Maria Sharapova Produces Superb Comeback To Beat Cibulkova - UBITENNIS
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Maria Sharapova Produces Superb Comeback To Beat Cibulkova

Maria Sharapova fought back from a set down to beat Dominika Cibulkova 3-6 6-4 6-2 and book a third round meeting with Daria Gavrilova.

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Maria Sharapova’s encouraging clay form continued as she came back from a set down to beat Dominika Cibulkova 3-6 6-4 6-2 at the Italian Open.

 

The Russian, who beat Irina-Camelia Begu and Kristina Mladenovic en route to the Madrid quarter-final last week, will move up to at least World No.39 when the new rankings are released next Monday.

Sharapova is starting to show the kind of form that kept her in the top ten for much of her career before her well-publicised ban.

And she responded superbly after playing poorly during the first set, which she lost due to a solitary break for Cibulkova in the second game.

After seven games went with serve in the second set, there was a spell of three pivotal games which ultimately decided the match.

Sharapova won the first thanks to some huge ball-striking, although it took her four break points to do it because Cibulkova determinedly saved three.

The Slovakian then won the second by playing a perfect return game to break the Russian to love.

But Sharapova did not let it bother her. She demonstrated her champion qualities to immediately break Cibulkova again and level the match.

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The five-time Grand Slam champion knew the importance of her next service game, and she let out a loud cry of ‘come on!’ after saving two break points during a gutsy hold.

She then gathered even more momentum by breaking Cibulkova to go 2-0 up, and never looked back thereafter. After three comfortable holds, she broke the Slovakian to love in the tenth game to seal an excellent win.

“I was really happy at the end of today’s match,” Sharapova said in her press conference. “I thought there were a lot of good things to take away from it.”

“(I was pleased with) the competitiveness against a player that I thought competed and played really well and played some of her best tennis for a long stretch of time.”

“That was a really good compliment, in a sense. I don’t think she’s been producing that type of tennis in the last few months. And to come out today and to play that way – I expect that from a lot of players. And I thought I delivered quite well. So that makes me happy.”

The Russian’s last-16 opponent will be Daria Gavrilova after the Australian ground out an extraordinary 5-7 6-2 7-6(6) win over Garbine Muguruza in a marathon match that lasted three hours and 11 minutes.

After the day session overran by nearly two hours, the players were unable to begin until 10.50pm. Given this, the World No.3 looked understandably grumpy at times and did not produce anything like her best tennis.

However, Muguruza looked like she had found a way to win when she opened up a 4-0 lead in the decider. But Gavrilova refused to give in and fought her way back to 4-4, and then saved two match points before sealing victory in the tie-break.

Venus and Kerber survive

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Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber both dug deep to earn important wins at the Foro Italico.

Venus had to break to stay in the match when opponent Elena Vesnina was serving for it at 5-4 in the decider. And she produced her best tennis when it mattered most to gain a 6-2 4-6 7-5 victory.

Kerber worked even harder for her win over Begu. The Romanian comfortably won the first set 6-3 in 34 minutes and looked set to cause an upset.

But the German refused to give in. She battled to 7-5 scorelines in both of the next two sets, each lasting over an hour, to struggle through to a meeting with Karolina Pliskova’s conqueror Maria Sakkari in round three.

Elsewhere in Rome, Caroline Wozniacki eased to a 6-1 6-4 victory over Alison Van Uytvanck to set up a third round meeting with Anastasija Sevastova, who beat Aleksandra Krunic 6-4 6-4.

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Rebecca Peterson clinches her maiden WTA title

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Twenty-four year-old Swedish player Rebecca Peterson lifted the first title of her career at the Jangxi Open in Nanchang after beating Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 6-2 6-0.

 

The world number 78 Petterson, who had reached only a quarter final so far this season, has become the 14th first-time winner on the WTA Tour so far in 2019.

Peterson reeled off nine consecutive games from 3-2 in the first set to clinch the win, breaking serve four times.

Peterson dropped only nine points in her service games and did not face any break points. The Swede earned her first break in the first game after a double fault from Rybakina. Peterson consolidated the break by holding serve at love and opened up a 4-2 lead, when Rybakina sent a forehand long.

Peterson broke serve in the seventh game to race out to a 5-2 lead, as Rybakina made a backhand error. Peterson sealed the first set with a forehand crosscourt winner in the eighth game.

Peterson earned an early break, after Rybakina sent a forehand long, and went up a 3-0 lead. Rybakina did not win a single game point and sent Petersen to deuce in the fifth game of the second set, but she dropped serve. Petersen wrapped up the match with a bagel thanks to a service winner on her first championship point.

Rybakina, who scored two three-set wins against Viktoria Golubic in the quarter final and Peng Shuai in the semifinal, hit 3 winners to 11 unforced errors. She had won her maiden title in Bucharest last July.

 

 

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Karolina Pliskova lifts her fourth title of the season in Zhengzhou

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Number 1 seed Karolina Pliskova cruised past number 7 seed Petra Martic 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and 36 minutes in the final of the Zhengzhou Open, an inaugural WTA Premier tournament. The final was postponed by six hours after torrential rain.

 

Pliskova came back from 0-2 in the first set by winning 12 of the next 15 games to win her fourth title this season after Brisbane, Rome and Eastbourne. The Czech player is the fifth top seed to win a tournament this season after Aryna Sabalenka in Shenzhen, Alison Van Uytvanck in Budapest, Caroline Garcia in Nottingham and Anastasjia Sevastova in Jurmala.

Pliskova took a re-match against Martic, who beat the Czech player in four of their previous five head-to-head matches and won their third round clash at Roland Garros.

Pliskova saved two of her three break points and converted four of her eight break points.

Martic earned an early break with a forehand return winner to open up a 2-0 lead in the first set. As the match resumed after a rain delay Martic did not convert a double break point. Pliskova broke back in the fourth game with a forehand winner to draw level to 2-2.

Pliskova saved a break point chance in the seventh game with a forehand down the line. The Czech player broke serve in the eighth game, when Martic made a forehand error and sealed the first set 6-3 with a service winner.

Pliskova dropped only six points on her first serve in the second set and broke serve in the third game when Martic sent a backhand slice wide. The former world number 1 player held her serve with an ace before breaking for the second time in the fifth game. She hit four winners to seal the win, as she was serving for the match at 5-2.

“I think I played good matches. Of course, not all the matches were perfect, the week never can be really perfect because it’s so many days and so many things can be just different every day. I beat tough players, which I maybe lost to a couple of times before. I think that was the biggest plus of this week, especially with Petra. These wins are always important. It doesn’t matter where you play, which tournament you play, but it’s always important. To get the trophy is always special. It does not matter really which tournament or how big the tournament is, it’s always good”, said Pliskova.  

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Nao Hibino beats Misaki Doi in all-Japanese final in Hiroshima

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World Number 146 Nao Hibino beat Misaki Doi 6-3 6-2 in the all-Japanese final of Haa-Cupid Japan Open in Hiroshima.

 

Doi broke serve at 15 in the second game with a deep return, but she dropped her serve at love in the third game. Dou earned another break with a forehand to open up a 3-1 lead. Hibino pulled the break back in the fifth game, when Doi sent her backhand long.

Hibino reeled off nine consecutive games from 1-3 down to build up a 6-3 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games of the first set and two more breaks in the first and third games of the second set. Doi dropped her serve in six consecutive service games and hit 8 winners to 14 unforced errors. Doi pulled back one break in the fifth game. Hibino broke for the third time at deuce to win the second set 6-2.

Hibino claimed both the singles and the doubles titles at the same tournament for the first time in her career. She teamed up with Doi to clinch the doubles title with a 6-3 4-6 10-4 win over Christina McHale and Valeria Savinykh.

“I was so nervous today, so much more than the semifinals, but because I experienced being nervous in the semifinals, I knew what to expect. I was able to stay positive during the match today”, said Hibino.

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