Victoria Azarenka beats Margarita Gasparyan to set up a blockbuster second round match against Petra Kvitova - UBITENNIS
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Victoria Azarenka beats Margarita Gasparyan to set up a blockbuster second round match against Petra Kvitova

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Former world number 1 and twice Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka claimed a 6-4 6-1 win over Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan in the first round of the St. Petersburg Ladies Open.

 

In a hard-fought first set featuring four consective breaks of serve, Gasparyan rallied from a break down to draw level to 3-3. Gasparyan fended off three break points in the seventh game to hold serve for 3-4.

Azarenka broke serve in a nine-minute game to take a 5-4 lead and served it out for the first set.

Azarenka got an early break in the first game of the second set. The two-time Grand Slam champion went up a double break on her fourth break point chance in a marathon 13-minute third game to take a 3-0 lead. Gasparyan pulled one break back in the fourth game, but Azarenka won the final three games to win the second set 6-1 after an hour and a half.

Azarenka secured her spot in the second round, where she will face 2019 Australian Open finalist and Sydney champion Petra Kvitova. The Czech player leads 4-3 in their seven head-to-head matches, but they have not met since 2015.

Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova followed up her quarter final at the Australian Open with a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 (7-4) win over France’s Alizé Cornet. Pavlyuchenkova earned a double break to open up a 4-1 lead. Cornet pulled both breaks back to draw level to 4-4. Pavlyuchenkova got the decisive break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead and served out the first set 7-5 at deuce. Both players traded breaks six times in the second set. Pavlyuchenkova went down a break at 0-2 and at 1-3, but she broke back both times. Pavlyuchenkova got another break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead, but Cornet broke back in the next game to draw level to 4-4. Both players held their next service games setting up a tie-break. Pavlyuchenkova got the mini-break to take a 3-1 lead and won the final three points to win the tie-break 7-4 setting up her next match against Jelena Ostapenko, who beat 2018 finalist Kristina Mladenovic 6-1 0-6 6-0 after 82 minutes.

Ostapenko broke three times and won 71% of points behind her own serve to win the first set 6-1. Mldenovic bounced back by winning the second set with a bagel thanks to three consecutive breaks. Ostapenko cruised through to a bagel win in the decider with three breaks in the second, fourth and sixth games. The 2017 Roland Garros champion converted six of seven break points.

 

 

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Anastasia Sevastova overcomes Jelena Ostapenko in all-Latvian clash in Stuttgart

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Number 7 seed Anastasija Sevastova overcame 2017 Roland Garros champion and 2018 Stuttgart Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 4-6 6-0 after 1 hour and 49 minutes in an-all Latvian first-round clash in the Porsche Indoor Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

 

Sevastova converted seven of her fourteen break points to edge her compatriot Ostapenko in their first ever head-to-head clash at WTA level.

Sevastova will take on either Lesla Tsurenko or German wild card Laura Siegemund. The German player won her home tournament in 2017 and reach the final in 2018.

Sevastova got the first break of the match in the third game of the opening set to take a 2-1 lead. Sevastova saved two break points in the next game to hold serve for 3-1 in the fourth game. Both players fended off two break points in the next two games, but Sevastova got the break in the seventh game to take a 5-2 lead. Sevastova hit an ace to earn a set point, as she was serving for the first set at 5-2. She sealed the first set in the ninth game, after a wide return by Ostapenko.

Ostapenko bounced back by winning the first five games of the second set with a double break. The 2017 Roland Garros champion wasted two set points, when she was serving for the set at 5-1. Sevastova pulled one of the two breaks back on her fourth chance for 2-5. In the ninth game Sevastova pulled the second break back to get back on serve at 5-4 after two double faults from Ostapenko.

Ostapenko broke serve from 0-30 down in the 10th game to seal the second set 6-4 sending the match to the third set.

Sevastova broke serve in the opening game of the third set and came back from 0-40 down to hold serve to open up a 2-0 lead. Sevastova went up a double break in the third game and fended off two break points to hold serve for 4-0. Sevastova broke for the third time earning a chance to serve for the match. She held serve at love to clinch a bagel set securing her spot in the second set.

Kasatkina fights back to beat Mertens

Daria Kasatkina recovered from 1-4 and 3-5 down in the second set to edge 2018 Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens 7-6 (10-8) 7-5

Kasatkina earned the first break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Mertens broke straight back and held her serve in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 after saving a break point. Mertens went up a 4-1 lead and earned a set point at 6-5 in the tie-break, but Kasatkina bounced back by winning five of the next seven points to win the tie-break 10-8.

Mertens broke twice to take a 5-3 lead in the second set, but Kasatkina fought back by winning four consecutive games with two breaks in the ninth and eleventh games to win the second set 7-5. Kasatkina will face either Croatia’s Donna Vekic or Italian lucky loser Giulia Gatto Monticone.

 

 

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Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza Withdraw From Stuttgart

The draw for the women’s tournament has been redone after the two former world No.1 players pulled out.

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Simona Halep (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

The Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart has been hit with a double withdrawal after Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza pulled out for different reasons.

 

Reigning French Open champion Halep is currently suffering from a hip injury that she sustained over the weekend in his country’s Fed Cup tie against France. The Romanian played in two singles and one doubles match during her country’s 3-2 defeat.

“It happened against Garcia in the first set, when I fell down,” Halep commented about her injury on Tuesday. “I felt pain in the hip.
“If I’m not 100%, I don’t want to step on the court. I’m also exhausted mentally because I gave my everything in that tie.
“It feels bad because I gave everything. I’ve been very sad for the last two days. I’ve been through these moments many times, but I just need to relax and recover.”

Despite the setback, it is understood that the injury is not serious and will unlikely have an impact on Halep’s plans for the rest of her clay-court campaign. So far this season, the 27-year-old has won 18 out of 24 matches played. Reaching the semi-finals in Miami and the final in Doha.

“I stopped because there’s a two-week break, so it’s enough time to recover. I just want to go home and relax myself,” she said.

Halep was in a three-way race to claim the No.1 spot this week prior to her withdrawal. Now the only way Naomi Osaka can lose her top spot is if she crashes out in her opening match and Petra Kvitova goes on to win the title.

Elsewhere, Muguruza will miss the tournament for the first time since 2014 due to Gastrointestinal illness. It is the second consecutive year the Spaniard has been forced to quit the tournament. In 2018 she retired during her second round match due to a lower back injury. Muguruza recently won her first title of the season at the Monterrey Open in Mexico.

In the women’s draw, Angelique Kerber has now moved into Halep’s second seed position. Muguruza’s planned opponent Victoria Azarenka will now play lucky loser Vera Zvonareva. Meanwhile Donna Vekic, who would have played Kerber, faces Giulia Gatto Monticone.

 

 

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Amanda Anisimova Enters Winners Circle In Bogota After Edging Out Sharma

Amanda Anisimova edged out Astra Sharma to win her maiden WTA title.

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Amanda Anisimova (@mnaEN - Twitter)

17 year-old Amanda Anisimova won her first ever WTA title after edging past Astra Sharma 4-6 6-4 6-1 in Bogota. 

 

The American, who has been tipped for big things in Tennis, battled back from a set and a break down to win her first WTA title in Bogota.

It means that Anisimova is the youngest American to win a WTA title since Serena Williams in 1999 and is destined for many more titles in the future.

Meanwhile in Lugano another 17 year-old Iga Swiatek just fell short of her first title as she lost to Polona Hercog 6-3 3-6 6-3.

The match saw a nervous start as both players were going for their first title of their career. After the first five break points where converted, Sharma was the first one to hold for a 4-2 lead.

Eventually the American held herself before both women broke each other again in a very messy first set. The Australian held at the end of the set as she secured the opening set.

It was a positive start from Sharma, who was looking to do the double in Bogota after winning the doubles title with Zoe Hives yesterday.

A reassured Sharma took a 3-2 lead, breaking twice, and it was looking increasingly likely that she would be the one to claim her first singles title.

However Anisimova started to gain confidence off her serve and her movement was looking better as the match went on.

A fix on the timing of the return saw the American break twice more as she took the second set 6-4 to force a decider.

The 17 year-old then took charge of the final set as she mixed up her serving and showed a lot of confidence on the backhand side.

After saving a couple of break points, she held for a 3-0 lead as the Australian was missing simple shots as she had no clear decision making.

Eventually Anisimova remained poised and confident to secure her first ever WTA title and to become the youngest WTA winner since Serena Williams in 1999.

https://twitter.com/WTA/status/1117486116465041408

It was a mixed day for the juniors after Wimbledon Juniors champion Iga Swiatek fell short of her first WTA title after a 6-3 3-6 6-3 defeat to Polona Hercog.

The Slovenian showed more experience and grit to overcome a confident Swiatek to claim her third career WTA title.

This week’s results means now their have been 18 different winners in 18 different tournaments on the WTA tour, which is an unprecedented feat.

 

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