Australian Open: Day three review

Caroline Wozniacki pulled off a remarkable escape in her match with Jana Fett where she won 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 after being 5-1 down in the third set. (AP)
Updated 17 January 2018
0

Australian Open: Day three review

LONDON: Arab News takes a look at how all the other big names did on day one in Melbourne — who lived to fight another day and who has already been forced to pack their bags?

GREGOR DIMITORV (3) STAYING: The Bulgarian was pushed all the way in five sets before finally beating No. 186-ranked Mackenzie McDonald, who had never won a tour-level match before qualifying for the Australian Open, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 8-6. Dimitrov is highly fancied but will have to improve a lot if he is to go all the way.

NICK KYRGIOS (17) STAYING: The explosive Aussie was always in control of his match against Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6. We are only two matches in but there is a focus about the home hope that he has rarely shown before. He has all the talent in the world, could this be his year?

MARIN CILIC (6) STAYING: Last year’s Wimbledon finalist was in dominant form as he downed Joao Sousa 6-1, 7-5, 6-2. It was the kind of big-serving showing that if the Croatian can repeat and repeat should see him go deep in Melbourne.


JO-WILFRED TSONGA () STAYING: The Frenchman rallied from 5-2 in the fifth set to overcome rising star Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 in an absorbing three-hour, 37-minute contest. He will now face Kyrgios in the next round in what promises to be a fascinating clash.

ELINA SVITOLINA (4) STAYING: The Ukrainian rallied to reach the third round with a gutsy 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Katerina Siniakova. Svitolina was 0 for 6 on break-point chances in the first set, but recovered to break Siniakova six times over the rest of the match.

JELENA OSTAPENKO (7) STAYING: The French Open champion is through to the third round having seen off the challenge of Duan Yingying 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 on the Margaret Court Arena. The Latvian is definitely one to watch the longer the tournament goes on.

JULIA GOERGES (12) PACKING HER BAGS: The German was on a 15-match unbeaten streak and strongly tipped to do well in Melbourne. But she leaves trophyleess in week one having been beaten 6-4, 6-3 by world No.42 Alize Cornet.


Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

Updated 22 February 2019
0

Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

  • World No. 4 wins third three-setter of the week beat Hsieh Su-wei and claim place in the final.
  • Swiss star Bencic deals a forehand smash to Svitolina's chances of unprecedented hat-trick.

LONDON: If Petra Kvitova does get her hands on the Dubai trophy against Belinda Bencic on Saturday, she will be quick to admit she did it the hard way.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was once again made to toil at the Aviation Club as she finally overcame Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was her third three-setter in four days and came about as much through sheer grit and determination as any superior groundstrokes or serves.
“Yeah, it was (tough),” the Czech said.
“It was a tough one, for sure. She really didn’t give me anything for free.
“It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. Anyway I didn’t play great at the end of the first.”
Coming into the event the world No. 4 admitted she was undercooked and in need of some game time. While, in hindsight, the three-setters against Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady in the first two rounds probably did her some good, another match that went the distance was probably not in the ideal script for the 2013 Dubai champion.
But Hsieh is a tricky opponent and she proved it once again on Centre Court. The world No. 31 hits two-handed shots off both sides and was trying to beat her fourth top-10 seed of the week. That included wins over Angelique Kerber in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

Bencic will try to upset Kvitova in Saturday's final at the Aviation Club (AFP) 


She started off in much the same vein as she had finished against Kerber and Pliskova, hurrying Kvitova around the court and making life as uncomfortable as possible under the hot Dubai sun.
“She’s very tricky,” Kvitova said about Hsieh, who grabbed five games in a row to take the opening set and go up 1-0 in the second.
“I didn’t really play the best at the end of the first set. But I calmed down afterwards a little bit,” Kvitova said.
“With Hsieh, I need to be a little bit patient. ... It’s not really that easy to make those winners against her.”
While she has 
not consistently displayed her A-game this week it should come as no shock that Kvitova has made today’s final. It was the second seed’s 17th victory of 2019 — a feat bettered by no one — and it will be her third final of the season and 35th of her career. She revealed that her presence in the showdown is thanks to her mental toughness and she admitted that after a long week she will have to draw on that a lot today.
“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was more calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set,” Kvitova said.
“I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow — it was something weird.
“I’m a bit tired right now, to be honest. I have a final, so I don’t know how I going to recover. Hopefully I have a few hours to do something with me.”
Of her sparkling form so far this year she said: “It’s a bit weird, to be honest. I didn’t really expect anything like that. Well, to be honest, I didn’t expect anything, which I already achieved this year. For me, everything is just bonus.
“As I mentioned, the tennis, it’s a bit like escape this week. This is unbelievable to be in the final when I’m escaping from something. Yeah, very interesting.”
In the other semifinal Bencic once again upset the odds to overcome world No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-3, 7-6. The Swiss went into the clash as the underdog, but from the off the world No. 45 was aggressive and deservedly won.
In doing so she ended Svitolina’s 12-match winning streak in Dubai and ended the two-time defending champion’s hopes of becoming the first woman to win three Dubai titles in a row.