Petra Kvitova takes a thrilling three-set final to win her eighth WTA final in a row - UBITENNIS
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Petra Kvitova takes a thrilling three-set final to win her eighth WTA final in a row

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Petra Kvitova came back from one set down in her thrilling 1-6 7-5 7-6 (7-3) win over local favourite Ashleigh Barty after 2 hours and 19 minutes to win her second title at the Sydney International and her eighth consecutive final. The number 5 seed lifted the 26th trophy of her career.

Petra Kvitova had beaten Ashleigh Barty in their previous two head-to-head matches at 2012 Roland Garros and in the Birmingham final in 2017 and triumphed in her last seven WTA finals.

Barty converted six of her nine break points and faced just one break point in the first two sets, but it was not enough to beat Kvitova, who clinched her eighth final in a dramatic third set.

Barty dropped four points in her first three service games and got an immediate break in the opening game after Kvitova made two double faults. The Australian player went up a double break with a deep return to build up a 3-0 lead. Kvitova held her first service game at love with an ace in the fifth game to get her first game on the scoreboard for 1-4, but Barty earned her third break to close out the first set 6-1 after 25 minutes.

Barty did not face any break points in her first eight service games of the second set. Both players went on serve until the seventh game, which went to deuce at 3-3. Barty held serve at deuce to take a 4-3 lead. Kvitova came back from 0-30 down in the eighth game to hold serve for 4-4. Kvitova earned a break point at 5-5 with a backhand down the line and converted her chance with her forehand before serving out the second set in the 12th game with a backhand winner on her second set point sending the match to the third set.

Both players stayed neck and neck until the last point in the decisive set. Barty won four straight points on return to break serve in the second game  to take a 2-0 lead and hit an ace to hold a tough service game at deuce. Kvitova pulled back the break in the fifth game at deuce with a backhand winner for 2-3. Kvitova converted her fifth break point chance in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead earning a chance to serve for the match. Barty broke straight back at 15 to draw level to 5-5, but Kvitova got another break for 6-5 to get her second chance to serve for the match. Barty broke straight back again after Kvitova made two consecutive double faults to set up a decisive tie-break. Kvitova got the mini-break with a forehand winner to take a 3-1 lead, but Barty pulled it back to draw level to 3-3 after a double fault from Kvitova. The Czech player hit two backhands to earn three match points at 6-3 and converted her first chance on the 10th point with a running crosscourt forehand winner to extend her winning streak in WTA finals to eight consecutive titles.

“I left everything out there. I was cramping in the end. It was such a great final, to be honest. It was a big fight until the end. That’s the way a final should be”, said Kvitova.

Kvitova clinched her 26th career title and her second win in Sydney four years after her triumph in the 2015 final against her compatriot Karolina Pliskova. Kvitova apologised to the Australian crowd for the defeat of the local star.

“Not to win at home. I feel sorry that she she could not make it today. She put everything out there. She really played a great game. One day you are going to make it for sure. If she plays like this the whole season, there is no chance she will not make the top 10”, said Kvitova in her on-court speech during the award ceremony.   

Barty lost the Sydney final for the second consecutive time one year after her 6-4 6-4 defeat against Angelique Kerber. Despite the disappointment for losing the title match against Kvitova, Barty can look back at a very successful week in which she beat two top-ten players Simona Halep and Kiki Bertens.

“I left everything out here and it was not quite enough”, said Barty after the match.

 

 

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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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