Sorana Cirstea battles past Magda Linette to reach final in Strasbourg - UBITENNIS
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Sorana Cirstea battles past Magda Linette to reach final in Strasbourg

Sorana Cirstea will face Barbora Krejcikova in Saturday’s final in Strasbourg.

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Sorana Cirstea (@WTA_Strasbourg - Twitter)

The Romanian booked her spot in the final after a three set battle that lasted over two hours.

 

It was semifinals day and we had two amazing three set matches to decide who would face off for the title on Saturday featuring Sorana Cirstea against Magda Linette and Barbora Krejcikova playing the German qualifier Jule Niemeier.

The first match featured the Romania vs Poland battle and the first three games went on serve before the world number 48 managed to earn the first breakpoint of the match and take the early 3-1 lead.

That break was enough for her to serve out the first set and take it by the score of 6-3 in 37 minutes.

The second set followed a similar pattern and once again it was the Pole who would earn the first break of the set but couldn’t consolidate the break and the world number 61 broke right back before being broken once again the following game.

At 3-2 the Bucharest, Romania native had a chance to break to go back on serve and after saving the first two she was able to break the Poznan, Poland native to once again go back on serve at 3-3.

The world number 48 saved two more breakpoints with her aggressive forehand before eventually holding serve and at 5-4 with the Pole serving to stay in the set the Romanian would finally capitalize and break to take the second set and send it to a deciding third set.

After holding her opening service game the Romanian had a chance to break in the following service game but again the world number 48 hung in and saved it before holding serve.

At 3-2 the world number 61 had three more chances to break and this time she would get the break and at 5-2 she would break the Pole serve again to win the match in two hours and eight minutes.

After her match Cirstea spoke about how proud she was to battle back from a set down to get the win today against a very tough opponent.

“I’m very proud because I thought it was a very good match with a very high level, we were both hitting our forehands and backhands and for me to stay there and not drop my level and raise it in the important moments, it was a mental win and it gave me a lot of confidence”.

She will face the number five seed in Saturdays final who is Barbora Krejcikova who managed to end the dream run of the German qualifier Jule Niemeier in three tight sets and a match that lasted two hours and 14 minutes.

The first four games of the match went on serve and at 2-2 it was the German who would earn the first breakpoint of the match and break the following point when the world number seven served a double fault.

It stayed on serve again until 5-4 with the world number 216 serving for the first set and it seems she started to get tight and the Czech number five seed managed to earn a breakpoint and break back to go back on serve.

The break didn’t last long as the Dortmund native earned two breakpoints the following game and broke before serving out the first set to take it 7-5. The world number seven started the second set much better and after holding the opening service game managed to get the early break to take a 2-0 lead.

The 21 year old stormed back the following game and after another double fault broke the world number seven to go back on serve but failed to consolidate the break and was broken again.

At 4-1, the German was struggling with her serve and two straight double-faults gave the Czech a breakpoint and the double break to take a commanding 5-1 lead but the world number 216 battled back to get one of the breaks back and at 5-3 the world number seven served out the second set.

Again the third set stayed on serve the first four games and at 2-2 the German would double fault to give two breakpoints but she would manage to save both and hold serve.

At 3-3 it was world number seven who had a chance to break and she did just that and that break was enough for her to serve out the match and book her spot in the final.

After the final Krejcikova gave her thoughts on her German opponent and told the story of a similar experience that happened to her a couple of years back in Germany.

“This week she (Niemeier) was doing really well, I actually remember when I did something similar in 2017 in Nuremberg when I was a qualifier where I actually reached the finals and I was playing players who are higher ranked than me and I was doing good things so she showed she can play big tennis, serving very well, she’s very solid”.

Saturday final is all set as Sorana Cirstea will face Barbora Krejcikova for the title in Strasbourg and and currently the head to head is 1-1 and they most recently played in Dubai last December and it was the Romanian coming out on top.

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Felix Auger Aliassime leads the ATP Next Gen Race to Milan

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Felix Auger Aliassime rose to the top of the ATP Next Gen Race to Milan after strong performances at Wimbledon, Cincinnati and at the uS Open. 

 

After reaching the quarter final at Wimbledon the Canadian player advanced to the last eight at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas. It was the second time he reached the quarter final in a Masters 1000 tournament. 

At the US Open the 21-year-old Canadian player edged Roberto Bautista Agut in a five-set match before beating Frances Tiafoe to reach the semifinals. Auger Aliassime became the first Canadian player to reach the semifinals at the US Open in the tournament history and the youngest player since Juan Martin Del Potro won the tournament in 2009. 

“I am happy with the level I have been playing at times, with the results I have had. It’s a positive week. Things are moving in the right direction”, said Auger Aliassime. Carlos Alcaraz has become the fourth player to secure a spot in the Next Gen ATP Finals after Auger Aliassime, Jannik Sinner and Sebastian Korda. Alcaraz became the youngest US Open quarter finalist in the Open Era after scoring an upset third-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. The player coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero also won the ATP 250 title in Umag and reached the semfinals in Marbella and Winston Salem.

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Liudmila Samsonova sets up semifinal against Jelena Ostapenko in Luxembourg

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Liudmila Samsonova upset this year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 6-1 6-4 with three breaks of serve to reach her third semifinal of the season at the Luxembourg Open. 

 

Samsonova broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. The Russian player claimed the second set 6-1 with a break in the third game and sealed the win on her first match point. 

Samsonova beat Bencic for the second time this season after beating the Swiss player in the final of the WTA grass tournament in Berlin. 

Bencic dropped serve three times in her first tournament since reaching the quarter finals at the US Open where she lost to eventual champion Emma Raducanu. 

Samsonova will face 2019 Luxemburg Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who edged past Alizé Cornet 7-6 (8-6) 6-2. Ostapenko improved her winning streak to 8-0. Ostapenko went down a break twice in the first set. Cornet earned a chance to serve for the set at 5-4, but Ostapenko did not face any set point. Ostapenko saved the first set point in the tie-break before earning the mini-break to win the tie-break 8-6. Ostapenko broke twice in the third and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

Marketa Vondrousova completed the semifinal line-up with a 7-5 6-2 win over number 2 seed Elise Mertens after 1 hour and 37 minutes. Mertens broke serve in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Vondrousova won four consecutive games with two breaks to take a 7-5 lead. The Czech player broke twice in a row in the third and fifth games to win the second set 6-2. 

Clara Tauson broke twice in each set to beat Marie Bouzkova 6-3 6-2. 

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Venus Williams Explains Met Gala Photo With Maria Sharapova

The former world No.1 says she and her sister Serena have ‘respect and love’ for Sharapova.

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Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams at the 20201 Met Gala (image via Instagram)

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams says there are no hard feelings between her, her sister Serena and Maria Sharapova after the trio took a photo together at the Met Gala.

 

The former world No.1s was seen smiling and laughing together at the New York fundraising event with both of the Williams sisters uploading a photo of them all on their Instagram story. Prompting surprise from some fans considering the at times icy rivalry between Serena and Sharapova that dates back to the 2004 Wimbledon Championships.

In her 2017 autobiography, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, Sharapova mentioned Serena’s name more than 100 times. She says the American hated her for beating her at Wimbledon that year and that the two were ‘not friends.’

“What I heard when I came in to the locker room was Serena Williams bawling,” Sharapova wrote.
“Guttural sobs. I got out as quickly as I could, but she knew I was there.
“I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds … I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment.
“But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She’s never forgiven me for it.”

Responding to the claims, Serena hit back at the book in 2018 by describing it as ‘hearsay’ and said she never had any ‘negative feelings’ towards Sharapova. The two clashed on the Tour no fewer than 22 times with Serena winning 20 of those meetings.

“So I don’t have any negative feelings towards her, which again, was a little disappointing to see in that hearsay book,” Williams commented back in 2018. “So I have always, you know, and especially having a daughter, like, I feel like negativity is taught. One of the things I always say, I feel like women, especially, should bring each other up.”

Three years later and it now seems that all parties have put their disagreements behind them. At the Met Gala they were seen getting on pretty well. Besides posing for a photo together, they were also seen together in the bathroom at the event. A photo taken by pop star Anitta and rapper Saweetie which showed them in the background.

Speaking about the event for the first time, 41-year-old Williams said she wishes Sharapova was still playing before adding that they still ‘respect and love’ each other.

“First of all, Serena and I were talking about Maria the day before,” the 41-year-old explained on Instagram.
“We were like, ‘Damn, I wish Maria was still playing.’
“And we saw her, and we both told her separately, ‘Oh my gosh, we were just talking about you yesterday, we wish you were still on tour.’
“We were so happy to see each other. There was hugs, there was laughing, there were stories, and there was a photo.
“So the backstory is that even though us players compete really hard of the court for years, we still respect and love each other, and love Maria
.”

Williams, Serena and Sharapova have won a total of 35 Grand Slam singles titles between them.

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