WTA Sydney: Angelique Kerber saves two match points to beat Lucie Safarova, as Camila Giorgi upsets Sloane Stephens - UBITENNIS
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WTA Sydney: Angelique Kerber saves two match points to beat Lucie Safarova, as Camila Giorgi upsets Sloane Stephens

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Former world number 1 Angelique Kerber saved two match points to battle past Lucie Safarova 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (10-8) 6-2 setting up a second-round match against Venus Williams.

 

Kerber overcame two rain delays to continue her winning streak to five consecutive wins this season. The German player reached the final last week at the Hopman Cup in Perth teaming up with Alexander Zverev. Germany lost against a Swiss team formed by Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic in the final. The player from Bremen showed her return to form last week winning all four of her singles matches and continued her winning streak by beating Safarova. Kerber dropped from world number 1 to outside the world number 20 after a tough 2017 season.

The first set featured six breaks of serve. Safarova earned the first break of serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead but Kerber broke straight back in the next game. Both players traded breaks twice more setting up a tie-break, where Safarova prevailed by 7-3.

Safarova broke serve to love in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Kerber broke straight back in the fourth game. The next games went on serve en route to a second tie-break. Kerber earned a set point at 6-5, but she made two consecutive double faults to face a match point. The Czech player missed her two opportunites, and Kerber won three consecutive points to clinch the second set.

Kerber went up a double break in the third and seventh games to race out to a 5-2 lead in the decisive set and brought up a match point with a forehand winner in the next game. She converted on her opportunity to seal the win after two hours and 28 minutes.

“It was not an easy match, but this was what I was expecting, a really tough battle against Lucie, and every single game was really close. It was a big fight. Especially for me. I just came yesterday from Perth, so it was a big change with the hours, with the weather, with everything actually. So I am quite happy that I won it at the end. ”, said Kerber.

Camila Giorgi cruised past 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-3 6-0 in the Ken Rosewall Arena after 65 minutes to produce the first major upset at the Apia International Tournament in Sydney. From 5-2 in the first set Giorgi won nine of the next ten games. In the second set she dropped just seven of the 31 points she played to take a bagel win. The Italian world number 100 lost to Ana Bogdan at the Shenzhen Open last week in her first match since the US Open first round.

Giorgi hit 21 winners to 20 unforced errors. Stephens produced 23 winners to 35 unforced errors to lose her seventh consecutive match since her triumph against Madison Keys at last September’s US Open. She took a two month-break from tennis after losing her last two matches in 2017.

Stephens saved a break point to hold her serve in the second game at deuce. Giorgi fended off a break point and held her serve in a very long third game with five deuces. The Italian player got the only break of the opening set at 30 to open up a 4-2 lead and held her two final service games at 15 to close out the set by 6-3. Giorgi cruised to a bagel win in a one-sided second set with three consecutive breaks in the first, third and fifth games.

Giorgi has scored the 23rd win in her career against a top 20 player (including seven wins against top 10 players) living up to her reputation as a player, who is able to raise her level against rivals with a higher ranking.

Giorgi will play against either twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who won the first set by 6-1 before 2017 Australian Open semifinalist Mirjana Lucic Baroni withdrew from the match. Kvitova won her only previous head-to-head match against Giorgi in straight sets at the 2014 Fed Cup.

Giorgi will move up to at least world number 84 and will become the highest ranked Italian player next week.

“I think it was a good match. I made some mistakes at the start of the match, but then I played my best tennis and I played a good match. It was very important to start the season with a win. I have not played tennis for three months because of an injury. It was important to return to the court. I hope to stay healthy for the rest of the season. I train in Italy and I felt well during my winter preparation. I trained for six weeks”, said Giorgi.

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Caroline Wozniacki To Face Serena Williams In Farewell Match

Details have been released about a special event that will take place in honour of the former world No.1.

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After announcing her retirement from tennis at the start of next year, Caroline Wozniacki has confirmed that she will play one final match in her home country before hanging up her racket for good.

 

Danish media have reported that the 2018 Australian Open champion will play at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen next May. A multi-purpose arena that can hold a capacity of up to 12,500 people for sporting events. Described by the promoters as Wozniacki’s ‘final match’ on Danish soil, she will play against rival and friend Serena Williams.

“The time has come when I stop my career and I am very much looking forward to playing my very last home game in front of such a large audience. It will be something very special and a day I really look forward to.” Wozniacki told tv2.dk.
“The end point of my career cannot be better than at home and against tennis’ greatest female player ever. It’s going to be a magnificent night I’ll never forget, I’m sure.” She added.

Wozniacki has played Williams 11 times on the WTA Tour, but has only won one of their meetings. Which was at the 2012 Miami Open. It is not the first time the two have played an exhibition match against each other. In 2016 Williams won their encounter in Madison Square Garden, New York. Meanwhile, last year Wozniacki also played Williams’ sister Venus in Denmark to mark her triumph at the Australian Open.

The 29-year-old will be hoping that the upcoming showdown will be the perfect send off as she exits the sport. During her career, Wozniacki has won 30 WTA titles and spent 71 weeks as world No.1. She has also won 432 hard court matches, which is more than any other non-American player on the women’s tour.

“I want to thank everyone for the incredible support they have shown me throughout my career and I hope that as many people as possible want to come and give me perfect send off. I would be very grateful for that.” She said.

The farewell match will take place on May 18th, which is exactly a week before the start of the French Open for Williams.

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Indian Wells voted as the best WTA Premier Mandatory Tournament of the 2019 season

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The tournament awards are broken down into four categories, according to the four different levels of WTA Tournaments.

 

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells has been voted as the winner of the Tournament of the Year Award in the WTA Premier Mandatory category for the sixth consecutive year and the 11th time overall.

Dubai was voted as the winner in the WTA Premier 5 Category. There were two ties in the WTA Premier category and in the WTA International categories.

St. Petersburg won the WTA Premier Award fo the second consecutive year, while Stuttgart received this award for the 10th time.

Auckland won the WTA International category Award for the fourth time, while Acapulco received this accolade for the 12th time.

Petra Kvitova received the Karen Krantzcke Sportmanship Award for the seventh straight year and the eighth time overall. The list of past winners of this Award features Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva, Ana Ivanovic, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. The Karen Krantzcke Sportmaship Award is presented to the player, who observes the rules of fair play, shows respect for others and is gracious on and off the court.

“Receiving this award for the eighth consecutive year makes me very proud and means so much for me. Being recognized by my colleagues for sportsmanship and fair play is an honour as I always pride myself on treating my opponents with respect. I hope to inspire the future generations to love the sport of tennis as much as I do”, said Kvitova.

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Carla Suarez Navarro Set For One Last Season As A Player

The former top 10 player has outlined her retirement plans for 2020 as she embarks upon a farewell tour.

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Next year will be the final time tennis fans will see Carla Suarez Navarro on the tour after the Spaniard announced her retirement on Tuesday.

 

The former world No.6 confirmed her future plans during a press conference in Barcelona. She will play one full season in 2020 before walking away from the sport after playing for more than 10 years on the WTA Tour. Suarez Navarro is currently the second highest ranked female tennis player from Spain after Garbine Muguruza and is currently 55th in the world.

“The 2020 season will be my last year in the professional tennis circuit,” wtatennis.com quoted the 31-year-old as saying. “The sport has been a fundamental part of my life – it has given me immense joy and I cannot be more grateful for all the experiences that it has allowed me to live. At this time, I notice that the time has come to complete a beautiful chapter and begin to enjoy other areas of life. Tennis will always be in me.”

Known for her one-handed backhand shot, which is a rare occurrence in the women’s game, Suarez Navarro has enjoyed a successful career since her breakthrough in 2008. The year when she reached the quarter-finals of the French Open as a qualifier. During her career, she claimed two WTA titles with the biggest being at the 2016 Qatar Open. She also finished runner-up at nine other tournaments.

“Tennis right now has a very high demand. To be high in the ranking you need absolute consistency, a world-class level of physical conditioning and a 24-hour daily psychological commitment. I have been in high competition for more than 15 years and have lived through these realities since the beginning of my adolescence. These are lessons that have formed me as a person and that will serve me for a lifetime,” Suárez Navarro explained.
“I want to enjoy one last season with the same professionalism as always. I am going to do a quality preparation, my whole team is going to travel with me from the month of January and I plan to compete until the end of the season. My desire is clear: to be proud of this last effort when I reach the end of the road.”

Suarez Navarro has also enjoyed success in the doubles where she peaked at a high of 11th back in 2015. Her trio of trophies was won alongside Muguruza between 2014-2015. The duo also reached the semi-finals of the 2014 French Open.

Representing her country, the three-time Olympian has also featured in 15 Fed Cup ties. Including Spain’s clash with Belgium earlier this year when she won all three of her matches (two singles and one doubles). Overall, she has a win-loss record of 16-11 in the competition.

Despite knowing that next year will be her last as a player, the Spaniard has big ambitions for 2020. Including a fourth consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games.

“My goals are going to be as high as ever,” she stated. “I want to try to finish the year in the Top 10 because I know what it takes to be there. I am very excited to participate in another Olympic Games and, as always, I will have the Grand Slams in mind. Although it is the last season of my career, my mentality will be exactly the same: work, humility and ambition.”

Suarez Navarro will start her final season at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Four facts about Suarez Navarro’s career

  1. Her career prize money currently stands at $11,580,886. The third highest of all time for a Spanish woman.
  2. Has won 509 matches so far in her career against 336 loses.
  3. Between 2013-2016 Suarez Navarro finished each season in the top 20 for both singles and doubles.
  4. She has played in 43 grand slam tournaments and hasn’t missed the main draw of a major event since losing in the second round of qualifying at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships.

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