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Svitolina Upsets Muguruza To Complete Tokyo SF Line-Up

Svitolina Upsets Muguruza To Complete Tokyo SF Line-Up

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

TOKYO, Japan – Elina Svitolina produced one of her best performances of the year to upset top seed Garbiñe Muguruza in the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.

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Having knocked out CoCo Vandeweghe and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the previous two rounds, Svitolina produced another intelligent performance to defuse one of the WTA’s most fearsome ballstrikers. In the end a break in the penultimate game of the match proved the difference as the Ukrainian closed out a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory.

“It was a great performance from me and I think we both played really well,” Svitolina said during her on-court interview. “In the second and third sets it was great tennis and I hope everyone enjoyed this match.

“It was pretty consistent tennis. I was playing really well from the first point. Maybe Garbiñe didn’t expect this but it was a great match and I’m really happy that it finished my way!”

Svitolina upset Muguruza earlier this year in Dubai and was clearly unfazed at the prospect of repeating this feat, taking barely 20 minutes to race into a 5-0 lead. While Muguruza would eventually get on the scoreboard, it was only delaying the inevitable, her unseeded opponent wrapping things up with a rasping backhand drive.

This level proved difficult to match in the second set. And when she dipped, Muguruza was waiting to pounce, teasing a string of unforced errors to claim the decisive break. Both players had their opportunities in the decider, but surprisingly it was the underdog that held her nerve, producing some dogged defense to edge 5-3 ahead. Serving for the match there was no let-up, a trio of pin-point deliveries powering her to victory. 

In the semifinals she will face another big-hitter in the shape of Japanese wildcard Naomi Osaka.

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Wozniacki Returns To Tokyo Final After Radwanska Upset

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

TOKYO, Japan – Former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki continued her late-season resurgence by upsetting Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.

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Continuing the form that took her to the US Open semifinals, Wozniacki, who lifted the title in the Japanese capital six years ago, returned to the final after a thrilling 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over the No.2 seed.

Radwanska had her chances, serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set, but ultimately Wozniacki, who committed just 29 unforced errors during their two hours and 51 minutes on court, was just too consistent.

“I think every time I play her, we play really tough matches – and long ones. Luckily I managed to win that second set and then we both fought so hard in that third one,” Wozniacki said.

In the final she will face Japanese wildcard Naomi Osaka, who fought back to reach her maiden WTA final with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Elina Svitolina.

“I don’t really think too much about it,” Osaka said. “I just know [Wozniacki] is gonna get a lot of balls back and I feel like I’m just going to have to be patient and stick to the game plan – when I think of a plan.”

Osaka entered the tournament having never won a match at Toray, and has now become the first Japanese finalist since Kimiko Date-Krum 21 years ago. It’s also the first WTA-level final for the 18-year-old.

“I don’t really feel pressure here since the first match, since everyone is ranked higher than me. I’m a wildcard, so I just try to do my best. But this, for sure, it’s my best tournament.”

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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MIAMI, FL, USA – No.3 seed Simona Halep was pushed to the brink in a late night epic against Sam Stosur, needing to come back from a set down and save match point to book her spot into the Miami Open quarterfinals.

Halep books a blockbuster battle against Johanna Konta after emerging victorious in the two-hour-and-ten minute thriller, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

“It was a tough match, like I expected,” Halep told press after the match. “But the comeback was pretty good, and I’m really happy about that.

“The last comeback like this for me was in 2014, my first match in Doha against Kanepi. Match point down and I came back. I’m happy about this, shows I can still play some tennis.”

The Romanian targeted the Aussie’s backhand throughout the early exchanges in the opening set, and was rewarded with an early break. She built up a solid 4-2 lead and looked set to wrap up the opening set, but Stosur had other plans.

Stosur got her heavy topspin forehand going and wreaking havoc on Halep’s game plan, and reeled off four straight games to snatch away the opening set. She went on a tear in the second, recovering from an early break and winning five of the next six games to serve for the match.

She even held a match point, at 5-4 on Halep’s serve, but the Romanian chose that moment to start mounting her epic comeback. A handful of loose errors from Stosur on key moments let Halep back into the set, and she took the next seven games in a row to take the second set and a break lead in the third.

With Stosur flagging and letting her aggression dip slightly, it was Halep who bossed the rallies and dictated play to extend the lead to 4-1. The Aussie didn’t have another comeback left in her, and Halep completed the comeback to move into the Miami quarterfinals.

“When I was down, I wasn’t thinking about anything, nothing about the score,” Halep said. “I just wanted to fight. I didn’t give up, and I believed in my chance. I was maybe a little bit lucky because I came back from match point down, but still I fought for this.”

Halep will be rewarded for her efforts with another battle in the next round, this time against Britain’s No.1, Konta.

“It will be tough. She’s in a good form now, she’s near Top 10. And she plays great. It’s going to be a tough one, but here every match is tough so I don’t expect an easy one.

“I have my chance here to try my best and try to win, and of course tomorrow will help me to recover. Then I will go on court with confidence.”

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Safarova Advances In Wuhan, Injury Ends Bencic's Hopes

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

WUHAN, China – Lucie Safarova returned to winning ways after edging past Varvara Lepchenko on the opening day of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

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A difficult summer for Safarova brought just two wins in four outings, and her 7-5, 6-3 triumph will provide some much-needed confidence heading into the final stretch of the season.

In a closely contested opening set, the Czech whipped a brilliant forehand return to claim the decisive break in the penultimate game then held onto the momentum to take her place in the second round, where she will face compatriot and No.5 seed Karolina Pliskova.

Elsewhere, Belinda Bencic’s injury-riddled season continued when she was forced to retire following a nasty tumble against No.9 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The Swiss teenager began the year in fine fashion, reaching the second week of the Australian Open and becoming the youngest player in nearly seven years to break into the Top 10.

Since then, though, it has been one injury mishap after another; a back injury stalled her progress in spring – forcing her to miss the French Open – before a wrist problem forced her to retire from Wimbledon then pull out of the Olympics.

“I felt it in exactly the same place where I was injured – I think it’s the coccyx bone. I’m going to get some tests to figure out more, and we will see,” Bencic said.

Kuznetsova was leading 6-3, 3-4 when the match came to its premature conclusion. In the next round she will meet Heather Watson or Madison Brengle.

And Bencic was not the only big name to suffer misfortune. No.12 seed and 2014 quarterfinalist Timea Bacsinszky retired with a viral illness when trailing 6-3, 4-3 against Louisa Chirico.

Also advancing were No.13 seed Roberta Vinci, who defeated Olympic champion Monica Puig, 6-3, 6-3, and Ekaterina Makarova, a comfortable 6-1, 6-2 winner over wildcard Sabine Lisicki.

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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MIAMI, FL, USA – No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova took down an on-form Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to book the first spot into the Miami Open semifinals, notching a 6-2, 6-4 victory after an hour and 12 minutes.

The win sends her into the Miami semifinals for the first time, where she awaits the winner between No.12 seed Caroline Wozniacki and Lucie Safarova.

She also gets her hard-earned revenge on the player who knocked her out of the Australian Open, where she fell 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to the Croatian in the quarterfinals.

“I think I played much better here than I was playing [in Melbourne],” Pliskova said in her post-match press conference. “Also, the conditions here are different, and she was playing better tennis there because it was faster. It suited her better in Australia.

“So definitely I was feeling more confident with this match. I had a different game plan today.”

For her part, Lucic-Baroni – who was into her second Miami quarterfinal and the first since the tournament became a Premier Mandatory – made a strong start to the match, which featured lots of short rallies and plenty of first-strike tennis.

Lucic-Baroni’s fearless returning helped her neutralize powerful Pliskova serve during the early exchanges, but she wasn’t able to back it up with her own serves. She hit nine double faults during the opening set – including on set point – and was broken four times to surrender the first set in 28 minutes.

The Croat continued to attack Pliskova’s serve emphatically and was rewarded with the first break of the second set, building up a 4-2 lead as her service game began to click.

But with her serve under fire, Pliskova relied on her other weapons – her big forehand and her improved court movement – and bailed herself out of trouble. The Czech reeled off four games in a row to erase Lucic-Baroni’s lead and close out the match.

“The difference was in the first set,” Lucic-Baroni told WTA Insider afterwards. “I started out great but then I couldn’t find my serve. The more I was making mistakes the worse I was getting.

“I was able to calm down and fix it in the second, but then I just had a lot of bad luck after 4-2. But she played great, a pretty flawless match. It was still pretty close, but it just didn’t go my way today.”

With the win Pliskova is through to her fourth semifinal of 2017, and she’ll face either Safarova or Wozniacki for a spot in the final.

“Lucie obviously I know pretty well,” Pliskova assessed. “It will not be something really surprising for me there. I will be really confident coming into this one but it’s Czech against Czech so anything can happen.

“Obviously against Caroline, we played in Doha also, so a little bit different conditions than here. I would expect tough one because I know she has been playing quite good here in last few years.”

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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Jarmila Wolfe has announced that she and her husband are expecting a baby.

The Australian revealed the news on social media.

Unsurprisingly, she was immediately deluged with congratulations.

Wolfe retired from tennis at the start of 2017.

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