Daria Kasatkina edges Qiang Wang to take the lead in the Azalea Group at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai - UBITENNIS
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Daria Kasatkina edges Qiang Wang to take the lead in the Azalea Group at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai

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Number 1 seed Daria Kasatkina battled past local favourite Qiang Wang 6-1 2-6 7-5 after 1 hour and 55 minutes to score her first win in the opening round-robin match of the Azalea Group of the Hengqin life WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.

 

Both players held 28 break points between them. Kasatkina converted on 9 of her 12 break points and won 72 % of her first service points. Wang broke 8 times from her 16 chances. Wang earned three break points at 1-1, as Kasatkina made three double faults, but the Russian player saved them. Kasatkina held her serve to take a 2-1 lead at the third deuce. Kasatkina dropped just two more points in the next games of the first set. Kasatkina broke serve at love to take a 3-1 lead and held serve with an ace. She served out on her first set point two games later.

Wang converted all her four break points in the second set. Kasatkina got an early break in the second set. Wang broke straight back to draw level to 1-1, when Kasatkina made a double fault. Wang broke again at love with a forehand winner to build up a 3-1 lead. Kasatkina got back on serve in the next game. Wang took another break lead at 4-2 and held at love with a drop volley. At 5-2 Wang broke once more to win the second set 6-2 forcing the match to the third set.

Two holds of serve at the start of the decider were followed by nine consecutive breaks of serve. Kasatkina hit a forehand down the line at 30-30 to earn a match point on her serve and sealed the win, when Wang made a forehand winner.

Elise Mertens needed 66 minutes to beat Estonia’s Wuhan finalist Anett Kontaveit 6-3 6-1 to take the lead in the Rose Group.

Mertens drew the first blood by earning the early break in the opening game. Kontaveit reeled off eight points to break back at 2-1. Mertens earned a 4-3 lead after three consecutive breaks. The Belgian player reeled off the next two games to close out the first set 6-3.

Mertens went up a double break to race out to a 5-0 lead. Kontaveit got her first game on the scoreboard to avoid the bagel, but Mertens served out the match in the next game. The Australian Open semifinalist will face defending champion Julia Goerges in the next match. Mertens won three titles in Hobart, Lugano and Rabat, but was beaten in the first round in Wuhan, Beijing and Moscow.

“I played a good match today. The first match of a tournament is always very exciting. I love to be here in Zhuhai. It’s my first time in this city. It’s an honour to play in this court and to be here at this event”, said Mertens in the post match interview. 

 

 

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina Announces Pregnancy

Tennis’ power couple are set to become parents later this year.

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Former world No.3 Elina Svitoliva has announced that she is expecting a baby girl in October on social media.

 

The 27-year-old made the announcement on Sunday morning with a picture of her and her husband, French tennis star Gael Monfils. Known by some as the sports ‘power couple,’ the two tied the knot last July in Geneva ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games after first going public about their relationship in 2019. They even have their own Instagram account called ‘g.e.m.s. life’ which has more than 139,000 followers.

“With a heart full of love and happiness, we are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby girl in October,” the couple wrote on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/ElinaSvitolina/status/1525778313918177280

Svitolina hadn’t played on the Tour since losing to Heather Watson at the Miami Open in March after deciding to take time away from the sport due to events happening in her home country. Russia launched a military operation against Ukraine earlier this year which has claimed thousands of lives. Svitolina is one of the sport’s most outspoken players regarding the conflict. She has previously spoken out against the decision to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes from Wimbledon by arguing that they should be allowed to participate if they condemn the actions of their home countries.

We don’t want them banned completely,” Svitolina told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.
“If players don’t speak out against the Russian government then it is the right thing to ban them.”

Prior to announcing her pregnancy, Svitolina has achieved a win-loss record of 5-8 on the Tour this season with her best runs being to the third round of the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of a WTA event in Monterrey.

During her career, the Ukrainian has won 16 WTA titles and reached the semi-finals of two Grand Slams during 2019.

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Bianca Andreescu reaches Rome quarterfinals after beating Petra Martic

The Canadian was able to get by her Croatian opponent in straight sets on Thursday afternoon in the Italian capital.

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Photo by Roberto Dell’Olivo

Bianca Andreescu is through to the quaterfinals of the Italian Open being played at the Foro Italico in Rome after beating Petra Martic in 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 45 minutes.

 

The Toronto native served four aces and won 76% of her first serve points in a match that was pretty straight forward for the world number 90 who makes her first quaterfinal this season.

During the first set both players did a good job holding serve and it was pretty tight until 4-4 when the Canadian was able to convert and served out the first set to take a 1-0 lead.

Andreescu was hungry for the early break in the second set and she got it but the Croat broke right back the following game to level the set at 2-2. She was then put on the defensive as the world number 47 started putting pressure on the Canadian but Andreescu was able to save two breakpoints before being able to hold serve to make it 3-3.

The next game Martic produced a poor service game and the 2019 US Open champ took full advantage, getting the break and that one break was enough for her to serve out the match.

Her reward for reaching the quarterfinals a date with the world number one Iga Swiatek who had no issues beating the Minsk native Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-1.

This will be their first ever meeting on the WTA Tour.

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