Jelena Ostapenko Edges Out Kasatkina In Epic Wimbledon Tussle - UBITENNIS
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Jelena Ostapenko Edges Out Kasatkina In Epic Wimbledon Tussle

Jelena Ostapenko survived a turbulent 6-1 3-6 8-6 encounter with Daria Kasatkina to book her place in the third round of Wimbledon 2021.

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Jelena Ostapenko (@ETribuneSports on Twitter)

Jelena Ostapenko survived a turbulent 6-1 3-6 8-6 encounter with Daria Kasatkina to book her place in the third round of Wimbledon 2021.

 

The Latvian, who claimed her fourth WTA title in Eastbourne last Saturday, hit 48 winners and made the same number of unforced errors during a typically unpredictable display.

Despite this inconsistency, Ostapenko looked in superb form at times and she eventually did enough to come through. She will now face either Alja Tomljanovic or Alize Cornet in the last 32.

Ostapenko Races Ahead

Ostapenko made an excellent start. She served and hit a few trademark winners as she surged into a 3-0 lead.

The Latvian was helped out by Kasatkina, who made a couple of poor errors in the second game to hand her opponent the chance to break.

Ostapenko sealed her second break in the sixth game with a superb forehand winner. Then she held serve comfortably to wrap up the first set in just 22 minutes.

Kasatkina Fights Back

The second set was a chaotic affair. Kasatkina out-fought Ostapenko in a long game to earn an early break. Then the Latvian dialled up the aggression and unleashed some ferocious winners to break back immediately.

Breaks were traded again in the fifth and sixth games to make it 3-3. After holding serve to edge ahead, the Russian profited from some sloppy errors from Ostapenko to seize another break. Then she won a tight game on serve to clinch the set.

Ostapenko Edges Anarchic Decider

In the third set, serving was made to look virtually impossible. The first six games went against the server to leave the score locked at 3-3.

Both players returned well during that time. However, because Ostapenko was dictating the play, the points typically ended with either a winner or an error from the Latvian.

Due to the chaotic nature of the set, it seemed pivotal when Ostapenko finally held in game seven. And it looked like that hold might be decisive when she gained a 15-30 advantage on Kasatkina’s serve in the next game.

However, the Latvian failed to capitalise. She made three consecutive errors to let the Russian off the hook.

The drama did not stop there. Ostapenko played two awful service games to gift Kasatkina two chances to serve for the match. Then, on both occasions, she fought with everything she had to deny the Russian.

Buoyed by these escapes, the Latvian held to love in game thirteen. Then she hit two excellent winners to move within two points of victory.

Kasatkina claimed the next three points, but Ostapenko drilled a forehand into the corner to crank up the pressure at deuce. Then she hammered a drive volley winner to earn her first match point.

The Latvian sealed the win when the Russian hit a forehand into the net. And it was obvious how much it meant – she clenched her fist and let out a loud roar of ‘Come on!’

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Tereza Martincova and Belinda Bencic reach the quarter final in Ostrava

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Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova upset Roland Garros Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) after 2 hours and 19 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Martincova claimed her third top 20 win of her career and reached her second quarter final on home soil this season after finishing fourth in Prague. 

Pavlyuchenkova earned the first break to take a 4-3 lead and served for the first set in the 10th game, but she never reached a set point. The Russian player came just two points away from winning the first set at 5-4 30-15, but Martincova won four consecutive points before winning the tie-break 7-5. 

Martincova dropped just eight points in the first six games of the second set. The Czech player fended off two break points to consolidate her lead for 2-0. She raced out to a 7-6 (7-5) 5-1 lead, but Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to hold serve forcing Martincova to serve for the match. Martincova dropped four consecutive points. Pavlyuchenkova got another break, when Martincova was serving for the match for the third time at 6-5. Martincova went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Pavlyuchenkova drew level to 4-4 before saving a third match point. Martincova won the final two points to claim the tie-break 8-6. 

Martincova set up a quarter final match against Maria Sakkari, who beat last week’s Luxembourg finalist Jelena Ostapenko. 

This year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo in just 88 minutes. Bencic claimed her 15th win in her last 18 matches. Bencic broke six times and reeled off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set to cruise through to a a straight-set win. Sorribes Tormo saved a break point to win her first game for 1-4 and pulled one break back in the sixth game, but Bencic sealed the win with her third break in the ninth game. “I think I prepared well for this match tactically, and also mentally, because it’s very tough. You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface, where it’s very slow. I am happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match”, said Bencic. 

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Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Indian Wells, Unclear If She Will Play Again This Year

There is no official word but it looking increasingly likly that the world No.8 might have pulled the plug on her 2021 season.

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka has officially withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells just weeks after saying she will take a break from the sport due to personal reasons.

 

The former world No.1 hadn’t played a match since her loss to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open. Speaking to reporters in New York, Osaka said she didn’t know when she would play another match on the Tour. Earlier this year she opened up about her mental health struggles after revealing she has been suffering from social anxiety and depression. Osaka also took time away from the sport during the summer after pulling out of the French Open before deciding to skip Wimbledon.

“This is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry,” she said following her loss to Fernandez.
“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”

Osaka’s withdrawal from Indian Wells was confirmed by the tournament who published an announcement on social media. Although they didn’t specify what reason she used to withdraw from the tournament which is one of the biggest events outside of the Grand Slams in terms of ranking points and prize money on offer.

It was Indian Wells where Osaka won her first prestigious title back in 2018 after defeating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets. The following year she was the top seed in the draw but lost to Belinda Bencic in the fourth round.

There has been no official comment from Osaka or her team about Indian Wells and if she will play again this season. Although it looks increasingly unlikely. She is in with a chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals in November but even if she does make the cut it is unclear if she will attend the event which has been relocated from China to Mexico.

This year Indian Wells will get underway on October 4th which is more than six months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Simona Halep Ends Six-Year Collaboration With Coach Cahill

One of the longest coaching partnerships on the WTA Tour has come to an end.

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Former world No.1 Simona Halep is on the lookout for a new coach after unexpectedly announcing her split from Darren Cahill on Wednesday.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion has been working with the Australian mentor for most of the time since 2015. There was a brief period where Cahill stepped away from his duties to spend more time with his family before later returning. Under his guidance, the Romanian reached the top of the world rankings and featured in the final of three major tournaments, winning two of those.

“After six wonderful years working together, Darren Cahill and I have decided that it’s time to end our working relationship,” Halep wrote on social media. “Thank you D for everything, for making me a better tennis player and a better person.”

55-year-old Cahill is a former player himself who has also worked with a series of top players prior to Halep. In the past, he has coached both Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to world No.1 at different stages of their careers. Doubles specialist Horia Tecău reportedly told Romanian TV that it was rumoured Cahill received an annual salary in the region of one million euros during his time with Halep. Although this has not been verified.

The announcement comes a week after Halep married Macedonian businessman Toni Iuruc. One of those who attended the event was Illie Nastase who was one of the world’s best tennis players during the 1970s, winning both the French Open and US Open.

I didn’t know anything about Simona’s intention to break up with Darren Cahill. It took me a little by surprise. But Simona Halep has proven she knows what she’s doing. As I did not know, I do not see what I could comment. But there is no question of collaborating (with her),” Nastase told playsport.ro.
I didn’t talk to her about this or to anyone else in her entourage… I think only Simona knows who her future coach will be. I trust her choices.”

So far in 2021 Halep has achieved a win-loss record of 15-7 during what has been a rollercoaster season. An Achilles injury forced her to miss both the French Open and Wimbledon, as well as the Tokyo Olympics. Since returning to the Tour from her injury she has won back-to-back matches in one out of three tournaments played. Reaching the fourth round of the US Open.

There has been no official word on who may replace Cahill as Halep’s coach.

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