2014/07/25

Kvitova Rallies Past Goerges in Stuttgart

Petra Kvitova

By Tumaini Carayol

(April 25, 2013) STUTTGART – Julia Goerges and Petra Kvitova put on a three-set exhibition of power in Stuttgart on Thursday at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

 

As expected, the battle between the two ball crushers was fought on the front line. Both women attempted to wrestle the initiative from the other, but early on it was surprisingly Goerges who easily assumed control of the match. Five games in, the home favorite found herself cruising up 6-2, 1-0 with a set and a break. Her serve provided her with free points and the opportunity to finish numerous points by her second shot, but it was her return that mostly impressed early on.

 

Once upon a time, it was Vera Zvonareva who exhibited exactly how to return the Czech’s hefty serve. The Russian notched up an impressive record over Kvitova by using her footwork to step in and intercept Kvitova’s trademark lefty swinger, neutralizing one of the best serves in women’s tennis.

 

Goerges’ movement around the ball was uncharacteristically precise and it afforded her the same freedom on return. The difference was, unlike Zvonareva who simply attempted to neutralize the effects of the Kvitova serve, Goerges attacked both first and second deliveries indiscriminately, either crushing clean return winners or else winning the initiative immediately with deep, penetrative returns which allowed her to put the ball away within two or three shots.

 

Essentially, during the early stages of the match, the German was the overwhelming victor of the “first strike” battle as she triumphed both on service and return – quite literally the first strike of every point. In no time at all, the set and break lead was hers.

 

After the turbulent last eighteen months, it’s easy to forget the mental strength Kvitova showed during the brief time she was hyped as the best of her generation. It was this mental strength that she drew on as she willed her game together and began to mount her comeback.

 

First she addressed the ease at which Goerges had dealt with her serve, implementing more variety in her delivery which relinquished Goerges’ grip on her serve. She then surprisingly began to attack with higher percentage, planning the majority of her offense either cross-court or straight down the middle, utilizing brash angles. The result was immediate. After breaking straight back, a series of quick and easy holds for Kvitova followed as Goerges service games lengthened and were subjected to immense ‘scrutiny. In reality, the Czech No. 1 should have leveled the match under far more straightforward surfaces, but when Goerges double faulted at 4-5 in the tiebreaker to hand over two set points, nobody was surprised.

 

From then onwards, Kvitova fell into cruise control as she shackles on her game were unbound. Big serves flowed into raucous winners, and before long the final ball had been struck and the match had been won 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-2. A quietly confidence-boosting win for Kvitova, as she continues her struggle to regain her form of old.

 

Tumaini Carayol is in Stuttgart covering the Stuttgart tournament for Tennis Panorama News. He is a contributing writer at On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis at his site Foot Fault.

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Checking in with the Germans at Family Circle Cup

 

By Stephanie Neppl

(April 3, 2013) CHARLESTON, SC – A talented German contingency is in Charleston for the 2013 Family Circle Cup, but it has been a mixed week for its top stars.

 

A year ago, four Germans were in the top 20: Andrea Petkovic (11), Sabine Lisicki (13), Julia Goerges (15) and Angelique Kerber (16). Mona Barthel was also on the upswing and was ranked No. 36. Fast forward a year, and Petkovic is out of the top 100 due to injury, Goerges and Lisicki have seen their form and rankings dip, and Kerber found herself the highest ranked German and cracked the top 5 in 2012.

 

Rankings – April 2, 2012                             Rankings – April 1, 2013

11 – Andrea Petkovic                                             6 – Angelique Kerber

13 – Sabine Lisicki                                                 29 – Mona Barthel

15 – Julia Goerges                                                 30 – Julia Goerges

16 – Angelique Kerber                                            41- Sabine Lisicki

36 – Mona Barthel                                                  139 – Andrea Petkovic

 

All but Kerber played in Charleston this week, with mixed results thus far. Barthel and Lisicki were upset early, while Goerges and Petkovic have each survived two rounds. Here’s a look at how the German quartet are looking at the start of the clay season.

AndreaPetkovicCalrsbad3

ANDREA PETKOVIC

In August 2011, Petkovic become the sixth German to ever crack the WTA Top 10 but injury after injury came her way in 2012 and she dealt with a lower back injury and ankle injury last year. Petkovic returned to the tour again in late 2012 at the Hopman Cup and suffered another injury, this time a rupture of the medial meniscus. She started on the comeback trail again at Indian Wells this year, and her ranking has dipped to No. 137 due to her many absences.

 

She was handed a wildcard for the Family Circle Cup, and she’s put it to good use with two wins, first over fellow wildcard Taylor Townsend of the US, and another over American Vania King. She next faces 2011 Family Circle Cup champ Caroline Wozniacki. The pair have faced each other three times, with the Dane leading 2-1, including a win on their only match on the clay.

 

Wozniacki said Petkovic is a dangerous opponent. “Petkovic is a good player.  She has been very unlucky with her injuries and she is obviously a player that does play on a very high level.” The two will kick off the day session at 11am Thursday.

Julia-Goerges-Tennis-Panorama-News-Carlsbad

JULIA GOERGES

Goerges’ two career titles are both on clay (Bad Gastein in 2010 and Stuttgart in 2011) but her 2012 season saw her go 5-5 on the dirt and she’ll be looking to improve that record. On Wednesday in Charleston, Goerges managed to come back after dropping a bagel set to Olga Govortsova to advance to the third round. She’ll next face Stephanie Voegele of Switzerland, who upset No. 7 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the second round. Goerges said she was pleased to get the win despite not playing her best. “It’s good when you get tested right away on the clay,” she said. “It’s good to have those wins under your belt and when you’re not always playing your best and winning it’s a good feeling.” Goerges and Voegele are second on Althea Gibson Court on Thursday.

 

Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki

SABINE LISICKI

Sabine Lisicki has also had her share of injuries and illness, and her ranking has dropped from #13 a year ago to its current No. 41. Lisicki made the final in Memphis in February, but retired from the match with illness after dropping the first set to Marina Erakovic of New Zealand. Lisicki loves the green clay of Charleston and it’s where she captured her biggest title back in 2009. In her first match on Tuesday, Lisicki double bageled Anna Tatishvili in just 41 minutes. Today she was a heavy favorite to beat Mallory Burdette of the US, who is ranked #99 but the Georgian pulled out the upset 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 to advance to a contest against Serena Williams.

 

Mona Barthel photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac

Mona Barthel photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac

MONA BARTHEL

Barthel is actually the lone member of the group to have a title in 2013 and the win in Paris is the biggest of her career. Barthel also finished runner-up in Hobart and she has had wins over top 10 players Sara Errani, Angelique Kerber and Marion Bartoli. She’s now the second highest ranked German, with a current ranking of No. 29. She faced the US’ Jessica Pegula in the second round on Tuesday, but the 8th seed was upset 7-6 (4), 6-1.

 

Stephanie Neppl is in Charleston covering the Family Circle Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She spends all her spare funds traveling to tennis tournaments and has played since her teen years. She has worked as Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland’s ATP and WTA tournaments. Follow her live updates on Twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog  http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.

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Clinical Sharapova Continues Her Mission, Li Na Advances

Maria Sharapova 10062012 China Open Sharapova in press with pocket book part 2

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 20, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Kirsten Flipkens became the next victim in Maria Sharapova’s mission for a second Australian Open title on Sunday, the second seed demolishing her Belgian opponent in straight sets 6-1, 6-0 to progress to a quarterfinal clash with fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

 

Sharapova was clinical in disposing of Flipkens, smashing away 25 winners and succeeding on 81% of first serves in play.

 

The second set was a 25 minute thumping and the fifth bageled set of Sharapova’s tournament.

 

She was understandably pleased following the easy victory, and said the key to continuing in the winning manner is to remain focused and to stick to your game.

 

“All of a sudden, especially in women’s tennis, things can change really quickly. It’s really about, you know, sticking to your game plan, being consistent, but playing your game.”

 

“You know, I didn’t start the match really great. I was facing a different type of opponent today and I was making a few more mistakes than I would have liked in the beginning.”

 

“But after, you know, I held at 2-1, you know, I really started making her play a little bit more.    Started really getting under the ball and being aggressive and just had a little bit more energy which really helped me and I carried that throughout the match.”

 

Sharapova plays Makarova in the quarterfinals who today defeated fifth seed Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-4 to progress into her second consecutive quarterfinal. Makarova is relishing the opportunity to play the second seed in a rematch of their 2012 Australian Open quarterfinal in which Sharapova won in straight sets 6-2, 6-3.

 

“I really want to play against Maria because I lost against her last year. I’m feeling really confident in my game.”

 

Elsewhere in day seven action, China’s Li Na defeated eighteenth seed Julia Goerges in straight sets. The first set was a tight encounter that lasted almost one hour with the sixth seed closing it out in a tie-break 7-6(6). The second set was was easier for 2011 Australian Open finalist as she won it 6-1 and progressed through to a quarterfinal appearance against fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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No. 1 Azarenka Wins Linz for Sixth Title of 2012

No. 1 Victoria Azarenka earned her sixth title of 2012 by defeating Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-4 at the Generali Ladies in Linz Austria. It’s her 14th career WTA tournament win.

Azarenka has now notched 13 wins in a row since her finals lost to Serena Williams at the US Open.

“I don’t really count my victories,” said Azarenka. “I just try to go out there and enjoy every match.

“I felt very good, very energized each day of this week.”

Azarenka had built a 5-0 lead in the second set only to lose four games in a row before closing it out.

“It was a good match, very intense,” said Goerges. “I had a super comeback at the end, but she was just too consistent and deserved to win.”

“At 5-0 it felt like such a comfortable lead. I think I won seven games in a row at that point. But then Julia just went for her shots, and I kind of misjudged the situation,” said Azarenka. “I felt like the match was already in my hands, but Julia is such an unpredictable player, and the momentum can turn around really quickly with her, and it did. I wasn’t really expecting to have such a change.”

“It’s a good feeling to know that I was able to keep up with the best player in the world and got a chance to turn around the match, “Goerges said. “That makes me positive.

“But I got to two finals here, which I’ve never achieved in one week before, and even though I didn’t win, I’m happy with my tournament.”

Azarenka is tied with Serena Williams for the most tournaments won on the WTA tour this year at six.

Azarenka’s next and last tournament of the year is the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul.

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Goerges Upsets No. 2 Radwanska in First Round of Olympics

Under a closed roof at Wimbledon’s Centre Court, Julia Goerges of Germany upset No. 2 seed and Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-4 in the first round of the tennis event at the London Olympic games.

No. 24 Goerges hit 20 aces and 56 winners past Radwanska in  making both her Olympic and Centre Court debuts.

“I didn’t really think about it as it’s my first time on the Centre Court, and you just go there and enjoy it,” the German said. “You just play there as you warmed up outside. The courts were different. But that’s, for both, the same.”

“I felt pretty great there,” Goerges said about her agressive game. “My game is to be aggressive, and I know that doesn’t suit her pretty well because she’s one who wants to create a little bit of angles to play clever on the court.”

This marked the first indoor match  in the Olympics since the 1912 Games in Stockholm.

Goerges will face the winner of Varvara LepchecnkoVeronica Cepede Royg in round two.

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Radwanska Claims Dubai Crown and No. 5 Ranking

Agnieszka Radwanska

Agniezska Radwanska captured the Dubai Tennis Championships on Saturday with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Julia Goerges. The victory marks her eighth WTA tournament win.

“I was pretty close to losing in the first round, so I’m extremely happy right now. Tonight I think I was just better in a couple points, to be honest. In the important moments I was more consistent. The conditions were a little bit difficult during the match, but I stayed calm until the end.

“I’m going to keep playing my game and try to keep up my good tennis, especially in big events like this. I just want to enjoy my tennis and try winning matches.”

“I’m not disappointed. It was a big step in the right direction for me. I was leaving everything on the court and she’s a Top 5 player now. If you lose 5 and 4 in one hour 40, you shouldn’t be disappointed. It gives me a lot of confidence to see I’m close to those players and can beat them. It was about two or three points in the end. I’m very proud of this week.”

“I’m not disappointed,” said Goerges. “It was a big step in the right direction for me. I was leaving everything on the court and she’s a Top 5 player now. If you lose 5 and 4 in one hour 40, you shouldn’t be disappointed. It gives me a lot of confidence to see I’m close to those players and can beat them. It was about two or three points in the end. I’m very proud of this week.”

Radwanska is now 15-3 for 2012 with her only losses coming off the racquet of World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.  As of Monday the Pole will rise to No. 5 in the rankings.

“I’m five, but it’s still far from being number one,” said Radwanska to media. “It looks pretty actually close, but it’s still far. I’m just trying to go on court and enjoy my tennis and win the matches.

“In women’s tennis everything can change pretty fast, like we see every week the rankings are a little bit different.

“Everything can happen, so I’m just going to try playing my best tennis every match, every tournament, and we will see.”

Goerges is projected to reach  her career-high ranking of No.16.

In doubles action Leizel Huber and Lisa Raymond earned their seventh  titles as a team, taking out  Sania Mirza and ElenaVesnina. Huber now has won 51 doubles titles  and Raymond 77 claiming sole possession of sixth place, breaking a tie with Jana Novotna for sixth of the Open Era.
Results – Saturday, February 25, 2012
Singles – Final
(5) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 75 64

Doubles – Final
(1) Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) d. (2) Mirza/Vesnina (IND/RUS) 62 61

 

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Bartoli, Jankovic, Kuznetsova Fall in Upset Filled Monday in Toronto

By Brodie McPhee

TORONTO, Canada – Main draw action got under way on Monday at the Rogers Cup. It was a day filled with surprises and upsets as seeds Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova all fell in the opening matches of their respective campaigns.

Perhaps the most surprising result was Galina Voskoboeva defeating Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-3. “I think I just played pretty successful this year, and I’m pretty confident right now”, said the Kazakh. It was a different story from the French woman, however, who has had an incredibly successful year, including runs to the French Open semis and Wimbledon quarters. “It was really just one of those days where nothing [was] working.” “When you commit so many mistakes like I did today, it’s really hard to win a match, to be honest. It was really like my game was not at the level I’m supposed to play regarding my ranking.”

 

Seeded Russian Pavlyuchenkova also fell in the first round, this time on the grandstand to Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Despite taking the first set with her signature powerful ground strokes combined with some excellent passing shots, Martinez Sanchez’s variety and impressive net game managed to overwhelm and frustrate the 14th seed.

Julia Goerges of Germany celebrates a point against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia during their match at the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Toronto, August 8, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

 

In the night session, number 15 seed Jelena Jankovic was also stunned by rising German star Julia Goerges in the first match of the evening session. Goerges’ powerful serve and forehand, along with her excellent movement and defense proved too much for the Serbian. “If you play a player like Jelena, you have to play your best to beat those players. That’s what I knew before. I went for my shots and I went for my game, and, yeah, it went pretty well today.” Jankovic admitted to being “rusty” and not match fit. She remained positive, however, citing her past 3 weeks of training, and that practice is never the same as real matches.

The last match of the night featured home town favorite Rebecca Marino up against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. It was a difficult night for the Canadian, who fought back from being down 0-5 in the first set tiebreak to even it up at 6-6, only to drop the next two points and the set, 7-6(6).

The second set followed a similar pattern. Marino looked excellent on serve, relying on her powerful first serve and driving forehand to stay on the aggressive side of the ball. The return proved much more difficult. Makarova used her lefty serve to her advantage, often kicking it out wide on the ad side of the court, and mixing up her speeds effectively. This kept Marino guessing and often left her behind from the first stroke. “Her serve was actually quite difficult. That second serve, I know it may have looked easy, but it’s difficult, because there was kind of no pace on it. So it’s hard to actually create your own. She used the angles very well generally and moved me around a lot. Very smart player, I guess, is the difference.” Unable to earn any break points in the match, Marino was broken herself at 4-5 in the second set after saving three match points, losing to Makarova 7-6(6), 6-4.

Tenth seeded seeded Samantha Stosur was the only seed to advance Monday. Greta Arn, Lucie Safarova, Simona Halep and Jie Zheng all won.

Brodie McPhee is the author of the tennis web site Mind the Racket. He’s in Toronto this week covering the Rogers Cup WTA edition for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews and his personal twitter @MindTheRacket.

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Stephens Stuns Goerges, Reaches Third Round of Carlsbad


By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – Sloane Stephens earned her first win over a top 20 player by beating Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-5 at the Mercury Insurance Open.  Stephens played calm and composed while Goerges never looked entirely comfortable on court. Stephens won all four of her break chances while Goerges could only convert two of five opportunities.

When asked if she had received a scouting report on Georges or came into the match with any particular strategies, Stephens smiled and said “No, not really. I haven’t played that many matches this summer, taking time off after Wimbledon, so I was just going to play my game, hit my shots, do my thing and it worked. That was kind of the whole strategy.”

Recognizing that Goerges contributed a number of errors to her cause, Stephens  said, “she’s an awesome player. Today wasn’t her best day. I mean, I’m happy I got her on this day. ”

Asked if it was a frustrating loss Goerges replied, “if you saw me playing last week, today was a big improvement.” While she explained she is still trying to find her rhythm and consistency on hard courts she gave credit to Stephens saying, “she didn’t give me any free points today. So it was tough for me.” She went on to add “I think women’s tennis has a really high level right now. There are a lot of young players and a lot of good up coming players and she is definitely one of them.”

Stephens will play Tamira Paszek who received a walkover when Maria Kirilenko withdrew citing a hip injury.

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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Petkovic, Goerges and Lisicki To Play Mercury Insurance Open, Clijsters, Kvitova Withdraw

Andrea Petkovic, Julia Goerges and Sabine Lisicki,Germany’s top three female professional tennis stars, will play in the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open, July 30 to August 7 at the La Costa Resort and Spa, tournament officials announced on Friday.

 

“All three of these dynamic rapidly-rising players have a very entertaining style. They are starting to make an impact in women’s professional tennis and are on the verge of achieving great things in the sport,” said Mercury Insurance Open Tournament Director Raquel Giscafre.

 

Petkovic, ranked 11th in the world, captured her second career WTA singles title inBrisbane,Australia in January. She also reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and French Open earlier this year.  Petkovic will be making her first appearance inCarlsbad.

 

Goerges is currently ranked a career-high 16th in the world. She won her second career WTA title in Stuttgart, Germany in April, defeating No. 1 in the world Caroline Wozniacki, 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the final. Goerges will be making her first appearance inCarlsbad.

 

Lisicki, ranked 26th in the world in the latest WTA rankings, achieved her best singles result in a Grand Slam when she reached the semifinals atWimbledon this year. Just prior to Wimbledon, Lisicki won her second career WTA singles title atBirmingham,England on grass. She will also be making her firstCarlsbad appearance.

 

Tournament officials also announced that Kim Clijsters ofBelgium, the two-time defending US Open champion and reigning Australian Open titlist, along with 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of theCzechRepublic, have withdrawn from the Mercury Insurance Open.

 

Clijsters is still recovering from the same right ankle injury that forced her to miss the Wimbledon Championships earlier this summer.

 

The seventh-ranked Kvitova, who was scheduled to make her first career appearance at the La Costa Resort and Spa, is suffering from a pulled abdominal muscle.

 

“I am sorry I am unable to play in the Mercury Insurance Open this year but I’m still recovering from an injury that happened atWimbledon,” Kvitova said. “Best wishes for a great tournament and I hope to be inCarlsbadnext year.”

 

Giscafre says the tournament still has a very strong field.  “We continue to have an excellent draw that includes world No. 3 Vera Zvonareva, defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and last year’s finalist Agnieszka Radwanska,” Giscafre said.

 

Other WTA players entered in the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open include former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, Russia’s Maria Kirilenko, Flavia Pennetta of Italy, Daniela Hantuchova and Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia and Americans Coco Vandeweghe, Christina McHale and Melanie Oudin.

 

The Mercury Insurance Open, a Premier 700 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) event offering $721,000 in prize money, will feature a 56-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw in 2011. The women’s professional tennis event returned to the La Costa Resort and Spa inCarlsbadin 2010 after a two-year hiatus.  Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova won the singles title last summer when she defeated Agnieszka Radwanska ofPolandin the final. The tournament will be televised on the Tennis Channel and ESPN 2.

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Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova Enters Mercury Insurance Open

 

Petra Kvitova, the 21-year-old from the Czech Republic who captured the Wimbledon ladies’ singles title, will play in the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open Presented by Tri-City Medical Center, July 30 – August 7 at the La Costa Resort and Spa, tournament officials announced.

Kvitova, who turned pro in 2006, defeated Russia’s Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4 in this morning’s Wimbledon ladies’ singles final in England to win her first major title.

“We are very excited to have the new Wimbledon champion play in our tournament,” said Raquel Giscafre, Mercury Insurance Open tournament director. “She is an incredible and talented player to watch and I’m sure tennis fans will enjoy the opportunity to see her play at the La Costa Resort and Spa.”

Saturday’s victory at Wimbledon represents Kvitova’s fifth-career WTA Tour singles title and her fourth singles title of 2011.

Named the 2010 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Newcomer of the Year, Kvitova will be playing in Carlsbad for the first time in her career. She has been a member of the Czech Fed Cup team since 2007.

In addition to Kvitova, the field for the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open will be highlighted by former world No.1 Kim Clijsters, defending Mercury Insurance Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and other WTA stars Vera Zvonareva, Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Daniela Hantuchova, Maria Kirilenko, Flavia Pennetta, Melanie Oudin, Coco Vandeweghe, Julia Goerges, Anna Chakvetadze and Yanina Wickmayer.

 

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