Heather Watson Stuns Pavlyuchenkova And Strycova To Reach Eastbourne Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Heather Watson Stuns Pavlyuchenkova And Strycova To Reach Eastbourne Semifinals



Heather Watson defeated two players ranked over 100 places higher than her in the WTA world rankings in one day, finishing with a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 win over Barbora Strycova to reach the semifinals at the Aegon International in Eastbourne.

The British number three came through a topsy turvy quarterfinal match in two hours, recovering from a break down in the final set to see off Strycova to become the second Brit to reach the last four.

World number 23 Strycova led their head to head 3-1 and won their last meeting, which came on the grass in Birmingham last year 7-5, 6-4, but it was to be Watson’s day here by the seaside in Eastbourne.

Watson booked her place in the last eight after securing another highly credible victory over a seeded opponent. 14th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was her latest victim, with the British number three winning 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 24 minutes out on Court 4. Her quarterfinal opponent, also unseeded at the Aegon International, Strycova, defeated lucky loser Lauren Davis 7-5, 6-2 to set up this early evening clash on Court 1.

The British number three got off to a fast start and was supported by a packed out crowd. Watson secured a break of serve in the fourth game of the match with an excellent backhand winner down the line and swiftly established a 4-1 lead, with the Brit dictating the early exchanges.

The Czech struggled to make an impact in the match or make her opponent feel uncomfortable out on court in any way as Watson struck a cross court forehand winner to set up break point. The Brit duly took the opportunity with another effective short cross court forehand and secured a double break. Watson had no trouble closing it out, holding to love to secure the first set in emphatic style to close in on a semifinal place.

The opening game of the second set was a tussle and the longest of the match so far. Strycova staved off two break points but then squandered two chances to hold of her own. Watson had another chance to secure a break and make it six games in a row, but the Czech clung on and held serve to try and curb the Brit’s momentum.

Having saved those break points, the world number 23 grew in confidence and broke Watson in the next game, swiftly establishing a 3-0 lead to leave the Brit contemplating those missed opportunities in the first game of this set.

The match completely turned around and became The complete opposite of the first, with Strycova racing into a 5-1 lead. The Czech brought up two set points but Watson remained focussed, saving both to keep her hopes of a straight sets win alive. A forehand down the line winner brought up break point but a netted volley let the chance slip by. After a slight blip the world number 23 regrouped to make for a remarkable turnaround as she took the second set 6-1.

Watson’s hopes of a second semifinal on home soil of the year and a first on the WTA Tour faded fast as Strycova broke the Brit once again in the third game of the final set. The Czech held on to lead to close in on victory up 4-2.

It was at that moment when the Brit bounced back and got the crowd renegagaed. Watson claimed four games in a row, closing with a forehand cross court passing shot winner to continue her best run at a WTA Tour level tournament this year.

Watson will face Caroline Wozniacki in the first semifinal of the day on Friday after the Dane recovered from a set and a double break down to see off second seed Simona Halep 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 in another terrific battle.

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Iga Swiatek beats Emma Raducanu to extend her winning streak to ten consecutive matches in Stuttgart



Two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek held off 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 after 2 hours and 3 minutes to extend her winning streak to 10 consecutive matches at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. 

Swiatek set up a semifinal match against 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, who came back from a break down in the third set to beat this year’s Dubai champion Jasmine Paolini.

Raducanu came back from 0-40 down to earn the first break of the opening set. Swiatek converted her third break point in the second game in a seven-deuce second game. Raducanu saved the only other break point at deuce in the sixth game. Swiatek won the first four points and five of the first six points to win the tie-break 7-2. 

Swiatek earned five break points in the second, sixth and in the 12thgame, but she converted only one opportunity. Raducanu converted her only break point in the first game. Swiatek won nine more points than Swiatek. 

Swiatek broke Raducanu in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead. This break was decisive, as both players held on their next serve in their next games. 

Swiatek earned six break points in the third, fifth and ninth games, but she converted one chance. The Pole did not face a single break point and won eight more points than Raducanu.

“Raducanu started playing at the beginning pretty loose, like she had nothing to lose, and I totally get that. Sometimes it is like that. I knew I was questioning if she is going to be able to keep the same intensity throughout the whole match. It was not about service games or return games. I was just waiting for my chances to break back and I was sure that I am going to get them”, said Swiatek.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Sebastian Ofner in Barcelona to extend his winning streak



Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Sebastian Ofner 6-4 7-5 at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell to extend his winning streak to seven consecutive matches after claiming his third title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters last week. 

Tsitsipas earned an immediate break in the first game. Ofner broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Tsitsipas earned his second break  in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and served out the first set 6-4 with a hold at 15. 

Tsitsipas broke in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner won three consecutive games with two breaks of serve to take a 5-3 lead. Tsitsipas came back by winning four consecutive games with two breaks of serve to seal the second set 7-5.

Tsitsipas has a record of 17 wins to 5 defeats in Barcelona. The Greek player reached three finals at this tournament in 2018, 2021 and 2023.  

“I feel pretty good, but it is still early in the tournament. The conditions here are very different to Monte-Carlo and I felt it today when I was playing. My job is to adapt and to ensure I can bring my A game again in Barcelona this week. Today was a great test to see where I stand. I am hoping to keep on improving and getting good wins like this under my belt”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitssipas set up a third round match against Roberto Carballes Baena, who beat Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

Musetti saved three break points in the first game of the opening set. The Italian player earned two break points with a backhand down the line. Musetti saved two break points in the seventh game. Both players went on serve un the 12th game when Carballes Baena saved a set point. Carballes Baena went up a 5-1 lead with two mini-breaks in the tie-break. Musetti won three consecutive points to reduce to 4-5. Carballes Baena won the final two points to take the tie-break 7-4. 

Carballes Baena converted his fourth break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Musetti broke back in the fifth game. Carballes Baena saved a break point in the sixth game. The Spanish player sealed the win with a break on his second match. 

Last week’s Monte-Carlo finalist Casper Ruud beat Alexandre Muller 6-3 6-4 to claim his 25th tour-level win of the season. Ruud has drawn level with Jannik Sinner for the most wins in 2024 on the ATP Tour. 

Ruud set up a third round match against Jordan Thompson, who beat Jaume Munar 6-4 2-4 6-4. Roberto Bautista Agut beat Andrea Vavassori 4-6 6-4 6-1 to claim his milestone 400th match win on the ATP Tour. Bautista Agut set up a third round match against Cameron Norrie. 

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Roberto Bautista Agut wins his milestone 400th match on the ATP Tour



Roberto Bautista Agut came back from one set down to beat Australian Open doubles finalist Andrea Vavassori 4-6 6-3 6-1 after 2 hours and 1 minute at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. 

Vavassori earned an early break in the first game. The Italian player earned three break points in the seventh game, but Bautista Agut saved them. The Spanish player broke straight back in the eighth game. Vavassori broke again in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and saved two break points before closing out the first set 6-4 on his second set point. 

Both players went on serve in the first four games of the second set. Vavassori earned a break point in the fifth game, but he did not convert it. Bautista Agut broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and did not face any break points to win the second set 6-3. 

Bautista Agut broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1. 

Bautista Agut reached the 400th milestone win on the ATP Tour.  The Spanish player has become the 13th active player with at least 400 ATP Tour wins. He achieved 20 wins against members of the top 10, ten wins against top 5 players and four against world number 1s. Bautista Agut is one of the nine players, who have beaten Novak Djokovic as World number 1 more than twice. 

“For me it’s just a number. The important thing is that I have done great work over these years, that I have a very consistent career, a career that I can feel proud of “, said Bautista Agut. 

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