Kiki Bertens Saves Championship Point Against Halep To Win Cincinnati Title - UBITENNIS
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Kiki Bertens Saves Championship Point Against Halep To Win Cincinnati Title

Kiki Bertens saved championship point as she defeated Simona Halep 2-6 7-6(6) 6-2 to win the Western and Southern Open.

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Kiki Bertens (zimbio.com)

World number 17, Kiki Bertens won the biggest title of her career in Cincinnati as she saved championship point to stun world number one Simona Halep 2-6 7-6(6) 6-2.

 

Despite the result, it was the Romanian who took advantage of her Bertens’ early nerves as she raced out to an early break lead with some brutal groundstrokes. This was Halep’s third Cincinnati final and was looking to use her previous experiences to her advantage as she settled quicker into the match than Bertens.

The world number 17 had beaten some top quality opposition in getting to the final and one key factor leading to her good week was her fantastic variety and Bertens used that to feel her way into the match.

However this simply wasn’t good enough as Halep was playing out of the corners to perfection, with her forehand down the line especially causing Bertens a lot of trouble. The top seed only made one unforced error as she broke again and sealed the first set, 6-2 in just 32 minutes.

The Dutchwoman needed a strong start to the second set and produced exactly that as her flat forehands caused Halep panic early on. The world number 17 used her very good net skills to race to a 4-1 lead as she rushed Halep into a lot of errors.

The Roland Garros champion needed some inspiration from her coach, Darren Cahill, who told her to play with more patience and to make this a more physical contest like she did in the first set. The words from the Australian proved critical to Halep’s comeback as she won three games in a row to level the set at 4-4.

The Romanian’s variety on serve was key as Bertens was struggling to make returns now as she felt the pressure that Halep was applying on her. Despite creating a set point chance, Bertens couldn’t find the formula to break the world number one again as the second set was settled in a tiebreaker. The Dutchwoman found another gear in the tiebreak and use her forehand to dictate play as she saved match point to take the tiebreak 8-6 and force a deciding set.

The third set started with a share of breaks as both women were playing some outstanding all-court tennis as they looked to dominate the deciding set. However after the first two games, the match was all about Bertens as she returned and served much better to break two more times for a 4-1 lead. The Romanian was very negative in her attitude as at 2-1 down she proclaimed to Darren Cahill that the match had gone.

As the Romanian had checked out of the match, Bertens continued to cause problems with her slice and unique game style as she was closing in on the biggest title of her career. The Dutchwoman kept her composure like she has all week and sealed victory with an ace to win the biggest title of her career. The 26 year old was full of emotion after the match as she dropped to her knees, she beat three top 10 players on her way and thoroughly deserved the win against a mentally disappointing Simona Halep.

The world number one gave all the plaudits to Bertens after the match, stating “Definitely, I want to congratulate Kiki. You played amazing and you definitely deserve this title.”

Bertens becomes the first woman from the Netherlands to win the Western and Southern Open.

ATP

Tomas Berdych: It Is Up To Others To Decide My Legacy

The former top-10 player spoke with reporters for the first time since officially retiring from the sport

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Tomer Berdych (far left) among group of recently retired player's attending special presentation at The 2019 ATP Finals

LONDON: Tomas Berdych has said his future plans is ‘to not have a plan’ after officially retiring from tennis on Saturday at the age of 34.

 

The former Wimbledon runner-up joined a series of other former players to celebrate their careers in a special on-court presentation at the ATP Finals. Also present was Radek Stepanek and David Ferrer. News of Berdych’s decision to walk away from the sport surfaced earlier this week after a Czech newspaper spoke with his father Martin.

Speculation has mounted in recent months about Berdych’s future in the sport after struggles with injury issues concerning his back and hip. He hasn’t played on the tour since the US Open. Overall, he has only managed to play 22 matches this season. Winning 13 of them.

“I was able to train, practice, prepare, and then you get to the tournament, and then I play three games, the problem came back.” Berdych explained during a press conference about his decision.
“You put all the negative stuff on the one side, and then the positive is to go on court, fight, win the match, and there was no chance to achieve that. There is really no point to continue.”

Playing in the shadows on the Big Four contingent, the Czech still managed to establish himself as a household name. Albeit on a smaller scale. As of this week, he is ranked as the 11th highest-earning player on the ATP Tour in history with more than $29 million in prize money. His achievements include winning 13 ATP titles and spending 794 consecutive weeks in the top 100. At his peak, he was fourth in the world rankings and finished seven seasons inside the top 10.

Like any other player, it hasn’t always been a smooth journey for Berdych. One example was during the 2012 Australian Open where he was booed off the court after defeating Nicolas Almagro during what was a bad-tempered encounter. However, fortunately, most of his career has been free from controversy.

“Do I have any regrets? No, I think even the bad things or the negative experience that I went through or I experienced or I have done, I think they were there for the reason. I think without them, I wouldn’t be as good as I was.” Berdych stated.
“I think even the bad ones were there for a reason.”

Now he has stepped away from the sport for good, what does the future have in store? According to the Czech, he is in no intention of rushing into anything else soon. Although he admits that it may not be tennis-related.

“The plan is actually not to have any plans. The last 15, 20 years was so hectic and so demanding that I just need to just to breathe out easily after all those years.”

As the chapter closes on the career of one of the Czech Republic’s most successful male players in the Open Era, he leaves the sport with high respect from both his fans and fellow rivals. As for his legacy, he says that it is not for him to decide.

“I think I’m not the correct one to judge that. I was trying to do the best I possibly can, and I think this is something that you created with your achievement and with your behavior.” He concludes.

Berdych’s career in numbers

2 – number of Davis Cup titles won
4 – highest ATP ranking achieved
13– number of ATP titles
53 – number of wins over top 10 players
342 – number of losses on the ATP Tour
640 – number of wins on the ATP Tour
2002 – the year he turned pro
2019 – the year he retired
29,491,328 – career prize money (in US dollars)

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Jannik Sinner cruises through to the semifinal at the ATP Challenger in Ortisei

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Last week’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner beat his Federico Gaio 6-4 6-4 to reach the semifinals at the ATP Challenger in Ortisei in the Italian region of Sudtyrol.

 

During this week Sinner beat Lucas Miedler, Roberto Marcora and Federico Gaio without dropping a set. The 18-year-old player coached by Riccardo Piatti is projected to improve his ranking to world number 88 in the ATP Ranking and could reach the top 80 at world number 78 if he wins the Ortisei tournament. This position would rank Sinner as the sixth Italian best ranked player behind Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego, Marco Cecchinato and Andreas Seppi. This year Sinner won two Challenger tournaments in Bergamo and Lexington and reached two more semifinals in Ostrava and Mouilleron le Captif.

Sinner converted his third break point chance at deuce in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead in the first set. Gaio broke back at 15 in the seventh game and held serve to draw level to 4-4. Sinner sealed the first set with a break at love in the 10th game with a double fault from Gaio. Sinner closed the match with the only break in the 10th game of the second set.

Sinner set up a semifinal against number 6 seed Antoine Hoang, who cruised past France’s Elliott Benchetrit 6-2 6-0. Earlier this year Sinner beat Hoang 6-4 5-7 6-1 in the qualifying round in Lyon.

Austria’s Sebastian Ofner beat this year’s Australian Open Junior champion Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-5) 6-2. Ofner rallied from 1-5 down to draw level to 5-5 in the tie-break, but Ofner won the final two points to win the first set. Ofner broke twice in the first and fifth games to win the second set 6-2.

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 7 Preview: Roger Federer Continues Chase For Record Seventh Title

Who will advance to the championship match at the biggest non-Major event of the year?

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Roger Federer is a six-time champion of this tournament, but it’s been eight years since he last prevailed.  Sascha Zverev is the defending champion, but 2019 has been a disappointing year with only one title at a 250 event.  Dominic Thiem elevated his hard court game this year with three titles on this surface, and is now just two wins from the biggest title of his career.  And 2019 has been a breakthrough year for Stefanos Tsitsipas with 51 match wins to date, but can he recover from a physically and emotionally draining loss to Rafael Nadal just 24 hours ago?

 

Roger Federer (3) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (6)

This will be their fourth career meeting, all of which have occurred this year.  Back in January, Tsitsipas made a name for himself by defeating Federer on his way to the Australian Open semifinals.  But in their last two matches, both on faster-paced hard courts, Federer won all four sets by a score of 6-4.  Roger played magnificently against Novak Djokvoic on Thursday, defeating him for the first time in four years.  He’ll certainly be the fresher of the two, as Tsitispas played for nearly three hours in a competitive loss to Nadal just yesterday.  Even though Stefanos is 17 years younger than Roger, he certainly won’t be the fresher player today.  Federer has lost in the semifinals of this event two years in a row, but he should be favored to break that pattern and advance to his 11th championship match at the ATP Finals.

Dominic Thiem (5) vs. Sascha Zverev (7)

Thiem owns a commanding 5-2 record against Zverev, though they haven’t played in nearly 18 months.  And three of Dominic’s victories came while Sascha was still a teenager, and before Zverev had ascended to the top of the game.  Thiem was most impressive in defeating both Federer and Djokovic during the round robin stage, but did not play his best on Thursday, losing in straight sets to Matteo Berrettini.  Darren Cahill on ESPN said Thiem has been battling flu symptoms over the past few days.  Zverev meanwhile looked sharp in taking out Daniil Medvedev last night in straight sets with his tournament life on the line.  If Sascha can continue serving well, I like his chances to return to the final at the O2 for the second straight year.

Other Notable Matches on Day 7:

In the first doubles semifinal, Wimbledon and US Open champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (1) vs. Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus (5), champions at Halle and Washington this year.

In the second doubles semifinal, Winston-Salem champs Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo (2) vs. Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (7), champions at the Australian Open and the Paris Masters.

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