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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Alexei Popyrin and Alex Bolt crown a perfect day for Australian tennis at Wimbledon’s first qualifying round

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All eight Australian players came through the first Wimbledon qualifying round at Roehampton.

 

Teenager Alexei Popyrin defeated Argentina’s Federico Coria 6-2 7-5. The Aussie 19-year-old Next Gen player is currently in 11th place in the ATP Race to Milan and reached the third round at last January’s Australian Open, where he lost to eventual semifinalist Lucas Pouille. Popyrin has not played a match on grass since playing the Wimbledon Junior tournament in 2016.

Former Australian star Pat Cash, who won at Wimbledon in 1987, has joined Popyrin’s team at Wimbledon and was in his corner.

“I slipped a couple of times here and there, but I like the grass. It suits my game pretty well and we have got a few things to work on with the team, but we will get there”, said Popyrin.

Alex Bolt came back from a set and a break down to beat Italian 17-year-old rising star Jannik Sinner 2-6 7-5 12-10 after 2 hours and 36 minutes.

“I got out of jail free card there. I don’t know how I won that. For a set and and a half Jannik completely outplayed me and I could not have a play on the ball. He was by far the better player on court. He played some quality tennis and I just weathered the storm”, said Bolt.

Jason Kubler overcame Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen 6-2 5-7 7-5. Kubler was just two points away from losing the match, as he was serving at 4-5 0-30, but he reeled off 12 points to clinch a hard-fought win.

 Germany’s Dustin Brown beat China’s Zhe Li 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 after 1 hour and 21 minutes. The German player of Jamaican origin recently beat Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter final in Stuttgart. Four years ago he upset Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

 

 

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Simona Halep Threatens To Boycott Fed Cup If Revamp Takes Place

The 27-year-old has criticised proposals to change the format of the team competition.

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Simona Halep (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former world No.1 Simona Halep has said she will stop playing in the Fed Cup if the International Tennis Federation removes home and away ties from the competition.

 

In recent months there has been speculation that the women’s team event will soon follow the path of the Davis Cup, which has undergone a controversial reform. Where the finals will take place at the end of a year over a week in a neutral location. The driving force behind the changes to the Davis Cup is Kosmos. An investment company founded by Barcelona footballer Gerald Pique. Kosmos has pledged to invest $3 billion over 25 years.

“I love the Fed Cup and I would never change that,” Reuters News quoted Halep as telling reporters in Eastbourne on Monday.
“If Fed Cup changes I won’t play any more. I like the format now so if they change, it will be tough because Fed Cup means to play home and away.”

Halep helped guide Romania to the semi-finals of the Fed Cup this year in what has been their best performance since 1973. Overall, she has won 22 out of 32 matches played since her debut back in 2010.

“To play at home, it’s the best feeling,” she said.
“I’ve played many years in Fed Cup and the best feeling is to be at home with all the people that come to support and also away you have to manage the emotions and the pressure.”

Earlier this month, ITF president Davis Haggerty vowed to revamp the Fed Cup in order to keep it in line with the men’s equivalent. Although he hasn’t outline an exact date as to when this will take place. Haggerty is seeking re-election this year and has outlined his plans in his manifesto.

“Fed Cup reform is a key focus of the Board in 2019, with the ambition to implement a similar Fed Cup World Cup of Tennis with a minimum of 16 teams in the World Group 2020 and to play one round of qualifying and an eight or 12-team Fed Cup Final in April 2020 in one location. This also aligns with the ITF Gender Equality initiative that we introduced in 2018 and continues to ensure tennis is a welcoming sport.” Sport Business quoted Haggerty as saying.

On Thursday an announcement is expected to be made about the future of the Fed Cup by the ITF in a press conference.

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‘Devastated’ British No.3 Katie Boulter Withdraws From Wimbledon

There is bad news for home fans at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

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Katie Boulter (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

One of Britain’s top female players has said they are ‘absolutely devastated’ to withdraw from the Wimbledon Championships after failing to recover in time from injury.

 

Katie Boulter confirmed on Sunday that she has decided to withdraw from the grand slam following medical advice. The world No.127 hasn’t played a match since the Fed Cup back in April due to a back injury. Pulling out of French Open, where she still received a payment of £20,000, as well as a series of grass-court events.

‘As you are all aware, I’ve recently been recovering from a back injury that I suffered during Great Britain’s Fed Cup victory back in April,’ Boulter said in a statement published on social media.
‘The road to recovery has had its ups and downs; at various points along the way I’ve been very close to getting back on court and competing, but unfortunately I’m not quite ready in time for Wimbledon, and on the advice of my medical team, I’ve made the decision to give my recovery a couple more weeks.”

Boulter has been ranked as high as 82nd in the world and claimed two ITF titles in 2018. However, she is yet to achieve such success so far this season. Failing to win back-to-back main draw matches at six consecutive tournaments prior to her back injury.

‘I am absolutely devastated to be missing my home Grand Slam and the opportunity to play in front of our incredible fans but sadly I won’t be 100% fit.’ Boulter explained.
‘Wimbledon is the most special tournament of the year for me and I can’t wait to get back on the grass courts next year. I’d like to thank everyone for their support over the past few months; it’s only motivated me to come back stronger.’

The 22-year-old made her main draw grand slam debut in Wimbledon back in 2017 where she lost in the first round to Christina McHale. 12 months later she won her first ever grand slam match at the All England Club when she defeated Aleksandra Krunic.

The Wimbledon Championships will get underway a week on Monday.

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