Angelique Kerber Fights Past Osaka In WTA Finals Epic - UBITENNIS
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Angelique Kerber Fights Past Osaka In WTA Finals Epic

Angelique Kerber fights past Naomi Osaka in the battle of the grand slam champions to keep her semi-final hopes alive.

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Angelique Kerber (zimbio.com)

Angelique Kerber battled past Naomi Osaka 6-4 5-7 6-4 in a WTA Finals epic to keep her semi-final hopes alive.

 

The match lasted 2 and a half hours as the German kept her cool to defeat Osaka in the battle of the grand slam champions.

The Wimbledon champion will now play Sloane Stephens on Friday as she aims to reach the semi-finals in Singapore for the second time in two years.

As for Osaka, her over-aggressiveness cost her and a win for Kiki Bertens in the second match will see her eliminated from the finals.

The first few games saw a nervy start for both women as the stakes were high with both players losing their opening match in the Red Group.

After three breaks of serve to start the match, the top seed eventually gained control with her first serve as she became the first player to hold in the match.

The Japanese player steadily rose to the occasion though and kept trying to break a stubborn Kerber. Although the German was able to control her emotions and the match in the opening set.

The Wimbledon champion was making forehand winners with ease as she had to work hard for her narrow first set lead. Despite having five break points in the final game, Osaka couldn’t break Kerber as she failed to be the aggressor, first set to Kerber, 6-4.

As Osaka played with a hamstring problem in the second set, the world number two continued to fight throughout the match as she came back from a break down twice to level the set at 3-3.

It was now turning into a match full of world-class defending and shot-making as Osaka was broken to love in the ninth game. A controlled Kerber looked like she would close out the match for a straight sets win, but there was a twist.

This is as the German became very nervy with her first set which allowed the US Open champion to fight back. A run of three games in a row stole the set for Osaka and frustration had hit the three time grand slam champion.

Nervousness was a key part of this match for both players as they knew that a loss would leave their fate in the hands of other players.

The third set saw a tense affair with Kerber controlling her emotions through the art of muttering while Osaka was on her knees in frustration. However the difference proved to be Kerber’s fight and intensity as she clawed herself a break of serve out of nowhere.

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The Japanese star became over-aggressive as she became more frustrated and despite a mini back-spasm, the slow conditions sealed the win for Kerber as she won her first match of this year’s WTA Finals.

The win means Kerber’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals are still alive as she takes on Sloane Stephens on Friday. While Naomi Osaka could be eliminated if Kiki Bertens manages to beat Stephens later on in the evening.

Osaka and Bertens will meet on Friday in the last Round Robin match of the US Open champion’s campaign.

 

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Amanda Anisimova becomes the second US player to reach the final in Bogotà

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US 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova fought back from one set down to beat Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 after 2 hours and 40 minutes at the Claro Open Colsanitas in Bogotà.

 

Roland Garros Junior finalist Amanda Anisimova has become the second US player to reach the final in Bogotà and the first since Irina Falconi in 2016. She has reached the second final of her career.

Haddad Maia earned the first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, but Anisimova broke straight back in the next game. Haddad Maia got another break lead for 3-2. Anisimova brought up five break point chance on Haddad’s next three service games, but the Brazilian player held on her service games to clinch the opening set 6-4.

Anisimova earned six break points, but Haddad Maia saved them setting up a tie-break. Anisimova opened up a 2-0 lead, but Haddad Maia pulled back the mini-break to draw level to 2-2. Anisimova reeled off five consecutive points to seal the tie-break 7-2 sending the match to the third set.

Anisimova went up a double break to open up a 4-1 lead. Haddad Maia got one of the two breaks back, but Anisimova broke again for 5-2, when the Brazilian player made a double fault. Anisimova saved five break points before serving out the match after three deuces.

“She is a great player, and I have never played her before. I was expecting a really tough match, because especially on clay she is really good”, said Anisimova.

Anisimova will face Australia’s Astra Sharma, who beat 2012 Bogotà champion and 2017 and 2018 finalist Lara Arruabarrena 7-5 6-1 after 66 minutes reaching the first final of her career.

The first set went on serve in the first eight games with no break point chances. Arruabarrena earned the first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. Sharma got the break back after saving two set points. Arruabarrena held two game points in the 12th game, but Sharma rallied from 15-40 to break serve for 7-5 after a double break from the Spanish player.

Sharma earned two consecutive breaks in the fourth and sixth games to cruise through to winning the second set 6-1.

“The most important thing this week has been keeping my keeping really good mentally. Staying positive, staying positive, not thinking too much or getting too negative on court. I have just been really solid and consistent, point by point”, said Sharma.

 

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Amanda Anisimova edges past fellow teenager Maria Camila Osorio Serrano to reach the semifinal in Bogotà

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US 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova edged past her fellow teenager Maria Camila Osorio Serrano from Colombia 6-2 1-6 6-3 after 1 hour and 51 minutes to reach the semifinal at the Claro Open Colsanitas in Bogotà.

 

In the opening set Anisimova fended off three break points in the first game and broke twice in the second and eighth games to seal the first set 6-2. Seventeen-year-old Serrano broke three times to cruise through to winning the second set 6-1 in less than 30 minutes forcing the match to the third set.

Anisimova went up a double break to open up a 3-0 lead in the decider. Serrano pulled one break back on her fourth break point chance in a very long fourth game featuring nine deuces. Anisimova saved three break points in the eighth game to hold her serve before closing out the match with a break in the ninth game to reach her first semifinal since Hiroshima last September.

“It was a really tough match. Playing someone in their country is really tough. I am really happy that I battled through it, and I mentally stayed strong. Osorio Serrano is a strong player and I have a lot of respect for her”, said Anisimova.

Anisimova will face a semifinal clash against Beatriz Haddad Maia, who came back from one set down to beat Sara Sorribes Tomo 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 6-3 after 2 hours and 45 minutes reaching her first seminal since Seoul 2017. Anisimova and Haddad Maia will meet for the first time in their careers.

Both players traded six times in the first nine games of the first set. Sorribes Tormo won the final four points after saving two set points at 4-6 to win the tie-break 8-6. Maia bounced back in the second set by breaking three times in a row to win the second set 6-2. After a trade of breaks in the third and fourth games of the third set Haddad Maia broke twice in a row to open up a 5-2 lead. Sorribes Tormo got back one break in the eighth game but Haddad Maia converted her third match point on return to seal the decisive set 6-3.

Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena saw off Tamara Zidansek 6-4 6-2 after 1 hour and 18 minutes. Arruabarrena saved five of the six break points she faced and broke serve four times. Arruabarrena reeled off nine of the last eleven games and raced out to a 5-0 lead in second set. She secured her semifinal spot on her fifth match point in a seven-deuce ninth game.

Australia’s Astra Sharma edged former Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani 6-1 7-5. Sharma broke five times and fended off seven of the nine break points she faced.

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Krystina Pliskova battles past Svetlana Kuznetsova to set up semifinal against teenager Iga Swiatek in Lugano

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World number 101 Krystina Pliskova came back from one set down in her 4-6 6-3 7-5 win over 2009 Roland Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova after 2 hours and 5 minutes at the Samsung Open in Lugano to reach her first semifinal since her run to the final in Prague 2017.

 

Krystina Pliskova (the twin sister of Karolina) had already beaten Kuznetsova in three sets in the second round at Wimbledon 2015 after coming back from a set down.

The first set featured 20 break points. Kuznetsova got an immediate break in the first game on her second chance. Pliskova converted her third break-back chance in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Kuznetsova earned a second break lead in the fifth game at deuce to take a 3-2 lead, but Pliskova broke straight back in the sixth game. Kuznetsova broke for the third time to take a 4-3 lead. Pliskova saved three set points to hold her serve for 4-5, as she was serving to stay in the set in the ninth game. Kuznetsova served out the first set on her fourth set point.

Pliskova held her service games and broke serve in the fourth game on her only chance to take a 3-1 lead. The Czech player held serve at 30 to seal the second set 6-3 forcing the match to the decider.

Pliskova saved five break point chance in the second game of the third set before converting her second break point chance in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Kuznetsova broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Pliskova reeled off 12 of the final 14 points at 4-5 to reel off the final three games thanks to a break in the 11th game securing her spot in the semifinal.

Pliskova will face Polish 17-year-old Iga Swiatek (Wimbledon Junior champion in 2018), who rallied from one set down to beat Vera Lapko 4-6 6-4 6-1 after 2 hours and 4 minutes. Lapko saved ten of the eleven break point chances she faced in the first set and broke serve twice in the ninth game to seal the first set 6-4. Both players traded breaks twice in the second set en route to 4-4. Swiatek sealed the second set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game. Swiatek went down a break in the first game of the decisive set, but she won six consecutive games with three breaks to close out the third set 6-1.

Polona Hercog from Slovenia beat Veronika Kudemertova 6-4 6-1 after 1 hour and 26 minutes. Hercog converted 5 of her 13 break points. The Slovenian player went down a break in the seventh game, but she came back by winning three consecutive games with two breaks to take the first set 6-4. Hercog went up a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead. Kudemertova pulled back one of the two breaks, but Hercog broke for the third time to close out the third set 6-1.

Twenty-two French player Fiona Ferro battled past Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele 7-5 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 54 minutes. Ferro came back from 4-5 down by winning three consecutive games to clinch the opening set 7-5. The young French player recovered from a break down in the seventh game of the second set with a break back in the eighth game before winning the tie-break 7-5 to secure her spot in the semifinal without dropping a set during the week.

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