Jelena Ostapenko Tops Cibulkova To Reach Wimbledon Semifinal - UBITENNIS
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Jelena Ostapenko Tops Cibulkova To Reach Wimbledon Semifinal

The Latvian smashed 32 winners in the 7-5, 6-4 victory.

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No. 12 seed Jelena Ostapenko produced a crisp display on a big stage in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, dispatching Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 6-4 to make her first semifinal on the London grass and continuing her quest for a second grand slam title.

 

Last year’s French Open champion displayed plenty of her trademark power and shotmaking, blasting 32 winners to just six for the unseeded Cibulkova. Ostapenko had twice as many errors as her opponent, but had a positive winner-error ratio while the Slovak did not.

She shined in the final games of each set, raising her level and putting Cibulkova away with relative ease to set up a Thursday semifinal with No. 11 seed Angelique Kerber.

“It was a very tough match but I was just trying to enjoy it,” Ostapenko told the BBC. “I’m fighting until the end and it helps me, and I gain even more confidence with [the fight].”

That was especially evident in the first set, when Ostapenko controlled Cibulkova’s service game at 5-5, jumping ahead 0-30 with a double fault, then hammering two big groundstrokes — first a forehand, then a backhand — off second serves that gave her a late edge. She served out the set in style at love, capped by an ace called by the chair umpire.

Ostapenko won the last nine points of the set and 12 of the final 13. That dominant stretch came after an uneven start, when the two traded four breaks in the first five games. The Latvian had six break points in the opening game before finally converting, then immediately lost her serve at love as Cibulkova matched her unbridled power.

The second set began in similar fashion. Ostapenko again needed little time to break, slamming a ball back at Cibulkova’s feet and forcing the Slovak to knock the ensuing shot into the net, to go up 2-1. She immediately lost serve again, but then broke on a second consecutive occasion and never relinquished that edge.

Ostapenko held at love to close within one game of the semifinals, then came within two points of the match on Cibulkova’s serve before closing out the victory with another love hold. She controlled a pair of short rallies before fittingly finishing with a pair of solid groundstrokes, winning her 10th straight set at Wimbledon as she remains unblemished through five matches.

Now a round further than her previous career-best from a year ago, Ostapenko will seek her second grand slam final against the two-time major champion Kerber, who lost a compelling Wimbledon final two years ago against Serena Williams. It will be the first meeting between the top two seeds remaining in the draw.

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Krystina Pliskova upsets Petra Martic to reach the third round at the Prague Open

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Krystina Pliskova upset Petra Martic 6-1 7-5 after 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the third round at the Prague Open. Pliskova hit 28 winners to 13 unforced errors. The twin sister of Karolina Pliskova scored her seventh career top 20 win and the second this season after beating Aryna Sabalenka in Shenzhen last January. 

 

Krystina reached the Prague tournament final in 2017. The Czech player reached her eighth WTA clay quarter final or better since 2017. 

Pliskova won the first game with four unreturned serves and reeled off nine of the first ten to open up a 3-0 lead. The Czech player saved two break points with heavy groundstrokes in the third game before breaking serve in the sixth game to close out the first set with three consecutive aces. 

Martic saved a break point in the third game of the second set. Pliskova fended off a break point in the fourth game with a service winner. Martic saved the first three break points, but Pliskova converted her fourth opportunity to take a 6-5 lead in a marathon five-deuce game before sealing the win on her second match point. 

“I feel I am playing on clay each year. Everybody was saying I cannot move and stuff, but I don’t think it’s like this. I have more time, so it’s good for me that clay is not that fast, I can focus on my game”, said Pliskova. 

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Serena Williams sets up clash against her sister Venus

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Former world number 1 and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams rallied from one set down to beat her compatriot Bernarda Pera 4-6 6-4 6-1 to reach the second round at the inaugual edition of the Top Seed Open in Lexington (Kentucky). 

 

Williams was playing her first match since the Fed Cyp tie where she helped lead the United States to a Fed Cup win over Latvia. 

Croatian-born player Pera broke into the top 100 for the first time in 2018, when she reached the third round at the Australian Open and scored her first win over a top 10 when she beat Joanna Konta. She reached three semifinals in Prague, Lausanne and Juurmala, where she beat former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round.

In the opening set Pera earned a break in the fifth game and saved two break points on her serve. Pera converted her first set ooprtunity with a forehand winner. 

Williams rallied from 0-40 down at the start of the second set and opened up a 3-1 lead with a break before Pera broke back to draw level to 3-3. When she was down 0-40 at 4-4 Williams saved four break points that would have helped Pera serve for the match. 

Williams earned two set points on Pera’s serve and converted her second chance with a forehand. Williams broke serve at the start of the third set to take a 3-1 lead and fended off two break points in the next game. Williams rallied from 0-40 down by winning the final nine points to claim the win. 

“It was a really calm atmosphere, really chill. I can’t say I disliked it. It was different. I have been through so many things in my career. I think I won today because I was calm for once, so that was really helpful”, said Serena Williams after the match. 

Serena set up a clash against her sister Venus, who beat Victoria Azarenka 6-3 6-2. Serena holds a 18-12 head-to-head lead over Venus. 

Both players held serve in the first four games. She hit an ace to hold serve for 3-2 before earning three break points. The US player converted her first chance to take a 4-2 lead after a double fault from Azarenka. Williams served for the set at 5-3. Azarenka earned a chance to get back on serve as Williams netted a forehand error at 30-30. Williams saved it and earned a set point. 

Azarenka made a double fault in the first game of the second set to face a break point. Williams got a double break to open up a 3-0 lead. Azarenka got her first game at 4-1. Williams pulled away to 5-1 with her solid serve. Azarenka held serve for 2-5. In the next game Williams earned her first match point and sealed the win with a lob winner. 

 

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Simona Halep makes a winning start to her Prague Open campaign

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Number 1 seed and last year’s Wimbledon champion Simona Halep edged past Polona Hercog 6-1 1-6 7-6 (7-3) in two and a half hours in the opening round of the Prague Open on her seventh match point after 2 hours and 31 minutes. Halep played her first match since claiming her 20th title in Dubai. 

 

Halep wasted six match points before claiming the win in the tie-break of the third set to secure his spot in the Round of 16. Halep won four points more than Hercog and saved five of the 11 break points he faced. 

Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the opening set. Halep earned two consecutive breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-1, as Hercog made 12 unforced errors to only two winners. 

Hercog came back from a break down early in the second set to get three consecutive breaks and won the second set 6-1. 

Both players traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games of the decider. Halep earned another break to open up a 5-3 lead. Hercog broke back in the ninth game and saved six match points in the 10th and 12th games to set up a decisive tie-break. Halep claimed the tie-break 7-3. 

Before the five-month break Halep lost to Garbine Muguruza in the semifinal of the Australian Open and won the Dubai final. 

Last week’s Palermo semifinalist Camila Giorgi came back from one set down to beat Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) after 2 hours and 14 minutes. Giorgi converted six of her eight break points. 

Kostyuk earned the first break in the fourth game. Giorgi broke straight back in the fifth game. Both players traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games. Giorgi saved a break point in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Kostyuk broke for the third time in the 10th game to win the first set 6-4 after 44 minutes. 

Giorgi broke twice in a row to race out to a 4-0 lead, Kostyuk pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4, but Giorgi broke again in the seventh game to win the second set 6-2 in 31 minutes. 

Kostyuk broke serve in the third game of the decider to open up a 3-0 lead. Giorgi broke back to draw level to 3-3. In the eighth game the Italian star fended off another break. The set came down to the tie-break. Giorgi opened up a 4-2 lead. Both players traded mini-breaks. Giorgi earned two match points and converted her first chance to win the tie-break 7-4. 

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