Marta Kostyuk Overcomes Nerves For First Qualifying Win At Australian Open, Kokkinakis Advances - UBITENNIS
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Marta Kostyuk Overcomes Nerves For First Qualifying Win At Australian Open, Kokkinakis Advances

Marta Kostyuk overcame a nervous start to use her form from last year and advance into the second qualifying round of the Australian Open.

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Marta Kostyuk (zimbio.com)

16 year old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk overcame some early nerves as she defeated Jana Cepelova 6-3 7-5 to reach the second qualifying round at the Australian Open. 

The youngster qualified last year at the age of 15 and reached the third round before losing to Elina Svitolina and is aiming to do the same in 2019.

An impressive 21 winners helped Kostyuk overcome some early nerves to defeat Jana Cepelova in straight sets and progress into the second qualifying round.

After the win Kostyuk explained that she was nervous as she had the memories of last year still in her mind, “I feel it wasn’t my best match, I’m happy I got through this because I’ve never felt so nervous before a match,” the teenager told AusOpen.com.

“Never in my life, I’ll tell you this secret, that when I was walking onto the court I thought I was going to cry because I was so nervous. I’ve also been going through a lot in the past year.”

True insight from the world number 116 who overcame these negative emotions to overcome her veteran Slovakian opponent, who picked up an injury during the match.

Next for Kostyuk is Amandine Hesse, who managed to overcome Lesley Kerkhove 1-6 7-6(6) 7-6(8) in a battle. This match was one of many matches on day one which tested the new 10 point final set tiebreak.

There were also wins for other teenage players such as Wimbledon juniors champion Iga Swiatek and Olympic youth champion Kaja Juvan.

The latter continued her 2018 momentum with a tough two hour battle over 17th Yanina Wickmayer, while Swiatek survived a tough test from Moscow River Cup champion Olga Danilovic.

In the battle between the two bright stars of the women’s game it was the Pole who defeated the Serbian 1-6 7-6(4) 7-5.

Kokkinakis Advances

Despite not receiving a wildcard for the men’s draw Thanasi Kokkinakis overcame Egypt’s Mohamed Safwat in straight sets to reach the second qualifying round.

The Australian, who defeated Roger Federer in Miami last March, needed a second set tiebreak to advance in Melbourne.

“I feel like I should have done it easier, but he’s a tough player, he’s sneaky good. At the start I was playing such a high level; it wasn’t anything flashy, but I made him play a lot of balls,” Kokkinakis said about the match.

The 32nd seed will now play Austrian Sebastian Ofner after he defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama in straight sets to set up a meeting with Kokkinakis.

There were also wins for rising talents Felix Auger-Aliassime, Christopher Eubanks and Miomir Kecmanovic. Auger-Aliassime and Eubanks will play each other on Thursday for a place in the final qualifying round of the Australian Open.

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WATCH: Fans Fight Over Aryna Sabalenka’s Headband Before Security Takes Item Away

Watch the moment two tennis fans lose it over a headband!

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It is traditional for a player to celebrate their victory by throwing some of their unwanted items into the crowd. However, at the Australian Open Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka got more than she bargained for.

The 11th seed moved into the third round of the tournament on Wednesday following a 6-3, 6-4, win over Great Britain’s Katie Boulter. Recording her seventh win of the season. Shortly after her victory, she threw her headband into the crowd at the Melbourne Arena. Inadvertently creating a tug of war between two stubborn tennis fans. Resulting in them both being escorted off the premises!

https://twitter.com/JeddZetzer/status/1085438472863633408

Following the both bizarre and funny showdown between the two spectators, many are wondering who the winner was. Ironically, it was neither. According to Sporting News, security escorted both women away and then took the item from them as they couldn’t agree as to who should get it.

I guess you can’t win them all!

The two ladies involved in the tussle (image via https://twitter.com/standardsport)

 

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Kiki Bertens knocked out by Pavlyuchenkova

Pavlyuchenkova earned a big win over 9th seed Bertens, while Sasnovich also stunned 20th seed Kontaveit.

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Kiki Bertens became the highest seeded casualty in the women’s draw so far when she lost an entertaining three-set encounter 3-6 6-3 6-3 to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The Dutchwoman, 27, had her best-ever year on the WTA tour in 2018. She won three titles, including the Premier 5 event in Cincinnati, but she will not back up those successes with a good run in Melbourne.

In the first set, Bertens looked comfortable as she broke Pavlyuchenkova twice to establish a 5-1 lead. However, the Russian gained a foothold in the match when she earned her first break in the seventh game.

Pavlyuchenkova built on that momentum in the second set when she went 3-0 up thanks to an early break. And she continued to serve impressively to level the match at one-set all.

The decider was more unpredictable. The Russian broke in the first game, but her Dutch opponent responded with an immediate break back.

However, Pavlyuchenkova’s groundstrokes looked in excellent working order by this stage and she used them to great effect to break Bertens twice more in the fifth and ninth games to take the set 6-3 and clinch a superb win.

“I’m really happy with the win and the way I played today,” the Russian said in her post-match interview. “She is a very tough opponent so that is a great win for me.”

Sasnovich shocks Kontaveit

Pavlyuchenkova’s opponent in round three will be another seed-killer after Aliaksandra Sasnovich beat 20th seed Anett Kontaveit 6-3 6-3.

The Belarussian claimed a headline-grabbing win over Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon last year and she is in scintillating form so far in 2019.

Sasnovich, 24, reached the quarter-final in Brisbane and the semi-final in Sydney and she has carried that momentum into the Australian Open.

She thrashed former Grand Slam semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens 6-1 6-1 in the first round and then beat Kontaveit almost as convincingly.

Stephens, Garcia and Martic advance

Sloane Stephens had no such trouble in her match against Timea Babos. She beat the Hungarian 6-3 6-1 to set up a third round meeting with Petra Martic, who took out Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 7-5.

Caroline Garcia also looks to be in good form. She backed up a first-round victory over qualifier Jessika Ponchet with a 6-3 6-3 win over Australian wildcard Zoe Hives.

 

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Naomi Osaka takes straight set win to cruise through to the second round

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Last year’s US Open champion and number 4 seed Naomi Osaka beat Magda Linette 6-4 6-2 in 58 minutes to cruise through to the second round at the Australian Open.

Osaka avenged her 6-2 3-6 6-3 defeat against Linette, who won their most recent defeat in the second round at Washington last summer.

The US-based Japanese player claimed four breaks of serve and hit 30 winners to just 16 unforced errors.

Both players traded breaks in the third and fourth games to draw level to 2-2. Osaka earned her second consecutive break in the fifth game to take  a 3-2 lead and held three consecutive service games at love to close out the opening set 6-4. The Japanese player held his service games in his service games and got two breaks in the third and seventh games to close out the second set 6-2.

Osaka won 24 of her 25 points behind her first serve and fired six aces.

The 21-year-old Japanese player will take on Tamara Zidansek, who stunned Daria Gavrilova 7-5 6-3 in her debut at the Australian Open.

“I had a lot of fun. It’s not often that I get to play a night match at Rod Laver. For me it was the first time. I did not feel nervous either, which was a bit unexpected. I thought that I would, being that it’s the first match. I just felt like I had a lot of fun today. For me it was more a test. I was testing myself on how well I can move”,said Osaka.

This year’s Brisbane International champion Karolina Pliskova broke serve four times and dropped her serve twice to cruise past her compatriot Karolina Muchova 6-3 6-2.

Elina Svitolina dropped just three games in her 6-1 6-2 win over Viktorija Golubic with five breaks of serve.

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