Top seed Ashleigh Barty rallied from a set down to beat Danielle Collins 3-6 6-1 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 55 minutes advancing to the final of the WTA Premier Tournament in Adelaide.
Barty has qualified fo a final in the second week of the year for the third consecutive year after losing in two consecutive editions of the Sydney tournament to Angelique Kerber in 2018 and to Petra Kvitova in 2019.
Collins got an early break in the fourth game to take a 3-0 lead. Barty earned a chance to break back when she held a 0-40 lead on Collins’ serve in the seventh game, but Collins won five consecutive points to hold on her serve.
Barty broke serve twice to race out to a 5-0 lead. Collins saved two break points to hold her serve at deuce avoiding a bagel. Barty sealed a one-sided second set at 15 in the seventh game.
Both players traded breaks in the seventh and eighth games of the third set, which did not feature a deuce game. Barty hit a return winner to take a 4-3 lead. Collins broke straight back in the next game. They held their service games setting up a tie-break. Collins saved the first match point with a return winner, but Barty sealed the win on her second match point with a slice.
“It was my first taste this year of some adrenaline late in matches. That is what we are after, to try and practice those things as best we can. I felt like I did what I wanted to do well tonight and got over the line”,said Barty.
Yastremska beats Sabalenka in straight sets
Barty set up a final against Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska, who beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 44 minutes. Yastremska has reached her fourth WTA final and her first at WTA Premier level in Adelaide. Yastremska beat Sabalenka for the third time in her three head-to-head matches.
Yastremska dropped her serve once, converted two of her eight break point chances and hit 25 winners to 30 unforced errors.
Sabalenka fended off three break point chances in the third game of the opening set before Yastremska earned her first break in the fifth game after a backhand error from Sabalenka. The 19-year-old Ukrainian player consolidated the break with a forehand crosscourt winner. She rallied from 0-30 down in the 10th game to serve out the opening set with an ace after 37 minutes. Yastremska won the first set without facing a break point and won nine winners to nine unforced errors.
Yastremska earned an early break at the start of the second set with a return down the line winner in the first game, and consolidated it with a cross-court backhand. Sabalenka saved a break point, as she was serving at 1-3, before pulling the break back in the next game after a double fault from Yastremska. Both players held their next service games to set up a tie-break. Yastremska raced out to a 4-1 lead with a forehand winner and sealed the win with a service winner on her third match point to book her spot in the biggest final of her career.
Yastremska won three titles in her career, including two in 2019 on two different surfaces at International level in Hong Kong, Thailand Open and Strasbourg. She started the new season with her new coach Sascha Bajin, who previously worked with Seran Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Naomi Osaka.
“It’s nice. I am very happy. Especially at the beginning of the year I think it brings me some confidence before the Grand Slam. In the second set when I was 3-1 up, I felt a little bit my legs were heavy, and I felt like I got a little bit tired. I lost my focus and then, after Sasha came on court, I got some energy, and I really tried to do what he told me. I think I just fought. That’s it”,said Yastremska.
Player Withdrawn From French Open Under COVID-19 Protocols
On the eve of the doubles draw one team has been removed following a positive test.
Organisers of the French Open have confirmed a player has been removed from the tournament after their coach tested positive for COVID-19.
The player in question was set to play in the main draw of the women’s doubles this week. No details have been given as to who that person may be and there is currently no information about a doubles team withdrawing from the tournament. It is also unclear if the pairing in question will be replaced by somebody else.
“The Roland-Garros tournament organisers inform that a women’s doubles’ player was declared a “contact case”, following the COVID-19 positive test result issued for her coach,” a statement from the French Tennis Federation reads.
“In line with the tournament health and safety protocol, this player’s doubles team has been withdrawn from the draw, which will commence Wednesday 30 September.”
It is not the first time a player has been removed from this year’s draw after either them or a member of their team testing positive. Last week in qualifying Poland’s Katarzyna Kawa and Spain’s Bernabé Zapata was excluded before later returning back to their home countries to test negative. Rising concerns about false positive results occurring. Furthermore, the coach of Damir Dzumhur and Fernando Verdasco was also removed after testing positive despite both of them having the virus earlier in the year. They also returned negative results when returning home.
In light of the controversies the French Tennis Federation has since changed their policy. Now if somebody who have proof of previously having the virus test positive, medical staff will now consider their medical history before coming to a decision. Last week a positive test meant a disqualification no matter what.
“The modifications of the ARS (Health Regional Agency) is to now accept non-infectiousness on the post-illness, if it is documented by a medical file and validated by medical experts, which is good for the players,” an unnamed FFT official told newspaper L’Equipe. “Unfortunately, we only received this decision on Friday evening.”
The French Open has conducted 1,900 COVID-19 tests since Thursday 17 September.
Garbine Muguruza Survives Marathon French Open Encounter
Garbine Muguruza outlasted Tamara Zidansek 7-5 4-6 8-6 to book her place in the second round of the 2020 French Open.
Garbine Muguruza withstood a spirited challenge from Tamara Zidansek to record a 7-5 4-6 8-6 victory and book her place in the second round of the 2020 French Open.
The Spaniard, 26, played some superb tennis on her way to the semi-final in Rome just over a week ago. However, she struggled to find any kind of rhythm in her Paris opener.
During a match lasting three hours and one minute, Muguruza hit 42 winners. However, she also made 64 unforced errors as she battled a slow court, a heavy ball and a stubborn opponent.
Most importantly of all, the Spaniard made it through. And if she can raise her game in the upcoming rounds, she will soon forget about her first-round struggles.
In the first set, Zidansek earned an early break after outlasting Muguruza in a marathon game. Then the Spaniard fought back. She broke twice to establish a 5-3 lead.
But the set was far from over. The Slovenian broke the World No.15 for a second time to level the score at 5-5. Unfortunately for her, Muguruza responded with another break and then held to secure the set.
Muguruza fights back after losing second set
Muguruza and Zidansek twice traded breaks in the second set to leave the score locked at 4-4. Then the Spaniard wasted two crucial changes to break that would have given her the chance to serve for the match.
Instead, the World No.15 fell 5-4 behind. Then she served poorly and the Slovenian punished her. The World No.83 broke to seal the second set and take the match into a decider.
After Muguruza recovered from 0-3 to level the score, the final set became a test of endurance for the players. For the next six games, there was simply no way of separating them as the score rolled on to 6-6.
Then the Spaniard produced some of her best tennis when she needed it most. She took control of the 13th game with some excellent groundstrokes. On important points, she forced Zidansek wide and deep to earn two chances to break. Then she seized the second with a classy forehand winner.
Muguruza hit three big first serves as she secured a relatively comfortable hold to finish the match. When she won the last point, she wore a look that mixed exasperation and relief. The Spaniard will now face either Kristyna Pliskova or Viktoria Kuzmova in round two.
Elina Svitolina Hangs Tough To Win Tense Battle In Paris
Elina Svitolina fought hard to overcome Varvara Gracheva in a tricky first-round encounter at the 2020 French Open.
Elina Svitolina drew on all her fighting qualities to overcome World No.89 Varvara Gracheva in a tricky first-round encounter at the 2020 French Open.
The Ukrainian, 26, found form during an encouraging run to the title in Strasbourg last week. But she struggled to hit winners against the Russian, who seemed determined to make life as difficult as possible for her.
“It was not easy,” Svitolina said in her on-court interview. “I was leading in the first set and then Varvara really stepped up her game. She hit the ball much better and made me work hard for it.”
The Ukrainian continued, “I had to work really hard to be where I am now mentally. Every match and every tournament is a battle first of all with myself. It’s important for me to stay focused and keep my mind in the right place.”
Gracheva drags Svitolina into baseline battle
Elina Svitolina started the match superbly. She manoeuvred Gracheva around the court expertly and hit winners into the open spaces as she established a 4-1 lead.
Unfortunately for the Ukrainian, the Russian soon figured out what she needed to do to get back into the match. She reduced her error count and began to lengthen the rallies. This strategy exposed Svitolina’s lack of power and made it a much more even contest.
Gracheva’s change of tactics worked immediately. She broke the World No.5 twice in a row and levelled the match at 4-4.
Although Svitolina was clearly frustrated by this development, she did not let it faze her. She traded four consecutive breaks with the Russian as they fought for control.
In the tie-break, the Ukrainian did everything right. She played aggressively without taking too many risks and drew a series of errors from Gracheva’s racket to win it 7-2.
World No.5 comes from behind to win second set
Gracheva made an excellent start to the second set. She pushed Svitolina back with powerful groundstrokes and opened up a 4-2 lead.
However, the Russian struggled to maintain such high standards. Consequently, the Ukrainian battled to a crucial hold in game seven, and then raised her game to break Gracheva twice in a row and claim the second set 6-4.
Unusually, Svitolina will now face a lower-ranked player than the Russian in the second round. Her opponent is Mexican qualifier and World No.172 Renata Zarazua, who comfortably beat teenage French wildcard Elsa Jacquemont 6-1 6-2.
Elsewhere at Roland Garros, 22nd seed Karolina Muchova surprisingly lost 6-2 6-4 to Christina McHale. And 28th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova was defeated 6-1 2-6 6-1 by fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
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