Madison Keys Finds Form To Reach Last Eight in Charleston - UBITENNIS
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Madison Keys Finds Form To Reach Last Eight in Charleston

Madison Keys reached her third quarter-final in Charleston by beating Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-3, while Daria Kasatkina and Julia Goerges beat Irina-Camelia Begu and Naomi Osaka respectively to set up a last eight meeting.

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Madison Keys reached her third quarter-final in Charleston after producing a commanding performance to beat Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-3.

 

The win ends a run of three straight losses for the American and it is her best showing at an event since she reached the same stage at the Australian Open.

“I’m really happy to get some back-to-back matches in and looking forward to more,” Keys said in her on-court interview.

The 2017 US Open finalist made an excellent start to the match as she raced into a 5-1 lead. Then Giorgi found some rhythm. Having struggled to cope with the American’s consistency from the back of the court, the Italian responded in the only way she knows: by being very aggressive.

It worked for a while as Giorgi started to hit winners and dragged the score back to 5-4 in Keys’ favour. This prompted the American to summon her coach Lindsay Davenport.

The three-time Grand Slam champion encouraged Keys to ensure she moved as well as possible and make Giorgi play extra balls when the Italian served in the next game.

The World No.14 clearly listened as she drew two errors from Giorgi, hit a precise forehand winner to make it 0-40 and then sealed the break and the set with an excellent forehand pass.

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Set two went comfortably with serve for the opening three games before an error-strewn game from the Italian handed Keys a break and a 3-1 lead.

The American also made a lot of errors in the next game but, unlike her opponent, she managed to hang onto her serve. This proved to be crucial, as Keys hit four aces and a stunning forehand winner en route to two easy holds to polish off an easy victory.

The 7th seed will now play fellow American Bernarda Pera in the last eight after the World No.101 edged out Sara Errani 6-3 2-6 6-4.

“I’m really happy with how today went,” said Keys in her on-court interview. “I thought Camila played really well and I’m just really happy with the win.”

The American talked about what it was like facing Giorgi. She said, “I think the biggest thing is just weathering the storm. She’s going to hit some amazing shots, and it was really just me trying to get one more ball in.”

Kasatkina to face Goerges in last eight

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In the other half of the draw, defending champion Daria Kasatkina hammered Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2 6-1 in just 65 minutes to book her place in the last eight.

The Russian, who was the runner-up at Indian Wells, hit 13 winners and earned six breaks of serve as she dominated her Romanian opponent from start to finish.

After the win, Kasatkina said she is “more mature” than she was when she won the title last year. That increased maturity has showed in the Russian’s tennis in 2018 as she has already reached two finals and a semi-final at Premier events.

Kasatkina, 20, will play Julia Goerges in the quarter-finals after the German beat Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka 7-6(4) 6-3.

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The Japanese player started stronger and opened up a 4-2 lead in the first set. However, Goerges used all the weapons in her game to break back and restore parity.

She drew an error with a clever sliced backhand and defended outstandingly to outlast Osaka and make it 0-30. Then the German produced a stunning combination to set up three break points. She hit a venomous forehand return out wide before slicing a vicious backhand across court that the Japanese could only clip into the net.

Osaka did superbly to save all three, but Goerges did not give up. She hit two massive groundstrokes – one on each side – that were too hot for the World No.21 to handle to win the next points and clinch the break she needed.

After another break apiece and three love holds, the German won a tie-break littered with errors to take the first set. However, the second set was much more comfortable for Goerges as, with the exception of one poor game, she dominated on serve to win it 6-3.

“Today proved again that I’ve developed in the right direction because a few years ago I might not have won a match like this,” Goerges said in her on-court interview. “I managed to find a way (to win) against probably one of the hottest players on tour right now.”

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Tereza Martincova and Belinda Bencic reach the quarter final in Ostrava

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Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova upset Roland Garros Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) after 2 hours and 19 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Martincova claimed her third top 20 win of her career and reached her second quarter final on home soil this season after finishing fourth in Prague. 

Pavlyuchenkova earned the first break to take a 4-3 lead and served for the first set in the 10th game, but she never reached a set point. The Russian player came just two points away from winning the first set at 5-4 30-15, but Martincova won four consecutive points before winning the tie-break 7-5. 

Martincova dropped just eight points in the first six games of the second set. The Czech player fended off two break points to consolidate her lead for 2-0. She raced out to a 7-6 (7-5) 5-1 lead, but Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to hold serve forcing Martincova to serve for the match. Martincova dropped four consecutive points. Pavlyuchenkova got another break, when Martincova was serving for the match for the third time at 6-5. Martincova went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Pavlyuchenkova drew level to 4-4 before saving a third match point. Martincova won the final two points to claim the tie-break 8-6. 

Martincova set up a quarter final match against Maria Sakkari, who beat last week’s Luxembourg finalist Jelena Ostapenko. 

This year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo in just 88 minutes. Bencic claimed her 15th win in her last 18 matches. Bencic broke six times and reeled off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set to cruise through to a a straight-set win. Sorribes Tormo saved a break point to win her first game for 1-4 and pulled one break back in the sixth game, but Bencic sealed the win with her third break in the ninth game. “I think I prepared well for this match tactically, and also mentally, because it’s very tough. You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface, where it’s very slow. I am happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match”, said Bencic. 

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Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Indian Wells, Unclear If She Will Play Again This Year

There is no official word but it looking increasingly likly that the world No.8 might have pulled the plug on her 2021 season.

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka has officially withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells just weeks after saying she will take a break from the sport due to personal reasons.

 

The former world No.1 hadn’t played a match since her loss to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open. Speaking to reporters in New York, Osaka said she didn’t know when she would play another match on the Tour. Earlier this year she opened up about her mental health struggles after revealing she has been suffering from social anxiety and depression. Osaka also took time away from the sport during the summer after pulling out of the French Open before deciding to skip Wimbledon.

“This is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry,” she said following her loss to Fernandez.
“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”

Osaka’s withdrawal from Indian Wells was confirmed by the tournament who published an announcement on social media. Although they didn’t specify what reason she used to withdraw from the tournament which is one of the biggest events outside of the Grand Slams in terms of ranking points and prize money on offer.

It was Indian Wells where Osaka won her first prestigious title back in 2018 after defeating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets. The following year she was the top seed in the draw but lost to Belinda Bencic in the fourth round.

There has been no official comment from Osaka or her team about Indian Wells and if she will play again this season. Although it looks increasingly unlikely. She is in with a chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals in November but even if she does make the cut it is unclear if she will attend the event which has been relocated from China to Mexico.

This year Indian Wells will get underway on October 4th which is more than six months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Simona Halep Ends Six-Year Collaboration With Coach Cahill

One of the longest coaching partnerships on the WTA Tour has come to an end.

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Former world No.1 Simona Halep is on the lookout for a new coach after unexpectedly announcing her split from Darren Cahill on Wednesday.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion has been working with the Australian mentor for most of the time since 2015. There was a brief period where Cahill stepped away from his duties to spend more time with his family before later returning. Under his guidance, the Romanian reached the top of the world rankings and featured in the final of three major tournaments, winning two of those.

“After six wonderful years working together, Darren Cahill and I have decided that it’s time to end our working relationship,” Halep wrote on social media. “Thank you D for everything, for making me a better tennis player and a better person.”

55-year-old Cahill is a former player himself who has also worked with a series of top players prior to Halep. In the past, he has coached both Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to world No.1 at different stages of their careers. Doubles specialist Horia Tecău reportedly told Romanian TV that it was rumoured Cahill received an annual salary in the region of one million euros during his time with Halep. Although this has not been verified.

The announcement comes a week after Halep married Macedonian businessman Toni Iuruc. One of those who attended the event was Illie Nastase who was one of the world’s best tennis players during the 1970s, winning both the French Open and US Open.

I didn’t know anything about Simona’s intention to break up with Darren Cahill. It took me a little by surprise. But Simona Halep has proven she knows what she’s doing. As I did not know, I do not see what I could comment. But there is no question of collaborating (with her),” Nastase told playsport.ro.
I didn’t talk to her about this or to anyone else in her entourage… I think only Simona knows who her future coach will be. I trust her choices.”

So far in 2021 Halep has achieved a win-loss record of 15-7 during what has been a rollercoaster season. An Achilles injury forced her to miss both the French Open and Wimbledon, as well as the Tokyo Olympics. Since returning to the Tour from her injury she has won back-to-back matches in one out of three tournaments played. Reaching the fourth round of the US Open.

There has been no official word on who may replace Cahill as Halep’s coach.

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