Julia Goerges Ends Andreescu’s Fairytale Run To Win Auckland Title - UBITENNIS
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Julia Goerges Ends Andreescu’s Fairytale Run To Win Auckland Title

The former top 10 player battled back from a set down to add to her WTA title collection.

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Julia Goerges (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision

Second seed Julia Goerges has become the first player to win a second consecutive ASB Classic title since 2004 after battling back to defeat qualifier Bianca Andreescu 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.

 

The world No.14 was pushed to her limits during what was a clash of two worlds. 30-year-old Goerges was playing in her 15th WTA final and third in New Zealand. Meanwhile, teenage qualifier Andreescu, who was playing in only her fourth WTA main draw, was contesting her first final following wins over Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams. Ultimately, it was experience that prevailed as Goerges battled back to wear down her younger opponent.

“It means a lot (this win). I don’t know what to say right now because Bianca gave me a hard time today.” Goerges said in tribute to Andreescu. “She played some terrific tennis, different tennis than a lot of players on the tour and I’m pretty sure that we are going to hear a lot from her in the future.’
“I think I used my experience today and really went for it in the important moments.” She added.

On paper Goerges looked set for a straightforward win, but that wasn’t the case due to Andreescu’s furious hitting. Initially the underdog looked on course for another shock victory after a clinical first set performance that saw her win four consecutive games at the start. In comparison, Goerges leaked a series of costly unforced errors as she failed to hold four service games in a row.

Despite her rocky start, Goerges eventually found her footing at the start of set number two. Upping her intensity, she broke with the help of a winning forehand return down the line. Andreescu admirably battled back to later retrieve that break for 4-4, but came unstuck once again. Serving at 5-5, the Canadian struggled to tame the fierce hitting from her rival as she was moved around the court. Allowing the second seed to break once again before taking the match into a decider.

Gaining in momentum, the German raced through the 26-minute decider against her ailing opponent. Andreescu had heavy tapping on her right thigh and took two medical time outs during the match to have treatment on her back. Closing in on the title, Goerges saw two championship points come and go. It was on the third opportunity where she prevailed after a backhand shot from the teenager crashed into the net. Prompting an emotional Goerges to drop onto the floor before paying tribute to her coaching team.

“Today an important moment was at 5-4 (in the second set) when my coach came and helped my find solutions. I was very thankful for that, he actually woke me up a little bit.” The Auckland champion said.

Andreescu can also draw positives from her week in New Zealand, where she has recorded her first two wins over top 10 players. Becoming the first qualifier to reach the final of the tournament since 1997. She is now set to move up to a career high of 107th when the rankings are updated on Monday.

“It’s amazing, I’ve played my best tennis this week. I love these courts and I love everyone here (in Auckland).” Reflected Andreescu.

The triumph awards Goerges her seventh WTA title. She has become only the third player to have ever won the Auckland title multiple times since it was created in 1986. Following in the footsteps of Patty Fendrick (1988, 1989) and Eleni Daniilidou (2003, 2004).

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova skips the US Open

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova has decided to skip the US Open. The Russian player wrote a post on her Instagram account.

 

“I have been thinking a lot and decided not to play at the US Open. It was not easy because I hadn’t missed any Grand Slam in my entire career. Tennis is everything for me. The main reason is insecurity. The US Open does not guarantee any guarantees. I don’t feel comfortable to travel to the USA in such circumstances. I thank the USTA and the WTA that give a chance to play. From this moment, every player is on his own. My team and I have decided it would be for the best not to participate”, said Pavlyuchenkova. 

Pavlyuchenkova has joined the list of players, who have decided to miss the US Open. The list includes Nick Kygios, Rafael Nadal and Ashleigh Barty. More players are expected to make a final decision on travelling to the USA for the Western and Southern Open and the US Open in the coming weeks. 

Pavlyuchenkova advanced to the quarter finals at last January’s Australian Open and reached her career-high of world number 13 in the WTA singles ranking in July 2011. She is currently ranked world number 30 and claimed twelve singles and five doubles titles on the WTA Tour, including her biggest title at the Open GDF Suez and the Moscow Kremlin Cup in 2014. She got through to a Grand Slam quarter final six times and reached the top eight at least once in all four Grand Slam tournaments in singles and doubles. 

Last weekend Pavlyuchenkova won the Ultimate Tennis Showdown near Nice in the tournament organized by Patrick Mouratoglou. 

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Donna Vekic suffers shock loss to Italian wildcard

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Donna Vekic sensationally crashed out of the Palermo Ladies Open after slipping to a surprise 6-2 6-4 defeat to World No.156 Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

 

The Croatian, 24, was one of the favourites to win the tournament before it started. And her chances of glory looked even better after she produced an excellent display in the first round and three of the eight seeds were knocked out.

However, Vekic struggled from the outset against the 19-year-old Italian. She had to save three break points just to get to 2-2 in the opening set. Then she squandered a break point with a wild return in game five.

From that point on, the errors started piling up from the Croatian. She hit a forehand just wide on break point to enable Cocciaretto to go 4-2 up. Then she served poorly to allow the Italian to break her again and clinch the set 6-2.

Vekic wastes her chances

Elisabetta Cocciaretto (@LadiesOpenPA on Twitter)

Had she been playing well, Vekic would probably have established a 3-0 lead in the second set. She wasted a break point chance in the first game, meekly dropped her own serve in the second and then actually managed to break in the third game.

Somewhat surprisingly, the match then settled into a predictable rhythm as both players held serve comfortably during the next six games.

At 5-4 down, the Croatian faltered again. She hit an awful drop shot into the net to fall 15-30 behind. Then she hit a short serve and a short forehand and could only watch in horror as Cocciaretto crunched successive winners past her to seal victory.

“I’m really excited and really happy for the win and I want to thank all the fans,” the Italian said in her on-court interview. “I watched Flavia Pennetta and Sara Errani playing here when I was six years old and I dreamed of following in their footsteps. It’s incredible to think that I’m doing it now.”

Cocciaretto played well throughout the match. She defended resolutely and picked the right times to attack. However, Vekic let her dictate points far too often, and she never did anything to tip the momentum back in her favour. This may be what disappoints her the most about her performance.

As for the Italian wildcard, she can bask in the glow of her first-ever win over a Top-30 player. On Friday, she will play in her first-ever WTA quarter-final. She will face either Annet Kontaveit or Laura Siegemund.

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Sara Errani reaches the quarter finals in Palermo for the eighth time

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Former Roland Garros champion Sara Errani came back from one set down to beat Krystina Pliskova 3-6 6-4 6-3 in a thrilling match at the Ladies Open in Palermo. Errani reaches the quarter finals for the eighth time in her career. 

 

Errani, who won two titles in Palermo in 2008 and 2012, has scored her tour-leading 180th career win on clay, more than any active player on tour. Pliskova went up a double break to take a 3-0 lead. Errani fended off five set points across three games and broke serve to claw her way back to 3-5. Pliskova sealed the opening set 6-3 with another break. 

Errani started the second set with an early break to take a 1-0 lead and did not face a break point to claim the second set 6-4. 

Both players traded breaks at the start of the third set. Errani got another break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and saved two break-back points to keep her lead.  

Errani will face French player Fiona Ferro, who upset number 8 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-5 6-2 in their first head-to-head match on Centre Court after 1 hour and 49 minutes to reach her second consecutive quarter final at the 31st edition of the Ladies Open in Palermo. Ferro scored her second win over a top 30 player. 

Ferro reached the second round at the Australian Open and lost to Elena Rybakina in the Round of 16 in St. Petersburg earlier this year. Alexandrova won her first WTA title in Shenzhen and advanced to the third round in Melbourne. 

Alexandrova got an early break to take a 2-0 lead in the opening set. Ferro broke straight back in the third game and held serve in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ferro won five consecutive games to build a 7-5 3-0 lead with three breaks in the 11th game of the first set and in the 1st and 3rd games of the second set. Alexandrova pulled one break back in the fourth game for 1-3, but Ferro broke for the third time to serve for the match at 5-2. 

Alexandrova earned two break points, but Ferro saved them. Alexandrova saved the first match point, but Ferro closed out the match, as her Russian rival made two forehand errors. 

Former world number 30 Aliaksandra Sasnovich cruised past Jasmine Paolini 6-0 6-2 to reach the quarter finals. Sasnovich last made the last eight a WTA Tour in January 2019 in Sydney, when she reached the semifinal as a qualifier. 

Paolini reached the top 100 for the first time last year and earned a career-high of world number 94 last March. 

Sasnovich fended off two break points and dropped just 14 points. She broke three times to score a 6-0 win in the opening set. Paolini won her first game, but Sasnovich got two breaks in the first and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead. Paolini failed to convert six break points and Sasnovich won a very long service game with 10 deuces. The player from Belarus served out the second set 6-2 on her third match point with a drop-shot. 

Sasnovich set up a quarter final against either top seed Petra Martic or Liudmila Samsonova. 

“I played very well in the first set because I knew how to play against my opponent. I have seen a few matches of hers. She is a really great player. I think the Italian crowd really likes her, and I like her, because I like how she plays”, said Sasnovich. 

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