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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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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