Petra Kvitova and Johanna Konta stunned in Charleston - UBITENNIS
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Petra Kvitova and Johanna Konta stunned in Charleston

Petra Kvitova and Johanna Konta suffered shock losses in the second round in Charleston. The No.2 seed lost to fellow Czech Kristyna Pliskova, while the Brit was defeated by Hungarian qualifier Fanny Stollar.

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Petra Kvitova suffered a shock 1-6 6-1 6-3 loss to Kristyna Pliskova in the second round of the Volvo Car Open in Charleston.

 

The loss ended a run of 24 consecutive wins for the No.2 seed over her fellow Czechs and it is the first time either Pliskova sister has beaten Kvitova on the WTA tour.

“I’m really happy,” said Pliskova in her on-court interview. “It’s my second top ten win this year and it’s special against Petra. She’s played so well against Czech players so I’m happy I broke her streak.”

It was looking like the younger Czech would suffer a heavy defeat when she lost the first set 6-1, but she turned the match around completely in sets two and three to earn a deserved victory.

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“My serve was horrible in the first set,” said Pliskova. “I feel like it was flying everywhere, so I just focused on my serve. And then the (rest of my) game was a bit better as well.”

The World No.78 certainly served significantly better in the second set. She won 14 of 22 points on her serve compared to 13 of 34 points in the opener.

Pliskova’s improvements on her serve enabled her to swing freely in her return games and she broke Kvitova three times in the second and twice in the decider.

Konta crashes out

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Kvitova was not the only high-profile casualty on the clay of South Carolina as Johanna Konta’s poor start to 2018 continued.

The Briton never really got going in her match against Fanny Stollar and lost 6-3 6-4 to the Hungarian qualifier.

It was Konta’s eighth loss in 19 matches so far this season and her second defeat to a player ranked outside the World’s Top 100.

When the Briton is playing well, she invariably serves well, and in the first set her serving was very poor. She only made 48% of her first serves and won just 25% of points on her second serve.

Inevitably, such poor serving gave Stollar numerous opportunities to break Konta, and she did exactly that three times in the opening set.

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The 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist raised her level in the second set and it was a much closer affair. However, despite performing better, Konta failed to create a single break point chance in the set.

By contrast, Stollar earned three break points in the set and eventually took the one she needed in game nine before holding serve to seal a famous win.

It was the Hungarian’s second big scalp in Charleston after she beat Vesnina in the second round in 2017. “It looks like this is now my favourite tournament,” she said in her on-court interview.

“She’s really tough to play against,” Stollar said. “I lost to her once already so I was coming out expecting nothing of myself. I was just going to play my game and I really focused on every point.”

The Hungarian continued, “In both sets I really just tried to break her and hold my serve. (I wanted to) keep her behind the baseline and stay aggressive.”

Osaka, Goerges, Barty and Vesnina progress

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Elsewhere in Charleston, Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka saw off a strong challenge from Laura Siegemund as she beat the German 6-3 7-6(8).

The Japanese is likely to face a tough task in the last 16 against another German: Julia Goerges. The fifth seed came from a set down to edge out young American Kristie Ahn 2-6 6-4 7-6(1).

Ashleigh Barty backed up her convincing first-round win with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 triumph over Tatjana Maria. The Australian will now play Anastasia Sevastova, who also needed three sets to overcome Caroline Dolehide 7-5 6-7(5) 6-1.

2016 finalist Elena Vesnina stormed to a 6-4 6-1 victory over Taylor Townsend, Camila Giorgi upset 11th seed Daria Gavrilova 6-2 2-6 6-3 and Kiki Bertens beat Aleksandra Krunic 6-4 6-2.

Sara Errani continued her progress with a 3-6 7-6(5) 6-2 win over Mihaela Buzarnescu, Alize Cornet took down Polona Hercog 6-2 6-3, Irina-Camelia Begu beat Claire Liu 6-4 6-2 and Bernarda Pera overcame Dayana Yastremska 7-6(4) 1-6 6-4.

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Iga Swiatek Saves Two Match Points To Edge Out Krejcikova In Rome

Iga Swiatek survived a 2 hour and 50 minute clash to advance to the Rome Quarter-Finals.

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Iga Swiatek (@TickTockTennis - Twitter)

Iga Swiatek saved two match points to defeat Barbora Krejcikova 3-6 7-6(5) 7-5 to reach the last eight in Rome.

 

The defending Roland Garros champion battled and clawed to victory in 2 hours and 52 minutes after saving two match points.

Swiatek will now play the winner of the match between Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals tomorrow.

A summary of the match would be a lot of errors and tentative play throughout as the Pole was too aggressive in the opening set allowing a lot of unforced errors into her game.

Meanwhile Krejcikova was solid but was aggressive with the right angles in the right moments.

This proved crucial for the Czech Republican as she took advantage of Iga’s inability to produce first serves.

A crucial hold at 4-2 was enough for Krejcikova as there were six breaks of serve in the opening set. A long ninth game ended with the Czech taking the set 6-3.

In the second set it was more of the same with Swiatek as she was not able to produce her best tennis.

After going down an early break, Swiatek knew she had to build the points up slowly and gain her confidence. This is what occurred as she got the break back immediately and started to hold serve more comfortably.

Even though the world number 15 looked more confident with her shots and started to construct points better she could not successfully get into Krejcikova’s service games.

Towards the end of the set Swiatek saved two match points as this dramatic contest went to a second set tiebreak.

Swiatek’s mini-break lead was reduced but her fighting spirit was not as Krejcikova felt the pressure and a double fault from her gave the Pole a lifeline as she forced a deciding set.

After spending the change of ends being emotional, Swiatek regained similar form in the final set with her drop-shots being effective.

Krejcikova held nerve of her own as she continued to force the Pole to make unforced errors and just be as solid as she could be.

Swiatek saved three break points in the seventh game to lead 4-3 and then pounced in the 12th game with some heavy returns to take the match and move into the last eight.

Next for the Pole after a mammoth clash will be Garbine Muguruza or Elina Svitolina as she climbs into a new career ranking of 14 in the world.

In other results today Coco Gauff knocked out Madrid Champion Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 6-3 for one of the best wins of her career.

The vibrant American faces world number one Ash Barty who continued her amazing season with with a 6-3 6-3 win over Veronika Kudermetova.

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Serena Williams’ 1000th Match Ends In Defeat To Podoroska

Serena Williams was defeated in Rome as she reaches a landmark milestone of 1000 WTA matches.

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Serena Williams (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Serena Williams’ 1000th WTA tour match has ended in a 7-6(6) 7-5 defeat to Nadia Podoroska in Rome.

 

The American made her return to tour for the first time in 84 days as she looked to build momentum heading into Roland Garros.

If the first few games were to set the tempo of the match then it would prove to be a long contest with Serena struggling to get any free points on her serve.

It was the Argentinian who got the first break of the match in the third game as she tested Serena’s stamina early on in the contest.

In typical Serena fashion, the 23-time grand slam champion produced some stunning ground-strokes especially from central positions to break to love straight away.

On serve, Serena looked fairly comfortable as she ended the match with eight aces although she only made a first serve percentage of 48%.

That was her key downfall as it was Podoroska who looked the more comfortable on return as she used some devastating angles to force unforced errors from the Serena racket.

A break for a 5-4 lead ensured that the last year’s Roland Garros semi-finalist would serve for the opening set.

However Serena used her power and good point construction to once again break back which was met with a roar from the world number eight.

Eventually the first set would head towards a tiebreaker with Podoroska dominating the majority of it.

She had three set points which came and went as Serena used her fighting qualities to roar back into the match.

But once again some unforced errors would cost the four-time champion as Podoroska took the next two point to claim the opening set in 66 minutes.

In the second set, Serena was the early aggressor as she dictated points better setting the pace of the match.

Again though Podoroska extended the rallies and made the American move all round the court exposing as much space as possible.

The Argentinian was rewarded for her court coverage when she broke in the sixth game as Serena began to tire.

As in the first set, Podoroska couldn’t serve out the second set as her cautious play lead to Serena levelling it up at 5-5.

However Serena’s serve was just not working when she needed it too and Podoroska secured the final blow to seal a fantastic victory for her.

For Serena its onto Roland Garros as she will look to improve her fitness in the next couple of weeks.

As for Podoroska she will play Petra Martic after the Croatian beat Kristina Mladenovic today 7-5 6-3.

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Naomi Osaka’s Clay Woes Continue After Pegula Defeat In Rome

Naomi Osaka went out in the second round in Rome to Jessica Pegula.

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Jessica Pegula (@TickTockTennis - Twitter)

Naomi Osaka’s clay court woes continued in Rome after losing to Jessica Pegula 7-6(2) 6-2.

 

The world number two admitted previously that learning the clay court trade would take time and this continues to be the case after another early defeat on the surface.

After losing in the second round in Madrid to Karolina Muchova, Osaka knew she needed a quick start in this match and she produced that with the early break for a 2-0 lead.

Pegula’s loss in Madrid was in the third round although that was to the eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka and she had every reason not to be intimidated as she slowly worked her way in the match.

The American reaped her rewards as she took her second break point to bring the match back on serve.

Despite the setback, Osaka continued to dictate play using her athleticism to bring shots back with depth and pace as she was arguably playing the better tennis.

In the latter stages of the set, the Australian Open champion had created three set points before some bold Pegula tennis denied Osaka the set.

Eventually the first set went to a tiebreak which saw the world number 31 be more aggressive and produce some stunning tennis to win seven of the nine points on offer to win the tiebreak 7-2.

In the second set, Osaka fell apart as her backhand, net play and general point construction crumbled quickly.

Pegula offered more in attacking combinations and produced some big serves as she broke three times in the second set.

Despite breaking in the sixth game, it was another disappointing performance from Osaka who conceded defeat in 90 minutes.

As for Pegula she has set up a third round clash with Ekaterina Alexandrova.

In other results so far today Elina Svitolina survived a scare as she edged past Amanda Anisimova 2-6 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Garbine Muguruza also edged past Bernarda Pera 2-6 6-0 7-5 in just over two hours after the Spaniard struggled with a foot injury.

There were comfortable victories for Ash Barty and Karolina Pliskova while Petra Kvitova was knocked out by Vera Zvonareva 6-4 3-6 6-4.

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