Simona Halep Ousts Erratic Swiatek To Set Serena Quarter-Final Clash At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Ousts Erratic Swiatek To Set Serena Quarter-Final Clash At Australian Open

Simona Halep used her experience to defeat Iga Swiatek and reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.

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Simona Halep (@WTA - Twitter)

Simona Halep ousted Iga Swiatek in a 3-6 6-1 6-4 revenge win to set up a quarter-final clash at the Australian Open with Serena Williams.

 

The Romanian got her revenge over the 19 year-old after losing to her at Roland Garros, this time though the match was a three set battle unlike their previous two meetings.

Although Swiatek had the early initiative, many unforced errors and erratic style of play saw the match swing in Halep’s favour.

Simona will now play Serena Williams in Tuesday’s last eight clash.

It was a stunning start to the match, with the opening seven games seeing some great shot-making from both.

Halep’s power and aggression was being neutralised by Swiatek’s control while the Pole’s aggressive play was being counter-punched by the world number two’s ability to produce depth as well as power on the run.

The key point in the opening set, when Halep worked the angles wonderfully to create two break points.

However just like the last two match, Swiatek showed her mental qualities to come through the game and hold for a 4-3 lead.

Then as we’ve seen so many times in Tennis, Swiatek carried the momentum and confidence into the next game as she broke to love for a 5-3 lead.

A lack of concentration from the two-time grand slam champion was her downfall as Swiatek closed out a 39 minute opening set.

In the second set, Halep used her experience and continued to consistently press Swiatek to the back of the court an force her into a lot of errors.

Not only did Swiatek produce technical and tactical errors, there were a lot of mental errors as she looked to rush her shots.

Unlike the first set, where she built the points up, the Pole rushed points and looked to finish them early.

This was part of her downfall as the Romanian eased to a 6-1 second set.

The theme was continued into a final set as Halep dictated the tempo of the match as Swiatek became frustrated at how the match was turning.

Despite losing the opening two games, the reigning Roland Garros champion remained resilient as much more controlled aggression saw her break back.

However there was another twist in this bizarre contest as errors continued to flow from the Swiatek racket as Halep broke to love for 3-2.

Half-chances were created from the Pole but not enough tactical patience in key moments saw Halep use her experience as she held on for a crucial win and her passage into the quarter-finals.

After the match Halep expressed her relief about making the last eight, “I enjoyed this victory, it means a lot,” Halep claimed.

“The Roland Garros match was tough because I didn’t have the rhythm and everything was not going. But today I just tried to do some things better than last time and I’m happy that I could win.”

Simona will now look to keep the momentum going as she takes on Serena Williams in what should be a classic contest on Tuesday.

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David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta advance to the second round in Rome

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Former top 10 David Goffin beat Salvatore Caruso 6-4 6-1 after 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the second round after 1 hour and 23 minutes at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

The first set started with four breaks in the first five games, as Goffin raced out to a 4-1 with three break in the opening set. Caruso pulled one break back for 2-4, but Goffin earned his third break to open up a 5-2 lead. Caruso broke back in the eighth game, but Goffin served out the first set at love. 

The Belgian player went up a set and a break in the first game of the second set. Caruso wasted two break-back points in the fourth game. Goffin won four consecutive games with two breaks to claim the second set 6-1.  Goffin set up a second round match against either Karen Khachanov or Federico Delbonis. 

Pablo Carreno Busta came back from one set down to beat Laslo Djere 4-6 6-3 6-1 after dropping just seven of his first service points. Djere claimed an immediate break in the opening game. Carreno Busta saved a double break point in the third game, but he did not earn a chance on return and went to serve only once. 

Last year’s US Open semifinalist and 2018 Madrid quarter finalist Carreno Busta saved two break points to hold serve at deuce in the first game of the second set. The Spaniard converted his fifth break point in the sixth game and dropped just eight points on serve held his next two service games to win the second set 6-3. 

Carreno Busta broke three times in the first, fifth and seventh games to cruise through to a 6-1 win in the third set. The Spanish player will face either Fabio Fognini or Kei Nishikori in the second round. Reilly Opelka beat Richard Gasquet 6-1 7-5 in 67 minutes. The US player hit 18 aces and won 79 % of his first service points. He won 12 consecutive points to open up a 3-0 lead and faced only a break point at 5-1 but he served out the first set 6-1 at deuce. The second set went on serve until the 11th game when Opelka converted his only break point to close out the second set 7-5. Opelka will face either Hubert Hurkacz or Lorenzo Musetti in the second round.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Goes The Distance To Win First Match In Rome

The Canadian was pushed to three sets in his opening match by Filip Krajinovic.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the second round of the BNL D’ Italia Masters in Rome after beating his Serbian opponent Filip Krajinovic in three gruelling sets 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

 

The marathon encounter saw the Canadian hit 45 winners and 12 aces en route to victory. Avenging his loss to Krajinovic at the same tournament last year. His win-loss for the season now stands at 13-8.

” It’s always a tough match against him and I was happy I was able to win today,” the world No.20 said afterwards.

It was Krajinovic who got off to a fast start earning a breakpoint on the Montreal natives opening service game of the match and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. The Canadian responded at 2-1 earning his first two breakpoints of the match and breaking with a solid forehand winner to get the break back and go back on serve. At 3-2 the world number 20 had a chance to take the lead but it was saved by the world number 36. Nevertheless, he would go on to break for a 5-3 lead before serving out the match.

Auger-Aliassime started the second set with confidence and broke the Serb’s opening service game. It stayed on serve until the world number 20 was serving for the win when he ended up getting broken to level the set at five. The very next game the Montreal native had three looks at a breakpoint but again was denied and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker stayed on serve until 4-4 when Auger Aliassime managed to get the crucial break but squandered it the following point and gave his Serbian opponent a chance to serve it out which he did following a double fault.

The third and decisive set was a roller-coaster with the Canadian holding his opening service game and than having three more breakpoints which he would convert to take another early 2-0 lead. Krajinovic would respond once again earning a breakpoint the following game and getting the break back to go back on serve until 3-3 when the Serb had his first chance to take a lead in the third set but the Canadian would come up with a huge point to save it.

The next game Auger-Aliassime would have a look at another breakpoint and this time would convert to take a 5-3 and serve for the match but struggled to close it out and the world number 36 broke serve once again.

With the Serb serving to stay in the match the Canadian increased his game to another level and managed to earn two match points. Sealing his first match win in Rome with a huge forehand winner down the line.

After the match in his post match press conference Auger Aliassime spoke about how he was able to overcome the adversity of having two chances to serve it out.

” You have to believe and be resilient at times, I wanted to win badly so I dug deep and I found a way so I am happy that I was able to find a way with all the circumstances,” he said.

Auger Aliassime will next face the number eight seed at the tournament Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine currently has a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head with their last meeting coming last October in Cologne, Germany on a indoor hard court.

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Aryna Sabalenka Explains Reason Behind Recent Breakthrough On The Clay

The 25-year-old has proclaimed that she is no longer scared of the surface.

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Aryna Sabalenka (image via Media Hub Mutua Madrid Open)

Aryna Sabalenka believes her notable improvement on the clay has been achieved due to a change in how she approaches the surface mentally.

 

The Belarusian lifted the biggest title of her career to date on the surface at the Madrid Open on Saturday. In the final she rallied to a three-set win over world No.1 Ash Barty to avenge her loss to the Australian in Stuttgart a couple weeks earlier. She has now won ten out of 11 matches played on the clay so far this year which is more than she has won during each of her three previous seasons. Prior to 2020 she has only reached the final of a WTA event on the dirt once.

Speaking to reporters following her triumph in Madrid, the 23-year-old says she had been ‘overthinking’ about playing on the surface until this season. Instead she has taken a more relaxed approach which seems to have done wonders to her game.

“I would say before I was thinking too much about the clay court, that this is a surface not for me, that it’s really tough to play on with long rallies,” she said.
“This year I kind of relaxed and just played my game. I worked a lot on the movement, so I prepared myself really well.’

It has to be noted that conditions in Madrid also favour the big hitters such as Sabalenka. Due to Madrid’s high altitude the ball travels faster than other tournaments in Rome and Paris.

“My focus is just on my game, that I have to stay aggressive, that I have to move well on the clay court, make sure I can hit these shots really clean, heavy shots,” Sabalenka explained.
“Something has changed in my mind for the clay court for this year. I’m not really scared of this surface any more.”

It remains to be seen if the breakthrough will do any wonders for Sabalenka in the Grand Slams. At the French Open she has only managed to claim back-to-back wins in one out of three appearances. Reaching the third round in Paris last year. Despite being ranked continuously in the world’s top 20 since August 2018, she has only managed to reach the fourth round of a major twice so far in her career.

Nevertheless, things are going in the right direction for Sabalenka who will rise to a ranking high of fourth in the world on Monday. She is also a top-five doubles player on the Tour as well.

“That’s unbelievable. That’s crazy,” she commented on her rise to No.4. “I’m really happy with this improvement. There are still a lot of things to improve.’
“I’m not really focusing on the ranking. I’m focusing more on my game”
Sabalenka added.

Sabalenka will be seeded seventh at the upcoming Italian Open where she has a bye in the first round. Her opening match will be against either Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo or Italy’s Camila Giorgi.

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