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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Novak Djokovic secures win for Serbia in Davis Cup Finals in Innsbruck

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Novak Djokovic eased past Dennis Novak 6-3 6-2 to secure a 2-0 win over Austria in Group F at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals in Innsbruck. 

 

Djokovic did not face a break point and won nine of the last eleven games to seal the win after 60 minutes. Djokovic has won his 16th consecutive Davis Cup match. The Serbian player dropped six points on his first serve and never faced any break points. He converted three of his five break points. 

Djokovic earned his first break in the eighth game with an unreturned serve to open up a 5-3 lead and closed out the first set with a hold at 15 in the ninth game after 30 minutes. 

Djokovic went up an early break at the start of the second set and opened up a 3-0 with a double break. Both players held serve in the next five games without facing any break points. Djokovic hit a backhand down the line winner to close out the match, as he was serving for the win at 5-2. 

“It feels great to play for Serbia again. We are part of an individual sport, but I love to play for my country and I try to play when they need me. It has a long year, but you always find extra motivation playing for your country”, said Djokovic. 

Earlier today Dusan Lajovic earned a late break in the third set to battle past Gerald Melzer 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-5 to give Serbia an early 1-0 lead. Lajovic wasted a break point but he came back to convert his fourth match point after 2 hours and 42 minutes. 

Spain beats Ecuador 3-0

Olympic bronze medallist Pablo Carreno Busta battled past Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to seal the win for Spain in Group A at the Caja Magica in Madrid. 

Carreno Busta wasted a 5-2 lead in the third set and two match points at 5-3, but he fought back to win the third-set tie-break 7-5 after 2 hours and 39 minutes. 

“I am very happy because it was a very important victory for the confidence and for the rhythm. In the second and third sets I felt more comfortable than in the first set. I had to continue fighting until the end because he played really well”, said Carreno Busta.  

Earlier on Friday Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez saved all five break point to beat Roberto Quiroz 6-3 6-3. 

“I still have the passion for the game. Without that passion I would not be here. I am 40 years old and have been playing on the Tour for such a long time and it is true without this passion it would not be possible to keep training each day. I have been waiting for moments like this, giving the first point to my country”, said Lopez. 

Carreno Busta and Marcell Granollers battled past Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-2) after 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

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Italy takes a 2-1 win over the USA in the Davis Cup in Turin

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Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner earned Italy a 2-1 win over the USA in the two singles matches in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals at the Pala Alpitour in Turin. 

 

Turin-native player Lorenzo Sonego beat US giant Reilly Opelka 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour and 31 minutes minutes. Sonego won 90% of his first service points and saved the only break point he faced at 3-3 before earning his first break at deuce in the eighth game after a double fault from Opelka to take a 5-3 lead. The local favourite served it out on his first set point. 

Opelka fended off a break point in the seventh game to hold serve at deuce. Both players went on serve in the next games en route to the tie-break without facing any break points. Sonego earned the decisive mini-break on the first point and held on his serve to win the tie-break 7-4. 

“It was not easy. It was the first time for me competing at the Davis Cup and I am really happy about the match. Thank you everyone”, said Sonego.

Jannik Sinner cruised past John Isner 6-2 6-0 after 1 hour and 2 minutes. Sinner won 9 consecutive games from 3-2 in the first set. Sinner broke twice in the third and seventh games to seal the opening set 6-2. Sinner went up a break in the first game before saving three consecutive break points in the second game. The Italian player earned two more breaks in the third and fifth games to take a bagel win in the second set. Sinner hit 16 winners to just 4 unforced errors. 

“Playing here was very special. Today we have already won. We have a great team and everyone is a great guy as well, so we are just trying to stay together. I am very honoured to be a part of this”, said Sinner. 

Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock edged past Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 1 hour and 36 minutes.  Fognini and Musetti went up a mini-break to take a 5-4 lead, but Ram and Sock won the final three points to win the tie-break 7-5. In the second set Fognini and Musetti wasted five break points. Ram and Sock earned two breaks in the first and fifth games to close out the second set 6-2. 

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Nicholas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert take decisive doubles match win in the Davis Cup

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This year’s Nitto ATP Finals champions Nicholas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert came back from one set down to beat Tomas Machac and Jiri Lehecka 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the decisive doubles match sealing a 2-1 win for France over Czech Republic in Group C of the Davis Cup by Rakuten in Innsbruck. 

 

Lehecka and Machac broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-3. Lehecka saved four break points, but they dropped their serve in the 10th game to lose the second set 6-4. Herbert and Mahut converted their second break point to close out the third set 6-3. 

“It was difficult because the Czech team played very well, and we arrived late from Turin. I thought we had a slow start, but in the second and third sets we played well”, said Nicholas Mahut. 

Mahut and Herbert saved four of the five break points and hit five aces to seal the win after 2 hours and five minutes. 

Twenty-one year-old Machac gave an early lead to Czech Republic with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 over French veteran Richard Gasquet on his Davis Cup debut in the opening singles match. 

Machac came back from a break down and broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. The Czech player earned four mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. Gasquet saved four break points in the first game of the second set, but Machac broke serve twice to win the second set 6-2. 

“It feels really good. I am so happy I played today and won today for Czech Republic. It was a really tough match from the beginning, mentally especially. I am really happy. In the tie-break I played really well without any mistakes. That was the crucial moment”, said Machac. 

Adrian Mannarino came back from one set down to beat Jiri Vesely 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-2 after 2 hours and 38 minutes. Mannarino won 77% of his first serve points. Vesely came back from 2-5 down in the first set to win the win the tie-break 7-1. Mannarino earned a break at love in the third game to win the second set 6-2. Vesely saved four break points in the first game of the third set. Mannarino broke twice in the third and fifth games to seal the third set 6-2. 

“I was trying my best to keep fighting. I served very well in the key moments, which helps. I got used to the speed of his serve He was serving very fast and at beginning it was tough. On his second serve at the end, I was putting a lot of pressure on it”, said Mannarino. 

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