Simona Halep Survives Duan Scare To Secure Top Seed At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Survives Duan Scare To Secure Top Seed At Australian Open

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Simona Halep (zimbio)

Simona Halep survived a scare from Ying-Ying Duan to book her place into the Shenzhen Open Quarter-Finals and the top seed at the Australian Open after her 3-6 6-1 6-2 victory.

Despite the victory, Halep made hard work of the win after she started the match slowly and not at her peak level. The powerful Duan took full advantage as she secured a break of serve in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead.

As a result of the early lead, Halep felt the scoreboard pressure and hit a variety of unforced errors on the return of serve. Both women continued to hold serve comfortable as the world number 91 grabbed the first set 6-3 in 32 minutes.

The world number one had to step up her game if she wanted to keep her world number one ranking heading into the Australian Open and she did exactly that. The Romanian was aggressive in the second set, dictating play and forcing Duan to hit the tightest of angles. Halep broke in the fourth game as she earned a 3-1 lead and earnt control of the match.

Halep hit some incredible shots as she would win the remaining games of the set to force a deciding set. The home favourite was clearly struggling and this was confirmed when she had an off-court medical timeout at the end of the second set on her right leg.

Halep continued her momentum in the third set as she raced to a 5-0 lead with some simply sublime shot making that managed to stun Duan. Despite a mini-comeback from the world number 91, a forehand into the net sealed the match for the Romanian as she completed victory in just under 1 hour and 40 minutes.

The world number one claimed that the match was much harder than the scoreboard suggests, “After the first set, I knew I had to find the rhythm a little bit, to stay closer to the baseline and just open the court better, which I did very well,” said Halep. “It was not easy, even though the scores were 6-1 6-2 – it was a very tough match.”

The win means Halep secured the number one seed at the Australian Open ahead of Caroline Wozniacki and Garbine Muguruza and will now face Belarusian powerhouse Aryna Sabalenka in the Quarter-Finals.

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Jelena Ostapenko beats Greer Minnen to reach the second round at Eastbourne

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Number 6 seed Jelena Ostapenko beat Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after 1 hour and 29 minutes to secure a spot in the second round at the Rothesay international in Eastbourne. 

Ostapenko won the Eastbourne title in 2021 and reached the 2022 final before losing to Petra Kvitova. 

Minnen led by a break three times and served for the set at 5-4 and 6-5 but Ostapenko pulled back on serve each time. 

Ostapenko fired a backhand crosscourt winner to earn three set points at 6-3 in the tie-break. The Latvian player converted his first chance with a forehand return winner. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set. Ostapenko earned a second break in the third game, but she took an off court medical time-out after a fall at 3-1 in the second set. 

Ostapenko recovered by winning four consecutive games with two breaks to win the second set 6-1. 

“Grass is a great surface, but sometimes it can be slippery and really tricky. So I took the medical time-out just to make sure I am fine”, said Ostapenko.  

 “I think the surface suits me really well. The first I played on grass, I was like: ‘How can we play tennis on this surface ? I don’t understand what’s happening here, but then every year was better and better”, said Ostapenko. 

British wild card Harriet Dart battled past former Wimbledon quarter finalist Marie Bouzhkova 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 after 3 hours and 29 minutes in the third-longest match on the WTA Tour this year. 

Bouzhkova broke twice in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead, but Dart won six of the next seven games with three breaks of serve to win the first set 7-5. 

Dart fought back from 1-4 down to force a tie-break with two breaks of serve in the sixth and eighth games. The British player never held a match point in the second set. Bouzhkova converted her fourth set point to seal the tie-break 9-7 after a 88-minute second set. 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the third set, Dart earned a decisive break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The British wild card saved a break point at 4-3 en route to the win. 

Dart was scheduled to face 2022 Wimbeldon champion Elena Rybakina, but the Kazakh player withdrew from the tournament on Monday due to a change of schedule. Dart will face wild card Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open title and reached the final at Roland Garros in 2020.  

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(VIDEO) What A Weekend For Italian Tennis!

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta looks back on this week’s action on the ATP Tour.

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Jannik Sinner – ATP Halle 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

It has been a memorable Sunday for Italian tennis with the country winning two titles on the ATP Tour. 

In Halle, world No.1 Jannik Sinner claimed his first trophy on the grass with a hard-fought two-set win over Hubert Hurkacz. There was also success in the doubles tournament with top seeds Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori winning the title. Meanwhile, in London, Lorenzo Musetti was unable to make it a hatrick of wins for his country after losing in the final of the Cinch Championships to Tommy Paul.  

So how much can be read into these wins and should we be expecting similar results at Wimbledon which begins a week tomorrow? 

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Jannik Sinner reaches the first grass final of his career in Halle

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Jannik Sinner overcame Zhang Zhizhen 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to reach the first final of his career on grass at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Sinner achieved his best result on this surface when he reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2023. 

Sinner will face a final against his friend Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the first semifinal. The Italian player converted his only break point in the ninth game and fended off the only break point he faced at 5-6 in the second set with a forehand winner, one of his winners of the match. 

The Italian player earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead. Zhang Zhizhen pulled the mini-break back. Sinner earned two mini-breaks in the fourth and eighth points to win the tie-break 7-3. Sinner won the first of the four tie-breaks he played this week.

Sinner finished the match in straight sets after clinching three consecutive three-set wins at the start of his campaign at this year’s edition of the Terra Wortmann in Halle. 

The world number 1 player won three titles on hard court at the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Miami this year. 

“It means a lot. I had four tough matches to go to the final. It was a good match today. Definitely more rallies than yesterday. And that’s definitely what I needed today. I am happy and let’s see what’s coming tomorrow”, said Sinner.  

Earlier this week Zhang Zhizhen had previously beaten Danil Medvedev in the second round and came back from 2-5 down to beat Christopher Eubanks in the quarter finals. 

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