Johanna Konta will drop to No.44 in the world rankings after a disappointing 6-3 6-4 defeat to Dominika Cibulkova in the second round of Wimbledon 2018.
The British number one reached the semi-final last year in thrilling fashion, but she was unable to produce the form she showed during that run.
Konta did not play particularly badly. She hit 10 aces, got 61% of her first serves in and won 74% of points behind them. She also defended quite well against the aggressive play of Cibulkova.
However, the Slovakian simply did everything a little better than the Brit. She dominated on serve – she won 41 of the 52 points played on it – and she hit 14 winners and made just six unforced errors.
Cibulkova also won 39% of the points on Konta’s serve, which was crucial as it enabled her to break the Brit once in each set and win 6-3 6-4.
Ostapenko, Kasatkina and Osaka impress at Wimbledon
After three days of big shocks in the women’s draw at Wimbledon 2018, most of the seeds in action stepped up and delivered when it mattered on day four.
Jelena Ostapenko produced an impressive display to brush Kirsten Flipkens aside 6-1 6-3 in just 55 minutes. She won 83% of points behind her first serve, hit 19 winners and made just 14 unforced errors. She will take on Vitalia Diatchenko, who beat Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-1, in round three.
Angelique Kerber recovered after losing the first set to American qualifier Claire Liu to come through 3-6 6-2 6-4. She will now play Naomi Osaka in what could be a very entertaining third-round clash.
The World No.18 dealt superbly with an encouraging performance from Katie Boulter. The Brit performed well and made just six unforced errors, but the Japanese player raised her game to play even better and win 6-3 6-4.
Daria Kasatkina demonstrated all her skills during her comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory over Yulia Putintseva. She can now look forward to an intriguing third-round encounter with Ashleigh Barty, who withstood a strong challenge from Eugenie Bouchard to win 6-4 7-5.
Elise Mertens breezed past Sachia Vickery 6-1 6-3 to set up a meeting with Cibulkova and Barbora Strycova beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-4 to earn a match with Julia Goerges.
Daria Gavrilova got the better of Sam Stosur 6-4 6-1 in the all-Australian clash. She now faces a tough task against Petra Kvitova’s conqueror Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who continued her excellent form with a 6-0 6-4 demolition of Taylor Townsend.
Bencic fights hard to earn big win
Away from the seeded players, there was an encouraging win for Belinda Bencic. The Swiss player, who was ranked World No.7 in February 2016 before she suffered a series of injuries, battled to a 1-6 7-6(10) 6-2 win over Alison Riske to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the US Open in 2016.
“I’m not really sure what turned it around,” Bencic said. “I guess (there were) some key moments where I just stayed in the match and not let her go to, like, 1-3 in the second set. I just really tried to fight till the end.”
Bencic will now play 27th seed Carla Suarez-Navarro, who emphatically beat fellow Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1 6-4.
Elena Rybakina claims the second title of her career in Hobart
Kazakh 20-year-old player Elena Rybakina beat China’s Shuai Zhang 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 at the Hobart International after 1 hour and 33 minutes to claim her first title of the 2020 season and the second of her career after Bucharest in 2019. Rybakina played her second consecutive final one week after losing to Ekaterina Alexandrova in Shenzhen. Rybakina converted all her three break points and dropped her serve once.
Rybakina earned an early break to race out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set and won her first 11 service points to open up a 4-1 lead. Zhang rallied from 0-40 down at 4-2 and broke back. Rybakina saved a break point at 5-5 with a forehand winner.
Both players stayed neck and neck until 6-6 and the first set came down to the tie-break. Zhang earned a set point at 6-5 with a backhand winner down the line, but Rybakina fended it off with a crosscourt backhand. Zhang saved Rybakina’s first set point at 7-6 with a wide return.
Rybakina got her second set point at 7-7 on her serve, as Zhang misfired on a wide backhand. The Kazakh player sealed the first set, as Zhang hit her return long.
Both players held on serve until 3-3 without facing any break points. Rybakina converted the first break point in the seventh game of the second set with a backhand down the line winner and held her serve with a down the line winner to open up a 5-3 lead. Rybakina won her fourth consecutive game on her first match point.
“I started very well, then I lost concentration for a few games, but I managed to come back and win the opening set. It was not easy. It was a bit windy. I played much better in the second set. Last week in Shenzhen my opponent played really good, and it was a tough match. Today I was just more focused, because it’s the second time in the final, and of course I wanted to win so much. I was focused 100 %”, said Rybakina.
Ashleigh Barty clinches the eighth title of her career in Adelaide
Ashleigh Barty beat unseeded player Dayana Yastremska 6-2 7-5 after 1 and 25 minutes to win the eighth title of her career and her first on Australian soil.
Barty became the first Australian player to win a title on home soil since Jarmila Wolfe at Hobart in 2011. The top seed reached two consecutive finals in Sydney, finishing runner-up to Angelique Kerber in 2018 and to Petra Kvitova in 2019. Barty has become the first Australian player to win an Australian tournament at WTA Premier level since Alicia Molik in Sydney in 2005.
Barty had already beaten Yastremska in Miami last year en route to winning the WTA Premier Mandatory title last year. The Australian player dropped 17 points in 10 service games and saved two of the three break point chances.
Yastremska held serve at love in the first game of the opening set. Barty broke serve at love in the third game after a forehand drive-volley error from Yastremska. Barty held her serve to consolidate the break for 3-1. He did not convert a break point in the fifth game, but she hit a service winner to open up a 4-2 lead.
Barty earned another break to race out to a 5-2 lead following a forehand error from Yastremska and held serve at love with a service winner to close out the first set 6-2 after 30 minutes.
Barty broke serve again at the start of the second set, when Yastremska hit her backhand long. Yastremska got the break back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.
In the second set Yastremska hit a backhand down the line winner in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The 19-year-old Ukrainian player held serve in the seventh game and earned a break point chance in the eighth game, but Barty fended it off with a forced error. The 2019 Roland Garros champion saved another break point chance after a loose backhand from Yastremska. Yastremska saved a break point with a down the T line serve, but Barty got the decisive break at love at 5-5 and won the last ten points with three winners to close out the match to the delight of the home fans.
“This is incredible. A great start to the year. I definitely feel the love out there, I love playing in Australia. I love playing at home. It’s been incredible for my team to enjoy this week. It was nice to get the ball rolling this week. I can’t wait to get started in Melbourne on Monday”, said Barty.
Elena Rybakina reaches her second consecutive final in 2020
Elena Rybakina beat British qualifier Heather Watson 6-3 4-6 6-4 after 2 hours and 16 minutes in the Hobart International semifinal setting up a final match against China’s Zhang Shuai.
Rybakina has become the first player to reach back-to-back finals in the first two weeks of the year since Agnieszka Radwanska in 2013. The Kazakh player finished runner-up to Ekaterina Alexandrova last week in Shenzhen.
Rybakina earned the first break in the first game, but Watson broke back with two forehand winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Rybakina broke for the second time with a crosscourt forehand in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and sealed the first set with another break on the first set point, as Watson hit her dropshot into the net.
Rybakina saved three break points with two aces and a service winner, but Watson converted her fourth chance with her forehand return winner.
Watson went up a double break with a forehand pass and held her serve to race out to a 5-1. Rybakina converted her second break point chance to claw her way back to 3-5.
Rybakina earned two break points in the 10th game, but Watson saved the first chance with a backhand winner before serving out the second set with consecutive service winners.
Watson saved a break point in the second game of the third set as Rybakina made a backhand error. Rybakina fended off a break point chance in the fifth game with a down-the-line backhand winner. Rybakina converted her second break point chance with a drop-shot winner on the match point.
“It was a really tough match. I was still missing all these balls in the second set. In the last few games I was playing really risky, and I am really happy that I won this match”, said Rybakina.
Rybakina set up a final against Zhang Shuai, who reached the third WTA final of her career after a 6-3 6-4 win over Veronika Kudemertova.
Zhang earned three break point chances at 2-1 with a backhand crosscourt winner and converted her first chance after Kudemertova sent her forehand wide. Kudemertova won two hard-fought service game at 4-2 and at 5-3. Zhang closed out the set on her second set point in the ninth game.
Both players held on their service games in the second set until 4-4. Zhang earned a break point in the ninth game, as Kudemertova made a forehand error. The Chinese player got the break, as Kudemertova made her forehand error. Kudemertova earned her first two break points of the match, as Zhang was serving for the match. Zhang held her serve at deuce, as Kudemertova missed returns on the next four points.
“The winter training went really good for me. Training with the national team, a lot of coaches helped me, so I was already ready before this tournament. I think all matches I played really well this week, and also a lot of the Chinese fans are coming to cheer for me, so I have had a lot of motivationto win”,said Zhang Shuai.
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