Kim Clijsters starts the World Team Tennis tournament with a win over Bernarda Pera - UBITENNIS
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Kim Clijsters starts the World Team Tennis tournament with a win over Bernarda Pera

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Former world number 1 and multiple Grand Slam champion Kim Cljisters made a winning start to her 2020 World Team Tennis campaign with a 5-2 win over US player Bernarda Pera. World team Tennis is a mixed gender professional tennis league played with a team format in the United States.

 

The Belgian player rallied from 0-40 down twice and won two of three deciding points to seal the win. The 2020 World Team Tennis season will be the 45th season of the league and features nine teams and each team will play a 14-match regular-season schedule.

Clijsters has won 41 WTA singles titles and 11 doubles titles and lifted three WTA Tour Championships. She has won the Australian Open singles title in 2011 and three US titles in 2005, 2009 and 2010 and two Grand Slam doubles titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2003.

Cljisters retired from tennis in 2007 at the age of 23 to start a family. She made her come-back in 2009 and won her second US Open title as unranked player in just her third tournament of the comeback. Kim won her back-to-back title at the US Open in 2010 and the Australian Open in 2011. She became the first mother to be ranked world number 1 by the WTA. She holds the record for most Grand Slam singles titles won as a mother and was the first to win one since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980.

Clijsters retired again after the 2012 US Open.

Cljisters returned to professional tennis at the Dubai Tennis Championships more than seven years of retirement. She lost to Garbine Muguruza in the opening round.

Cljisters is determined to return on the court after the WTA Tour was suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The most important lesson for me is to trust the process. It does not mean because COVID happened that I am not interested in playing more tennis. There are some challenges and combining parenting at home and teaching the kids at home and still going to practice and things like that, so it was challenging but at the same time you get through that together”, said Cljisters.

 

Several precautions are in place at the World Team Tennis to avoid the risk of contracting Covid-19. No more than 500 spectators are allowed inside the 2500-seat stadium.

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Simona Halep moves into the quarter final in Stuttgart

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Number 2 seed Simona Halep beat 2019 Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-3 without facing a break point to cruise into the quarter finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart for the fourth time in her six appearances at this toournament. Halep reached two semifinals in Stuttgart in 2015 and 2017. 

 

Vondrousova came into the match with a 2-0 lead in her head-to-head matches against Halep after her previous two wins over her Romanian player in Indian Wells on hard-court and in Rome on clay. 

Halep hit 22 winners to 13 unforced errors. Vondrousova held her first service game, but Halep broke serve three times to win the first set 6-1. Both players went on serve in the first seven games of the second set. Vondrousova went down 0-40 on return in the eighth game. She saved one break point with an ace, but Vondrousova double faulted on the second break point to drop serve. Halep made a double fault and a forehand error to trail 0-30 at 5-3, but she won the next four points to reach the quarter finals. 

Halep will face either Belinda Bencic or Ekaterina Alexandrova in the quarter final on Friday. 

Former champion Karolina Pliskova came back from one set down to beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 6-3 after 2 hours and 23 minutes. The Czech player has reached her second quarter final of the year. Pliskova fired 21 aces, equalliing her career-best amount in a single match. 

Before this match Pliskova was 3-3 level in her previous six head-to-head matches against Vondrousova, who beat her Czech rival 6-4 6-2 in the second round of Roland Garros last year. Pliskova beat Ostapenko in the quarter final of the 2018 Stuttgart Porsche Grand Prix en route to the title. 

Pliskova broke serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-2 lead in the first set. Ostapenko broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4 and fended off three break points at 5-5. 

Ostapenko went up a 4-0 lead in the tie-break. Pliskova came back by winning five consecutive points to take a 5-4 lead. Ostapenko saved a set point in the tie-break at 5-6 before winning the tie-break 9-7 on her second set point. 

Pliskova hit three return winners to break serve for 4-2 in the sixth game of the second set. Ostepenko fended off set points at 3-5 before breaking back with a return winner in the ninth game for 4-5. Pliskova broke again in the 10th game to seal the second set 6-4 after Ostapenko made her eighth double fault. 

Pliskova earned the decisive break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead after Ostapenko sent her backhand long. The Czech player hit two double faults serving for the match, but she sealed her first first match point after a wayward forehand from Ostapenko. 

Pliskova set up a quarter final match against world number 1 player and 2019 Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty. 

Number 5 seed Aryna Sabalenka beat German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsman 6-4 6-2 after 1 hour and 19 minutes. The 2021 Abu Dhabi champion hit 34 winners to 20 unforced errors and converted all of her four break points. 

Sabalenka converted her second break point in the third game of the opening set. Friedsam broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Both players went on serve until the ninth game, when Sabalenka got the break in the ninth game to seal the first set 6-4. Sabalenka went up a double break in the first and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches his seventh quarter final of the season in Barcelona

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Last week’s Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Alex De Minaur 7-5 6-3 in 84 minutes to secure his spot in the quarter finals at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Tsitsipas has extended his win-loss record to 24-5 in the 2021 ATP Tour season.

 

The first set went on serve with no break points until the 12th game, when De Minaur made his seventh unforced error of the set to give Tsitsipas two set points. De Minaur saved a set point with a drop shot winner. Tsitsipas hit a forehand to get the first break of match on the next point to seal  the first set 7-5.

De Minaur converted his third break point in the first game of the second set and held his serve to take a 2-0 lead. Tsitsipas won five of the next six games with two breaks of serve in the fourth and eighth game to clinch the second set 6-3. 

The young Greek star has reached at least the quarter finals at all seven tournaments he has played in 2021. 

Tsitsipas set up a quarter final against Felix Auger Aliassime, who beat Denis Shapovalov 6-2 6-3. Tsitsipas leads 3-2 in his five head-to-head matches against Auger Aliassime and beat his younger Canadian rival 7-5 4-6 6-3 in the Acapulco quarter final. 

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Andrey Rublev sets up quarter final clash against Jannik Sinner in Barcelona

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Last week’s Monte-Carlo finalist Andrey Rublev battled past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 after 2 hours and 27 minutes to reach the quarter finals at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

 

Rublev opened up a 4-1 lead with a break in the fourth game of the opening set. Ramos Vinolas broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4. Rublev claimed the first set 6-4 with his second break in the 10th game. 

Ramos Vinolas saved two break points to hold serve after six deuces for 3-3. The next games went on serve en route to the tie-break. The Spanish player won the tie-break 7-4 with two mini-breaks. 

Rublev went up a 4-2 lead with a break in the fifth game of the third set, but Ramos Vinolas recovered once again by breaking back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Rublev converted his second break point in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. Ramos Vinolas was not able to convert four break points at 4-5 and Rublev closed out the third set with a forehand winner. 

“Nothing has changed. I didn’t learn my lessons. The most important thing is that I managed to win today. When you are not doing something correctly, but you are still winning matches, it gives you confidence. Albert was playing much better than me early in the third set, but you never know which way it will go”, said Rublev.  

Rublev set up a quarter final against Jannik Sinner, who edged past Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (11-9) 6-2 after 1 hor and 52 minutes. Rublev met Sinner only once in the Vienna Round of 16 last year, but the Italian was forced to withdraw from the match withdrew from the match due to a right foot injury.  

Bautista Agut earned his first break in the third game, but Sinner broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Sinner saved a break point in the fifth game to hold serve fo 3-2 at deuce. The world number 19 broke serve in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead, but he wasted a set point in the ninth game. Bautista Agut broke back to draw level to 5-5. Both players held their next service games en route to the tie-break. 

Sinner saved three set points at 5-6, 7-8 and 8-9 in the tie-break of the first set before winning the tie-break 11-9 on his third set point. 

Sinner earned an early break in the first game and saved a break-back point to open up a 2-0 lead. The Italian player saved three break points to hold his serve in a very long fourth game. The 2019 Sofia Open and Great Ocean Road Open champion went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Sinner has improved his head-to-head record to 3-0 against Bautista Agut. Earlier this year the Italian Next Gen player beat his Spanish rival in three sets in the Dubai Round of 16 and in the Miami semifinal.

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