Ashleigh Barty Closes In On No.1 Ranking By Reaching Birmingham Final - UBITENNIS
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Ashleigh Barty Closes In On No.1 Ranking By Reaching Birmingham Final

Ashleigh Barty will become the World No.1 if she beats doubles partner Julia Goerges in the Nature Valley Classic final in Birmingham.



Ashleigh Barty (@rolandgarros on Twitter)

Ashleigh Barty is now just one win away from becoming the World No.1 after a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 victory over Barbora Strycova in the Nature Valley Classic semi-final.


The Australian, 23, is yet to drop a set in Birmingham this year and she will have a great chance to overtake Naomi Osaka at the top of the rankings in the final tomorrow.

Barty has a simple approach for dealing with milestones like that though. “I don’t focus on them at all,” she said. “They are things I can’t control necessarily.”

She continued, “I have to prepare as best as I can for tomorrow and try and play a good tennis match. If I win, it’s a bonus, as are all the things that come with it. But those things are certainly not what I’m worried about.”

However, just because Barty does not dwell on the attention she gets, that does not mean she does not appreciate it. “It’s been incredible the amount of support that I have received from all over the world, particularly from Australians,” she said. “It’s not something that I ignore, not by any means. It’s there; there’s just not much I can do about it.”

One of the best things about the Australian’s game is her ability to nullify opponents’ strengths. It is something she has done particularly well this week in Birmingham.

“It’s absolutely something I try to do,” Barty said. “When I’m in a defensive position I have to try to neutralise as much as possible to bring it back to the game style that I want to play. Most of the time I want to be in control of the point and be able to use my forehand to control the point. When I can’t do that, it is nice to have the variety to be able to neutralise when I can.”

Barty to face Goerges in the final

The French Open champion’s capacity to subdue opponents will probably face its most severe examination of the week when she takes on doubles partner Julia Goerges in the Nature Valley Classic final. The German comfortably beat Petra Martic 6-4 6-3 in the second semi-final.

“I played Jules here last year,” Barty said. “She’s got an incredibly destructive game which this week has been on my side of the net (in doubles), which has been very nice. She has the ability to control the game from the get-go and if I play Jules, it will be important to try and bring in my variety and neutralise (her strengths) as much as possible.”

Goerges said that she and Barty know exactly what to expect from each other tomorrow. “There are no secrets in our games anymore as we practise together almost every tournament,” the German said in her on-court interview.

She elaborated in her press conference, “I’m going to be aggressive and she knows that. I know that there a lot of slices coming, some volleying, good serving and some good angles.”

Barty and Goerges have faced each other twice before, and both of those meetings took place last year. In their first encounter, here in Birmingham, the German won 7-6 6-3. Then the Australian got her revenge in Zhuhai at the end of the year with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 success.

When you consider all the factors involved, it is a difficult final to call. Goerges definitely has the kind of weapons that can cause Barty problems, so the onus will be on the Australian to find a way to stop the German doing what she does best.


Rebecca Peterson beats Heather Watson in Tianjin final to claim her second career title



Rebecca Peterson clinched her second career title after beating Heather Watson 6-4 6-4 in the final of the Tianjin Open.


The Swedish player claimed her second title on Chinese soil after winning her maiden WTA maiden title in Nanchang. Earlier this week Peterson beat Venus Williams in the opening round.

Watson entered the Tianjin Open with just one WTA-level win in the opening round at Wimbledon. The British player beat Wang Qiang and Bronx champion Magda Linette en route to the final in Tianjin.

The final between Peterson and Watson was moved to an indoor facility after a five-hour delay due to rain.

Peterson rallied from 0-2 down in both sets en route to winning the final 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 37 minutes. The Swede converted on four of her ten break points.

Watson fended off two break points and earned a break in the next game to take a 2-0 lead. Peterson converted her fourth break-back point chance in the third game. Both players stayed neck and neck to draw level to 4-4.

Peterson earned another break in the ninth game when Watson sent her backhand drive volley wide. Peterson sealed the opening set 6-4 with a forehand down the line winner in the 10th game.

Watson held at love in the first game of the second set and broke serve in the second game. Peterson got the break back in the third game and took the lead with another break with a forehand down the line winner. The Swedish player held her next three service games and closed out the match with a forehand winner in the 10th game.

Thanks to this win Peterson will break into the top 50 reaching her career high of 44 in the WTA Ranking. Former world number 38 Watson will make her return in the top 100.



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Coco Gauff claims her maiden WTA title in Linz at the age of 15



Fifteen year-old US rising star Coco Gauff claimed the maiden WTA title of her career beating former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 1-6 6-2 in the final of the Upper Austria Ladies in Linz (Austria).


Gauff crowned a remarkable week, in which she came back from losing the final qualifying round to win the first title of her carerer as a lucky loser. Earlier this week the US teenager claimed her first-ever top 10 win over Dutch star Kiki Bertens in her first WTA quarter final.

Gauff saved two break points in her opening service game, before breaking serve in the third game. She consolidated the break with an ace to open up a 3-0 lead. Ostapenko won her first game with a backhand down the line. Gauff did not face any more break points in the next games and earned a set point at 5-3 with an ace and hit a backhand slice to close out the opening set.

Ostapenko saved a break point in the first game of the second set with a forehand down the line before breaking serve for the first time at love. Gauff broke straight back in the next game, but Ostapenko hit a volley to get another break for 3-1. The Latvian player built up a 5-1 lead with a double break and sealed the second set with an ace on her first set point to force the match to the third set.

Gauff claimed an early break at the start of the third set to take a 2-0 lead after a backhand forced an error from Ostapenko on break point. Gauff went up a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead and earned two match points at 5-0. Ostapenko got one break back at love in the seventh game to claw her way back to 2-5. Gauff earned a third match point after Ostapenko netted a backhand and sealed the win, as Ostapenko fired a forehand long.

Gauff is projected to reach the top 75 of the WTA Ranking on Monday after starting her season ranked world number 600. She has become the youngest singles champion since Nicole Vaidisova lifted titles at Vancouver and Tashkent at the age of 15 in 2004.

Gauff is the second player in the last two seasons to win a maiden WTA singles season as a lucky loser equalling teenager Olga Danilovic, who won the Moscow Open last year.



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Coco Gauff reaches her maiden WTA final at the age of 15 in Linz



US 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff cruised past German former top 10 player Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-4 after 91 minutes to reach her maiden WTA singles final at the Upper Austria Ladies Open in Linz.   


Gauff lost in the final round of the qualifying tournament but she claimed her spot in the main draw as a lucky loser. After entering the main draw as a lucky loser Gauff scored three wins over Stefanie Voegele, Kateryna Kozlova, Kiki Bertens and Andrea Petkovic  consolidating her spot in the top 100.

Gauff saved nine of the ten break points she faced and won 71 % of her second serve points.

Petkovic earned the first break of the match in Gauff’s opening game, but Gauff broke straight back in the second game with a passing shot down the line in the next game. After holding serve Gauff earned two break points. The US teenager broke serve in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead after a backhand error from Perkovic. Gauff earned three set points in the 10th game and converted her first chance after a netted return from Petkovic.

Gauff faced three break points at 2-1, but she held on her serve to draw level to 2-2. The US player converted her sixth break point chance to take a 3-2 lead after a double fault from Petkovic.

Gauff saved two break points with a volley and a drop-shot, when she served for the match at 5-4, and sealed the win on her second match point.

Gauff set up a final against 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko, who came back from one set down to beat last year’s Linz finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-5. Ostapenko fended off one match points at 6-5 in the second set and two more match points at 5-4 in the third set of the 2-hour and 21-minute match.

Alexandrova broke serve twice in the second and sixth games to take the opening set 6-1. The Russian player fired an ace on her second set point to seal the first set after 30 minutes.

Alexandrova went up an early break to build up a 3-1 lead. Ostapenko broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Alexandrova fended off three break points to draw level to 4-4. Alexandrova broke serve at love to take a 5-4 lead earning the chance to serve for the match. Alexandrova hit an ace to earn her first match point, but she did not convert her chance, as she sent her backhand long. Ostapenko broke serve to draw level to 5-5 setting up a tie-break. Ostapenko earned her first set point at 5-5 in the tie-break, as Alexandrova missed a forehand wide. Ostapenko sealed the second set to force the match to the third set, as Ostapenko fired a service return wide.

Both players traded breaks in the first and second games of the decisive set. Alexandrova fired a forehand crosscourt winner in the 10th game to earn two match points, but she made unforced errors to miss both her chances. Ostapenko hit a forehand winner to draw level to 5-5. Alexandrova saved a match point at 6-5 with a return winner, but Ostapenko sealed the win on her second match point.




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