Elise Mertens lifts her third career title in Lugano - UBITENNIS
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Elise Mertens lifts her third career title in Lugano

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Number 2 seed Elise Mertens beat Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 6-2 at the Samsung Open in Lugano to lift the third title of her career and the first on clay after winning in Hobart for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2008.

This year’s Australian Open semifinalist had to dig deep to beat Marketa Vondrousova in the second round before winning two consecutive three-set matches against Mona Barthel and Vera Lapko en route to reaching the final after a tough week affected by rain. She also played a third match in the doubles on Saturday.

The Belgian player hit nine winners to seven unforced errors. Sabalenka produced 24 winners (including three aces) but made 35 unforced errors.

Mertens got the first break of the match in the third game of the opening set at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. Sabalenka, who lost her only previous final in Tianjin, held serve at love before breaking back to draw level to 3-3 with a backhand down the line. Sabalenka saved two break points to hold serve in the ninth game for 5-4 but Mertens reeled off the final three games to clinch the first set 7-5. Mertens got the break at love, when Sabalenka netted a backhand. Mertens held serve to take a one-set lead in the next game.

The Belgian player got a double break in the first and seventh games and held serve to close out the match after 1 hour and 24 minutes. Sabalenka double faulted to face a second break point in the first game of the second set. Mertens got the break when Sabalenka sent a backhand wide. Mertens never faced a break point in the second set. Mertens got the second break at 4-2 with a backhand passing shot and served out on her first match point.

Mertens will team up with her compatriot Kirsten Flipkens in the doubles match final against Sabalenka and Vera Lapko later today.

Mertens will move up to world number 17 in the WTA Ranking after this win.

“So many games were 40-40 and it could have gone either way, but I am really happy that I pulled through yesterday and the day before, because these weren’t easy. It was a great match today and I hope everyone here today liked it. I have been practicing a lot. I have got a good team around me. This week my dadi s with me. He does not come with me that often. It’s really great to make a bit more family history here, because my grandparents actually had their honeymoon here many years ago”, said Mertens.

 

 

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Wang Qiang upsets Karolina Pliskova in the second round in Wuhan

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Chinese Number 1 and world number 34 Wang Qiang upset world number 7 seed and last week’s Tokyo champion Karolina Pliskova 6-1 3-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 8 minutes in the second round of the Dongfeng Wuhan Open.

Wang Qiang followed her title at the Guangzhou Open last week with the third top 10 win of her career against a top 10 player against Karolina Pliskova, who beat the Chinese player twelve months ago in Wuhan.

Wang converted nine of her 21 break points. Pliskova made 27 winners to 55 unforced errors.

After a trade of breaks Wang got two consecutive breaks in the third and fifth games to race out to a 5-1 lead. Pliskova saved two set points in the seventh game before earning a set point, but Wang got a third set point after Pliskova made two backhand errors. Wang broke serve on her third opportunity at deuce to win the first set 6-1.

The second set started with three consecutive breaks, as Pliskova took the 2-1 lead. The Czech player held serve to open up a 3-1 lead and got an another break after rallying from 0-40 down. Wang got one break back at 2-5 saving a set point with a forehand and held her serve for 3-5. Pliskova broke serve for the fourth time in the second set after Wang sent her forehand long.

Wang got the first break of the third set at 1-1 after Pliskova made a double fault. The Chinese player brought up two break points for 4-1, but Pliskova saved them to hold her serve at deuce before breakng serve at 15 to draw level to 3-3. Wang got another break lead with a crosscourt forehand.

In the eighth game Wang saved two break points and held her serve for 5-3 after five deuces. Pliskova went down 0-40 to face three match points. The Czech player saved the first two opportunities, but dropped her serve with a double fault on the third chance

Wang set up a third round match against Daria Gavrilova, who beat Barbora Strycova 6-2 7-6 (7-3).

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Anett Kontaveit comes back from one set down to beat Sloane Stephens in Wuhan

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Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit came back from a set and a break down to beat 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens 4-6 7-5 6-4 at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

Stephens cruised past Kontaveit 6-2 6-0 in the fourth round at this year’s US Open in New York en route to reaching her second Grand Slam final, but the Estonian player avenged this defeat by taking a three-set win in the opening round in Wuhan.

Kontaveit broke Stephens at love and held her serve at love to open up a 3-0 lead. Stephens pulled back on serve in the fifth game at 3-2. Kontaveit fended off two break points at 3-3, but Stephens broke serve to take a 5-4 lead. The US player held serve to wrap up the first set after winning six of the final seven games.

Stephens earned an early break at 1-1 and held her next service games en route to a 4-3 lead after seven games. Kontaveit rallied from 0-40 down to force a return game to deuce and got the break to draw level to 4-4.

Kontaveit fended off a break point at 4-4 with a forehand to hold on her serve. At 6-5 she earned two set points on return and hit a forehand winner on her second set point.

Stephens went up an early break in the fifth game of the decisive set to take a 3-2 lead, after Kontaveit sent her backhand wide. The Estonian player broke straight back to draw level to 3-3 after Stephens made a series of unforced errors. Kontaveit went down 0-40 at 4-4, but she hit a seriesof winners to force the game to deuce before holding her serve for 5-4.

Kontaveit earned three match points with a forehand winner and clinched the win with another forehand setting up a second round match against Donna Vekic, who advanced after Coco Vandeweghe was forced to retire due to an injury on her rght ankle.

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty edged past Johanna Konta 7-5 6-4 to improve her win-loss record in her head-to-head matches against the British player to 3-1.

Barty converted six of her ten break points and won 60 percent of Konta’s second serve points.

The 22-year-old Australian player will face Chinese wild-card Zheng Saisai, who beat Danielle Collins in three sets in the first round.

Barty got her first break in the third game of the opening set after Konta made a double fault on the break point. Konta broke straight back in the next game.

The British player saved three break points in the next game and held serve to draw level to 3-3 before breaking serve for 4-3 with a forehand winner. Barty broke back to draw level to 4-4. Both players held their next service game en route to drawing level to 5-5. Konta wasted two game points at 6-5 with unforced errors, and hit a forehand wide at deuce to face a set point. Barty sliced a service return to force a backhand error from Konta and sealed the tight first set.

Konta earned an immediate break at the start of the second set after Barty made a double fault on break point. The British player held on her next service games until the sixth game, when Barty broke back to draw level to 3-3. Barty hit a volley winner to earn a break point and converted her chance, when Konta sent her volley wide, to earn her chance to serve for the match. She earned a match point with an ace, but Konta broke back, when Barty made a forehand error. Barty brought up her third match point with a backhand lob and sealed the win, when Konta sent her forehand long.

 

 

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Daria Gavrilova takes upset win over Jelena Ostapenko in the first round in Wuhan

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Daria Gavrilova upset number 10 seed and 2017 Roland Garros Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 in 86 minutes in the first round of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

World number 33 Daria Gavrilova broke five times to beat last year’s Wuhan semifinalist Jelena Ostapenko. The Australian player scored her second win against a top 20 player this year setting up a second round match against either Barbora Strycova or Alizé Cornet.

In the opening set Gavrilova fended off four break points before holding her serve in the first game for 1-0. The Australian player converted her third break point in the second game and held her service game to race out to a 3-0 lead. Ostapenko was not able to earn a single break point in the opening set. Gavrilova fired an ace to hold her serve in the seventh game to open up a 5-2 lead and closed out the first set in the next game, when Ostapenko made a double fault on the first set point.

Ostapenko got an early break in the first game, when Gavrilova made a double fault. Gavrilova was not able to convert two break points in the second game. Ostapenko went up a double break at love to race out to a 3-0 lead. Gavrilova got one break back at love in the fourth game at love. Ostapenko held on her next service games to keep one break lead until 4-3.

Gavrilova converted on her fourth break point to pull back on serve for 4-4. The Aussie player held on her serve with her forehand winners to take a 5-4 lead before earning three match points in the next game. Ostapenko fended off the first two match points, but Gavrilova converted on her third chance with a forehhand service winner, which forced an error from Ostapenko.

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