Sofia Kenin and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova set to clash in Hobart final - UBITENNIS
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Sofia Kenin and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova set to clash in Hobart final

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US 20-year-old player Sofia Kenin reached her first WTA singles Final at the WTA International tournament in Hobart after beating 2016 champion and number 6 seed Alizé Cornet 6-4 6-2 after 1 hour and 19 minutes in the semifinal.

Sofia Kenin qualified for her maiden WTA singles final in Hobart confirming her recent good form one week after claiming her maiden doubles title in Auckland with her Canadian partner Eugenie Bouchard.

Kenin, who was playing her third semifinal after Mallorca and Quebec in 2018, came back from one break down in the second set to beat Cornet 6-4 6-2. The young US player converted four of her seven break points and dropped her serve only once. Cornet, who beat Kenin 6-1 6-3 in their only previous head-to-to-head match in Cincinnati qualifying round last summer, dropped her serve in the third game after hitting two double faults. The French player did not convert two break points in the sixth game. Kenin broke serve with a smash winner and served out the first set with a running forehand winner in the eighth game.

Cornet got an early break in the second game of the second set to open up a 3-0 lead. Kenin played a great return game in the fourth game to break back for 1-3. Kenin got another break in the seventh game and fired a backhand cross court winner to take a 5-3 lead. She served out the match in with a service winner at 5-4 setting up a final against 24-year-old Slovakian player Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who battled past Belinda Bencic 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 30 minutes in a match featuring 23 break points.

Both players traded breaks four times in five games. Schmiedlova opened up a 4-2 lead, but Bencic reeled off three consecutive games to take a 5-4 lead thanks to a double break in the seventh and ninth games. Schmiedlova broke serve at love, while Bencic was serving for the set at 5-4. Schmiedlova won the tie-break 7-2. Bencic went up a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Schmiedlova pulled both breaks back to 4-5, but Bencic got another break in the 10th game to win the second set 6-4 forcing the match to the third set. Schmiedlova bounced back by breaking serve twice in the fifth and seventh games to open up a 5-2 lead and served out the hard-fought match with a hold at 15.

“It feels so amazing to be in the final here. I still can’t believe it, because I was not expecting this at all. It was especially tough against Belinda. I have known her since I was a child. We practice together sometimes and she is a really good friend of mine. So it was not an easy match. She is a great player, but it’s a really great feeling the way I played”,said Schmiedlova.

 

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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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