Safarova and Mattek-Sands win AO women's doubles championship - UBITENNIS
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Safarova and Mattek-Sands win AO women’s doubles championship

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No. 2 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova won their second Australian Open title together by beating No. 12 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Peng Shuai 6(4)-7, 6-3, 6-3. This marks their fourth Grand Slam tournament victory as a team. 

 

It was not a strong start for the eventual champions, as Safarova lost her serve in the very first game after, while down 15-40, Mattek-Sands missed a volley wide. Peng then consolidated by holding her own serve at love.

#TeamBucie were able to get back into the set, though, when two double faults from Hlavackova allowed them to break at love for 4-4.

This caused the frame to go to a tiebreak, in which Mattek-Sands and Safarova went down 1-3 when the former missed a backhand volley into the net. Hlavackova and Peng then took a 6-3 lead when Hlavackova crushed forehand winner down the right alley. Mattek-Sands fought back with a lob winner, but Hlavackova was still able to secure the 7-4 win on a backhand volley.

Not ready to surrender, #TeamBucie came back firing in the second set, getting an immediate 0-40 lead on Peng’s serve. Their opponents won three straight points to make it deuce, but Mattek-Sands slammed an overhead and hit a half-volley winner to steal the early break.

Safarova then held and broke once again, this time on Hlavackova’s serve, to go up 3-0.

However, Peng and Hlavackova minimized the damage by breaking Mattek-Sands right afterward.

Later, when Hlavackova was serving down 2-4, Safarova and Mattek-Sands had three break points, converting on the third for 5-2.

Hlavackova and Peng prolonged the set by breaking Mattek-Sands for a second time, but #TeamBucie wound up winning the set on Peng’s next service game when Safarova hit a backhand return winner down the line.

Safarova and Mattek-Sands pulled ahead for 3-1 in the deciding third set on a Hlavackova double fault.

The No. 12 seeds then had three break-back points, but the favourites found a way to come out on top and expand their lead to 4-1.

Peng’s team next fought off three break points to make it 2-4, but it didn’t matter because time was running out. Three consecutive holds followed, and Mattek-Sands and Safarova won the set 6-3.

“It’s getting too heavy here,” Safarova said as she attempted to hold her massive trophy while Mattek-Sands’s gave the team’s acceptance speech. 

The mixed doubles final will be contested on Sunday between No. 2 seeds Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig (who won their semifinal in a 10-5 super tiebreak over the all-Aussie team of Sam Stosur and Sam Groth) and non-seeds Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal.

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Taylor Fritz saves two match points to upset Alexander Zverev in Indian Wells

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Taylor Fritz saved two match points to score the second top 5 win of his career against 2021 Olympic champion Alexander Zverev at he BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Fritz has reached his first Masters 1000 semifinal. 

 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the opening set, Fritz saved two break points in the fifth game. Zverev broke serve in the seventh game to win the first set 6-4. 

Fritz broke in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and served out 6-3 at deuce in the ninth game. 

Zverev earned an early break to take a 2-0 lead at the start of the third set and held on his next service games to open up a 5-2 lead. Fritz broke back in the ninth game, when Zverev made two double faults, as he was serving out the match.  

Fritz came back from 2-5 down in the third set and fended off two match points at 3-5 30-40 and 4-5 30-40 to beat Zverev 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) after 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

Despite today’s defeat Zverev still leads 3-2 in his head-to-head matches against Fritz. The US player will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4 to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal. 

“I was really down and out but I found a way to put myself into it. I really wanted to make him have to close me out and I was able to get back into the match Normally you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tie-break, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on”, said Fritz. 

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Nikoloz Basilashvili upsets Stefanos Tsitsipas in Indian Wells to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal

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Nikoloz Basilashvili upset world number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4 to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semfinal. 

 

Basilashvili, who was playing in his first Masters 1000 quarter final, went up a 4-1 lead with a double break in the first and fifth games. Tsitsipas pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4. Basilashvili held on his next service games to claim the first set 6-4. 

Tsitsipas broke twice in the fourth and eighth games and did not face a break point to seal the second set 6-2. 

After a trade of breaks in the first and fourth games of the third set, Basilashvili earned his second break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and fended off a break point in the eighth game to hold serve after three deuces. He served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game.   

Despite the defeat Tsitsipas still leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against Basilashvili. The Georgian player had never won a main draw match in Indian Wells in his four previous appearances at this tournament. Earlier this year he won two titles at Doha and Munich. 

Tsitsipas was aiming to reach his third consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal in North America after advancing to the last four in two consecutive hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati. 

“I have played really great matches this tournament. I was not played with how I played today but I was happy with how I managed my stress levels. First time in the quarter finals and it is a big court and Stefanos is still a tough player. I had to keep my physical levels and energy levels in a really good shape because I knew mentally I would be a little bit tight and stressed”, said Basilashvili.

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Carlos Moya, Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic are among the candidates for the 2022 International Tennis Hall of Fame

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Carlos Moya, the first Spanish player the number 1, and former Grand Slam champions Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic are among the candidates for 2022 International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

 

Ivanovic lifted the 2008 French Open Trophy after a final at the 2008 Australian Open and a semifinal at 2007 Wimbledon and claimed 15 WTA titles during her career. Since her French Open triumph, she spent 12 weeks as world number 1 player. She would become the first player representing Serbia to be voted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

“Many of the women who I looked up to as a young girl are Hall of Famers and to be nominated to receive an honour that places my career alongside those who inspired me is just incredible”, said Ana Ivanovic. 

Flavia Pennetta became the oldest first-time Grand Slam champion when she beat her childhood friend Roberta Vinci in the all-Italian US Open Final in 2015. Pennetta teamed up with Vinci in guiding Italy to four Fed Cup titles. 

“I loved competing and to have my tennis career recognized in this way among the sports all-greats is such an incredible honour”, said Pennetta. 

Moya won the 1998 Roland Garros title and reached the 1997 Australian Open final. He became the first Spanish player to reach the top of the ATP Ranking and won 20 ATP titles, including three ATP Masters 1000 trophies. Moya lifted the Davis Cup title in 2004 for Spain after taking his his second singles win of the tie with his straight-set win over Andy Roddick. 

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