Aryna Sabalenka reaches the quarter finals in Beijing to keep her Singapore hopes alive - UBITENNIS
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Aryna Sabalenka reaches the quarter finals in Beijing to keep her Singapore hopes alive

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Last week’s Wuhan champion Aryna Sabalenka reached the quarter finals at the China Open in Beijing after surviving a hard-fought battle against defending champion Caroline Garcia with a 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 6-0 win.

 

Sabalenka went up a break twice in the opening set at 1-0 and 2-1, but Garcia reeled off four consecutive games to open up a 5-2 lead earning her chance to serve for the first set. Sabalenka won three consecutive games with a break in the ninth game at deuce to draw level to 5-5. Garcia won the final two games with a break in the 12th game to take a 7-5 lead.

Garcia broke serve to open up a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set and built up a 5-2 lead earning a chance to serve for the match, but Sabalenka reeled off three consecutive games with a break in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5 and sent the second set to the tie-break. Garcia opened up a 2-0 lead in the tie-break, but Sabalenka fought back by winning six consecutive points to clinch the tie-break. Sabalenka broke three times to take a bagel win in the third set after 2 hours and 21 minutes.

Sabalenka needs to reach the semifinals to stay in contention for the WTA Finals in Sngapore.

Sabalenka will face China’s number 1 player Wang Qiang, who beat Karolina Pliskova 6-4 6-4 in the third round of the China Open in Beijing to reach her first Premier Mandatory quarter final. Wang won the Guangzhou title and qualified for the semifinals in Hiroshima and Wuhan.

 

Wang got the first break in the third game after four deuces to take a 2-1 lead. The Chinese player faced a break point in the sixth game and never looked back to close out the first set 6-4. Pliskova broke serve in the second game at 30 to race out to a 4-1 lead in the second set.

 

Wang reeled off five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games to win the second set 6-4.

 

Pliskova earned the chance to take a 5-1 lead when she earned two break points, but Wang saved both chances. Pliskova double faulted on the break point in the seventh game to claw her way back to 3-4. Wang held her serve in a four-deuce eighth game before a second consecutive break at 15 and a hold of serve at 15 to close out the second set 6-4.

 

 

 

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“It was crazy” – Kaia Kanepi Ousts Australian Open Second Seed Aryna Sabalenka In An Epic

The Estonian is through to the last eight at Melbourne Park for the first time in her career.

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World number 115 Kaia Kanepi produced one of the shocks of the tournament to send Aryna Sabalenka crashing out.

 

The 36-year-old Estonian saw three match points come and go but prevailed in the super tie-break to seal it; 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (10-7).

Through to the quarter finals for the first time in her career, she will face Poland’s Iga Świątek. The 2020 French Open champion saw off Sorana Cîrstea in three sets.

https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen/status/1485600320264847364

The first set saw power tennis from both players out on Margaret Court Arena. 

Kanepi held serve right up till 5-5, when Sabalenka turned the screw.

The Belarussian was pushed to deuce on her own service game but did enough to edge ahead.

She then applied enough pressure, opening up three break-points and only needing one, took the first set 7-5.

But the veteran Estonian roared back in the second set, nailing a huge break of serve to go 1-0 ahead.

Kanepi secured the double break, soon steaming ahead at 4-0 and eventually pocketed the set 6-2.

The 23-year-old from Minsk was beginning to look jaded in the deciding set, as Kanepi took an immediate break of serve.

She soon went 4-2 ahead but Sabalenka fought back for 4-4, as the set went back on serve.

Kanepi got the decisive break to move 5-4 ahead and serve for the match.

Nerves got to the Estonian, however, as Sabalenka saved four match points.

Three times at deuce, and on her third break point, Sabalenka levelled the set for 5-5.

Both players held serve, under enormous pressure, to send the match to a super tie-break.

Kanepi surged into a 5-2 lead but Sabalenka played clutch to level at 5-5.

It was soon 7-7, but the pressure got to Sabalenka, and Kanepi won three straight points to win the biggest match of her career.

https://twitter.com/KanepiKaia/status/1485614786473861122

Kanepi said she was shocked to have won. “Actually, I thought I was going to lose it after the match points I had on my serve.”

“It was really difficult to come back. I don’t know how I managed to do it.

“I was really tight. My hand was shaking when I started serving. I didn’t make any first serves in, and that added to the pressure. It was crazy.”

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Iga Swiatek Edges Past Resilient Cirstea For Maiden Australian Open Quarter-Final

Iga Swiatek is into her first Australian Open Quarter-Final after a tough win over Sorana Cirstea.

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Iga Swiatek (@Tennis - Twitter)

Iga Swiatek edged past Sorana Cirstea 5-7 6-3 6-3 in 2 and a half hours to reach her first Australian Open Quarter-Final.

 

The former Roland Garros champion survived a mammoth match against a powerful Cirstea to reach the last eight in Melbourne for the first time.

Swiatek was emotional after the match as she revealed the stress was bigger than her previous matches.

The Pole awaits Aryna Sabalenka or Kaia Kanepi in the last eight.

It was the Romanian who had the more aggressive start as she powered returns past Swiatek and tested the Pole’s defensive skills in the early exchanges.

After a valiant effort from Swiatek, Cirstea eventually broke and gained an early 2-0 lead.

The Pole had to save break point with some big serving and powerful groundstrokes to avoid the double break deficit.

However once Swiatek found her rhythm, she started to anticipate the Romanian’s power plays better and create space on the court for more aggressive tennis of her own.

Cirstea played big tennis on the big points as she save three break points in the fourth game for a crucial 3-1 lead.

Swiatek gained more consistent power and variety as the set went on with the former Roland Garros champion becoming more comfortable on serve.

Eventually the Pole’s mixture of defensive solidity and consistent, regular power earned its rewards as she broke back for 4-4 in the opening set.

However that didn’t intimidate the Romanian, who had already beaten Petra Kvitova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at this tournament, as she continued to pound the winners on return.

Cirstea’s improved aggression especially on the big points continued to pay off as she saved set point in the tenth game to hold before breaking to love to seal a 6-5 lead.

Too many errors from Swiatek who couldn’t match the physical game style of Cirstea as the Romanian closed out the opening set 7-5.

In the second Swiatek and Cirstea traded breaks as the Pole was beginning to play smart tennis and trying to expose the Romanian’s short balls whenever they came.

The Pole’s unique offense took advantage of Cirstea’s relatively conservative second serves and on her third break point broke for a 4-2 lead in a long game.

Despite the consistent power from the Romanian there was no clinical edge to her game in the second set as Swiatek won all the big points to level the match at one set all.

This physical and mental rollercoaster of a match would have plenty more twists and turns yet as both players produced red-hot tennis in the deciding set.

Arguably the game that decided the match was the fourth game where Cirstea used a lot of energy to power past Swiatek’s stubborn defence and push for the break.

Swiatek’s resilience was crucial as she saved four break points to hold for 2-2. The Pole would then break for a 3-2 lead as Cirstea’s serve was not as effective as the opening two sets.

Although Cirstea broke back, Swiatek’s returning was at a higher level and her all-court power saw her reel off two consecutive breaks to love to seal a crucial win.

Tears from Swiatek at the end as relief and emotion was a result of a mentally and physically demanding match that takes her to a first Australian Open quarter-final. After the match the Pole admitted it was a stressful match, “I feel like she was really putting pressure on, returning in front of the baseline she was playing as fast as my serve was. I just had to be on my toes,” the Pole said in her on-court interview.

“I feel that my stress level was higher than the previous. For me a week without crying is not a week!”

Swiatek will now play second seed Aryna Sabalenka or Kaia Kanepi in the last eight on Wednesday.

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Victoria Azarenka Cruises Past Svitolina To Reach Australian Open Fourth Round

The former champion produced a ruthless display to book her place in the last 16.

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Victoria Azarenka (Photo by Darren Carroll/USTA)

Victoria Azarenka is through to the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating 15th seed Elina Svitolina 6-0, 6-2 in 67 minutes.

Facing a top 20 player at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2016, the world No.25 hit 17 winners and four aces in the win. Azarenka, who is one of only eight active players to have won more than 100 Grand Slam main draw matches, improving her record against Ukrainian players to 16-1.

 

“I thought I was really well-executing my game plan. I wanted to put as much pressure as I could on her and kind of not let her come into the match,” said Azarenka. “She’s an amazing fighter. I know if I give her a little room, she’s going to get back out there. That was my purpose today, and I think I executed that well.”

It was the number 24 seed with the better start to the match and ashe played aggressively from the word go. Earning three chances to break in the very first game and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. After consolidating the break, Azarenka was hungry for more and she got another chance to go up a double break and broke once again with a stunning forehand winner.

at 4-0, the Belorussian continued to dominate and broke Svitolina’s serve once more this time with a backhand winner down the line before serving out the first set to take it 6-0 in 25 minutes flat.

The first game of the second set was a carbon copy of the opening of the first set with Azarenka breaking once again to take a 1-0 lead and it stayed on serve until 4-2 when the number 24 seed went up a double break to lead 5-2.

The last game was a long affair with the Ukrainian starting to find her game and it went back and forth with the Belorussian looking to seal the win while Svitolina pushed back to stay alive.

It took six match points and saving three break points before Azarenka was able to serve it out and take the win. She will now face Barbora Krejickova who defeated Jelena Ostapenko 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“The rise of Barbora has been pretty incredible over the last year and a half, basically since COVID. She seems to kind of elevate her game more and more. She has all the good tools to play,” the two-time champion said of her next oponent.
She can play aggressive, she can mix it up. A very dangerous player. We played once in Ostrava. It was pretty tight match and really good quality.” She added.

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