Simona Halep Crashes Out In Rome - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Crashes Out In Rome

Simona Halep suffered a shock early loss in Rome when she was defeated in three sets by Marketa Vondrousova, while Madison Keys also lost.

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Simona Halep (@MutuaMadridOpen on Twitter)

Simona Halep’s frustrating year continued with a surprising 2-6 7-5 6-3 loss to Marketa Vondrousova at the Italian Open.

 

The Romanian, 27, has lost two WTA Premier finals in 2019 – in Doha and Madrid – and she lost to Serena Williams in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Halep was also defeated by Vondrousova at Indian Wells, which could have made today’s loss even more difficult to accept. However, she seemed quite relaxed about it in her press conference.

“It’s been a little bit tough because we had to stay here till late yesterday,” the Romanian said. “But it was the same for everybody so I cannot complain about that. I just couldn’t win today.”

She continued, “Actually, I have extra days off, which is good, so I will enjoy the rest of the days here and try to be ready for the French Open.”

The World No.2 played well in the opening set. She got the better of the Czech in all the big moments and saved all four of the break points she faced. Crucially, Halep was also clinical when she got the chance to break Vondrousova. She seized two out of three break points to win the set 6-2.

Vondrousova finds a way to beat Halep again

But the World No.44 began to disrupt the Romanian’s rhythm with her variety in the next two sets – much like she did at Indian Wells.

Vondrousova used the drop shot particularly well. When Halep was trading with her from the baseline, she picked her moments to employ the stroke perfectly and ended up with 14 drop shot winners as a result.

The Czech also held her nerve superbly as the tight second set came down to one game right at the end when she led 6-5. She put Halep under pressure and took her second break point to level the match.

In the decider, the Romanian appeared to be struggling with a leg injury. This ruined the contest somewhat, but Vondrousova was undeterred as she clinically closed out the set 6-3.

The Czech will face Daria Kasatkina in round three after the Russian overcame Katerina Siniakova 2-6 6-4 6-1.

Keys suffers shock loss

Madison Keys (@VolvoCarOpen on Twitter)

Madison Keys followed Halep out of the exit door after shock 6-7(2) 6-3 6-4 loss to compatriot Sofia Kenin. The American, 24, won her first clay-court tournament in Charleston last month. However, she has struggled to reproduce that form since.

She was not the only American who had a bad day. Sloane Stephens, the 2018 French Open finalist, lost 6-7(3) 6-4 6-1 to Johanna Konta.

It was an excellent performance from the Brit, who is starting to look more comfortable on clay since her recent run to the final in Rabat. She will face Venus Williams next.

Amid all that seeded carnage, four of the most prominent WTA players survived. Garbine Muguruza outlasted Danielle Collins 6-4 4-6 6-2. Madrid Open champion Kiki Bertens edged out rising star Amanda Anisimova 6-2 4-6 7-5. Naomi Osaka beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-3. And Petra Kvitova demolished Yulia Putintseva 6-0 6-1.

Kristina Mladenovic also continued her recent resurgence with an impressive 6-2 2-6 6-1 win over the in-form Belinda Bencic.

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Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber reach the second round in Bad Homburg

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Former Grand Slam champions Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber won their first-round matches over qualifiers at the inaugural edition of the Bad Homburg Open. 

 

Kvitova came back from one set down to beat Katarzyna Piter 4-6 6-1 6-4 in nearly two hours. Kvitova fought back from an early break down in the final set. The Czech player was playing her first match since suffering an ankle injury three weeks ago. 

Kvitova hit ten aces, but she dropped serve three times. Piter earned a break point in the seventh game with a lob winner and converted her chance to take a 4-3 lead. The Polish player did not face another break point. 

Kvitova broke twice in the second and sixth game to win the second set 6-1. Piter earned an early break to take a 2-0 lead in the third set after a series of forehand errors from Kvitova. Kvitova broke three times in the next five games to take a 4-3 lead. The Czech player earned a match point at 5-3. Piter saved it to hold serve. Kvitova hit double faults on her next two match points at 5-4. 

Kvitova hit her tenth ace on her fourth match point to seal the win setting up a second round match against Ann Li. 

“I felt kind of a mix of emotions. I was pretty to be back on the grass. On the other hand, I thought I was probably going to play a little bit better. It was my third hit after my injury, so i probably expected a little bit more from myself, so I probably expected a little bit more from myself than I really showed today. In the end I won, so that’s a pretty good result. I found a few games where I really played good grass tennis, and that’s what I will have to take with me”, said Kvitova.

Angelique Kerber cruised past Ekaterina Yashina 6-1 6-1. The three-time Grand Slam champion broke twice in the first set and three times in the second set. “It’s a great feeling to win the first match, especially here in Bad Homburg, which is a really special tournament fot me. To play in front of the home crowd, it’s always something I am looking forward to and really excited about”, said Kerber.

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Ons Jabeur claims her first WTA title in Birmingham

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Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur clinched the first WTA title of her career with a 7-5 6-4 win over Daria Kasatkina at the Viking Classic in Birmingham. 

 

Jabeur became the first Arab player to win a WTA Tour title. The Tunisian player had lost her previous two finals to Kasatkina in Moscow 2018 and to Astra Sharma n Charleston in 2021. Jabeur is tied for most match wins on the WTA Tour along with world number 1 Ashleigh Barty. 

Jabeur converted five of her ten break points against Kasatkina, who has claimed two WTA titles earlier this season. 

Jabeur earned her second break at 3-3 in the first set with a dropshot and a lob. Jabeur earned three set points at 5-3, but Kasatkina forced errors from Jabeur to hold serve. The Russian player forced Jabeur to serve for the set at 5-4. Jabeur dropped her serve, but broke serve once more to take a 6-5 lead with a dropshot return winner. Jabeur served out the first set with a backhand winner down the line. 

Jabeur broke twice in the second set to race out to a 4-0 lead. Kasatkina saved a break point and held serve with an ace for 1-4. The Russian player pulled one break back to claw her way back to 3-4 with groundstroke winners. Jabeur earned her first match point at 5-4 and hit a forehand to force an error from Kastakina closing out the match. 

“I knew I had to go for it, I had to win this title to at least breathe, and give an example. There are not a lot of Tunisian or Arabic players playing, so I hope this could, and I want to see more Arabic players and Tunisians playing with me on Tour. The last time we played was in Moscow and I was crying, it was a great battle ”, said Jabeur.Marie Bouzkova and and Lucie Hradecka beat Jabeur and Ellen Perez 6-4 2-6 10-8 in the Match Tie-Break.

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Samsonova Battles Past Bencic To Win Maiden Title In Berlin, Gets Wimbledon Wild Card

The Russian qualifier has stunned the tournament with a run that also seen her defeat Madison Keys and Victoria Azarenka.

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image via https://twitter.com/bett1open

Liudmila Samsonova is the 2021 Bett1 Open champion after pulling off another upset by beating number five seed Belinda Bencic 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 in front of a capacity crowd on Steffi Graff Stadion under hot and humid conditions.

 

The 22-year-old underdog caps off what has been a fairytale run in Germany for the qualifier. Prior to the tournament Samsonova had never beaten a top 20 player in her career or reached a Tour final. Against Bencic she hit 28 winners to 15 unforced errors and won 66% of her service points.

” I was so nervous today even before the match and during the first set so after the first set I took a toilet break and told myself to play a more aggressive game and it worked,” Samsonova said following her triumph.

It was world No.12 Bencic who got off to a fast start by holding serve comfortably and than the following game setting up the first break chance with a return forehand winner before the Russian would double fault twice in a row to give the early break. At 3-0 the Swiss found herself again at double breakpoint and managed to seal the it en route to taking the first set in just 28 minutes.

However, the second set was the total opposite with underdog Samsonova holding serve and breaking the very next game with a powerful forehand winner. Like Bencic in the first set, she turned her lead into a double break and served out the second set.

The Russian carried the momentum into the third and deciding set earning a chance to break in the first game and the world No.12 would double fault to give the break. At 4-2 the world No.106 had a chance to go up a double break but Bencic managed to save it and hold serve before going on the offensive. The Swiss had two chances of her own to go back on serve but the Russian saved all three breakpoints she faced.

At 5-3 the Samsonova had two chances to seal the match and the title on her opponents serve. Bencic saved the first one but the world number 106 would seal the win on the second.

In her post match press conference Samsonova explained how once she levelled the match was able to close it out.

” I was trying to keep my game going and try to be aggressive on my first shot and my serve and on the return and that is what I was focusing on”.

The young Russian now has her sights sets on Wimbledon as she awarded a main draw wild card after the match.

“They just told me that I’m going to have the wildcard for the main draw, so I’m so happy,” she said.

Samsonova is the 10th first-time WTA champion this season.

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