Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova battles past Sloane Stephens to reach the Australian Open quarter final for the second time in her career - UBITENNIS
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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova battles past Sloane Stephens to reach the Australian Open quarter final for the second time in her career

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova rallied from a set and a break down to beat 2017 US Open champion and 2013 Australian Open semifinalist Sloane Stephens 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-3 after two hours and 32 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Australian Open.

 

Pavlyuchenkova, who reached a career-high ranking of world number 13, qualified for the Australian Open quarter final for the second time in her career equalling her best result at this tournament two years ago. The Russian player has scored her 30th win over a top 10 player and her 13th win against a top 5.

Stephens converted her fourth break point in a four-deuce game on her fourth break point with a backhand winner and held her serve from0-40 to race out to a 3-0 lead. Pavlyuchenkova faced three break points at 0-40 at 1-4 but she saved them with series of forehands and a volley. Pavlyuchenkova broke back in the seventh game with a backhand pass before saving two break points to draw level to 4-4. Stephens sealed the first-set tie-break by 7-3, when Pavlyuchenkova made a double fault on the first set point.

Stephens went up a break lead and hit a backhand cross-court to back up her break for 2-0. Pavlyuchenkova came back from the early break down by winning six of the next seven games to convert her third set point and draw level to one set apiece.

Stephens saved eight break points to hold her serve in a 15-minute game at the start of the third set with a backhand down the line. Pavlyuchenkova held her serve at 15 to draw level to 1-1 in the second game. Pavlyuchenkova raced out to a 4-2 lead and broke serve at love for 5-2. Stephens broke at love, as Pavlyuchenkova was serving out for the match.

Pavlyuchenkova broke serve at 15 in the ninth game with a volley to seal the win on the second match point after 2 hours and 32 minutes in the early hours of Monday booking her spot in the quarter final, where she will face US player Danielle Collins for the first time in her career.

 

“Sloane started really well, more well, more aggressive than usual, so I was not quite ready. Being 1-4 down and 0-40 and always coming back took a lot of energy out of me, but by the end of the set I started to figure it out. I don’t know what to expect from the match against Danielle Collins. I have never played against her and didn’t know much about her until last year. Most of the girls were starting to discover her then, who is that girl ? Is she playing good ?.

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Jelena Ostapenko lifts her first title since 2017 in Luxembourg

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Jelena Ostapenko claimed her first title since 2017 after beating defending champion and number 2 seed Julia Goerges 6-4 6-1 in the final at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open.

 

Ostapenko made her come-back last week by reaching the final in Linz last week. This week she lifted her third career title and her first trophy since Linz in September 2017 in the same year when she won her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. Ostapenko has been working with former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli during the past two weeks. The work with the former French star is reaping its fruits, as Ostapenko has scored 9 wins in 10 matches in the past two tournaments.

In the Luxembourg final the Latvian player hit six aces and won 83 % of her first serve points. Ostapenko earned her first break point in the opening game of the match. Goerges hit an ace to save a break point before holding her serve. Both players held their serve until 4-4. Ostapenko earned a double break in the ninth game. Goerges saved the first chance with a serve. Ostapenko sealed her second opportunity to take a 5-4 lead, as Ostapenko hit a forehand long. Ostapenko earned three set points with her fifth ace. She converted her first chance, as her serve was returned wide by Goerges.

Goerges held at love in the first game of the second set. Ostapenko broke twice in a row to race out to a 5-1 lead. Goerges saved the first match point with a strong serve. Ostapenko earned her second match point, as Goerges made two unforced errors, and sealed the win when the German made her double fault.

“Of course it’s great to finish the season with winning a title. I enjoyed this week so much, and I think I played really well today. I just like to finish the year this way”, said Ostapenko.

 

 

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Belinda Bencic claims the fourth title of her career with a three-set win over Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in Moscow

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Belinda Bencic claimed the fourth WTA Premier title of her career with a 3-6 6-1 6-1 win over Anastasya Pavlychenkova after 1 hour and 43 minutes in the final of the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

 

Number 3 seed Belinda Bencic clinched her second WTA Tour title of the 2019 season one day after securing her spot for the WTA Finals in Shenzhen by beating Kristina Mladenovic in the semifinal. Last February the Swiss player lifted the trophy in Dubai.

Bencic beat Pavlyuchenkova for the fourth time in their five head-to-head matches.

In the first set Pavlyuchenkova saved two break points before earning an early break in the opening game. The Russian player closed out the first set with another break at 5-3 after a double fault from Bencic.

Bencic bounced back by getting an early break at the start of the second set. The Swiss player went up a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead forcing the match to the third set.

Bencic cruised through to a 5-0 lead with two consecutive breaks in the second and fourth games and closed out the third set 6-1 with a service winner in the seventh game.

Bencic was not initially entered in the WTA Premier tournament in Moscow and received a wildcard. During this week Bencic beat Polona Hercog and three former top 20 players Kirsten Flipkens, Kristina Mladenovic and Anastasya Pavlyuchenova

“It feels unbelievable right now. I still can’t imagine. I had no pressure going into the match. We were so happy yesterday, celebrating Shenzhen and this is the cherry on the top. This will take a special place in my heart, because here I qualified for the WTA Finals”, said Bencic.

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Andrey Rublev lifts his first title in Moscow on his 22nd birthday

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Local star Andrey Rublev cruised past Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-0 in the final of the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow on his 22nd birthday in his home city.

 

Rublev claimed the second title of his career becoming the ninth Russian player to win the Moscow title in the history of this tournament. Before this year’s edition he had not won a match in his six previous attempts at the Moscow tournament

He will move up to the top 25 in the ATP Ranking for the first time in his career after a successful second half of the season in which he won 19 of his past 25 matches. The highlights of his season include the final in Hamburg, the quarter finals in Cincinnati (where he lost to Danil Medvedev), Winston Salem and St. Petersburg, the fourth round at the US Open (where he lost by semifinalist Matteo Berrettini) and the third round in Shanghai.

Rublev earned his first break in the first game after drawing a forehand error from Mannarino. The 22-year-old home player held on his next service games to claim the first set 6-4.

Rublev dropped just three points and broke serve three times in a one-sided second set. He earned three championhips points. Mannarino, who had not lost a set this week, saved the first two match points, but Rublev converted his third chance after 63 minutes.

 “I am at a loss. I can’t find the right words for what it means to me to win here. I grew up with this tournament. I spent my childhood at the VTB Kremlin Cup. I will remember this tournament and this win for many years, and I will hopefully be playing this tournament for many years down the road”, said Andrey Rublev.

Rublev has no time to rest on his laurels, as he will play against Felix Auger Aliassime in his opening match at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna next week.

Mannarino has continued his good period of form in the second half of the season in which he won the title at s’Hertogenbosh and reached the final in Zhuhai.

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