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Venus Williams gets revenge on Konta

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Venus Williams avenged her 2017 semi-final loss to Johanna Konta by beating the Brit 5-7 6-1 6-2 in the fourth round of the 2018 Miami Open.

The American’s win earns her a 13th quarter-final appearance in Miami and means she has now beaten Konta three times in a row since her 6-4 7-5 defeat last year at Crandon Park.

Williams had to achieve victory from a set down – the first time either player has done so in this head-to-head – after the Brit won a tight opener courtesy of a decisive break in the 11th game.

The American, 37, raised her game superbly at the start of the second set and broke Konta immediately to lead 2-0. From that point on, she never looked back as she won 12 of the last 15 games in the match to claim the second and third sets with ease.

Defending champion Konta made the perfect start to the match as she broke Williams in the opening game. She almost earned a double break in game three but wasted four opportunities to clinch it.

Saving those break points enabled the American to find some much-needed rhythm and, shortly afterwards, she levelled the score at 3-3 by breaking back.

Williams even had a chance to take the opener when Konta was serving at 4-5. However, she failed to take advantage of her solitary set point and ended up losing the set 7-5.

After sealing the early break in set two with a thunderous forehand winner, the veteran American pressed on with a comfortable hold and then put pressure on the Brit’s serve by winning the first two points of the game.

However, Konta held firm and nearly broke Williams in game five. From 40-0 up, the American committed two unforced errors and a double fault to let the Brit back into the game.

Then, a couple of points later, Konta crunched a forehand winner to earn break point. Williams saved it with a big serve that was too hot for the Brit to handle and went on to hold for 4-1.

The rest of the set went by in a flash as two errors and a double fault from Konta handed the American another break and Williams held easily to clinch it 6-1.

Before the decider, Konta received treatment on her back. But it did not seem to help as she made a few errors and was broken in the opening game.

The Brit fought hard to try and get back into the match and, after Williams saved a break point in game two, Konta managed to level the score by breaking in game four.

However, that was the last game the Brit won as Williams immediately broke her again and raced through the remaining three games she needed to secure the win.

In her post-match, the American said she feels “very focused” this year in Miami. She also explained why it has not surprised her that she has had to win three tough matches to get to the last eight.

“Pretty much everyone I play plays me tough, so that’s the norm for me,” said Williams. “There are no easy matches.”

She continued, “(To win) you have to realize that the player across the net wants to win, too. So you have to fight for every point, and if you come up short, then you just start over again. Everyone is so good now that you can’t expect to have an easy match.”

Svitolina and Azarenka reach last eight

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Williams now has a great chance to go on and claim her first Miami title, but she will probably have to win some more difficult matches to do it due to the calibre of player remaining.

The American will be expected to win her next match against the winner of the match between Monica Puig and Danielle Collins.

However, if she makes it to the last four, she might face Elina Svitolina. The Ukrainian kept alive her hopes of Miami glory by producing an inspired comeback to beat Ashleigh Barty 7-5 6-4.

Svitolina made a poor start to the match and found herself 5-2 down in the opening set. But, after a chat with her coach Andrew Bettles, she upped her intensity and won five games in a row to take the first set.

And the Ukrainian withstood everything Barty threw at her in the second set to win it 6-4 and book her place in the quarter-finals.

In the other half of the draw, Victoria Azarenka had a far easier time of things as she cruised past Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-2 to set up a fascinating quarter-final clash with Karolina Pliskova.

Despite her impressive win over World No.1 Simona Halep in the previous round, the Pole was unable to cope with Azarenka’s returning ability as the Belarussian broke her seven times in the match.

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Ash Barty Eases Into Madrid Final

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Number 1 seed Ashleigh Barty beat Paula Badosa 6-4 6-3 to reach her fourth final of the 2021 season at the Madrid Mutua Open after winning three titles at the Yarra Valley Classic, Miami and Stuttgart.

 

The first set went on serve in the first nine games. Barty earned two break points in the 10th game with a lob and loose forehands from Badosa. Badosa saved two set points with winners, but Barty converted her third chance after a double fault from Badosa to close out the first set 6-4. 

After an early trade of breaks, Barty earned her second break after a double fault from Badosa in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. The Aussie star saved three break points in the fifth game and held serve for 4-1 with a dropshot. Barty dropped just two more points on serve to close out the second set 6-3. 

Barty has extended her red clay winning streak to 16 consecutive matches and her win-loss record to 25-3 this season. 

Barty has clinched her 16th consecutive win on red clay. The Australian player avenged her recent defeat against Badosa in the quarter finals in Charleston. 

“It was important for me to get that early break back in the second set and keep my nose in front, almost force her to come up with something that was going to be a really high level to be at a high level to be able to get back into the match. I have learnt a lot about clay, without a doubt. I promise you, I am still counting down to the grass court season. It’s one of the my favourite times of the year. I think the memories and the learnings now that we are getting from the red clay has been really cool, to be able to challenge myself in different ways”, said Barty.

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Ash Barty Battles Past Petra Kvitova In Madrid

Ash Barty is into the semi-finals of Madrid for the first time after defeating Petra Kvitova.

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Ash Barty (@MutuaMadridOpen - Twitter)

The world number one needed three sets and just under two hours to beat the three time Madrid champion.

 

Ashleigh Barty is into the semi finals of the Mutua Madrid Open after beating the number nine seed and three time champion Petra Kvitova in three sets 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in a match that lasted just under two hours.

The world number one hit 15 winners, served six aces while her Czech opponent his 44 unforced errors in the loss. It was the Aussie who got off to the best possible start holding her opening service game and earning three chances to break in the following service game.

“I started off particularly well, Petra (Kvitova) struggled to find the court a little bit and gave me some cheap points, In the second she served particularly well and I feel like she made a lot more first serves so it was important for me to try and manufacture a break early in the third just to break some momentum and try to find my way back in”

She would break the number nine seed with a sublime return winner to take an early 2-0 lead before the Czech tried to get back into the set earning a break chance of her very own the next game but it was immediately saved with a big serve and Barty held serve.

The world number one continued to dominate the first set earning two more chances to go up a double break which she would convert and would serve out the set in 25 minutes.

The second set is where the Czech number nine seed bounced back and after holding the opening service game broke to take an early lead before the Aussie tried to get the break back but was denied and Kvitova saved three breakpoints.

She would serve out the second set to force a third and deciding set and once again that’s where the number one responded earning the first break of the third set.

The number nine seed had a chance to back on serve but the Aussie would save the break opportunity with a gutsy second serve ace but the resilient Czech stayed in the match and got the break back to go back on serve at 3-2.

Unfortunately for her the Aussie pushed hard once again for the crucial break in the match and would convert on her third attempt and that break was enough for her to serve out the match.

She will next face Paula Bodosa who earlier in the day became the first Spanish women to reach the semifinals at the Madrid Open after upsetting the number eight seed Belinda Bencic and she told Ubitennis what the experience will be like playing in a stadium with fans who will be cheering against her.

“It doesn’t bother me, I’ve played matches in Australia where I’ve had them on my side but it’s a different element, it’s exciting to be able to play in front of a crowd, were grateful this week that we got people to be able to enjoy it with us and enjoy the matches and she’s had an exceptional week, having played her a couple of weeks ago there were things from that match that I learned and we try and take those into account tomorrow as best we can and go out there and try to execute”

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Ash Barty Explains How Rise In Tennis Has Affected Her Life

The world No.1 outlines how tennis has impacted her as a person following her latest win in Madrid.

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ASHLEIGH BARTY OF AUSTRALIA during Mutua Madrid Open 21(Photo by Diego Souto/MM0)

With prize money earnings exceeding more than $18 million Ash Barty says she still sticks to the same ‘10 or 15’ t-shirts over the past five years and rotates between them.

 

The former French Open champion is currently the highest ranked player in women’s tennis and has won 11 WTA titles so far in his career. Including two this year in Miami and Melbourne. However, the Australian has insisted her rise in the sport hasn’t changed her as a person. Instead she describes it as more of a learning experience.

I’ve been very fortunate to have many experiences over the last two or three years in my growth and development as a tennis player,” she said following her third round win at the Madrid Open.
“My experiences as a tennis player haven’t changed me as a person. They’ve certainly helped me grow and develop and become a better person, but they certainly haven’t changed any of my true values or anything that I live by. Whether it’s 1 or 100, as a person I couldn’t care less how the tennis works out.”

Despite her success, the Australian stresses that she is no different to everybody else. Last season Barty missed a major of the Tour due to travelling concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since returning to action in February, she has won 22 out of 25 matches played and is currently on a 14-match winning streak when it comes to playing on the red clay.

“I’m not a massive person to go out shopping,” she admits. “I’m a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl. I’ve had the same 10 or 15 T-shirts for five years. I rotate through. Sometimes I’ll go out on a limb and get a different colour that’s not gray, black or white.”

Taking to the court in Madrid this week, the Jaguar logo is placed in the centre of Barty’s dress. She has been endorsed by the company since late 2018 and even drives their F-Pace SUV back in Australia. Although she has recently gained a Porsche after winning the Stuttgart Open in Germany. Is there a temptation to change car brands in the future?

“I don’t know. I love my Jag, that’s all I’m going to say,” she commented. “It was obviously a very cool gift. The tournament in Stuttgart has been doing it for a long time. Porsche has been a great sponsor for them. But I love my Jag.”

On the court in Madrid Barty faces a potentially tricky encounter in the quarter-finals against Petra Kvitova who has already won the tournament on three previous occasions which is more than any other female player. She has won four out of their five most recent meetings on the Tour but still trails their head-to-head 4-5.

“I love to play Petra. She brings out the best in me,” Barty stated. “I just said to Tyz (coach Craig Tyzzer) that we’re going to be counting in Roman numerals the amount of times we’ve played. It’s another challenge, another test. She’s won this tournament multiple times, loves the conditions here. It’s a fresh challenge for me.”

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