Kiki Bertens, Aryna Sabalenka Victorious On Opening Day Of Elite Trophy - UBITENNIS
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Kiki Bertens, Aryna Sabalenka Victorious On Opening Day Of Elite Trophy

The higher ranked players have made a solid start at the penultimate tournament of the 2019 WTA season.

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Kiki Bertens (@MutuaMadridOpen on Twitter)

Top seed Kiki Bertens has kicked-off her campaign at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai with a roller coaster straight sets win over Donna Vekic.

 

Bertens, who hasn’t won a title on the tour since the Madrid Open in May, overcame some testing moments to see off her opponent 7-6(5), 6-2. Extending her head-to-head record against Vekic to 4-3. The Dutch No.1 dropped her serve once in each set on route to victory. Winning 74% of her first service points and converting four out of her seven break point opportunities.

“The first set was really close. We were both fighting for the first set. I think Donna was a little bit injured, but in the second set, I was just trying to get my best from every point and I did that really well.” Bertens said during her on-court interview.

The latest clash between the two was a tale of two halves. To begin, it was Vekic who got off to a better start as she broke right away before the world No.10 clawed her way back to draw level midway through the opener. With little to separate the two, Bertens seized her chance in the tiebreak. Tied at 5-5, she broke the Vekic serve with the help of a clean backhand passing shot for a chance to serve the set out. An opportunity she converted with the help of a forehand error from her opponent.

Clinching the lead, the proceedings were interrupted by a medical time out for Vekic. Who underwent some treatment on her lower back. Upon resumption it was a one-way show with Bertens racing to a set and 5-0 lead. Even a wobble at the very end, where she lost two games in a row, failed to deny the top seed victory.

“I think I went for her shots there and hit a few good returns. My concentration was maybe not there, but I am happy that I could close it (the match) out at 5-2.” Bertens commented about the end to the match.

It is the fourth time Bertens has played Vekic this season. She has won three of those encounters.

Earlier in the day Aryna Sabalenka was another player to make a winning start at the tournament. The fifth seed ousted Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-4. Sabalenka saved all five of the break points she faced throughout the 89-minute clash and dropped just four points behind her first serve (24/28).

Sabalenka is playing in the Rose Group of the round-robin tournament, which also features Elise Mertens. Meanwhile Bertens heads the Azalea Group with a clash against Dayana Yastremska lurking in the coming days.

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Nick Kyrgios and Amanda Anisimova lose to Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic in the second round of the Australian Open mixed doubles tournament

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Nick Kyrgios returned to the court to play with Amanda Anisimova for the mixed doubles tournament just one day after losing to Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the men’s singles tournament.

 

Kyrgios and Anisimova lost to Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic 4-6 6-4 10-8 in the second round after 1 hour and 19 minutes.

Both teams traded holds in the first two games before Anisimova dropped serve, as she netted a backhand. Krejcikova consolidated the break by holding serve with a service winner. Kyrgios broke back to draw level to 3-3 with a return winner. Kyrgios saved a break point in the ninth game with his serve, before breaking serve in the 10th game with a return winner to seal the first set 6-4.

Kyrgios and Anisimova fended off three break points in the fifth game of the second set with a service winner from Kyrgios.

Mektic hit a volley winner on the fourth break point chance in the seventh game to break serve for 4-3. Kyrgios and Anisimova broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Krejcikova and Mektic broke serve to take a 5-4 lead. Krejcikova held serve at love to seal the second set 6-4, as she was serving for the set, forcing the match to the decisive tie-break. Krejikova and Mektic raced out to a 5-1 lead, when Amanda netted a backhand.

Kyrgios and Anisimova won three consecutive points to claw their way back to 4-5. Krejicikova and Mektic won four of the next five points to take a 9-5 lead. Kyrgios and Anisimova saved three match points before Krejikova sealed the win with a service winner to reach the quarter final.

Men’s doubles tournament: Ram and Salisbury reach the semifinal at the Australian Open

The US and British team formed Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury beat Finland’s Henri Kontinen and German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 6-4 to advance to the Australian Open doubles semifinal.

Ram and Salisbury will face Alexander Bublik and Kikhail Kukushkin, who reached the semifinal on Monday.

Last year’s Wimbledon semifinal Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek eased past Marcelo Arevalo and Jonny O’Mara 6-3 6-2 in 1 hour and 19 minutes. Dodig and Polasek set up a semifinal against Max Purcell and Luke Saville, who beat Santiago Gonzalez and Skupski 6-2 6-4 after 68 minutes.

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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win

The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.

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Novak Djokovic posing for a photo ahead of his quarter-final match with Milos Raonic at the Australian Open (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

 

The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.

“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.

Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’

“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”

Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)

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(VIADEO) Australian Open Day Eight: Rafael Nadal Muzzles Kyrgios At Night

The match that everybody was talking about on the second Monday of the grand slam lived up to expectations.

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Rafa Nadal - Australian Open 2020 (via Twitter, @AustralianOpen)

Ben Rothenberg from The New York Times joins Ubitennis to look back on Rafael Nadal’s latest win over Nick Kyrgios. The four-set triumph now sees the top seed extend his winning head-to-head record to 5-3. However, was the latest match between the two tennis stars as good as their clash at Wimbledon last year?

 

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