Belinda Bencic Claims Dubai Title With First Win Over Kvitova - UBITENNIS
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Belinda Bencic Claims Dubai Title With First Win Over Kvitova

Belinda Bencic beat Petra Kvitova for the first time to earn her second WTA Premier 5 title in Dubai.




Belinda Bencic (@HopmanCup on Twitter)

Belinda Bencic won the second WTA Premier 5 title of her career by beating Petra Kvitova 6-3 1-6 6-2 in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.


The Swiss, 21, has performed brilliantly this week. She beat top ten players in four consecutive rounds: Aryna Sabalenka, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Kvitova.

And this win, her first over Kvitova, ends an unhappy sequence of three straight-sets losses against the Czech.

This week’s run has strong echoes of the last title Bencic won in 2015, when she beat Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Serena Williams and Halep en route to glory in Toronto.

“It’s been an amazing tournament for me,” Bencic said in her on-court interview. “I tried to get as many balls back as possible to today to put pressure on Kvitova and I’m so happy that I continued (to do that).”

The Swiss player’s success in Dubai was particularly impressive from a physical point of view, as she won four consecutive three-set matches to earn the trophy.

“I feel great actually,” she said. “My head got me through. After this tournament, I will be very tired and I will take some rest. We worked a lot on my fitness so maybe that was the secret.”

Bencic also paid tribute to her father, Ivan, who is also her coach. “He gets more nervous than me,” she said. “He is amazing and he is always here for me. So is my mum, who is home watching.”

Strong start sets Bencic up for famous win

Petra Kvitova (@AustralianOpen on Twitter)

Bencic made a fantastic start to the match. She broke Kvitova to love in the opening game and served well to open up a 3-1 lead.

She then earned another break by taking charge of the points on the Czech’s serve. However, she quickly surrendered it with a poor service game.

Ultimately that lapse did not matter for the Swiss, as she held to lead 5-3 and then broke Kvitova for a third time in the set to clinch it 6-3.

Somewhat surprisingly, Bencic’s level dropped massively in the second set, and Kvitova took full advantage to hit a succession of trademark winners from both sides.

The Czech broke the Swiss in the first and third games to race into a 4-0 lead, and then hit three consecutive winners to earn another break in game seven.

But to her immense credit, Bencic did not let that poor set bother her. She remained rock-solid on serve in the decider, and this enabled her to put pressure on Kvitova by getting back as many as balls as she could when the Czech was serving.

The plan worked superbly, as the tired-looking World No.4 made a string of errors to surrender her serve twice and allow the Swiss player to establish a commanding 5-2 lead.

Although Kvitova fought hard when Bencic was serving for the match, the 21-year-old once again demonstrated her composure as she saved two break points to restore the score to deuce.

The Swiss player then took her second match point when Kvitova hit a backhand long. She shook her fists excitedly and let out a roar of delight. Bencic is now well and truly back in the big time.


Tereza Martincova and Belinda Bencic reach the quarter final in Ostrava




Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova upset Roland Garros Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) after 2 hours and 19 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 


Martincova claimed her third top 20 win of her career and reached her second quarter final on home soil this season after finishing fourth in Prague. 

Pavlyuchenkova earned the first break to take a 4-3 lead and served for the first set in the 10th game, but she never reached a set point. The Russian player came just two points away from winning the first set at 5-4 30-15, but Martincova won four consecutive points before winning the tie-break 7-5. 

Martincova dropped just eight points in the first six games of the second set. The Czech player fended off two break points to consolidate her lead for 2-0. She raced out to a 7-6 (7-5) 5-1 lead, but Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to hold serve forcing Martincova to serve for the match. Martincova dropped four consecutive points. Pavlyuchenkova got another break, when Martincova was serving for the match for the third time at 6-5. Martincova went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Pavlyuchenkova drew level to 4-4 before saving a third match point. Martincova won the final two points to claim the tie-break 8-6. 

Martincova set up a quarter final match against Maria Sakkari, who beat last week’s Luxembourg finalist Jelena Ostapenko. 

This year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo in just 88 minutes. Bencic claimed her 15th win in her last 18 matches. Bencic broke six times and reeled off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set to cruise through to a a straight-set win. Sorribes Tormo saved a break point to win her first game for 1-4 and pulled one break back in the sixth game, but Bencic sealed the win with her third break in the ninth game. “I think I prepared well for this match tactically, and also mentally, because it’s very tough. You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface, where it’s very slow. I am happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match”, said Bencic. 

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Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Indian Wells, Unclear If She Will Play Again This Year

There is no official word but it looking increasingly likly that the world No.8 might have pulled the plug on her 2021 season.




Japan’s Naomi Osaka has officially withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells just weeks after saying she will take a break from the sport due to personal reasons.


The former world No.1 hadn’t played a match since her loss to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open. Speaking to reporters in New York, Osaka said she didn’t know when she would play another match on the Tour. Earlier this year she opened up about her mental health struggles after revealing she has been suffering from social anxiety and depression. Osaka also took time away from the sport during the summer after pulling out of the French Open before deciding to skip Wimbledon.

“This is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry,” she said following her loss to Fernandez.
“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”

Osaka’s withdrawal from Indian Wells was confirmed by the tournament who published an announcement on social media. Although they didn’t specify what reason she used to withdraw from the tournament which is one of the biggest events outside of the Grand Slams in terms of ranking points and prize money on offer.

It was Indian Wells where Osaka won her first prestigious title back in 2018 after defeating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets. The following year she was the top seed in the draw but lost to Belinda Bencic in the fourth round.

There has been no official comment from Osaka or her team about Indian Wells and if she will play again this season. Although it looks increasingly unlikely. She is in with a chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals in November but even if she does make the cut it is unclear if she will attend the event which has been relocated from China to Mexico.

This year Indian Wells will get underway on October 4th which is more than six months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Simona Halep Ends Six-Year Collaboration With Coach Cahill

One of the longest coaching partnerships on the WTA Tour has come to an end.




Former world No.1 Simona Halep is on the lookout for a new coach after unexpectedly announcing her split from Darren Cahill on Wednesday.


The two-time Grand Slam champion has been working with the Australian mentor for most of the time since 2015. There was a brief period where Cahill stepped away from his duties to spend more time with his family before later returning. Under his guidance, the Romanian reached the top of the world rankings and featured in the final of three major tournaments, winning two of those.

“After six wonderful years working together, Darren Cahill and I have decided that it’s time to end our working relationship,” Halep wrote on social media. “Thank you D for everything, for making me a better tennis player and a better person.”

55-year-old Cahill is a former player himself who has also worked with a series of top players prior to Halep. In the past, he has coached both Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to world No.1 at different stages of their careers. Doubles specialist Horia Tecău reportedly told Romanian TV that it was rumoured Cahill received an annual salary in the region of one million euros during his time with Halep. Although this has not been verified.

The announcement comes a week after Halep married Macedonian businessman Toni Iuruc. One of those who attended the event was Illie Nastase who was one of the world’s best tennis players during the 1970s, winning both the French Open and US Open.

I didn’t know anything about Simona’s intention to break up with Darren Cahill. It took me a little by surprise. But Simona Halep has proven she knows what she’s doing. As I did not know, I do not see what I could comment. But there is no question of collaborating (with her),” Nastase told
I didn’t talk to her about this or to anyone else in her entourage… I think only Simona knows who her future coach will be. I trust her choices.”

So far in 2021 Halep has achieved a win-loss record of 15-7 during what has been a rollercoaster season. An Achilles injury forced her to miss both the French Open and Wimbledon, as well as the Tokyo Olympics. Since returning to the Tour from her injury she has won back-to-back matches in one out of three tournaments played. Reaching the fourth round of the US Open.

There has been no official word on who may replace Cahill as Halep’s coach.

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