Simona Halep Saves Two Match Points To Reach Australian Open Final - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Saves Two Match Points To Reach Australian Open Final



Simona Halep (zimbio)

Simona Halep saved two match points as she battled past 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 6-3 4-6 9-7 to reach the Australian Open Final.


The world number one battled past the stubborn German in 2 hours and 22 minutes to reach her first Australian Open final.

Heading into the match both women were undefeated in 2018 and had different paths to the Semi-Finals. Halep saved two match points in her third round match with Lauren Davis and suffered an ankle injury scare earlier in the tournament. While Kerber was only taken to three sets once during the tournament as she eased past her opponents.

The Romanian took advantage of an exhausted looking Kerber in the first set as she raced into a 5-0 lead, breaking on three occasions. She had good depth on her forehand as the German didn’t have any energy to counter-attack Halep’s shots.

The German started to come back into the match at the back end of the set breaking twice before the World number one wrapped up the opening set in 26 minutes.

The second set was much improved from the German as she started to realize the quality of her opposition. Once the Romanian had broke for a 3-1 lead in the second set, Kerber started to use her backhands to dictate play and force Halep to defend. This resulted in a break back for Kerber and a more positive attitude. Some insane rallies were starting to go in the world number 16’s favour as she seized her opportunity in the ninth game to break Halep’s serve for a 5-4 lead before levelling the match at a set all.

What transpired next was one of the best sets of the entire tournament as both women were producing Tennis of the highest quality. Kerber and Halep exchanged breaks to start this marathon set as both Women demanded more from their coaches. The Romanian struck first as she broke in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead. However that was quickly cancelled out by the German she won one of the rallies of the tournament, as you can see below:

The 2016 champion then saved two match points before breaking Halep to try and serve for the match at 6-5. However Halep was determined to win her first grand slam title this week and saved two match points of her own before breaking back.

The match now came down to who was more exhausted and who would blink first and it would be the former Champion who would do so as a misfiring backhand went long and sealed a hard fought victory for Halep.

The world number one has once again battled hard to see her grand slam dream remain alive while for Kerber she suffers her first defeat of the season in the most heart breaking of circumstances.

The Romanian expressed her emotions after the match, “It was very tough. I’m shaking, I’m emotional. I knew it was going to be tough. She’s a tough opponent who is moving well and hitting from everywhere. I want to thank everyone for supporting me and helping me.”

So Simona Halep will now play Caroline Wozniacki in an exhilarating Australian Open Final on Saturday, with the World Number one and a first grand slam title at stake.


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World Tennis League: Swiatek And Medvedev Among Top Names To Play Exhibition Event



image via ATP Twitter

During the off-season, some of the world’s best players will head to the United Arab Emirates next month to play in a four-day team event. 


The World Tennis League (WTL) will host its second edition between December 21-24 at the Yas Island’s Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The event features a total of 16 players split into four groups with each of those teams competing for the trophy. Every group will have their own coach and even an owner. 

Earlier this week, organizers confirmed the last players to be added to the line-up. Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz will all play in the event which will feature a combination of singles and mixed doubles matches. Those who have already confirmed their entry include Iga Swiatek, Daniil Medvedev, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina, Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

As for who is in what group, the SG Mavericks Kites features Sabalanka, Tsitsipas, Paula Badosa and Grigor Dimitrov. The owners of that team are SG Sports, the sporting arm of APL Apollo Tubes. An Indian-based structural steel tube brand. Their coach will be former Australian Open doubles champion Robert Lindstedt.

Team Eagles will be made up of Medvedev, Rublev, Sofia Kenin and Mirra Andreeva. Their owners are the Punit Balan Group. Balan is an Indian film producer and owner of several sporting teams. They will be coached by John-Laffnie De Jager who has previously worked with the likes of Kevin Anderson, Daniella Hantuchova and Ajla Tomljanovic.

The Honor FX Falcons is named after owners Honor FX features. Rybakina, Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Leylah Fernandez are in that group which will be led by Chris Groh. Groh has previously coached Fritz during his teenage years. 

Finally, The Hawkes team has Swiatek, Hurkacz, Ruud and Caroline Garcia. The team are the only one yet to have an official owner. Sweden’s Simon Aspelin will be their coach. 

“We’re thrilled to be announcing more star names to our exceptional tennis line-up for season two of the World Tennis League,” Rajesh Banga, chairman of the World Tennis League, said.
“These players are of the highest calibre and prominent names around the world so we’re pleased they will be competing in the unique tournament at our new home in Etihad Arena.”

The schedule of the event will be the following:-

DAY ONE: Hawks Vs Honor FX Falcons, Team Eagles Vs SG Mavericks Kites

DAY TWO: Honor FX Falcons Vs SG Mavericks Kites, Team Eagles Vs Team Hawks 

Day Three: Team Eagles Vs Honor FX Falcons, SG Maverick Kites Vs Team Hawks

Day Four: knockout rounds

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Luca Van Assche rallies from two sets to one down to beat Alex Michelsen



Luca Van Assche came back from two sets to one down to defeat Alex Michelsen 4-3 (7-0) 3-4 (4-7) 3-4 (4-7) 4-1 4-3 (8-6) in 2 hours and 36 minutes at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah in the second longest match in the history of this tournament. 


Van Assche and Michelsen went on serve in the first three sets. Both players saved all five break points they faced in the first three sets. 

There were three consecutive breaks in the fourth set. Van Assche earned two of them and served out the set at love in the fifth game. 

Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games of the fifth set. Van Assche earned a chance to serve for the match, but Michelsen pulled back on serve to force a tie-break. 

Van Assche built a 3-0 in the tie-break with an early mini-break. Michelsen saved two match points to draw level to 6-6. Van Assche sealed the win with another mini-break on the second match point. 

“He was playing very well the whole match. It was really close. Not a lot of breaks and it was difficult for me but I am very happy”, said Van Assche. 

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Arthur Fils beats Dominic Stricker to end Green Group unbeaten



Arthur Fils battled past Dominic Stricker 4-2 3-4 (3-7) 4-2 4-3 (7-5) after 1 hour and 47 minutes in the final round-robin match to end the Green Group unbeaten with a 3-0 record at the Next Gen ATP Finals. 


Stricker knew that he would advance to the semifinals if he won just one set. The Swiss player won the set he needed against the already qualified Fils to secure his spot in the semifinal despite the defeat. 

Stricker saved a break point on the deciding point in the third game of the fourth set. Fils earned the break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out on his second set point. 

Stricker held serve at love in the first game of the fourth set. The Swiss player broke serve on the deciding point to open up a 2-0 lead. Fils broke straight back in the third game and held serve at 15 to draw level to 2-2. Fils earned three mini-breaks, but Stricker pulled back on serve each time. Fils sealed the tie-break 7-5 on his second match point. 

Stricker beat Fils 7-6 7-6 in Gstaad in their only previous head-to-head match last summer. 

Fils saved two break points in the first game to hold serve. Stricker fended off a break point in the fourth game on the deciding point to draw level to 2-2. Fils earned his first break on his third set point with a forehand return winner in the sixth game to clinch the first set 4-2. 

Stricker saved the only break point of the second set in the fourth game. Both players held on their serve en route to the tie-break. Stricker won six consecutive points from 0-1 down with two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Fils won his first title in Lyon and reached the final in Antwerp

“I knew before the match that I qualified, but I just want to win every match that I am playing. I think I put a little bit more focus out there out there today than the first two days because I know this opponent and he already beat me this year. It was a tough match but I am really happy to win and let’s see who I get in the semifinal”, said Fils in the post- match interview. 

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