VIDEO - Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic Crash Out Of Auckland - UBITENNIS
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VIDEO – Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic Crash Out Of Auckland

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Venus Williams in action at the 2016 ASB Classic (image via stuff.co.nz)

Shocks galore occurred on day 2 of the ASB Classic with top seed Venus Williams and second seed Ana Ivanovic making swift exits from the tournament.

 

Defending champion Williams faced Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina in her first round encounter. Kasatkina is currently ranked 75th in the world and shot to fame in 2014 after winning the French Open Girls title. Despite the lack of experience, the 18-year-old impressed many with her gutsy 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3, win.

The marathon encounter consisted of Williams being constantly being placed under pressure by her younger rival. In the first set Williams was the first player to lose her service in the seventh game when Kasatkina successfully converted her first break point of the match. The top seed responded in typical Williams fashion by breaking back immediately to nudge proceedings towards a tiebreak. Similar to the opening set, the tiebreaker was a tense occasion as the top seed broke the Russian two consecutive times to win the first set.

After taking the first set, many expected Williams to pull away from her less experienced rival, however, Kasatkina had other plans. Breaking the American once more, the 18-year-old swiftly opened up a 3-0 lead. Williams was unable to find a solution to her Russian problem, who extended the lead to 5-1 after breaking the American to love as she gradually forced the match into a final set.

It was a case of what might have been for Williams, who experienced a disappointing third set. After racing to a 3-1 lead, The world No.7 was broken three consecutive times as Kasatkina won six straight games to grab the biggest win of her young career.

The error-stricken performance from Williams consisted of an agonizing 73 unforced errors. Nevertheless, a shocked Kasatkina praised Williams after getting the biggest win in her career.

“I couldn’t ask for a better start to the year”. The 18-year-old said.
“She is an amazing tennis player and I respect her so much. It was an unbelievable match for me.”

Williams wasn’t the only upset of the day. Second seed Ana Ivanovic was knocked out in straight sets by British qualifier Naomi Broady. The Brit came into the match with a big confidence boost after defeating top seed Magdaléna Rybáriková in the final round of the qualifying draw. Ivanovic had a golden opportunity to take the first set after she broke for a chance to serve at 5-4 up. The Serbian was unable to serve it out as Broady broke back immediately as she won three straight games to take the first set.

The second set was tense with no breaks of service in the first nine games. Serving a down a set and 4-5, Ivanovic went behind 15-40, giving Broady her first two match points. Ivanovic successfully defended the both of them, but it wasn’t enough to deny the Brit, who converted with her third chance.

During the match, Broady won 67% of her service points compared to Ivanovic’s 54%. Speaking about her loss to Broady, Ivanovic admitted that she was ‘caught off guard’ by the Brit,.

“She served well and I also thought with the ground strokes, she was hitting them extremely well. So many times I was caught off guard and didn’t know which way she was going”. Ivanovic said.
“I felt that once I managed to get into rallies I was on top of her, but it didn’t happen as often as I hoped”.

After the duo of shocks, there was better news for third seed Caroline Wozniacki after she defeated Danka Kovinic 6-4, 6-4. Seventh seed Barbora Strycova also enjoyed a straight sets win over Dutch player Kiki Bertens (6-2, 6-4). Finally, Tamira Paszek spent almost three hours on the court before defeating former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3.

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Andrey Rublev moves past Ilya Ivashka to reach the quarter finals in St. Petersburg

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Andrey Rublev overcame Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes to advance to the quarter finals for the third time in his career in St. Petersburg Open. 

 

Rublev fended off all seven break points and earned two breaks in the seventh game of the first set and in the third game of the second set. The Moscow native player fired 10 aces and won 84 % of his first service points. 

The eight-time titlist is aiming to win his third career title on home soil after his previous titles in Moscow 2019 and St. Petersburg 2020. 

Rublev set up a quarter final clash against either Sebastian Korda or Botic Van de Zandschulp.Karen Khachanov knocked out Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-3 after 1 hour and 25 minutes. Khachanov will take on 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who eased past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Cilic leads 1-0 against Khachanov in their only previous head-to-head match in Cincinnati in 2018.

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Matteo Berrettini rallies from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in Vienna

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This year’s Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini came back from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvlili 6-7 (5-7 ) 6-3 6-2 after 2 hours and 5 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Erste Bank in Vienna. 

 

Berrettini saved all three break points he faced and hit 22 aces, including two on the last two points of the match. 

Number 3 seed Berrettini had won three of his previous head-to-head matches against Indian Wells finalist Basilashvili, but they met for the first time on in indoor court. Berrettini had beaten Basilashvili in Winston Salem 2018, Halle 2019 and Rome 2021. 

Both players went on serve in the first set. Berrettini saved the only break point in the second game. Basilashvili earned a mini-break to take a 3-1 lead. Berrettini pulled back on serve to draw level to 3-3. Basilashvili earned another mini-break on the 10th point to earn two set points at 6-4 and converted his second chance to win the tie-break 7-5. 

Berrettini saved a break point to hold serve at deuce in the first game of the second set. The Italian player earned a break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and held his next service games before closing out the second set with a double break in the ninth game. 

Berrettini went up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game of the decider. The Queen’s tournament champion faced a break point in the seventh game after a double fault, but he saved it with an ace. He served out the third set 6-3 with his 22nd ace. Berrettini set up a quarter final match against Spanish Next Gen player Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Andy Murray 6-3 6-4.

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Denis Shapovalov Battles Back To Reach The Quarterfinals In St Petersburg

The Canadian got off to a slow start in his first match but was able to recover nicely for a big three-set win.

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Second seed Denis Shapovalov needed to go the distance at the St Petersburg Open to beat his Spanish opponent Pablo Andujar 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in one hour and 49 minutes.

 

The Toronto native didn’t have the best start to the match but was able to recover and pull off a comeback to take the win. Serving a total of 11 aces to reach the quarterfinals.

” It’s very tough to play Pablo (Andujar) first round of a tournament, he’s a great player and it was a tough start to the match,” said Shapovalov. “I didn’t feel so great but I just told myself to keep going because obviously there is still a lot of tennis to be played and I wanted to turn it around in the second set and I did a really good job.”

It was the Spaniard who got off to a better start, earning a breakpoint in the first game of the match before grabbing the early break and he was able to consolidate it. At 2-0, Andujar had two chances to go up a double break but the Canadian saved both and it stayed on serve until 4-2 when the world number 92 was able to earn another breakpoint. This time converted for the double break lead and served out the first set.

The second set stayed on serve until 2-1 when Shapovalov broke to love and that one break of serve was enough for him to serve it out and send the match into a decider.

The Canadian continued pushing as his level improved. In the first game of the final set, he broke the Spaniard with a perfectly timed cross-court winner to take an early 1-0 lead. After consolidating the break he was hungry for more and broke Andujar’s serve once again to go up a double break. Shapovalov closed the match out with a bagel set.

During his on-court interview, Shapovalov was asked how happy he was back to be in St Peterburg and he mentioned the amazing memories he had playing in the event last year.

” It always feels great to be back and I remember last year playing Andrey (Rublev) in the semifinals. I was one set up and I lost this match but I am happy to be here due to the fact I always get great support from the fans here”. He said.

Shapovalov will face Jan-Lennard Struff in the quarterfinals after the German upset seventh seed Alexander Bublik in straight sets (6-4, 6-3).

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