a second Mexican Open title has come to an end after he was dumped out of the tournament by compatriot Daniel Altmaier in the first round. 

The German top seed suffered a shock 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, loss to Altmaier in what is his earliest defeat at a tournament since Tokyo last October. Zverev hit more winners (25-24) and fewer unforced errors (26-32) than his opponent but came undone on his serve. In the decider, he got broken early on and then failed to convert five break point opportunities throughout the set. Paving the way for Altmaier to record his first-ever win over a top 10 player on a hard court. 

Zverev is the latest top name to crash out of the tournament, which is being held in Acapulco. Earlier this week, fourth seed Taylor Fritz and seventh seed Tommy Paul also lost their opening matches. As a result of these defeats, at least one unseeded player is guaranteed to reach at least the semi-final stage.

There was better fortune for Holger Rune who began his campaign with a convincing 6-2, 6-3, win over Michael Mmoh. The Dane is playing in his first tournament since reuniting with former coach Patrick Mouratoglou. 

“It’s great. Everything is how I like it,” atptour.com quoted Rune as commenting about his new coaching setup. “We might both agree that I executed [the game plan] very well. It just feels good. 

“I’m just trying to build on every match. I thought it’s a great start, because It’s a very strong field in Acapulco, so you’ll have to play great tennis to be able to go deep and potentially win the tournament.”

Rune will next play qualifier Aleksandar Kovacevic who knocked out last week’s Los Cabos champion Jordan Thompson in three sets. 

Finally, Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Russia’s Roman Safiullin 6-3, 6-4, in just over an hour. The Greek has pledged to donate $1000 for every ace he hit in the tournament to a fundraiser set up to support Alcapulco’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Otis. In his opening match, he produced five aces and will therefore donate $5000.

“It’s a great feeling, I hope I can do more and contribute to the community”. He commented.  

Tsitsipas will next pay Italy’s Flavio Cobolli, who beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas To Raise Money for Hurricane-Stricken Acapulco At Mexican Open

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Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas has pledged to donate $1000 for every ace he hits at this week’s Mexican Open to a fundraiser set up to support the recovery effort from Hurricane Otis. 

Last October Hurricane Otis caused widespread devastation to Alcapulco, which is where the Mexican Open is staged. According to Reuters, 52 people were killed and most of the city’s resort hotels were significantly damaged. The cost of damage was estimated to be in the region of $22M based on an El Pais report published on November 1st. 25,000 Mexican soldiers have also been sent to the region since the hurricane and there are ongoing issues with crime. Prompting the Mexican Open to issue an advisory to their players urging them not to go off-site due to the threat of crime, as well as poor infrastructure.

Throwing his support behind Acapulco, Tsitsipas has opted to take part in fundraising efforts. He is the fifth seed in this year’s ATP 500 event and a former runner-up back in 2021. 

“Very good to be back, happy that the tournament is still going strong, it is something we did not expect after the tragedy of a few months ago,” Tsitsipas told reporters earlier this week.
“It gives me happiness that so many people came together and made this possible to return everything to this beautiful city of Acapulco. I am here with my tennis to give the best I can to the communities”.

Significant efforts have taken place to get this week’s tournament restored following the hurricane. According to the Mexican newspaper Milenio, more than 200 million pesos and 35 companies were involved in the restoration. Furthermore, tournament director Geoffrey Fernández has claimed that his event has helped generate more than 11,000 jobs. 

“We work with the community, with our thousands of collaborators and families united by the same cause: moving Acapulco forward. We have achieved a lot together and together with the federal, state and municipal governments to make this event one of the best.” Fernández recently told Caras
“The response (from players) has been wonderful, no one has cancelled, and they have helped a lot in making the decision to go (ahead).” He added. 

On the opening day of the Mexican Open, there was a duo of shocks with seeds Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz suffering first round exits. Paul was ousted in three sets by British rising star Jack Draper and Fritz was beaten by Matteo Arnaldi. 

Meanwhile, Tsitsipas will play his first match on Tuesday against Roman Safiullin.

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‘I Needed To Make Tough Decisions’ – Jessica Pegula Opens Up About Coaching Change

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Jessica Pegula - Dubai 2023 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Would No.5 Jessica Pegula says her decision to split with her long-term coach ‘naturally happened’ and she has now enlisted the help of two former doubles specialists. 

Earlier this season the American split from David Witt after spending more than four years working alongside him. During their time together, Pegula won two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a Grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. The decision was publicly announced shortly after she lost in the second round of the Australian Open in January. 

Speaking about Witt’s departure for the first time, Pegula explained her reason for doing so was due to where she is currently at in her career. Adding that she didn’t want to regret not making changes to her team after retiring from the sport. 

“I just felt like I needed something different,” she told reporters at the San Diego Open.
“I’ve just turned 30 so I feel like I’m getting to that point where I am maybe more near to the ending of my career phase so I just kind of needed to make some tough decisions to try something different.’
“I didn’t want to regret not doing this. I think it was just something that naturally happened.”

Pegula has now brought two new coaches to her team but neither of them can travel full-time with her. Mark Knowles is a three-time Grand Slam doubles champion and former world No.1 who won a total of 55 ATP titles during his career. He has previously worked with Milos Raonic, Jack Sock and Mardy Fish. 

The other new face in the team is Mark Merklein who is a former top 40 doubles partner that played alongside Knowles at the 2000 Olympic Games. 

“Right now I’m working in a combination with Mark Merklein and Mark Knowles. Both of them can’t travel full time so I am kind of in the process of trying to figure that out. But one is based in Boca which is really helpful as that is where I live. It’s been nice to have that set up.” Pegula explained. 
“Mark Knowles is in Dallas so I have just spent a week there. It has been nice. I like having a collaborative setup where I feel like I can talk to multiple people and have different feedback.”

Pegula is the top seed at the San Diego Open. She will play her opening match against Germany’s Jule Niemeier. 

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