Ekaterina Makarova defeats Petra Kvitova to reach the fourth round in Miami - UBITENNIS
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Ekaterina Makarova defeats Petra Kvitova to reach the fourth round in Miami

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Ekaterina Makarova beat Petra Kvitova 6-4 6-4 to reach the fourth round at the Miami Open. Makarova went down 1-4 in the first set but she came back by winning five consecutive games to clinch the first set by 6-4. Makarova got a decisive break at 3-2 in the second set and held her serve in the next games to close out the match in one hour and a half.

 

Kvitova saved a break point at the start of the opening set before converting the first of her two break point chances to take a 2-0 lead. In the fifth game Kvitova rallied from 0-30 with an ace, a forehand winner and  a service winner to hold her service game for 4-1. Makarova held her serve to love in the sixth game with a backhand drop-shot. In the seventh game Makarova rallied from 0-30 to get her first break of the match. In the eighth game Kvitova earned four break points but Makarova held her serve to draw level to 4-4. Makarova converted her second break point chance in the ninth game. In the 10th game Makarova went up 30-0 as Kvitova made two unforced errors. Kvitova drew level to 30-30 but faced a set point as she made another return error. Makarova converted her set point to close out the first set.

Makarova earned a break point in the first game of the second set but Kvitova held her service game. Both players went on serve until 2-2 apart from a break point saved by Makarova in the fourth game. Makarova broke serve to take a 3-2 lead, as Kvitova made two unforced errors. The next games went on serve until the 10th game when Makarova served out for the match after saving a break point.

Makarova has reached the Miami fourth round five times, including four of the last five years. She has a win-loss record of 0-4 in her previous four round of 16 matches in Miami.

Makarova has improved her win-loss record to 3-4 in her head-to-head matches against Kvitova. Kvitova, who reached the quarter finals at Indian Wells, has a win-loss record of 6-8 this year.

Makarova will face either Caroline Wozniacki or Elina Svitolina in the fourth round.

“Today was actually really tough to play, especially against Petra and in these conditions. It’s always tough to play against a lefty. I am just happy that I came through. She started unbelievable with a lot of winners. I just kept going and going, wanting to hit longer points and just being on the court and enjoying it”, said Makarova.

Svetlana Kuznetsova fought back from a set down to edge past Caroline Garcia 4-6 6-2 7-6 (8-6). The first set went on serve until 4-4 when Garcia got her first break before closing out the opening set in 35 minutes. Kuznetsova broke early in the second set and took a 3-1 lead. The Russian player got a double break to win the second set by 6-2.

Kuznetsova broke serve twice but Garcia clawed both breaks back. In the seventh game Kuznetsova got another break to take a 4-3 lead. Garcia broke back as Kuznetsova was serving for the match. In the tie-break Kuznetsova got a mini-break with a forehand passing shot to take a 6-4 lead but Garcia saved two match points. Kuznetsova closed out the match at 7-6 as Garcia made a forehand error.

Agnieszka Radwanska, who won the Miami title in 2012, beat Madison Brengle 6-3 6-2 on a very hot and humid day in one hour and 12 minutes in their first head-to-head match. Brengle broke serve at 1-1 in the first set. Radwanska did not convert a break point in the next game with a forehand return error to trail 1-3. In the sixth game Radwanska broke back to draw level to 3-3 with a forehand inside-out. The Polish star got another break for 5-3 and served out for the first set by winning her third consecutive game.

Radwanska broke again in the third game of the second set. Brengle broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Brengle misfired shots on the important points allowing Radwanska to win four consecutive games with two more breaks of serve. Radwanska will face either Ana Ivanovic or Timea Bacsinszky in the fourth round.

Simona Halep beat Julia Georges 6-4 6-1 to improve her win-loss record in their head-to-head matches to 2-1. Georges broke serve to take a 3-0 lead. Halep broke back in the fifth game with a forehand winner. Halep broke after a long seventh game for 4-3. Halep had to save four break points before closing out the first set by 6-4. Georges won the first game of the second set but Halep fought back by winning six consecutive games to take the second set 6-1. Halep will face Heather Watson, who came back from a set down to beat Yanina Wickmayer 3-6 7-5 6-3.

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Canada Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday Features Ruud/Hurkacz and Pegula/Halep

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Simona Halep on Friday in Toronto (twitter.com/NBOtoronto)

The singles and doubles semifinals will be played on Saturday in Canada.  In Montreal, a new men’s singles champion will be crowned, and Hubi Hurkacz is the only semifinalist to have previously won a Masters 1000 event (Miami, 2021).  Hurkacz is also in the doubles semifinals, so it will be a busy day for Hubi.  In singles, he faces a finalist from this year in Miami, Casper Ruud.

 

In Toronto, Simona Halep is the only former champion remaining, and is two wins away from her third title at this event.  On Saturday, she plays Jessica Pegula, who is into the semifinals in Canada for the second straight year.  Like Hurkacz, Pegula is also in the doubles semifinals.  She’s teaming with Coco Gauff, who will become the new doubles No.1 if they win the title.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time in Montreal and 1:00pm in Toronto.


Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Casper Ruud (4) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Hurkacz ended the winning streak of Nick Kyrgios on Friday, taking him out in three sets for the second time this season.  But Ruud was even more impressive on Friday, bouncing back from a marathon victory on Thursday over Roberto Bautista Agut to overwhelm Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, dropping only three games.  Predominantly known as a clay court player, Casper is also establishing himself as a considerable threat on hard courts.  That’s especially true in North America, where Ruud has claimed 16 of his last 19 matches.  But Hubi’s success on this surface remains superior, as does his serving prowess.  While Ruud prevailed in their only previous encounter, just a few months ago at Roland Garros, Hurkacz is the favorite on a hard court.


Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Simona Halep (15) – 1:00pm on Centre Court in Toronto

Halep has been dominant through four rounds this week, advancing without the loss of a set.  Simona has quietly put together a strong record of 36-10 this season, though she’s yet to achieve a big result, with only one title at the 250 level at the start of the year.  Pegula only dropped one set this week, to defending champion Camila Giorgi.  And similar to Halep, she’s accumulated a solid record this year (29-14) without winning a title.  This will be the first career meeting between these two players.  Considering Halep is now 25-6 lifetime at this event, and the way in which she has easily prevailed all week, her superior movement and defense should be enough to reach her fourth final in Canada.


Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Dan Evans – Carreno Busta has played superbly this week, eliminating the likes of Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini without losing a set to this stage.  Dan Evans has survived two grueling three-setters in as many days.  This is their first career meeting.

Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Karolina Pliskova (14) – Haddad Maia has earned three big wins across the last three days over Iga Swiatek, Belinda Bencic, and Leylah Fernandez.  Pliskova is looking to reach the Canada final for the second straight year.  They have split two previous encounters, both on hard courts.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Another Defeat For Iga Swiatek – Should Her Fans Start To Worry?

Iga Swiatek unexpectedly lost to Beatrice Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals of the National Bank Open in Toronto. This was the third defeat of the WTA world No.1 in a month and a half. Is there anything to worry about?

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Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2022 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Article written by Dominik Senkowski (@dsenkowski07)

 

It was an extremely close match played in difficult conditions. Swiatek lost to Beatrice Hadad Maia 4:6, 6:3, 5:7 in Toronto.

The Polish woman admitted that she could not deal with the strong wind, saying during her press conference “I think without the wind I would manage. But it was pretty crazy out there.”

Haddad Miai, who is the first Brazilian to reach the last eight of a WTA 1000 event, revealed that she also had problems with the weather.

”We have no influence on the weather, we have to deal with it somehow. I think mentally I managed to overcome it,” she said.

Three failures

This was the third defeat for Swiatek in a month and a half. She had been undefeated since February, winning six tournaments in a row, including a Roland Garros. After that, however, she did not reach the semi-finals even once. In Wimbledon she was eliminated in the third round by Alize Cornet and then in Warsaw in the quarter-finals by Caroline Garcia. Now she did not make it past Beatrice Hadad Maia in Toronto. Do fans of the Polish woman have anything to worry about?

Of course, Swiatek as the top seed should have played better against the Brazilian. However, it must be remembered that she is still only 21 years old and has the right to fluctuate in form. Even the best tennis players of recent years – Roger Federer, Serena Serena, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – did not win all the games in their best time. Swiatek still has a phenomenal balance of 49 wins to 5 defeats this year. She is the undisputed leader of the WTA rankings and will probably end the year as number one in the world.

There is no doubt that the rivals are more motivated to clash with Iga. In addition, they increasingly believe that they are able to defeat her since Cornet, Garcia and Hadad Maia did it. But still, it all depends on Iga. If she improves her serve, she can be unstoppable again. Recently with Garcia and Hadad Maia, she had problems with the second serve. She must pay more attention to it.

Time for Iga

Time should play in favour of Swiatek. Before Toronto, she played exceptionally on clay courts in Warsaw in a tournament organized by her father Tomasz. Frequent changes of the surface from grass to clay and hard courts in 1.5 months are not easy at such a young age. In Poland Iga said that she had no experience with it, she was just learning. She continues to learn valuable lessons and still can be better. We should remember it.

It seems that in the coming days she will be training on hard courts. She could feel more confident and come stronger as in spring. In Warsaw Iga said that she treats the first tournament before the US Open swing less seriously. She was aware that she needed more playing time to get better results. Her increasing self-esteem makes her behave calmer, even after defeats. That is why she can return to the right path soon.

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Canada Daily Preview: Quarterfinal Friday in Montreal and Toronto

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Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday in Montreal (twitter.com/OBNmontreal)

Canadian No.1 Felix Auger-Aliassime has thrilled crowds in his home country on back-to-back days in Montreal.  On Friday, he faces Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud, who outlasted Roberto Bautista Agut on Thursday in a marathon match that went well over three hours.  Other ATP action in Montreal includes Washington champion Nick Kyrgios taking on Halle champ Hubi Hurkacz in a rematch from the Halle semifinals.

 

Coco Gauff has survived two extremely dramatic affairs in as many days, ousting both Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka in third-set tiebreaks.  In the quarterfinals, she plays a two-time champion of this event, Simona Halep.  Toronto’s matches on Friday also feature Jessica Pegula and Karolina Pliskova, both of whom reached the semifinals or better of this tournament a year ago.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time in Montreal and 1:00pm in Toronto.


Coco Gauff (10) vs. Simona Halep (15) – 1:00pm on Centre Court in Toronto

Between Wednesday and Thursday, Gauff spent exactly six hours on court during the heat of the early afternoon, in two physically and emotionally taxing matches.  By contrast, Halep spent less than half that time on court across those two days, and is yet to drop a set this week.  And their three previous encounters have all been straight-set victories for Simona.  She prevailed on grass three years ago at Wimbledon, on a hard court this year at Indian Wells, and on clay this year in Madrid.  And considering Halep will be the far fresher player on Friday, there’s not much evidence to suggest a different result in her fourth meeting with Coco.


Casper Ruud (4) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Not Before 2:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

What will Ruud have left after a three-set match that lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours?  Auger-Aliassime had a much easier time on Thursday, avenging a loss from less than a week ago in the Los Cabos semifinals over Cam Norrie.  Casper and Felix have split four previous meetings at all levels: two at Challenger events, and two at Masters 1000 events such as this.  Three years ago in Miami on a hard court, Auger-Aliassime won in three sets.  Last year in Madrid on clay, Ruud prevailed in straights.  Accordingly, a hard court would seem to favor Felix, especially considering his superior serving abilities.  Most of Casper’s big results have come on clay, though he did reach the final of Miami earlier this year.  I expected the Canadian to play nervously at this event, as Auger-Aliassime was only 3-3 lifetime here ahead of this week, and had lost four of his last six matches since June.  But Felix has embraced the spotlight of playing in front of a packed Canadian stadium, and should be favored over a depleted Ruud on Friday.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Nick Kyrgios vs. Hubert Hurkacz (8) – Between singles and doubles, Kyrgios is 13-0 over the last 10 days.  Hurkacz saved a match point on Thursday, eventually defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a third-set tiebreak.  Earlier this year in Halle when he played Nick, Hubi also prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.

Karolina Pliskova (14) vs. Qinwen Zheng – Both players were victorious after tough three-setters on Thursday: Pliskova over Maria Sakkari and Qinwen over Bianca Andreescu.  This is their first career meeting.


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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