Paolini upsets Putintseva to meet Riske in Portoroz final

Unseeded Italian Jasmine Paolini continued her dream week at the Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz on Saturday, beating 2nd-seeded Yulia Putintseva from Kazakstan, 1-6 6-3 6-4, to reach her first WTA final where she will face No 3 seed Alison Riske from USA for the title.

Ostapenko to meet Tauson in Luxembourg final

Defending champion Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia, the No 3 seed at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open, overcame a late but spirited second set challenge from 7th-seeded Russian Liudmila Samsonova to set up a trophy match against Denmark’s Clara Tauson, who needed 3...

Bencic and Mertens toppled in Luxembourg

Belinda Bencic’s hopes of gaining more points in the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals were dashed at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open on Friday when the top-seeded Swiss was beaten by Russia’s Liudmilla Samsonova, the No 7 seed, 6-1 6-4, in an hour and 13 minutes.

Putintseva pushes on in Portoroz

At the Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz tournament in Slovenia, 4th seed Sorana Cirstea, a recent Emma Raducanu conquest, was beaten 6-4 4-6 6-1 by Italy’s Jasmine Paolini in their last 8 meeting.

WTA Roundup: Bencic eyes spot in Guadalajara

Two WTA 250 tournaments are taking place this week, in Luxembourg where Belinda Bencic leads the field indoors on hard courts, and at Portoroz where top seed Petra Martic fell at the first hurdle.

Great to be back

Emma Raducanu, the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam, has declared: "It's a great feeling to be back home.”

Halep marries Toni Iuruc in Constanta

Simona Halep has married her long-time boyfriend in a small civil ceremony in her hometown of Constanta on the Black Sea on Wednesday.

Tyzzer admits decision may have impacted Barty loss at US Open

It seems a decision made by coach Craig Tyzzer could have contributed to Ash Barty’s early departure from the US Open last week, although fatigue was also a factor after the Aussie won the title in Cincinnati ahead of Flushing Meadows.

France to open BJK Cup in Prague

The ITF has announced the schedule for the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Finals 2021 to be held at the O2 Arena in Prague from 1-6 November.

And so it begins…

Who reading this, even those who may not have affection for or affiliation with the game of tennis, could have failed to be mesmerised by the recent Raducanu journey, which concluded with her becoming the first ever qualifier to win one of the game’s primary sporting...
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Week 2 League Roundup

Comeback queen Eliz Maloney completed a miraculous turnaround to reach the UK Pro League Week 2 final and revealed the secret key to her heroics – ‘I just hate losing’.

There's always a part of you that thinks no matter what the lead is, you can do it. I think it was so far away that it just took the pressure off. Eliz Maloney

Maloney twice battled back from the brink against Week 1 finalist Beth Grey to engineer a remarkable victory and book a date in Sunday’s final with unbeaten Emily Appleton.

Precocious Maloney, 20, found herself 5-1 down in both the second set and the super tie-break before eventually winning a thrilling decider 10-6.

She lost the first set 6-3 before winning the second on an 11-9 tie-break and Maloney, who competed at last summer’s UK Pro Classic in Weybridge, reckons her fierce competitiveness held the key to her escapology.

The Rickmansworth 20-year-old said: “I’m just a very competitive person and I really hate losing.

“There’s always a part of you that thinks no matter what the lead is, you can do it. I think it was so far away that it just took the pressure off.

“I just started swinging a bit more freely, and then just took each point a time. It just slowly built up.

“I’m very pleased, especially to build from the first week. I’m definitely [looking forward tomorrow].”

Maloney could only muster an eighth-place finish in Week 1 to pick up five ranking points – but now only Week 1 winner Appleton stands between her and a brilliant maximum haul of 18.

Appleton, 21, has been in imperious form since the tournament began and continued her remarkable Week 2 record of not dropping a set to march into Sunday’s final.

The Surrey star also dropped just a single set on the way to the Week 1 title – in the semi-finals against Freya Christie – and carried on where she left off by easing past the talented Alice Gillan 6-0 6-2 in the last four.

Appleton is sparkling under the Loughborough lights and hailed the innovative UK Pro League format for giving her a long-awaited opportunity to compete.

“I’m really happy – to play good tennis in the semis is always tough and I think today I was able to do that,” she said.

“It’s just the opportunity to compete – honestly, it was three months without competing and I was just training every single day and it was very repetitive.

“But I’m thankful that it was worth it because it’s paying off now.”

The Premier League of British tennis and brainchild of Jamie Delgado – Andy Murray’s coach – the UK Pro League brings together the country’s top professional players and runs across nine separate weeks from March to November.

The season-long competition involves players competing in a round robin format in eight individual qualifying weeks, with the weekend play-offs then giving them the chance to accumulate ranking points to seal qualification for November’s Finals Week.

In the men’s competition, Anton Matusevich continued his dazzling run of form to emulate Appleton and also storm into the Week 2 final without dropping a set.

The 19-year-old, who finished third in Week 1 behind Joshua Paris and Billy Harris, raced past Sean Hodkin 7-5 6-2 in the day’s opening semi-final to send yet another statement of intent to his rivals.

And he will meet British No.18 Mark Whitehouse in Sunday’s final, who toppled the experienced Dan Cox for the first time in his career in a heart-thumping last four duel.

Whitehouse finished seventh in Week 1 but has been in red-hot form in Loughborough after topping the Pool B table.

And he chose the perfect time to finally break his duck against Cox, winning 10-3 in a super tie-break to tee up a tantalising Sunday showdown with Matusevich.

Cox, 30, has twice reached the first round at Wimbledon and Whitehouse revelled in banishing his demons when it mattered most.
The 27-year-old said: “I save my one win just for the semi-final!

“I think the match tie breaks are a bit of a lottery. He made a couple of mistakes where if we played it again he might make, or I might play different shots, so I was lucky today it went my way.”

Both Whitehouse and Matusevich are renowned for their big hitting and Whitehouse is predicting a blockbuster encounter on Sunday.
The Reigate star added: “I think we both like to hit the ball pretty big.

“We’re both going to try and take the felt off the ball, I think!”

With a prize fund of around £500k and Broadcast live on BT Sport, the UK Pro League is the only place where the British player group come together to compete across the full year.

Anton Matusevich



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