Unseeded Aryna Sabalenka Reaches Eastbourne Final - UBITENNIS
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Unseeded Aryna Sabalenka Reaches Eastbourne Final

Aryna Sabalenka won a rollercoaster three-set clash with Agnieszka Radwanska to make it through to her first WTA Premier final.

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Aryna Sabalenka continued her remarkable run at the 2018 Nature Valley International with an impressive 6-3 1-6 6-3 win over Agnieszka Radwanska.

 

The result takes her through to her first WTA Premier final and means she will move up to at least No.32 in the new set of world rankings on Monday.

Sabalenka’s match against Radwanska started in bizarre fashion with six consecutive breaks of serve as both players struggled to find their rhythm.

However, there was plenty of good tennis show in that time. Sabalenka cracked three huge winners in succession in game four and then Radwanska flicked a delightful cross-court forehand past her opponent in game five.

Game six was high-quality too, as the Pole hit an excellent backhand volley and the Belarussian unleashed a brutal forehand winner to seal her third break.

The set’s crucial moments came in game seven when Sabalenka became the first player to hold serve. She fought back superbly from 15-40 to do it.

Both players were sloppy in the next game, but the Belarussian managed to find a pair of winners when she needed them most to earn another break. She then held to love to seal the first set.

Radwanska fights back

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In the opening game of the second set, Sabalenka hit an extraordinary return. Radwanska tossed a serve out wide, which most players would have struggled to get a racket to. However, the Belarussian not only reached it, she slammed it around the net onto the side-line for a winner.

Shortly after that, Sabalenka lobbed Radwanska to break her yet again. Things were looking very bad for the Pole at this stage, but it was all about to change.

Having played so well to get to 6-3 and 1-0 with a break, the Belarussian experienced a big dip in performance. It started with four unforced errors as she dropped serve.

Then she watched as Radwanska produced an excellent game to hold serve for the first time in the match. The Pole hit a lovely half-volley winner and a superb forehand pass before sealing it with an unreturnable serve.

Radwanska did not have to do much to win the next game. She hit a beautiful floaty drop shot to win the first point and then put the ball in play repeatedly and enticed Sabalenka to make a series of errors.

The rest of the second set continued in similar fashion. The Belarussian made plenty more errors as she dropped serve twice more, and the former World No.2 eventually sealed the set 6-1 with a classy forehand pass followed by another error from Sabalenka.

Sabalenka steps up

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In stark contrast to the rest of the match, the decider began with four consecutive holds. Radwanska then played two brilliant points in game five, finishing one with a delicate lob and the other with backhand volley, as she broke to lead 3-2.

However, that was the last game the Pole won as Sabalenka dialled up her aggression. She hit three winners to fight back from 40-0 on Radwanska’s serve and break for 3-3.

Then she hit three winners to go 40-0 up, two double faults and an error to fall back to deuce, and then two more winners to secure a vital hold.

In game eight, the Belarussian was imperious. She slammed four brilliant backhands, three of them outright winners, to break the Pole to love.

The final game of the match was more typical of Sabalenka as she hit a few winners and made a few unforced errors before eventually sealing with a forehand that Radwanska could barely lay a racket on.

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Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina Announces Pregnancy

Tennis’ power couple are set to become parents later this year.

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Former world No.3 Elina Svitoliva has announced that she is expecting a baby girl in October on social media.

 

The 27-year-old made the announcement on Sunday morning with a picture of her and her husband, French tennis star Gael Monfils. Known by some as the sports ‘power couple,’ the two tied the knot last July in Geneva ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games after first going public about their relationship in 2019. They even have their own Instagram account called ‘g.e.m.s. life’ which has more than 139,000 followers.

“With a heart full of love and happiness, we are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby girl in October,” the couple wrote on Twitter.

Svitolina hadn’t played on the Tour since losing to Heather Watson at the Miami Open in March after deciding to take time away from the sport due to events happening in her home country. Russia launched a military operation against Ukraine earlier this year which has claimed thousands of lives. Svitolina is one of the sport’s most outspoken players regarding the conflict. She has previously spoken out against the decision to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes from Wimbledon by arguing that they should be allowed to participate if they condemn the actions of their home countries.

We don’t want them banned completely,” Svitolina told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.
“If players don’t speak out against the Russian government then it is the right thing to ban them.”

Prior to announcing her pregnancy, Svitolina has achieved a win-loss record of 5-8 on the Tour this season with her best runs being to the third round of the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of a WTA event in Monterrey.

During her career, the Ukrainian has won 16 WTA titles and reached the semi-finals of two Grand Slams during 2019.

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Bianca Andreescu reaches Rome quarterfinals after beating Petra Martic

The Canadian was able to get by her Croatian opponent in straight sets on Thursday afternoon in the Italian capital.

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Photo by Roberto Dell’Olivo

Bianca Andreescu is through to the quaterfinals of the Italian Open being played at the Foro Italico in Rome after beating Petra Martic in 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 45 minutes.

 

The Toronto native served four aces and won 76% of her first serve points in a match that was pretty straight forward for the world number 90 who makes her first quaterfinal this season.

During the first set both players did a good job holding serve and it was pretty tight until 4-4 when the Canadian was able to convert and served out the first set to take a 1-0 lead.

Andreescu was hungry for the early break in the second set and she got it but the Croat broke right back the following game to level the set at 2-2. She was then put on the defensive as the world number 47 started putting pressure on the Canadian but Andreescu was able to save two breakpoints before being able to hold serve to make it 3-3.

The next game Martic produced a poor service game and the 2019 US Open champ took full advantage, getting the break and that one break was enough for her to serve out the match.

Her reward for reaching the quarterfinals a date with the world number one Iga Swiatek who had no issues beating the Minsk native Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-1.

This will be their first ever meeting on the WTA Tour.

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‘She Doesn’t Really Have A Weakness’ – Karolina Pliskova Unsurprised By Swiatek’s Dominance

The Czech also opens up about her difficult start to the year where she has won just two matches.

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Karolina Pliskova (CZE) playing against Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) in the fourth round of the Ladies' Singles on Court 12 at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 7 Monday 05/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jon Super

Iga Swiatek’s current streak of 24 match wins might have caught some by surprise by not Karolina Pliskova.

 

The world No.1 is the first player this season to have won four WTA events and is the third youngest to have won 20 or more matches in a row on the Tour since 2000 after both of the Williams sisters. Against seeded players this year, she has a win-loss record of 14-2. The recent dominance by the Pole solidifies her position as the highest ranked player in the world. A position she obtained following the decision by Ash Barty to retire from tennis just weeks after winning the Australian Open.

Pliskova knows all too well what it is like to play Swiatek after she was thrashed by the 20-year-old in Rome last year. The Czech lost 6-0, 6-0, to her younger rival in the final. That was the only time in her career she has played a WTA match without winning a single game.

I’m not surprised at all. She has that kind of game. I think she beats so many players super easy because she doesn’t really give one ball no matter what the score is,” Pliskova said of Swiatek during an interview with Eurosport.
“You can have players, like for example Madison Keys, she can play amazing but then she’s always going to have that one game where she gives you a couple of mistakes. But I think Iga just doesn’t have those games.”

Swiatek is unsurprisingly one of the favourites to clinch the French Open title, which will get underway later this month. She won the Grand Slam back in 2020 but hasn’t reached another major final since then. During the off-season she made a change to her coaching team by pairing up with Tomasz Wiktorowski who is known for his work with Agnieszka Radwanska.

“Of course, she can still play better and worse, but still she doesn’t give any free mistakes. So that’s why it’s super difficult to stay close, and of course, if you feel bad then you’re just going to lose a lot,” Pliskova continued.
“Because especially on clay, I think she moves very well, she doesn’t really have a weakness. And of course now, the confidence, I suppose it cannot be much higher. So that’s I think a big part of the success.”

As Swiatek surges in the sport, Pliskova is hoping to gain some momentum in the near future. After missing the start of the year due to a hand injury, she returned to action in Indian Wells but has enjoyed limited success. Failing to win back-to-back matches in six straight tournaments. Her latest loss was in the second round of the Italian Open to Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann.

The 30-year-old has a wealth of points to defend during the second half of 2022. Last year she reached the final of both Wimbledon and the Canadian Open, as well as a run to the quarter-finals of the US Open.

I think I’m old enough to not always [live] by the results or have the moods, I think I can just separate these things now,” she said.
“I’m doing my best so everything is not just about results and about tennis. I feel happy, I feel okay, and mainly my wrist is fine so I’m feeling fine. I think if I can hold this kind of like, it’s not like I will be super positive, but this kind of mood, it can help me in the second half of the year.”

Pliskova is currently ranked sixth in the world.

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