Yaroslava Shvedova Beats Naomi Osaka to Take the 2015 Hua Hin Crown - UBITENNIS
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Yaroslava Shvedova Beats Naomi Osaka to Take the 2015 Hua Hin Crown

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The finals of Hua Hin, a new WTA 125K event, pitted eighteen year-old Naomi Osaka against the much more experienced Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.  In an exciting and dramatic 2 hour and 51 minute thriller, Shvedova prevailed 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

Osaka had a somewhat easier path to the finals having beaten the third seed Nao Hibino in handy fashion 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 on Saturday. Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Osaka is 5’11” and uses her height to full advantage with a strong service game. Against Hibino, Osaka had seventeen aces against just three double faults; further, she won 83% and 78% of her first and second serves-in, respectively. The right-hander is currently ranked number 203 and is the WTA Rising Stars invitational champion.

Shvedova had to work harder to get to the finals in a topsy-turvy 2 hour 42 minute match against Qiang Wang of China that included two tie-breaks. Shvedova’s terrific stamina and perseverance were on display all weekend. The 28 year-old is the fourth seed and is currently ranked 82 on the WTA tour. She played somewhat erratically against Wang; in particular her serve was unreliable and she was especially vulnerable at times on her second serve.

The final match began with a significant twist; Shvedova was the better server from the outset. With her first opportunity in the second game she placed all five of her first serves including an ace for good measure. Osaka’s serve was effective but not the dominant and reliable weapon displayed against Hibino.

Leading 2-1, Osaka had her first big chance to break on the sixth point but dumped a second serve opportunity into the net. Shvedova went on to win the game and Osaka seemed rattled. In the next game she had her first double fault and was broken at love.

Again in game six Osaka had another major chance to break back. Shvedova was a bit erratic and the lead shifted back and forth over twelve points. However, Shvedova rallied and put up an ace followed immediately by a second serve ace to win the game and lead the set 4-2.

Osaka rallied immediately and won her next service game at love and recorded her first ace of the match. But again Osaka failed to capitalize on her opportunities. In game eight Shvedova started to lose her serve and suffered on double fault. But she rose again to the challenge winning the 14-point game with another big ace.

The gripping 22-point final game of the first set was marked by a number of long rallies, some great court coverage and clever shots. However, Shvedova once again found the fortitude to hang tough. At deuce on the 21st point she had a nice get off of a terrific lob by Osaka and hit a short, unreturnable shot just over the net. She won the next point and took the first set 6-4.

Early in set two Osaka showed considerable frustration and negative body language. She was broken immediately and fell behind 0-2 as Shvedova easily confirmed the break. She was not serving nearly as well as in the semi-finals, typically landing 50% or less than her first serves in.

Down 1-3 and serving in game five the teenager temporarily found her service form and won at love punctuated with an ace. She carried this momentum and broke-back in game six to level the match at 3-3.   Neither player could gain the advantage and the set went to a lengthy tie-break marked by seven mini-breaks. Osaka took the set but it was anyone’s guess who had the advantage.

The third set was a see-saw of momentum. Osaka struck first in set three with a break of Shvedova in the third game.   Shvedova broke back immediately in game four but handed game five right back to Osaka. With the set at 3-2 favoring Osaka neither player could seem to muster a decent service game. Osaka double faulted twice in game eight and the set was leveled at 4-4. Shvedova held at love and the match was now teetering on Osaka’s racket. At 15-30 Osaka threw in her sixth double fault of the set. At Championship Point Osaka seemed to foil Shvedova with a short drop shot but the speedy 28 year old was able to move in an lift a beautiful ball over the net, past Osaka and down the line for a winner.

For Shvedova this is her second career WTA title and her first for 2015. Osaka is an up and comer with a great serve and very good ground-strokes and court coverage. Off of their strong showings at Hua Hin both are poised to start 2016 with confidence and promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(VIDEO) Day 8 At The ATP Finals: Alexander Zverev Downs Weary Djokovic

Ubitennis looks back on the year-end finale that took place.

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Alexander Zverev has ended Novak Djokovic’s run at the O2 to win the biggest title of his career. The 21-year-old was the fresher and stronger out of the two contesting the final at the O2 Arena in London. Following their match, Djokovic openly backed the German to one day break his record in terms of titles won. Something Zverev was quick to downplay.


 

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‘If You Win a Grand Slam, It’s A Good Season’ – Roger Federer On 2018 And His Off-Season Goals

The Swiss player has named two improvements he would like to make to his game ahead of the next season.

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20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer has said that he is contempt with his performance this year despite experiencing a slight dip in form during the second half.

The 37-year-old officially ended his season on Saturday after bowing out in straight sets to Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals in London. This year the Swiss player has won four titles on the tour, including the Australian Open in January. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 48-10.

“(Pete) Sampras once upon a time said, ‘If you win a slam, it’s a good season.’” Reflected Federer, who held the world No.1 ranking for a total of eight weeks during 2018.
“So started great. I played super well in Australia again. So obviously I can’t wait to go back there in a couple of months.”

Despite the success, he has also suffered his share of disappointment. Prior to his last tournament of the year, Federer had only won two out of six matches against top 10 players. He also suffered a surprise loss to Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon before falling in the fourth round at the US Open. Making it the first time he has only reached one grand slam semi-final out of four since 2013.

“The second half of the season could have been better maybe.” Admitted Federer. “I also have high hopes to always do well. So I’m happy I gave myself opportunities again in that second half of the season.”
“I maybe lost a couple too close matches that could have changed things around for me a little bit.” He added.

Work to be done in the off-season

Fortunately, the positives overweight the negatives for the Swiss veteran, who is the oldest player currently in the world’s top 100. In September he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his debut on the ATP Tour at the Grand Prix de Tennis de Toulouse in France.

“I’m very proud that at 37 I’m still so competitive and so happy playing tennis. From that standpoint, as disappointed as I might be about this match if I take a step back, I’m actually very happy about the season.” He told reporters after his loss to Zverev on Saturday.

Federer will now embark upon the off-season where he is expected to conduct his usual preparation in Dubai. During a recent interview with newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, he has outlined two areas of his game that he wants to improve on. His forehand and his play at the net.

“As far as tennis is concerned, I would like to find my way back to the net more often,” he said.
“And of course I want to whip the forehand right again.
“Then there is the condition training with Pierre (Paganini).
“Of course, deciding whether to play on clay or not has an impact on the training program.”

Federer will return to action at the Hopman Cup, which will get underway on December 29th.

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(VIDEO) Day 7 At The ATP Finals: Novak Djokovic Shines, But Roger Federer Stumbles

Ubitennis reflects on a somewhat mixed semi-final day at the season-ending championships.

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There will not be a dream Djokovic-Federer showdown at the ATP Finals on Sunday after two very contrasting semi-finals.

Roger Federer was sent crashing out of the tournament following a sensational performance by Alexander Zverev. Zverev’s triumph had a bitter taste after his match concluded in controversy when he stopped during a rally after noticing a ball boy dropping a ball. Prompting backlash from the crowd and a big debate in the London capital.

In the other semifinal, Novak Djokovic produced a near-perfect performance against a sluggish Kevin Anderson, who leaked 33 unforced errors. Djokovic heads in the final without dropping his serve in the entire tournament.

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