Challenger Tour: Young Australian star takes on second seed in Toyota - UBITENNIS
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Challenger Tour: Young Australian star takes on second seed in Toyota

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Can Jasika cause an upset in Toyota?

The Challenger Tour is finally winding down, and there are now just two regular season events left. They are in Andria and Toyota.

 

Andria: The event in Italy sees the top two seeds, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Ivan Marchenko, qualify with rankings in the Top 100, at 93 and 97 respectively. The other seeds are very much as you were from other recent events in Italy, as Michael Berrer, Dudi Sela, Mirza Basic, Luca Vanni and Dustin Brown all appear again. Ivan Dodig is the only new name to appear since Brescia, though Benjamin Becker and Marsel Ilhan are not at the event this week.

In early play, one German seed progressed, and another fell. Michael Berrer made short work of Italian wildcard Julian Ocleppo, dropping just three games in a 6-2, 6-1 win. Things were not so easy for Dustin Brown, as he fell to the in-form Egor Gerasimov, who picked up his maiden Challenger title just two weeks ago. Gerasimov beat the erratic Brown for the loss of just five games, winning through 6-3, 6-2. Illya Marchenko also won 6-4, 6-0.

Tuesday sees Dudi Sela take on Swiss Adrien Bossel, and Ivan Dodig is up against Andrea Pellegrino (picks in bold). The match of the day however is likely to be eighth seed Mirza Basic’s encounter with local Roberto Marcora. Basic is in good form, but Marcora is an effective player, and with home support makes for a very tricky opening round tie. Marco Chiundinelli and Marton Fucsovics also feature.

Toyota: Like Andria, its very much as you were in Toyota, as seven of the eight seeds from Yokohama take part. The only change is the absence of last week’s top seed John Millman from play, he is replaced as top seed by last week’s second Matthew Ebden. Jordan Thompson comes in as the new eighth seed as a result.

It did not help that much though, as Thompson was the first to depart, beaten in straight sets by Jason Jung. Alexander Kudryavtsev won losing just one game, and Konstantin Kravchuk advanced to the second round, defeating Japanese wildcard Makoto Ochi 6-3, 6-1. James Duckworth took care of another wildcard in Sora Fukuda, 6-3, 6-4, though Sho Katayama did beat Gavin Van Peperzeel 6-4, 6-2.

The match of Wednesday is sure to be Omar Jasika taking on second seed Tatsumo Ito. Jasika is very highly thought of in Australia, and Ito is not the player he once was. The other young star involved in recent Asian Challengers, Duckhee Lee, is not playing in Toyota.

Other matches see Yoshihito Nishioka up against Hiroki Moriya, Yuichi Sugita against Brit Brydan Klein, and Go Soeda versus Yasutaka Uchiyama. Top seed Matthew Ebden is also in action against Greg Jones, who plays with a protected ranking.

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World No.1 Ash Barty Outlines Ultimate Career Goal

The 24-year-old has named the tournament she dreams of winning.

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Reigning French Open champion Ash Barty has made clear the one thing she wants to achieve before hanging up her racket for good.

 

The world No.1 is dreaming of adding to her Grand Slam tally in the future, but her sights aren’t set on her home tournament at the Australian Open. Which hasn’t been won by a local female player since Chris O’Neal back in 1978. Instead, her dream lies with the All England Club which hosts the Wimbledon Championships.

My dream is winning Wimbledon. Without a doubt,” AFP quoted Barty as saying during an interview with broadcaster ABC.
“It took a long time for me to say that out loud. It took a long time for me to have the courage to say that out loud, but that’s what I want. That’s what I want to work towards.
“Being able to win junior Wimbledon was really special, but it just gave me a taste of what it’s really like.”

It was at Wimbledon where Barty first rose to prominence by winning the girls title at the age of 15 in 2011. Becoming the first indigenous Australian to win a title of any sort at the event since 1980. Progressing onto the senior circuit, she is yet to get the breakthrough she wants with her best result being a run to the fourth round last year despite being the top seed.

Barty will not have a chance of winning the grass-court major this year after it was cancelled for the first time since the Second World War due to COVID-19. She is also set to miss the upcoming US Open due to travelling concerns related to the virus and its unpredictability.

“That was a massive part of it for our team – accepting that this is something greater than what we can control, we can’t do anything about it,” she commented on skipping New York.
“We just have to play our part and do the right thing. And then hope we get an opportunity some time in the year to get back to some kind of normal.”

The 24-year-old isn’t the only top name missing from this year’s US Open. Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens are the two other top 10 women’s players that have pulled out so far. Meanwhile, Simona Halep is yet to reach a decision. As for the men, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka will not be playing.

Prior to the five-month break in tennis due to the Pandemic, Barty started the season winning 11 out of 14 matches. She won the Adelaide International before reaching the semi-finals at both the Australian Open and Doha Open.

Barty currently leads the WTA rankings by 2641 points ahead of second place Halep.

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Elise Mertens beats Camila Giorgi to reach her third quarter final in 2020

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Number 3 seed Elise Mertens from Belgium edged Last week’s Palermo semifinalist Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 44 minutes to secure her spot in the quarter final at the Prague Open. 

 

Mertens reached her third quarter final of the 2020 season after Shenzhen and Auckland and scored her second win in as many matches against Giorgi. 

Giorgi got an early break in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead, as Mertens hit her backhand into the net. Mertens broke straight back in the third game for 1-2. Giorgi saved two break points in the fifth game. 

Mertens broke for the second time in a eight-deuce seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held her next two service games and served out the first set 6-4 with a backhand pass. 

Mertens got the first break of the second set in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The Belgian player saved four break-back points in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead before breaking serve in the seventh game. The 2019 Doha champion hit her third ace on her first match point setting up a quarter final clash against either Tamara Zidansek or Canadian wildcard Eugenie Bouchard.   

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Simona Halep makes a winning start to her Prague Open campaign

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Number 1 seed and last year’s Wimbledon champion Simona Halep edged past Polona Hercog 6-1 1-6 7-6 (7-3) in two and a half hours in the opening round of the Prague Open on her seventh match point after 2 hours and 31 minutes. Halep played her first match since claiming her 20th title in Dubai. 

 

Halep wasted six match points before claiming the win in the tie-break of the third set to secure his spot in the Round of 16. Halep won four points more than Hercog and saved five of the 11 break points he faced. 

Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the opening set. Halep earned two consecutive breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-1, as Hercog made 12 unforced errors to only two winners. 

Hercog came back from a break down early in the second set to get three consecutive breaks and won the second set 6-1. 

Both players traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games of the decider. Halep earned another break to open up a 5-3 lead. Hercog broke back in the ninth game and saved six match points in the 10th and 12th games to set up a decisive tie-break. Halep claimed the tie-break 7-3. 

Before the five-month break Halep lost to Garbine Muguruza in the semifinal of the Australian Open and won the Dubai final. 

Last week’s Palermo semifinalist Camila Giorgi came back from one set down to beat Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) after 2 hours and 14 minutes. Giorgi converted six of her eight break points. 

Kostyuk earned the first break in the fourth game. Giorgi broke straight back in the fifth game. Both players traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games. Giorgi saved a break point in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Kostyuk broke for the third time in the 10th game to win the first set 6-4 after 44 minutes. 

Giorgi broke twice in a row to race out to a 4-0 lead, Kostyuk pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4, but Giorgi broke again in the seventh game to win the second set 6-2 in 31 minutes. 

Kostyuk broke serve in the third game of the decider to open up a 3-0 lead. Giorgi broke back to draw level to 3-3. In the eighth game the Italian star fended off another break. The set came down to the tie-break. Giorgi opened up a 4-2 lead. Both players traded mini-breaks. Giorgi earned two match points and converted her first chance to win the tie-break 7-4. 

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