The Most Emotional Moments Of January 2019 - UBITENNIS
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The Most Emotional Moments Of January 2019

Here are some of the most emotional moments from the opening month of the 2019 season.

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Novak Djokovic (@USOpen - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

The first month of the year included an inordinate amount of dramatic highs and lows, both on and off the court, so we decided to highlight January 2019’s most emotional moments.

January 2nd: Wang Xinyu cramps and is forced to retire while leading her idol, Maria Sharapova.

The 17-year-old was up a set and a break in her home country before cramps set in. In a touching moment, Sharapova came over to console her young opponent, who was in tears after giving up the match.

January 5th: The thrilling end of the Hopman Cup final.

In the finals between Switzerland and Germany, it came down to the mixed double match featuring Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic against Sascha Zverev and Angelique Kerber. And in the final set tiebreak under “FAST4 scoring,” the championship ended up being decided by one final point, with the winners of the point winning the event. Federer and Bencic would win the dramatic last rally, and were ecstatic about defending their title in what will likely be the last Hopman Cup event.

January 6th: Julia Goerges cries after defending her title in Auckland.

The 30-year-old had been just a few points from being upset in the final by 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu, but crumbled to the court in tears after mounting a comeback to win this event for the second straight year.

January 10th: Andy Murray announces he plans to retire this year.

In easily the month’s most emotional moment, Murray told the press ahead of the Australian Open that he would be retiring due to his ongoing hip issues. Andy hoped to play until Wimbledon, but allowed for the possibility that the Australian Open may be his last professional event. Perhaps Murray’s hip resurfacing surgery at the end of the month will enable Andy to return to the court.

January 12th: Kvitova outlasts Barty in an epic Sydney final.

Kvitova was too exhausted to properly celebrate after this back-and-forth match that was decided in a final set tiebreak.

January 12th: Alex de Minaur wins his first ATP title.

The 19-year-old Australian did so on home soil, and after playing his semifinal match earlier that same day.

January 14th: Roberto Bautista Agut’s five-set win over Andy Murray.

Murray fought through the pain to comeback from two sets down, only to succumb to Baustista Agut in the fifth. It was a highly emotional scene on Melbourne Arena, with Andy’s mother Judy watching on with tears in her eyes.

January 15th: Kamil Majchrzak cramps and retires after holding a two-set lead over Kei Nishikori.

Kamil Majchrzak (@AustralianOpen – Twitter)

The 23-year-old was on the verge of the biggest win of his career, before losing 15 of the last 17 games in the match as his body gave out.

January 15th: Victoria Azarenka break down during her press conference.

This was hard to watch. Following a disappointing first round loss, Azarenka was asked about how she can draw strength from all she’s been through. Her time on the tour has been severely disrupted over the past few years by the birth of first child, and the subsequent nasty custody battle with the child’s father. After a long pause to let out some tears, Azarenka would say, “I’ve been through a lot of things, you know, in my life, and sometimes I wonder why I go through them. But I think they’re gonna make me stronger. I wanna believe that, and I’m gonna work hard for it.”

January 18th: Frances Tiafoe’s comeback win over Andreas Seppi.

Just two days after upsetting Kevin Anderson, Tiafoe came back from two-sets-to-one down to take out Seppi in five. Following a shirtless LeBron James-esque celebration, the 21-year-old was overcome when he sat back down. He would then go on to upset Grigor Dimitrov to advance to his first Major quarterfinal, which brought on even more tears, and another shirtless victory celebration.

January 20th: Stefanos Tsitsipas’ upset of Roger Federer.

In perhaps the Australian Open’s most memorable moment, the 20-year-old couldn’t seem to believe he had just upset the all-time great. His little brother was visibly emotional after watching Stefanos’ victory.

January 21st: Pablo Carreno Busta explodes after an over five-hour loss to Kei Nishikori.

Carreno Busta was ahead in the final set tiebreak, but didn’t win another point after a close call did not go his way. He had a right to be angry, as the umpire did not handle the situation well, but he allowed the call to completely unravel himself. His emotions came raging out as he left the court, an episode he would apologize for soon after.

January 22nd: Petra Kvitova brought to tears after reaching her first Major semi-final in five years.

When interviewed on-court by Jim Courier following her quarterfinal win, Petra broke down when asked if she ever doubted she would be back in the semifinals of a Grand Slam event.

January 23rd: Karolina Pliskova’s unlikely comeback victory over Serena Williams.

It was a bizarre scenario where Serena was called for a foot fault on match point, and then twisted her ankle as the point played out. Pliskova saved four match points overall after being down 5-1 in the third set, and the tears came quickly after she capitalized on a match point of her own.

January 26th: The great women’s final was emotional for both the victor and runner-up.

It was fulfilling to see Osaka get to fully enjoy a Major title, but the most emotional moment was when Kvitova thanked her team for sticking by her after the in-home attack that almost robbed her of her career.

January 27th: Novak Djokovic wins his third straight Major.

Djokovic never played better than in this dismantling of what he calls his greatest rival. His 15th Major obviously meant a lot to him.

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Elise Mertens Edges Simona Halep To Win Maiden Premier Level Title

Elise Mertens won the biggest title of her career with a three set win over former world number one Simona Halep in Doha.

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Elise Mertens (@elise_mertens - Twitter)

Elise Mertens won her first Premier title in Doha after edging out Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 6-3 in a dramatic final. 

The Belgian played some aggressive tennis as she tired out Simona Halep to win her first ever premier-level title of her career.

After a long medical time-out which lasted about eight minutes since the last point, Mertens came back from a set and a break to seal a great title which involved beating three top 10 players.

Despite losing a gruelling final, Halep will move back up to world number two heading into next week’s Premier 5 event in Dubai.

It was all about Halep for the first set and a quarter as she dictated the rallies with some sensation backhand shots, using her movement well.

Although there was good returning from Mertens, she couldn’t break down a very good Halep who just looked in control of every point.

After four breaks of serve, the Romanian inched closer towards the title as she took the first set 6-3 in 35 minutes. The Belgian needed to improve her first set to have a chance of winning the title.

The second set started with a share of breaks as Halep looked in fighting-fit shape to seal her first title of 2019 after a great week of tennis.

Then came the major talking point of the match as Mertens took an off-court medical time-out as the match didn’t restart until eight minutes later.

That would be the turning of the match as the Belgian controlled the match from that point onwards with some aggressive backhands and some neat serving.

As a result Halep’s momentum had been taken away as she struggled to cope with the break and couldn’t find her rhythm back.

With many break points not being converted by either player the world number 21 struck in the ninth game with a break to love and converted her first set point in the next game to force a decider.

After a Halep medical time-out, Mertens broke on the first game and a crucially long service hold was the big boost that the unseeded player needed.

It wasn’t to be Simona’s day as a third break in the set secured the best win of Mertens’ career so far to lift the Doha title.

https://twitter.com/WTA/status/1096831044647600134

After a disappointing Fed Cup campaign for Belgium, Mertens beat Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber and Halep today to ensure the best week of her career.

As for Halep she will return to world number two as the emotions of last weekend and the brutal wins of Julia Goerges and Elina Svitolina caught up with her today.

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Petra Kvitova Praises Dubai Field As Svitolina Given Tough Title Defence

Petra Kvitova has praised the Dubai field ahead of another great week in the Middle East as Elina Svitolina prepares to defend her title.

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Petra Kvitova (@AusOpen - Twitter)

Petra Kvitova has praised the Dubai field ahead of a tough week in the UAE as defending champion Elina Svitolina is handed a tough draw. 

The Australian Open finalist has praised the ‘unbelievable’ quality that is on show in Dubai as nine of the world’s top 10 are playing next week.

While Kvitova may not be looking ahead to the title she could face 7th seed Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals as the draw was announced today.

Defending champion Elina Svitolina has been given a tough path ahead of her title defence though as the likes of Donna Vekic, Garbine Muguruza and Naomi Osaka stand in her way.

Attending the draw ceremony alongside Eugenie Bouchard and Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova praised the tough Dubai field ahead of the tournament start on Sunday, “Every tournament is difficult, and this [field] is unbelievable,” Kvitova told The National.

“We have so many great players playing here. Of course, it’s always tough to win a tournament and it’ll be the same here.”

The draw has seen Kvitova potentially face Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals, with Caroline Garcia and Daria Kasatkina also in her section of the draw. As the prospect of reaching a third final in 2019 is not something to think about yet for the second seed, “It’s a long way to go so I’m not thinking of that.”

Meanwhile in the top half of the draw Elina Svitolina could face Donna Vekic as she faces a tough path to defending her title.

Other players in Svitolina’s section include Garbine Muguruza, who plays Dayana Yastremska in her opening match who beat her in Hua Hin a couple of weeks ago.

Also world number one Naomi Osaka awaits for the Ukrainian as the Australian Open champion looks to play her first tournament without the guidance of Sascha Bajin.

Here is the full draw with action beginning on Sunday:

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Dominic Thiem Edges Cuevas To Remain Unbeaten In Buenos Aires, Schwartzman Awaits

Dominic Thiem has extended his unbeaten streak to 11 matches in Bueno Aires after edging past Pablo Cuevas to reach the semi-finals.

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Dominic Thiem (@SectaDeportivaa - Twittter)

Dominic Thiem won an 11th consecutive match in Buenos Aires as he edged out Pablo Cuevas 4-6 6-4 6-3 to reach the semi-finals. 

After a slow start the Austrian won 73% of first service points to seal a place in the last four as he made it 11-0 in the Argentinian capital.

In the semi-finals he will play good friend and doubles partner this week Diego Schwartzman, who comfortably beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The other semi-final will see Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato take on Guido Pella, who saved match points against Jaume Munar.

There was a threat to Thiem’s unbeaten streak early on as his Uruguayan opponent got off to the perfect start with a break in the third game.

Struggling on serve and failing to create any break point opportunities Thiem surrendered the first set in 34 minutes to the world number 78.

However the world number eight adjusted tactically and remained focused on the task at hand as he took a 3-0 lead. Despite being broke back while serving for the set, the top seed broke straight back to force a deciding set as he looked a relieved figure.

The deciding set went in similar fashion with the only exception being that Thiem wasn’t broken back this time. After holding his lead from 3-0 up, Thiem served out the match to secure his first ATP semi-final of the season.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1096580571327799299

After edging past Cuevas, the world number eight will now play Diego Schwartzman in the last four in what is set to be a busy day for the duo.

Not only will they play against each other in singles, they will also team up with each other in doubles as they reached the semi-finals there as well.

The talented Argentinian defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-q 7-5 to reach the last four in his home country and will look to end Thiem’s unbeaten streak on Saturday afternoon.

The other semi-final will see Marco Cecchinato play Guido Pella with the action starting at 2pm local time.

While in New York the action starts at 4pm local time with Brayden Schnur taking on Sam Querrey and John Isner playing Reilly Opelka in the semi-finals.

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