Serena Williams Edges Venus In Roller-Coaster Match To Reach Lexington Quarters - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams Edges Venus In Roller-Coaster Match To Reach Lexington Quarters

The top seed continues to play down her title chances despite her latest victory.



Top seed Serena Williams overcame a lacklustre tussle with her sister Venus to reach the quarter-finals of the Top Seed Open in Lexington on Thursday.

The world No.9 battled back from a break down in the decider to clinch a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, victory after almost two-and-a-half hours on the court. It was far from a smooth encounter for Williams in what was her 31st Tour meeting with Venus as she claimed less than 50% of her second service points. Despite the blips, she managed to conjure up a game plan to fight back and clinch the victory with the help of 14 aces as she saved some of her best tennis until the end of the match.

The last couple of games I just really wanted to win because I’ve been losing a lot of those tight sets,” Williams said during her on-court interview. “So I said (to myself) ‘I really want to try and win this.’ Just for my game and confidence. So I really tried to focus on those last two games.”

In a rivalry that spans over three decades, it was the first time the two sisters have faced off at an International-level tournament. Furthermore, it was the earliest they have played against each other in a tournament draw since the 1998 Australian Open. The showdown between 38-year-old Serena and 40-year-old Venus was the third-highest age combined match in WTA history.

Fittingly, their latest clash was a roller-coaster encounter with the higher ranked Williams experiencing difficulty early on. After breaking in the very first game of the match, she then dropped her own serve two consecutive times that cost her the opening set. Nevertheless, Williams managed to clinch the second frame to level up before encountering further difficulty. At one stage in the decider she trailed 2-4 before clinching four consecutive games in a row to seal victory.

“I think she played unbelievable, she’s doing so good. I honestly don’t know how I managed to pull it out of the can.” The former world No.1 said in tribute to Venus.

As Serena progresses, Venus’ wait for an appearance in a WTA quarter-final continues. The last time she reached the last eight was 12 months ago at the Cincinnati Open. Since then the Tour veteran has failed to win back-to-back matches at eight tournaments in a row, including four this year.

As a result of losses by Sloane Stephens and Yulia Putintseva in the first two rounds, Williams is the only seeded player remaining in her half heading into the quarter-finals. Awaiting her next will be either wild card entrant Shelby Rogers or qualifier Leylah Fernandez. Both of whom are currently ranked outside the top 100.

Despite being the overwhelming favourite to clinch the title in Lexington, Williams continues to play down the hype. Saying the absence of the crowd has helped her feel more relaxed during matches.

I’m super relaxed, there is no crowd.It kinda makes it super relaxing and I’ve been practising in a lot hotter conditions today,” Williams explained.
“I honestly didn’t come here to win for the first time in my career. I came here to get some matches and see what happens. I haven’t had this much time off since the baby and now I’m just trying to get some rhythm and see what happens.” She added.

Williams’ latest victory now extends her winning head-to-head record against her sister to 19-12. She has now won 10 out of their last 12 meetings since the 2009 Miami Open.

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Jannik Sinner reaches the first grass final of his career in Halle



Jannik Sinner overcame Zhang Zhizhen 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to reach the first final of his career on grass at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Sinner achieved his best result on this surface when he reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2023. 

Sinner will face a final against his friend Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the first semifinal. The Italian player converted his only break point in the ninth game and fended off the only break point he faced at 5-6 in the second set with a forehand winner, one of his winners of the match. 

The Italian player earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead. Zhang Zhizhen pulled the mini-break back. Sinner earned two mini-breaks in the fourth and eighth points to win the tie-break 7-3. Sinner won the first of the four tie-breaks he played this week.

Sinner finished the match in straight sets after clinching three consecutive three-set wins at the start of his campaign at this year’s edition of the Terra Wortmann in Halle. 

The world number 1 player won three titles on hard court at the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Miami this year. 

“It means a lot. I had four tough matches to go to the final. It was a good match today. Definitely more rallies than yesterday. And that’s definitely what I needed today. I am happy and let’s see what’s coming tomorrow”, said Sinner.  

Earlier this week Zhang Zhizhen had previously beaten Danil Medvedev in the second round and came back from 2-5 down to beat Christopher Eubanks in the quarter finals. 

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Hubert Hurkacz beats Alexander Zverev to reach the second final of his career in Halle



Hubert Hurkacz moved past this year’s Roland Garros finalist Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in 1 hour and 33 minutes to reach the second final of his career at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Hurkacz will be aiming to win the second title of his career at this tournament two years after his triumph. 

Hurkacz fired 17 aces and saved all four break points he faced in the first game of the opening set to clinch his fifth top 10 win on grass. The Pole won 81% of his first serve points. 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Hurkacz earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. Hurkacz his only break in the third game of the second set to win the second set 6-4. 

“I really love grass. The game suits my game and the atmosphere here, having the full crowd is incredible. It brings so much joy to the players”, said Hurkacz. 

Hurkacz improved to 1-3 in his head-to-head matches against Zverev. The Polish player will aim to clinch the ninth ATP Tour title of his career in his 11th ATP Tour final. 

Hurkacz won the Halle tournament in 2022 and reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2021. 

Zverev holds a record of 37 wins to 11 defeats this season. 

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Jannik Sinner beats Jan Lennard Struff to reach the semifinal in Halle



Jannik Sinner battled past Jan Lennard Struff 6-2 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-3) to reach his second tour-leve semifinal on grass at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. Struff hit 18 aces and saved 16 of the 18 aces he faced, including all 11 in the second and third sets. 

Sinner has scored his third consecutive three-set win at this tournament after beating Tallon Griekspoor and Fabian Maroszan in the first two rounds. 

Sinner broke twice to win the opening set 6-2 in 30 minutes. The Italian player won 67% of his second serve points in the first set. 

Sinner saved a break point in the fourth game of the second set. Struff fended it off with an ace and three more chances two games later as the set headed towards towards a tie-break. 

Struff earned the first mini-break to race out to a 4-0 lead in the tie-break. The German 34-year-old player made a serve and volley at 5-1 to earn a set point. He converted it as Sinner made a backhand error. 

Struff created his first break, when Sinner made two double faults at 2-2 after two hours. 

Sinner earned two break points in the ninth game of the third set, but Struff saved them with his serve and forced Sinner twice to serve to stay in the match. The set was decided by a second tie-break. Struff played his 10th consecutive tie-break in the 2024 season. Earlier this week won a 12-10 final-set tie-break against Luciano Darderi in the opening round before beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the next round on 

Sinner opened up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break. The 2024 Australian Open champions earned four match points in the second tie-break and converted his second chance, as Struff netted a backhand. Sinner won his third head-to-head match against Struff in 2024. 

Earlier at this tournament Sinner came back from a set down to beat Tallon Griekspoor 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 6-2 before beating Hungary’s Fabian Maroszan 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3. 

“It was a very tough match. I had chances in the second set, had chances in the third set, but I could not use them. It was 0-40 in the third set. I jus try to accept these kind of challenges. It has been very tough, also mentally. I am very pleased to be in the next round. I played a lot today, I played a lot yesterday, two and a half hours on grass. It’s a long time”, said Sinner. 

Alexander Zverev rallied past Arthur Fils 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4 in two hours and 30 minutes to reach the semifinal at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. The two-time Halle finalist is aiming to win his first grass title.

Zverev becomes the first player since Roger Federer to reach back-to-back semifinals in Halle. 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Fils earned his first mini-break to take a 2-0 lead in the tie-break. Zverev pulled back on serve, but Fils got a second mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

Zverev raised his level in the second set breaking Fils at 3-2 with a streak of eight winning consecutive points.  

Zverev sealed the third set 6-4 with a break in the seventh game winning 83% of his first serve points. Fils saved two match points in the ninth game, as he was serving to stay in the match. Zverev served out the win at love in the 10th game. The German player was not broken in the entire match. 

Zverev now leads 2-0 in his two head-to-head matches against Fils. 

Zverev lost to Carlos Alcaraz in five sets in the final of Roland Garros. 

“After the French Open, I was hoping on grass I would a lot quicker and not play for two and a half, three hours every single match, but I am continuing what I always do”, said Zverev. 

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