Reigning Fed Cup Champions Belarus Tamed By Germany - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup

Reigning Fed Cup Champions Belarus Tamed By Germany

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Aryna Sabalenka (zimbio.com)

Defending champions Belarus have endured a mixed opening day of their Fed Cup world group tie.

Taking on Germany in Minsk, Aryna Sabalenka got her country off to a strong start. The world No.63 recovered from a set down to defeat Tatjana Maria 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. A player participating in her first Fed Cup tie since 2011.

“That was such a tough match, she made me play really well,” Sabalenka told FedCup.com. “I didn’t expect her to come to the net most points, so I’m happy I managed to adapt and win the second and third sets. I’m confident and I enjoyed playing a match like that.”

Maria, who is yet to win a main draw match on the WTA Tour this season, drew positives from her defeat.

“Sabalenka is an extremely aggressive player. She also played a very good match and at the end she was just that little bit better,” an upbeat Maria concluded after her loss.
“I was a little bit unlucky to lose my serve at the start of the second set and then she started to gain confidence. It was very tight, I didn’t feel like it was a 62 third set.”

The German team battled back to draw level with the help of Antonia Lottner, who is making her competition debut at the age of 21. Lottner, who hasn’t won a tour title for almost 18 months, stunned world No.46 Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-5, 6-4.

“I feel amazing,” she said after the win. “It’s my first Fed Cup match and I got the win for my team today. I’m super happy, so proud.”

All to play for in France

At the Le Vendéspace France are level-pegging with Belgium. Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens continues her strong start to the year with a clinical 6-2, 6-1, win over Pauline Parmentier. The world No.20 dropped her serve only once as she fired 22 winners past her opponent to score a point for Belgium. France was able to respond with the help of Kristina Mladenovic, who dismissed Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-4, in the second match.

“This is my environment,” Mladenovic told FedCup.com afterwards. “Pressure is an obstacle that I don’t fear at all.”

The second day of Fed Cup competition will feature back-to-back singles matches followed by the doubles.

Fed Cup

Sorana Cirstea Announces Fed Cup Retirement, WTA Stars Prepare For 2019

Sorana Cirstea announces her Fed Cup retirement as WTA stars prepare for the 2019 season.

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Sorana Cirstea (zimbio.com)

World number 85 Sorana Cirstea has announced her retirement from Fed Cup after competing in the competition for 12 years.

The Romanian first made her debut when she was just 16 years old when she competed against Sweden in Zone Group I Europe/Africa.

Since then Cirstea has won 16 of her 29 Fed Cup rubbers but has now announced that it is time to move on and wishes the team the best of luck for the future.

“I feel like I have done my duty. And now is the time to pass the relay baton onto the new generation,” Cirstea said on her Facebook page.

“I would like to thank my teammates, the Federation, the captains, the coaches and everyone who was involved in our success, and especially the Romanian crowd that has been supporting me over the years.”

The 28 year-old will look to now improve her ranking after a disappointing 2018 season which included a 17-25 win-loss record.

WTA Starts Prepare For 2019

Meanwhile other WTA players have been preparing for the new season, which officially begins in 16 days. Here is some of the best action from the off-season so far:

Caroline Wozniacki 

The Dane decided to use her off-season to improve her tennis with a certain 23 time grand slam champion:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrGQjLaAkZN/

Aryna Sabalenka

The Belarusian rising star had an amazing 2018 season and is using unique training methods to improve further next season:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrR8iX4jumH/

Garbine Muguruza

Despite an underwhelming 2018 season, the Spaniard has been practicing in California to get ready for the 2019 season:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrRSeoClwvx/

Julia Goerges

Practice is perfect in Julia Goerges’ case as she looks to expand on her Wimbledon semi-final:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrC8jJnBO_w/

Naomi Osaka

The US Open champion is getting ready for the new season in Los Angeles as she looks to gain even more fans in 2019:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq-7699gldE/

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Fed Cup

VIDEO: Was It A Wise Choice For Denis Shapovalov To Skip The Next Gen Finals?

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta speaks with John Horn about the Canadian rising star.

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Last week saw Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas add to his title collection at the Next Gen Finals in Milan, but one notable absentee from the tournament was Denis Shapovalov.

The 19-year-old is the youngest player inside the world’s top 100 at 27th and the fourth highest ranked among the Next Generation. A group of upcoming players under the age of 21. Shapovalov opted to end his season early due to exhaustion. Ubitennis analyses Shapovalov’s decision and looks ahead to what the future could have in store for him.

 

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Fed Cup

Katerina Siniakova saves two match points to secure the 11th Fed Cup title for

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Katerina Siniakova secured the decivive 3-0 point to earn Czech Republic its 11th Fed Cup title and its 6th triumph in the past eight seasons at this event since 2011. Siniakova had to save two match point at 4-5 in the third set to beat US Sofia Kenin 7-5 5-7 7-5 in the third singles match to the delight of the enthusiastic Czech fans, who packed the O2 Arena in Prague.

Siniakova scored her second singles win this weekend after beating Alison Riske on Saturday.

Siniakova converted her first break chance and went up a double break early in the first set. Kenin got back on serve at 1-2 in a 10-minute game before breaking again in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Sinakova bounced back by breaking serve once more. Kenin converted on her break point at deuce at 3-5 down before drawing level to 5-5. Siniakova reeled off five consecutive games to build up a 7-5 3-0 lead, but Kenin came back from 15-40 down to win her first game of the second set. The US teenager broke twice in a row in the fifth and seventh games. Siniakova pulled the break back for 4-5 with a series of backhand winners. Kerer broke again at love in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead before sealing the second set on the fourth set point.

Siniakova saved three break points in the first game of the decider before breaking serve on her second chance. The Czech player consolidated the break with a hold to build up a 3-0 lead.

Siniakova fended off four break points to hold serve for 4-1 in a 19-minute marathon fifth game. Kenin fought back by winning four consecutive games thanks to two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games to take a 5-4 lead, but she fired the ball beyond the baseline twice from 40-15 and failed to convert her two match points. Siniakova reeled off six points in a row from 0-40 down at 5-5. Siniakova got the final break of the match in the 12th game to seal a thrilling win after 3 hours and 44 minutes, when Kenin sent her forehand into the tramlines. The Czech team celebrated the fourth of their six titles since 2011 at the O2 Arena in Prague.

Siniakova scored the third win in four singles Fed Cup rubbers. She hit 4 aces and won 56 percent of her first serve points. Kenin hit 42 winners but she made 76 unforced errors.

Czech Republic ended a 8-match losing streak against the USA at Fed Cup level.

Petr Pala has won his sixth title as captain of the Czech Fed Cup team. He boasts an impressive 24-4 win-loss record in the 28 Fed Cup matches where he took charge of the Czech team.

The US team captained by Kathy Rinaldi did not defend their title won in 2017, but they featured a young team with three players Danielle Collins, Sofia Kenin and Nicole Melichar, who made their debut at this event this weekend.

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