Wang Qiang leads a strong Chinese quartet in Shenzhen - UBITENNIS
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Wang Qiang leads a strong Chinese quartet in Shenzhen

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World number 20 Wang Qiang will be the top Chinese player in the line-up of the Shenzhen Open next January. The field also features Zheng Saisai and Zhang Shuai, who are ranked inside the top 40, and world number 70 Wang Yafan. The four Chinese players will face a very tough field led by former Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko, last year’s top 10 Caroline Garcia, world number 13 Aryna Sabalenka, who is the highest ranked player in the field and won the biggest tournament of her career in Wuhan last September, clinched the title at the Connecticut Cup in New Haven and reached the semifinal in Cincinnati.

During the 2018 season Wang won two WTA International tournaments in Nanchang and Guangzhou and became the first Chinese player to reach the semifinals in Wuhan. The following week she beat Jelena Ostapenko, Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka en route to reaching the semifinals in Beijing before losing to former world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki. In Hong Kong the Chinese player rallied from 1-4 down in the third set to beat Garbine Muguruza in the semifinal en route to reaching the final, where she lost to 18-year-old Ukrainian player Dayana Yastremska. At the 2018 WTA Elite Trophy she lost to Daria Kasatkina in three sets and beat Madison Keys in three sets 1-6 6-3 6-1, but she failed to qualify for the semifinal.

In Shenzhen Wang will be looking to follow in the footsteps of her illustrious compatriot Li Na, who won the first two editions of this tournament.

“This is fantastic for tennis in China to see so many Chinese players in the main draw. In 2013 and 2014 Li Na won our first two tournaments. Maybe one of those two ladies will join her on the honour role in 2019. It is very exciting for the fans to be able to cheer on players from their own nation and we look forward to a great atmosphere around the courts. One young player is sure to attact plenty of attention and this is Aryna Sabalenka, the 20-year-old player, who has enjoyed a stunning season on the WTA season”, said Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho.

 

 

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Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka dig deep to set up re-match against Barbora Krejikova and Katerina Siniakova in Indian Wells doubles final

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Unseeded team Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka had to dig deep to beat Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan 6-2 7-6 (7-5).

Mertens and Sabalenka built up a 6-2 5-2 lead, but Dabrowski and Yifan won three consecutive games thanks to a break-back in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. Mertens and Sabalenka took the 7-5 edge in the tie-break.

“Two days ago I lost my singles match and then I went to play doubles and we won that match. For me that’s the best recovery. It’s always nice to play doubles and stay in a tournament especially in this tennis paradise. It’s cool to be here. It does not matter singles or doubles”,said Sabalenka.

The Belgian and Belarusian team set up a doubles final against reigning Roland Garros and Wimbledon doubles champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who battled past Chan Hao Ching and Latisha Chan 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 10-6 after saving match points in a hard-fought second set.

Mertens and Sabalenka will be looking to take a re-match against Siniakova and Krejcikova, who came back from one set down to win 2-6 6-2 6-3 of the Australian Open third round match.

 

 

 

 

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Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos advance to the Indian Wells doubles final in their second tournament as a team

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Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos have advanced to the Indian Wells final in just their second tournament as a team after beating Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3) on Thursday.

Mektic and Zeballos earned the first break in the second game and held on their service game to open up a 3-0 lead. Marach and Pavic won three consecutive games with a break-back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. The first set went on serve with no breaks of serve en route to the tie-break. Mektic and Zeballos sealed the tie-break 7-3 on the first of their three break points.

The second set went on serve with no breaks until the tie-break. Mektic and Zeballos converted the first of their third set points to wrap up the tie-break 7-3. The Argentine and Croatian player won 75 % of their service games.

“It’s crazy because most of the teams know each other for a long time. We are enjoying it, we are having a really nice time together on the court and I think we are both good players, so that’s why I think it’s working. It would be great. This is amazing. This is my first ATP Masters 1000 final, so I am happy ”, said Zeballos.

Zeballos has clinched 11 ATP Tour doubles titles and reached eight finals, but he will play his first Masters 1000 title match.

Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini will take on Poland’s Lukasz Kubot and Brazil’s Marcelo Melo in the other semifinal.

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Gael Monfils In Doubt For Miami Masters

The top 20 player has once again been hit by injury woes following a successful start to 2019.

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Gael Monfils (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

France’s top ranked male player is unsure if he will be able to play in next week’s Miami Masters after being forced to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.

Gael Monfils pulled out of his quarter-final clash with Dominic Thiem due to a problem with his Achilles. During a press conference, the world No.19 confirmed that he has inflammation in his left Achilles after undergoing a scan. An issue that has been bothering Monfils over the past couple of days.

“I felt my left Achilles a little bit. Day after day I have been treating it with my team. And last night (Wednesday) after my match, it was actually not so good.” Monfils told reporters in Indian Wells yesterday.
“I tried a little jog in the morning, and I couldn’t really actually push on it.”
“I had an ultrasound with the doctor here (in Indian Wells), and we could see, like, a big inflammation.” He added.

Whilst not a severe injury, it is in unclear as to how long the recovery process will be. Raising the chances of Monfils skipping the Miami tournament, which relocates to the Hard Rock Stadium this year. He has already missed the past two editions of the Masters 1000 event. In 2017 he was sidelined by an ankle injury, followed by a back issue in 2018.

“It depends how fast I will heal. Definitely try the other treatment tonight.” He said.
“I will take it really easy with everything and then see how I feel, if I feel that I can play Miami or not.
“So far it’s tough to say how long, but I will stay positive and hope in a couple days I’ll be fine.”

The setback comes after what has been a solid start to the season for the Frenchman. His win-loss record for 2019 currently stands at 14-4. At the Rotterdam Open Monfils won the eighth title in his career and only the second at an ATP 500 event. He also reached the semi-finals of tournaments in Rotterdam and Dubai.

“Sometime, some people are more fragile. And I guess I’m kind of fragile with some parts of my body.” The 32-year-old admits. “That’s why I always try new routines.”
“I guess I need to stay tough mentally, because it’s never easy. But I have been through that. I have no fear, I know, for this one (injury.”

As a result of his withdrawal, Thiem will play Milos Raonic in the semi-finals at Indian Wells on Friday.

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