Kiki Bertens Leaves Red Group Wide Open After Edging Inconsistent Barty - UBITENNIS
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Kiki Bertens Leaves Red Group Wide Open After Edging Inconsistent Barty

Kiki Bertens has left the Red Group wide open after beating Ash Barty for the first time in her career at the WTA Finals.

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Kiki Bertens (@WTAEliteTrophy - Twitter)

Kiki Bertens has left the Red Group wide open after edging out Ash Barty 3-6 6-3 6-4 in her opening match at the WTA Finals. 

 

The world number 10 was a late replacement for Naomi Osaka but wasn’t fazed by the task as she defeated the world number one in over two hours.

As for Barty, it was a flat and inconsistent performance having been a set and a break up and looking like she was going to cruise to victory.

This result now leaves the Red Group wide open with Kiki Bertens taking on Belinda Bencic on Thursday while Ash Barty faces Petra Kvitova.

It was a nervy start from both players as Bertens looked weary after reaching the Zhuhai final last week, while Barty couldn’t dominate from her serve.

Four breaks from the first five games was evidence of the nervousness from both players until the world number one gained a grip of the match.

Using her backhand to hit cross-court winners while moving Bertens around with her forehand was key for the Australian to gain momentum and a 5-2 lead.

Despite holding serve for the first time, Bertens couldn’t seal another break of serve as some good tactical serving sealed the first set for Barty.

There were more problems for Bertens in the second set as another unforced error gained the break for the top seed and a 2-1 lead.

But tennis is a bizarre sport at times and Barty from that moment lacked intensity and sharpness despite creating the space for winners.

This saw an opportunity for Bertens to get into the net and to start to play some aggressive tennis herself as well as creating winners.

Poor returning, saw Barty concede the second set as this match was now heading into a decider and the momentum was with the Dutchwoman.

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A run of eight consecutive games saw a quick turnaround in the third set as Bertens now assumed control of the match with the Australian’s game dipping very quickly.

Three break points saved helped Barty get a much needed hold of serve which lead to three games in a row to reduce the deficit.

However the more energised player won this match as Bertens continued to run round her backhand to hit winner after winner.

The phenomenal comeback was complete as she sealed a 55th win of the season in 80 matches completed in an exhausting year for her.

After the win, Bertens seemed pretty pleased with her aggressive end to the match, “In the beginning I wasn’t playing as well and had to feel the court and got better and better as I tried to play aggressively and it turned out pretty well,” Bertens said after the match.

It will be a disappointing match from Barty’s perspective though as a lack of intensity and energy cost her a routine win.

This means that Bertens could be in pole position to reach the semi-finals should she defeat Belinda Bencic on Thursday.

Meanwhile Ash Barty can qualify for the last four in Shenzhen with a win over Petra Kvitova in a couple of days time.

 

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Simona Halep eases through her first final of the season in Dubai

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Simona Halep cruised past US qualifier Jennifer Brady 6-2 6-0 after just 62 minutes to reach her first final of the season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Halep saved the only two break points she faced and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors. Halep earned an early break in the opening game before saving two break points to hold serve for 2-0. The 2019 Wimbledon player went up a double break and held serve to race out to a 5-1 lead. Brady hit a backhand winner to win her service game for 5-2. Halep wrapped up the first set on her first set point in the next game.

Halep went up an early break in the first game of the second set. She hit a forehand winner on her third break point to race out to a 3-0 lead. Halep earned her third consecutive break in the fifth game for 5-0. Halep earned a match point with a backhand winner and sealed the win after a backhand error from Brady. Halep set up a final against Elena Rybakina, who beat Petra Martic 7-6 7-6.

“It felt much better than previous matches. I played really well. Everything went in my side. I felt the ball great. I feel like I played the best match since I came here. It’s amazing what Rybakina has done already this year”, said Halep.

 

 

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Elena Rybakina saves a set point in each set to overcome Petra Martic in Dubai semifinal

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Elena Rybakina came back from a break down and saved a set point in each set to overcome Petra Martic 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-2) after 2 hours and 11 minutes reaching her fourth final this season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Rybakina has won 19 of her first 22 matches this season. She lost in Shenzhen before clinching her first title of her title in Hobart. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open. She advanced to her third final of the 2020 season in St. Petersburg before losing to Kiki Bertens.

Rybakina has won 19 of her first 22 matches this season. She lost in Shenzhen before clinching her first title of her title in Hobart. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open. She advanced to her third final of the 2020 season in St. Petersburg before losing to Kiki Bertens.

Rybakina has reached the sixth final of her career and her second at Premier level. She won two titles in Bucarest and Hobart and finished runner-up in Nanchang, Shenzhen and St. Petersburg. Earlier this week the Kazakh player beat two top ten players Sofia Kenin and Karolina Pliskova before beating Petra Martic in three hard-fought sets in the semifinal. Rybakina hit 32 winners to 23 unforced errors.

The opening set started with three consecutive breaks. Martic broke twice and maintained her lead until 5-4. Rybakina broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 to force the first set to the tie-break.

Rybakina saved a set point with a forehand pass to draw level to 5-5, as she was serving for the set. Rybakina built up a 6-2 lead. Martic saved three chances but Rybakina sealed her fourth set point with a volley at the net.

Martic earned an early break to open up a 3-0 lead. Rybakina saved a point to trail a double break at 0-4. Rybakina broke back in the seventh game, as Martic netted a dropshot. Both players saved break points in the final three games at deuce. Rybakina was just two points from losing the set, while she was serving at 4-5. Rybakina saved a set point at 5-6 with backhand winners forcing the second set to the tie-break.

Rybakina raced out to a 6-1 lead in the tie-break and sealed the win on her second match points with a backhand.

“I have to adjust because everything is new to me. It is always great to beat a player from the top 5  I alway try to do my best and want to win every match. I was focusing on on what I had to do”, said Rybakina.

 

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Elena Rybakina comes back from one set down against Karolina Pliskova to reach her fourth semifinal of the year in Dubai

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Elena Rybakina came back from a break down in the opening set to beat Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 reaching the semifinal at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Rybakina has qualified for her fourth semifinal this season. She opened the year with the final in Shenzhen followed by a title in Hobart. After losing to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open, the Kazakh player finished runner-up to Kiki Bertens in the final in St. Petersburg.

Rybakina hit 33 winners (including 11 aces) to 20 unforced errors and saved 10 of the 11 break points she faced.

Pliskova fended off a break point in the opening game of the first set before breaking serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead after a pair of double faults from Rybakina.

Rybakina broke straight back in the seventh game with forehand return winners. The Kazakh player missed a break point at 4-4, but she held her serve in the 12th game with three consecutive aces to force the first set to the tie-break. Rybakina raced out to a 6-0 lead in the tie-break and sealed the tie-break on her second set point 7-1.

Rybakina broke serve in the second game to open up a 4-1 lead. She had to overcome a total of eleven deuces and saved six break points in her first three service games. She held serve for 1-0 with three consecutive service winners and hit a backhand crosscourt winner in the third game and a forehand down the line down break point in the fifth game.

Rybakina earned her first break in the second game of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead after a double fault from Pliskova.

Pliskova saved three break points in the sixth game to hold serve for 2-4. Rybakina held serve at deuce to take a 5-2 lead and rallied from 0-30 down to serve out the win.

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