Petra Kvitova Defeats ‘Over-Motivated’ Pliskova To Reach Madrid Final - UBITENNIS
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Petra Kvitova Defeats ‘Over-Motivated’ Pliskova To Reach Madrid Final

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MADRID: Petra Kvitova is just a single victory away for her third title at the Madrid Open after defeating compatriot Karolina Pliskova 7-6(4), 6-4, on Friday evening.

The two-time grand slam champion held her nerve to edge out the fifth seed, who hit six double faults and 21 unforced errors. It was a far from straightforward encounter for Kvitova. At the start of the match she went behind 1-3 before fighting back to level 4-4. Then another exchanged of breaks following on route to the tiebreaker, which Pliskova gave away. The Czech world No.6 produced back-to-back double faults to hand Kvitova the opening set.

Breaking immediately at the start of the second, the 28-year-old continued to weather the storm. Fending off the threat posed by her opponent with a combination of outstanding defensive skills and aggressive shot-making. Edging herself on with outbursts of ‘come on,’ Kvitova roared to a set and 5-3 lead. Continuing to apply the pressure on the Pliskova serve, she broke once again to seal the match after error No.21 from her Fed Cup team mate.

“I think that I started pretty slow kind of. I was a little bit tight, I think. I did have some easy mistakes in the first game.” Said Kvitova, who hit 32 winners.
“But I stayed calm. I had to fight for my games on the serve. But then the chance to break her came.
“It was really up and down. I think we both were a little bit nervous. It showed in the tennis today.”

Kvitova now has a 27-1 win-loss record against her Czech opponents since 2016. Speaking about the emphatic record after her latest win, the world No.10 admits that she feels more motivated when playing her fellow compatriots on the tour. Within that period, her only loss was to Pliskova’s sister kristýna earlier this year in Charleston.

“I think every match which I’m playing against a Czech girl, it’s always pretty difficult for both of us. With the Czech girls, we know each other very well. Doesn’t matter who it is. We have already played many Fed Cups together. We also practice together in Prague sometimes. It’s always like that.” She explained.
“The motivation is probably a little bit extra. On the other hand, I think they have it, as well.”

Pliskova, who defeated Simona Halep earlier in the tournament, has blamed her downfall on wanting to win the match too much. The hit and miss performance saw her make a barrage of mistakes as she failed to find consistency in her game. A stark contrast to her win over Halep just 24 hours prior.

“I think the biggest problem was the first set and my game. It’s not that I would not have a chance. I had enough chances to win the match today, but I didn’t just play anything special or not even good enough to get some points.” She explained.
“I think I was a little bit over-motivated today.”

In the final Kvitova will take on Kiki Bertens. The Dutch player upset seventh seed Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-2. Booking a place in her first ever Premier Mandatory final and is set to rise to a ranking high of 15th in the world.

“I’m going to probably try to play the same as I always try. It’s going to be about the serve and wait something in the rallies.” She previewed about the upcoming match.

On Saturday Kvitova will be bidding to become the first woman to win the Madrid Open title for a third time.

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Simona Halep eases through her first final of the season in Dubai

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Simona Halep cruised past US qualifier Jennifer Brady 6-2 6-0 after just 62 minutes to reach her first final of the season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Halep saved the only two break points she faced and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors. Halep earned an early break in the opening game before saving two break points to hold serve for 2-0. The 2019 Wimbledon player went up a double break and held serve to race out to a 5-1 lead. Brady hit a backhand winner to win her service game for 5-2. Halep wrapped up the first set on her first set point in the next game.

Halep went up an early break in the first game of the second set. She hit a forehand winner on her third break point to race out to a 3-0 lead. Halep earned her third consecutive break in the fifth game for 5-0. Halep earned a match point with a backhand winner and sealed the win after a backhand error from Brady. Halep set up a final against Elena Rybakina, who beat Petra Martic 7-6 7-6.

“It felt much better than previous matches. I played really well. Everything went in my side. I felt the ball great. I feel like I played the best match since I came here. It’s amazing what Rybakina has done already this year”, said Halep.

 

 

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Elena Rybakina saves a set point in each set to overcome Petra Martic in Dubai semifinal

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Elena Rybakina came back from a break down and saved a set point in each set to overcome Petra Martic 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-2) after 2 hours and 11 minutes reaching her fourth final this season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Rybakina has won 19 of her first 22 matches this season. She lost in Shenzhen before clinching her first title of her title in Hobart. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open. She advanced to her third final of the 2020 season in St. Petersburg before losing to Kiki Bertens.

Rybakina has won 19 of her first 22 matches this season. She lost in Shenzhen before clinching her first title of her title in Hobart. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open. She advanced to her third final of the 2020 season in St. Petersburg before losing to Kiki Bertens.

Rybakina has reached the sixth final of her career and her second at Premier level. She won two titles in Bucarest and Hobart and finished runner-up in Nanchang, Shenzhen and St. Petersburg. Earlier this week the Kazakh player beat two top ten players Sofia Kenin and Karolina Pliskova before beating Petra Martic in three hard-fought sets in the semifinal. Rybakina hit 32 winners to 23 unforced errors.

The opening set started with three consecutive breaks. Martic broke twice and maintained her lead until 5-4. Rybakina broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 to force the first set to the tie-break.

Rybakina saved a set point with a forehand pass to draw level to 5-5, as she was serving for the set. Rybakina built up a 6-2 lead. Martic saved three chances but Rybakina sealed her fourth set point with a volley at the net.

Martic earned an early break to open up a 3-0 lead. Rybakina saved a point to trail a double break at 0-4. Rybakina broke back in the seventh game, as Martic netted a dropshot. Both players saved break points in the final three games at deuce. Rybakina was just two points from losing the set, while she was serving at 4-5. Rybakina saved a set point at 5-6 with backhand winners forcing the second set to the tie-break.

Rybakina raced out to a 6-1 lead in the tie-break and sealed the win on her second match points with a backhand.

“I have to adjust because everything is new to me. It is always great to beat a player from the top 5  I alway try to do my best and want to win every match. I was focusing on on what I had to do”, said Rybakina.

 

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Elena Rybakina comes back from one set down against Karolina Pliskova to reach her fourth semifinal of the year in Dubai

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Elena Rybakina came back from a break down in the opening set to beat Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 reaching the semifinal at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Rybakina has qualified for her fourth semifinal this season. She opened the year with the final in Shenzhen followed by a title in Hobart. After losing to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open, the Kazakh player finished runner-up to Kiki Bertens in the final in St. Petersburg.

Rybakina hit 33 winners (including 11 aces) to 20 unforced errors and saved 10 of the 11 break points she faced.

Pliskova fended off a break point in the opening game of the first set before breaking serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead after a pair of double faults from Rybakina.

Rybakina broke straight back in the seventh game with forehand return winners. The Kazakh player missed a break point at 4-4, but she held her serve in the 12th game with three consecutive aces to force the first set to the tie-break. Rybakina raced out to a 6-0 lead in the tie-break and sealed the tie-break on her second set point 7-1.

Rybakina broke serve in the second game to open up a 4-1 lead. She had to overcome a total of eleven deuces and saved six break points in her first three service games. She held serve for 1-0 with three consecutive service winners and hit a backhand crosscourt winner in the third game and a forehand down the line down break point in the fifth game.

Rybakina earned her first break in the second game of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead after a double fault from Pliskova.

Pliskova saved three break points in the sixth game to hold serve for 2-4. Rybakina held serve at deuce to take a 5-2 lead and rallied from 0-30 down to serve out the win.

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