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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Elena Rybakina scores her 20th match of the season in Doha

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Elena Rybakina came back one set down to beat Sorana Cristea 3-6 6-3 6-1 to score her 20th match win of the season at the Qatar Total Open just two days after losing to Simona Halep in Dubai.

 

Rybakina has improved her seasonal record to 20 wins to 4 defeats this season. The Kazakh player won the Hobart International and reached three finals in Shenzhen, St. Petersburg and Dubai.

Rybakina went down a break in the opening game, but she broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Cristea broke twice in the fifth and ninth games to win the opening set 6-3. Rybakina broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Cristea broke back in the sixth game at deuce to draw level to 3-3. Cristea broke straight back at deuce to draw level to 3-3. Rybakina won the final three games with two consecutive games to win the second set 6-3. Rybakina won the first nine points of the third set including a break in the second game and got the break with a backhand return in the sixth game before serving out the win to secure her spot in the second round.

“I still have energy. I am just fighting in every match. Hopefully I can can keep making finals and finally win another. It’s my first time here, and it’s a really nice place. Hopefully I will have time to walk around, but I am enjoying Doha so far”, said Rybakina.

US teenager Amanda Anisimova cruised past last year’s semifinalist Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-3 to reach the third round at the Qatar Total Open in Doha.

 

Anisimova hit 27 winners to 31 unforced errors and fended off all three break points she faced.

 

Anisimova scored her top 10 win since last  year’s Roland Garros, where she beat Simona Halep en route to her first Grand Slam semifinal.

 

Anisimova saved two break points in the third game of the first set. The US player earned the only break of the first set and held on her serve to seal the opening set on her second set point.

 

Anisimova converted her fourth break point at deuce to take a 3-2 lead. Svitolina earned two game points as she served to stay in the match, but Anisimova won three consecutive points to clinch the second set with her second break.

 

Anisimova will face either Svetlana Kuznetsova or Polish teenager Iga Swiatek.

 

“I think the most important thing was just staying focused and clearing my head, just not putting too much pressure on myself and just trying to enjoy. I love playing here. I love this stadium and the crowd is great. I am glad I get to see everyone again in the next round”,said Ansimova.

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Epic Dubai Triumph Fuels Belief And Motivation For Simona Halep

The world No.2 reacts to the latest milestone achieved in her career.

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On Saturday Simona Halep survived a marathon encounter at the Dubai Tennis Championships to become only the sixth active player to win 20 on more WTA titles on the tour.

 

The two-time grand slam champion, who was the top seed in the tournament, required almost two-and-a-half hours to see off the in-form Elena Rybakina 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5). A player who has reached the final in four out of her five tournaments played so far in 2020. The clash was far from easy for the Romanian, who trailed 1-3 in the decider and failed to serve the match out when leading 6-5 before eventually prevailing in the tiebreak. Earning her first WTA trophy since lifting the Wimbledon trophy last July.

“It feels great that I could win it,” Halep said. “Actually, it was amazing. She fought till the end. She didn’t give up any balls. It was really tough mentally. The pressure was very high. But I wanted it badly, so that’s why I fought till the end.”

Besides Rybakina, the 28-year-old also scored wins over Jennifer Brady, Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur in the tournament. Out of those matches, Halep’s only straight sets win was over Brady in the semi-finals.

It is the second time Halep has won the Dubai crown after 2015. She believes her latest triumph reiterates why she still belongs at the top of the women’s game. Prior to this week, she also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open and quarter-finals in Adelaide.

“I’ve done a lot of results, many results these six, seven years,” said Halep. “I’m staying here in the top 5, top 10, which is not easy. I’m proud of my job. Also, this tournament gives me confidence that I’m still there.”

Whilst she has only won two titles over the past 16 months, it is the consistency of the former world No.1 that has enabled her to be in the world’s top 10 for so long. To date she has spent 317 weeks consecutive weeks in the top 10 since January 2014. The 10th longest streak in the history of the WTA Tour.

“I always had in my mind that I had to be consistent. I didn’t like the way you win a tournament and then don’t do anything for a few months. I like to build my power and consistency every week.” She explained.
“Since I met Darren (Cahill) I was told that we had to look at the big picture and not just this week.’
“This makes me more proud than winning titles because if you’re able to be there means that you have everything power, strong mental, physical also, very strong.” She added.

There will be no Middle East double for Halep this year after she withdrew from the upcoming Doha Open. A Premier 5 event that will feature six top 10 players in the draw this year. Halep was runner-up in the tournament last year to Elise Mertens.

“It’s a decision I took before the match … I started this tournament a little bit injured with my foot.” Halep stated.

The only active players to have won more WTA titles than Halep are Serena and Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova.

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Simona Halep eases through her first final of the season in Dubai

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Simona Halep cruised past US qualifier Jennifer Brady 6-2 6-0 after just 62 minutes to reach her first final of the season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Halep saved the only two break points she faced and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors. Halep earned an early break in the opening game before saving two break points to hold serve for 2-0. The 2019 Wimbledon player went up a double break and held serve to race out to a 5-1 lead. Brady hit a backhand winner to win her service game for 5-2. Halep wrapped up the first set on her first set point in the next game.

Halep went up an early break in the first game of the second set. She hit a forehand winner on her third break point to race out to a 3-0 lead. Halep earned her third consecutive break in the fifth game for 5-0. Halep earned a match point with a backhand winner and sealed the win after a backhand error from Brady. Halep set up a final against Elena Rybakina, who beat Petra Martic 7-6 7-6.

“It felt much better than previous matches. I played really well. Everything went in my side. I felt the ball great. I feel like I played the best match since I came here. It’s amazing what Rybakina has done already this year”, said Halep.

 

 

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