Karolina Pliskova Scores Back-To-Back Wins To Reach Cincinnati Semis - UBITENNIS
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Karolina Pliskova Scores Back-To-Back Wins To Reach Cincinnati Semis




Due to the inclement weather that disrupted Thursday’s schedule, the current WTA world No. 1 was forced to play back-to-back matches during Friday’s day session at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. The Czech emerged unscathed and convincingly booked her spot in the semifinals.


Karolina Pliskova (zimbio.com)

By Lorenzo Dellagiovanna

CINCINNATI – Friday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati was a crucial day for Karolina Pliskova’s hopes to remain at the top of the WTA rankings for the rest of the 2017 season. Pliskova, Halep, Svitolina and Wozniacki all entered the event with the possibility to sit on top of the world rankings at the end of the tournament. After the torrential rain that derailed the majority of Thursday’s schedule, the current world No.1 emerged unscathed from back-to-back matches and booked her spot in the semifinals.

Pliskova’s round of 16 match against qualifier Camila Giorgi of Italy started on Thursday evening with the Czech dominating the tournament’s most surprising player and sprinting to a 3-0 lead. When play resumed at 1 PM under a mostly cloudless sky and with temperatures reaching almost 85°F, the match became more balanced with both players hitting the ball beautifully from the back of the court. Pliskova’s easy power was matched by Giorgi’s great anticipation skills in fast baseline rallies delighting the local crowd that gathered on Court 3.

Pliskova primarily focused on winning her service games and capitalizing on the break advantage from the night before. Giorgi’s strategy was clearly based on moving her opponent from side to side, but the Italian couldn’t completely execute her game plan and committed too many unforced errors in the crucial moments of the set, while her Czech opponent remained steady under pressure. Pliskova saved two important break-points with service winners while leading 5-3 and wrapped up the first set 6-3 with impeccable serving stats. Pliskova’s serve proved almost unplayable throughout the set despite the pressure applied by Giorgi standing two feet inside the baseline on the Czech’s second delivery.

In the second set, Giorgi cut down on her unforced errors and managed to hit some spectacular winners that allowed her to stay neck-and-neck with the world No. 1. With Pliskova serving at 4-5, the Italian finally broke the Czech powerhouse with three incredible winners, including two extraordinary cross-court backhands. The second set went to the Italian with the score of 6-4.

The match was virtually decided in the first game of the third set: Giorgi was serving at 30-30 when chair umpire Marija Čičak called a “time violation” on the Italian, which changed the momentum in the Czech’s favor again. Giorgi was visibly distracted and irritated by the umpire’s warning and started missing a few routine backhands that eventually cost her the match.

Pliskova quickly found her range and didn’t allow the Italian to step foot into the match again. The Czech closed the match with an emphatic 6-0 score in the third set.

6-3, 4-6, 6-0 was the final score in Pliskova’s favor.

A couple of hours later, the Czech took the court again against none other than Caroline Wozniacki – a former world No. 1 currently ranked No. 5 – in one of the most anticipated clashes of the women’s tournament. The head-to-head between the two players was clearly in Wozniacki’s favor, with the Dane leading 5-2.  Furthermore, Caroline beat the tall Czech in a titanic quarterfinal clash at the Canadian Open last week.

Pliskova clearly showed that she didn’t want to be involved in long rallies right from the beginning of the match. Wozniacki is one of the best defenders in women’s tennis and her speedy footwork typically allows her to retrieve an incredible amount of balls causing massive problems to power players who rely on aggressive shot-making abilities. Today the Dane didn’t bring her A-game to the table though and Pliskova didn’t show any signs of fatigue from her previous match.

The world No. 1 broke Wozniacki early in the match with aggressive returns and clean down-the-line shots that painted the lines. The Czech jumped to a 4-2 lead and ended up breaking the Dane’s serve for the second time in the set with another incredible return and a beautiful forehand winner. Pliskova then closed the first set 6-2 in exactly 30 minutes with a solid service hold.

Wozniacki seemed unable to match Pliskova’s power and committed a few unusual unforced errors. Early in the second set, the Czech decided to shorten the rallies even more and her strategy proved incredibly successful, hitting a ton of service winners and finishing the point with one-two punches.  Pliskova broke the Wozniacki serve to take a 3-1 lead and never looked back. She capitalized on her early break and closed the second set 6-4 holding her last service game at love.

6-2, 6-4 was the final score in the Czech’s favor.

“I think even the first match helped me to have some rallies today,” The top seed said about playing two matches on the same day.  “Physically (the first match) was not that tough so I was warmed up enough.”

Today’s back-to-back wins were massive for Pliskova, who is not only defending her Cincinnati title, but is also trying to fend off the challengers to her No. 1 ranking. Her victory against Wozniacki could be crucial for the race to No. 1.


Felix Auger-Aliassime Reaches Quarters In Cincinnati After Three-Set Win Over Sinner

The world number nine reached the quarterfinals after battling back to beat the Italian in three sets.




Felix Auger-Aliassime (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the quarterfinals of the Western and Southern Open after beating Jannik Sinner 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 in two hours and 26 minutes.


The Canadian served 14 aces and hit 29 winners in a match where he had to fight back from losing the first set on his way to sealing a spot in the final eight of the tournament.

“Jannik was just playing too good. I didn’t have a great start, I was missing a lot. But I just had no time. He was playing so fast, so precise, serving well. For a set and a half, it was just too good,” atptour.com quoted Auger-Aliassime as saying during his on-court interview. “That game he broke me in the second, returning on the baseline for three returns in a row, you can’t do much better, so I had to give it to him.
“But at the end, I was still on the court trying to find ways, trying to fight and trying to see how I could make him miss a few more balls and to put myself in a competing position and I did that well… To come back and play that way in the tie-break and the third set, that means a lot to me going forward.”

Sinner got the early break in the first set to take a 2-0 lead and broke a second time with the Montreal native serving to stay in the first set to seal it.

The second set stayed on serve until 3-2 when once again the Italian got the break of serve to take a 4-2 lead but Auger-Aliassime broke right back the following game. The set was eventually decided by a tiebreaker in which the world number nine raced out to a 4-0 lead, hitting some solid forehands and it looked like he had turned the match around. He won the breaker only losing a single point and sent the match into a deciding set.

The number seven seed kept the momentum going by breaking in the first game of the third set. He then earned a double break lead and was up 3-0 and broke a third time for a 4-1. Auger-Aliassime served out the match to book a date with Borna Coric who beat the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes.

The pair have met twice before in 2019. Auger-Aliassime won their encounter in Miami but Coric triumphed in Rome.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Quarterfinals Featuring Medvedev/Fritz and Alcaraz/Norrie




Daniil Medvedev this week in Cincinnati (twitter.com/cincytennis)

Friday’s ATP singles quarterfinals feature six of the top 13 players in the world.  By contrast, in the WTA singles draw, the top five seeds have all been eliminated, and only two seeds remain.


Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.

Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Taylor Fritz (11) – Not Before 1:00pm on Center Court

Medvedev has earned both his wins this week in straight sets, while Fritz came back from a set down on Thursday to defeat Daniil’s close friend Andrey Rublev.  The 24-year-old American is having the best year of his career, with a record of 35-13.  Taylor is on the verge of breaking into the top 10, and would be even closer to doing so had he received points for his run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals.  He earned his first Masters 1000 title at another North American hard court event earlier this year in Indian Wells.  In their first career meeting, Fritz has the firepower to pull off the upset, especially with a partisan crowd behind him.  But on a hard court, Medvedev remains the favorite to reach his third semifinal in Cincinnati.

Cameron Norrie (9) vs. Carlos Alcaraz (3) – Last on Center Court

This will be their fourth meeting within the past year, and thus far, all three have gone to Alcaraz.  That includes straight sets wins at the US Open and Indian Wells, and a three-set victory in Madrid on clay.  As impressive as Norrie has been across the past 18 months, no one has skyrocketed to new heights this past year like Alcaraz.  The 19-year-old is now 44-8 in 2022.  However, the sheer amount of tennis the youngster has played this year is concerning, despite his high level of fitness.  And many of those matches have been grueling, dramatic affairs.  Given his recent history with Norrie, Carlitos should be favored, though an upset by the British No.1 would not be a shocking result.

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Madison Keys vs. Elena Rybakina – Keys upset world No.1 Iga Swiatek on Thursday.  Both Keys and Rybakina are yet to drop a set this week.  When they played at this year’s Roland Garros, Madison prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.

Ajla Tomljanovic (Q) vs. Petra Kvitova – Tomljanovic has survived four consecutive three-setters, going back to the last round of qualifying on Sunday.  Kvitova took out Ons Jabeur on Thursday. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. John Isner – Tsitsipas lead their head-to-head 4-2, and has taken their last four meetings.  Stefanos is vying for his third consecutive semifinal at this event.  Isner was a finalist here in 2013.

Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Caroline Garcia – Pegula is now No.3 in the year-to-date rankings, with a record of 30-15.  However, Garcia has slightly bested that record, as she’s now 32-15 this season.  Jess is 2-1 against Caroline, though the Frenchwoman claimed their only meeting in 2022.

Felix Auger-Aliassime (7) vs. Borna Coric (Q) – Auger-Aliassime saved two match points on Thursday night in a comeback victory over Jannik Sinner.  Coric followed up his upset of Rafael Nadal by defeating another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut.  Felix and Borna split two encounters back in 2019. 

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Andy Murray Outlines ‘Big Concern’ About His Current Fitness Ahead Of US Open

The 35-year-old is looking to see if he can find a reason behind his latest problem on the Tour.




Andy Murray (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Britain’s Andy Murray has admitted that he is alarmed about the frequency of cramping he is experiencing during matches played in North America this season.


The three-time Grand Slam champion crashed out of the Western and Southern Open on Wednesday after losing in three sets to compatriot Cameron Norrie. During the closing stages of their encounter, it was visible that Murray was once again struggling with cramps. A condition that occurs when a muscle shortens and causes a sudden pain that can make it hard to move.

It is usual for athletes to experience cramps but for Murray the issue is a ‘big concern’ for him. Saying that this year is the first time in his career he has suffered from the issue on a regular basis.

“I think pretty much every tennis player in their career has cramped usually in these sorts of conditions,” Murray said during his press conference.
“But the consistency of it for me is a big concern. It’s not something that I have really experienced. I have experienced cramping but not consistently like over a number of tournaments.
“It’s a big concern for me because it’s not easy to play when it gets bad like it was at the end (of his match against Norrie). I feel like it had an impact on the end of the match.”

Murray says his cramping occurs ‘predominantly’ in his legs but different parts. The former world No.1 is now looking into seeing if he can find a possible explanation as to what might be triggering the cramps. The issue comes less than two weeks before the start of the US Open.

“It’s a big concern for me that and something that I need to address and find a solution for,” he said. “No one knows exactly why cramps happen. There are many reasons, whether its hydration, whether it’s the food that you have taken in, whether it’s fatigue and lack of conditioning, stress.’
“I need to try and understand what’s going on there.”

Since Wimbledon, Murray has achieved a win-loss record of 3-4 on the Tour with his best run being to the quarter-finals in Newport. He is currently ranked 47th in the world.

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