Simona Halep Fights Back To Win Following Scare At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Fights Back To Win Following Scare At Australian Open

It was a case of sweet revenge for the Romanian.



World No.1 Simona Halep overcame a severe scare at the Australian Open to defeat Nemesis Kaia Kanepi 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-2, in her opening match on the Margaret Court Arena.


The first round clash in Melbourne was a sense of deja vu for both women. Just four months ago, they clashed in the first round of the US Open. On that occasion Kanepi prevailed in straight sets. Halep looked on course to suffering the same fate in Melbourne, but produced a gutsy display to fight back from a set and a break down in what was a roller coaster encounter. Illustrated by Halep’s winner-error ratio of 25-16, compared to Knepi’s 50-62.

“I don’t want to remember that match because it was a tough one.” Halep joked about her previous US Open loss.
“It was a great atmosphere and it was a pleasure to come back here (to Melbourne) and win the match”
“I knew what I had to do to play against her, I knew that she is a very tough opponent. I had to be strong on my legs and believe that I could win the match.”

During what was a highly competitive first set, both players demonstrated their fighting spirit. Kanepi’s all or nothing shot-making was being matched by some sublime defensive play by Halep. Nevertheless, it was the Estonian that piled the pressure onto the world No.1. Leading by 6-5, Kanepi rallied her way to two set point opportunities, but failed to capitalize. However, the aggressive playing world No.71 dominated the tiebreaker to race to a 6-2 advantage. The 7-6 lead was then secured with the help of a delicate drop shot.

Breaking once more during the early stages of set number two, it appeared as if Kanepi would cruise towards the finish line. However, a tentative service game which concluded with a double fault enabled Halep to break back and revive her chances.

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The turn in events played into the hands of a determined Halep, who was forced to battle hard. Leading 5-4, she pounced on the Kanepi serve. Working her way to three set point opportunities before being denied by her opponent. It was on her fourth chance that Halep prevailed with the help of a backhand from her opponent landing beyond the baseline.

With a place in the second round at stake, both women refused to budge early on in the decider. It wasn’t until the sixth game where Halep got the breakthrough she desired. Kanepi, who began to be bothered by a blister on her left hand, hit two consecutive unforced errors from her forehand side that resulted in the top seed breaking for 3-2. From then on, the match was a foregone conclusion. Moving to a game away from victory, Halep clinched the win with the help of another mistake from across the court.

“It was good from me tonight and I’m really happy that I will play in the second round.” The world No.1 evaluated.

Scoring her 17th main draw win at the grand slam since making her debut back in 2011, Halep said she was feeling ‘confident’ as a result of her latest triumph. The world No.1 was yet to win a match this year going into the tournament and was hampered by a back injury towards the end of 2018.

“A lot of confidence because it is not easy to play against Kaia. Definitely the next round will be tough, but I look forward to getting back on court to try my best.” She commented when asked what she took from the match.

Halep will take on America’s Sofia Kenin in the second round. The 19-year-old defeated Veronika Kudermetova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, in her opening match.


Angelique Kerber wins all-German clash against Andrea Petkovic in Stuttgart



Two-time Stuttgart champion Angelique Kerber beat her compatriot Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-4 to reach the quarter final at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.


Kerber, who won two consecutive editions of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in 2015 and 2016, earned a break in the first game, but Petkovic broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Petkovic earned two break point chances at 2-1, but Kerber fended them off to hold serve for 2-2.

Kerber won four consecutive games from 2-2 to close out the first set 6-2 with a service winner.

Kerber earned her first break in the fifth game to take a 3-2, but Petkovic broke straight back to draw level to 3-3.

Kerber got the decisive break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead after a double fault from Petkovic. Both players went on serve in the next three games. Kerber served out the win on her fourth match point to reach the fifth quarter final of her career in Stuttgart. Kerber beat Petkovic for the seventh time in their nine head-to-head matches.

In the quarter final Kerber will face Kiki Bertens, who rallied from one set down to beat Belinda Bencic 4-6 6-3 6-4.

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Naomi Osaka Retains Number One Ranking With Victory Over Hsieh

Naomi Osaka maintained her grip on the World No.1 ranking with a serene straight-sets victory over Su-Wei Hsieh in Stuttgart.



Naomi Osaka (@PorscheTennis on Twitter)

Naomi Osaka ensured she will remain the World No.1 next week with a comfortable 6-4 6-3 win over Su-Wei Hsieh at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.


The Japanese player, who went to the top of the rankings for the first time when she won the Australian Open in January, can now no longer be overhauled by Petra Kvitova at this event.

Osaka achieved victory over her opponent from Chinese Taipei with a minimum of fuss. She did this by serving well throughout and digging in to survive one tricky service game early in the opening set.

Consequently, the World No.1 only needed to break Hsieh twice in the match. In the first set, she broke in the fifth game. In the second set, she broke to love in the first game.

Osaka nearly earned another break in game three, but the World No.24 hung on to keep the set reasonably competitive.

Although she did not require another break, the Japanese player achieved one anyway in the ninth game of the second set to polish off a routine win in just 86 minutes.

“I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself for the first few tournaments (after becoming World No.1) and that was the hardest thing to deal with,” Osaka said in her on-court interview. “But now I’m really having fun and enjoying myself a lot.”

The Japanese player will take on Donna Vekic in the quarter-finals. The Croatian dispatched Daria Kasatkina 6-1 7-5.

Bertens ousts Bencic to reach last eight

Kiki Bertens (@PorscheTennis on Twitter)

Kiki Bertens fought back from a set down to beat Belinda Bencic 4-6 6-3 6-4 and book her place in the quarter-finals.

The Dutchwoman, 27, is one of the best clay court players in the world. She has won five titles on the surface and reached two other finals. However, she has never been past the first round in Stuttgart before this week.

In her encounter with Bencic, Bertens’ serve made all the difference. She hit 20 aces and won an extraordinary 88% of points behind her first serve.

This meant the Swiss player was never able to put any sustained pressure on the World No.7’s serve. She only earned three break points in the whole match.

To her credit, Bencic seized the first two of these to gain the only break of the opening set and then go a break up immediately in the second set.

However, when her level dropped in the second game, Bertens broke straight back. And from that moment on, the Dutchwoman barely allowed the World No.20 to get a racket on any of her first serves.

Consequently, Bertens needed just two breaks of serve from that point on to win the match. She got the first in game eight of the second set and the second in game five of the decider. The World No.7 will now play either Angelique Kerber or Andrea Petkovic in the last eight.

Elsewhere in Stuttgart, Anastasija Sevastova overcame Laura Siegemund 6-4 6-3 to set up a quarter-final clash with Petra Kvitova and Anett Kontaveit beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-2.


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Anett Kontaveit Takes Down Garcia In Stuttgart

Anett Kontaveit started her clay court campaign in style with a straight-sets win over Caroline Garcia at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.



Anett Kontaveit (@PorscheTennis on Twitter)

Anett Kontaveit continued her excellent recent form with a 6-4 6-3 win over Caroline Garcia in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.


It was the ideal start to the clay court season for the Estonian, 23, who produced some of the best tennis of her career in her recent run to the semi-final of the Miami Open.

Despite her form, Kontaveit is under pressure this week in Germany. She has a lot of ranking points to defend after reaching the semi-final last year.

“The beginning was a little bit shaky for me but I love playing here and I really got into it,” the Estonian reflected in her on-court interview after the match.

Kontaveit’s early nerves handed Garcia four break points in her first three service games. However, the Frenchwoman failed to seize any of those opportunities.

She paid dearly for those failures. The Estonian earned a break in the seventh game and then won two service games to love to take the first set 6-4.

Garcia responded well to her disappointment initially. She held to love at the beginning of the second set. She then earned two break points in the next game.

But once again she failed to capitalise on those chances. And once again she was punished, as Kontaveit won her next three service games with ease.

This enabled the Estonian to put massive pressure on the Frenchwoman’s serve. That pressure led to consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games which got Kontaveit over the line by a 6-3 margin in the second set. She will now play either Julia Goerges or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round.

Bencic sets up exciting Bertens clash

Belinda Bencic (@PorscheTennis on Twitter)

Belinda Bencic beat Mandy Minella 6-2 6-4 to book a intriguing second-round meeting with Kiki Bertens.

The Swiss, 22, has lost both of her previous matches against the Dutchwoman, so this encounter will be a good test of how much she has improved since those defeats.

Bencic is enjoying a superb year so far. She won a Premier title in Dubai and reached semi-finals in Indian Wells and Hobart. She also advanced to the quarter-final of her most recent tournament in Charleston.

These results have propelled the Swiss player up from 55 to 20 in the world rankings. She is currently fifth in the Race to Shenzhen.

Bencic will be joined in round two by Victoria Azarenka, who overcame Vera Zvonareva 7-5 6-4, Donna Vekic, who earned a 6-1 7-5 win over qualifier Giulia Gatto-Monticone, and Su-Wei Hsieh, who fought back from a set down to beat Wang Qiang 4-6 6-3 6-4.

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