Angelique Kerber Outplays Halep In Thrilling Quarter-Final - UBITENNIS
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Angelique Kerber Outplays Halep In Thrilling Quarter-Final

Angelique Kerber played some superb tennis to beat Simona Halep in a high-quality quarter-final in Eastbourne.



Angelique Kerber (@BBCSport on Twitter)

Angelique Kerber put on a stunning exhibition of grass court tennis to beat Simona Halep 6-4 6-3 at the Nature Valley International.


The German, 31, has always loved grass. She has made it to the semi-final stage or further in seven tournaments on the surface. And she her enjoyed three of the best weeks of her career this time last year when she made it to the semi-finals in Eastbourne and then won her first Wimbledon title.

Kerber’s success on the lawns looks set to continue for a long time. She dealt with everything Halep threw at her today and came up with a medley of outstanding winners – most of them on her lethal forehand side.

“It’s never easy to play Simona, but I played really well from the first point today, especially in important moments,” the German said.

“I was hitting the ball good, really deep, and moving well. It was quite a good match from my side.”

She continued, “I’m feeling good so far here. Every tournament is different. I’m focusing right now on my semi tomorrow and not thinking too much ahead.”

Kerber elaborated, “I know that when I am in the car to Wimbledon, a lot of emotions and memories will come. Wimbledon for me is something special, something magic. When I finish here, my whole focus and my heart will be there.”

The environment in Eastbourne suits Kerber’s personality. “It’s better to be here (this week). It’s a little bit quieter than Wimbledon right now, so I prefer to stay here a little bit longer.”

Kerber takes control

Kerber made a great start to the quarter-final. She attacked Halep’s serve and gained two breaks in the first five games to move 4-1 ahead.

As is typical of her character, the Romanian responded by immediately wrestling one of the breaks back. She then served better for the rest of the set to force the German to serve for it at 5-4, which she did.

Halep made a strong start to the second set. She went 40-15 up in the opening game after controlling the first four points.

Then Kerber turned the game on its head with four brilliant points. On the first, she flashed a forehand return past the Romanian. Then she dragged Halep around the court to force into a couple or errors and earn break point. Finally, she unleashed another forehand winner to seize the break.

The World No.7 looked shell-shocked for the next two games as the German won them both in the blink of an eye. Unsurprisingly, Halep called for her coach.

Halep makes Kerber work for the win

Simona Halep (@BBCTennis on Twitter)

Whatever Daniel Dobre, it worked, as the 2018 French Open champion played a series of superb points to get herself back into the match.

First, Halep hit a return that landed on the baseline. Next, she manoeuvred Kerber around the court and put away a volley. Then the Romanian unfurled a delightful drop shot to earn a break point.

The German saved that one, and two more, before Halep procured another chance with a remarkable backhand winner that was achieved with hardly any backswing whatsoever. She then forced Kerber into an error to secure one of the breaks she needed.

The Romanian continued to play well for the rest of the match and there were some amazing rallies for the crowd to enjoy. However, the German came up with exactly the right shot time and again.

In game six, Kerber hit a lob, a forehand winner and a backhand winner. Then, in game seven, she hit two forehand winners. In game eight, she hit an extraordinary forehand winner around the net post. And in game nine, she bested Halep in an incredible rally to set herself up for yet another forehand winner.

Shortly after that rally was over, the match was too, as Halep succumbed to the German’s relentless pressure and surrendered her serve. When the final ball landed out, the crowd showed their appreciation for both players’ performances with loud cheering and rapturous. The match was a great advert for women’s tennis.

Halep reflects on her time in Eastbourne

“(Kerber) played really well today,” Halep said. “I didn’t play badly, but I missed a little bit too much on some points, important points, and I didn’t take my chances.”

“I was not patient enough because with her, you have to be a little bit more patient. She’s very strong on the baseline, and you have also to change something.”

She continued, “Also, in the second set, first game, I had 40-15 on my serve and I couldn’t take the game. But in my opinion, it was a good match.”

The Romanian is happy with her performances in Eastbourne, and she is pleased that her net play is getting sharper, but she knows there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“I would say my grass game is at 70%, but I’m getting better,” Halep said. “I changed some things during the match. I’m doing different things, which makes me happy.”

“I have one more match tomorrow, doubles, and then I go to Wimbledon. Expectations are pretty okay in my head, but I’m not putting pressure on myself. I will just take it match by match and see how good I can be on grass this year.”



Miami Open Daily Preview: Pegula/Collins, Rybakina/Badosa Square Off on Saturday



Jessica Pegula with Tournament Director James Blake (

WTA third round action begins on Saturday in Miami, the first day where seeds begin to meet in the draws.


American No.1 Jessica Pegula faces fellow American and 2022 Australian Open finalist, Danielle Collins, while a pair of recent Indian Wells champs will collide, in Elena Rybakina and Paula Badosa.  Other WTA matches on Saturday feature three-time Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka and Florida resident Coco Gauff.

ATP second round competition concludes on Saturday, with names like Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Matteo Berrettini making their 2023 Miami Open debuts.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.

Jessica Pegula (3) vs. Danielle Collins (30) – Third on Stadium Court

Pegula is 16-5 this season, and easily dispatched of qualifier Katherine Sebov on Thursday.  She is 7-3 lifetime in Miami, and was a semifinalist a year ago, losing to eventual champion Iga Swiatek.

Collins is 9-8 this season, and has not been able to rediscover her top form while battling multiple injuries over the course of the past year.  But she’s been very successful in Miami, with an overall record of 11-4 thanks to a semifinal run in 2018, and a quarterfinal run in 2022.

Pegula claimed their only tour-level meeting, which was an extremely tight affair.  Two years ago in Montreal, Jess prevailed 7-5 in the third on her sixth match point, which ended Danielle’s 12-match win streak at the time.  Pegula is again a favorite to prevail on Saturday, as she’s become one of the WTA’s most consistent performers, and rarely fails to make the second week of big events.  However, Collins always has the power to dictate matters if her aggressive game is clicking.

Elena Rybakina (10) vs. Paula Badosa (21) – Not Before 8:30pm on Stadium Court

Rybakina is 17-4 in 2023, and is coming off a three-set victory on Thursday night over Anna Kalinskaya.  She sits at a career-high of No.7 in the world, though it’s worth noting she’d be in the top five if she had received ranking points for her Wimbledon triumph.  Elena has lost in the third round of Miami in both of her previous appearances.

Badosa is just 6-3 on the year, having pulled out of the Australian Open due to injury.  She defeated Laura Siegemund in three sets in the last round.  Paula’s 7-5 lifetime in Miami, and was a quarterfinalist here a year ago.

Badosa leads their head-to-head 3-2 at tour level, though in this same round of Indian Wells two weeks ago, Rybakina beat Badosa in straight sets.  Elena may be due for a drop in form, coming off the second biggest title run of her career.  But based on her recent level of play, Rybakina must still be considered the favorite on Saturday.

Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Richard Gasquet vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) – Tsitsipas is 11-3 this year, but lost his opening round match at Indian Wells to Jordan Thompson in a final-set tiebreak.  Gasquet is 9-7, and began the year by winning a title in Auckland.  These two one-handed backhanders have split two previous meetings, which both occurred in 2018.

Magda Linette (20) vs. Victoria Azarenka (14) – This is a battle between 2023 Australian Open semifinalists.  Azarenka is 2-0 against Linette, which includes a comfortable victory seven years ago at this event.

Anastasia Potapova (27) vs. Coco Gauff (6) – Gauff is now 15-4 on the year, while Potapova is 13-7, having won a hard court title last month in Linz.  Coco leads their head-to-head 2-0.

Mackenzie McDonald vs. Matteo Berrettini (19) – McDonald is now 8-0 in first round matches this season, but just 5-7 in rounds thereafter.  Berrettini has suffered some tough losses in 2023, and is a modest 7-6 at all levels, having played a Challenger event in Phoenix last week following his early exit at Indian Wells.  Matteo is 2-0 against Mackie, with both matches taking place on hard courts.

Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis (LL) – Hurkacz won this tournament two years ago, and advanced to the semifinals in 2022.  Kokkinakis is a lucky loser who saved three match points in his opening round against Zizou Bergs, prevailing in a final-set tiebreak.  Five years ago in qualifying for Atlanta, Thanasi beat Hubi in straight sets.

Roberto Carballes Baena vs. Daniil Medvedev (4) – This is Medvedev’s first match since his 19-match winning streak was ended by Carlos Alcaraz in the final of Indian Wells.  He beat Carballes Baena in straight sets two years ago at the Australian Open.

Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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WTA Accused Of Ignoring Request For Meeting With Ukrainian Players



Marta Kostyuk (UKR) - Credit: AELTC/Ian Walton

Tensions between the WTA and Ukrainian tennis continue to rise after the governing body was accused of not responding to a request to hold a meeting.

Earlier this month Leisa Tsurenko said she and her teammates had requested a meeting with the WTA board following a discussion she held with its CEO Steve Simon. The world No.81 said she was told by the official that she shouldn’t get upset if other players on the Tour support Russia’s war against her country as it is only their opinion. It was also alleged that Simon said he expects Russia will be allowed to compete in the Olympics under their ‘principles’ and support given to Ukrainian players on the Tour is under review.

“I was absolutely shocked by what I heard,” Tsurenko told BTU.
“He told me that he himself does not support the war, but if the players from Russia and Belarus support it, then this is only their own opinion, and the opinion of other people should not upset me.
“At the same time, he noted that if this had happened to him and he had been in my place, he would have felt terrible.”

Tsurenko withdrew from her match against Aryna Sabalenka in Indian Wells due to a panic attack which she linked to her meeting with Simon.

Speaking further about the matter at the Miami Open on Thursday, Marta Kostyuk said requests made by players from her country to speak with the WTA have failed to occur. Saying that there has so far been ‘silence’ from the WTA. When asked by journalists about what the players wanted to discuss, Kostyuk was reluctant to go into details.

“Yes, we wanted to have the meeting with the board and we didn’t get one. No reply, nothing, just silence,” AFP quoted her as saying.
“I mean, once we’re in the meeting we can talk about it. Before the meeting, I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about what we want to talk about there,”
she added. 


Kostyuk was knocked out of the Miami Open by 27th seed Anastasia Potapova who prevailed 6-1, 6-3. She refused to shake her hands following their match which is something the 20-year-old has also done when facing other Russian players. Potapova was recently issued with a warning from the WTA for wearing a Spartak Moscow football shirt whilst walking onto the court to play a match.

Although Kostyuk appears to not be entirely satisfied with the action taken to deal with Potapova.

“There are a lot of things that I don’t agree with that WTA is doing. This not going to change anything,”
she commented.
“I’ll just get more hate online. Whatever I say, I will get a lot of hate. I don’t know. Warning, whatever. You give her a warning… You can suspend someone, I don’t know. I can’t comment on that really, it’s just funny.”

Both the ATP and WTA have voiced opposition to calls for Russian players to be banned from the Tour. Instead, they are currently allowed to compete under a neutral status. The same applied to players from Belarus whose government is accused of supporting the war. 

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Miami Open Daily Preview: Canadians Andreescu, Fernandez Face Top 10 Opposition



A look at the grounds of the Miami Open (

Second round ATP and WTA action takes place on Friday in Miami.


The WTA’s top two Canadian players will take part in two of the day’s best matchups.  2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu takes on Maria Sakkari, while 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez plays Belinda Bencic.

Other action on Friday includes top names such as Carlos Alcaraz, Aryna Sabalenka, Casper Ruud, and Ons Jabeur.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.

Maria Sakkari (7) vs. Bianca Andreescu – 12:00pm on Stadium Court

Andreescu is 7-6 this season, and overcame fellow US Open champ Emma Raducanu in the first round.  This is only her third appearance in Miami, but she is 9-2 at this event, and was the runner-up the last time she played here in 2021.

Sakkari is now 15-6 on the year, yet is just 7-5 in Miami.  Four of those wins came during her semifinal run in 2021, when she lost to Andreescu in a dramatic three-setter.

That 2021 semifinal lasted nearly three hours, with Andreescu eventually prevailing in a third-set tiebreak well after midnight.  Their only other meeting occurred later that year at the US Open, with Sakkari winning 6-3 in the third.  In the rubber match on Friday, Maria has to be considered the favorite based on recent form, though it’s hard to ever count out Bianca, one of the sport’s most dogged competitors.

Leylah Fernandez vs. Belinda Bencic (9) – Fifth on Butch Buchholz Court

Fernandez is 8-6 in 2023, and on Wednesday earned her first-ever victory in Miami, over Lesia Tsurenko.  Leylah has struggled to regain her form after suffering a serious foot injury in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros last June.

Bencic is a strong 15-4 to start the season, and has already collected two hard court titles (Adelaide, Abu Dhabi).  While she’s just 8-6 lifetime in Miami, she did advance to the semifinals last year, losing to Naomi Osaka.

Leylah and Belinda have split four previous matches, two of which occurred during the Billie Jean King Cup, most recently last fall when Bencic won in straights.  Just a few weeks earlier, Bencic also defeated Fernandez, this time 6-3 in the third in Guadalajara.  This is another case where the Canadian should be considered the underdog, but a Canadian victory would not be shocking.

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Andrey Rublev (6) vs. J.J. Wolf – Rublev is a modest 11-7 this year, and just 10-7 in Miami.  Wolf is 9-6 this year, and reached the second week of a Major for the first time in Melbourne.  Last summer in Washington, Andrey defeated J.J. in straight sets.

Varvara Gracheva (Q) vs. Ons Jabeur (4) – Jabeur is just 4-3 on the year, having undergone a minor surgery after the Australian Open.  She’s is 1-0 against Gracheva, having defeated her in three sets last year in Madrid on clay.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Facundo Bagnis – Alcaraz is 14-1 since February, and needs to defend this title in order to retain the No.1 ranking.  Bagnis’ win in the opening round was his first ATP-level main draw victory on a hard court since August.  Last summer on clay in Umag, Alcaraz beat Bagnis 6-0, 6-4.

Caroline Garcia (5) vs. Sorana Cirstea – This is a rematch from just last week at Indian Wells, when Cirstea upset Garcia 7-5 in the third.  Caroline claimed their other two previous meetings, though all three have now gone three sets.

Shelby Rogers vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is now 17-2 in 2023, but is only 4-4 lifetime in Miami.  Rogers eliminated another Slam champ, Sloane Stephens, in the first round.  Aryna is 3-0 against Shelby, which includes a straight-set victory at January’s Australian Open.

Casper Ruud (3) vs. Ilya Ivashka – Ruud is defending runner-up points from a year ago, but is only 4-5 this season.  Ivashka arrived at Indian Wells on a nine-match losing streak, yet has now claimed three of his last four matches. 

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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