Mona Barthel sets up Prague final against Krystina Pliskova - UBITENNIS
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Mona Barthel sets up Prague final against Krystina Pliskova

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Mona Barthel has extended her winning streak to seven consecutive matches including the qualifying round, after overcoming Barbora Strykova 3-6 6-2 6-3 in the semifinal of the WTA Prague Open in two hours and seven minutes. Barthel now leads 4-3 over Strykova, who had won their previous head-to-head match in Antwerp in 2015.

 

The German player, who was playing in her first semifinal since the Luxemburg Open in 2015, will be bidding to win the fourth title of her title and the first since Bastad in 2014.

Strykova broke serve in the first three games and never looked back by holding her next service games to win the first set 6-3 after 40 minutes. Barthel broke twice in the second and seventh games to clinch the second set 6-2 to force the match to the decider. Barthel lost just six points on her serve in the second set.

Barthel converted on her third break point at the start of the third set and got another break in the fifth game to race out to a 5-2 lead. However, she was broken, as she served for the match. In the final game she broke for the sixth time to close out the match after 2 hours and 7 minutes.

Barthel set up a final against Krystina Pliskova, who defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 6-2. Ostapenko played her second match today. The Latvian player beat Ana Konjuh 6-3 in the third set after the match was suspended due to darkness on Thursday. The Czech player, twin sister of Karolina, won 29 of her 33 points on serve and dropped her serve twice. She hit 29 winners to 10 unforced errors and broke serve four times. Pliskova will be looking to win her third career title after Dalian and Tashkent.

Barthel and Pliskova are tied 1-1 in their head-to-head matches. Earlier this year Pliskova fought back from one set down to beat Barthel 1-6 6-3 6-2 at the Qatar Open in Doha.

 

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Reigning Champion Simona Halep Pulls Out Of Wimbledon

The Romanian says she is ‘down and upset’ about missing the major.

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There will be a new Wimbledon champion in the women’s draw this year after Simona Halep formally withdrew due to injury.

 

The former world No.1 was in London training with her team but has been forced to pull out of the grass-court major after failing to fully recover from a calf injury. An issue which also sidelined her from the French Open. It is the first time the Romanian has missed Wimbledon since making her Grand Slam debut at the tournament back in 2010.

“It is with great sadness that I’m announcing my withdrawal from The Championships as my calf injury has not fully recovered,” the 29-year-old said in a statement.
“I gave it everything I had in order to be ready to play Wimbledon and after having such special memories from two years ago, I was excited and honoured to step back on these beautiful courts as defending champion.
“Unfortunately, my body didn’t cooperate and I’ll have to save that feeling for next year.”

Halep first sustained the injury back in May when she was playing Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Italian Open. After undergoing an MRI, it was confirmed that the multiple Grand Slam winner had a tear in her left calf.

“I can honestly say that I’m really down and upset about having to take this decision. This period has been difficult but to miss the last two majors has made it even more challenging mentally and physically,” she said.
“We will see what the future holds but I’m hoping it will make me a stronger person and athlete.”

As a result of the withdrawal, Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova has moved into the seedings at 32nd. She has only won one match in four previous appearances at the Championships.

Halep has won 22 WTA titles during her career and has won more than $37.5M in prize money.

The Wimbledon Championships will get underway on Monday.

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Kontaveit upsets Bianca Andreescu in Eastbourne

Anett Kontaveit knocked Bianca Andreescu out of Eastbourne.

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Anett Kontaveit (@ribella96 - Twitter)

The Estonian beat the Canadian on Center Court in straight sets in an hour and six minutes.

 

Anett Kontaveit only needed 66 minutes on Center Court to dispatch the world number seven and the third seed at the tournament Bianca Andreescu 6-3, 6-3 firing 16 winners while the Canadian hit 28 unforced errors.

“I thought I played a really good match today and I was consistent throughout the whole match and I feel like I kept my level up and played some good tennis”.

It was the world number 27 with the aggressive start earning the first breakpoint of the match in the opening game with a stunning forehand winner and on the following point ripped a forehand return winner to take a 1-0 lead.

The Canadian was keen to bounce back and earned her first breakpoint the following game with a backhand winner up the line and broke right back to go back on serve.

The Talinn, Estonia native once again responded by breaking right back and this time was able to consolidate the break until 3-2 when once again the Toronto native broke again to level the first set at 3-3.

Once again the Estonian broke Andreescu serve to take another lead and at 5-3 had two set points set up by a powerful backhand winner and took the first set 6-3 in 31 minutes.

The second set started with both players holding serve for the first three games until the 25 year old earned three more breakpoints and got the first break of the set.

After that it went back on serve until 4-2 when the Canadian once again had two chances to go back on serve and she broke when the Estonian struggled with her serve.

Again the resiliency and the determination of the Estonian kept her going and she broke right back the following game and served out the match. In her post match press conference she was asked how she was able to keep bouncing back in the face of adveristy.

“I think I am a pretty good returner and she is as well so sometimes it’s difficult when the other person so consistent hitting deep returns off your serve so I just tried to stay with it especially in the second set and she never gives up so I had to keep playing and be ready for it”.

Kontaveit will now face the Swiss player Viktorija Golubic who pulled off another upset beating the number six seed and fellow Swiss player Belinda Bencic.

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Dayana Yastremska Cleared Of Wrongdoing Over Failed Drugs Tests

The tennis has star had been provisionally suspended from the Tour since 7 January 2021.

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Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska said she looks forward to ‘returning to her passion’ after getting her doping ban lifted with immediate effect following a hearing.

 

The former world No.21 has been sidelined from the sport with a provisional suspension after testing positive for the banned substance mesterolone which is prohibited under category S1 of the 2020 WADA Prohibited List (Anabolic Agents). The positive test came from a sample which was taken on November 24th that Yastremska argued was linked to cross-contamination. She had appealed for her provisional ban to be lifted earlier this year but was denied.

Following her official hearing on May 21st, the Independent Tribunal under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has concluded that the tennis star didn’t deliberately take performance enhancing drugs. In their ruling, the panel says they ‘accept’ how the substance managed to get into Yasstremska’s body. She has previously claimed to have ‘scientific evidence’ of cross contamination.

Ms. Yastremska’s provisional suspension is lifted with immediate effect, and she will not serve any period of Ineligibility for her violation. For the avoidance of doubt, Ms. Yastremska is eligible to resume competition immediately.” The ITF stated.

In a statement, Yastremska says she has struggled over the past six months with the negative comments related to her suspension from the sport. Earlier this year she flew to the Australian Open hoping to compete, but wasn’t allowed to under anti-doping rules.

“I’ve been through a lot in the last 6 months and found it difficult to deal with all the negative comments,” she wrote.
“I want to thank my family, my lawyers, my agent and the entire Top Five Management team for their continued and unwavering support. I would also like to thank my fans for the love and messages that I received during this difficult period.’
“Now I look forward to returning to my passion – tennis. It was taken away from me for too long, I can’t wait to get back on tour.”

The 21-year-old has won three WTA Premier titles so far in her career with her most recent triumph occurring at the 2019 Strasbourg Open. Her best run in a Grand Slam was two years ago at Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round before losing to Zhang Shuai of China.

Yastremska is currently ranked 37th in the world. She has not given any details about when or where she plans to return to competitive tennis yet.

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