Kiki Bertens Triumphs In Russia As Yastremska Topples Tomljanovic In Thailand - UBITENNIS
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Kiki Bertens Triumphs In Russia As Yastremska Topples Tomljanovic In Thailand

Both women overcame some stern resistance from their opponents to win their first title of 2019.

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Second seed Kiki Bertens has become the first Dutch player to win the St Petersburg Open after downing Donna Vekic 7-6(2), 6-4, in the final on Sunday.

 

Bertens, who won her first WTA title back in 2012, had never previously reached the final of a Russian event prior to this week. Her route to Sunday’s clash saw her dropped only one set in four matches played. Scoring back-to-back wins over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Aryna Sabalenka. Meanwhile, Vekic’s route saw her stun Australian Open runner-up Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals followed by a win over veteran player Vera Zvonareva.

Despite being ranked 22 places higher than her opponent, Bertens was under pressure early on in the match. A double break in Vekic’s advantage resulted in the Croat racing to a 5-2 lead. Despite the blip, Bertens clawed her way back to level 5-5, before taking the opening set into a tiebreaker. She then went on to race through the tiebreak, which she closed out with the help of a carefully placed serve down the middle of the court.

The roller-coaster battle continued in the second set with changes in momentum taking place. Bertens managed to open up a set and a 3-1 lead, before having her serve broken once again. The pivotal moment for the world No.8 occurred at 4-4. Nearing towards the finish line, she broke for a 5-4 advantage with the help of a costly double fault from across the court. Serving for the match, Bertens clinched victory with a backhand shot that clipped the top of the net before landing on Vekic’s side.

“I remember in my mind the last time I was playing Donna I had match-points, too, and then I lost the match. So I was really focused there and I am happy I managed to finish it in that game.” Bertens said afterwards.
“It is great to be here (in St Petersburg). It was a great week.”

Bertens fired eight aces past Vekic and converted four out of her five break point opportunities. Both women produced 33 unforced errors, but the second seed produced 27 winners compared to her opponents tally of 16. The result extends Vekic’s title drought, which dates back to June 2017.

“Congrats to Kiki and your team. You were too good for me today,” said Vekic. “I’m really looking forward to playing doubles with you in Indian Wells.
“Sorry, (coach) Torben (Beltz) we are going to have to wait a little bit longer for that first title, but at least the finals are getting bigger.”

Bertens now has 10 WTA titles to her name. St Petersburg is the first indoor tournament she has won on the tour at the age of 27.

Yastremska fights back from the brink

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At the Thailand Open in Hua Hin, 18-year-old Dayana Yastremska staged an emphatic final set comeback to win her second WTA trophy. Taking on Australia’s Anja Tomljanovic, Yastremska rallied back from 2-5 down in the decider to prevail 6–2, 2–6, 7–6(3).

After racing through the opening set in just 35 minutes, the Ukrainian started to fade as the match progressed. A game away from defeat, Yastremska took a medical time out in what proved to be a turning point. Upon the resumption of the match, the teenager was freely moving around the court as she claimed four consecutive games to revive her chances. Raising questions about if she deliberately used a tactical time out.

Weathering the storm, Yastremska went on to prevail in the tiebreaker. A Tomljanovic backhand into the net rewarded her with three championship points. She converted her first with the help of a blistering forehand cross-court winner.

“The match was really tough for me,” wtatennis.com quoted Yastremska as saying following the match. “The first set I played maximum, and the second set, I felt that I can’t play like that, like how I played the first set, and I didn’t know what’s going on. I tried my best, and I tried to do the same things I was doing in the first set, but it’s just feelings like you’re empty, completely empty. I don’t know how to describe that.”
“But in the third set, when I was losing 5-2, I remembered one thing, which happened before this tournament, and it really helped me to go through and take extra power, and finish with a win.”

Despite her young age, Yastremska has won two out of her past five tournaments on the tour. Her first triumph was at the Hong Kong Open where she didn’t drop a set on route to her maiden title.

When the WTA rankings are updated on Monday, Yastremska will rise to a ranking high of 34th.

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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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Tennis Player Robbed At Challenger Tournament

An 27-year-old player from Argentina was left with only two tennis rackets after having a series of items stolen by somebody wearing a tournament badge.

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Andrea Collarini (photo via https://twitter.com/andreacollarini)

Argentinian world No.304 Andrea Collarini has fallen victim to crime after having a series of his belongings stolen from his bag whilst at a Challenger event in America last week.

 

The incident took place shortly after his third round win over seventh seed Bjorn Fratangelo at the Sarasota Open. Collarini said he left his bag ‘for two minutes’ whilst going to book an appointment with the physio. When he returned, he discovered a man in his 50s looking through his bag. The individual is described as having a Portuguese accent and was wearing a tournament badge. Although nobody knew who he was.

“I try to chase him, but unfortunately the parking lot was next door and he was probably already in his car.” Collarini wrote on Twitter. “This person who stole from me had a tournament badge, but nobody knew him. Some players told me he asked for photos and he had a Portuguese accent.”

The items that were stolen from the Argentine include three tennis rackets, numerous pieces of clothing and a bag of 25 wristbands.As a result of the robbery, Collarini said he was left with only two rackets to use for the remainder of the tournament. Something that affected his practice sessions.

“I went to ask for help from the organization of the tournament, and the only measure they took was to walk through the courts, as if by doing so they would find the thief. I asked them to close the country club’s exit and verify the belongings of the people who were leaving, but nobody did anything.” The former top 200 player recounted.
“It is a shame that these things happen in professional tournaments, which could be avoided by complying with the required security established in the ATP rulebook.” He added.

It has emerged that the security cameras at the tournament was turned off at the time. Although it is unclear as to why this was the case. A police report has been submitted and an image of the alleged thief has been posted on social media by the tennis player.

Despite his ordeal, Collarini reached the semi-finals in Sarasota. His best performance at a Challenger event since Panama City in April 2018. He was knocked out of the tournament by Tommy Paul, who went on to win the title.

Collarini’s full statement

 

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Monte Carlo Unlikely To Stage Women’s Tournament Despite Its Success

Will the world’s best players on the women’s tour ever get a chance to place at the Monte Carlo Country Club?

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photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision

The chances of the Monte Carlo Masters staging a WTA event are slim due to a series of barriers, according to the tournament director.

 

This year marked the 113th edition of the Monte Carlo Open, which was won by Fabio Fognini on Sunday. The tournament has been categorised as a Masters 1000 tournament since 2009 and welcomes top players to the venue every year. Rafael Nadal is the most successful player at the event with 11 titles to his name.

At the Monte Carlo Country Club in France, the tournament has been a hit with both players and fans due to it’s breathtaking views. This year 135,656 spectators travelled to the event along with 400 journalists from 16 countries. Despite the popularity, tournament director Zeljko Franulovic admits that hosting a women’s event is not feasible due to a lack of space.

“There were some ideas, proposals, even projects that have been envisioned, but when you think about the fact of adding 56 or 60 players in the main draw plus doubles, plus training courts, and you have to deal with all the scheduling, and you have men and women, it is quite complicated.” Franulovic told reporters on Sunday.
“So even though we have managed to change for the better, we do not have more square meters. The surface still stays the same. So it’s not the same as if it was Miami or Indian Wells where there is no problem of space. But we have made the decision to keep our men’s tournament and improve the quality.”

During the clay season, there are three tournaments that host both men’s and women’s tournaments. The Madrid Open, Italian Open and the French Open. Whilst it may not be feasible for Monte Carlo to stage both tournaments at the same time, would they contemplate holding a WTA competition at a different date?

“We have to be aware of the fact that in the Principality, the dates and the seasons along the year are very specific. For instance, in spring we have our tournament here. Then we have the Formula 1, the Grand Prix. And then summer arrives very soon, and people go on holidays. People are on the beach.” Franulovic explained.
“It is difficult to organize such a tournament and expect to have a big development of such women’s tournament. So if we separate men’s tournament from the women’s tournament, we are not going to benefit from the power and the attraction that the men’s tournament will have. For instance, if we decide to organize it in July, it’s going to be, like, on their own.”
“Another point is that we need to assess the price, particularly the costs and the prize money, because of course the prize money has to be at the same level for the women as for the men. So we need to draw a really solid business plan and do our accounting before actually going into that venture.”

The Monte Carlo Masters are not actually located in Monaco, despite its name. It is held in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, which is located in south-eastern France.

Next year’s tournament will get underway on April 13th.

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