Petra Kvitova: "Fed Cup has been part of my career" - UBITENNIS
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Petra Kvitova: “Fed Cup has been part of my career”

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Czech Republic starts as the favourite against Germany in the BNP Paribas semifinal at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, which will also host the Porsche Indoor Grand Prix next week.

 

Petra Kvitova will play in the first rubber singles match against Julia Goerges on Saturday. Angelique Kerber will face Karolina Pliskova in a clash between two former world number 1 players in the second rubber match.

Kvitova beat Goerges 10-8 in the third set in the World Group first round in 2012 in their most recent Fed Cup match. The German player won their first clash in Linz in 2010, but Kvitova won each of their past four meetings.

Kvitova won five Fed Cup titles in her career and won both singles rubbers in the last Fed Cup clash between Germany and Czech Republic, including a three-set clash against Angelique Kerber to seal the Fed Cup title for the Czech team in Prague in 2014.

“It will be very tough. We all know how Germany is a tough team. Angie and Julia Goerges are in great form, so it will be interesting playing them in the Stuttgart Arena and it will be a great crowd. We will try to be strong as well. Every match will be very difficult and it’s like 50-50, so we will see”.

Kvitova is looking for more glory in the Fed Cup after winning five titles.

“I always loved playing team competitions as a kid. I always played great, supporting the others and being part of the team. I just love it. Fed Cup is part of my career. We won it five times and it was something really special in my heart. I never forget, especially playing at home as well, with the home crowd, when we don’t have that many opportunities to play in front of them. I have great memories of Fed Cups and hopefully they will continue”, said Kvitova.

Kerber has won seven of their ten head-to-head matches, including the 2016 US Open final in three sets.

France will face a tough task against defending champions from the USA in Aix-en-Provence. The team captained by Yannick Noah will be looking to reach their second Fed Cup final in three years. The US team won 11 of the 13 Fed Cup ties against France and edged 3-2 after a crucial doubles match in the World Group Play-off in 2014.

French player Pauline Parmentier will take on 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens, who recently won her first Miami title in front of her home fans. The US player has not won a sngles Fed Cup match since the 2016 World Group II first round. In the second Saturday’s match Kristina Mlaenovic will face last year’s US Open semifinalist Coco Vandeweghe, who has won 13 consecutive Fed Cup matches.

Vandeweghe led the USA to their first Fed Cup Trophy in 17 years. The team coached by Kathy Rinaldi will also feature last year’s US Open semifinalist Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek Sands.

“I am very confident that USA can make it to another final. We have a lot of depth in our team. From the singles players all the way to the doubles, I think we come together really well. It’s been working really well for the last couple of years of sacrifice and team camaradiere. That really makes a difference for each and every tie and I think team USA does a good job of that. Not just for my career, but for me as a person, Fed Cup has been extremely important. It’s my number one priority to play for my country. It’s a great honour and a great privilege to be chosen and nominated.

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Simona Halep cruises through to the second round with a straight-set win over Anastasia Potapova in Moscow

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Simona Halep cruised through to the second round at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow with a 6-1 6-4 win over Anastasia Potapova after 90 minutes. 

 

Halep has extended her winning record against Potapova after beating her Russian rival in their only previous head-to-head match at the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne last winter. The Romanian star is making her first appearance since she won the title in 2013.

Four of the first six six games went to deuce. Halep went up an early break to take a 2-0 lead. Potapova broke straight back, but Halep earned two breaks at deuce to take a 5-1 lead before serving out the set at love. 

Four of the first six games of the second set went against serve. Halep converted the first of her two break points to take a 5-4 lead. As Halep was serving for the match at 5-4, Potapova earned three break points.

Halep saved them, before converting her second match point to secure her spot in the second round, where she will face world number 32 Veronika Kudemertova. Halep beat Kudemertova 6-1 6-3 in the third round at this year’s Australian Open. Kudemertova came back from one set down to beat Oksana Selekmetheva 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 after 2 hous and 20 minutes. 

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Andy Murray battles past Frances Tiafoe in a marathon match in Antwerp

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Andy Murray battled past Frances Tiafoe 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) in a marathon match after 3 hours and 45 minutes to advance to the second rund at the European Open in Antwerp. 

 

Murray came back from a set down in the first set before prevailing in the tie-break. 

Tiafoe opened up a 3-1 lead with an early break in the third game and a hold. Murray reduced the deficit to 2-3 before Tiafoe needed a medical time-out to treat a back problem. Murray broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Both players traded breaks in the next two games. Tiafoe wasted a set point. Murray closed out the tie-break with two mini-breaks followed by two consecutive aces.

Both players fended off break points to stay on serve in the second set. Murray saved a set point to hold and forced the second set to to another tie-break. Murray hit a forehand down the centre of the court to open up a 3-1 lead. Tiafoe pulled back on serve after a return into the net from Murray. Tiafoe earned two mini-breaks to take a 4-3 lead. The US player hit a forehand down the line to earn a set point, but Murray saved it to draw level to 6-6. Tiafoe converted his sixth set point with a forehand half-volley to win the 81-minute second set forcing the match to the third set. 

Tiafoe earned a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, but Murray broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Murray saved two break points to hold for 4-3. Tiafoe held serve to draw level to 5-5 forcing the decider to a third tie-break. Both players earned two mini-breaks in the tie-break before Murray gained a two-point lead, but Tiafoe drew level to 5-5. Murray saved two match points before sealing the win with a backhand dropshot, which Tiafoe could return into the net. 

Murray avenged a defeat against Tiafoe, who beat the Scotsman in the second round at Winston Salem last August. 

Murray will face Diego Schwartzman on Thursday. 

“I think it’s the longest three-set match I have played by quite a distance. I am tired right now, obviously it was an unbelievable battle. Nowadays, obviously my body is old now. I have played a lot of matches on the Tour. I don’t mind playing long matches, but that was taking it to another level. Brilliant match. Amazing atmosphere. Thanks to everyone who came and supported. It’s just so nice. To be back and playing in front of crowd again”, said Murray.  

Murray and Tiafoe played the longest best-of-three set match of 2021, improving the previous record set by Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who played for 3 hours and 38 minutes in the Barcelona final. 

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Jenson Brooksby upsets Reilly Opelka to boost his chance to qualify for the Next Gen Finals in Milan

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US Next Gen rising star Jenson Brooksby continues his chase for a spot in the Next Gen Finals in Milan with a 6-4 6-4 win over Reilly Opelka after 1 hour and 12 minutes. 

 

Brooksby earned his first break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Opelka saved two break points to hold serve at deuce, as he serving to stay in the first set. Brooksby served out the first set in the 10th game before breaking at love in the fourth game to seal the second set 6-4.

Brookby won a set against Novak Djokovic in the fourth round at the US Open and lost the semifinal against Jannik in Washington this year. 

“It’s been a great year. I am happy. I feel like I have been focused, playing well. I will hopefully finish this year strong. He has definitely got one of the best serves on Tour. I thought we had a good game plan. I have been hitting them well and executed pretty well here, so I am happy with that”, said Brooskby. 

Brooksby will face this year’s US Open quarter finalist Botic van de Zandschulp. 

Another US Next Gen player Brandon Nakashima cruised past Alex De Minaur 6-4 6-0. Nakashima converted five of his ten break points. 

De Minaur converted his second break point in the fifth game at deuce to take a 3-2 lead. Nakashima broke straight back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Nakashima broke serve on his third chance at deuce to close out the first set 6-4 and earned three more breaks to take a bagel win in the second set. 

Nakashima reached his first two ATP Tour finals in Los Cabos and Atlanta. 

Lorenzo Musetti beat Gianluca Mager 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-3) after 2 hours and 8 minutes in the all-Italian first round match. Musetti set up a Next Gen clash against his compatriot Jannik Sinner, who won their only previous clash 6-7 7-6 6-3 in the pre-qualifying round of the Rome Internazionali d’Italia. Mager earned the first break in the third game at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. Musetti pulled back on serve in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3, but he dropped his serve in the seventh game to trail 3-4. Musetti broke back in the 10th game to draw level to draw level to 5-5. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Musetti earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

Musetti did not convert two break points in the first and third games of the second set. Mager earned a set point in the 10th game, but Musetti saved it to force the set to the tie-break. Musetti earned three match points at 6-3 with his fourth mini-break and converted his first chance with a spectacular serve and volley.  

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