Angelique Kerber Hangs Tough To Hold Off Kasatkina - UBITENNIS
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Angelique Kerber Hangs Tough To Hold Off Kasatkina

Angelique Kerber will take on Jelena Ostapenko in the last four after overcoming Daria Kasatkina in a terrific quarter-final battle.

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Angelique Kerber withstood a strong challenge from Daria Kasatkina to win 6-3 7-5 and set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Jelena Ostapenko.

 

The German, 30, who said afterwards that she pushed herself to the limit to win, needed seven match points to finish the Russian, who made her fight very hard for so many of the points.

Thankfully for Kerber, she looked sharp and ready for Kasatkina after victories over good opponents, Naomi Osaka and Belinda Bencic, in rounds two and three.

The 11th seed had to save a break point during a tight opening game, but quickly settled after that to race into a 4-1 lead.

Kasatkina fought back to break Kerber in game seven, but played a poor game on her own serve immediately afterwards to fall 5-3 behind. The German then comfortably served out the set.

Kerber wins thrilling second set

If the first set was relatively normal for Kerber, the second was anything but. It was full of long rallies and inventive shot-making as the Russian used all her wonderful varieties to make life very hard for the German.

Despite Kasatkina’s improvement, Kerber broke first. She hit a couple of excellent forehands to get to deuce, and then the Russian made two errors to hand her the break.

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However, the German’s lead did not last long as Kasatkina attacked superbly to break back. That game started a remarkable sequence of six consecutive breaks as neither player managed to take advantage of their dominance in return games.

It also meant that Kerber failed to serve for the match in game ten, as her Russian opponent produced her best tennis when it mattered to keep the match alive.

Although she tried her hardest and hit some brilliant shots, Kasatkina was unable to repeat the trick in game twelve, and the highest seed left in the draw eventually finished the job with a trademark forehand down the line.

“We both played at a really high level,” Kerber said in her post match interview. “I was expecting a really tough match because we’ve had really tough battles in the past.”

The German will face Ostapenko in the semi-final after the 2017 French Open champion produced an excellent display to beat Dominika Cibulkova.

However, the 11th seed said she is not worried about the match because semi-finals are always difficult. This one is certainly shaping up that way and it could be a classic.

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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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