Karolina Pliskova sets up fourth round match against Garbine Muguruza in Melbourne - UBITENNIS
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Karolina Pliskova sets up fourth round match against Garbine Muguruza in Melbourne

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Former world number 1 player and 2016 US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova came through a tough three-set match against 27th seed Camila Giorgi by the scoreline of 6-4 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 11 minutes.

 

Giorgi converted all her three break points and stayed neck and neck with Pliskova until the end of the match, but the Czech player converted five of her 16 break points to advance to the second week in Melbourne for the third year in a row.

Pliskova has extended her winning record in her six head-to-head matches against Giorgi to 5-1.

Pliskova has won her third three-set match against her Italian rival following wins in the 2014 Linz final and in the 2017 Cincinnati third round match. Giorgi went down 0-40 in the fifth game to face three break points. The Italian player saved the first break point with her second serve, but Pliskova got her only break of the first set on her second chance to take a 3-2 lead, when Giorgi made a double fault. Pliskova did not face any break points in her next service games and held her serve at 15 to clinch the first set 6-4.

Giorgi won 12 of the first 15 points to build up a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game. She held her service games at love for 3-0. Pliskova broke back in the fifth game with a volley to claw her way back to 2-3. Giorgi got another break in the sixth game at deuce for 4-2 and saved two break back points at deuce in a nine-minute game. Pliskova converted her third break point chance at deuce. Giorgi came back from 15-40 down by winning four consecutive games to break serve for 5-3 to earn her chance to serve for the set. Giorgi closed out the second set 6-3 on her third set point at deuce after saving another break point.

The first three games of the decisive set went on serve before Giorgi saved three break points at 1-2. Pliskova converted her fourth break point after six deuces. Pliskova dropped four points on serve in the decider and sealed the win 6-3 on her fourth match point with her double break in the eighth game, when Giorgi sent her forehand long.

“It’s giving me special confidence. If you are winning matches, it does not matter how you win, just that you are winning those matches, close matches. It’s not always going to be like 6-1 6-2. Some players are difficult for me. Sometimes I just have ups and downs”, said Pliskova.

Pliskova’s next rival in the fourth round is two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, who recovered from her late-night match against Johanna Konta to beat Swiss player Timea Bacsinszky 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after one hour and 54 minutes.

Garbine Muguruza advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the fourth time in her career. She achieved the best best result of her career in 2017, when she qualified for the quarter final after two fourth-round appearances in 2014 and 2015.

Muguruza and Bacsinszky met for the sixth time in their careers. The Spaniard scored the first of her four consecutive wins over the Lausanne player with her 6-4 3-6 6-0 win in the third round at 2015 Roland Garros. Bacsinszky stopped the losing streak by winning her only head-to-head clash against Muguruza in the first round in Madrid in 2017.

Muguruza showed that she had fully recovered from her match against Johanna Konta, which started at 12.30 (the latest ever match) and ended at 3.12 am.

Bacsinszky, who moved up from world number 745 to number 145 in just five months following hand surgery, got an early break with a half-volley. Bacsinsky broke back at 30 in the second game. Muguruza converted her fourth break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead but Bacsinszky pulled the break back for the second time at deuce to draw level to 4-4.

Muguruza earned a set point on Bacsinszy’s serve at 6-5, but Bacsinszky saved it with a backhand winner to set up a tie-break.

Muguruza built up a 5-2 lead in the tie-break and wrapped up the first set with a service winner.

The second set looked to be a close match after an early trade of breaks, but Muguruza broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 before holding serve for 4-2 after a three-deuce sixth game. Muguruza won eight of the final eleven points to earn two match points. Bacsinszky fended off the second match point with her backhand winner, but Muguruza sealed the win on her third chance with her backhand.

“She has a very unique style of game, very smart, very talented. We played four or five times already. All of matches were very difficult. I know I was going to have to fight a lot to get it. So it counts a lot, this one. After the late match against Johanna Konta, I went back to sleep around 5, so it’s very messed up. I will not forget to play tennis in a few hours. I didn’t play. I woke up late. I prioritized. Rest a little bit, work with my physio, just get a little bit of distance, recover for today, because I knew it was going to be a battle”, said Muguruza.   

 

 

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Angelique Kerber Splits With Rainer Schuettler After Eight Month Partnership

Angelique Kerber has parted ways with Rainer Schuettler after an eight month partnership which ended in Wimbledon disappointment.

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Angelique Kerber (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

Three time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber has split with her coach Rainer Schuettler after an eight month partnership. 

 

It’s been a topsy-turvy year for the German so far after reaching the finals in Indian Wells and Eastbourne as well as being 11th in the Race To Shenzhen rankings.

However after losing in the first week of all three of her grand slams so far, last year’s Wimbledon champion has decider to end her partnership with Rainer Scheuttler.

The 31 year-old made the announcement on Twitter as she admitted it was a tough decision to make but a necessary one to make, “Moving forward, it’s never easy to change – especially when you work with great people like Rainer,” Kerber said.

“But for now, we’ve decided that it’s the right time for a fresh start. He has become a friend and I‘m thankful for his hard work & dedication in the last months.”

A couple of days ago, Kerber also said it was time to embrace the challenges moving forward as she looks to improve her sluggish form ,“This time of year feels very different compared to last year, but it’s still part of the same journey,” Kerber explained on Twitter.

“Whether you‘ve won or lost the last match- it‘s done, it‘s over and it can‘t be changed. It‘s about the lessons you learn from both outcomes that will determine your path. 

“There have always been ups and downs, twists and turns in my career that I accept as part of my story as an athlete. Even more, I‘ve learned to deal with it and embrace the challenge moving forward.”

Although Kerber and Schuettler have become good friends, the results never really translated when it really mattered most as Kerber couldn’t keep her focus on the big occasions.

A very brave decision to do it more than half way through the season though as Kerber looks to finish the season strong in a frustrating year.

Next for the former world number one is the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which starts on the 5th August.

 

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Johanna Konta Speaks About Charity Work Ahead Of Second Half Of Season

Johanna Konta talks about her work with charity as she looks to end the season strong.

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Johanna Konta (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Johanna Konta has spoken about her charity work as she prepares for the final grand slam of the season. 

 

It has been an encouraging 2019 so far for the Brit after reaching the finals in Rabat and Madrid as well as reaching the last four at Roland Garros.

Although that was met with disappointment and criticism at Wimbledon after her quarter-final exit to Barbora Strycova, Konta is looking to continue the momentum in the American summer.

However for now, the world number 15 is taking her mind off tennis to focus on her charity work and in particular tackling homelessness.

Recently Konta visited the prime minister on the subject and spoke to the WTA Website about why she feels passionately about homelessness, “Homelessness has always been a big thing that’s close to my heart, that I want to help,” Konta said.

“I met a young lady called Kenny, who has come through Centre Point and it’s through them that she’s got her shift here with The Clink.”

The Brit is an ambassador for the charity CentrePoint, who support young homeless people in London since 1969 as homelessness has been a big problem in the UK.

The Clink provided catering for the event an 10 Downing Street, which was about bringing young people who are at risk of violence and helping them talk to businesses and role models to see how they can not take to crime.

On her visit, Konta explained why it was a dream come true to go to 10 Downing Street, “I feel like you’re walking through history, especially as you walk up the stairs and you see all the Prime Ministers through time. It’s inspiring and I feel very lucky.”

Next for Konta is the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which starts on the 5th of August as she prepares for the final grand slam of the year at the US Open.

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Wimbledon Day 13 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Final

In a championship match with significant GOAT implications, Roger Federer plays for a record-extending 21st Major, as Djokovic defends his title and vies for his 16th.

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Roger Federer (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

 

In 25 days, Roger Federer will turn 38 years of age. Remarkably, here he is in his 31st Major final, and his 12th at The All England Club. His most recent Slam final came 18 months ago in Australia, where he defeated Marin Cilic in five sets. Playing the French Open last month for the first time since 2015, and advancing to the semi-finals on his worst surface, provided Roger with considerable confidence. After falling to Rafael Nadal in Paris, he avenged that loss here on Friday in a thrilling semi-final. But in order to win his ninth Wimbledon, he’ll need to do something he’s never done before: defeat both Nadal and Djokovic at the same Grand Slam event.

One year ago, Novak Djokovic arrived at SW19 ranked outside the top 20. After holding all four Majors at once, he hadn’t claimed another in over two years. But a semi-final victory over Nadal would propel Djokovic to win three consecutive Slams. He’s now the definitive world No.1, and looks to pull within four Major titles of Federer, and within two of Nadal.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Roger Federer (2)

This is their third time playing in the gentlemen’s singles final. In 2014, Djokovic pulled out the win in five sets, a turning point in Novak’s career having lost his last five Major Finals outside of Australia. A year later, Djokovic prevailed in four. Overall Novak has the slight edge in their head-to-head 25-22, and has taken eight of their last 10 meetings. At Majors, Djokovic leads 9-6, and hasn’t lost to Federer at a Slam in seven years, which was their first Wimbledon matchup in the 2012 semi-finals.

Both men needed three sets and about three hours to win their semi-finals, though Federer’s match against Nadal was the tighter and more draining affair. For Roger, coming back less than 48 hours later to play the other GOAT contender, who is also nearly six years younger than Federer, is a huge ask. But if Roger plays with the same energy he did on Friday, he has a shot. He’ll need to serve even better than in the semi-finals, as he faces the best returner in the game.

The crowd could play a critical role here. They’ll undoubtedly be raucously behind Roger, and we saw on Friday against Roberto Bautista Agut how bothered Novak can get by crowds cheering for his opponent. He receives it as disrespect, though he often seems to thrive on it. But Novak would be wise to not outwardly mock the Centre Court audience today, as it will only increase their enthusiasm for Federer. On paper, Djokovic is a solid favourite. There’s no real weakness in his game, and the best-of-five format plays to his advantage, especially if this goes the distance.

However, we saw on Friday the magic Roger is still capable of on Centre Court. He’ll know this may be one of his last chances to win a Major, though will that inspire him or unsettle him? We saw Serena Williams tighten up under similar circumstances yesterday. While I don’t think this will be a blowout like the ladies’ championship match, Djokovic will be too much for Federer to overcome in the end. Novak will be joining Simona Halep at the champions ball on Sunday evening.

Other notable matches on Day 13:

In the ladies’ doubles final re-scheduled for today due to the length of the gentlemen’s doubles final, singles standouts Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova (3) vs. Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu (4), who upset the defending champion in the semi-finals.  Singles semi-finalist Strycova would become the new doubles No.1 with a win today.

In the mixed doubles final, which has unfortunately been bumped to No.1 Court, French Open champions Ivan Dodig and Latisha Chan (8) vs. 42-year-old Roberto Lindstedt and Jelena Ostapenko, who is a former junior champion here, and was a singles semifinalist a year ago.

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