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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Wang Qiang upsets Karolina Pliskova in the second round in Wuhan

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Chinese Number 1 and world number 34 Wang Qiang upset world number 7 seed and last week’s Tokyo champion Karolina Pliskova 6-1 3-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 8 minutes in the second round of the Dongfeng Wuhan Open.

Wang Qiang followed her title at the Guangzhou Open last week with the third top 10 win of her career against a top 10 player against Karolina Pliskova, who beat the Chinese player twelve months ago in Wuhan.

Wang converted nine of her 21 break points. Pliskova made 27 winners to 55 unforced errors.

After a trade of breaks Wang got two consecutive breaks in the third and fifth games to race out to a 5-1 lead. Pliskova saved two set points in the seventh game before earning a set point, but Wang got a third set point after Pliskova made two backhand errors. Wang broke serve on her third opportunity at deuce to win the first set 6-1.

The second set started with three consecutive breaks, as Pliskova took the 2-1 lead. The Czech player held serve to open up a 3-1 lead and got an another break after rallying from 0-40 down. Wang got one break back at 2-5 saving a set point with a forehand and held her serve for 3-5. Pliskova broke serve for the fourth time in the second set after Wang sent her forehand long.

Wang got the first break of the third set at 1-1 after Pliskova made a double fault. The Chinese player brought up two break points for 4-1, but Pliskova saved them to hold her serve at deuce before breakng serve at 15 to draw level to 3-3. Wang got another break lead with a crosscourt forehand.

In the eighth game Wang saved two break points and held her serve for 5-3 after five deuces. Pliskova went down 0-40 to face three match points. The Czech player saved the first two opportunities, but dropped her serve with a double fault on the third chance

Wang set up a third round match against Daria Gavrilova, who beat Barbora Strycova 6-2 7-6 (7-3).

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Anett Kontaveit comes back from one set down to beat Sloane Stephens in Wuhan

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Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit came back from a set and a break down to beat 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens 4-6 7-5 6-4 at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

Stephens cruised past Kontaveit 6-2 6-0 in the fourth round at this year’s US Open in New York en route to reaching her second Grand Slam final, but the Estonian player avenged this defeat by taking a three-set win in the opening round in Wuhan.

Kontaveit broke Stephens at love and held her serve at love to open up a 3-0 lead. Stephens pulled back on serve in the fifth game at 3-2. Kontaveit fended off two break points at 3-3, but Stephens broke serve to take a 5-4 lead. The US player held serve to wrap up the first set after winning six of the final seven games.

Stephens earned an early break at 1-1 and held her next service games en route to a 4-3 lead after seven games. Kontaveit rallied from 0-40 down to force a return game to deuce and got the break to draw level to 4-4.

Kontaveit fended off a break point at 4-4 with a forehand to hold on her serve. At 6-5 she earned two set points on return and hit a forehand winner on her second set point.

Stephens went up an early break in the fifth game of the decisive set to take a 3-2 lead, after Kontaveit sent her backhand wide. The Estonian player broke straight back to draw level to 3-3 after Stephens made a series of unforced errors. Kontaveit went down 0-40 at 4-4, but she hit a seriesof winners to force the game to deuce before holding her serve for 5-4.

Kontaveit earned three match points with a forehand winner and clinched the win with another forehand setting up a second round match against Donna Vekic, who advanced after Coco Vandeweghe was forced to retire due to an injury on her rght ankle.

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty edged past Johanna Konta 7-5 6-4 to improve her win-loss record in her head-to-head matches against the British player to 3-1.

Barty converted six of her ten break points and won 60 percent of Konta’s second serve points.

The 22-year-old Australian player will face Chinese wild-card Zheng Saisai, who beat Danielle Collins in three sets in the first round.

Barty got her first break in the third game of the opening set after Konta made a double fault on the break point. Konta broke straight back in the next game.

The British player saved three break points in the next game and held serve to draw level to 3-3 before breaking serve for 4-3 with a forehand winner. Barty broke back to draw level to 4-4. Both players held their next service game en route to drawing level to 5-5. Konta wasted two game points at 6-5 with unforced errors, and hit a forehand wide at deuce to face a set point. Barty sliced a service return to force a backhand error from Konta and sealed the tight first set.

Konta earned an immediate break at the start of the second set after Barty made a double fault on break point. The British player held on her next service games until the sixth game, when Barty broke back to draw level to 3-3. Barty hit a volley winner to earn a break point and converted her chance, when Konta sent her volley wide, to earn her chance to serve for the match. She earned a match point with an ace, but Konta broke back, when Barty made a forehand error. Barty brought up her third match point with a backhand lob and sealed the win, when Konta sent her forehand long.

 

 

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Daria Gavrilova takes upset win over Jelena Ostapenko in the first round in Wuhan

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Daria Gavrilova upset number 10 seed and 2017 Roland Garros Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 in 86 minutes in the first round of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

World number 33 Daria Gavrilova broke five times to beat last year’s Wuhan semifinalist Jelena Ostapenko. The Australian player scored her second win against a top 20 player this year setting up a second round match against either Barbora Strycova or Alizé Cornet.

In the opening set Gavrilova fended off four break points before holding her serve in the first game for 1-0. The Australian player converted her third break point in the second game and held her service game to race out to a 3-0 lead. Ostapenko was not able to earn a single break point in the opening set. Gavrilova fired an ace to hold her serve in the seventh game to open up a 5-2 lead and closed out the first set in the next game, when Ostapenko made a double fault on the first set point.

Ostapenko got an early break in the first game, when Gavrilova made a double fault. Gavrilova was not able to convert two break points in the second game. Ostapenko went up a double break at love to race out to a 3-0 lead. Gavrilova got one break back at love in the fourth game at love. Ostapenko held on her next service games to keep one break lead until 4-3.

Gavrilova converted on her fourth break point to pull back on serve for 4-4. The Aussie player held on her serve with her forehand winners to take a 5-4 lead before earning three match points in the next game. Ostapenko fended off the first two match points, but Gavrilova converted on her third chance with a forehhand service winner, which forced an error from Ostapenko.

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