Aryna Sabalenka comes back from one set down to beat Anna Blinkova in Strasbourg - UBITENNIS
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Aryna Sabalenka comes back from one set down to beat Anna Blinkova in Strasbourg

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World number 12 and this year’s Doha champion Aryna Sabalenka came back from a set down to edge past Anna Blinkova 1-6 6-4 6-2 reaching the quarter final at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. 

 

Sabalenka qualified for the quarter final in Adelaide and Dubai in 2020, but she scored just three wins across the US tournaments in Lexington, the Western and Southern Open and at the US Open. 

Blinkova came through the qualifying round in Rome, where she beat Jil Teichmann and Aliona Bolsova before losing to eventual finalist Karolina Pliskova in the Round of 16. 

Blinkova went up a double break to take a 4-0 lead. Sabalenka held serve at love in the fifth game to win her first game. Blinkova served out the first set 6-1 with her third break. 

Sabalenka got her first break at the start of the second set to take a 1-0 lead. Blinkova broke straight back in the second game to draw level to 1-1. Both players went on serve until the seventh game, when Sabalenka got a crucial break to take a 4-3 lead after a marathon game that went to three deuces. Sabalenka held her next two service games to take the second set 6-4. 

Sabalenka earned an early break in the third game to open up a 3-1 lead. She broke again in the seventh game for 5-2 at deuce and served out the win on her second match point. Sabalenka hit 27 winners to 32 unforced errors. 

Sabalenka set up a quarter final match against Katerina Siniakova, who beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 6-4. Siniakova broke twice to take a 5-1 lead. Alexandrova pulled the break back at love in the seventh game, but Alexandrova came back from 15-30 to break serve in the 10th game closing out the first set 6-4. The second set went on serve until the 10th game when Siniakova converted her third break point at deuce to close out the match. 

Former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the quarter final after Kiki Bertens was forced to retire due to an Achilles tendon injury from the match at 2-6 6-4 4-2. Ostapenko will face Japan’s Nao Hibino, who beat Zarina Diyas 7-5 6-3. 

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Daniel Evans saves a match point to beat Karen Khachanov in Antwerp

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Daniel Evans saved a match point in the tie-break of the second set to edge Karen Khachanov 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 at the European Open in Antwerp.  

 

Khachanov saved three break points in the fifth game of the opening set in a long fifth game before breaking serve in the sixth game to take the first set 6-4. Kjachanov converted his second break in the first game of the second set at deuce to take a 1-0 lead. Evans broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Evans fended off a match point at 5-6 to win the tie-break 9-7 forcing the match to the decider. 

Evans got his first break in the opening game of the decider. The British player dropped just two points on his first serve in the third set and held his serve to win the third set 6-3. Evans has reached his first semifinal since last February, when he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Dubai. 

Evans has a 7-6 record against top 20 players in 2020. The Brit set up a semifinal against Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who beat Lloyd Harris 6-3 7-6 (7-2). Harris claimed the first set with a break at love. Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games en route to the tie-break. Harris got four mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

Alex De Minaur converted four of his five break points to cruise past US Marcos Giron 6-3 6-0 in 58 minutes setting up a semifinal against Grigor Dimitrov, who advanced to the semifinal when Milos Raonic, who pulled out of the quarter final due to an abdominal injury. 

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Alexander Zverev moves one step closer to win his second Cologne title

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Alexander Zverev battled past Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 to reach at the bett1 HULKS Championships one week after winning his first Cologne title. 

 

Zverev hit 16 aces and fended off five of the seven break points. 

Zverev has extended his winning streak to six matches and improved his record this season to 21-8. 

Zverev earned an early break in the second game of the first set to take a 2-0 lead. Mannarino broke straight back in the third game and held serve to draw level to 2-2. Zverev got a late break on his fourth chance in the 10th game to win the first 6-4. Zverev got the break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Mannarino broke back, as Zverev was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set, to push the second set to the tie-break. Mannarino got the first mini-break to take a 3-1 lead. Zverev pulled back the mini-break on the 11th game to save a set point for 5-6 but Mannarino sealed the tie-break on his second chance. 

Zverev claimed the decider 6-4 with his only break on his second opportunity in the seventh game at 3-3 to secure his spot in the semifinals. 

Zverev has extended his winning record to 4-0 in his head-to-head matches. The German player beat Mannarino in four sets at this year’s US Open. 

“I didn’t think I played a bad game at 5-3 in the second set. I double-faulted once but he actually returned unbelievably. On break point I hit a 222 km/h serve down the T, not too far from the line and he appraached to the net. He is a very talented player. He has unbelievable hands and for him to come back from that he deserved to win the match as much as I did”, said Zverev. 

Zverev set up a semifinal match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner. It will be a re-match of their recent clash at Roland Garros, where Sinner beat Zverev in four sets to reach his fourth Grand Slam quarter final. 

Diego Schwartzman fought back from 2-6 2-5 to claim a thrilling 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina after 2 hours and 5 minutes. Davidovich Fokina served for the the match three times and earned a match point at 5-2, but he was not able to convert his chance, as he sent his crosscourt forehand wide. 

“Tennis sometimes is crazy. Maybe today I got lucky to be here anwering questions. That is why I am here as well with this ranking, because I am always trying to find a way to win the matches. Today was not the exception to the rule. I was trying really hard, but obviously he is a great player and the first two sets I was just on court trying to do something but there was no chance. He was playing perfect and the first two sets he deserved to win, for sure”, said Schwartzman.  

Schwartzman set up a semifinal against Felix Auger Aliassime, who beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-4 to clinch his 14th win of the season. The first set started with four consecutive breaks. Auger Aliassime broke twice in the eighth game of the first set and a break in the first game of the second set. 

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Maria Sakkari fights from a set and a break down to reach her second semifinal of the season in Ostrava

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Maria Sakkari fought back from a set and a break down in her 3-6 6-3 6-1 win over Ons Jabeur to get through to her second semifinal of the season after 1 hour and 38 minutes. 

 

Sakkari went down a set and 0-2 in the second set, but she bounced back by winning 12 of the last 14 games. 

Jabeur earned three break points with a forehand winner down the line in the sixth game and got the break, when Sakkari made a backhand error. The Tunisian player reached the set point with a single-handed inside-out backhand slice winner and converted it to win the first set 6-3. 

Jabeur went up an immediate break in the first game of the second set. Sakkari raised her level and broke back in the sixth game, when Jabeur hit a short forehand into the net. Sakkari won 10 of the next 11 games. The Greek player held serve with a drop-volley in the seventh game before breaking serve with a return winner to take a 5-3 lead at deuce. Sakkari sealed the second set on her first set point. 

Sakkari went up a double break to take a 3-0 lead, as Jabeur made a double fault. The daughter of Angeliki Kanellopoulou saved a break point with a service winner to race out to a 4-0 lead and sealed the win by breaking serve with a forehand pass on the first match point. 

“I think that Ons, she came up with some tricky shots in the first set. I could not really find a way to make her like tougher. The fact that I know I can stay on court for a long time gives me a lot of help and hope, so I just stay with her, and finally I got that break I was looking for, and things got better for me after that”, said Sakkari. 

Sakkari set up a semifinal against Victoria Azarenka, who beat Elise Mertens 6-4 6-1. Mertens earned an immediate break in the first game of the opening set. Azarenka came back from 2-4 down by winning four games with two breaks to clinch the first set 6-4. Azarenka went up a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead. The former Grand Slam champion saved a break point chance before serving out the win at deuce in the seventh game. 

World number 26 Jennifer Brady fought back from a set down to beat Russian qualifier Veronika Kudemertova 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-1. The US player has reached her fourth semifinal on the WTA Tour. Brady hit 27 winners to 14 unforced errors, compared to Kudemertova’s ratio of 31 winners to 38 unforced errors. 

Brady will face either number 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka or Spanish qualifier Sara Sorribes Tormo. 

Kudemertova got an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Brady broke back to draw level to 3-3. The US player dropped just a single point in her next three service games. Kudemertova was pushed to deuce at 6-5 and held serve with a forehand winner to set up a tie-break. Kudemertova raced out to a 4-0 lead with two mini-breaks, but Brady reeled off four consecutive points to draw level to 4-4. Kudemertova earned a set point as her strong was returned long and sealed the first set with a passing shot winner after 56 minutes. 

Kudemertova earned four break points in the second game of the second set. Brady saved them to hold for 1-1. Brady earned two break points at 2-2 and converted her second chance to take a 3-2 lead, as Kudemertova netted a forehand. 

Brady earned a set point, as Kudemertova sent a forehand wide. The US Open semifinalist sealed the set 6-3 with a break, as Kudemertova shot a backhand wide. 

Brady won the final five games of the decider with a double break in the fourth and sixth games to win the decisive set 6-1. As Brady was serving for the match in the sixth game, Kudemertova saved the first two match point she faced, but Brady converted her third chance with her 14th ace. 

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