WTA Elite Trophy: Top Seed Daria Kasatkina Faces Keys, Muguruza Gets Sevastova Test - UBITENNIS
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WTA Elite Trophy: Top Seed Daria Kasatkina Faces Keys, Muguruza Gets Sevastova Test

The draw for the final WTA tournament of 2018 has been revealed.

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Daria Kasatkina faces stiff opposition from a former grand slam finalist and a home favourite in her group at the upcoming Elite Trophy.

 

The draw took place for the fourth edition of the event on Monday, which is the last in the WTA Calendar this season. 12 players ranked outside of the world’s top eight will battle it out in a round robin format. Similar to that of last week’s WTA Finals, which was won by Elina Svitolina. In this year’s field, seventh seed Garbine Muguruza is the only player to have previously won a grand slam title. Meanwhile, defending champion Julia Goerges will be hoping to become the first player to win the title for a second consecutive year.

“I think it’s a great opportunity being back here again,” Goerges said during her pre-tournament press conference. “For me, it means that I’ve had a consistent year, which always, like, is the case to be a top player, to be consistent throughout the year.

“For me, it doesn’t really feel pressured or something, or mentally anything special. It’s just like coming back here to get all these great memories in, which I had last year winning my biggest title of the career. I think that’s what it’s all about.”

A total of four groups will feature in the tournament with the winner of each group progressing to the semi-finals. Kasatkina has been drawn in the same group as Madison Keys and Wang Qiang. The 21-year-old has recently won her second WTA title at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. She has a winning head-to-head record against Qiang, but is yet to defeat Keys on the tour.

Second seed Anastasija Sevastova heads the Camella Group. The Latvian won the Bucharest Open in July and has recorded four wins over top 10 opposition this season. She has been drawn in the same group as two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza and wild card entrant Zhang Shuai.

“It’s exciting because I’ve never been here in Zhuhai – it’s a different format,” Muguruza told reporters in China.

“Yeah, I think there’s plenty of reasons to be happy to be playing here and hopefully get a good win and finish the year with a good taste.”

Rising star Aryna Sabalenka will face Caroline Garcia and Ash Barty as she aims to end her breakthrough season on a high. The 20-year-old has won two Premier titles since August and is currently ranked 12th in the world. One place off her personal best.

Finally, defending champion Goerges has been drawn to play Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit and Elise Mertens. Should she win the tournament, it will be the first time in her career she has won three WTA titles within the same season.

The Elite Trophy will get underway on Tuesday at the Hengqin Tennis Center.

Overview of participating players

Player

Ranking (as of 29/10)

Titles won in 2018

Daria Kasatkina RUS

10

1 – Moscow

Anastasija Sevastova LAT

11

1 – Bucharest

Aryna Sabalenka BLR

12

2 – New Haven and Wuhan

Julia Goerges GER

14

2 – Auckland and Luxembourg

Madison Keys USA

16

0

Garbine Muguruza ESP

17

1 – Monterrey

Caroline Garcia FRA

18

1 – Tianjin

Ash Barty AUS

19

1 – Nottingham

Anett Kontaveit EST

20

2 – Andrezieux-Boutheon (ITF $60,000) and s-Hertogenbosch

Wang Qiang CHN

22

2 – Nanchang and Guangzhou

Elise Mertens BEL

13

3 – Hobart, Lugano and  Rabat

Zhang Shuai CHN

33

0

ROUND-ROBIN DRAW (via wtatennis.com)

AZALEA

[1] D. Kasatkina (RUS) vs. [6] M. Keys (USA)

[1] D. Kasatkina (RUS) vs. [11] Q. Wang (CHN)

[6] M. Keys (USA) vs. [11] Q. Wang (CHN)

CAMELLIA

[2] A. Sevastova (LAT) vs. [7] G. Muguruza (ESP)

[2] A. Sevastova (LAT) vs. [12] [WC] S. Zhang (CHN)

[7] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs. [12] [WC] S. Zhang (CHN)

ORCHID

[3] A. Sabalenka (BLR) vs. [8] C. Garcia (FRA)

[3] A. Sabalenka (BLR) vs. [9] A. Barty (AUS)

[8] C. Garcia (FRA) vs. [9] A. Barty (AUS)

ROSE

[4] E. Mertens (BEL) vs. [5] J. Goerges (GER)

[4] E. Mertens (BEL) vs. [10] A. Kontaveit (EST)

[5] J. Goerges (GER) vs. [10] A. Kontaveit (EST)

 

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Novak Djokovic reaches the semifinal in Tel Aviv

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Novak Djokovic beat Canadian lucky loser Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to reach the semifinal at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. 

 

Djokovic has improved his record to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Pospisil. He has won all 13 sets they have played. 

Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Djokovic earned two mini-breaks to race out to a 4-0 lead. Pospisil won five of the next six points to draw level to 5-5. Djokovic won the next two points to seal the tie-break 7-5. 

Djokovic went up a break at the start of the second set. Pospisil broke back in the fifth game to reduce the deficit to 2-3. Djokovic broke again in the eighth game before serving out for the match in the next game. 

Djokovic set up a semifinal against Roman Safiulin. The Serbian player is aiming to win his third title this season after his previous triumphs in Rome and Wimbledon. He is currently ranked 15th in the ATP Race to Turin. As he won a Grand Slam title at Wimbeldon this year, he will qualify for the ATP Finals if he remains in the top 20. 

“It was a great and positive win. Vasek is one of my best friends on the tour. We have known each other for many years. It is never easy playing someone you respect so much and like so much, but we are both professionals and wanted to win the match and you can see that. ”, said Djokovic. 

Constant Lestienne came back from one set down to beat Maxime Cressy 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-3) setting up a semifinal against Marin Cilic, who reached his fifth semifinal this year after receiving a walkover from Liam Broady.   

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Jannik Sinner reaches his third consecutive semifinal at the Sofia Open

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Jannik Sinner cruised past Aleksandar Vukic 6-2 6-3 to advance to his third consecutive semifinal at the Sofia Open. Sinner scored his 45th tour.level win this season moving up to 12th in the ATP Race to Turin. He will rise to 10th if he wins his third consecutive title in Sofia. 

 

Sinner has extended his winning streak to 11-0 at the Sofia Open. He claimed the trophy at this tournament at the Sofia Open in 2020 before he successfully defended his title last year.  

Sinner faced four break points after three double faults in the first game of opening set. Vukic saved a break point with a forehand at 1-2. Sinner broke twice in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. 

Sinner built up a 3-0 lead with a break at the start of the second set. Vukic broke back in the seventh game for 3-4. Sinner earned his second break in the eighth game. Sinner missed out on his first match point with his fifth double fault. Vukic fended off a second match point with a forehand passing shot. Sinner saved a break point with an ace before sealing the win on his third match point. 

“I hope to raise my level in the next match. I am happy to reach the third semifinal at this tournament. I feel at home in Sofia. I will try to play my best tennis in every match”, said Sinner, 

Sinner will face a semifinal match against Holger Rune, who will face Ilya Ivashka 6-2 5-7 6-4 after 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

Rune broke in the fifth and seventh games to win the first set 6-2. Ivashka saved four break points in th third game before breaking for the first time in the match in the 12th game to close out the second set 7-5. 

Rune earned a break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Rune broke for the second game in the ninth game and held serve on his second match point. 

Lorenzo Musetti moved past world number 132 player Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after 1 hour and 16 minutes to reach his second ATP Tour semifinal of the season. 

Struff earned an early break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead. Musetti came back from 15-40 down to break back in the fifth game with a backhand passing shot winner. Musetti went down 0-2 in the tie-break, but he rallied by winning seven of the next eight points to seal the tie-break 7-3. Musetti broke twice in the second and fourth games and sealed the win on his first match point with a forehand winner after 77 minutes. Musetti set up a semifinal match against Marc Andrea Huesler, who saved two match points in the tie-break of the second set to beat Kamil Majchrzak 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3. 

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Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin

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Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals singles tournament in Turin, Joining Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal and US Open winner Carlos Alcaraz. 

 

Ruud secured his spot in the year-end championships by winning his second-round match in Seoul. 

Ruud reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Miami and two Grand Slam finals at Roland Garros and at the US Open. He also won three ATP Tour titles in Buenos Aires, Geneva and Gstaad. The Norwegian player has scored 47 ATP Tour-level wins and is ranked third behind only Alcaraz (52) and Tsistipas (49). 

Ruud made his first appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin last year. He won his round robin matches against against Cameron Norrie and Andrey Rublev before losing to Danil Medvedev in the semifinal. 

“I just got the news that I qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin and I am looking forward to coming back to Italy. I had such a great time last year. It’s a great country for tennis”, said Ruud. 

Tsitsipas has become the fourth player to qualify to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals. The Greek player will make his fourth consecutive appearance at the year-end tournament. He won the title in 2019 beating Novak Djokovic in the final. Tsitsipas started the 2022 season with a semifinal at the Australian Open last January. He advanced to the final in Rotterdam where he finished runner-up to Felix Auger Aliassime.

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion won his second consecutive title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Last May Tsitsipas finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. During the US hard-court season the Athens native player lost to Borna Coric in the final of the Cincinnati Masters 1000 tournament. 

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