Astra Sharma clinches her maiden WTA title at the MUSC Health Women's Open in Charleston - UBITENNIS
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Astra Sharma clinches her maiden WTA title at the MUSC Health Women’s Open in Charleston

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World number 165 Astra Sharma from Australia came back from one set down to beat number 1 seed and world number 27 Ons Jabeur 2-6 7-5 6-1 to clinch her maiden WTA title at the MUSC Health Women’s Open final in Charleston. 

 

Sharma lost to Amanda Anisimova in her only previous career final in Bogotà 2019. 

Jabeur held serve for 1-1 with her dropshots and got two breaks to open up a 5-1 lead. The 2020 Australian Open quarter finalist never faced a break point to close out the first set 6-2.

Sharma earned her first two break points in the fourth game and hit a winner off the netcord to break serve to open up a 3-1 lead. 

Jabeur earned a double break point with a passing shot winner in the fifth game and broke back for 2-3 after a wide error by Sharma. 

Both players held serve until the 12th game, when Jabeur earned a 40-15 lead at 6-5 to send the second set into a tie-break. Sharma won four consecutive points to earn her second break sending the match to the third set. 

After a trade of breaks Sharma won the final four games with two breaks and closed out the match with a love service hold. 

Hailey Baptiste and Caty McNally fought back from one set down to beat number 1 seeded team formed by Ellen Perez and Storm Sanders 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 10-6 after 95 minutes. 

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Serena Williams’ 1000th Match Ends In Defeat To Podoroska

Serena Williams was defeated in Rome as she reaches a landmark milestone of 1000 WTA matches.

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Serena Williams (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Serena Williams’ 1000th WTA tour match has ended in a 7-6(6) 7-5 defeat to Nadia Podoroska in Rome.

 

The American made her return to tour for the first time in 84 days as she looked to build momentum heading into Roland Garros.

If the first few games were to set the tempo of the match then it would prove to be a long contest with Serena struggling to get any free points on her serve.

It was the Argentinian who got the first break of the match in the third game as she tested Serena’s stamina early on in the contest.

In typical Serena fashion, the 23-time grand slam champion produced some stunning ground-strokes especially from central positions to break to love straight away.

On serve, Serena looked fairly comfortable as she ended the match with eight aces although she only made a first serve percentage of 48%.

That was her key downfall as it was Podoroska who looked the more comfortable on return as she used some devastating angles to force unforced errors from the Serena racket.

A break for a 5-4 lead ensured that the last year’s Roland Garros semi-finalist would serve for the opening set.

However Serena used her power and good point construction to once again break back which was met with a roar from the world number eight.

Eventually the first set would head towards a tiebreaker with Podoroska dominating the majority of it.

She had three set points which came and went as Serena used her fighting qualities to roar back into the match.

But once again some unforced errors would cost the four-time champion as Podoroska took the next two point to claim the opening set in 66 minutes.

In the second set, Serena was the early aggressor as she dictated points better setting the pace of the match.

Again though Podoroska extended the rallies and made the American move all round the court exposing as much space as possible.

The Argentinian was rewarded for her court coverage when she broke in the sixth game as Serena began to tire.

As in the first set, Podoroska couldn’t serve out the second set as her cautious play lead to Serena levelling it up at 5-5.

However Serena’s serve was just not working when she needed it too and Podoroska secured the final blow to seal a fantastic victory for her.

For Serena its onto Roland Garros as she will look to improve her fitness in the next couple of weeks.

As for Podoroska she will play Petra Martic after the Croatian beat Kristina Mladenovic today 7-5 6-3.

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Naomi Osaka’s Clay Woes Continue After Pegula Defeat In Rome

Naomi Osaka went out in the second round in Rome to Jessica Pegula.

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Jessica Pegula (@TickTockTennis - Twitter)

Naomi Osaka’s clay court woes continued in Rome after losing to Jessica Pegula 7-6(2) 6-2.

 

The world number two admitted previously that learning the clay court trade would take time and this continues to be the case after another early defeat on the surface.

After losing in the second round in Madrid to Karolina Muchova, Osaka knew she needed a quick start in this match and she produced that with the early break for a 2-0 lead.

Pegula’s loss in Madrid was in the third round although that was to the eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka and she had every reason not to be intimidated as she slowly worked her way in the match.

The American reaped her rewards as she took her second break point to bring the match back on serve.

Despite the setback, Osaka continued to dictate play using her athleticism to bring shots back with depth and pace as she was arguably playing the better tennis.

In the latter stages of the set, the Australian Open champion had created three set points before some bold Pegula tennis denied Osaka the set.

Eventually the first set went to a tiebreak which saw the world number 31 be more aggressive and produce some stunning tennis to win seven of the nine points on offer to win the tiebreak 7-2.

In the second set, Osaka fell apart as her backhand, net play and general point construction crumbled quickly.

Pegula offered more in attacking combinations and produced some big serves as she broke three times in the second set.

Despite breaking in the sixth game, it was another disappointing performance from Osaka who conceded defeat in 90 minutes.

As for Pegula she has set up a third round clash with Ekaterina Alexandrova.

In other results so far today Elina Svitolina survived a scare as she edged past Amanda Anisimova 2-6 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Garbine Muguruza also edged past Bernarda Pera 2-6 6-0 7-5 in just over two hours after the Spaniard struggled with a foot injury.

There were comfortable victories for Ash Barty and Karolina Pliskova while Petra Kvitova was knocked out by Vera Zvonareva 6-4 3-6 6-4.

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Madison Keys Outlasts Stephens As Bencic Exits Rome

Madison Keys outlasted Sloane Stephens while Belinda Bencic crashed out in Rome.

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Madison Keys (@TickTockTennis - Twitter)

Madison Keys Outlasted Sloane Stephens 4-6 6-2 7-5 to reach the second round as Belinda Bencic lost in Rome.

 

In a rematch from the 2017 US Open final Keys avenged her loss from then and last month’s defeat in Charleston to reach the second round in Italy.

In a topsy-turvy contest it was Stephens who took the opening set despite heading a break down early in the set.

A crucial break in the ninth game gave her the third break of the set as the Lucky Loser took the first set in 49 minutes.

In the second set Keys responded well, managing to dictate points more comfortably and despite losing the early break advantage broke Stephens in her last two return games to level the match at one set all.

Unlike the first two sets, it was Stephens who managed to break first as she won the opening game of the final set.

The pair then shared a combined three games in a row with Stephens losing her momentum and racking up more unforced errors as the final set was back on serve.

Both players then saved break points on there serve before Keys eventually pushed over the finishing line on her third match point to seal victory.

Despite victory, Keys’ 56 unforced errors doesn’t bode well for her second round match tomorrow against Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek as the American will need to play a much cleaner match to make the last 16 in Rome.

In other results so far in Rome, Belinda Bencic crashed out in Rome after a 6-3 6-4 defeat to Kristina Mladenovic.

Despite a convincing win for Bencic over Mladenovic in Madrid, the doubles grand slam champion managed to control her game in a close match which saw Bencic lose all the close points and games.

Mladenovic will now play Petra Martic in the second round which has seen Serena Williams part of the draw open up nicely.

Speaking of Serena, her first match of the week will be against Nadia Podoroska after the Argentinian beat Laura Siegemund 2-6 7-6(3) 6-1.

Here are some of the other results so far on day two in Rome:

Yaroslava Shvedova def Martina Trevisan 0-6 7-6(4) 7-6(6)

Caroline Garcia def Elisabetta Cocciaretto 7-6(8) 6-2

Bernarda Pera def Tamara Zidansek 6-3 6-2

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