Lorenzo Musetti and Clara Tauson clinch the Australian Open Junior title - UBITENNIS
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Lorenzo Musetti and Clara Tauson clinch the Australian Open Junior title

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Top seeds Lorenzo Musetti and Clara Tauson clinched the Junior titles at the Australian Open. Musetti saved a championship point before claiming the decisive tie-break in the boys final, while Tauson won the girls title. 

Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti came back from a set down to beat US Emilio Nava 4-6 6-2 7-6 (14-12) in the final of the Australian Open Junior final. The 16-year-old Italian player saved a championship point in the tie-break of the third set.

Musetti won the first Grand Slam Junior title of his career four months after losing the US Open Junior final against Brazil’s Seyboth Wild last September. Last year he also reached the quarter final at Wimbledon. The player born in the Italian town of Carrara trains in La Spezia under the guidance of Simone Tartarini and is among the most promising talents, who work at the Patrick Mouratoglou Tennis Academy as part of the Champ’Seed program. His idol is Roger Federer and plays a spectacular and aggressive tennis. He entertained the crowd with a spectacular drop-shot tweener during the quarter final match against Spain’s Alvarez Varona earlier this week. Musetti is ranked fourth in the ITF Junior Ranking, but he is the youngest player in the top 10.

Musetti won just three points more than Nava in a very tight match, which featured only three breaks of serve.

Nava got the first break of the first set at 3-3 in the first set with a deep return to take the first set 6-4 after 37 minutes. This was the first time Musetti dropped a set in the tournament. Musetti saved three break points in the fifth game of the second set before earning his first break in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead. Musetti got another break in the eighth game after a poor forehand from Nava to send the match to third set.

The third set went on serve with no breaks of serve until the tie-break. Nava fought back from 3-5 to move within two points of the title at 8-7. Nava saved a match point at 8-9 with a smash winner and another chance at 9-10 when Musetti made a double fault. Musetti wasted the third match point on the 20th point before saving a match point at 11-12. Musetti hit a service winner to draw level to 12-12 before sealing the win on the 16th point, when Nava made a forehand error. Musetti has become the first Italian player in history to win the Australian Open boys’ title.

“I was not thinking. I was just playing, living every point. It was a fantastic tie-break. Emilio played really well and he saved three match points. It was a fantastic tie-break. The match point was unbelievable. I had a lot of pressure since the first rounds, but I got a lot of experience last year in New York, so I knew how to manage the pressure and the feelings of the final. Today was a crazy match. The first set was really tough, the second set was really good. He went down a bit. The third set was really a fight. I am really happy to win my first Grand Slam. I thank my family and the Italian Federation for their support. I will travel back to Italy very early and I will not have a lot of time to celebrate, but it will be a nice journey with a trophy in my hands. This win means that I will have the chance to play the qualifying round at Grand Slam tournaments”,said Musetti.  

 The first to congratulate with Musetti was Novak Djokovic, who watched the match

“It was a hard match. Luck was not on my side, but I was able to win thanks to my mental strength. To know that Novak Djokovic was following my match is something that does not happen every day. He knew that I lost in New York and told me that I have a good mental coach. I told him that I have tried to learn from him and I wished him good luck for tomorrow’s final against Nadal”,said Musetti.

Sixteen year-old Dane Clara Tauson beat Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the girls singles final. The Dane won her fifth title in the last seven tournaments.

Tauson is the second Danish Junior player to win a girls title at Grand Slam level following in the footsteps of her compatriot Caroline Wozniacki.

Tauson earned her first break in the fifth game of the opening set, but Fernandez broke straight back in the next game. Tauson broke again in the seventh game and held her serve in the eghth and tenth games to seal the first set 6-4. Tauson broke twice in the third and fifth games of the second set to race out to a 4-1 lead. Fernandez pulled one break back at 15 in the next game to claw her way back to 2-4 but Tauson got her third consecutive break in the seventh game to earn her chance to serve for the match. Fernandez fended off a match point to get the break back, but Tauson broke serve again in the ninth game before serving out the match.

The Danish player lost the first set of the tournament 6-1 to Australian wildcard Anastasia Berezov and did not drop another set en route to the title.

“I feel like it was a big court. We haven’t played on it, either of us, so I  think both of us were nervous. She was playing really good in the beginning I feel like I won because I kept fighting and try to keep my emotions. I wasn’t expecting actually to win here after the first round, but I kept working hard and had some tough matches in the beginning. I got through it, so I am happy about that. The start of the the year has been good for me, of course. I am not thinking too much about if I never lose a match in juniors anymore, because I will. I am very happy about the last 12 matches”, said Tauson.

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Elise Mertens Edges Simona Halep To Win Maiden Premier Level Title

Elise Mertens won the biggest title of her career with a three set win over former world number one Simona Halep in Doha.

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Elise Mertens (@elise_mertens - Twitter)

Elise Mertens won her first Premier title in Doha after edging out Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 6-3 in a dramatic final. 

The Belgian played some aggressive tennis as she tired out Simona Halep to win her first ever premier-level title of her career.

After a long medical time-out which lasted about eight minutes since the last point, Mertens came back from a set and a break to seal a great title which involved beating three top 10 players.

Despite losing a gruelling final, Halep will move back up to world number two heading into next week’s Premier 5 event in Dubai.

It was all about Halep for the first set and a quarter as she dictated the rallies with some sensation backhand shots, using her movement well.

Although there was good returning from Mertens, she couldn’t break down a very good Halep who just looked in control of every point.

After four breaks of serve, the Romanian inched closer towards the title as she took the first set 6-3 in 35 minutes. The Belgian needed to improve her first set to have a chance of winning the title.

The second set started with a share of breaks as Halep looked in fighting-fit shape to seal her first title of 2019 after a great week of tennis.

Then came the major talking point of the match as Mertens took an off-court medical time-out as the match didn’t restart until eight minutes later.

That would be the turning of the match as the Belgian controlled the match from that point onwards with some aggressive backhands and some neat serving.

As a result Halep’s momentum had been taken away as she struggled to cope with the break and couldn’t find her rhythm back.

With many break points not being converted by either player the world number 21 struck in the ninth game with a break to love and converted her first set point in the next game to force a decider.

After a Halep medical time-out, Mertens broke on the first game and a crucially long service hold was the big boost that the unseeded player needed.

It wasn’t to be Simona’s day as a third break in the set secured the best win of Mertens’ career so far to lift the Doha title.

https://twitter.com/WTA/status/1096831044647600134

After a disappointing Fed Cup campaign for Belgium, Mertens beat Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber and Halep today to ensure the best week of her career.

As for Halep she will return to world number two as the emotions of last weekend and the brutal wins of Julia Goerges and Elina Svitolina caught up with her today.

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Petra Kvitova Praises Dubai Field As Svitolina Given Tough Title Defence

Petra Kvitova has praised the Dubai field ahead of another great week in the Middle East as Elina Svitolina prepares to defend her title.

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Petra Kvitova (@AusOpen - Twitter)

Petra Kvitova has praised the Dubai field ahead of a tough week in the UAE as defending champion Elina Svitolina is handed a tough draw. 

The Australian Open finalist has praised the ‘unbelievable’ quality that is on show in Dubai as nine of the world’s top 10 are playing next week.

While Kvitova may not be looking ahead to the title she could face 7th seed Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals as the draw was announced today.

Defending champion Elina Svitolina has been given a tough path ahead of her title defence though as the likes of Donna Vekic, Garbine Muguruza and Naomi Osaka stand in her way.

Attending the draw ceremony alongside Eugenie Bouchard and Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova praised the tough Dubai field ahead of the tournament start on Sunday, “Every tournament is difficult, and this [field] is unbelievable,” Kvitova told The National.

“We have so many great players playing here. Of course, it’s always tough to win a tournament and it’ll be the same here.”

The draw has seen Kvitova potentially face Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals, with Caroline Garcia and Daria Kasatkina also in her section of the draw. As the prospect of reaching a third final in 2019 is not something to think about yet for the second seed, “It’s a long way to go so I’m not thinking of that.”

Meanwhile in the top half of the draw Elina Svitolina could face Donna Vekic as she faces a tough path to defending her title.

Other players in Svitolina’s section include Garbine Muguruza, who plays Dayana Yastremska in her opening match who beat her in Hua Hin a couple of weeks ago.

Also world number one Naomi Osaka awaits for the Ukrainian as the Australian Open champion looks to play her first tournament without the guidance of Sascha Bajin.

Here is the full draw with action beginning on Sunday:

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Dominic Thiem Edges Cuevas To Remain Unbeaten In Buenos Aires, Schwartzman Awaits

Dominic Thiem has extended his unbeaten streak to 11 matches in Bueno Aires after edging past Pablo Cuevas to reach the semi-finals.

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Dominic Thiem (@SectaDeportivaa - Twittter)

Dominic Thiem won an 11th consecutive match in Buenos Aires as he edged out Pablo Cuevas 4-6 6-4 6-3 to reach the semi-finals. 

After a slow start the Austrian won 73% of first service points to seal a place in the last four as he made it 11-0 in the Argentinian capital.

In the semi-finals he will play good friend and doubles partner this week Diego Schwartzman, who comfortably beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The other semi-final will see Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato take on Guido Pella, who saved match points against Jaume Munar.

There was a threat to Thiem’s unbeaten streak early on as his Uruguayan opponent got off to the perfect start with a break in the third game.

Struggling on serve and failing to create any break point opportunities Thiem surrendered the first set in 34 minutes to the world number 78.

However the world number eight adjusted tactically and remained focused on the task at hand as he took a 3-0 lead. Despite being broke back while serving for the set, the top seed broke straight back to force a deciding set as he looked a relieved figure.

The deciding set went in similar fashion with the only exception being that Thiem wasn’t broken back this time. After holding his lead from 3-0 up, Thiem served out the match to secure his first ATP semi-final of the season.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1096580571327799299

After edging past Cuevas, the world number eight will now play Diego Schwartzman in the last four in what is set to be a busy day for the duo.

Not only will they play against each other in singles, they will also team up with each other in doubles as they reached the semi-finals there as well.

The talented Argentinian defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-q 7-5 to reach the last four in his home country and will look to end Thiem’s unbeaten streak on Saturday afternoon.

The other semi-final will see Marco Cecchinato play Guido Pella with the action starting at 2pm local time.

While in New York the action starts at 4pm local time with Brayden Schnur taking on Sam Querrey and John Isner playing Reilly Opelka in the semi-finals.

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