Defending Champion Caroline Wozniacki Safely Negotiates Eastbourne Opener - UBITENNIS
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Defending Champion Caroline Wozniacki Safely Negotiates Eastbourne Opener

Caroline Wozniacki started her bid for a third title in Eastbourne with a win, while Pliskova, Ostapenko and Vondrousova also secured victories.

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Caroline Wozniacki (@VolvoCarOpen on Twitter)

Caroline Wozniacki began the defence of her title in Eastbourne with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 win over Kirsten Flipkens at the Nature Valley International.

 

The Dane, 28, had not been on court for nearly a month and she has only played 18 matches so far this year due to illness and injury, but her lack of match practice did not seem to affect her too much.

Wozniacki took apart Flipkens’ serve in the opening set, breaking her three times. However, she was also broken twice – despite only facing three break points.

In the second set, the Belgian forced twice as many break points on the Dane’s serve. To Flipkens’ dismay, Wozniacki saved five of them. She also broke the World No.1 twice to take the set 6-4 and seal victory. The 11th seed will face Andrea Petkovic in round two.

Pliskova, Ostapenko and Vondrousova advance

After Karolina Pliskova suffered a surprise loss to sister Kristyna in Birmingham, she was keen to avoid a similar fate in Eastbourne.

It could have happened, too, as the Czech faced a tricky round two opponent in the shape of Margarita Gasparyan.

However, Pliskova ensured there would not be an upset this time. She dominated on serve in the opening set and broke the Russian in the second game to take it 6-3.

The Czech stormed into a 5-2 lead in the second set. Gasparyan staged a mini-fightback by earning her first break of the match. Pliskova then broke the Russian again to book her place in round three.

Jelena Ostapenko put her shock loss in Birmingham behind her with a 6-4 6-4 success over Mihaela Buzarnescu. The Latvian was broken early in both sets but she recovered well both times to earn a second-round clash with Sloane Stephens.

Marketa Vondrousova swept aside Zheng Saisai 6-2 6-3 in her first match since her remarkable run to the French Open final. The bout was interrupted by rain but the Czech, 19, kept her composure to earn a second-round meeting with Elise Mertens.

Svitolina faces fight to stay in the tournament

It was a frustrating day for the fans in Eastbourne as play was frequently delayed by rain. By contrast, several players are probably grateful that the weather intervened.

Chief among those is 5th seed Elina Svitolina, who was a set and a break down to Alize Cornet when the return of the rain forced the tournament referee to call a halt to the day’s play.

Zarina Diyas is in a similar situation. She trailed Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 3-0 when the rain came but she will get a chance to make a comeback tomorrow.

The early finish to the day will also give Belinda Bencic some much-needed extra rest. She was due to play qualifier Veronika Kudermetova in the last match on Court One about 25 hours after she narrowly lost the Mallorca final to Sofia Kenin, but their clash must now take place tomorrow instead.

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‘Calmness, Andy Murray And The Year 2002’ – Serena Williams On Reaching Wimbledon Final

How the 23-time grand slam champion prepared for her latest match at The All England Club.

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WIMBLEDON: Heading into the semi-finals at Wimbledon Serena Williams was looking more into the past than the future.

 

Grand slam tennis is a regular occurrence for the 37-year-old, who is contesting her 72nd main draw of a major. The second highest in the Open Era on the women’s tour. Taking to Center Court, Williams required around an hour to see off Barbora Strycova. A player she is yet to lose a match against in four meetings.

It could be easy to think that the victory was all down to Williams’ power. To a certain degree it was, but how did she prepare herself mentally? Shedding light on her preparation during her press conference, the 37-year-old drew inspiration from her first ever final at Wimbledon. An occasion when she defeated sister Venus to win the tournament for the first time at the age of 20 back in 2002.

“I was thinking this morning when I won my first Wimbledon,” Williams said.
“I was trying to tap into those emotions. I was really calm. I remember I think I hit an ace. I just remember how it’s so, so different when you’re younger as opposed to now.’
“Now I just need to relax and do what I can do.”

Whilst trying to find calmness on the court, Williams is not one to contain her emotions. During the matches, she usually lets out screams of ‘come on’ as she edges herself on. Yelling with frustration when she doesn’t perform the way she wants to. A true sign of how much she wants grand slam No.24.

“It’s really not about 24 or 23 or 25. It’s really just about going out there and giving my best effort no matter what. No matter what I do, I will always have a great career.” She reflected about the milestone.

2019 has been a roller coaster season for Williams, who is currently playing in only her sixth tournament. A combination of knee and ankle injuries have disrupted her preparation. Three out of her first five tournaments concluded with her retiring due to either injury or illness.

Part of the resurgence to her current form can be partly linked to Andy Murray. For the first time since 1998, Williams featured in the mixed doubles. Reaching the third round before losing to the top seeds.

“When I play doubles here (at Wimbledon) with Venus, it definitely helps my singles game. I was really keen to play mixed here. I really feel like it helped me, not just for today and this event, but hopefully, it will help me in the future too.”

Now a win away from another grand slam title, will Williams continue the calmness she had going into Friday’s match?

“I was calm today. It’s a day-to-day basis with me. We all know that. I’m far from perfect.” She joked.

Williams will play Simona Halep for the Wimbledon title on Saturday.

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Simona Halep Is Literally Living Her Mother’s Dream At Wimbledon

The world No.7 speaks out about of her latest milestone as she mentions a conversation she recently had with a member of her family.

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Simona Halep - Wimbledon 2019 (foto via Twitter, @Wimbledon)

WIMBLEDON: With a resume featuring three grand slam finals played at three different events, Simona Halep means business at Wimbledon this year.

 

The former world No.1 dropped only four games during her comprehensive win over Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals on Thursday. Becoming the first woman from her country to reach the final of the grass-court major. Her third of the season after Doha and Madrid. A solid performance from a player who previously described 2019 as her ‘chill year.

“Chilling’, it doesn’t mean that I’m not working hard or I’m not focused on what I have to do. It’s just that as a person I want to chill. We see that I’m better on the court.”Halep explained.

It is hard to dispute Halep’s mindset given her recent success at the grand slam. Where she is yet to play a top 20 player. The resurgence on the grass in recent years is something Halep links to adjustments in her game. She has reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in four out of the past six years. Furthermore, she has suffered fewer first round losses (two) at the tournament than any other major.

“I play some dropshots. I use the slice more. The serve is helping me.” She explained about her grass-court game.
“I said a few days ago, now when the ball is coming to me, I know what to do with it. Maybe that’s why. Maybe I feel confident and I’m not scared anymore of how the ball bounces.’
“I think I have the feeling. And also I feel stable on the legs, which is very important on the grass.”

According to IBM, who is the official data supplier at Wimbledon, the 27-year-old has won 62% of points at the net and 57% points played from the baseline during her first six matches. However, she has been broken nine times and at least once in every round played.

Halep’s breakthrough is one that delights those close to her. Especially her mother, who revealed something to her shortly after the semi-final.

“I talked to my mom after the match. About 10, 15 years ago she said her dream is to play the final in Wimbledon because everyone is here, the Royal Box.” Halep said.
“She said ‘I think it’s an unbelievable moment.’ So today her dream came true, I will play a final.”

To achieve the fairytale ending on Saturday the Romanian faces a tough task. Serena Williams will be standing in the way of the title. The American leads Halep 9-1 in their head-to-head but hasn’t played her on the grass since 2011.

Regardless of her record, Halep believes she has the ability to spoil the Williams party, who is targeting a 24th grand slam title. The two will lock horns on Saturday afternoon.

“I have learned that I have the chance. Now, if I face her, I will believe that I have my chance to win against her.” She explained.
“Of course, I respect a lot what she has done and what she’s doing.’
“But now I feel stronger mentally facing her. We will see what is going to happen. It’s just a big challenge for me.”

The head-to-head in detail

Year Name Round Surface Winning Player Losing Player Score
2019 Wimbledon F Grass Simona Halep Serena Williams Upcoming
2019 Australian Open R16 Hard Serena Williams Simona Halep 6-1 4-6 6-4
2016 US Open QF Hard Serena Williams Simona Halep 6-2 4-6 6-3
2016 Indian Wells Masters QF Hard Serena Williams Simona Halep 6-4 6-3
2015 Cincinnati Masters F Hard Serena Williams Simona Halep 6-3 7-6(5)
2015 Miami Masters SF Hard Serena Williams Simona Halep 6-2 4-6 7-5
2015 Indian Wells Masters SF Hard Simona Halep Serena Williams WO
2014 WTA Championships F Hard Serena Williams Simona Halep 6-3 6-0
2014 WTA Championships 10 Hard Simona Halep Serena Williams 6-0 6-2
2013 Cincinnati Masters QF Hard Serena Williams Simona Halep 6-0 6-4
2013 Rome Masters SF Clay Serena Williams Simona Halep 6-3 6-0
2011 Wimbledon R64 Grass Serena Williams Simona Halep 3-6 6-2 6-1

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Serena Williams Thrashes Strycova To Reach 11th Wimbledon Final

The 23-time grand slam champion was in devastating form at The All England Club on Thursday.

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Serena Williams - Wimbledon 2019 (foto via Twitter, @Wimbledon)

WIMBLEDON: Serena Williams will have another shot at trying to equal Margaret Court’s grand slam record after crushing Czech Republic’s Barborya Strycova in their semi-final clash at Wimbledon.

 

The business-like performance saw the former world No.1 ease through her 6-1, 6-2, win over the world No.54. Emphatically winning 64% of the points that were played during the semi-final encounter. Williams converted all three of her break point opportunities as she hit four aces and 27 winners past her rival.

“It’s good after my year. Definitely feels good to be back in the final.” Williams told BBC TV.
“I just need some matches and every match I know I’m improving. I just needed to feel good and now that I feel good, I can do what I do best and play tennis.”

Earlier this week coach Patrick Mouratoglou said Williams was getting better with each match she played at The All England Club. That was evident in her latest clash with the 33-year-old as Williams dominated the opener with the use of her power. Preventing Strycova, who is known for her use of the slice, to generate any rhythm. Williams launched her first attack four games into the match. A failed Strycova drop shot handed the American her first break point, which she converted with a cross-court winner to move head 3-1. Continuing to dictate, the double break was soon sealed within the blink of an eyelid.

Even when Williams was facing a threat, she found a way to get herself out of trouble. Serving for the first set, she went down 0-40 before claiming five points in a row to seal the set. Clinching it with the help of a 114 mph ace.

After the fairy-tale start, came greater resistance from the underdog. Strycova, who was playing in her maiden grand slam semi-final, had already defeated four seeded players in the tournament. Including two in the top 10. Still, it wasn’t enough to tame Williams, who strolled to a set and a break lead with the help of two mistakes from across the court.

Cruising towards her 32nd grand slam final, Williams secured the win after just 59 minutes of play. Triumphing on her first match point after hitting a cross-court winner.

In the final Williams will play Simona Halep, who she leads 9-1 in their head-to-head. It was at Wimbledon back in 2011 when they first played each other. On that occasion, the American won in three sets.

“She’s tough and played unbelievable today,” Williams said of Halep. “We played each other on the grass before and we always have tough matches. So this was a good match for me today, but I look forward to it.”

Williams is yet to claim a title since giving birth back in 2017. Her latest win means she will remain inside the world’s top 10 following Wimbledon. If she wins the title, she is projected to rise to eighth place.

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