Qualifier Townsend Stuns Grand Slam Champion Simona Halep At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Qualifier Townsend Stuns Grand Slam Champion Simona Halep At US Open

The world No.4 is the first top five player to crash out of Flushing Meadows this year in the women’s draw.

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Simona Halep’s dreams of winning a second consecutive grand slam title has come to an end after she was knocked out in the second round of the US Open. 

 

The Wimbledon Champion failed to capitalized on a one set lead as she crashed out 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), to world No.116 Taylor Townsend. A player who she hadn’t lost a set against in three previous meetings on the tour. Townsend’s old school tennis frustrated and dismantled the Halep game with a series of serve and volley tactics. In total the American played 105 points at the net, which was more than 10 times that of Halep, and won 60 of those points.

“This means a lot. It’s been a long journey.” An emotional Townsend told ESPN after the match.
“I had a match point against Bertens at Wimbledon, I had some really close matches this year and I haven’t been able to get over the hump. So this match means so much and gives me the confidence to know that I can do it.”

Initially, it appeared as if the bookmakers’ favourite was going to run away with the win. An emphatic start from Halep saw her clinch a double break en route to winning the opening set. She won her first break with a forehand winner down the line and the second at the expense of an error from across the court. The fourth seed went on to clinch the lead with a love service game.

However Townsend, who is yet to break the world’s top 50, refused to be deterred. Increasing the level of her game with better execution of her points, the American hit back with interest. Displaying the form to remind Halep why she was once the top ranked junior in the world. The resurgence frazzled Halep, who lost confidence in her serve as the match headed into a decider.

With all to play for, at one point it got too much for Halep. Three games into the final set, the growingly frustrated Romanian repeatedly smashed her racket on the court. Triggering a code violation. Her mood deteriorated further when Townsend broke two games later to close in on the shock win.

There was to be another late twist to the match. As Townsend served for the victory at 5-4, two match points came and went. The first due to a double fault and the second saw Halep blast a backhand winner down the line. Enabling Halep to break back as proceedings headed into a tiebreak. Despite the fight back, it was not enough to stop Townsend from prevailing.

“When I played her before I was just trying to make balls. I think I played not to lose, but today I just said ‘F*** it. I just told myself it was an opportunity, a chance and go for it. I had nothing to lose.”

In total Townsend hit 39 winners to 42 unforced errors, but her most effective tactic was her presence at the net.

“I knew that I was not going to beat her from the baseline.” Townsend explained. “I had to do something that gave me an edge and it kinda gave me some energy. Shout out to my trainer for all those sprints.”

It is the second time Townsend has reached the third round of a grand slam and the first since the 2014 French Open. She will next play another Romanian in the shape of Sorana Cîrstea.

 

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Rebecca Peterson clinches her maiden WTA title

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Twenty-four year-old Swedish player Rebecca Peterson lifted the first title of her career at the Jangxi Open in Nanchang after beating Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 6-2 6-0.

 

The world number 78 Petterson, who had reached only a quarter final so far this season, has become the 14th first-time winner on the WTA Tour so far in 2019.

Peterson reeled off nine consecutive games from 3-2 in the first set to clinch the win, breaking serve four times.

Peterson dropped only nine points in her service games and did not face any break points. The Swede earned her first break in the first game after a double fault from Rybakina. Peterson consolidated the break by holding serve at love and opened up a 4-2 lead, when Rybakina sent a forehand long.

Peterson broke serve in the seventh game to race out to a 5-2 lead, as Rybakina made a backhand error. Peterson sealed the first set with a forehand crosscourt winner in the eighth game.

Peterson earned an early break, after Rybakina sent a forehand long, and went up a 3-0 lead. Rybakina did not win a single game point and sent Petersen to deuce in the fifth game of the second set, but she dropped serve. Petersen wrapped up the match with a bagel thanks to a service winner on her first championship point.

Rybakina, who scored two three-set wins against Viktoria Golubic in the quarter final and Peng Shuai in the semifinal, hit 3 winners to 11 unforced errors. She had won her maiden title in Bucharest last July.

 

 

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Karolina Pliskova lifts her fourth title of the season in Zhengzhou

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Number 1 seed Karolina Pliskova cruised past number 7 seed Petra Martic 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and 36 minutes in the final of the Zhengzhou Open, an inaugural WTA Premier tournament. The final was postponed by six hours after torrential rain.

 

Pliskova came back from 0-2 in the first set by winning 12 of the next 15 games to win her fourth title this season after Brisbane, Rome and Eastbourne. The Czech player is the fifth top seed to win a tournament this season after Aryna Sabalenka in Shenzhen, Alison Van Uytvanck in Budapest, Caroline Garcia in Nottingham and Anastasjia Sevastova in Jurmala.

Pliskova took a re-match against Martic, who beat the Czech player in four of their previous five head-to-head matches and won their third round clash at Roland Garros.

Pliskova saved two of her three break points and converted four of her eight break points.

Martic earned an early break with a forehand return winner to open up a 2-0 lead in the first set. As the match resumed after a rain delay Martic did not convert a double break point. Pliskova broke back in the fourth game with a forehand winner to draw level to 2-2.

Pliskova saved a break point chance in the seventh game with a forehand down the line. The Czech player broke serve in the eighth game, when Martic made a forehand error and sealed the first set 6-3 with a service winner.

Pliskova dropped only six points on her first serve in the second set and broke serve in the third game when Martic sent a backhand slice wide. The former world number 1 player held her serve with an ace before breaking for the second time in the fifth game. She hit four winners to seal the win, as she was serving for the match at 5-2.

“I think I played good matches. Of course, not all the matches were perfect, the week never can be really perfect because it’s so many days and so many things can be just different every day. I beat tough players, which I maybe lost to a couple of times before. I think that was the biggest plus of this week, especially with Petra. These wins are always important. It doesn’t matter where you play, which tournament you play, but it’s always important. To get the trophy is always special. It does not matter really which tournament or how big the tournament is, it’s always good”, said Pliskova.  

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Nao Hibino beats Misaki Doi in all-Japanese final in Hiroshima

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World Number 146 Nao Hibino beat Misaki Doi 6-3 6-2 in the all-Japanese final of Haa-Cupid Japan Open in Hiroshima.

 

Doi broke serve at 15 in the second game with a deep return, but she dropped her serve at love in the third game. Dou earned another break with a forehand to open up a 3-1 lead. Hibino pulled the break back in the fifth game, when Doi sent her backhand long.

Hibino reeled off nine consecutive games from 1-3 down to build up a 6-3 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games of the first set and two more breaks in the first and third games of the second set. Doi dropped her serve in six consecutive service games and hit 8 winners to 14 unforced errors. Doi pulled back one break in the fifth game. Hibino broke for the third time at deuce to win the second set 6-2.

Hibino claimed both the singles and the doubles titles at the same tournament for the first time in her career. She teamed up with Doi to clinch the doubles title with a 6-3 4-6 10-4 win over Christina McHale and Valeria Savinykh.

“I was so nervous today, so much more than the semifinals, but because I experienced being nervous in the semifinals, I knew what to expect. I was able to stay positive during the match today”, said Hibino.

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