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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Belinda Bencic stuns Simona Halep to set up semifinal against Elina Svitolina in Dubai

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Unseeded player Belinda Bencic rallied from one set down to claim a 4-6 6-4 6-2 win over former world number 1 and 2018 Roland Garros champion Simona Halep securing her spot in her ssecond semifinal of the season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where she will face Elina Svitolina, who beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-3.

The Swiss player has reached her first Premier-level semifinal since her run to the St. Petersburg final in 2016 and has scored her first back-to-back wins against top 10 since Tokyo 2015 after saving six match points in her win over Aryna Sabalenka yesterday.

Halep hit eight aces to build up a 6-4 4-3 lead before dropping nine of the last games of the match.

Bencic got an early break  and held her serve in a four-deuce second game. In the following game Bencic earned her chances for a double break, but Halep held her serve before breaking back to draw level to 2-2. Halep broke serve in the eighth game to open up a 5-3 lead, but she dropped her serve with a double fault, when she was serving for the set. Halep broke back in the 10th game to close out the opening set 6-4 when Bencic netted a forehand.

Bencic went up an early break in the first game of the second set, but Halep broke straight back in the second game to draw level to 1-1. Halep earned a break point at 2-2 and another chance at 3-3, but Bencic won three consecutive games and got a crucial break in the eighth game at 4-4, when Halep sent a backhand long. Bencic hit a service winner, when she was serving for the set in the next game.

Bencic went up a double break to build up a 3-0 lead. Halep pulled one break back and held her serve to close the gap to 2-3. Bencic broke again in the seventh game to take a 5-2 lead, but had to save three break points before sealing the win on her third match point.

“It feels great. I am just really happy to be back. I knew it was still in me even after the injuries. You cannot just come back like this and play right away. Otherwise, it would not show how good tennis is. Players are playing two, three years at this level. They are playing semifinals, finals. You cannot just expect to be back after the injury and play like this. I had no problem with being in the shadow. Actually it felt really good, playing 25ks where there is no one there, just you. There is no stream. There is just a live ticker. You can play free. There is no expectation, no attention. It felt good. I did not even take the protected ranking. I started in the lower tournaments. I tried to build my confidence up”,said Bencic.

Bencic set up a semifinal against 2017 and 2018 Dubai champion Elina Svitolina, who beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-3 after 78 minutes. The first set went on serve in the first five games, before Svitolina rallied from 30-40 down to break serve on her second opportunity at the fourth deuce for 4-2 in a seven-minute game. The Ukrainian player sealed the first set with a double break in the eighth game after just over half an hour.

Suarez Navarro converted her second break point chance in the first game and held her serve at deuce after saving a break point to take a 2-0 lead. Svitolina broke back on her second chance in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Suarez Navarro rallied from 15-40 down to break serve at the third deuce for 3-2, but Svitolina reeled off the final four games with two consecutive breaks in the sixth and eighth games and closed out the second set 6-3 on her fourth match point with a forehand winner.

“I am going to give everything to play my best tennis. This matters the most for me. I have been working on this for a long time. I want to just focus on what I have to do my next match. The semifinal is going to be another tough one. It’s important to take a match at a time, not to look so much ahead”, said Svitolina.

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WTA Coaching Carousel Continues As Daria Kasatkina Splits From Coach

Daria Kasatkina has decided to split with her coach Philippe Dehaes in the latest WTA coaching chaos.

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Daria Kasatkina (@Tennis - Twitter)

Daria Kasatkina is the latest player to split from her coach on the WTA tour as she splits with Belgian Philippe Dehaes. 

The world number 13 decided to split from her coach Philippe Dehaes after a poor start to the 2019 season having only won two matches.

This coaching split is the latest in a whole carousel of changes which has even included the world number one Naomi Osaka splitting from her coach, Sascha Bajin.

In a statement on Instagram Kasatkina expressed her gratitude to Dehaes who lead her to the top ten and won her the Kremlin Cup last year.

However after losing five of her seven matches so far the Russian concluded that it was time to move on “It is with sadness that I am announcing that myself and Philippe Dehaes are parting ways after a very successful partnership,” Kasatkina said.

“I owe Philippe a huge amount for the success I’ve had over the past two years since we started working together but after deciding I need to take control and responsibility for my own tennis, I felt I needed to do this alone and take a break from working with Philippe but as he has a family and children to support, I understand this is not possible for him and it’s best we go our separate way.

“Who knows what the future holds, never say never. I’d just like to go on record as saying thank you again to Philippe, you’ll always mean a lot to me and I wish you the very best. Thanks for everything coach, you will always have a special place in my heart.”

The Belgian coach was known for his motivational on-court coaching timeouts especially his ‘Russian Wall’ comment in Moscow last October.

It will now be interesting where Kasatkina goes from here considering she has final points to defend at Indian Wells in a couple weeks time. 

The tournament in the Californian desert is the next tournament for the Russian, which starts on the 6th of March although Kasatkina won’t play her first match until the 8th of March.

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Hsieh-Su-Wei fights back from 1-5 down to upset Karolina Pliskova in Dubai

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Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Su-Wei came back from 1-5 down in the third set by winning the final six games to upset 2015 Dubai finalist and number 4 seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4 1-6 7-5 reaching the semifinals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Only one break point was held by either player until 3-3. Pliskova held serve in the seventh game for 4-3, before she came back from 0-40 down to earn a break point after two double faults from Hsieh.

Hsieh saved the break point with a backhand winner. Pliskova brought up two more break points in the eighth game, but Hsieh saved both chances to hold serve for 4-4.

Hsieh broke serve at love with a a backhand winner in the ninth game and held her serve at love 6-4.

Pliskova broke early in the fourth game of the second set to take a 3-1 lead and held a hard-fought service game at deuce for 4-1. The Chinese Taipei player got a double break in the sixth game to race out to a 5-1 lead. The Czech player earned a set point with an ace and converted it with a backhand winner down the line to win the set 6-1 sending the match to the third set.

Pliskova went up in the third game of the third set with a drop-shot winner to build up a 3-0 lead. The Czech player held her service games to cruise through to a 5-1 lead. Hsieh pulled the break back with a forehand on the break point in the seventh game for 2-5.

Hsieh broke at love in the 10th game to get back on serve to 5-5 and held her serve at love to take a 6-5 lead. She earned her second match point with a backhand down the line and converted it to seal the win, when Pliskova sent her backhand wide. Hsieh scored two back-to-back wins over two top-10 players in two consecutive days.

“The second set was slowing down a bit, so it’s not a good sign. I still make some mistakes, but I am glad I keep trying. Finally it works, so I survive”, said Hsieh.

Hsieh set up a semifinal match against number 2 seed Petra Kvitova, who beat Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4 6-0.

Hsieh Su Wei will face 2013 finalist and number 2 seed Petra Kvitova, who cruised past Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4 6-0 following up her hard-fought wins over Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady.

Kvitova saved three of the four break points she faced. The double Wimbledon champion and 2019 Australian Open finalist earned an early break in the second game with a deep return and saved a break point in the next game to hold on her service game for 3-0. Kuzmova broke back in the fifth game, when Kvitova sent her backhand long, and backed it up with a hold of serve for 3-3. Kvitova broke serve at love in the ninth game, when Kuzmova was serving to stay in the set. Kvitova held a tough service game with an ace and a service game before breaking three times in a row to take a bagel win in the second set.

“I am pleased. I did not give Kuzmova any time to do her job, maybe turn the match on her way. Hsieh is definitely a tough and tricky opponent. I played her in Sydney in a really tough match. It will be probably some rallies tomorrow. I need to be ready for every shot what she is going to bring to the game”,said Kvitova.

 

 

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