Bianca Andreescu Survives Beijing Scare In First Match Since US Open, Halep Exits - UBITENNIS
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Bianca Andreescu Survives Beijing Scare In First Match Since US Open, Halep Exits

There were mixed fortunes in China for two grand slam champions on Monday.

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Canadian rising star Bianca Andreescu has extended her winning streak to 14 matches after coming through a lacklustre encounter against Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the China Open on Monday.

 

Playing in her first match since defeating Serena Williams in the final of the US Open, the world No.6 overcame a mid-match blip to prevail 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. It was a far from perfect performance from Andreescu, who could only win 39% of her second service points and dropped serve four times in total. Nevertheless, in the decider she managed to increase her level to book a place in the third round. Finishing the match with 19 winners to 31 unforced errors.

“I wanted to just keep the momentum going,” the 19-year-old told reporters during her press conference.
“I’m on a roll right now, hopefully I can just keep it up because I think it gives me a lot of confidence,” she added.

Andreescu has won 40 out of 44 matches played so far in 2019 and is yet to lose to a top 10 player. Besides her US Open triumph, she has also won titles in Indian Wells and at the Rogers Cup.

“I don’t want to sound cocky or anything, but I kind of forgot how it feels to lose, which I think is a good thing.” She explained.

World No.23 Elise Mertens will be the next test for Andreescu. The Belgian dismissed Petra Martin 6-2, 6-3, in her match first round match. It will be the second meeting between the two players in as many months. At the US Open Andreescu prevailed in three sets.

“I’m going to go into it like I do every other match. I kind of have an idea of how she plays, she knows how I play now. I think it will be a tough battle no matter what,” Andreescu previewed.

Halep’s risk fails

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Elsewhere one reigning grand slam champion has crashed out of the tournament. Simona Halep could only win five games during her 6-2, 6-3, loss to Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova. The Romanian has been hampered by a back injury and withdrew from the Wuhan Open last week. Following her first round win on Sunday, Halep said she was still ‘not 100 per cent.’

Shortly after her exit, Halep confirmed that she will be undergoing an MRI scan. Raising fears over her participation for the rest on the season with the WTA Finals less than a month away. She has already qualified for the end-of-season event.

“I didn’t recover well after my first match so it was very tough for me to play and she played really well,” Halep said.
“The injury from Wuhan is getting worse so I have to go home and take an MRI (scan), take a break and do some treatment.”

As for Alexandrova, she will take on either 12th seed Aryna Sabalenka or Daria Kasatkina next.

Finally, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki raced into the second round with a 6-1, 6-3, win over Lauren Davis.

Results in full

First round

(11) Madison Keys USA def Karolina Muchova CZE 6-4, 7-6 (5)

Elise Mertens BEL def Petra Martic CRO, 6-2, 6-3

Jennifer Brady USA def Amanda Anisimova USA 6-7(4), 7-6 (2), 6-3

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS def Veronika Kudermetova RUS 6-0, 3-6, 7-6 (4)

(5) Bianca Andreescu CAN def Aliaksandra Sasnovich BLR 6-2, 2-6, 6-1

Katerina Siniakova, Czech Republic def Jelena Ostapenko LAT 6-2, 6-1

16-Caroline Wozniacki DEN def Laruren Davis USA 6-1, 6-3

Second round

(8) Kiki Bertens NED def Dayana Yastremska UKR 7-6 (5), 6-3

Ekaterina Alexanderova RUS def (6) Simona Halep ROM 6-2, 6-3

WTA

Elena Rybakina claims the second title of her career in Hobart

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Kazakh 20-year-old player Elena Rybakina beat China’s Shuai Zhang 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 at the Hobart International after 1 hour and 33 minutes to claim her first title of the 2020 season and the second of her career after Bucharest in 2019. Rybakina played her second consecutive final one week after losing to Ekaterina Alexandrova in Shenzhen. Rybakina converted all her three break points and dropped her serve once.

 

Rybakina earned an early break to race out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set and won her first 11 service points to open up a 4-1 lead. Zhang rallied from 0-40 down at 4-2 and broke back. Rybakina saved a break point at 5-5 with a forehand winner.

Both players stayed neck and neck until 6-6 and the first set came down to the tie-break. Zhang earned a set point at 6-5 with a backhand winner down the line, but Rybakina fended it off with a crosscourt backhand. Zhang saved Rybakina’s first set point at 7-6 with a wide return.

Rybakina got her second set point at 7-7 on her serve, as Zhang misfired on a wide backhand. The Kazakh player sealed the first set, as Zhang hit her return long.

Both players held on serve until 3-3 without facing any break points. Rybakina converted the first break point in the seventh game of the second set with a backhand down the line winner and held her serve with a down the line winner to open up a 5-3 lead. Rybakina won her fourth consecutive game on her first match point.

“I started very well, then I lost concentration for a few games, but I managed to come back and win the opening set. It was not easy. It was a bit windy. I played much better in the second set. Last week in Shenzhen my opponent played really good, and it was a tough match. Today I was just more focused, because it’s the second time in the final, and of course I wanted to win so much. I was focused 100 %”, said Rybakina.

 

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Ashleigh Barty clinches the eighth title of her career in Adelaide

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Ashleigh Barty beat unseeded player Dayana Yastremska 6-2 7-5 after 1 and 25 minutes to win the eighth title of her career and her first on Australian soil.

 

Barty became the first Australian player to win a title on home soil since Jarmila Wolfe at Hobart in 2011. The top seed reached two consecutive finals in Sydney, finishing runner-up to Angelique Kerber in 2018 and to Petra Kvitova in 2019. Barty has become the first Australian player to win an Australian tournament at WTA Premier level since Alicia Molik in Sydney in 2005.

Barty had already beaten Yastremska in Miami last year en route to winning the WTA Premier Mandatory title last year. The Australian player dropped 17 points in 10 service games and saved two of the three break point chances.

Yastremska held serve at love in the first game of the opening set. Barty broke serve at love in the third game after a forehand drive-volley error from Yastremska. Barty held her serve to consolidate the break for 3-1. He did not convert a break point in the fifth game, but she hit a service winner to open up a 4-2 lead.

Barty earned another break to race out to a 5-2 lead following a forehand error from Yastremska and held serve at love with a service winner to close out the first set 6-2 after 30 minutes.

Barty broke serve again at the start of the second set, when Yastremska hit her backhand long. Yastremska got the break back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.

In the second set Yastremska hit a backhand down the line winner in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The 19-year-old Ukrainian player held serve in the seventh game and earned a break point chance in the eighth game, but Barty fended it off with a forced error. The 2019 Roland Garros champion saved another break point chance after a loose backhand from Yastremska. Yastremska saved a break point with a down the T line serve, but Barty got the decisive break at love at 5-5 and won the last ten points with three winners to close out the match to the delight of the home fans.

“This is incredible. A great start to the year. I definitely feel the love out there, I love playing in Australia. I love playing at home. It’s been incredible for my team to enjoy this week. It was nice to get the ball rolling this week. I can’t wait to get started in Melbourne on Monday”, said Barty.

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Elena Rybakina reaches her second consecutive final in 2020

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Elena Rybakina beat British qualifier Heather Watson 6-3 4-6 6-4 after 2 hours and 16 minutes in the Hobart International semifinal setting up a final match against China’s Zhang Shuai.

 

Rybakina has become the first player to reach back-to-back finals in the first two weeks of the year since Agnieszka Radwanska in 2013. The Kazakh player finished runner-up to Ekaterina Alexandrova last week in Shenzhen.

Rybakina earned the first break in the first game, but Watson broke back with two forehand winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Rybakina broke for the second time with a crosscourt forehand in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and sealed the first set with another break on the first set point, as Watson hit her dropshot into the net.

Rybakina saved three break points with two aces and a service winner, but Watson converted her fourth chance with her forehand return winner.

Watson went up a double break with a forehand pass and held her serve to race out to a 5-1. Rybakina converted her second break point chance to claw her way back to 3-5.

Rybakina earned two break points in the 10th game, but Watson saved the first chance with a backhand winner before serving out the second set with consecutive service winners.

Watson saved a break point in the second game of the third set as Rybakina made a backhand error. Rybakina fended off a break point chance in the fifth game with a down-the-line backhand winner. Rybakina converted her second break point chance with a drop-shot winner on the match point.

“It was a really tough match. I was still missing all these balls in the second set. In the last few games I was playing really risky, and I am really happy that I won this match”, said Rybakina.

Rybakina set up a final against Zhang Shuai, who reached the third WTA final of her career after a 6-3 6-4 win over Veronika Kudemertova.

Zhang earned three break point chances at 2-1 with a backhand crosscourt winner and converted her first chance after Kudemertova sent her forehand wide. Kudemertova won two hard-fought service game at 4-2 and at 5-3. Zhang closed out the set on her second set point in the ninth game.

Both players held on their service games in the second set until 4-4. Zhang earned a break point in the ninth game, as Kudemertova made a forehand error. The Chinese player got the break, as Kudemertova made her forehand error. Kudemertova earned her first two break points of the match, as Zhang was serving for the match. Zhang held her serve at deuce, as Kudemertova missed returns on the next four points.

“The winter training went really good for me. Training with the national team, a lot of coaches helped me, so I was already ready before this tournament. I think all matches I played really well this week, and also a lot of the Chinese fans are coming to cheer for me, so I have had a lot of motivationto win”,said Zhang Shuai.

 

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