Reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko edged Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to reach the quarter finals at the Miami Open in Crandon Park in a marathon match interrupted by rain. Ostapenko set up a quarter final match against fourth-seeded player Elina Svitolina. Ostapenko beat Svitolina in their only previous head-to-head match at Wimbledon.
Ostapenko claimed the seventh win against a top-10 player of her career and her first in 2018 and beat Kvitova for the first time since the Round of 16 in Birmingham in 2016. The number 5 seed from Latvia scored two consecutive main draw wins for the second time in 2018 after the Australian Open.
Earlier this year Kvitova beat Ostapenko in their most recent head-to-head match en route to winning the St. Petersburg title last February.
Ostapenko got a break in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Kvitova broke back in the seventh game for 3-4. Ostapenko held a set point at 6-5 but Kvitova forced the first set to tie-break where she got a mini-break to take a 4-2 lead. Ostapenko turned around the set reeling off the final five points to clinch the first set 7-4.
The match was interrupted after midnight after Ostapenko clinched the tie-break. Osatepnko got a break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead in the second set. Kvitova made a double fault to face a match point at 3-5. Ostapenko converted it with a double break to close out the match after 1 hour and 43 minutes.
“It’s not easy. It’s 1 AM and we are still on court finishing the match. I was fighting hard for this match because when we went off court. I was losing and just said: OK, I am going to try my best because I know Petra is a great player and I have to play on a very high level. I am very glad with how I finished the match. She was hitting very hard from the beginning The first set started good from my side, but she was playing very aggressively and very deep, so for me, it was hard to hit winners off those balls. I was just trying to manage somehow”, said Ostapenko.
Three.time Miami champion Vicoria Azarenka cruised past Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-2.
Azarenka has extended her win-loss record to 13-5 in her head-to-head matches and 9-4 on hardcourt.
The Belarusian earned an early break and consolidated it to open u a 3-0 lead. She went up a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Radwanska pulled one of the two breaks back, but Azarenka broke for the third game to seal the opening set.
Azarenka went up a break twice to race out to a 5-1 lead. Radwanska got back both breaks but Azarenka broke again to race out to a 5-1 lead en route to clinching the first set 6-2. Azarenka got an early break to take a 2-0 lead in the second set. Radwanska broke straight back for 1-2 but Azarenka got two breaks to open up a 5-1 lead. Radwanska pulled back one of the two breaks for 2-5 but Azarenka closed out the match with another break in the final game after 1 hour and 23 minutes.
“I played my game, and I was doing what was working. I was aggressive, I was using my opportunities to step up and I put pressure. I am pretty happy that I was able to play consistent throughout the whole match”, said Azarenka.
Angelique Kerber needed almost three hours to battle past Chinese World Number 125 Wang Yafan 6-7 (1-7) 7-5 (7-5) 6-3 in a roller-coaster match.
In the first set Kerber came back from an early break down in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2 lead. The German player broke again in the sixth game to build up a 4-2 lead. Wang broke back in the seventh game for 3-4. Kerber saved three break points in a marathon 12th game to break straight back to set up a tie-break. Wang reeled off six consecutive points to wrap up the first set 7-1.
Kerber came back from a break down to draw level to 2-2 in the second set. Wang broke serve, as Kerber was serving for the second set forcing the match to the decisive set. Kerber went up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break, but Wang came back to draw level to 3-3. Kerber won the final two points from 5-5 to win the second set 7-5.
Kerber got the only break in the fourth game of the decider to take a 3-1 lead and closed out the match after 2 hours and 55 minutes after dropping just four points on her serve.
“I think Wang played good, and for me it was not so easy to find my game. I never played against her. I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that she played good here the last few days and also few weeks. It was not so easy, and I was just trying to fight. I think it was the key for me, that I was really fighting for every single ball, also especially in the second set in the tiebreak when it was 5-5”, said Kerber.
Kerber set up a quarter final against Sloane Stephens, who beat Garbine Muguruza.
“For me it will be a challenge. The last time I lost against her. Now I just can try again to go out there, play my best, and try my best to give all I can to win the match”, said Kerber.
In-Form Liudmila Samsonova Storms To Tokyo Title
Tokyo is the second tournament this year the Russian has won without dropping a set.
Liudmila Samsonova has continued her rapid surge on the Tour by defeating China’s Qinwen Zheng 7-5, 7-5, to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
The world No.30 dropped serve only once and hit four aces as she edged her way past rising star Zheng who is the first Chinese teenager to reach the final of a Tour-level singles event. Overall, Samsonova won 68% of her service points en route to becoming the first Russian player to win the tournament since Nadia Petrova in 2012.
“It’s amazing, I don’t have too many words right now. I need a little bit of time,” said Samsonova, who beat Grand Slam champions Elena Rybakina and Garbine Muguruza earlier in the draw.
“It was a really tough match. She is playing amazing. It was a nervous match, we were fighting every point. It was tough.”
Samsonova is becoming a formidable force in the women’s game and has now won 18 out of her past 19 matches. Last month she also won titles in Washington and Cleveland before reaching the last 16 of the US Open for the first time in her career at the age of 23. She is now 4-0 in tournament finals and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo this week.
“I played a high level in all my five matches. I am incredibly happy about how I managed it,” she said.
There is also a reason for Zheng to celebrate with her run in Tokyo securing her place in the world’s top 30 for the first time on Monday when the rankings are updated. Making her the first Chinese player to do so as a teenager. She is also only the second teenager to reach the final of a WTA 500 event or higher this season after Coco Gauff at the French Open.
Samsonova will also rise to a ranking high on Monday to just outside the world’s top 20.
Naomi Osaka Seeks Resurgence At Home Event After Rollercoaster Year
Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka admits that there have been more downs than ups for her this year but she is maintaining a positive outlook.
The four-time Grand Slam champion has played 22 matches so far this season with her win-loss record currently standing at 13-9. However, at her six most recent tournaments she has failed to win back-to-back matches and is currently on a four-match losing streak. Osaka also missed this year’s Wimbledon Championships due to an achilles injury.
Currently ranked 44th in the world, Osaka is hoping to break her slump at this week’s Toray Pan Pacific Open which will be held in Tokyo. It will be the first time she has played since losing to Danielle Collins in the first round of the US Open.
“I think, of course, the year has (not been) the best year for me,” Osaka said during her pre-tournament press conference. “But I think overall I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m just happy to be healthy. Because in Europe, I did injure myself, and that was like my first injury that took me that long to get healed.
“I think life is kind of ups and downs and this one was kind of more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”
Osaka is the defending champion in Tokyo, even though she won the tournament back in 2019. The event has been cancelled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has happened to the Japanese player since she won the title, both on and off the court. Osaka has spoken publicly about her mental health issues and took time away from the sport because of them.
“It feels really weird to hear that I’m the defending champion because it was the last time I played in 2019,” she said. “I would love to win it again, but I think just taking it one match at a time … and also just playing in front of a crowd in Tokyo again, because the Olympics was crowdless, so it will just be nice to see people.”
This year Osaka does not have a seeding in the Tokyo draw which is in stark contrast to three years ago when she was the highest-ranked player in the tournament. She will begin her campaign against Australia’s Daria Saville and could then face fifth seed, Beatriz Haddad Maia, in the last 16.
“I think every year for me since the first Slam, there’s been a lot of changes,” Osaka said. “But I think this year it has definitely been a real growing year for me. I think tennis-wise, I don’t really think I can go in a wrong direction. I feel like me as a player, my base is pretty solid. I can only really learn more about myself. I know that I am an aggressive player and I can only hope to keep doing that.”
Away from the Tour, the 24-year-old remains one of the highest-earning players in the sport. According to a report published by Forbes in August, she earned in the region of £56.2M over 12 months with $55M of that coming from off-court ventures. She has also set up her own sports agency with long-time agent Stuart Duguid, signing Nick Kyrgios as one of her clients.
“For everything off court, I think it’s really cool how tennis has let me get so many opportunities in things that I’m interested in, and it’s something I’m really happy and grateful for and I can only hope it keeps evolving.” She commented.
This week Osaka is seeking to win her first title of any sort since the 2021 Australian Open.
Simona Halep Ends 2022 Season With Nose Surgery And Mental Exhaustion
Simona Halep will return to the court in 2023.
Simona Halep has ended her season after having nose surgery and suffering from mental exhaustion in recent months.
The two-time Grand Slam champion has had a mixed season this year with the Romanian almost quitting the sport in February.
However the former world number one reunited with Patrick Mouratoglou and produced a world-class grass court season and US Hard court swing to get back into the world’s top ten.
Despite this, Halep has also had her troubles having had a panic attack at Roland Garros and struggled with anxiety.
This was all produced by the Romanian in her statement when she announced she would not play the rest of the season due to a nose surgery which has been linked to her breathing.
Now Halep will look to recover mentally and physically in time for January’s Australian Open as she will look to become a Grand Slam champion for the third time in her career.
Simona Halep’s 2022 Season:
Melbourne Summer Set 1: Champion
Australian Open: R4 l. Cornet
Dubai: Semi-Finals l. Ostapenko
Qatar: R1 l. Garcia
Indian Wells: Semi-Finals l. Swiatek
Madrid: Quarter-Finals l. Jabeur
Rome: R2 l. Collins
Roland Garros: R2 l. Q. Zheng
Birmingham: Semi-Finals l. Haddad Maia
Bad Homburg: Semi-Finals l. Andreescu
Wimbledon: Semi-Finals l. Rybakina
Washington: R2 l. Kalinskaya
Cincinnati: R2 – Withdrew
US Open: R1 l. Snigur
Roberto Bautista Agut beats Felix Auger Aliassime to reach the second round at the Astana Open
Barbora Krejcikova wins her first title of the season in Tallin
Iga Swiatek Demands Talks With ITF And WTA After Withdrawing From Billie Jean King Cup
Marc Andrea Huesler earns the first title of his career in Sofia
Novak Djokovic wins his third title of the season in Tel Aviv
Roger Federer To Make Last-Minute Decision Over Laver Cup Participation, Says Coach
Juan Martin Del Potro Reveals Physical And Mental Trauma From Tennis Retirement
Should Roger Federer Become A Super Coach? Djokovic And Murray Give Their View
Andy Murray Calls For Earlier Start To Davis Cup Ties After Great Britain Loses Late-Night Thriller
Carlos Alcaraz Is Playing At 60% Of His Potential, Says Coach Ferrero
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty ’Satisfied’ With Davis Cup Format Despite Issues
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty Reacts To Federer’s Retirement
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon Win Was Good But The Level Wasn’t Great
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE): Novak Djokovic Battles Past Norrie, Faces Kyrgios In The Final
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