Petra Kvitova beats Aliaksandra Sasnovich in late night semifinal in Sydney - UBITENNIS
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Petra Kvitova beats Aliaksandra Sasnovich in late night semifinal in Sydney

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Petra Kvitova cruised past Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1 6-2 in 66 minutes to reach the second final of her career at the Sydney International in a rain-delayed late night match.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova avenged her 6-4 4-6 6-0 defeat against Sain the first round at Wimbledon last summer with a convincing 6-1 6-2 win in a late night Sydney semifinal, which was delayed by rain until midnight local time.

Kvitova came back from 0-40 down with a series of backhands to break serve in the second game. The 2015 Sydney champion saved three break points in the fifth game to hold serve for 4-1. She got her double break on her fourth opportunity at deuce in the sixth game after two dueces with three backhands to race out to a 5-1 lead and served out the first set at 30 in the next game after 30 minutes.

Kvitova hit a backhand pass to hold serve for 1-1 in the second game of the second set. The former world number 2 brought up a break point with a spectacular return winner in the fifth game and got the break on her third opportunity. Kvitova went up a double break to a 5-2 after forehand errors from Sasnovich and sealed the win on her third match point with her serve.

Kvitova hit 22 winners to 13 unforced errors and won more than 80 percent of her first serve points.

“It was worth the wait, definitely. I am really glad that we were able to get back on the court and play. I am happy for that, definitely, being in the final. Such a great achievement for me so far in the beginning of the season. So I am only taking everything positively. I think I really played a great match today. I lost to her in Wimbledon last year, so I know that she is a very dangerous player”,said Kvitova.  

Kvitova set up a final showdown against Ashleigh Barty of the 2017 Birmingham final. In the British tournament on grass Kvitova came back from one set down to beat Barty 4-6 6-3 6-2. Kvitova will play her second Sydney final after winning the title in 2015.

“Ash is great. She is a very talented player with great touch. It will be a nice one tomorrow. It’s a final, so whatever happens, happens. I think she is really in good form. She is playing so well here in the tournament as well. It will be a nice match. I will need to find a space to find a space to put the balls and I can just play aggressive. That’s what I am playing”, said Kvitova.

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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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