Elina Svitolina Marches Into Shenzhen Semis With Statement Win Over Halep - UBITENNIS
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Elina Svitolina Marches Into Shenzhen Semis With Statement Win Over Halep

Elina Svitolina beat Simona Halep in straight sets in confident style to book her place in the semi-finals at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.

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Elina Svitolina (@LesoirSports on Twitter)

Elina Svitolina continued her impressive title defence at the 2019 WTA Finals with a stirring 7-5 6-3 win over Simona Halep that earns her a place in the semi-finals in Shenzhen.

 

The Ukrainian, 25, won the last edition of the event in Singapore despite heading into it on the back of a poor run of form during the Asian swing.

This year, Svitolina is in much better form, and she has looked imperious so far at the tournament’s new home. Thanks to her two straight-sets wins, she has already qualified for the last four with one match still to play.

In her first match, she beat Karolina Pliskova in two tight sets. Then she picked up where she left off as she won the first three games of her encounter with Halep.

However, like Svitolina, the Romanian is a fierce competitor. She fought back to level the score at 3-3 and soon dragged the Ukrainian into the kind of pulsating baseline battle that typically occurs during their clashes.

For the next five games, there was so little to choose between the two players. Both Halep and Svitolina chased down ball after ball and there were some fantastic rallies that always seemed to be won by whoever wanted it more at the time.

But at 5-6 down, the Romanian faltered. She played a poor game and lost her serve to love. And, just like that, the set was gone.

Svitolina takes control

The second set was not as close. After she was broken in game three, Svitolina fought and scrapped her way to an immediate break back.

And from then on, the World No.8 took control. She almost broke Halep again in between two comfortable holds that moved her 4-3 ahead.

At the changeover, Svitolina’s coach Andrew Bettles told her to ‘keep going after it’. And that is exactly what the Ukrainian did in the next game. She repeatedly forced Halep behind the baseline with deep groundstrokes and earned a break to love.

It looked like the match might go on a bit longer when the World No.8 showed some understandable nerves and fell 15-40 behind. However, she gathered herself and won the next four points to seal an excellent victory.

Ultimately, given how similar the two players are in terms of style and ability, the result of the match was probably decided by who was sharper on the day. On this occasion, it was Svitolina, who has played 25 matches since Wimbledon, who beat Halep, who has played just 11 matches during the same time period.

Going forward in this event, the Ukrainian should arguably be considered the favourite to win it for the second year running. She has beaten two high-quality players without dropping a set, she seems right at home in the WTA Finals environment and she looks fresh and ready to compete. Can anyone stop her?

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Marcos Baghdatis Lands First Coaching Role With Top 10 Player

The recently retired tennis player has become the new mentor to one of the stars of women’s tennis.

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Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis is set to return to the tour five months after stepping away from the sport as a coach to the world No.6 player on the WTA Tour.

 

The Cypriot has been appointed to the team of Elina Svitolina with immediate effect. In his new role Baghdatis will be working alongside Svitolina’s current coach Andrew Bettles in what will be his first ever role as a mentor on the professional tour.

“I am so glad to announce the next chapter of my life and look forward to coaching a great athlete and super tennis player, No.6 ranked WTA player Elina Svitolina, working alongside Andre Bettles! I want to thank Elina for putting her trust in me. Let’s do this! Bring it on 2020,” he said on Twitter.

During his career, Baghdatis won four ATP titles and peaked at a high of eighth in the world rankings. Finishing each year inside the world’s top 100 between 2005-2016. He officially retired from tennis during Wimbledon at the age of 34.

Svitolina will be hoping that her new appointment sends her in the right direction following what has been a mixed year. The Ukranian won 39 out of 61 matches played in 2019 and reached the semi-finals of two grand slam tournaments (Wimbledon and the US Open). However, she has failed to win any WTA titles. Making it the first season she has done so since 2012.

“I’m very excited to announce this news and I’m confident his strong experience will add value to my game.” Svitolina wrote on Instagram.
“With such a great coaching team, I have set high objectives for 2020.”

Svitolina will kick-off her 2020 campaign in Australia at the Brisbane International. As well as bidding to win her first grand slam title, the 25-year-old will be hoping to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Caroline Wozniacki To Face Serena Williams In Farewell Match

Details have been released about a special event that will take place in honour of the former world No.1.

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After announcing her retirement from tennis at the start of next year, Caroline Wozniacki has confirmed that she will play one final match in her home country before hanging up her racket for good.

 

Danish media have reported that the 2018 Australian Open champion will play at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen next May. A multi-purpose arena that can hold a capacity of up to 12,500 people for sporting events. Described by the promoters as Wozniacki’s ‘final match’ on Danish soil, she will play against rival and friend Serena Williams.

“The time has come when I stop my career and I am very much looking forward to playing my very last home game in front of such a large audience. It will be something very special and a day I really look forward to.” Wozniacki told tv2.dk.
“The end point of my career cannot be better than at home and against tennis’ greatest female player ever. It’s going to be a magnificent night I’ll never forget, I’m sure.” She added.

Wozniacki has played Williams 11 times on the WTA Tour, but has only won one of their meetings. Which was at the 2012 Miami Open. It is not the first time the two have played an exhibition match against each other. In 2016 Williams won their encounter in Madison Square Garden, New York. Meanwhile, last year Wozniacki also played Williams’ sister Venus in Denmark to mark her triumph at the Australian Open.

The 29-year-old will be hoping that the upcoming showdown will be the perfect send off as she exits the sport. During her career, Wozniacki has won 30 WTA titles and spent 71 weeks as world No.1. She has also won 432 hard court matches, which is more than any other non-American player on the women’s tour.

“I want to thank everyone for the incredible support they have shown me throughout my career and I hope that as many people as possible want to come and give me perfect send off. I would be very grateful for that.” She said.

The farewell match will take place on May 18th, which is exactly a week before the start of the French Open for Williams.

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Bianca Andreescu Rewrites History As She Is Named Canadian Athlete of The Year

The world No.5 has achieved another milestone in her blossoming career.

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Tennis sensation Bianca Andreescu has capped off her breakthrough season by winning the most prestigious sporting prize of her country.

 

The 19-year-old has become the first tennis player is history to win the Lou Marsh Trophy. An honour that has been awarded to Canada’s top athlete each year since 1936. Andreescu was unanimously selected to receive the trophy by a panel of 24 top sports media members. Fending off competition from Brooke Henderson (golf), Jordan Binnington (ice hockey), Andre De Grasse (athletics) and Mike Soroka (baseball).

“Wow, I’m so thankful for this award. I was not expecting it and to be the first tennis player to win is even more surreal,” Andreescu said.
“None of my success this year would have been possible without the support from all of Canada. Canadian sports crushed it this year so there are definitely many other athletes who deserve a piece of this award as well — we all motivate each other to be better.’
“I can’t wait for what 2020 will bring and am always proud to represent Canada at the highest level.”

Andresscu’s latest milestone is one that surprised few. In September moguls skier Mikael Kingsbury, who won the trophy in 2018, said to Andreescu on Twitter ‘anytime you want to come take the #LouMarsh I have it in Montreal… it’s all yours now.’

This season Andreescu has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the world of tennis. Highlighted by a win-loss record of 48-7. Starting 2019 outside the top 100 with less than $200,000 in career earnings, she has rocketed up the rankings. She won her maiden WTA title in Indian Wells, followed by the Rogers Cup a few months later. However, her biggest achievement took place at the US Open when she defeated Serena Williams to win the US Open. Becoming the first Canadian in history to win a grand slam singles title.

As a result of her breakout, Andreescu has made $6,504,150 in prize money this season. The 10th highest by a player (man or woman) in 2019. An impressive achievement for the Canadian, who at one stage could only play one match during a four-month period due to injury.

Andreescu will start her 2020 campaign in New Zealand at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Andreescu’s season review

January
– Reaches the final of the ASB Classic as a qualifier. Defeating Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams en route.
– At the Australian Open Andreescu eases through qualifying without dropping a set. After winning her first main draw match, she lost in round 2 to Anastasija Sevastova.
– Caps off the month by winning a WTA 125 title in Newport Beach, California.

February
– Wins both her matches in Canada’s Fed Cup clash with the Netherlands
– Towards the end of the month she reached the semi-finals of the Acapulco Open before losing to Sofia Kenin.

March
– Stuns the tour by winning the BNP Paribas Open as a wild card to claim her first WTA title.
– Follows up Indian Wells by reaching the fourth round in Miami.

April – played no events due to injury

May
– Could only play one match at the French Open, which she won, before withdrawing from the tournament injured.

June & July – missed due to injury

August
– On a comeback from injury she became the first Canadian player in 50 years to win the Rogers Cup. The biggest tennis tournament in her country.

September
– Claims her first grand slam title at the US Open by defeating Serena Williams in straight sets.

October
– Reaches the quarter-finals of the China Open before losing in a three-set thriller to Naomi Osaka.
– Made her debut at the WTA Finals. Lost her opening match to Simona Halep and then retired during her her second against Karolina Pliskova due to injury.

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