Kiki Bertens rallies from a bagel loss in the first set to edge Camila Giorgi - UBITENNIS
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Kiki Bertens rallies from a bagel loss in the first set to edge Camila Giorgi

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Number 5 seed Kiki Bertens rallied from one set down to edge Camila Giorgi 0-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 in just under two hours in the first round of the Qatar Total Open in Doha.

 

Giorgi hit 35 winners to just 15 for Bertens, who won 80 % of her first service points in the third set to claim a come-back win.

Giorgi forced a long backhand from Bertens to earn the first break for 2-0 in the second game. Giorgi came back from 15-40 down in the fourth game to get the second break for 4-0. In the fifth game the Italian rallied from 0-40 down to hold her service game for 5-0. She broke for the third time at love with a backhand down the line winner to close out the first set with a bagel.

Bertens won her first game by holding her serve for 1-1 before getting the break in the third game for 2-1 after three double faults from Giorgi. The Italian player pulled back the break in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Bertens got another break in the seventh game and earned two set points on Giorgi’s serve at 5-3, but the Italian fended them off with a forehand winner and an ace. Giorgi broke serve to draw level to 5-5 after a series of unforced errors from Bertens.

In the tie-break Giorgi raced out to a 5-1 lead, but Bertens hit an ace to claw her way back to 2-5. The Dutch player won three consecutive games to draw level to 5-5. Bertens sealed the tie-break 9-7 on her fifth set point.

Bertens hit a crosscourt forehand winner to break serve in the second game of the third set for 2-0. Giorgi pulled the break back to close the gap to 2-3 and held serve to draw level to 3-3. Both players traded breaks again before Bertens held serve for 5-4. Bertens earned three match points. Giorgi fended off the first chance with a forehand winner, but Bertens wrapped up the match on the second opportunity, when Giorgi hit her backhand wide. Bertens now leads 2-1 in her head-to-head matches against Giorgi.

Jelena Ostapenko overcame Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1 4-6 6-2 after 1 hour and 45 minutes in a re-match of the second round match played in Doha last year. Ostapenko, who reached the final in Doha in 2016, converted serven of her twenty break points. After losing their first clash in Doha last year Ostapenko has beaten her Romanian rival in their last two clashes in Eastbourne 2018 and Doha 2019.

“I remember that match from last year, and I think I was kind of rushing with my game a lot and I was making a lot of unforced errors. Today I think the first set I played really well, but something changed a little bit, but I managed to win it”, said Ostapenko.

Ostapenko rallied from 0-40 down to earn three break points and claimed the break with a crosscourt backhand winner. The 2017 Roland Garros champion won all 12 of her service points and broke twice more to seal the opening set 6-1.

Buzarnescu fended off four break points in her first service game, before earning her first break points of the match in the fifth game and got the break to take a 3-2 lead. A streak of five consecutive breaks followed. Buzarnescu saved two break points at 5-4 to get back to deuce. The Romanian player held serve to seal the second set 6-4.

Ostapenko saved four break points before claiming her first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead, when Buzarnescu made her 12th double fault. Ostapenko saved one break point to hold serve for 4-1. The Latvian player hit a return winner at 5-2 to earn her first match point on Buzarnescu’s serve. Ostapenko sealed the match on her first opportunity, when Buzarnescu sent her forehand long.

Ostapenko set up a second round match against Elina Svitolina. The Latvian player leads 2-0 in their previous two head-to-head matches.

Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova upset number 7 seed Anastasjia Sevastova 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 after 1 hour and 43 minutes.

World number 95 Blinkova broke serve at 30 in the first game of the opening set. The Russian player, who beat Samantha Stosur in the final round of the qualifying round, was broken back, as she was serving for the first set at 5-4. Blinkova broke again at deuce to take a 6-5, but she dropped serve in the 12th game sending the first set to the tie-break. Blinkova closed out the tie-break, when Sevastova netted two consecutive shots.

Blinkova converted her second break point chance in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead. Sevastova called a medical time-out a game away from dfeat but she rallied by breaking back at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5, when Blinkova made her sixth double fault. Blinkova sealed the win with a break on her second match point, as Sevastova hit her forehand into the net.

Julia Goerges started her Doha campaign with a 6-2 6-2 win over Alja Tomljanovic after 1 hour and 17 minutes. The German player broke twice in each set and saved all eight break points she faced.

Qualifier Karolina Muchova beat Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-2. Carla Suarzer Navarro dropped just four games in her 6-3 6-1 win over Ons Jabeur. Elise Mertens dropped her serve only once in her 6-4 6-2 win over Katerina Siniakova.

 

 

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Alexander Zverev Continues To Struggle After Jarry Defeat In Barcelona

Alexander Zverev’s poor recent form continues as he goes out in Barcelona in three sets to Nicolas Jarry.

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Alexander Zverev (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Alexander Zverev continues his poor 2019 season after losing 3-6 7-5 7-6(5) in Barcelona to Nicolas Jarry.

 

The German battled back from a double break down in the final set however after wasting a match point, couldn’t beat the powerful Chilean.

It means that Zverev has only won three matches in five tournaments since reaching the Acapulco final, where he lost to Nick Kyrgios.

It was a positive start for the recently turned 22 year-old after he played fairly aggressively and took the first set 6-3 with some great play.

After a consistent first set, the German failed to control the match to his tempo as Jarry rallied back in the second set with some aggressive play of his own.

The Chilean brings an aggressive game to the court and has the confidence to beat anyone on his day although he is yet to win an ATP title.

A run of five games saw Zverev’s confidence get knocked as Jarry levelled the match and stormed into a double break lead in the decider.

If there is a positive to take from the ATP Finals champion’s play today, it’s the fight he showed to rally back and show some much-needed energy.

After breaking in three consecutive games it was a controlled match from both as this was a big match for both in their respective seasons.

A simple backhand miss on match point didn’t help Zverev as the world number 81 forced a final set tiebreak to settle the match.

In the end after a nervy 12 points, it was Jarry who kept his cool to earn one of the biggest wins of his career as Zverev continued his bad run of form.

Since falling ill in Acapulco, the German has only won three matches in five tournaments and admits he is in a dilemma, “I’m in a hole and I don’t know how to get out of it,” the German explained.

“I just play bad, it’s not a secret. I’m missing backhands all over the places, which is my best shot. I cannot make one impressive shot. I’m double faulting.”

The German now has titles in Munich and Madrid to defend before final points in Rome as he goes through the toughest time of his career.

As for Jarry he will now play Grigor Dimitrov or Fernando Verdasco in the third round.

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Tough draws for Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep at the Porsche Indoor Grand Prix in Stuttgart

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Reigning US Open and Australian champion and world number 1 Naomi Osaka has been drawn in the same quarter as two-time champion Angelique Kerber and Hsieh Su Wei at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, which features six of the top 10 players of the WTA Ranking. The tournament takes place on indoor clay at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart.

 

Osaka will make her second appreance in the star-studded Stuttgart tournament after losing to Great Britain’s Johanna Konta in the opening round in 2017. The Japanese player, who is receiving a bye from the opening round, is on a collision course for a possible second round match against Hsieh Su Wei, who will make her debut in the Stuttgart tournament against Qiang Wang in the first round.

Last year’s Roland Garros champion Simona Halep could face crowd favourite Andrea Petkovic in the second round. The Romanian player could meet either Kiki Bertens or this year’s Dubai champion Belinda Bencic.

Defending champion and this year’s Miami champion Karolina Pliskova will take on the winner of the blockbuster match between Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka. In this section Caroline Garcia has been drawn with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, who reached the semifinal in Stuttgart last year and in Miami in 2019. Garcia contributed to the win in the decisive doubles match alongside her teammate Kristina Mladenovic in the Fed Cup semifinal against Romania in Rouen.

In the bottom half of the draw this year’s Australian Open finalist and Sydney champion Petra Kvitova could meet the winner of an all-Latvian first round clash between 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko and Anastasjia Sevastova.

 

 

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Fabio Fognini lifts his maiden Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo

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Fabio Fognini beat Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4 in the final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters to win the maiden Masters 1000 title of his career. Fognini has become the first Italian to win in the Monte-Carlo Country Club since Nicola Pietrangeli in 1968.

 

Fognini, the first Italian player to reach the final in the Principality since Davis Cup captain Corrado Barazzutti lost to Bjorn Borg in 1977, is the lowest player to win the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title since Gustavo Kuerten in 1999. Fognini was on the verge of defeat in the first round when he trailed 4-6 1-4 during the second set against Andrey Rublev.

In the next rounds Fognini went on to beat 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev in the third round, Borna Coric in the quarter final in another three-set match after trailing 1-6 0-2. 11-time Monte-Carlo champion Rafael Nadal in the semifinal and Dusan Lajovic in the final.

Fognini is the first Italian champion in the Masters series since 1990. Since 2005 the only three other champions in the Monte-Carlo champions have been Rafael Nadal (eleven times from 2005 to 2012 and from 2016 to 2018), Novak Djokovic (twice in 2013 and 2015) and Stan Wawrinka (2014)

In his first head-to-head match against Lajovic Fognini saved two of the four break points he faced and broke serve four times. The Italian player hit 19 winners to 23 unforced errors, while Lajovic produced a ratio of 16 winners to 36 mistakes.

Lajovic earned the first break of the match in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, but Fognini broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to win five of the next six games.

Both players traded breaks in the first and second games of the second set. Fognini earned the decisive break to take a 3-2 lead, when Lajovic sent a forehand long. Fognini received a medical time-out to treat his ankle, but he held his next three service games to close out the match with a service winner on his second match point.

Fognini will reach his career high of world number 12 just 5 points behind Marin Cilic. He is just 250 points away from the top 10.

“I was born near Monte-Carlo and it’s awesome to win this tournament. Congratulations to Dusan. You have a great team. your coach José Perlas trained me in the past. Continue to work hard. It will be your time soon. I thank my team. This year I started badly. Thanks to my wife Flavia for her support. Thank to my town Arma di Taggia. I want to thank the Tournament Director Zeliko Franulovic. I dedcate this trophy to my mother, who will celebrate her birthday tomorrow”, said a delighted Fognini during the award ceremony.

 

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