Naomi Osaka Reaches Maiden Grand Slam Final At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka Reaches Maiden Grand Slam Final At US Open

The 20-year-old has become the first Japanese player to reach a grand slam final on the WTA Tour.

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Naomi Osaka staved off countless break chances from Madison Keys and stormed into her first major final, handing Keys a 6-2, 6-4 defeat and setting up a US Open championship against Serena Williams on Saturday.

 

The 20-year-old rising star from Japan did not light up the stat sheet but played a steady, consistent match as Keys never found her best form, and it was more than enough for Osaka to seven straight pivotal games spanning sets, aided in large part by winning 16 of the 17 combined break points.

Keys hit 23 winners but had 32 unforced errors, and Osaka won every big point — including her first match point, which she celebrated with an elated wide grin.

Keys looked well on her way to grabbing a foothold early in the second set. She hit several powerful groundstrokes trailing 0-1, forcing six break points. But Osaka saved each one, the final two on aces, over 13 minutes, and the American never could break through.

It was Keys who had the better opportunities early in the match, earning three break points in Osaka’s second service game. Clutch Osaka serves swatted away each of those chances, and the No. 20 seed deposited a forehand right at Keys’ feet on break point in the next game.

A handcuffed Keys couldn’t keep the ball in play, handing Osaka a lead she would never relinquish. She won Keys’ next service game at love, capped off by a wan forehand into the net on break point, and notched a service winner on her second set point.

In a match short on first-ball winners but similarly light on long rallies, Osaka routinely took command in mid-length exchanges. That was evident in the first game of the second set, where Keys mashed a forehand long on break point.

And in the games after Keys whiffed on six break points in the next game — running her mark to 0-for-12 — it remained clear. Osaka frequently trailed in her service games, facing deuce at 3-2 and break points at 4-3, but she dictated on her serve and in rallies throughout.

She slammed a backhand up the line for 5-3, then dealt with few evident nerves as she closed out the match and became the first Japanese woman to reach a grand slam final.

After winning her maiden tour title in Indian Wells in March, Osaka will play her biggest ever match against the 23-time grand slam champion in two days time. Osaka won their lone meeting, early in Williams’ comeback this spring, but faces a much taller test in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

 

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‘Another Level’ – Nick Kyrgios Praises Rising Star Jannik Sinner

This week the world No.11 is bidding to win his third consecutive indoor tournament.

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Jannik Sinner (ITA), (Erste Bank Open 2021, Wiener Stadthalle); Copyright: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger

Jannik Sinner’s recent dominance when it comes to playing tennis indoors hasn’t gone unnoticed with one of his peers praising him on social media.

 

The 20-year-old defeated Reilly Opelka in the second round of the Vienna Open on Wednesday in what is his fifth consecutive win on the Tour. Impressively Sinner has now won 18 straight sets on indoor hardcourts. Last Sunday he claimed his fifth Tour title at the European Open to become the youngest ATP player to win that many ATP trophies since Novak Djokovic back in 2007.

Sinner’s achievements were highlighted on social media by journalist Ben Rothenberg who posted a tweet of the 18 sets he has won. That caught the attention of former top 20 player and two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios who paid his own tribute to the Italian.

“He is another level. That’s for sure, played him in Washington doubles. Never played someone who hit the ball as hard,” he wrote.

The two are yet to play against each other in singles competition. In Washington Kyrgios and Frances Tiafoe lost 4-6, 4-6, to Sinner and his partner Sebastian Korda.

Sinner’s latest win in Vienna has boosted his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin next month. He has risen back up the standings to 10th in the race after overtaking Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie. Norrie will play his second round match on Thursday.

“I think I had not so many chances and I used them. I think that was the key today,” Sinner said of his latest win against Opelka. “I served well. My service holds were always quite fast and good. I felt well on the baseline, so I knew when I went in a rally that somehow I was going to win the point. But it’s never easy playing against him. You never have rhythm.”

Awaiting Sinner in the next round will be Austria’s Denis Novak who is currently ranked 116th in the world and is yet to beat a top 10 player in his career.

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Andrey Rublev moves past Ilya Ivashka to reach the quarter finals in St. Petersburg

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Andrey Rublev overcame Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes to advance to the quarter finals for the third time in his career in St. Petersburg Open. 

 

Rublev fended off all seven break points and earned two breaks in the seventh game of the first set and in the third game of the second set. The Moscow native player fired 10 aces and won 84 % of his first service points. 

The eight-time titlist is aiming to win his third career title on home soil after his previous titles in Moscow 2019 and St. Petersburg 2020. 

Rublev set up a quarter final clash against either Sebastian Korda or Botic Van de Zandschulp.Karen Khachanov knocked out Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-3 after 1 hour and 25 minutes. Khachanov will take on 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who eased past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Cilic leads 1-0 against Khachanov in their only previous head-to-head match in Cincinnati in 2018.

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Matteo Berrettini rallies from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in Vienna

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This year’s Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini came back from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvlili 6-7 (5-7 ) 6-3 6-2 after 2 hours and 5 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Erste Bank in Vienna. 

 

Berrettini saved all three break points he faced and hit 22 aces, including two on the last two points of the match. 

Number 3 seed Berrettini had won three of his previous head-to-head matches against Indian Wells finalist Basilashvili, but they met for the first time on in indoor court. Berrettini had beaten Basilashvili in Winston Salem 2018, Halle 2019 and Rome 2021. 

Both players went on serve in the first set. Berrettini saved the only break point in the second game. Basilashvili earned a mini-break to take a 3-1 lead. Berrettini pulled back on serve to draw level to 3-3. Basilashvili earned another mini-break on the 10th point to earn two set points at 6-4 and converted his second chance to win the tie-break 7-5. 

Berrettini saved a break point to hold serve at deuce in the first game of the second set. The Italian player earned a break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and held his next service games before closing out the second set with a double break in the ninth game. 

Berrettini went up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game of the decider. The Queen’s tournament champion faced a break point in the seventh game after a double fault, but he saved it with an ace. He served out the third set 6-3 with his 22nd ace. Berrettini set up a quarter final match against Spanish Next Gen player Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Andy Murray 6-3 6-4.

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