Naomi Osaka Fights Back To Deny Vekic Famous Win - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka Fights Back To Deny Vekic Famous Win

Naomi Osaka battled back from a seemingly impossible position in the decider to edge out Donna Vekic and reach the semi-finals in Stuttgart.

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Naomi Osaka (@PorscheTennis on Twitter)

Naomi Osaka produced a remarkable third-set comeback to beat Donna Vekic 6-3 4-6 7-6(4) and advance to her first-ever clay-court semi-final on the WTA tour.

 

The Japanese player, 21, seemed certain to be heading for the exit door when she fell 5-1 behind in the decider. But she dug in and fought back to secure an unlikely win.

“(At 5-1 down) I told myself I didn’t want to have any regrets,” the Japanese player said in her on-court interview. “We’ve played and practised a lot before, but this is a big occasion so maybe (it got to her).”

She continued, “(Before I turned it around) I was stressed out and making a lot of excuses. But there comes a point where you realise you want to play the best you can.”

The first two sets were high-quality affairs. Both players served superbly and each set was decided by a single break.

In the opener, Osaka won 21 of 27 points on serve and earned the one break she needed in game six. After a couple of sloppy points from Vekic, the Japanese played pounced to move 4-2 ahead. She then quickly wrapped up the set 6-3.

In the second set, the Croatian served even better than she had in the opener. She won 24 of 35 points on serve and only allowed Osaka to take her to deuce once during those games.

However, the World No.1 also served well and there were no breaks in the first nine games. But then Osaka faltered just a little, and Vekic seized her moment and hit an excellent forehand winner en route to a set-sealing break.

Osaka wins crazy deciding set

Donna Vekic (@PorscheTennis on Twitter)

Nothing in those two sets hinted at what was to come in the decider. The Japanese player made a series of errors during the first six games and the Croatian took full advantage to storm into a 5-1 lead.

What happened next was extraordinary. Vekic went 30-0 up and was just two points from victory. But Osaka turned the game around to break and keep the match alive.

She then held to love to put the pressure on the World No.25 as she attempted to serve for the match again.

Vekic made errors after a couple of loopy returns from the Japanese player landed on the baseline. These lost points cost her dearly as the World No.1 broke again to make it 5-4.

Although the Croatian steadied herself to force a tie-break, Osaka produced some of her best tennis to win it 7-4 and seal her place in the last four.

Kvitova’s excellent year continues

Petra Kvitova (@PorscheTennis on Twitter)

Petra Kvitova recovered after losing the first set to beat Anastasija Sevastova 2-6 6-2 6-3 and progress to her fourth semi-final of the year.

The Czech, 29, offered up three break points in her opening two service games and her Latvian took two of them to open up a 4-0 lead.

After Sevastova wrapped up that set 6-2, Kvitova served much better in the second set. She recorded three easy holds to move into a 3-2 lead.

Then the World No.13’s level really dipped. She lost twelve points in a row – including eight on her own serve – to enable the Czech to level the match at one-set-all.

As is often the case, the decider was the closest set. Kvitova broke in the fourth game to lead 3-1. Sevastova broke back to make it 4-3. But the World No.3 then broke again to move 5-3 up, before clinching the win with a clinical hold.

 

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Caroline Wozniacki To Face Serena Williams In Farewell Match

Details have been released about a special event that will take place in honour of the former world No.1.

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After announcing her retirement from tennis at the start of next year, Caroline Wozniacki has confirmed that she will play one final match in her home country before hanging up her racket for good.

 

Danish media have reported that the 2018 Australian Open champion will play at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen next May. A multi-purpose arena that can hold a capacity of up to 12,500 people for sporting events. Described by the promoters as Wozniacki’s ‘final match’ on Danish soil, she will play against rival and friend Serena Williams.

“The time has come when I stop my career and I am very much looking forward to playing my very last home game in front of such a large audience. It will be something very special and a day I really look forward to.” Wozniacki told tv2.dk.
“The end point of my career cannot be better than at home and against tennis’ greatest female player ever. It’s going to be a magnificent night I’ll never forget, I’m sure.” She added.

Wozniacki has played Williams 11 times on the WTA Tour, but has only won one of their meetings. Which was at the 2012 Miami Open. It is not the first time the two have played an exhibition match against each other. In 2016 Williams won their encounter in Madison Square Garden, New York. Meanwhile, last year Wozniacki also played Williams’ sister Venus in Denmark to mark her triumph at the Australian Open.

The 29-year-old will be hoping that the upcoming showdown will be the perfect send off as she exits the sport. During her career, Wozniacki has won 30 WTA titles and spent 71 weeks as world No.1. She has also won 432 hard court matches, which is more than any other non-American player on the women’s tour.

“I want to thank everyone for the incredible support they have shown me throughout my career and I hope that as many people as possible want to come and give me perfect send off. I would be very grateful for that.” She said.

The farewell match will take place on May 18th, which is exactly a week before the start of the French Open for Williams.

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Indian Wells voted as the best WTA Premier Mandatory Tournament of the 2019 season

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The tournament awards are broken down into four categories, according to the four different levels of WTA Tournaments.

 

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells has been voted as the winner of the Tournament of the Year Award in the WTA Premier Mandatory category for the sixth consecutive year and the 11th time overall.

Dubai was voted as the winner in the WTA Premier 5 Category. There were two ties in the WTA Premier category and in the WTA International categories.

St. Petersburg won the WTA Premier Award fo the second consecutive year, while Stuttgart received this award for the 10th time.

Auckland won the WTA International category Award for the fourth time, while Acapulco received this accolade for the 12th time.

Petra Kvitova received the Karen Krantzcke Sportmanship Award for the seventh straight year and the eighth time overall. The list of past winners of this Award features Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva, Ana Ivanovic, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. The Karen Krantzcke Sportmaship Award is presented to the player, who observes the rules of fair play, shows respect for others and is gracious on and off the court.

“Receiving this award for the eighth consecutive year makes me very proud and means so much for me. Being recognized by my colleagues for sportsmanship and fair play is an honour as I always pride myself on treating my opponents with respect. I hope to inspire the future generations to love the sport of tennis as much as I do”, said Kvitova.

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Carla Suarez Navarro Set For One Last Season As A Player

The former top 10 player has outlined her retirement plans for 2020 as she embarks upon a farewell tour.

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Next year will be the final time tennis fans will see Carla Suarez Navarro on the tour after the Spaniard announced her retirement on Tuesday.

 

The former world No.6 confirmed her future plans during a press conference in Barcelona. She will play one full season in 2020 before walking away from the sport after playing for more than 10 years on the WTA Tour. Suarez Navarro is currently the second highest ranked female tennis player from Spain after Garbine Muguruza and is currently 55th in the world.

“The 2020 season will be my last year in the professional tennis circuit,” wtatennis.com quoted the 31-year-old as saying. “The sport has been a fundamental part of my life – it has given me immense joy and I cannot be more grateful for all the experiences that it has allowed me to live. At this time, I notice that the time has come to complete a beautiful chapter and begin to enjoy other areas of life. Tennis will always be in me.”

Known for her one-handed backhand shot, which is a rare occurrence in the women’s game, Suarez Navarro has enjoyed a successful career since her breakthrough in 2008. The year when she reached the quarter-finals of the French Open as a qualifier. During her career, she claimed two WTA titles with the biggest being at the 2016 Qatar Open. She also finished runner-up at nine other tournaments.

“Tennis right now has a very high demand. To be high in the ranking you need absolute consistency, a world-class level of physical conditioning and a 24-hour daily psychological commitment. I have been in high competition for more than 15 years and have lived through these realities since the beginning of my adolescence. These are lessons that have formed me as a person and that will serve me for a lifetime,” Suárez Navarro explained.
“I want to enjoy one last season with the same professionalism as always. I am going to do a quality preparation, my whole team is going to travel with me from the month of January and I plan to compete until the end of the season. My desire is clear: to be proud of this last effort when I reach the end of the road.”

Suarez Navarro has also enjoyed success in the doubles where she peaked at a high of 11th back in 2015. Her trio of trophies was won alongside Muguruza between 2014-2015. The duo also reached the semi-finals of the 2014 French Open.

Representing her country, the three-time Olympian has also featured in 15 Fed Cup ties. Including Spain’s clash with Belgium earlier this year when she won all three of her matches (two singles and one doubles). Overall, she has a win-loss record of 16-11 in the competition.

Despite knowing that next year will be her last as a player, the Spaniard has big ambitions for 2020. Including a fourth consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games.

“My goals are going to be as high as ever,” she stated. “I want to try to finish the year in the Top 10 because I know what it takes to be there. I am very excited to participate in another Olympic Games and, as always, I will have the Grand Slams in mind. Although it is the last season of my career, my mentality will be exactly the same: work, humility and ambition.”

Suarez Navarro will start her final season at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Four facts about Suarez Navarro’s career

  1. Her career prize money currently stands at $11,580,886. The third highest of all time for a Spanish woman.
  2. Has won 509 matches so far in her career against 336 loses.
  3. Between 2013-2016 Suarez Navarro finished each season in the top 20 for both singles and doubles.
  4. She has played in 43 grand slam tournaments and hasn’t missed the main draw of a major event since losing in the second round of qualifying at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships.

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