Karolina Pliskova Stunned By Gasanova In Abu Dhabi As Svitolina Cruises Through - UBITENNIS
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Karolina Pliskova Stunned By Gasanova In Abu Dhabi As Svitolina Cruises Through

Another disappointing performance by Karolina Pliskova as she was stunned by world number 289 Anastasia Gasanova.

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Karolina Pliskova (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Karolina Pliskova’s Australian Open preparations were dealt a blow after losing to world number 292 Anastasia Gasanova 6-2 6-4 in Abu Dhabi.

 

Pliskova, who was playing her first tournament under new coach Sascha Bajin, looked out-of-sorts from the very first point as some double faults and loose errors handed a double break to the Russian.

Gasanova was making her WTA main draw debut this week and took the match to the former grand slam finalist with some consistently powerful ground-strokes and some solid serving accuracy.

Although Pliskova found her rythym towards the end of the set, she couldn’t break down the Russian as Gasanova claimed the first set 6-2 in 28 minutes.

Having made double the amount of unforced errors in the opening set, Pliskova made a much better start to the second set finding her range off the forehand side and starting to overpower Gasanova.

In the fourth game, Pliskova ramped up the intensity and pressure on the 21 year-old with some powerful returns and good construction of points to create five break points in total.

However Gasanova managed to ride the storm in what would be a massive hold of serve as she carried the momentum into the next game to break for a 4-2 lead.

The world number six used her experience to know that the match wasn’t over just yet as she managed to break to love for 4-4.

But it was another performance where Pliskova failed to impress and lacked the mental stability to keep her concentration.

The world number 292 would break straight back and close out the match in 1 hour and 17 minutes for the biggest win of her career.

It was her first top 100 victory of her career and not bad to do it against a top 10 player either.

In her press conference after the match, Gasanova was surprise herself about how well she played, “I’m really surprised, but when I woke up today, I thought, ‘Why not? Why can’t I win this match?’” Gasanova explained.

“Actually, I thought I would lose in qualies or something like that, but I just kept pushing myself, like, I need to win and I want to win.

“I had a [2021] goal to be Top 200, actually, I don’t know if I did this today, but that’s my goal. And to play against a Top 10 player is a great opportunity for me, and it’s a great chance to show how I could play.”

As for Pliskova it was another opportunity missed to show her consistency and why so many people doubt her when it comes to winning a grand slam title.

Next for Gasanova is Sara Sorribes Tormo in the last 16.

Meanwhile one grand slam title contender who did impress was Elina Svitolina after the Ukrainian breezed past Vera Zvonareva 6-4 6-1. Despite losing her serve in the second game, Svitolina broke her Russian opponent five times and won 78% of her first service points to claim victory.

Next for Svitolina is another Russian in Ekaterina Alexandrova as she defeated Heather Watson 7-5 6-7(9) 6-3.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Jasmine Paolini lifts her first WTA title in Portoroz

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Jasmine Paolini claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career in Portoroz. The Italian player came back from two breaks down in the opening set to beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in the final after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

 

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz. I just feel very happy. It’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hardcourts, it’s special. I think I was maybe a bit relaxed. I understood more about the game. I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key”, said Paolini. 

Paolini beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round, Sorana Cristea in the quarter final, and Yulia Putintseva. The 25-year-old Italian player beat three top 50 players in a row in her final three matches this week. 

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games, Riske went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Paolini pulled one break back in the eight game from 3-5. The Italian broke at love in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5, as Riske was serving for the set. Riske rallied from 2-5 to 4-5 in the tie-break. 

Paolini earned two set points at 6-4 and converted her first set point when Riske sent an overhead long. Paolini broke serve in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to take a 3-2 lead. Paolini won the final five games and sealed the second set 6-2 with an error-forcing forehand.

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Clare Tauson claims her second WTA Tour title at the age of 18

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World number 70 Clare Tauson has won the second WTA Tour title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open this season beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the final after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

 

Tauson enjoyed a great week in which she up number 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the second round and this year’s Olympic finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semifinals. Tauson won her first title as a qualifer in another indoor tournament in Lyon last March in just her second Tour-level tournament. Tauson also won the WTA 125 trophy in Chicago last August beating Emma Raducanu, who went on to win the US Open last week. 

Tauson is one of the four players born in 2002 ranked in the the tpè 100 alongside Raducanu, the other US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Marta Kostyuk. 

The Danish teenager is the seventh player to claim more trophies, joining Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasakina. 

Ostapenko won the Luxembourg tournament on her debut at this tournament in 2019 and had been undefeated before today’s tournament. 

Tauson has become the fourth player to successfully defend the Luxembourg title after Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova and Kim Cljisters. 

Ostapenko hit a smash to break Tauson to take a 6-3 lead. The Latvian player earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Tauson broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ostapenko fired return winners to take a 2-1 lead with a break. Tauson broke back with two straight return winners. Tauson fended off two break points to hold serve after a marathon five-deuce for 3-2. Ostapenko was broken after a fourth double fault, when she was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. 

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