Simona Halep wins a gruelling match against Maria Sharapova to set up re-match against Elina Svitolina in Rome - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep wins a gruelling match against Maria Sharapova to set up re-match against Elina Svitolina in Rome

Simona Halep battled past Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-1 6-4 in two hours and 23 minutes in a hard-fought semifinal at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Setting up a re-match of last year’s final against Elina Svitolina.



World Number 1 Simona Halep has scored her second consecutive win over three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova in their ninth head-to-head match to reach her 30th career final.


Halep will be looking to win the 17th title of her career and the second of the year after Shenzhen.

Halep and Sharapova played a hard-fought match with 19 breaks of serve. Halep won 63 % of her return points and converted 11 of her 19 break point chances. Sharapova got eight breaks.

Halep came back from one set down to secure her spot in her second consecutive final in Rome. She will face Elina Svitolina, who triumphed in the Eternal city last year.

The first set started with six straight breaks of serve. Halep got an immediate break in the first game of the opening set, but Sharapova earned a break point that Halep saved with a good first serve. The Russian star converted her second break point, when Halep made a double fault at deuce. Halep got another break to take a 2-1 lead, when Sharapova made two consecutive double faults and misfired twice. Sharapova hit a dropshot winner on break point to break back at 30. Halep got the fifth consecutive break, when Sharapova double faulted. Halep went up 40-15 in the sixth game, but Sharapova got it back to deuce. The three-time Rome champion hit her third drop-shot winner of the match to earn a break point and converted it, when Halep hit a ball long.

Sharapova was the first to hold serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and this proved to be crucial. The Russian player brought up two break points in the eighth game. She converted it with a crosscourt winner. In the ninth game Halep earned three break points. Sharapova saved the first break point with a backhand into the corner, but Halep converted her second break-back chance to trail 4-5. Sharapova broke Halep for the fifth time in the first set at 15 to seal the opening set.

Halep saved both break points she faced and broke serve three times to win the second set 6-1.

Both players traded breaks in six of the first seven games. Sharapova held serve to draw level to 4-4. Halep held serve at 15 in the ninth game and got the decisive break in the 10th game to close out a grueling match, when Sharapova served to draw level to 5-5.

Halep had already secured the world number 1 spot after her win in the semifinal and the defeat of Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter final.

“It was a very tough match. I had to play aggressive against Sharapova. It’s always a pleasure to come back here in Rome. I will have to play a great match against Elina Svitolina tomorrow. She is a tough opponent. I invite all my Romanaian fans to come here to support me”, said Simona Halep.

Sharapova was tired after the long marathon battle against Jelena Ostapenko in yesterday’s quarter final.

“I felt like I was hitting the ball well in the first set, but I didn’t serve well throughout the match. I just didn’t have enough velocity and pace on that shot, and I lost the accuracy on the return in the last few sets. It’s obvious that the amount of hours that we played before the match is quite different, but when we go on court, that does not really matter. That’s all thrown away, and you still have to play the match. I think I battled well. It’s always going to be a physical battle against Simona, but despite everything I was there physically. There is a lot of good things I can take away from a week like this”, said Sharapova.

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Asian Games Champion Qinwen Zheng Reveals Shock Departure Of Coach Fissette



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China’s Qinwen Zheng says she feels ‘hurt’ by the decision of her former coach to end their collaboration in order to work with another player. 


The US Open quarter-finalist had been working with Belgium’s Wim Fissette in recent weeks following the departure of Pere Riba who is now the coach of Coco Gauff. Fissette has a wealth of experience in women’s tennis after working with the likes of Kim Clijsters and Naomi Osaka. However, Zheng says she is now looking for a new mentor.

“I understand his decision, but my family and I feel hurt. Right now I don’t want to talk about this person (Fissette),’ journalist Bendou Zhang quoted her as saying. 

Fissette is yet to comment on his departure. He had previously coached former world No.1 Osaka between 2019-2022 and during this period she won two of her four Grand Slam titles. The American-based Japanese player is on maternity leave from the sport and gave birth to her first child in July.

20-year-old Zheng is currently ranked 23rd in the world and won her maiden WTA title in Palermo earlier this year. She is the youngest player from her country to have reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam in the Open Era following her run at Flushing Medows. This year she has beaten top 10 players Ons Jabeur and Daria Kasatkina. 

Zheng’s latest career milestone is winning gold at the Asian Games on Friday. in the final, she defeated Zhu Lin 6-2, 6-4, in the blistering Hangzhou heat.

“The feeling was incredible,” Zheng said. “I’m really happy about that. That was not an easy match today and also yesterday (in semifinal against Alex Eala). All of them are good fighters.”

It is not clear who Zheng will be working with during the Asian swing. 

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Daria Kasatkina Criticises Decision To Not Use Roof At Sweltering Pan Pacific Open



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Daria Kasatkina has taken a swipe at organizers at the Toray Pan Pacific Open for not using the roof to cover their premier court on Thursday due to the heat. 


The Russian played her second round match against Despina Papamichail in temperatures around 30 degrees with the humidity making it feel even warmer. Kasatkina battled to a 6-4, 6-4, win after spending more than two hours on the court. She dropped serve four times in the match but managed to break Papamichail seven times en route to victory. 

Speaking on the court following his latest tour win, the world No.13 admitted that she struggled in the conditions and implied that she believed the roof should have been closed to shield the players from the sun. Tokyo, which is where the tournament is staged, has experienced a record-breaking number of ‘extremely hot’ days this year with their autumn season being warmer than usual. Something that some warn could be a more regular occurrence due to climate change.

“We cannot do much about it. We are using the ice towels and some supplements to keep you hydrated. By at the end, you cannot fight with something you cannot control,” Kasatkina commented on the conditions during her on-court interview.
“I think in these kinds of conditions, if you have a roof, better maybe to close it. If you have these opportunities, better to use it than to make players almost die on the field.” She added. 

Kasatkina is through to her seventh Tour quarter-final of the season. Awaiting her in the next round will be second seed Jessica Pegula who beat Spain’s Cristina Bucșa 6-1, 6-2, in her second round match on Wednesday. It will be only the second Tour meeting between the two players and their first on a hard court. 

Elsewhere in Tokyo, another player to reach the last eight in France’s Caroline Garcia who beat Anhelina Kahlinina 6-4, 6-3. Meanwhile, Anastasia Pavlychenkova defeated Czech Republic’s Linda Noskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. 

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Barbora Krejcikova Does The Double In San Jose



After what has been a challenging past few weeks on the Tour, Barbora Krejcikova has returned to the winner’s circle by claiming both the singles and doubles titles at the San Diego Open. 


The world No.13 battled to a marathon 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, win over Sofia Kenin in what was a clash of the former Grand Slam champions. Krejcikova was pushed to her limits throughout the two-and-a-half-hour clash with there being no break in the decider until the final game. It is the second singles title the Czech has won on the WTA Tour this season after Dubai and her seventh overall. 

“Normally I wouldn’t be here,” said Krejcikova, who received a wild card to play in the tournament “I really want to thank them (the tournament organisers). It was very special. I really enjoyed my stay here.”

Krejcikova’s run to the trophy has also seen her score wins over Beatriz Haddad Maia and Danielle Collins earlier in the week. She is the first player from her country to win the tournament. 

Following on from that triumph, the 27-year-old then clinched the doubles title alongside compatriot Katerina Siniakova. The duo beat Collins and Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-4.

Krejcikova came into San Jose on a four-match losing streak which started at Wimbledon where she was forced to withdraw from her secound round clash due to a left leg injury. 

“I came here with not really good statistics after my injury, I didn’t actually win any matches,” she said. “So I just came here and I pretty much was hoping and believing that I could get the first win and go from there. It’s pretty special to be sitting here having won [the title].”

It is only the second time in Krejcikova’s career that she has won both the singles and doubles titles at the same event. The first time she did so was at the 2021 French Open where her partner in the doubles was also Siniakova.

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