Number 7 seed Garbine Muguruza fended off three match points to edge number 2 seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 7-6 (7-1) in the final match of the Camelia Group reaching the semifinals at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.
Both Muguruza and Sevastova had beaten Zhang Shuai in their opening matches of the Camelia Group and their head-to-head clash was a decisive knock-out match.
Sevastova converted her second break point in the fourth game to build up a 4-1 lead. Muguruza broke back in the seventh game on her third opportunity and held her serve to win her third consecutive game to draw level to 4-4 after saving two break points. Sevastova held her serve at 15 to stop a losing streak of three consecutive games for 5-4. At 5-6 Muguruza held her serve after a 20-point 12th game forcing the set to the tie-break. Sevastova took the 7-4 edge in the tie-break.
Muguruza bounced back by breaking twice in the second set to race out to a 5-0 lead. Sevastova pulled one break back at 15 in the seventh game for 2-5, but Muguruza broke for the third time to seal the second set 6-2.
Sevastova earned an early break at the start of the decisive set to take a 2-0 lead. Muguruza reeled off three consecutive games for 3-2 with a break- back in the fourth game. Sevastova converted her third break back in the ninth game to take 5-4 edge, earning her chance to serve for the match. The Latvian player brought up three match points. Muguruza saved the third match point with a winner down the line before breaking serve to draw level to 5-5. Sevastova did not convert a break point in the 11th game, but she held serve to force the decisive set to the tie-break. Muguruza dominated the tie-break and sealed the win with a down-the line winner.
Muguruza has extended her win-loss record to 3-1 in her head-to-head matches after beating the Latvian player in Beijing 2016 and at the 2017 Australian Open.
“The matches are the ones that really count. It’s long, it’s difficult. You have match points against you. You don’t lose courage. You don’t lose your enthusiasm. And it worked well. There were just a few points difference. I was coming in with great shots, she was coming with better shots. Sometimes I was winning the points, sometimes she was just playing incredible”, said Muguruza.
Wang Qiang came back from one set down to beat Madison Keys 1-6 6-3 6-1, but this win was not enough for the Chinese player to win the Azalea Group and get through to the semifinal. Keys finished first in the Azalea Group after pushing the match to the third set. She needed to win a set to reach her fourth semifinal of the year. The US player will take on Muguruza in the semifinal.
Keys went up a double break to build up a 5-0 lead. Wang saved a break point to avoid a bagel in the first set before holding serve for 1-5 after three deuces. Keys fired her first ace to bring up three set points. She sealed the set on her first chance with a forehand crosscourt passing winner.
Keys went up a set and a break, when Wang netted her backhand in the third game of the second set. The Chinese broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2, when Keys misfired on her forehand.
Keys broke serve at love in the fifth game, but Wang came back from 0-40 down on return to break straight back for 3-3. Wang held serve with her backhand to take a 4-3 lead stopping a streak of four consecutive breaks. Wang broke for the third time in a row to open up a 5-3 lead earning a chance to serve for the set. Keys saved a break point with a forehand winner down the line, but Wang converted her second chance, when Keys sent her forehand return long.
Wang started the third set with a break at love, before saving two break points to open up a 2-0 lead. The home player went up a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead. Keys held her serve at 30 to get her first game in the fifth game. Wang saved two points to hold serve for 5-1 before closing out the match with two winning service returns in a row to score her ninth top 20 win in 2018.
Caroline Garcia beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 6-4. Despite the straight-set win Garcia did not reach the semifinal, because she needed to drop less than seven games to advance from the round-robin stage in the Orchid Group.
Garcia earned the only break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The French player saved three break points to close out the first set with a hold of serve in the 10th game. Garcia went up a set and a break in the opening game of the second set. Sabalenka broke back at deuce in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Garcia earned another break in the fifth game for 3-2. Sabalenka held serve to win the eighth game, when she was trailing 4-6 3-5, sending Keys to the semifinal.
“I wanted to win today, but I was not really thinking about qualifying for the semifinal. I am happy with the win today. It was a good match. I played Aryna twice already this year and I lost both times in three-set battle”, said Garcia.
Serena Williams Named Most Stylish Athlete Of 2019 As She Brushes Off Critics
The 37-year-old says she ‘doesn’t care’ about what people think about what she wears.
23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams has been awarded with another accolade in her record-breaking career.
The 37-year-old has come top in this year’s Most Fashionable list by Sports Illustrated in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers In America. The honour recognizes athletes who have stood out from the crowd with what they wear. Those who make the shortlist are selected by a panel of stylists, fashion editors and executives and other influencers across the sports and fashion industries.
“My whole career has been really about tennis and fashion. I always try to make a statement when I walk out on the court—to be bold and to be unique and to kind of transcend. I always try to send the message of just being confident and being fierce.” Williams told Sports Illustrated.
Williams has made headlines on the court for the outfits she wears. After wearing a catsuit at last year’s French Open, she opted for a more straightforward design in this year’s tournament. Wearing a zebra-striped outfit decorated with the words ‘mother, champion, queen, goddess’ in French. It was designed by Virgil Abloh, who was named in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world back in 2018. At Wimbledon, the Nike tick on her all-white clothing was made up of 34 Swarovski ® crystals to mark the last time she won the title at the age of 34.
The fashion sense of the American wasn’t a hit with everybody. Her catsuit triggered criticism from the head of the French Tennis Federation. Bernard Giudicelli told France’s Tennis Magazine in 2017 ‘I believe we have sometimes gone too far. Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.’ Williams later played down those comments.
“People always have things to say when you’re wearing fashion. It could be good things. It could be bad things. I don’t care what people say. I’m like just so past it—you could say whatever you want to say.” She said.
“Honestly, you’re allowed to have your opinion. My life is far too complicated to worry about people that want to say mean things. I have a daughter, I have a family, I have a career. I have too much to worry about.”
Williams recently finished runner-up at Wimbledon after losing to Simona Halep in the final. She is set to play at both the Rogers Cup in Canada and Cincinnati Open before the next grand slam tournament.
Note: video embedded from si.com.
US Open Set To Bypass Age Eligibility Policy To Hand Cori Gauff Wildcard
The New York Grand Slam has confirmed that they will likely bend the rules in order for the teenage star to play in the main draw.
Cori Gauff was the talk of Wimbledon and now the US Open have said they are willing to make an exception to their own policy in order for the teenager to play in the main draw of their tournament.
The 15-year-old American stunned the women’s tour with her run at the All England Club. Becoming the youngest player in the Open Era to successfully come through three rounds of qualifying. Then in the main draw Gauff knocked-out five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round. She also scored wins over Polona Hercog and Magdalena Rabrikova to reach the fourth round. Becoming the youngest player to reach the second week of a major since Jennifer Capriati at the 1991 Wimbledon championships. Gauff’s run was eventually ended by Simona Halep, who went on to win the title.
Now ranked 141st in the world, the rising star is currently limited to how many tournaments she can play in accordance with the WTA’s age-eligibility rule. A policy put in place to prevent early burnout for players. It is a rule that is also followed by the United States Tennis Association, who runs the US Open.
At present Gauff isn’t eligible for any more wild cards in 2019 after already using her three allotted ones. Doing so in the Miami Open, French Open qualifiers and Wimbledon qualifiers. Chris Widmaier, who is the director of communications for the USTA, has told The New York Post that he expects Gauff to receive a pass for the upcoming grand slam. Confirming that it is likely that she will be given a special exemption from the policy.
“We would expect to see Coco in the main draw of the US Open,’’ said Widmaier. “She certainly won the hearts of tennis fans in our country with her Wimbledon performance. It’s not every day an athlete of her age becomes water-cooler talk.‘’
The WTA has also said that they will not stand in the way of the USTA if they wish to bend the rules. Under the Rule Gauff is allowed to play a maximum of 10 tournaments between her 15th and 16th birthdays. Plus one of the two year-end tournaments if she qualifies and the Fed Cup.
“The US Open, as a Grand Slam, reserves the right to not align with the Age Eligibility Rule and offer a player a Wild Card in excess of her limit per the Age Eligibility Rule,’’ a WTA spokesperson told the NY Post.
A series of players have urged the WTA to make changes to their policy regarding young players in light of Gauff’s rapid rise. One of the most notable is Roger Federer, who is the co-founder of the Team8 management company that represents Gauff.
“I understand the rule completely that they want the young players not to play too much,” he said. “I’ve told the WTA they should loosen up the rules. I loved seeing [Martina] Hingis doing what she did at a young age.”
It is unclear if the WTA will be making any changes in the near future.
The US Open will get underway on August 26th.
The Women’s Stats Leaders Of Wimbledon 2019
Although Simona Halep won Wimbledon, it was Serena Williams who dominated most of the stats at this year’s tournament.
As the third grand slam of the year concludes, let’s reflect on who the stats leaders at Wimbledon in the Women’s tournament.
The Women’s tournament once again provided many shocks, unpredictable results, storylines and great champions rising to the top.
But in the end it was Simona Halep who won her second grand slam and first Wimbledon title as she demolished Serena Williams in the final.
As the tournament has now ended let’s break the tournament down and see how the Women’s tournament reflected overall in terms of Quality.
Serena Williams reached another Wimbledon final this year and her serve was the key to reaching the second Saturday as she dominated most of her opponents.
Although Simona Halep may have figured her service patterns, her previous six opponents didn’t as she topped the aces chart.
- Serena Williams – 47
- Karolina Pliskova – 36
- Karolina Muchova – 29
- Johanna Konta – 28
- Ashleigh Barty – 26
Although both Dayana Yastremska and Alison Riske made the second week of this year’s Wimbledon, both Women topped the double faults tally.
- Dayana Yastremska – 26
- Alison Riske – 25
- Kristina Mladenovic – 19
- Kaia Kanepi – 17
- Cori Gauff – 15
Fastest Serve (MPH)
Serena once again topped this particular statistic although 15 year-old rising sensation Cori Gauff came close en route to the fourth round.
- Serena Williams – 122
- Polona Hercog – 120
- Cori Gauff – 119
- Venus Williams, Petra Martic, Karolina Pliskova and Naomi Osaka – 118
Karolina Muchova’s surprise win over Karolina Pliskova was the longest match of the Women’s tournament and the closes to a 12-12 tiebreak.
- Karolina Muchova def Karolina Pliskova – 3 hours and 17 minutes
- Alison Risek def Ivana Jorovic – 2 hours and 50 minutes
- Elise Mertens def Qiang Wang – 2 hours and 49 minutes
- Cori Gauff def Polona Hercog – 2 hours and 47 minutes
- Monica Puig def Anna Karolina Schmiedlova – 2 hours and 35 minutes
The Most Serve and Volley In Their Game
One of the reasons why Barbora Strycova made the semi-finals of the singles and became the new doubles world number one, was her ability to serve and volley, which is why she tops this particular chart.
- Barbora Strycova – 19% (69/366)
- Kirsten Flipkens – 14% (16/118)
- Taylor Townsend – 11% (17/153)
- Andrea Petkovic – 10% (9/91)
- Laura Siegemund – 9% (13/169)
Most Return Winners
Dayana Yastremska and Serena Williams top this stat as they made their opponents pay for any average serves coming their way.
- Dayana Yastremska – 25
- Serena Williams – 17
- Petra Kvitova – 12
- Shuai Zhang – 12
- Amanda Anisimova, Karolina Pliskova, Karolina Muchova and Alison Riske – 10
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