Defending champion Julia Goerges reaches the semifinal at the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai - UBITENNIS
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Defending champion Julia Goerges reaches the semifinal at the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai

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Defending champion Julia Goerges from Germany beat this year’s Australian Open champion Elise Mertens 6-2 7-6 (7-5) in the final round robin match of the Rose Group of the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai to book her spot in the semifinals after being two points from being knocked out from the tournament.

The German needed a straight-set win after her defeat against Anett Kontaveit in three sets yesterday.

Goerges saved two break points to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set. The German player earned two consecutive breaks in the sixth and eighth games to close out the first set 6-2. Mertens got an early break at deuce and held her serve at love to open up a 2-0 lead.

Mertens, who needed to win a set to reach the semifinal, led 30-15 in the 10th game as she serving for the second set, but Goerges broke back on her second break point to draw level to 5-5. Mertens fended off three match points from 0-40 down, when she was serving at 5-6. Goerges rallied from 3-4 down in the tie-break by reeling off four of the next five points to clinch a straight-set win.

“This win is the best present for my birthday. I will turn 30 tomorrow”, said Goerges in the post-match interview.

Number 9 seed and Australian number 1 player Ashleigh Barty beat this year’s Tianjin champion Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-4 with an early break in each set to improve to 1-1 in the Orchid Group Ranking keeping her hopes of reaching the semifinals alive.

Barty fired five aces and never faced a break point in the match. In The 22-year-old Australian player earned her first break in the fourth game of the first set and never looked in her next service games. She broke for the second time in the third game of the second set.

Number 2 seed and this year’s Beijing finalist Anastasija Sevastova overcame Chinese wildcard Zhang Shuai 6-0 7-6 (12-10) in two totally different sets to score her first win in the Camelia round robin Group at this tournament after 1 hour and 28 minutes. The first spot in this group will be decided by the head-to-head match between Sevastova and Garbine Muguruza, who will meet for the fourth time in their careers.

Sevastova earned the first break in a very long opening game to take a 1-0 lead. The Belarusian converted her third break point in a long third game. She broke again in the fifth game to take a bagel win in the first set.

Zhang won her first service game at 15 breaking a losing streak of six consecutive games. After three consecutive breaks of serve from the third game Sevastova took a 3-2 lead. The Latvian player earned three break points at 4-3, but Zhang saved them to hold her serve. Sevastova came two points away from the win, when she was serving for the match at 5-4, but Zhang broke back. Both players set up a tie-break, where Zhang raced out to a 5-1 lead. Sevastova fended off six set points before converting her second match point to score her 43rd match win of the season.

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Angelique Kerber and Bianca Andreescu could meet again in Miami

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Last year’s Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber could meet 18-year-old Indian Canadian rising star Bianca Andreescu in the third round at the Miami Open at the Hard Rock Stadium in a possible re-match of last Sunday’s Indian Wells final. Andreescu beat Kerber 6-4 3-6 6-4 in the Californian desert.

Kerber and Andreescu have been drawn in the top quarter of the draw and one of these players could meet Naomi Osaka in a blockbuster quarter final.

Andreescu claimed her maiden title in the Californian desert beating her German rival in three sets. Kerber praised Andreescu for her aggressive tennis in the Indian Wells final.

“After the first set I did my best to come back and but Bianca played good, especially in the third set. When she had her chances, she just went for it, putting the balls into the court. She deserved to win in the end, playing the whole tournament well. I know that I had to play my best tennis, although I was not able to take my chances, something she did. Her level was high already in Auckland, starting the year with the final and carrying that form here”, said Kerber.

At Indian Wells Kerber beat Yulia Putintseva, Natalya Vikhlyantseva, Aryna Sabalenka, Venus Williams and Belinda Bencic to advance to the 29th final of her career. Despite the defeat Kerber has remained positive about her successful week at Indian Wells and is confident ahead of her next tournament in Miami.

“For me the positive thing is that I played in the final, something I did not expect two weeks ago. That’s why I am happy about this tournament and that gives me a lot of confidence. In a few days we have another tournament and we all start again from zero. I was trying not to look too much on her side but she played well. Miami is the new chapter for all of us. There are different conditions and rivals and we willin the new venue. I am looking forward to going there”, said Kerber.

 

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Sloane Stephens out to defend her title at the Miami Open

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Reigning US Open and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka, 2018 Roland Garros champion Simona Halep, fresh Indian Wells winner Bianca Andreescu, 23-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams and 2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber are in the spotlight at the Miami Open Main Draw.  

Naomi Osaka leads the top half of the draw, which also features three Grand Slam champions; Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza and Caroline Wozniacki. Osaka won the first title of her career at Indian Wells in 2018 and beat Serena Williams in her opening match of last year’s edition of the Miami Open before losing to Elina Svitolina.

In this year’s edition of the Miami Open Osaka will open her campaign against a qualifier and could take on Hsieh-Su-Wei in the third round in a possible re-match of this year’s Australian Open third round match. In Melbourne the Japanese player came back from a set down to beat Hsieh-Su-Wei 5-7 6-4 6-1. Last week Osaka lost to Belinda Bencic in straight sets in Indian Wells.

Osaka could face either Caroline Wozniacki or Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round and is on collision course for a possible quarter final clash against either Angelique Kerber or Aryna Sabalenka.

Defending champion Sloane Stephens lead the bottom half of the draw. The 2017 US Open champion has had a season of ups and downs with a record of 5 wins and 5 losses and lost in her opening round of Indian Wells against Stefanie Voegele, but the US player should not be underestimated. Last year she entered the Miami tournament with a negative 3-4 win-loss record and won her maiden Miami title. She continued her successful 2018 season with three finals at Roland Garros, Montreal and at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Stephens will start her defence against either Budapest champion Alyson Van Uytvanck or Ons Jabeur and could meet Italy’s Camila Giorgi in the third round and is on collision course for a possible quarter final against either Karolina Pliskova or Jelena Ostapenko (in a possible re-match of last year’s final). Pliskova could meet 2019 Dubai champion and Indian Wells semifinalist Belinda Bencic in the third round in a potential re-match of this year’s Indian Wells match.

Simona Halep leads the bottom half of the draw. The Romanian player will open her Miami campaign against Johanna Larsson an dcould meet either Daria Kasatkina in the third round or Lesla Tsurenko before a potential quarter final against either Serena Williams or last year’s WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina.

This year’s Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova has been drawn in the top half of the draw and will play against either Maria Sakkari or last year’s Moscow champion Olga Danilovic in her opening match before a possible third-round clash against Donna Vekic.

Fresh Indian Wells champion Bianca Andreescu will make her Miami Open debut against Romania’s Irina Camelia Begu. The winner of this match could clash against 20-year-old US player Sofia Kenin, who beat Andreescu in the recent Acapulco semifinal. Andreescu could face Kerber in the third round in a potential re-match of last Sunday’s Indian Wells final.

In one of the most interesting first round matches former Miami champion Victoria Azarenka will face 2016 WTA Finals champion Dominica Cibulkova, who reached the semifinal in Miami in 2014.

Mari Osaka, the elder sister of Naomi Osaka, was awarded a wild card for the 2019 Miami Open and will make her first appearance in a main draw and will play against Whitney Osuigwe.

There is no clear favourites in Miami after a very unpredictable start to the season in the first three months with 13 different champions in the first 13 WTA tournaments of the year. Three players aged 21 or younger Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic and Bianca Andreescu won the biggest titles this season lifting the trophies respectively at the Australian Open, Dubai and Indian Wells.

The Miami Open will be held for the first time in the Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the American Football team Miami Dolphins.

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Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka beat Barbora Krejikova and Katerina Siniakova to clinch their maiden title in Indian Wells

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Unseeded doubles team formed by Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka cruised past top seeds and 2018 Roland Garros and Wimbledon champions Barbora Krejikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-3 6-2 to lift their maiden title at the BNP Paribas WTA Premier Mandatory at Indian Wells.

Mertens and Sabalenka took a re-match against Krejikova and Siniakova, who won their previous head-to-head match in the third round at the 2019 Australian Open.

After both players traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games Mertens and Sabalenka got another break in the eighth game and held their service game at 15 to seal the first set 6-3 with three consecutive winning games.

Mertens and Sabalenka broke twice in the fifth and seventh games and saved all six break points they faced to close out the second set 6-2.

“I think that was on our mind, but not really the result. We were there as one team, as it came out great. In Australia we still had to figure out, first time together and already playing three sets against those top seeds. I felt there is really potential in a doubles team”,said Mertens.

“I think we were playing quick and don’t really give opponents time to do opponents”,said Sabalenka.

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