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Roberta Vinci loses against Alexandra Krunic in her farewell match in Rome

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Italian tennis star Roberta Vinci played her farewell match today at the Foro Italico in Rome and said good-bye to tennis after losing the final match of her career against Alexandra Krunic in the famous Nicola Pietrangeli Court during the first round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Krunic came back from one set down to beat former world number 7 Vinci 2-6 6-0 6-3 in one hour and 33 minutes.

After the match Vinci was given an emotional reception from the crowd before the match on Court Pietrangeli. The 2015 US Open finalist received a wild card to play her final tournament in front of her home fans.

Vinci went up a break in the fourth game at 30 to take a 3-1 lead. Krunic broke straight back in the fifth game at 15 for 2-3 but Vinci got two consecutive breaks in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set 6-2.

Krunic hit 13 winners to just 4 unforced errors and broke three times in the second set, as she won 12 of the 15 points played on her return.

The Serbian player won eight consecutive games and to build up a 6-0 3-0 lead in the third set, before holding off a late charge from Vinci, who broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3.

Krunic won 12 of the final 14 points including two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games. Vinci fended off the first two match points she faced on serve, but Krunic closed out the match on her third opportunity, when Vinci netted her forehand.

“It’s just tough, because I personally like her very much. I played against Roberta three times and I knw her very well. In the first set I definitely did not deal well with my nerves. She played really well, but I was very nervous, very annoyed by everything. The crowd was amazing towards her. They were very loud, and it was tough to focus. I tried to keep my arm loose and let myself play my shots in the second set”, said Krunic.

Vinci ended a long career highlighted by her sensational win over Serena Williams in the semifinal of the 2015 US Open ending the US player’s dream to win the calendar Grand Slam. She then lost the final against her compatriot and close friend Flavia Pennetta at Flushing Meadows. She completed a career doubles Grand Slam and held world number 1 position in the doubles ranking. She was the fourth Italian player in history to reach the top 10 in the singles together Flavia Pennetta, Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani. Vinci became the oldest player to make her first appearance in the top 10 at 33 years.

Vinci won 10 singles titles and 25 doubles titles including the French Open and the US Open in 2012, the Australian Open in 2013 and 2014 and Wimbledon in 2014 together with her friend and teammate Sara Errani

“I am crying now, but I am happy. I am proud for what I have accomplished.. I will take a period of rest and I will reflect on my future plans. Today was a mix of relief and sadness when I was playing the final match of my career”, said Vinci.

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Ekaterina Makarova Blows Past Pliskova In New Haven Upset

The No. 4 seed faded badly in both sets.

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Ekaterina Makarova (zimbio.com)

Ekaterina Makarova had her way with Karolina Pliskova, dominating the first set and storming back in the second to hand the No. 4 seed a 6-1, 6-3 loss in the first round in Connecticut on Monday.

Pliskova had rebounded from an atrocious first set to play well in the second set and generate more opportunities, but it slipped away from her at 3-4. Makarova built a 0-30 lead there, then earned break point and smashed several forehands until one down the line finally outdid Pliskova.

The Russian, ranked 49th in the world, found some trouble while serving out the match, but slammed two aces from 30-30 to book her place in the second round.

“I’m very happy that I got through,” Makarova said on-court. “Today was a very good match for me. I was a little bit relaxed. It was going good.”

Makarova had a clear edge statistically, putting 71 percent of first serves in play compared to fewer than half for Pliskova. The No. 4 seed won a putrid 32 percent of second serve points and saved only one of five break points; Makarova staved off all three break chances she faced.

The 30-year-old, who won the Cincinnati doubles title with Lucie Hradecka last week, hit 22 winners, while Pliskova was underwater with 14 winners and 21 unforced errors.

She was especially dominant in the first set, winning the final six games. Pliskova handed her an insurance break and the set — first with a forehand return the Czech didn’t bother returning, then a double fault on set point — and lost the last 10 points on her serve. Makarova won 18 of the last 20 points in the set.

She will next meet Magdalena Rybarikova, who advanced after CoCo Vandeweghe retired midway through the third set on Sunday.

Also Monday, Johanna Konta saw off Laura Siegemund with a 6-2, 7-5 win. The Briton won the first three games, faced just two break points and hit six aces. She lost an early break in the second set and failed to convert three break chances at 4-4, but capitalized at 5-5 when Siegemund paired a double fault with a bad forehand from deuce.

Konta then fended off a break point before securing the win, setting up a second round match with Carla Suárez Navarro, who beat No. 8 seed Barbora Strycova on Sunday.

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Former Champions Radwanska and Kvitova Set To Meet In Stacked New Haven Draw

Former champions Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova will face each other in the first round of the Connecticut Open.

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Petra Kvitova (zimbio.com)

Former champions of the Connecticut Open, Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova are set to meet in the first round of a stacked draw in New Haven. 

This year’s draw sees five of the top ten players in New Haven in a very stacked draw in Connecticut. This is the first time this has happened since 2006 as the world number one, Simona Halep leads the field.

The Romanian is having her best season of her career and is currently in the semi-finals of Cincinnati after winning Montreal. So it would be no surprise if she decided to take a week’s rest in preparation for the US Open, however if she does play she will face a qualifier in her second round contest.

Other highlights from the New Haven draw sees two former champions battle it out as Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska battles Petra Kvitova. The Czech Republican is in some sensational form as well as she is into the last four in Cincinnati.

This is completely different form to her opponent, who has been struggling with injuries and form. Despite the Pole knocking off the current world number one earlier this season, she hasn’t really pushed on from that and has only won 13 of her 24 matches this season. So how will Radwanska respond to yet another rough draw in Connecticut?

Other highlights of the draw see defending champion, Daria Gavrilova take on Kristina Mladenovic in the first round, with the winner awaiting Caroline Garcia. While 7th seed Kiki Bertens will face Anett Kontaveit in a Cincinnati rematch, which Bertens won in three sets.

Here is the full draw, with play set to begin on Sunday:

Simona Halep v BYE

Qualifier v Qualifier

Qualifier v Aryna Sabalenka

Irina-Camelia Begu v Ashleigh Barty

Karolina Pliskova v Ekaterina Makarova

Magdalena Rybarikova v Coco Vandeweghe

Qualifier v Danielle Collins

Barbora Strycova v Carla Suarez Navarro

Laura Siegemund v Johanna Konta 

Maria Sakkari v Qualifier

Agnieszka Radwanska v Petra Kvitova 

Kiki Bertens v Anett Kontaveit

Qualifier v Timea Bacsinszky 

Daria Gavrilova v Kristina Mladenovic 

BYE v Caroline Garcia 

 

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Simona Halep Secures Seventh Straight Win To Reach Cincinnati Last Eight

Simona Halep won her seventh consecutive match with a straight sets victory over Ashleigh Barty.

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Simona Halep (zimbio.com)

World number one, Simona Halep defeated Ashleigh Barty 7-5 6-4 to secure her seventh consecutive win and reach the quarter-finals in Cincinnati. 

The Romanian recovered from a break down in the first set as Barty started off the match quickly, catching her higher ranked opponent off guard. The world number one eased to holds of serve after getting back on serve as she protected her forehand angles perfectly. The Australian was looking to avoid the same outcome of their Montreal match last week as she effectively dictated points from the back of the court on her serve.

However the top seed proved too much and broke in the eleventh game much to her relief as her forehand once again paid dividends. The Montreal champion wrapped up the opening set in 46 minutes to gain a one set lead on Barty. The second set was similar as Barty gained an early break of serve with the Australian temporarily snatching the momentum back.

However the world number 16 was up against one of the best returners in the game and lost her serve twice in a row to hand the advantage back to Halep. The Roland Garros champion had to fend off a late surge from Barty but eventually sealed her place in the quarter-finals with her first match point.

A seventh consecutive win for Halep and a second victory over Barty proves that she is in her best form of her career as she believes in her ability to beat anyone. The Romanian will now face Lesia Tsurenko in the last eight later today.

In the rest of the third results on Thursday, Elina Svitolina proved too much for 16 year old Amanda Anisimova as she sealed a 6-4 6-4 victory over the American. The Ukrainian broke at the end of each set to seal her place in the quarter-finals. She will now play Kiki Bertens, who secured 6-3 2-6 6-3 victory over Anett Kontaveit serving down eight aces. It is now back to back quarter-finals for Bertens after a strong showing in Montreal.

Here is the full quarter-final line-up, with play beginning later on Thursday:

Simona Halep v Lesia Tsurenko

Madison Keys v Aryna Sabalenka

Petra Kvitova v Elise Mertens

Elina Svitolina v Kiki Bertens

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