Ekaterina Makarova Finds Her Australian Open Form, Upsets No. 6 Dominika Cibulkova To Make Round of 16 - UBITENNIS
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Ekaterina Makarova Finds Her Australian Open Form, Upsets No. 6 Dominika Cibulkova To Make Round of 16

No. 30 seed Ekaterina Makarova pulled off the upset over World No. 6 Dominika Cibulkova after marathon 2 hours and 53 minutes, winning 6-2 6-7(3) 6-3.

Jakub Bobro

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Cibulkova and Makarova have very different playing styles, almost contrasting, making it an exciting match-up. The Slovakian was leading the head-to-head 3-0, all matches on hard court, strengthening her claim as a favorite for the match. However, that all went out the window the moment the match started. Makarova was looking sharp out of the gate, got two break and jumped to a 4-1 lead. Cibulkova broke back to 2-4, and had the look in her eyes that tells you she will fight for this set. However, Makarova wasn’t too struck with Cibulkova’s rise in level, and kept playing her game. After getting another break, Makarova served the set out to love after just 37 minutes.

 

Makarova went up 4-0 after two breaks in the second set. It seemed all over, but that glimmer in Cibulkova’s eyes told you this wasn’t over yet. Cibulkova went on a “Pome!”-ful streak and won 5 games in a row. 6th seed was surprisingly solid on her serve, giving Makarova only one break point in her 3 service games. Cibulkova went up 5-4, and had 3 set points saved by Makarova, who still kept it together. After two clean games from both players, second set went to a tiebreak. Cibulkova was dominant and won the tiebreak 7-3. After an incredible hour and 15 minutes, this match went to a final set.

The Russian took the lead 2-0 as usual, but this time Cibulkova broke back almost immediately and it was 2-2. The remainder of the set was incredibly high level, it could have easily been a semifinal. At 3-3, Cibulkova had 3 break points to take the lead which would have probably given her the match. However, she confirmed the Slovak hockey-based proverb which translates to: “If you don’t score when you’ve got the chance, you will surely concede.” This happened as Cibulkova was serving at 3-4. Despite having the 40-30 lead, she lost the next 3 points and Makarova was serving for the match. Makarova didn’t succumb to the nerves, and after Cibulkova missed a forehand in the net at 40-30, she was the winner after nearly 3 hours of incredible women’s tennis. The Russian had an on-court interview as is the custom, where she was asked about the greatest moments of her career:

“It was our dream from kids and for me, to be honest, it was much more for me to win gold for Russia than to win a Grand Slam but we won the Grand Slam also in doubles,” Makarova said. “Now I really want to win the singes, of course.”

“It was an amazing match, an amazing fight,” Makarova said. “I got tight a little bit at 4-0 in the second set but this is my favourite Grand Slam and I really want to still play here.”

30th seed Makarova has reached quarterfinals in Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, both times losing to Sharapova. She is now just one match away from repeating her maximum, and in her way will stand 9th seed Johanna Konta. However, if the Russian will play like she did today, she definitely won’t be without a chance.

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Fiona Ferro beats Camila Giorgi to set up final against Anett Kontaveit

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France’s Fiona Ferro came back from one set down to beat Italy’s Camila Giorgi 2-6 6-2 7-5 reaching her first final of the season at the Ladies Open in Palermo. Ferro sets up a final against Anett Kontaveit, who beat top seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4. 

 

Giorgi broke twice in a row to open up a 4-0 lead and saved three break points before holding serve for 5-0. Ferro pulled one break back, when Giorgi was serving for the first set. Giorgi sealed the opening set 6-2 with her third break in the eighth game. 

Ferro earned an early break in the first game of the second set and held her serve after saving two break points to open up a 2-0 lead. Ferro went up a double break in the fifth game to race out to a 4-1 lead, but Giorgi got one break back for 2-4. Ferro broke again in the seventh game and served out the second set 6-2. 

Giorgi dropped her serve in the third game of the second set and saved a break point in the fifth game. Giorgi broke back in the 10th game, as Ferro was serving for the match at 5-4. Ferro broke serve in the 11th game and served out the win on her second match point. 

Giorgi was aiming to become the first Italian player to reach the final in Palermo since Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci battled for the title in 2013. Ferro is unbeaten in all her four post-lockdown matches on the WTA Tour.

Ferro beat an Italian opponent for the second evening in a row one day after her win over Sara Errani. 

“I would have never won those matches two years ago. I used to focus on my opponent when she was playing aggressive, and I did not find solutions. Today I am very happy to be through because I managed to focus more on my game and not on my emotions”, said Ferro.

“I have no regrets. I felt in good shape and I tried to play my own game. The break in the third set made the difference”, said Giorgi.

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Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo

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World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 

 

Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina. 

Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown. 

Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4. 

Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.

“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit. 

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Camila Giorgi battles past Dayana Yastremska in late-night clash in Palermo

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Italy’s Camila Giorgi battled past number 7 seed Dayana Yastremska 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 after 2 hours and 52 minutes to secure her spot in the semifinal at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 

 

Giorgi fended off two match points in the second set before completing her come-back in a late-night epic clash which ended at nearly 1.30 a.m. local time. Giorgi set up a semifinal against French player Fiona Ferro, who beat another Italian player Sara Errani.

Both players traded breaks in the first and fourth games of the opening set to draw level to 3-3. Giorgi saved three break points in the seventh game, but Yastremska converted her fourth chance with a service return to take a 4-3 lead. 

Yastremska served for the first set at 5-4, but Giorgi earned a break point, when the Ukrainian player made a double fault. Giorgi missed two groundstrokes and Yastremska earned a set point. Giorgi fended off four set points, but she was not able to reach a break point. Yastremska hit an ace to earn he fifth set point and converted it after Giorgi sent a forehand wide. 

The second set started with two trades of break en route to 3-3. Yastremska broke serve, as Giorgi sent a forehand wide on the third break point. Yastremska earned her first match point with an ace at 5-4. She earned a second opportunity with a forehand winner. Giorgi saved them with her powerful returns before breaking serve to draw level to 5-5. The Italian player raced out to a 4-0 lead in the tie-break and hit a backhand winner down the line to pull away to 6-3. Yastremska saved the first two set points, but Giorgi sealed the second set on her third opportunity. 

In the third set Yastremska earned two break points at 3-2, but Giorgi held serve to draw level to 3-3. Giorgi broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 and held serve in the eighth game for 5-3. Giorgi earned a match point, when Yastremska netted a groundstroke, and converted it, when her return forced a wide error. 

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