Premier Mandatory in Beijing: Sara Errani fought back from a set down to beat Andrea Petkovic - UBITENNIS
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Premier Mandatory in Beijing: Sara Errani fought back from a set down to beat Andrea Petkovic



World Number 20 Sara Errani rallied from a set down to overcome number 21 Andrea Petkovic with 3-6 6-3 6-2 after two hours and two minutes in a match marked by a lot of unforced errors and a lot of breaks of serve. With this win Errani has reached the third round of the China Open WTA Premier Mandatory in Beijing after beating Petra Kvitova and Caroline Garcia in the previous two rounds.


Errani broke serve on Petkovic’s first service game before holding her serve in the second and the fourth games to take a 3-1 lead but the German reeled off five consecutive games to clinch the first set with 6-3.

Petkovic did not convert a break point in the first game of the second set with two unforced errors but she broke serve to love two games later for 2-1. Errani broke straight back as Petkovic sent her backhand into the net before taking the 3-2 as the German his her forehand wide. Errani got the break in the 8th game before holding her serve to love in the next game. Errani sealed the win in the second set with 6-3 as Petkovic hit her return into the net.

The third set started with three breaks of serve in the first three service games. Errani reeled off four consecutive games from 3-3 in the second set to build a 6-3 1-0 lead with a break of serve in the first game of the third set. Petkovic broke straight back but she dropped her serve again to trail 1-2 as she made two consecutive double faults and sent a forehand wide. Petkovic broke straight back for 2-2 but Errani broke again for 3-2 before holding her serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Errani pulled away to 5-2 with a new break and served for the match. In a very long final game Petkovic saved three match points at deuce before Errani sealed the third set with 6-2 after 49 minutes on her fourth match point. The Italian had already beaten the German in the third round of the 2015 Roland Garros with 6-3 6-3.

Errani, who is ranked 19th in the Road to Singapore, has still a small chance to qualify for the WTA Finals but she would need to win the Beijing tournament and defend her position in one of the tournaments after Beijing (Tjanjin, Hong Kong, Linz, Moscow and Luxemburg).

The 28-year-old Italian player will face the winner of the match between Timea Bacsinszky and Carla Suarez Navarro. For the first time in a Premier Mandatory Tournament three Italian players have reached the third round. Tomorrow US Open champion Flavia Pennetta will play against Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, while Roberta Vinci will face Bethanie Mattek Sands

Number-5 seed Garbine Muguruza is one match away from qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore after cruising to 6-2 6-1 over US qualifier Irina Falconi in her opening match in the Chinese capital.

Muguruza, who finished runner-up to Venus Williams last week in Wuhan, built up a 6-2 4-0 lead by reeling off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set en route to closing out the match with 6-2 6-1. If Muguruza wins her next match, she will become the first Spanish player to qualify for the WTA FInals since Aranxta Sanchez Valero in 2001

Muguruza will face Mirjana Lucic Baroni. They are tied 1-1 in their previous two head-to-head matches. In their last match earlier this year Muguruza beat the Croatian player en route to reaching the Wimbledon final. Lucic Baroni beat Muguruza at last year’s US Open.

“I am happy. I tried to keep the level I had in Wuhan and Tokyo. It was hard because I didn’t play for two days and here the conditions are not the same, so I am happy. I didn’t know that I was one win away from Singapore. I knew obviously if I did a great tournament here, I would qualify for the WTA Finals but I didn’t know which round it was. That’s a very good motivation. I want to finish the year in a good year. I want to on holiday and say: “Look. I had a great year. I did everything I could to go off the court feeling that I gave it all my effort”, said Muguruza.


Novak Djokovic Survives Resilient Davidovich Fokina To Reach Roland Garros Second Week

Novak Djokovic is into the last 16 after a tough battle with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.



Novak Djokovic’s quest for a 23rd Grand Slam title continues after a tough 7-6(4) 7-6(5) 6-2 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.


The Serb won an epic straight sets match which lasted just over three hours and 35 minutes.

Djokovic overcame a physical first two sets which lasted two hours and 47 minutes before racing through the third set.

Next for Djokovic is either Juan Pablo Varillas or 13th seed Hubert Hurkacz.

The opening two sets saw a battle take shape as both players grinded away from the baseline.

Davidovich Fokina’s clean hitting from the baseline earned him the first break for a 3-2 lead before Djokovic retaliated as he converted his third break point of the game.

There was a mix of long rallies and entertaining shot-making as Davidovich Fokina forced Djokovic into uncomfortable positions on the court.

The Spaniard’s all-court game earned him another break as Djokovic was making too many mistakes in big points.

However Davidovich Fokina once again fell short in the longer rallies when it really mattered as the pressure got to the Spaniard as Davidovich Fokina couldn’t close out the opening set.

Djokovic’s experience paid off as he forced a tiebreak and played his best tennis when it mattered the most as he won seven of the eleven points on offer to take the opening set in 85 minutes.

If that opening set wasn’t brutal enough, the second set was another war of attrition as both competitors pushed each other to its limits.

Djokovic couldn’t convert three break points in the opening game and was ultimately punished as Davidovich Fokina’s consistent all-court game saw him take a 2-0 lead.

Once again the Spaniard couldn’t keep his lead as Djokovic played his best tennis when behind in the score as the Serb took a 3-2 lead.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion was a break twice before Davidovich Fokina played aggressive return games to recover the break back on both occasions.

Another physical set of tennis would be decided by a tiebreak, which Davidovich Fokina originally had control of.

In the end Djokovic won the last three points to pump up the Philippe-Chatrier crowd, ending another 85 minute set.

From then on it was all Djokovic’s as the third set lacked intensity and saw Djokovic storm to victory.

After the match Djokovic told the Parisian crowd that he knew it was going to be a physical match, “I knew it was going to be a difficult match, a physical match,” Djokovic was quoted by the BBC as saying.

“He competed very well, he’s an amazing fighter and an amazing player. There are not many weaknesses in his game and he played a great match. A win is a win. I thought if I lost the second set we would probably play five hours today.

“You have to be ready, that is what Grand Slam tennis is all about. It takes a lot of effort but you have to believe in yourself. I am proud of the performance today for sure.

“Three hours for two sets is obviously a lot. It required a lot of energy and my priority now is to recover. Tomorrow I will have a day off and I’ll be ready to play again.”

Djokovic will now prepare for his last 16 match against Varillas or Hurkacz on Sunday with a spot in the quarter-finals on the line.

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Aryna Sabalenka Rejects ‘Open’ Press Conference Request Citing Mental Health

Aryna Sabalenka is into the last 16 at Roland Garros for the first time but it was happened after the match that made the news.



Aryna Sabalenka (@RelevantTennis - Twitter)

Aryna Sabalenka rejected a request to do an ‘open’ press conference after her third round win at Roland Garros.


The Australian Open cruised into the second week in Paris after a 6-2 6-2 thumping of Kamilla Rakhimova.

It means Sabalenka is into the last 16 at Roland Garros for the first time in her career having not dropped a set this week.

Sabalenka admitted to the small amount of journalists there that this win will give her more belief in Paris, “I don’t know actually. If something happened to you once, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen one more time,” Sabalenka said when talking about her third round barrier at Roland Garros.

“So I prefer to focus on myself, on things I can control. Of course, this win gave me so much belief in myself here in Paris, so I know that on the next match I will go there and do everything I can to win another match. Yeah, definitely this win give me somewhat belief.”

Sabalenka will hope her belief will take her to a second Grand Slam title in Paris this week.

However most of the news surrounding Sabalenka has been off the court with the world number two having an intense confrontation with a journalist in her last press conference.

This is a journalist asked Sabalenka about Belarus’ regime and it’s links to war in Ukraine.

Sabalenka refused to answer the series of questions with the journalist being unable to gain an answer from the press conference.

That latest line of questioning resulted in Sabalenka holding a interview with only a few journalists today rather than an ‘open’ press conference.

Starting the interview Sabalenka admitted she did not feel safe in the press conference room on Wednesday and took the decision to protect her mental health, “Yeah, after my match I spoke with the media like I normally do. I know they still expect some questions that are more about the politics and not so much about my tennis,” Sabalenka opened up by saying.

“For many months now I have answered these questions at tournaments and been very clear in my feelings and my thoughts. These questions do not bother me after my matches. I know that I have to provide answers to the
media on things not related to my tennis or my matches, but on Wednesday I did not feel safe in press conference.

“I should be able to feel safe when I do interviews with the journalists after my matches. For my own mental health and well-being, I have decided to take myself out of this situation today, and the tournament has supported me in this decision. It hasn’t been an easy few days, and now my focus is
continue to play well here in Paris.”

It will be interesting to see how the situation evolves as the war in Ukraine continues to escalate.

As for Sabalenka, she will hope to focus on the tennis on court as she takes on either Sloane Stephens or Yulia Putintseva on Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals.

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Daria Kasatkina Discusses Off-Court Projects After Reaching Roland Garros Second Week

Daria Kasatkina discussed sharing her personal life after reaching the second week at Roland Garros.



Daria Kasatkina (@RelevantTennis - Twitter)

Daria Kasatkina discusses filming her life on the tour as she reached the fourth round at Roland Garros.


It was a comfortable afternoon at the office for Daria Kasatkina as she thrashed Peyton Stearns 6-0 6-1 to reach the last 16 in Paris.

The world number nine broke on six occasions as she was clinical in her 57 minute victory that sees her into the second week at Roland Garros for the third time.

Speaking after the match Kasatkina spoke about how happy she was with her level and spoke about her biggest strength which is her speed, “Well, yeah, definitely I played a very good match,” Kasatkina said in her press conference.

“After this moment I just realized I just know exactly what I have to do. You know, it happens sometimes that the match goes one way, but I think the level was pretty high, and I’m just happy that I was able to close the match and take all my chances.

“Well, I have to be quick because I’m not that powerful like many girls. Physically I’m not that gifted, so I have to be quick. I have to find ways how
to win, how to survive. Yes, that’s why. So I have to do it with my legs, with the brain, and try to squeeze the maximum I can.”

Kasatkina was on great form today as she looks to defend the semi-final points that she won last year.

The world number nine was also asked about her off-pitch projects including a vlog that she does with her girlfriend.

Last year’s semi-finalist admitted she likes to be creative and felt comfortable about revealing her off-court life a long time ago, “I like it, to be
honest. I like to create things. I like to do this kind of thing,”
Kasatkina said about a potential career after tennis.

“Also, I would like to do charity stuff. I want to help young athletes. Let’s see where and how because now it’s very — you know, the situation in the world sucks, so let’s see.

“But, yeah, I want to help and maybe to do something that’s creative. As you said, in the media, because I realize that actually I like to be in front of the cameras especially, but not the photo shoots. Photo shoots I hate. It’s not my thing at all. I enjoy, like, video, like natural things.

“Actually, I always was pretty comfortable to share things and everything. Just grow up a little bit, I become more open, got a bit fixed with my head. Yeah, that’s it. I was actually always pretty open and not a very closed person, let’s say.

“For me it’s more fun. This is how I get away a little bit from the pressure thinking about the matches and everything, so I’m taking it as a little bit of not distraction; distraction in a good way. Like a little bit of an art thing.

“We like to do these things, especially the feedback from the people, from the fans, it looks good. They like it. We’re going to try to do more and more to implement maybe, I was thinking to maybe interview some of the chair umpires because it’s going to be very interesting.

“I was thinking to talk with Amelie Mauresmo here. So, Amelie, if you are listening to this, maybe we can arrange something. It’s going to be fun.

“Yeah, because all these parts are always behind the scenes. Nobody knows about it. 95% of the fans, they see us as tennis players on the tennis court, and they don’t know who we are outside of the court and how we live and what’s going on, actually, behind the doors, behind the tennis court doors.

“I think it’s nice. If I would be, for example, the fan of some sport, I would definitely like to see more about it, more about the personalities of the players.”

As Kasatkina continues to grow the sport with her vlog and enjoy the more creative side to life, the ninth seed will hope her off-court projects helps her relax and positively impacts her tennis.

Next for Kasatkina will either be Anna Blinkova or a rejuvenated Elina Svitolina on Sunday.

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