Venus Williams Edges Past Mertens In Rome Epic - UBITENNIS
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Venus Williams Edges Past Mertens In Rome Epic

Venus Williams beat Elise Mertens in a marathon three-set match in Rome despite missing out on eight match points.

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Venus Williams overcame Elise Mertens 7-5 3-6 7-6(4) in a marathon first-round match in Rome that lasted three hours and five minutes.

 

The American, had not played since March and at times the rustiness showed in her game, but it is a testament to her winning mentality that she came through it despite missing a remarkable eight match points.

It looked like it would be easier for Venus when she took control of the deciding set and stormed into a 5-2 lead.

She then established a 40-15 advantage on serve and it seemed certain that the match would be over seconds later. However, the American faltered and Mertens stepped up and saved both match points.

Unsurprisingly, Venus soon had another chance to finish it. But she could not take that one either, and the game got more extraordinary after that.

Venus earned three more match points (taking her total to six) and Mertens had three break points before she finally took her fourth to keep the match going.

The Belgian kept the pressure on the World No.50 by holding serve to make it 5-4. This meant the American had one more chance to serve for the match.

The drama continued. Venus earned two more match points and Mertens saved them both. Then the World No.20 earned one break point and took it to level the set – incredibly – at 5-5.

Briefly, it appeared as though the American would win the set 7-5 when she broke to lead 6-5. However, the Belgian quickly snuffed out that possibility by breaking to love.

Compared to the chaos of the set up to that point, the tie-break seemed routine as Venus took it 7-4. Understandably, she looked very relieved that she had won.

Venus and Mertens share first two sets

The first set was very tight. Venus made a good start and got an early break. Then her level dipped and Mertens broke straight back to make it 2-2.

That exchange of breaks set the pattern for the rest of a rollercoaster set. The American broke to lead 4-2 and the Belgian dragged it back to 4-4. Then Mertens broke to earn a chance to serve for the set, only for Venus to deny her breaking straight back.

The World No.50 built on that break with a hold to put the pressure on the Belgian at 6-5. Unfortunately for Mertens, she succumbed to that pressure with two double faults and a sloppy error to hand Venus a set-sealing break.

Venus looked confident at the beginning of the second set and she raced through her first three service games.

However, despite carving out four break point opportunities during that time, the American failed to take any of them. It ended up costing her, as Mertens broke her in the seventh game to lead for the first time in the set.

The Belgian consolidated that break with a love hold which opened a 5-3 lead. She then capitalised on an error-strewn ninth game from Venus to break again and seal the set. A remarkable decider followed.

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Jennifer Brady cruises past Elina Svitolina in Dubai

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US qualifier Jennifer Brady upset 2017 and 2018 Dubai champion Elina Svitolina 6-2 6-1 in one hour at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Brady hit three consecutive backhand to hold serve. She did not face any other break point in the rest of the first set and won nine consecutive games.

 

Brady broke Svitolina in the sixth game with a bakhand down the line and in the eighth game, as Svitolina sent a backhand into the net.

Brady earned two consecutive breaks in the second game of the second set to open up a 4-0 lead. Brady wasted a 40-0 lead on her serve in the fifth game. Svitolina pulled one of the two breaks back, but she dropped her serve for the third time. As Brady was serving for the match, she came back from 0-30 down and sealed the win with her fifth ace.

Kristina Mladenovic reached the second round with a 6-4 6-3 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Sasnovich held a 4-1 record in her five head-to-head matches and won all their three previous clashes played on hard-court.

The first set was marked by seven breaks in the first ten games. Sasnovich went up a break three times, but Mladenovic broke back each time to draw level to 4-4. Mladenovic closed out the first set with a break in the 10th game thanks to an inside-out forehand return.

Mladenovic opened up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game and closed out the second set on her third match point with a forehand winner with a forehand winner after 1 hour and 33 minutes. The French player set up a second round match against Karolina Pliskova in a re-match of the first round match at the Australian Open. Pliskova beat Mladenovic in straight sets, but the the French player scored a 6-4 6-2 in their first clsh played in Dubai in 2017.

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova rallies from slow start to beat Belinda Bencic in Dubai

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova came back from one set down to beat defending champion Belinda Bencic 1-6 6-1 6-1 in 1 hour and 30 minutes reaching the second round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Bencic reeled off the first 19 points of the match to win seven of the first eight games of the match. Pavlyuchenkova bounced back by winning 12 of the last 13 games to clinch her 15th career top 5 win. The Russian player clinched only the second of her six head-to-head matches against Bencic and her first victory against her Swiss rival since Washington 2015. Bencic had won her past three clashes against Pavlyuchenkova at the 2018 Hopman Cup, at Wimbledon 2019 and in the Moscow final 2019.

Bencic earned her first break in the second game after four consecutive unforced errors from Pavlyuchenkova. The Swiss player went up a double break to open up a 4-0 after Pavlyuchenkova made three double faults.

Pavlyuchenkova stopped a losing streak of 19 consecutive points in the fifth game at 15-40 down, but Bencic held her service game at deuce. Bencic missed a point for the bagel, as Pavlyuchenkova won her first game with a service winner. Bencic served out the first set in the next game with consecutive unreturned serves.

Bencic earned an early break at the start of the second set after two double faults from Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian player turned around the match by winning six consecutive games to win the second set 6-1.

Pavlyuchenkova broke at love in the second game and earned the second and third breaks in two deuce games. Pavlyuchenova won a return game for 5-1 with a drive volley and served out on his first set point, as Bencic sent her pass long.

Pavlyuchenkova earned an immediate break with three consecutive winners. The Russian player, who reached the final in Osaka and Moscow, went up a double break to take a 3-0 lead. Bencic pulled back one of the two breaks in the fourth game. Pavlyuchenova broke for the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. She broke Benci for the seventh consecutive time, as Bencic hit her backhand in the net.

“As soon as I won one or two points, I was like right, this is something I need to keep doing. I was trying to realize why I won it, what did I do right. I was just trying to find that rhythm”, said Pavlyuchenkova.

 

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Marketa Vondrousova eases past Anastasija Sevastova in Dubai

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Last year’s Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova eased past Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and nine minutes to reach the second round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Vondrousova saved all five break points she faced and converted three of her four chances. The Czech player built up a 4-1 lead with a break in the opening set. Sevastova earned two break-back points at 4-2, but Vondrousova held her serve after four deuces.

Sevastova held serve at love for 5-3 forcing Vondrousova to serve for the set. Vondrousova earned three set points with a dropshot winner and converted her first chance with a drop volley.

Vondrousova earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead in the second set and backed it up to open up a 3-1 lead. Vondrousova went up a double break in the seventh game and converted the first of her three match points with an ace to set up a second round match against either Elina Svitolina or US qualifier Jennifer Brady.

Vondrousova made her come-back at last January’s Australian Open after undergoing surgery last year.

“I know Sevastova is a good player. We played once. I expected a tough match. It was a late match, so I had to stay calm. I am just happy with my win”,said Vondrousova.

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