Ash Barty Cruises Past Ostapenko To Reach Last 16 In Miami - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Cruises Past Ostapenko To Reach Last 16 In Miami

Ash Barty is into the fourth round after a dominating performance against Jelena Ostapenko.

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Ash Barty (@toisports - Twitter)

World number one Ash Barty cruised past Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-2 to reach the last 16 at the Miami Open.

Even though it wasn’t her best serving day, Barty won 29 of her 40 points on her first serve as she sliced through an error-prone Ostapenko to reach the third round in Miami.

The defending champion is now into the fourth round where she will play the winner of Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka.

It was a tough start for Barty as Ostapenko came out aggressively and took the match to the Austrlian.

Despite some of her aggressive patterns of play, Ostapenko couldn’t take her chances as she wasted three break points in the opening game.

The Latvian was punished for her missed opportunities as she was broken straight after as Barty put on a slicing clinic.

After taking a 3-0 lead it was all fairly comfortable for the defending champion as she hit 82% of her shots through slices rather than topspin.

Ostapenko was unable to get any consistency off her shots as Barty’s defence prevailed and after a long ninth game, converted set point number six to take the opening set in 35 minutes.

There was a much better start to the second set for Ostapenko as she was able to take more risks and take advantage of Barty’s lack of concentration as she broke for a 2-0 lead.

However it all went south for Ostapenko very quickly as it was soon evident why she was outside the world’s top 50.

Double faults and unforced errors were all flowing from her racket as Barty stepped into higher gears.

Slicing and dicing her way to victory, Barty produced six games in a row to easily move into the fourth round of the Miami Open.

Her form starting to pick up and an increase in confidence is a dangerous sign for the rest of the field heading into the rest of the tournament.

After the match, Barty put her win down to a perfect game-plan, “The goal today was to bring the game back to my kind of tempo as often and as quickly as possible,” the Australian said.

“She has the ability to take that away from you on the serve and first shot on return. So it was about being patient at times and doing my best to neutralise it and bring the game back in my favour.”

Next for Barty will be either Angelique Kerber or Victoria Azarenka as she looks to keep her world number one spot at the end of the Miami Open.

In other results, Ana Konjuh’s dream run in the Miami Open continued after knocking out Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek 6-4 2-6 6-2 to set up a fourth round clash against Anastasija Sevastova.

The Croatian won 71% of first service points as she stunned Swiatek to seal her place in the last 16.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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