Ostapenko Overpowers Svitolina To Reach Miami Semi-Final - UBITENNIS
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Ostapenko Overpowers Svitolina To Reach Miami Semi-Final




Jelena Ostapenko produced her best tennis in patches to overcome the challenge of Elina Svitolina 7-6 7-6 and reach her second Premier Mandatory semi-final at the Miami Open.

After her breakthrough year in 2017, this is the first time in 2018 that the Latvian has reached the last four of an event. She will face either Venus Williams or Danielle Collins.

For much of the quarter-final, it was attack against defence as Ostapenko, 20, unleashed a torrent of her trademark huge groundstrokes. However, while she hit 44 winners, she made almost as many errors (42) as Svitolina sought to make her play extra shots.

It was also a match dominated by the excellent returning abilities of both players as it featured a remarkable twelve breaks over the course of the two sets.

A Rollercoaster First Set

Initially, Ostapenko managed to hang onto her serve more frequently than Svitolina to move into a 4-3 lead, which she extended to 5-3 with another hold.

After Svitolina then held for 4-5, she summoned her coach in a bid to save the set but looked miserable as he told her to take the ball earlier and go for her shots more.

But as it turned out, all the Ukrainian had to do to level the score was get the ball back in play as Ostapenko made four unforced errors to effectively break herself to love. Svitolina then became more fluent on her serve and held easily to lead for the first time in the match.

Game twelve summed up the talented Latvian as she hit four big winners and made two wild errors. And while everything is fine when the ratio is like that as she wins more games than she loses, she is always liable to make more errors than winners and that is when she gets into trouble.

Ostapenko started the tie-break in style with a deft volley and a brutal backhand. Svitolina battled back to lead 3-2 but the Latvian hit a backhand winner down the line and then produced a delightful backhand-forehand combination to tip the score in her favour.

Then she took control, drilling a deep forehand that Svitolina could not return before coming up with two more winners to earn three set points. She only needed one, as she smacked down a powerful serve that the Ukrainian could only deflect towards the stands.

Momentum Swings One Way Then The Other

Ostapenko made a sloppy start to the second set on serve and, when she hit a forehand long to gift Svitolina a break point, the Ukrainian ensured she took advantage by hammering a forehand winner down the line.

The World No.4 struggled to find her serving rhythm but dealt with the pressure well by hitting two forehand winners when the score was 30-all to go 2-0 up.

For the first time in the match, a predictable pattern emerged in the next three games as both players held easily to move the score on to 3-2 in Svitolina’s favour.

However, chaos soon returned as Ostapenko wasted one break point before taking a second with an emphatic cross-court backhand winner to level the set. She then handed the advantage straight back to her Ukrainian opponent by making three errors on serve.

At 2-3 in the first set, Svitolina had called for the doctor and taken a tablet of some kind. Now at 4-3 up in the second set, she told her coach Andrew Bettles that her stomach was really hurting, and her  discomfort was clear in game eight as she made two uncharacteristically loose errors to gift the Latvian the break back.

Despite her pain, the Ukrainian fought hard on Ostapenko’s serve to try and restore her advantage. However, the Latvian held firm to earn a chance to break for the match.

Svitolina was having none of it and stayed resolute on her serve to make it 5-5. And she dialled up her aggression to hit two winners en route to a break in the next game.

Ostapenko Wrestles Back Control

Ostapenko responded by summoning her coach David Taylor. And the pep talk worked as she hit a couple of winners and, crucially, only one error as she broke to force a second set tie-break.

As in the first set, the tie-break situation suited the Latvian as she hit two winners and forced two errors to open up a 4-1 lead. Svitolina fought her way back to 6-5 with the help of an error and some good hustling, but Ostapenko still had one match point left.

She took it with two superb backhands in succession. The first forced the Ukrainian to block it back and then the Latvian drilled the second behind Svitolina as she moved to cover the other side of the court.

“It was an incredibly tough match today and I’m really happy with the way I played,” Ostapenko said in her on-court interview. “(My coach) came on court and told me to be really aggressive. It doesn’t matter if you miss sometimes because if you are aggressive you will win the match.”

She continued, “It was 6-3 in the (second set) tie-break and then it was 6-5. I don’t know what was going through my mind; I just really pushed the second serve and hit another winner. I’m really happy with the way it finished.”




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Asian Games Champion Qinwen Zheng Reveals Shock Departure Of Coach Fissette



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China’s Qinwen Zheng says she feels ‘hurt’ by the decision of her former coach to end their collaboration in order to work with another player. 


The US Open quarter-finalist had been working with Belgium’s Wim Fissette in recent weeks following the departure of Pere Riba who is now the coach of Coco Gauff. Fissette has a wealth of experience in women’s tennis after working with the likes of Kim Clijsters and Naomi Osaka. However, Zheng says she is now looking for a new mentor.

“I understand his decision, but my family and I feel hurt. Right now I don’t want to talk about this person (Fissette),’ journalist Bendou Zhang quoted her as saying. 

Fissette is yet to comment on his departure. He had previously coached former world No.1 Osaka between 2019-2022 and during this period she won two of her four Grand Slam titles. The American-based Japanese player is on maternity leave from the sport and gave birth to her first child in July.

20-year-old Zheng is currently ranked 23rd in the world and won her maiden WTA title in Palermo earlier this year. She is the youngest player from her country to have reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam in the Open Era following her run at Flushing Medows. This year she has beaten top 10 players Ons Jabeur and Daria Kasatkina. 

Zheng’s latest career milestone is winning gold at the Asian Games on Friday. in the final, she defeated Zhu Lin 6-2, 6-4, in the blistering Hangzhou heat.

“The feeling was incredible,” Zheng said. “I’m really happy about that. That was not an easy match today and also yesterday (in semifinal against Alex Eala). All of them are good fighters.”

It is not clear who Zheng will be working with during the Asian swing. 

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Daria Kasatkina Criticises Decision To Not Use Roof At Sweltering Pan Pacific Open



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Daria Kasatkina has taken a swipe at organizers at the Toray Pan Pacific Open for not using the roof to cover their premier court on Thursday due to the heat. 


The Russian played her second round match against Despina Papamichail in temperatures around 30 degrees with the humidity making it feel even warmer. Kasatkina battled to a 6-4, 6-4, win after spending more than two hours on the court. She dropped serve four times in the match but managed to break Papamichail seven times en route to victory. 

Speaking on the court following his latest tour win, the world No.13 admitted that she struggled in the conditions and implied that she believed the roof should have been closed to shield the players from the sun. Tokyo, which is where the tournament is staged, has experienced a record-breaking number of ‘extremely hot’ days this year with their autumn season being warmer than usual. Something that some warn could be a more regular occurrence due to climate change.

“We cannot do much about it. We are using the ice towels and some supplements to keep you hydrated. By at the end, you cannot fight with something you cannot control,” Kasatkina commented on the conditions during her on-court interview.
“I think in these kinds of conditions, if you have a roof, better maybe to close it. If you have these opportunities, better to use it than to make players almost die on the field.” She added. 

Kasatkina is through to her seventh Tour quarter-final of the season. Awaiting her in the next round will be second seed Jessica Pegula who beat Spain’s Cristina Bucșa 6-1, 6-2, in her second round match on Wednesday. It will be only the second Tour meeting between the two players and their first on a hard court. 

Elsewhere in Tokyo, another player to reach the last eight in France’s Caroline Garcia who beat Anhelina Kahlinina 6-4, 6-3. Meanwhile, Anastasia Pavlychenkova defeated Czech Republic’s Linda Noskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. 

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Barbora Krejcikova Does The Double In San Jose



After what has been a challenging past few weeks on the Tour, Barbora Krejcikova has returned to the winner’s circle by claiming both the singles and doubles titles at the San Diego Open. 


The world No.13 battled to a marathon 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, win over Sofia Kenin in what was a clash of the former Grand Slam champions. Krejcikova was pushed to her limits throughout the two-and-a-half-hour clash with there being no break in the decider until the final game. It is the second singles title the Czech has won on the WTA Tour this season after Dubai and her seventh overall. 

“Normally I wouldn’t be here,” said Krejcikova, who received a wild card to play in the tournament “I really want to thank them (the tournament organisers). It was very special. I really enjoyed my stay here.”

Krejcikova’s run to the trophy has also seen her score wins over Beatriz Haddad Maia and Danielle Collins earlier in the week. She is the first player from her country to win the tournament. 

Following on from that triumph, the 27-year-old then clinched the doubles title alongside compatriot Katerina Siniakova. The duo beat Collins and Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-4.

Krejcikova came into San Jose on a four-match losing streak which started at Wimbledon where she was forced to withdraw from her secound round clash due to a left leg injury. 

“I came here with not really good statistics after my injury, I didn’t actually win any matches,” she said. “So I just came here and I pretty much was hoping and believing that I could get the first win and go from there. It’s pretty special to be sitting here having won [the title].”

It is only the second time in Krejcikova’s career that she has won both the singles and doubles titles at the same event. The first time she did so was at the 2021 French Open where her partner in the doubles was also Siniakova.

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