Ash Barty Finishes Day One Top Of Red Group After Cruising Past Wounded Bencic - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Finishes Day One Top Of Red Group After Cruising Past Wounded Bencic

Ash Barty finishes day one at the top of the Red Group at the WTA Finals after a three set win over Belinda Bencic.

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Ash Barty (@FoxSportsAUS - Twitter)

World number one Ash Barty finishes day one at the top of the Red Group after a 5-7 6-1 6-2 win over Belinda Bencic. 

 

After losing the first set, the Roland Garros champion only lost three games as she secured top position in the Red Group after the first day at the WTA Finals.

There was not much Bencic could do after suffering a foot injury in the second set which hampered her movement and increased Barty’s confidence.

In the other match of the day, Naomi Osaka won her opening match by edging out Petra Kvitová 7-6(1) 4-6 6-4 in an Australian Open final rematch.

Having been in the doubles event at the WTA Finals before, Barty started the match confidently as she looked to end an incredible season in the best fashion possible.

On the other side of the net, Bencic showed her early nerves having never been at the WTA Finals in her career before and fended off an early break point.

It was a comfortable opening set for both with Barty using a good variety of serves to open up the angles while Bencic showed authority with her impressive power.

The difference though proved to be the top seed’s lack of first serves as she was once again struggling with the ball toss.

This was all that Bencic needed as she forced the errors from the slice backhand of Barty to secure the break for a 6-5 lead.

An ace secured the first set for the world number 7 in 50 minutes as Barty now needed to respond.

Respond is exactly what Barty managed to do as the 23 year-old played much better taking up a more aggressive court position on return.

An early 3-0 lead was created as Bencic was now struggling with her movement and looked to be in serious trouble as the momentum had swung away from her.

Just like Bencic did in the first set, an ace secured the set for Barty as she levelled the match at one set all.

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Despite a lengthy medical time-out as well as a confident start, Bencic was unable to take enough risks to win the match.

A lucky net cord sealed the first break at 2-1 and things just managed to get better for the Australian as she then managed to get the double break.

The match ended with a 10th ace of the match from the world number one as she ended day one at the top of the Red Group.

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A great performance which saw her take the momentum from the Asian swing into the WTA Finals as Bencic looks to heal that foot in-time for a second match.

Next Barty will play Naomi Osaka on Tuesday after securing her first win at the WTA Finals of her career with a 7-6(1) 4-6 6-4 win over Petra Kvitová.

The Japanese star hit 12 aces as she looks to end the season with a big title and after the match she was glad to get a win under her belt, “I think just like winning given the circumstances,” Osaka said after her match.

“I’m not one who plays that well in the first round (of tournaments). It was very difficult for me to play against her. I just tried to fight no matter what and I’m very glad that I was able to win.”

As for Kvitová, she will look to avoid elimination when she will play Bencic on Tuesday.

 

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Ash Barty Insists No Queue Jumping Involved As She Gets Covid-19 Vaccine

The world No.1 says she is pleased to have a ‘small layer of protection.’

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Ash Barty has confirmed that she was one of the players to receive a COVID-19 vaccination during a Tour event in Charleston.

 

The tournament and Plantation Pharmacy, a local drugstore, formed an agreement which offered all players a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccination to players participating in two events. The Volvo Open and 2021 MUSC Health Women’s Open which took place at the same venue the week after.

Barty confirmed for the first time earlier this week that she and her coach Craig Tyzzer took up the offer. Speaking to reporters from the Stuttgart Open, the former French Open champion stated that she ‘didn’t jump any queues’ to get the vaccine. Joining the likes of Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka who have also had their doses earlier in the year.

“We were looking at different avenues to try and get vaccinated without jumping the queue in Australia to see what our options were, and we weren’t able to get much of an answer before we left in March,” said Barty.
“We were able to get the vaccine, as were a lot of other players, through the Tour and that they had organised through a certain pharmacy that had extras, and that was important to me knowing that those who were the most vulnerable were able to get it first.”

The 24-year-old missed most of the season last year due to travelling concerns related to the pandemic. In total she missed nearly 11 months of the Tour before returning to action in Melbourne in February. Since then, Barty has won the Yarra Valley Classic and Miami Open.

“It was nice to know that we have got that small layer of protection,” she added.
“We still do the right things and abide by all the rules and the guidelines set in place by the Tour but knowing that we had that little bit of extra protection puts us at ease a bit more.”

This week the Australian is seeking her first trophy on the clay since her triumph in Roland Garros back in 2019. The top seed in Stuttgart, she kicked-off her campaign on Wednesday with a 6-0, 7-5, win over former champion Laura Siegemund. She will play either Jelena Ostapenko or Karolina Pliskova in the next round.

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Ashleigh Barty beats former champion Laura Siegemund at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart

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World number 1 Ashleigh Barty edged past 2017 Stuttgart champion Laura Siegemund 6-0 7-5 after 84 minutes to reach the quarter finals at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. 

 

Barty, who had won her previous match against Siegemund in Doha 2020, won all 24 of the first serve points and hit 19 winners.

Barty never faced a break points and converted all her three break points to take a bagel win in the first set. 

Siegemund earned her first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with a drop volley winner. Barty got the break straight back to draw level to 2-2 with a winning lob. 

Siegemund saved four break points in the sixth game to hold serve for 3-3. Barty saved a break point in the ninth game before sealing the second set 7-5 with a break in the 12th game. 

Barty set up a quarter final match against either Karolina Pliskova or Jelena Ostapenko, who will meet on Thursday. 

Pliskova battled past lucky loser and world number 137 Tamara Korpatch 7-5 3-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 18 minutes Plskova came back from a break down to win the opening set 7-5. She went up a break in the second set, but lost the second set from a break up, but she claimed the decider on her second match point. 

Korpatch broke serve in the second game to open up a 5-2 lead. Pliskova won five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to claim the opening set 7-5. 

Pliskova went up a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, but Korpatch reeled off four consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to win the second set 6-3. 

Pliskova raced out to a 5-1 lead in the second and sixth games, but Korpatch pulled one break back in the eighth game. Pliskova closed out the third set 6-3 on her second match point.  

Korpatch peaked at world number 107 in August 2019 after reaching the semifinals in Lausanne. She came into the tournament on a seven-match losing streak dating back to Prague last August. 

Pliskova will face off Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Stefanie Voegele 6-4 7-5. 

“First of all, I am very happy that I am through, but other than that, I didn’t see many really good things. Maybe there were a couple of good points, but it was not the best performance. I think she was also playing a bit tricky, all of these high balls, and also still getting used to the clay. I was struggling a bit in the rallies. I thought my serve was quite OK. Maybe two games were not so good, but a lot of things have to improve until tomorrow”, said Pliskova.

Defending champion Petra Kvitova battled past Maria Sakkari 6-3 3-6 6-3 after two hours and a half. Kvitova saved 13 of the 16 break points she faced and she saved nine of the thirteen break points she faced. 

Kvitova earned just a single break point at 2-1 and saved the three break points she faced to close out the first set 6-3. Sakkari got an early break in the second game of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead. Kvitova pulled back on serve at 4-3, but Sakkari converted her eighth break point with a dropshot winner in the eighth game. Sakkari held serve at 30 to claim the second set 6-3. 

Kvitova broke serve in the fourth game with a backhand crosscourt winner to take a 3-1 lead. Sakkari broke straight back in the fifth game. Kvitova converted her fourth break point for 5-3 after a double fault by Sakkari and served out the match at deuce in the ninth game. 

Two-time Stuttgart champion Angelique Kerber won 78% of her first serves and hit 23 winners to nine unforced errors to beat Ekaterine Gorgodze 6-2 6-2. Gorgodze committed 24 unforced errors and converted only 2 of her 10 break points. 

World number 27 Anett Kontaveit has improved her win-loss record to 11-3 in Stuttgart after a 7-5 6-4 win over Sofia Kenin after 94 minutes.  The Estonian player has reached the quarter finals or better in all four of her main-draw tournament appearances in Stuttgart and finished runner-up to Petra Kvitova in 2019. 

Kontaveit scored the 12th win over a top 10 player in her career and the first in 2021. 

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Astra Sharma clinches her maiden WTA title at the MUSC Health Women’s Open in Charleston

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World number 165 Astra Sharma from Australia came back from one set down to beat number 1 seed and world number 27 Ons Jabeur 2-6 7-5 6-1 to clinch her maiden WTA title at the MUSC Health Women’s Open final in Charleston. 

 

Sharma lost to Amanda Anisimova in her only previous career final in Bogotà 2019. 

Jabeur held serve for 1-1 with her dropshots and got two breaks to open up a 5-1 lead. The 2020 Australian Open quarter finalist never faced a break point to close out the first set 6-2.

Sharma earned her first two break points in the fourth game and hit a winner off the netcord to break serve to open up a 3-1 lead. 

Jabeur earned a double break point with a passing shot winner in the fifth game and broke back for 2-3 after a wide error by Sharma. 

Both players held serve until the 12th game, when Jabeur earned a 40-15 lead at 6-5 to send the second set into a tie-break. Sharma won four consecutive points to earn her second break sending the match to the third set. 

After a trade of breaks Sharma won the final four games with two breaks and closed out the match with a love service hold. 

Hailey Baptiste and Caty McNally fought back from one set down to beat number 1 seeded team formed by Ellen Perez and Storm Sanders 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 10-6 after 95 minutes. 

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