Kiki Bertens Continues Her Dominance Over Sabalenka To Set Pliskova Clash - UBITENNIS
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Kiki Bertens Continues Her Dominance Over Sabalenka To Set Pliskova Clash

Kiki Bertens will play Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals at Eastbourne after she beat Aryna Sabalenka for the fourth time in a row.




Kiki Bertens (@sportlive2017 on Twitter)

Kiki Bertens maintained her 100% record against Aryna Sabalenka by outlasting her 6-4 3-6 6-4 to book her place in the semi-finals of the Nature Valley International.


The Dutchwoman, 27, was victorious in all three of her previous meetings with the Belarussian. However, this was their first meeting on grass, and the World No.4 knew it would be a difficult match.

“I think it was a really good fight,” Bertens said. “It’s always tough to play her, because you get some winners and then some errors. But I think in the first set I played really well. I think it was my best match on the grass so far.”

The Dutchwoman believes her style of play helps her deal with the challenges posed by Sabalenka. “I have never lost against her so far,” she said. “I like it when someone’s playing powerful, and then I can just use the slice a little bit more. I don’t have to generate so much power myself.”

“I think today I had the right balance between where I could hit the slice and where I could play a little bit more aggressively.”

Bertens won the tight first set because she saved two break points and took one of the two chances she created on Sabalenka’s serve.

The Belarussian roared back in the second set. She attacked the World No.4’s second serve and broke her twice to take it 6-3.

Then the decider could have gone either way. It was neck and neck until the last two points when Sabalenka made unforced errors at exactly the wrong time to hand Bertens a final and the match.

Bertens improving on grass

The Dutchwoman is happy with the progression in her performances on grass. “Today I was really happy with the way I played. I feel better every match I play and my level is going up.”

She also believes she is beginning to cope better with the pressure of expectation. “They’re tough, but they’re also a good thing to have. I think at the moment I’m dealing pretty well with them.”

“In the past, I was struggling with it more, like when I made the semis in Paris a few years ago. At that time, I was really struggling with all the attention and the expectations.”

“But right now I feel like it’s going well, even if next week it can be over, so I’m just trying and enjoy it, stay in the moment and do whatever you can.”

Bertens to face Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova (@BBCTennis on Twitter)

That kind of positive thinking will be needed in Bertens’ last four match against Karolina Pliskova. The Czech demolished Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 6-0 in just 54 minutes today and she is in red-hot form.

“It seems to me that she didn’t really see any way to beat me,” Pliskova said. “It’s tough because I can hold my serve more easily than other players and save break points with it.”

“Opponents try to do too much (against me). And I don’t mind this type of game because (it usually means) there a lot of mistakes from them.”

Despite the ease of her win today, Pliskova is wary of Bertens because the Dutchwoman beat her at Wimbledon last year.

“It’s going to be tough,” the Czech said. “(Last year) she was just too solid, too good for me. I started to play better in the second set, but it was too late.”

Pliskova is hoping the conditions will help her tomorrow. “I think she doesn’t like the wind much, so if it’s windy I think it’s better for me.”

The World No.3 described the challenges Bertens provides. “She can serve well,” she said. “She can also hit big and hit some slices.”

“I will need to be patient, because she definitely won’t make as many mistakes as Alexandrova. But I will have more time (to play my shots).”

Pliskova is much happier with her form on grass this year than she was in 2018. “I feel like I’m playing better this year,” she said. “I wasn’t playing well at these tournaments last year at all.”

“And at Wimbledon I was almost gone in the second round and then in the third round, and then I really was gone in the fourth round.”


Simona Halep wins the all Romanian battle in Cluj

Simona Halep is into the second round in Cluj after a dominant performance.




Simona Halep (@TransylvaniaOpn - Twitter)

The world number 18 and the top seed managed to beat her Romanian counterpart in straight sets.


Simona Halep is through round one of the Transylvania Open, being played at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca, after beating a fellow Romanian Elena Gabriella Ruse in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 13 minutes.

The number one seed served six aces and won 83% of her first serve points in a match that seemed one-sided and Halep was pulling amazing shots and winners throughout the entire match.

“It’s not easy to face a Romanian in the first round of a Romanian tournament but I was very focused and concentrated on what I have to do and I didn’t really think of who I would play, I just wanted to play my game and I felt great on court today.”

It was actually the world 85 with the first breakpoint of the match in the first game but it was denied when Halep stepped up to the service line and fired an ace to save it.

After holding serve the world number 18 started looking for the early lead and she was able to get it after a poor service game from Ruse and after consolidating the break managed to turn it into a double break.

Halep served out the first set in a mere 29 minutes and it was clear she was the better player today.

She continued to ride the momentum into the second set and at 1-1 earned three more chances to break and broke with a stunning return winner that caught Ruse off guard for the 2-1 lead.

At 4-2, the top seed managed to go up a double break with another amazing passing shot and she served out the match and after the match in her post-match press conference, she spoke about pulling off those amazing shots on breakpoints.

“When I have a chance to do it I always do because I love these kinda shots and today it was a great one so it made me very happy.”

Halep will next face the Russian Varvara Gracheva in the next round after she beat the German Andrea Petkovic in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 on Tuesday night.

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Anett Kontaveit overpowers Krunic in Cluj-Napoca

Anett Kontaveit took a step towards the WTA Finals with a straight sets win in Cluj today.




Anett Kontaveit (@TransylvaniaOpn - Twitter)

The number two seed only needed two sets and 70 minutes to beat her Serbian opponent.


Anett Kontaveit is through to the second round of the Transylvania Open, being played at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca, beating the Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 10 minutes.

The world number 14 served two aces and won 69% of the points on her first serve in a match where she seemed to outhit her opponent using her powerful groundstrokes.

“The match was close and it was only break in the first set and I thought I was playing pretty well and winning a lot of points on my first serve but I actually think she served well and it wasn’t an easy match and the second set got really close”.

The Estonian had the better start to the match holding serve in her opening game and putting pressure on the Serb right away earning two chances to break serve and got the early break to take a 2-0 lead.

That one break was enough for Kontaveitt to serve out the first set and take it 6-3.

The second set was a more competitive affair and it stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Tallinn, Estonia native was able to break the Serb at love to take a 3-2 lead and she was able to consolidate the break.

It stayed on serve until 4-3 when the world number 44 fought back and was able to break the Estonian serve and the set went back on serve. Once again both players did a good job holding serve until 5-5 when Kontaveit got the crucial break of serve and served out the match.

After the match in her post-match press conference, Kontaveit spoke about how she was feeling energy-wise after such a short turnaround time from winning the title in Moscow last week.

” I feel like the energy has dropped a little bit but I did manage to bring some of the energy today and still be active and be aggressive.”

Kontaveit will now face Alison Van Uytvanck in her next match after the Belgian beat Danka Kovinic in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day.

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Emma Raducanu battles back to beat Hercog in Cluj

Emma Raducanu won her first match on the WTA tour after beating Polona Hercog in Cluj.




Emma Raducanu (@usopen - Twitter)

The US Open champion was pushed to the limit in a three-set win over her Slovenian opponent.


Emma Raducanu is through to round two at the Transylvania Open in Cluj-Napoca after beating the Slovenian Polona Hercog in three sets 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in a match that lasted two hours and 27 minutes.

The Brit served four aces and won 75% of her first serve points in a match that went back and forth for all three sets and had a rollercoaster feel to it and it was the first time at tour-level Raducanu played a three-set match.

“I feel really happy to have won that match it was actually very difficult and I wasn’t playing my best tennis but Polona (Hercog) is a great opponent and she is really experienced so I really had to fight hard to pull that one through.”

After holding serve in the opening service game of the match the world number 23 put pressure on Hercog’s serve right away and in a game that lasted 10 minutes, it took the Brit six break points before she was able to get the first break of serve of the match.

It stayed on serve until 4-2 when the world number 124 struck back and managed to get the break back to go back on serve and at 4-4 got the crucial break needed to serve out the first set.

The second set stayed on serve with the 18-year-old getting the first chance to break at 2-1 but Hercog saved all three break points she faced and at 4-4 it was the Slovenian applying pressure and looking for the break.

Raducanu was able to save it and hold serve and at 6-5, she found herself at set point as she managed to win it to force a third and deciding set.

Winning the second set seemed to give the Britt a boost and the motivation to keep fighting and she managed to get the early break to take a 2-0 lead and at 3-0 broke again to go up a double break.

The next game she found herself at match point but the world number 124 was able to save it and the next game Raducanu serve out the match. In her post-match press conference, she spoke about what the key was to turn the match around.

“It feels like a huge win for me and it’s my first WTA tour win which makes me very happy and I think the key was to stay mentally composed and I knew myself I wasn’t playing very well so I just needed to keep going one point at a time and I am really proud of myself how I fought today.”

Raducanu will face a Romanian in her next match on Thursday in Ana Bogden who beat the Serb Ivana Jorovic on Monday and this will be their first-ever meeting.

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