Camila Giorgi beats Alla Tomljanovic to set up a re-match against Angelique Kerber in Sydney - UBITENNIS
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Camila Giorgi beats Alla Tomljanovic to set up a re-match against Angelique Kerber in Sydney

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Camila Giorgi cruised past Australian wild card Alja Tomljanovic 6-3 6-3 in her opening match at the Sydney International setting up a second round-clash against defending champion and 2018 Wimbledon winner Angelique Kerber.

 

The Italian player, who started the year ranked world number 26 after winning her second title in Linz last October, won 76 % of her first serve points and hit 21 winners to 20 unforced errors.

After a rain delay at 2-1 in the first set Giorgi got a break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead at the end of a long rally. The 2018 Wimbledon quarter finalist rallied from 0-30 down to hold her serve for 5-2. Tomljanovic fended off two set points in teh next game to hold her serve for 3-5. Giorgi did not convert three more set points, but she she earned a sixth chance with an ace. She converted her chance after Tomljanovic netted a forehand.

Giorgi saved a break point in the first game of the second set before breaking serve in the third game to take a 2-1. Tomljanovic broke straight back to draw level to 2-2 and held her serve to take a 3-2 lead. Giorgi broke again in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead with a forehand winner. Giorgi earned three match points at 5-3 with a forehand return winner and sealed the win two points later.

Giorgi will face Angelique Kerber, who beat the Italian best player in the semifinal of this Australian tournament last year.

Kerber showed her recent good form at last week’s Hopman Cup in Perth, where she led Germany to the final before losing to Switzerland in the title match. She beat Ashleigh Barty, Garbine Muguruza, Belinda Bencic and Alizé Cornet in Perth.

The winner of the Giorgi vs Kerber clash could face either Petra Kvitova or Shenzhen champion Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter final. Sabalenka beat Kvitova in the fourth round at the 2018 US Open. The other interesting first-round matches will be Anett Kontaveit vs Elise Mertens, jelena Ostapenko vs Ashleigh Barty.

Garbine Muguruza beat her compatriot Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3 6-4 in their first match since February 2015 to improve her win-loss record against her compatriot to 2-1.

Muguruza held serve easily in the first game before converting her second break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Suarez Navarro was close to breaking back at 5-3 30-30, but Muguruza held her serve to close out the first set 6-3

Muguruza went up a double break in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead. Suarez Navarro pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4 but Muguruza held her next service games to win the second set 6-4.

“It was tough, because Carla and I are good friends, but it’s competition, so we have to put on our poker face and try to win”,said Muguruza.

Muguruza set up a second round match against Kiki Bertens, who battled past US lucky loser Bernarda Pera 7-5 6-4 in a hard-fought match.

Pera, who received a walkover after Joahnna Konta’s withdrawal, broke serve in in the opening game and earned a chance to close out the first set at 5-4, but Bertens broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. The Dutchwoman broke serve for the second game at 15 to seal the first set 7-5. Bertens earned two break points in the sixth game of the second set and three more opportunities in the eighth game, but Pera held on her service games. Bertens earned two match points, as Pera was serving at 4-5 15-40, but the US player saved them. Bertens converted her third break point (the eighth chance overall in the 10th game, when Pera made a double fault.

Australian player Samantha Stosur came back from one set down to beat 2016 WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova 3-6 6-3 6-4 after 2 hours and 21 minutes in a clash between two Sydney International finalists. The home player will face Timea Bacsinsszky, who fought back from one set dwon to beat number 9 seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-4.

Stosur saved two break points to hold serve for 2-2, but Cibulkova broke serve in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead before holding serve in the next game. The Slovakian player converted her second set point,when Stosur hit a backhand long. Cibulkova earned four break points in the first game of the second set, but Stosur saved them before holding serve for 1-0. The Australian player converted her second break point for 2-0 after Cibulkova made a backhand error amd held on her service games to win the second set 6-4.

Cibulkova saved three break points in the first game of the third set and held her service game with a forehand winner for 1-0. Stosur rallied from 15-40 down to earn a break point and converted it, when Cibulkova netted a forehand unforced error. Stosur held her next service games and earned three match points with a forehand. The Aussie player sealed the win with a service return.

The Sydney International is highlighted by Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber, the top two players in the WTA. Both Halep and Kerber won Grand Slam titles during a highly successful 2018 season (Halep at Roland Garros, Kerber at Wimbledon). The tournament also features 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova, last week’s Brisbane champion Karolina Pliskova, Kiki Bertens, Daria Kasatkina and Anastasjia Sevastova. Kerber beat Alshleigh Barty 6-4 6-4 in last year’s edition of the Sydney tournament. Last year’s US Open champion Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from Sydney after reaching the semifinal in Brisbane.

Halep will make her return after being sidelined by a back injury since the China Open last autumn. Halep, who received a bye in the first round, will take on either Jelena Ostapenko or Ashleigh Barty. The Romanian star hopes that she will be fit for her debut in the 2019 season.

“The injury was very scary because it was below the back, so it’s always dangerous, but I had treatment at home. I rested for about six weeks and I did nothing, just exercises for the back. I did not have pain while I was practising during the off-season period. So I now I feel confident and it’s OK. I need to see during the official match. I feel relaxed. I feel rested and I am healthy with the back. As I said, I have not played a match yet, so I don’t know for sure how it’s going to be”, said Halep.

An interesting first-round clash will feature Karolina Pliskova and Lesla Tsurenko, who met last weekend in the Brisbane final.

 

 

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Amanda Anisimova Enters Winners Circle In Bogota After Edging Out Sharma

Amanda Anisimova edged out Astra Sharma to win her maiden WTA title.

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Amanda Anisimova (@mnaEN - Twitter)

17 year-old Amanda Anisimova won her first ever WTA title after edging past Astra Sharma 4-6 6-4 6-1 in Bogota. 

 

The American, who has been tipped for big things in Tennis, battled back from a set and a break down to win her first WTA title in Bogota.

It means that Anisimova is the youngest American to win a WTA title since Serena Williams in 1999 and is destined for many more titles in the future.

Meanwhile in Lugano another 17 year-old Iga Swiatek just fell short of her first title as she lost to Polona Hercog 6-3 3-6 6-3.

The match saw a nervous start as both players were going for their first title of their career. After the first five break points where converted, Sharma was the first one to hold for a 4-2 lead.

Eventually the American held herself before both women broke each other again in a very messy first set. The Australian held at the end of the set as she secured the opening set.

It was a positive start from Sharma, who was looking to do the double in Bogota after winning the doubles title with Zoe Hives yesterday.

A reassured Sharma took a 3-2 lead, breaking twice, and it was looking increasingly likely that she would be the one to claim her first singles title.

However Anisimova started to gain confidence off her serve and her movement was looking better as the match went on.

A fix on the timing of the return saw the American break twice more as she took the second set 6-4 to force a decider.

The 17 year-old then took charge of the final set as she mixed up her serving and showed a lot of confidence on the backhand side.

After saving a couple of break points, she held for a 3-0 lead as the Australian was missing simple shots as she had no clear decision making.

Eventually Anisimova remained poised and confident to secure her first ever WTA title and to become the youngest WTA winner since Serena Williams in 1999.

https://twitter.com/WTA/status/1117486116465041408

It was a mixed day for the juniors after Wimbledon Juniors champion Iga Swiatek fell short of her first WTA title after a 6-3 3-6 6-3 defeat to Polona Hercog.

The Slovenian showed more experience and grit to overcome a confident Swiatek to claim her third career WTA title.

This week’s results means now their have been 18 different winners in 18 different tournaments on the WTA tour, which is an unprecedented feat.

 

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Amanda Anisimova becomes the second US player to reach the final in Bogotà

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US 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova fought back from one set down to beat Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 after 2 hours and 40 minutes at the Claro Open Colsanitas in Bogotà.

 

Roland Garros Junior finalist Amanda Anisimova has become the second US player to reach the final in Bogotà and the first since Irina Falconi in 2016. She has reached the second final of her career.

Haddad Maia earned the first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, but Anisimova broke straight back in the next game. Haddad Maia got another break lead for 3-2. Anisimova brought up five break point chance on Haddad’s next three service games, but the Brazilian player held on her service games to clinch the opening set 6-4.

Anisimova earned six break points, but Haddad Maia saved them setting up a tie-break. Anisimova opened up a 2-0 lead, but Haddad Maia pulled back the mini-break to draw level to 2-2. Anisimova reeled off five consecutive points to seal the tie-break 7-2 sending the match to the third set.

Anisimova went up a double break to open up a 4-1 lead. Haddad Maia got one of the two breaks back, but Anisimova broke again for 5-2, when the Brazilian player made a double fault. Anisimova saved five break points before serving out the match after three deuces.

“She is a great player, and I have never played her before. I was expecting a really tough match, because especially on clay she is really good”, said Anisimova.

Anisimova will face Australia’s Astra Sharma, who beat 2012 Bogotà champion and 2017 and 2018 finalist Lara Arruabarrena 7-5 6-1 after 66 minutes reaching the first final of her career.

The first set went on serve in the first eight games with no break point chances. Arruabarrena earned the first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. Sharma got the break back after saving two set points. Arruabarrena held two game points in the 12th game, but Sharma rallied from 15-40 to break serve for 7-5 after a double break from the Spanish player.

Sharma earned two consecutive breaks in the fourth and sixth games to cruise through to winning the second set 6-1.

“The most important thing this week has been keeping my keeping really good mentally. Staying positive, staying positive, not thinking too much or getting too negative on court. I have just been really solid and consistent, point by point”, said Sharma.

 

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Iga Swiatek Becomes New Polish Number One At 17 After Reaching Lugano Final

Iga Swiatek will be the new Polish number one on Monday at 17 after reaching the final in Lugano.

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Iga Swiatek (@alex_8163 - Twitter)

Iga Swiatek has become the new polish number one at the age of 17 after reaching the final at the Samsung Open in Lugano. 

 

The fearless Pole is making a name for herself on the tour after reaching the final in Lugano at the age of 17, her first WTA final of her career.

A simply stunning 6-0 6-1 win over Kristyna Pliskova confirmed her place at this year’s main draw of Roland Garros and made sure she overtakes Magda Linette on Monday to become the new Polish number one.

After the win Swiatek said she was quite surprised herself at her form, “I feel great. I’m quite surprised that I’m in the final,” Swiatek said in her on-court interview.

“Because that was my first tournament that I played [directly] in main draw, but I’m really happy that I made it. I was believing in myself, and I hope tomorrow will be a great match also.”

To put into perspective her achievements this week, Swiatek has become the youngest ever Polish player to reach a WTA final, even younger than Agnieszka Radwanska.

After her rapid rise through juniors including winning the Wimbledon title, I don’t think even Iga could have predicted her transition to the WTA tour would be as successful as it has been.

Her variety mixed with precise footwork and movement is the ultimate combination to be a great player on clay as she is proving right now.

But her Wimbledon Girls title last year also proves that she can adapt to all surfaces at such a young age and be successful.

The Pole will play Polona Hercog for her first WTA title after the Slovenian defeated Fiona Ferro 6-4 7-5 to reach the final.

No matter what happens tomorrow though Swiatek has officially arrived on the WTA tour, already making history, and nobody will want to play her at the French Open next month.

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