Ashleigh Barty sets up Wuhan semifinal against Aryna Sabalenka - UBITENNIS
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Ashleigh Barty sets up Wuhan semifinal against Aryna Sabalenka

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This year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty edged past Petra Martic 7-6 3-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 22 minutes to reach her third semifinal this year.

 

Both players traded breaks at the start of the first set. Barty broke serve in the fourth game with a service winner. Martic broke straight back in the seventh game and earned tow break points in the 11th game, but she failed to convert them. She saved a set point on serve to reach a tie-break. Martic hit a half-volley to earn a set point at 6-5.

Barty fended it off with a forehand winner and sealed the tie-break 8-6 when Martic sent her lob long.

Martic broke serve in the eighth game at 2-1 after a backhand slice error from Barty and held three service games to force the match to the third set.

Both players traded breaks in the first games. Barty got another break in the eighth game after a double break from Martic and closed out the match with an ace in the ninth game.

Barty set up a semifinal match against defending champion Aryna Sabalenka, who edged Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 6-3 1-6 6-1 after 1 hour and 41 minutes.

Sabalenka saved all three break point chances she faced in the opening set and broke serve in the second game with a deep return. Sabalenka sealed the first set 6-3 on her third break point.

Rybakina dropped just six points and broke serve in the second game after a double fault from Sabalenka. Rybakina went up a double break in the fourth game after a backhand error to open up a 4-0 lead. Rybakina fended off a set point on serve in the sixth game, but Rybakina sealed the set with a service winner. Sabalenka broke twice in the second and fourth game, but she wasted two match points on return in the sixth game before sealing the win with an ace in the seventh game.

“My game is getting better and better every day. I feel great. Rybakina broke my serve, and I started to get nervous a little bit. The third set I was trying to move her a little bit more, don’t give her that much time, just move her from side to side a little bit quicker”,said Sabalenka.

Alison Riske cruised past Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-3 after 1 hour and 24 minutes to advance to her third WTA Tour semifinal in 2019.

Riske beat Svitolina for the first time in their four head-to-head matches.

The US player saved four of the five break point chances she faced and converted five of her thirteen break points.

Riske converted her sixth break point in the opening game of the first set and held her serve after a forehand error from Svitolina in the second game. She went up another break to open up a 3-0 lead. Riske earned another break in the seventh game to clinch the first set 6-1.

Svitolina went up a break in the third game of the second set. Riske broke straight back in the fourth game after a forehand error from Svitolina and did not convert two break points in the fifth game.

Riske forced an error to break serve for 4-2. Riske sealed the win in the ninth game when Elina sent a forehand long setting up a semifinal match against Petra Kvitova.

Kvitova cruised past Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 12 minutes in their first ever head-to-head clash. The Czech player fended off two of the three break point chances and converted four of her eight break points.

Kvitova broke serve in the second time to open up a 4-1 lead. Kvitova hit an ace in the eighth game to close out the first set 6-2. She went up a double break in the first and third games. Yastremska pulled one break back, but Kvitova held serve at 30 in her last four service games and closed out the match with a service winner in the 10th game.

 

 

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Dominic Thiem and Jannik Sinner grab the headlines in Vienna

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Dominic Thiem beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 7-6 (7-2) to reach the second round at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.

 

Thiem rallied from 0-40 down to break Tsonga in the seventh game of the first set and held his next service games to win the opening set 6-4. Tsonga saved four break points in the first, third and ninth games of the second set, which came down to the tie-break. Thiem pulled away to win the tie-break 7-2. Thiem did not face a break point and won 80% of his first serve points.

Thiem will face Fernando Verdasco, who came back from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6 6.2 6-1

Italian Next Gen star Jannik Sinner beat Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-4 in his ninth career ATP match setting up a second round match against either Gael Monfils or Dennis Novak. Sinner beat Monfils last week in Antwerp en route to becoming the youngest ATP semifinalist since Borna Coric at the 2014 Swiss Indoors in Basel.

Sinner earned his first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. The Italian 18-year-old player saved three break points at 4-2, but he held his serve. Sinner sealed the opening set 6-3 on his first set point.

Sinner got the decisive break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held his final two service games to seal the second set 6-3.

Hyeon Chung fought off a late come-back from Milos Raonic to take a confidence-boosting 6-4 7-5 win in 1 hour and 44 minutes. Chung set up a second-round match against either Andrey Rublev or Felix Auger Aliassime.

Chung broke serve in the opening game of each set. The Asian player built up a 4-2 lead in the second set, but Raonic came back by winning three consecutive games. Raonic did not convert a set point at 5-4 on Chung’s serve, when Chung hit a forehand winner. Chung reeled off 10 of the next 14 points.

 

 

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Taylor Fritz upsets Alexander Zverev in Basel first round

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Taylor Fritz upset last year’s Alexander Zverev 7-6 6-4 after 1 hour and 24 minutes in the first round of the Swiss Indoor Open at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel.

 

Zverev earned a break point chance in the third game of the opening set, but Fritz saved it with an ace. Both players stayed neck and neck until the tie-break, where Zverev went up a 4-1 lead. Fritz clawed his way back by winning his next two points on serve. Zverev saved a set point at 5-6 and earned his own set point, when Taylor missed a forehand. Fritz drew level to 7-7 with a smash winner. The Californian player got another mini-break before sealing the opening set with an ace after 49 minutes.

Zverev did not convert his last break point chance in the second game of the second set when he netted his return. Fritz got his only break of the match in the third game to take a 2-1 lead after a loose forehand from Zverev.

Fritz never looked back in his next service games to clinch his 29th win of the season.

Fritz, who lost eight of the last matches after reaching the final at the Los Cabos last August, hit 37 winners to 27 unforced errors. The young US player earned the only break of the entire match.

“I played really solid, so it feels good to get that win, instead of him getting me for the third time in a row. I got out there today and the sliders on my serve were working well”, said Fritz.

Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-3 7-6 (8-6) in a hard-fought match. The Greek Next Gen star won his only break of the first set in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and held on his next service games to close out the first set 6-3.

Tsitsipas earned another break in the fifth game of the second set to take a 3-2 lead. Ramos Vinolas broke straight back in the next game to draw level to 3-3. The Spanish player saved two match points at 4-6 in the tie-break. Tsitsipas forced Ramos Vinolas to a forehand error before closing out the match after 1 hour and 44 minutes.

“I knew it was going to be a difficult battle out there. He fought hard and gave me a hard time out there, but I am satisfied and happy that this match did not go longer or to three sets. The players that make it into ATP 500 tournaments are all playing well, so I expect every match to be difficult. You have to fight for everything”,said Tsitsipas.

 US giant Reilly Opelka battled past Chilean Christian Garin 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (12-10) after a match with no breaks of serve. Opelka fended off set points at 6-7 and 8-9 in the tie-break of the second set before sealing the win on his fourth match point. Opelka will face either David Goffin or Marin Cilic.

Fabio Fognini cruised past Next Gen Australian player Alexey Popyrin 6-2 6-4 boosting his chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London. Fognini is currently ranked number 11 in the ATP Race to London with 2235 points.

“Tennis has started to change again with these young guys, who are amazing on their first and second serves”, said Fognini.

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Stan Wawrinka Explains ATP Cup Absence And Olympics Situation Ahead Of Basel

Stan Wawrinka has explained why his Olympic dream is in doubt as he prepares to start his campaign in Basel.

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Stan Wawrinka (@usopen - Twitter)

Stan Wawrinka has explained why he is absent from the ATP Cup line-up as he begins his campaign in Basel on Wednesday. 

 

The three-time grand slam champion enters his home tournament in Basel having lost a three set final to a resurgent Andy Murray in Antwerp.

Despite the loss Wawrinka has been on a momentum swing himself having reached the US Open and Roland Garros quarter-finals this season.

Although this year has been a success, the Swiss’ 2020 calendar remains a mystery having been absent from Switzerland’s team for the ATP Cup next year.

Speaking to puntodebreak.com, Wawrinka explained his decision to not participate in the cup competition in January as well as questions over his Olympic eligibility, “I have a contract with the Doha tournament, which takes place at the same time as the ATP Cup,” Wawrinka explained.

“I would like to play it (Olympics). The desire is there, but now I have to adjust my calendar for 2020 with my team. I don’t know what criteria are required to get a Wild Card.” 

The 34 year-old is not the only one requiring a wildcard to enter the Olympics with Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori amongst others relying on the same rule.

Meanwhile Wawrinka is preparing for his first match in Basel, where he doesn’t have the best record having never reached the final.

A first round match against Pablo Cuevas awaits on Wednesday and he admitted his tension when performing in front of a home crowd,“In Basel I have always been a little tense, too hesitant,” he admitted.

“Correcting that and winning my first round match against Pablo Cuevas on Wednesday depends on me. It is not the tournament that suits my style of play and that is why, although I have played some good matches here, I do not have such a good performance.”

If Wawrinka wants to reach his maiden Swiss Indoors final, he will potentially have to go through Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.

That dream last eight match is a long way away though as Wawrinka will have to go through Pablo Cuevas and the winner of Frances Tiafoe against Dan Evans.

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