Elina Svitolina Ends Osaka’s Winning Run - UBITENNIS
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Elina Svitolina Ends Osaka’s Winning Run

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Elina Svitolina produced a superb performance to beat Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka 6-4 6-2 in the second round of the Miami Open.

 

It was the Japanese player’s first defeat in nine matches, but after a run to glory in the desert that included wins over Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep and a first-round win over Serena Williams in Miami, she can be very proud of what she has achieved.

For Svitolina, this convincing win was an ideal demonstration of the progress she has made in the last 18 months. In that time, the Ukrainian has won seven WTA titles (including five at premier level) and risen from 18 to 4 in the world rankings.

And Svitolina showed exactly why she holds that lofty position in the rankings with a dominant display on stadium court. She won a tight first set by breaking Osaka in game seven, and then raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set before finally winning it 6-2.

One of the ways the Ukrainian achieved victory was by consistently outmanoeuvring Osaka and creating opportunities to hit a raft of typically precise winners. She also kept unforced errors to a minimum to ensure she made life as difficult as possible for the Japanese.

Furthermore, Svitolina served well throughout. She hit five aces, had a first serve percentage of 74% and won 78% of points behind it, and saved five of six break points faced.

And to top off an excellent all-round showing, the Ukrainian underlined her status as one of the best returners in the women’s game by earning nine break points against Osaka’s serve and taking four of them.

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“I’ve always known that she can produce a great game,” said Svitolina in her press conference. “We’ve played quite a bit now. I knew that I would have to always be on my toes and be ready for her strong shots and strong serve.”

Svitolina continued, “She can take the game in her hands. I was just trying not to give her any opportunities. I think I was playing pretty solid, serving good. This was the key for today, as well as making it physical.”

The Ukrainian was asked what it was like facing such a tough opponent in her first match at a tournament. She said, “I was like, okay, this is going to be challenging. For a second round, normally you don’t get these kinds of matches.”

Svitolina continued, “It was actually quite exciting. I like to go into tournaments with a little bit of stress. Then you’re straight into the matches. Of course, this kind of player was a little bit too much because, after winning Indian Wells, she was pretty confident. I’m very happy with the way I handled this match today and the way I was playing.”

In her press conference, Osaka described the World No.4 as “one of the most consistent players”. When Svitolina was asked to explain what makes her so consistent, she said, “All my career, growing up, my parents were always telling me that I have to take one step at a time and not rush things. This is the key I think for me.”

She continued, “Even when I have tough times, I just try to break it down into small pieces, take one step, and then move forward. I don’t put so much pressure on myself. It’s life, and it’s the process of learning, as well. Every week you have a chance to play well.”

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Kvitova overcomes Sabalenka

Svitolina will be joined in round three by Petra Kvitova after the Czech withstood a strong challenge from Aryna Sabalenka to win 7-5 3-6 6-3.

The first set was frantic and could have gone either way. The Belarussian broke Kvitova’s serve three times but the two-time Grand Slam champion managed four breaks to edge it.

Sabalenka possesses massive groundstrokes on both wings and she was going for everything most of the time. In the second set her approach paid off as she broke the Czech twice and stormed to a 5-1 lead before eventually taking it 6-3.

Kvitova drew on all her experience to hold serve throughout the decider. She earned the one break she needed in the sixth game and held her nerve for the rest of the set to seal victory.

Elsewhere in Miami, Donna Vekic earned an impressive 6-3 6-7(4) 6-1 win over 24th seed Elena Vesnina, Ashleigh Barty eased to a 6-0 7-6(0) triumph over Claire Liu and Daria Gavrilova beat Andrea Petkovic 7-6(3) 6-4.

 

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Dayana Yastremska Cleared Of Wrongdoing Over Failed Drugs Tests

The tennis has star had been provisionally suspended from the Tour since 7 January 2021.

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Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska said she looks forward to ‘returning to her passion’ after getting her doping ban lifted with immediate effect following a hearing.

 

The former world No.21 has been sidelined from the sport with a provisional suspension after testing positive for the banned substance mesterolone which is prohibited under category S1 of the 2020 WADA Prohibited List (Anabolic Agents). The positive test came from a sample which was taken on November 24th that Yastremska argued was linked to cross-contamination. She had appealed for her provisional ban to be lifted earlier this year but was denied.

Following her official hearing on May 21st, the Independent Tribunal under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has concluded that the tennis star didn’t deliberately take performance enhancing drugs. In their ruling, the panel says they ‘accept’ how the substance managed to get into Yasstremska’s body. She has previously claimed to have ‘scientific evidence’ of cross contamination.

Ms. Yastremska’s provisional suspension is lifted with immediate effect, and she will not serve any period of Ineligibility for her violation. For the avoidance of doubt, Ms. Yastremska is eligible to resume competition immediately.” The ITF stated.

In a statement, Yastremska says she has struggled over the past six months with the negative comments related to her suspension from the sport. Earlier this year she flew to the Australian Open hoping to compete, but wasn’t allowed to under anti-doping rules.

“I’ve been through a lot in the last 6 months and found it difficult to deal with all the negative comments,” she wrote.
“I want to thank my family, my lawyers, my agent and the entire Top Five Management team for their continued and unwavering support. I would also like to thank my fans for the love and messages that I received during this difficult period.’
“Now I look forward to returning to my passion – tennis. It was taken away from me for too long, I can’t wait to get back on tour.”

The 21-year-old has won three WTA Premier titles so far in her career with her most recent triumph occurring at the 2019 Strasbourg Open. Her best run in a Grand Slam was two years ago at Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round before losing to Zhang Shuai of China.

Yastremska is currently ranked 37th in the world. She has not given any details about when or where she plans to return to competitive tennis yet.

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Victoria Azarenka And Amanda Anisimova Advance In Bad Homburg

Victoria Azarenka continued her momentum towards Wimbledon.

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Victoria Azarenka (@24NewsHD - Twitter)

Victoria Azarenka and Amanda Anisimova both cruised into the second round as they prepare for Wimbledon.

 

Starting with two time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka who enters this week after winning the doubles title with Aryna Sabalenka in Berlin.

Azarenka continued her momentum with a 7-5 6-0 win over compatriot Yuliya Hatouka.

The world number 14 struggled in rainy conditions in Germany in the first set as she was broken three times in the first set.

It was a tough start from Azarenka who couldn’t consistently blast past the world number 271.

In the end Azarenka saved some break points and broke in her following two return games to seal the opening set in 53 minutes.

However the second set was much easier as she didn’t concede a single break point and won all six games.

Azarenka will now play Alize Cornet in the second round.

Meanwhile 19 year-old Amanda Anisimova is looking for a good grass court season after crashing down to 81st in the world.

The American sealed a 6-1 7-5 win over German veteran Andrea Petkovic as she moved into the last eight.

Anisimova produced a high-quality first set as she stormed into a 4-0 lead in the opening set.

After sealing the opening set in 24 minutes, Anisimova continued the momentum by breaking in the opening game of the second set.

However Petkovic has shown good performances on a grass court in the past and she remained resilient to break back for 4-4.

Despite that setback, the American broke in the eleventh game and closed out the match to love.

Anisimova will play Angelique Kerber or Anna Blinkova next.

In other results Katerina Siniakova edged past Jessica Pegula 6-3 5-7 6-4 and will meet Laura Siegemund in the quarter-finals.

Siegemund booked her place in the last eight with a 6-2 6-2 win over Tamara Korpatsch.

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Bianca Andreescu Battles Past McHale In Eastbourne

Bianca Andreescu had to work hard to earn her opening round win in Eastbourne.

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The Canadian needed three sets and over two hours to win her first match on grass in over three years.

 

Bianca Andreescu booked her spot in the second round of the Viking International in Eastbourne beating the American qualifier Christina Mchale in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in two hours and four minutes.

“I think for me it was super important that I held serve and used my serve to my advantage and taking control of the points from the start and then in the second set she (Mchale) started taking control of the points my serve wasn’t that good and it showed and in the third set I stepped on the break and continued to move forward as much as I can and continued to put pressure”.

A match scheduled for 10:30am local time the match was delayed by rain by four hours, starting at 1:30pm local time and it was the Canadian who started the match the more aggressive player and at 2-1 earned the first two breakpoints of the match with a forehand return winner.

She broke to take a 3-1 lead but the American pushed back and at 4-2 she had a chance to go back on serve but the world number seven hung in and saved it.

At 5-3 with the number three seed serving for the first set it was the world number 96 with three chances to break but the Toronto native would save all three before facing a fourth and succumbing to it. However Andreescu would break once more the following game to seal the first set.

The American was determined to level the match in the second set and broke in the opening game to take a 1-0 lead with a stunning forehand winner and it stayed on serve until 4-1 when the Canadian would get a break back but the New Jersey native would break again the following game and serve out the second set to level the match.

The Canadian pushed hard in the beginning of the third set earning three chances to break at 1-0 and got the crucial break when Mchale would serve a double fault.

Andreescu would serve for the match at 5-2 and it took three match points to get the job done and seal the win for her first win on grass of the 2021 season.

After the match in her post match press conference Andreescu spoke about needing a match like that to get herself going.

“Yes for sure, It felt really good to get that under my belt and I felt really good out there as well so that’s a bonus, my serve keeps improving and my shots, in general, keep penetrating the court more than my last two matches so for me it’s a win”.

Andreescu will now either face Anett Kontaveit or Svetlana Kuznetsova in the next round.

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