Agnieszka Radwanska and Venus Williams Battle Past Their Opponents As Angelique Kerber And Simona Halep Get By Easily. - UBITENNIS
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Agnieszka Radwanska and Venus Williams Battle Past Their Opponents As Angelique Kerber And Simona Halep Get By Easily.

World No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska and the 8th seed Venus Williams got tied into marathon matches with opponents outside of the Top 100. Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber and 5th seed Simona Halep got through to the 3rd round in straight sets.

Jakub Bobro

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After an easy win over Kozlova, Radwanska seemed to be on the same path when she won the first set over Konjuh 6-2. Despite the fact that she is outside the Top 100, Konjuh is still a very dangerous grass court player, as she took the Nottingham title in 2015. Radwanska had a chance to take an early lead in the second set. She had a 40-0 lead at 2-1 on Konjuh’s serve. The young Croat saved 5 break points, and got a break right the next game. Konjuh kept the break and took the second set 6-4. She also got an early break in the final set at 1-1. Konjuh was serving for that match at 5-4, and even got to a match point! Radwanska then got a match point at 7-6 on Konjuh’s serve, but the Croat held her serve. The World No. 3 got to end the match on Konjuh’s serve just 2 games later, 9-7. After 2 hours and 39 minutes, Agnieszka Radwanska won 6-2 4-6 9-7. Radwanska’s third round opponent will surprisingly be the World No. 114, Katerina Siniakova. This means that in Radwanska’s first 3 rounds, the highest ranked player she had faced is No. 97 Kozlova. The 20 year-old Czech upset 30th seed Caroline Garcia, winning 6-1 in the final set.

 

The veteran American Venus Williams took court against Greek qualifier Maria Sakkari, expecting a straight set win, but it ended up an epic battle lasting over 2 hours. All seemed well as Venus took a 4-1 lead in the first set, but Sakkari brought it back to 4-4. However Williams proved her mental toughness and won the first set 7-5. Second set was Sakkari’s as she also took a 4-1 lead, but by two breaks. The American took one of the breaks back, but the Greek still won the second set 6-4. Both players were holding their serves, something they didn’t do much before, until 3-2 when Venus broke. She kept the break, and after 2 hours and 26 minutes out on Court 18, won 7-5 4-6 6-3. The veteran will be facing a 17 years younger Daria Kasatkina. The 19 year-old is seeded 29th and defeated Lara Arruabarrena in the second round.

Following Venus Williams on Court 18, was an all-lefties match between Angelique Kerber and Varvara Lepchenko. The German was absolutely dominating in the first set, dropping only one game. She also dropped only 5 points on her serve, and for someone who doesn’t have a big serve it is most impressive. In the second set, Kerber took her level down a notch, which was still enough to bring her the 6-1 6-4 comfortable victory in just 53 minutes. The 4th seed, who only lost 9 games in 2 matches so far will face another blonde German, Carina Witthoeft. Witthoeft, ranked 109 has defeated 25th seed Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1 6-4, and today beat Kurumi Nara 6-3 6-0, losing only 8 games.

5th seed Simona Halep is continuing her great run so far with a 6-1 6-1 win over Francesca Schiavone. Halep took time-off after her Achilles injury and didn’t play any lead-up tournaments, which caused some question marks over her.      “If you don’t play matches before coming here, you are a bit stressed that you are not prepared like official for competition,” Halep admitted. “But I had many days practicing here, playing points. So I was ready to start the tournament.”  The Romanian’s next opponent will be 26th seed Kiki Bertens. Bertens has yet to lose a set here, despite facing tricky opponents like Jelena Ostapenko and Mona Barthel. “It will be a tough one. I know her. She’s in good form now (but) it’s different here. It’s grass,” said Halep “I played against her many years ago, so I don’t know her very well. But it’s gonna be a tough one. It’s gonna be a good challenge for me. And why not? I have to believe that I can win it. 

Some upsets ensued, overshadowed by Garbine Muguruza bowing out to Jana Cepelova. 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard upset 16th seed Johanna Konta 6-3 1-6 6-1. Belinda Bencic was forced to retire in the beginning of the second set to American qualifier Julia Boserup. 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki defeated 14th Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-2. Home star Heather Watson exited after a crazy marathon match with Annika Beck, losing 6-3 0-6 10-12 after 2 hours and 52 minutes.

Other seeds that lost on Day 4 were: No. 20 Sara Errani to Alize Cornet, No. 17 Elina Svitolina to Yaroslava Shvedova, No. 32 Andrea Petkovic to Elena Vesnina, No. 15 Karolina Pliskova to Misaki Doi, No. 22 Jelena Jankovic to Marina Erakovic, and No. 31 Kristina Mladenovic to Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Some more players worth mention that will be in the 3rd round of Wimbledon are: Coco Vandeweghe, Timea Bacsinszky, Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Carla Suarez Navarro, Lucie Safarova, Roberta Vinci, Barbora Strycova, Ekaterina Makarova, Monica Niculescu, and finally, Dominika Cibulkova.

 

 

 

 

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Svetlana Kuznetsova Wins First Title Since Return From Surgery In Washington

The two-time grand slam champion has returned back to the winners circle following her six-month absence due to injury.

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Former world No.2 Svetlana Kuznetsova saved four match points to defeat Donna Vekic 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, in the final of the Citi Open in Washington.

 

Kuznetsova, 33, fought back against the aggressive play of her opponent. Saving seven out of the 10 break points she faced in the match. Eventually, it was the experience of the Russian that guided her to the finish line as she hit 34 winners to 36 unforced errors to win her first title on the tour since the 2016 Moscow Open.

“It was a difficult week,” Kuznetsova reflected afterwards. “Tennis is always mental, if you lose or if you win, you always gotta stay focused.”

With both players contesting their first final of the season, it was Vekic who battled through what was a roller-coaster and tense opening set. At first, the seventh seed appeared on course to clinch the opener with ease after breaking Kuznetsova in the fourth game as she raced out to a 4-1 lead. Only to be pegged by the 2014 champion. Serving for the set at 5-3, a forehand error rewarded Kuznetsova the chance to break back. Prior to the following point, the Russian complained about the movement of the crowd just as Vekic was about to serve. Then the Croat hit a double fault with the two players exchanging words at the changeover.

Despite feeling hard done by, Vekic soon restored order in the match. As Kuznetsova served for a chance to level 5-5, she pounced one again as the former world No.2 faltered. Recovering from a 15-40 deficit to seal the opening set with the help of a Kuznetsova double fault on set point.

Vekic continued to fight with the help of her of some rapid shock-making. Fending off a break point to nudge ahead 4-3 in the second set. Although Kuznetsova refused to go away. Saving two match points, it was in the tiebreaker where the Russian managed to turn her fortunes around. Vekic missed out on another two chances to win the match, allowing Kuznetsova to nudge ahead 8-7. She was then able to force proceedings into a decider after a Vekic forehand slammed into the net.

Kuznetsova’s resilience eventually wore her opponent down, who was close to tears after the match. Vekic admitted afterwards that she was dealing with leg pain and took a medical time out just before the start of the final set.

A double break in Kuznetsova’s favor in the decider guided her to a 5-0 lead. Enough of a cushion to enable her to close out the match after two-and-a-half hours of play to win her second Washington title.

“I know I’ve been a little bit lucky today,” she said.
“There’s something going on with Washington. I never lose here. I played two times and I won both.”

The victory comes after what has been a testing first half of the year for Kuznetsova. Left wrist surgery forced her to miss six months of the tour. Meaning that she didn’t start the 2018 season until March. Prior to the Citi Open, she had only won four matches in 10 tournaments played. Making her latest triumph even more special.

“Those times I had after the surgery, I had difficulties everywhere — personal, working different things. I switched coaches. I had lots of issues,” Kuznetsova explained. “But still, I rise again, and it’s really good for me.”

As a result of her latest win, Kuznetsova has risen 41 places in 87th in the world. Meanwhile, Vekic has jumped seven places to 37th.

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Davis Cup Reforms Face Late Opposition As Vote Looms

The proposed Davis Cup reforms have received strong criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe ahead of this month’s vote.

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David Haggerty (zimbio.com)

The upcoming Davis Cup reform vote has received some strong opposition and criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe. 

 

The vote is set to take place on the 16th of August, where federations will vote to change the 118 year old format to a one week season finale at the end of the year. The proposed move by Kosmos, has received fierce criticism and will need a two-thirds majority in order for it to be approved.

However with the vote just two weeks away Tennis Australia has been among the federations to oppose these reforms and have pushed this even further as they have wrote a letter expressing their discontent at the idea. The letter has been signed by the likes of John Newcombe, current Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.

The letter raises the following concerns, “We have written and spoken to the ITF President for several months now requesting clarity on the proposal from Kosmos, but this has not been forthcoming,” explained the letter, which is even signed by former ITF president Brian Tobin.

“Very large numbers are being referenced, but there is not enough detail to give us confidence this proposal will genuinely deliver enough additional value to players and the nations to offset the loss of home and away camaraderie and all the local marketing, facility investment and player development benefit that comes with those ties. In the absence of such important information, we have no choice other than to vote against the proposed amendments.”

However Tennis Australia isn’t the only federation to be against this move as Tennis Europe, who represent more than 50 member nations have also expressed their concern at the idea, “I am particularly concerned that there is hardly any information received from the ITF regarding bank guarantees for the proposed US$120 million per year which would be the $3 billion deal over 25 years, according to the original proposal,” President Vladimir Dimitriev explained in a separate letter.

“I have not yet seen a final and feasible explanation on how the business model or the governance structure will be either.”

The ITF do have the backing of Germany and France ahead of the move though with the AGM meeting set to take place in Orlando, Florida between the 13th and 16th of August.

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Serena Williams Withdraws From Montreal Due To Personal Reasons

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week due to personal reasons.

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Serena Williams (zimbio.com)

Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week as she deals with some personal issues. 

 

The American suffered the worst defeat of her career last week when she lost 6-1 6-0 to Johanna Konta in San Jose. The 23 grand slam champion clearly wasn’t at her best and it now turns out that she had personal problems to deal with as this is the reason for her withdrawal in Montreal next week.

The recent Wimbledon finalist also felt that she could not play Montreal and Cincinnati in back to back weeks as she continues her comeback from pregnancy. The tournament director, Eugene Lapierre, admits that he is disappointed but still recognises the high quality field that is left, “Of course, we are disappointed that Serena will not be joining us, Fans were very much looking forward to seeing her in action,” explained Eugene.

“But beyond the disappointment, the tournament, as a whole, remains a high-level competition. The entire Top 10 is here, along with 22 of the Top 25. There are exciting matches in store from the outset.”

The American was set to play in Canada for the first time since 2015 before withdrawing today. The 23 time grand slam champion has played five events since returning from pregnancy and the results have been mixed as you can see below:

Indian Wells – Third Round

Miami – First Round

Roland Garros – Fourth Round

Wimbledon – Final

San Jose – First Round

Tatjana Maria will now replace Serena Williams in the main draw and the German faces Alize Cornet in the first round.

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