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WTA Roundup – Paris, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg and Rabat

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London | Laura Robson retires from competition

Former British No 1 Laura Robson has decided to formally retire from competitive tennis after her long battle with injuries that curtailed her on-court career.

Strasbourg | Stosur makes surprise singles appearance

Aussie Sam Stosur made a surprise appearance in the singles in the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Sunday after having announcing at the Australian Open that she was retiring from singles play.

Paris | Svitolina and Monfils are expecting a baby daughter

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Rome | Swiatek shatters Jabeur hopes in final

20-year old Iga Swiatek continues to amaze as the World No 1 won her 5th WTA tournament in a row at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, successfully defending her title with an emphatic 6-2 6-2 win over Ons Jabeur and cementing her status as the game’s best...

Rome | Djokovic sweeps up sixth title

The Rome Masters Final nearly became a mirror image of the disappointing and one-sided final played out last week in the Madrid title round following Novak Djokovic’s domination of Sefanos Tsitsipas in the first set.

Rome | Stunning Swiatek sweeps aside Sabalenka to meet Jabeur in final

Defending champion Iga Swiatek swept past Aryna Sabalenka into the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final in Rome on Saturday, notching up her 27th consecutive win, and she will meet Ons Jabeur, who found her way past Daria Kasatkina into the last 2 after saving a match...

Rome | Djokovic reaches new milestone

Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas will meet in the Rome Masters final in what is a repeat of last year’s classic French Open title decider -- won by the Serbian from two-set to love down – and could provide an indication of the state of the individual players’...

Rome | It’s Swiatek v Sabalenka and Jabeur v Kasatkina in Last 4

Iga Swiatek sunk Bianca Andreescu’s boat to reach the semi-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome on Friday where she will take on Aryna Sabalenka, a 3-set winner over Amanda Anisimova, while Ons Jabeur staged a stunning come-back win to get past Maria...
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St Petersburg | Bencic and Bertens remain on track

Both Belinda Bencic and Kiki Bertens reached the quarter-finals at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy in Russia, with contrasting effort – Bertens didn’t need long to get past Veronika Kudermetova, 6-1 6-2, on Thursday, just 57 minutes, while Bencic had taken an hour and three quarters to see off Svetlana Kuznetsova, 7-6(4) 6-4, on Wednesday.

I just remember in every match I was down, I was not leading the match for sure and somehow I always managed to turn it around and come back. It was really nice, I had nothing to lose, I played great, I felt great, because I played three-set matches. Overall it was a very emotional week for me. Belinda Bencic

It was a lot harder for 3rd seed Petra Kvitova, who needed over 2 hours before she got the better of Alison Van Uytvanck in 3 sets.

After the Czech’s 7-6(1) 1-6 6-2 win, she said: “It was a tough one. I’ve never played Alison before.

“She’d already played one match on the surface and for me it was the first one, so that’s always a bit challenging.”

Maria Sakkari, the 6th seed at the event, triumphed against Alize Cornet 6-2 6-4, but 7th seed Donna Vekic was beaten 6-1 7-5 by Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Bencic remains on track as favourite to lift the trophy on Sunday, and the Swiss is also looking towards defending her title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title next week where she also has significant points to defend.

Last year she was on the comeback trail following a slew of injuries that derailed her career, having reached No 7 in the world back in 2016, when she was just 18 years old.

A lower back injury, a left wrist problem that required surgery, and a pre-stress fracture in her foot, halted her progress and she had not won a tour-level title since Toronto in 2015, when she upset four top-10 players – including Serena Williams and Simona Halep – en route to the trophy.

In Dubai she repeated the feat by toppling 4 top-10 players back-to-back to clinch her first tour-level crown in nearly 4 years and provided the launch pad Bencic needed to get back to where she belongs, ending 2019 ranked No 7, and voted the WTA’s Comeback Player of the Year.

She defeated 9th-ranked Aryna Sabalenka, saving 6 match points against the Belarusian in a late-night showdown to grab a spot in the quarter-finals, then Halep from a set down and, in the semis, two-time defending champion Elina Svitolina, who served for the match but Bencic somehow survived.

In the final, she won a 4th consecutive 3-setter to overcome Petra Kvitova, who had blitzed Bencic just a few weeks earlier at the Australian Open.

“I just remember in every match I was down, I was not leading the match for sure and somehow I always managed to turn it around and come back,” Bencic told The National ahead of her title defence in Dubai next week.

“It was really nice, I had nothing to lose, I played great, I felt great, because I played three-set matches. Overall it was a very emotional week for me.”

Bencic stopped working with her father, Ivan, as her coach for two years but they reunited at the end of 2018 and she now has a tight-knit team with her, travelling with her dad and her fitness trainer Martin Hromkovic.

Bencic is now ranked a career-high No 5 and her main goal for 2020 is to stay healthy, maintain her place among the world’s top 10, and compete at the Olympics.

“It’s a really big goal. Obviously, I was really sad in 2016 I couldn’t play and this year it’s actually one of my highlights of the year, to play Olympics in Tokyo,” Bencic said. “I’m really excited and curious how it’s going to be because I have no idea what to expect and just overall just really excited.”


Kiki Bertens is the defending champion in St Petersburg

© Mark Kolbe/Getty Images




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