Mixed Fortunes For Grand Slam Champions Naomi Osaka And Angelique Kerber In Beijing - UBITENNIS
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Mixed Fortunes For Grand Slam Champions Naomi Osaka And Angelique Kerber In Beijing

The world No.6 is chasing after her third title of the year in China.

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Japanese No.1 Naomi Osaka has breezed into her third consecutive WTA quarter-final with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-2, win over Germany’s Julia Goerges.

 

The reigning US Open champion overwhelmed her opponent with the help of a clinical service display. Winning 28 out of the 30 points behind her first serve. Osaka also capitalized on Goerges erratic performance, which featured a total of 31 unforced errors, as she broke four times in the match. Clinching a convincing victory to mark the birthday of her coach Sascha Bajin.

“I wanted to play well today. It is Sascha’s birthday.” Said Osaka. “It feels good to win. The last time I played on this court I lost. So I really wanted to win the match.”

Osaka is targeting her third title of the season this week in Beijing after claiming trophies in Indian Wells and at Flushing Meadows. Earlier in the week she secured her place at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Becoming the first Asian player to do so since Li Na back in 2013.

Awaiting the 20-year-old in the quarter-finals will be China’s Zhang Shuai, who scored her first top 10 win this season against Angelique Kerber. The world No.45 stunned the Wimbledon champion 6-1, 2-6, 6-0, in what was a roller coaster encounter. Zhang prevailed with the help of 22 winners as she broke Kerber five times during their match.

Earlier this week, Osaka spoke about the close bond she has with Zhang. Saying that she was the only player she could speak to following her dramatic US Open final.

“I think it’s because I’m very shy, if they (the players) don’t approach me then it’s really hard. For me, the only person I can really approach is Zhang Shuai and I think it’s because she’s like my older sister type and she’s so nice.” Osaka told Reem Abulleil from Sport 360. “Whenever I see her I’m just like ‘aaahh’ [puts her arms out like a hug] and it’s so rare for me to feel that way.”

Osaka is tied at 2-2 in her head-to-head with Zhang.

In other matches, Katerina Siniakova upset Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-3. The suprise win has also secured Petra Kvitova’s qualification for the season-ending WTA Finals next month.

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Singapore Champion Alexi Popyrin Dedicates Maiden ATP Title To Family

The world No.114 battled back from a set down to become the fifth active Australian player to win an ATP singles title.

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Rising star Alexi Popyrin has claimed the biggest title in his career to date after triumphing in the final of the Singapore Open on Sunday.

 

The 21-year-old battled back from a set down to defeat world No.46 Alexander Bublik 4-6, 6-0, 6-2, in what was his first ever final on the ATP Tour. Popryin, who had never got past the quarter-final stage of a Tour event prior to this week, managed to turn his fortunes around with the help of an emphatic service display. During the second set he dropped no points behind serve and only one in the third. Overall, the Australian produced 11 aces and broke Bublik five times en route to victory.

A former junior world No.2 who won the 2017 French Open boys’ title, Popyrin has become the fifth active player from Australia to have won an ATP title. The other four are Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, Bernard Tomic and John Millman. During the trophy ceremony Popyrin said the breakthrough was a result of hard work as he paid tribute to his family.

“I’ll definitely have very fond memories of Singapore now, I’ll definitely remember this for the rest of my life,” he said.
“We put a lot of hard work in the pre-season and it’s paying off in the start of the year I’ve had. In Australia I felt really good so it’s just good to see all the hard work paying off.
“My family behind the scenes, they’ve sacrificed so much for me and to finally win a tournament just shows how much hard work they put in with me also. This is for them 100 per cent.”

Prior to Bublik, Popyrin also scored a win over former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the semi-finals. The breakthrough continues what has been an encouraging start to the season for the Next Gen star. At the Murray River Open in Melbourne he took Grigor Dimitrov to three sets before losing in the third round. Then at the Australian Open he knocked out top 20 player David Goffin.

Meanwhile, Bublik is left wondering what might have been. It was the second time the Kazakh has reached a Tour final this season after Antalya where he had to retire due to injury.

“His first final, his first title, I have four finals, which hurts now but just congratulate you and next time we’ll see if we can face in the final,” Bublik said.

Popyrin will rise to a ranking high of 82nd when the standings are updated on Monday.

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Aryna Sabalenka could face Garbine Muguruza in the Round of 16 in Doha

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Top seed Elina Svitolina, defending champion Aryna Sabalenka, this year’s Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady, last year’s finalist Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova will headline the 2021 edition of the Doha Qatar Open. 

 

Svitolina, who has been handed a bye in the opening round, could face Amanda Anisimova in the second round. The Ukrainian player lost to Anisimova at this stage of last year’s edition of this tournament. The young US player was recently tested positive to covid-19 and skipped the 2021 Australian Open. 

Svitolina is projected to play a quarter final match against either Victoria Azarenka or Svetlana Kuznetsova and a semifinal against Aryna Sabalenka. 

Sabalenka could face a blockbuster Round of 16 clash against 2020 Australian Open finalist and two-time champion Garbine Muguruza. Sabalenka won three titles in Doha, Ostrava and Linz and picked up where she left off last year by winning the first tournament of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi. Muguruza will first face a tough opening match against Veronika Kudemertova. 

Sabalenka has been drawn in the same section as Maria Sakkari, Madison Keys and Belinda Bencic, who finished runner-up to Iga Swiatek in this week’s final in Adelaide. 

Third seed Petrka Kvitova is set to face a second round match against Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova. Who will open her campaign against a qualifier. Kvitova will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment at the Australian Open, where she lost to Sorana Cristea in the second round. 

Jennifer Brady, who finished runner-up to Naomi Osaka in the final of the Australian Open last week, will take on Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in the first round. The winner of this match will clash against three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber. 

Karolina Pliskova could face 2020 Australian Open quarter finalist Ons Jabeur in the second round and Kiki Bertens in the quarter final. Jabeur reached the quarter final in Doha last year after scoring wins over Brady and Pliskova. Bertens has not player a match since last October’s Roland Garros, where she lost to Martina Trevisan in the quarter final. The Dutch player underwent surgery on her left Achilles tendon and missed the Australian Open. 

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Cagliari to host the Sardegna Open next April

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The Sardegna Open will start the European clay season in the week of 5 April.

 

Players will have two opportunities to play in ATP 250 tournaments in Europe in the week before the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, following an announcement of a single-year licence awarded to the Any Tech 365 Andalucia Open in Spain. 

The Cagliari tournament adds to the calendar of tournaments in Italy after the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. 

The tournament will take place at the Cagliari Tennis Club and will be broadcast by the federal tennis TV Channel Supertennis. “The addition of this ATP tournament to the already very rich programme of major international events in Italy reflects the confidence in the contry’s organisational skills we enjoy around the world. When the ATP invited us to present our candidacy to organise an ATP 250 event in that week we did not hesitate to do so. It’s also a great opportunity to promote the appeal of the Sardinia region as a tourist destination during difficult times”, said Italian Tennis Federation President Angelo Binaghi.

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