All faves through in Indian Wells 4th - UBITENNIS
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All faves through in Indian Wells 4th

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TENNIS – All of the favorites left in the women’s draw qualified for the quarter finals at the BNP Parisbas Open in Indian Wells. Giulio Gasparin

 

(6) Simona Halep def (18) Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 1-6, 6-4
The great streak of results from Halep continued as she edged past a determined Eugenie Bouchard to conquer her first ever Indian Wells quarter-final. The Romanian started really well and forced the young Canadian into the groove of her game, forcing her opponent to hit on the run and miss lots of balls.Bouchard reacted fiercely and forced Halep to step further from the baseline. The match suddenly turned around and Bouchard was in safe control as the 6-1 of the second set proves.

In the third set the Romanian managed to find a better aggression, but Bouchard was strong of the boost from the second set and was the first one to find a break to go 4-3 up.

The reaction of Halep was impressive, as her attitude in the next three games was way different, as she stepped in and found better pace and depth, forcing again the Canadian to miss. Not only she took the break back immediately, but went on conquering the next two as well as the whole match.

In the next round Halep will face Casey Dellacqua, who did non play her 4th round match, as Lauren Davis was forced to withdraw due to food poisoning.

(7) Jelena Jankovic def (10) Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1
The Serb stepped on court after the lucky escape against Magdalena Rybarykova, but her back injury seemed long gone as she dismantled the -little- resistance of the Dane, who had won all the last 5 matches between the two. Jankovic looked a little nervous at the beginning and fell 3-1 down in the score, but soon reacted and by finding nice pace and smartly varying her game she outplayed Wozniacki with ease. The former world number one, who was defending last year’s final, will now find herself out of the top 15 for the first time since 2008 -when she was 18. The next opponent for Jankovic will be Agnieszka Radwanska.
(2) Agnieszka Radwanska def (22) Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-3
Radwanska survived the scare of two set points in the first set, before finding the right track again and close in straight sets against a very positive Cornet.

The improvements showed by the French woman since the beginning of the season were all there during her match,  but in the end the solid and smart game of the Pole won her the match.

(1) Li Na def Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-4
Everything was simply working too well for the Chinese, as she played some sensational tennis to overcome the inform Canadian. The only flow one could find in Li Na’s performance is the need of 9 match points before closing, but as she acknowledged in the post match interview, Wozniak did not give up and fought very hard on each of them. In the next round Li Na will try to copy her performance from the Australian Open final, as she is set to face the same opponent: Dominika Cibulkova.

(12) Dominika Cibulkova def (8) Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-2
After the difficult few weeks following her triumphant run in Australia, Cibulkova is back to playing her highest level of tennis and this time it was Kvitova to fall. The Acapulco winner outplayed Kvitova, who once more proved to struggle on the American hard courts, but that does not diminish the almost perfect performance of the Slovak, who will try to avenge the loss in her first ever slam final.

(20) Flavia Pennetta def Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-1
The run of Maria Sharapova’s slayer fell short, as her more expert compatriot dismantled her hard hitting with smart and accurate shots. Pennetta, who was on the verge of retirement after an early unsuccessful comeback following a wrist injury in 2012, is living a second youth as she is winning match after match her way back to the elites of the sport.

Pennetta, who had lost her only previous encounter with Giorgi, will seek one more revenge in the quarter finals as she is to face Sloane Stephens, who defeated her on the home soil of Rome last year.

(17) Sloane Stephens def Alisa Kleybanova 6-3, 7-5
Stephens fought hard in her fourth round match, as despite closing in straight the match has been uncertain until the very last end.
The comeback from health issues of Kleybanova can still be considered on the right track, despite the loss to the young American. Especially given her good week and the competitiveness of this match.

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Garbine Muguruza moves into the second round in Dubai

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Last year’s Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza beat Irina Camelia Begu 6-3 7-5 after 96 minutes to move into the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. 

 

Muguruza hit 23 winners to just 10 for Begu. The Spaniard earned a break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead, but Begu pulled back the break. Muguruza broke for the second time with a backhand winner down the line to open up a 5-3 lead and consolidated the break with a hold to close out the first set 6-3. 

Begu went up a break twice in the second set. She served for the set at 5-3, but Muguruza pulled back on serve with a forehand winner off the netcord on break point. Muguruza broke again to take a 6-5 lead and sealed the win with a forehand winner. 

Muguruza has improved her 2021 win-loss record to 13-4. 

“Begu and I have played before, we have also trained together, so we know each other’s games. I gave her a big battle and in important moments I tried to be focused and be smart and efficient”, said Muguruza. 

The former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion will face Amanda Anisimova, who eased past qualifier Ana Konjuh 6-2 6-2. 

Elise Mertens came back from one set down to beat lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova 4-6 6-2 6-4. Tomova was a last-minute replacement for last week’s Lyon semifinalist Fiona Ferro. Mertens converted eight of her nine break points. Tomova broke for the fourth time in the opening set after a six-deuce game to clinch the first set 6-4. Mertens never dropped her serve and broke serve with a backhand winner down the line to seal the second set 6-2. Mertens went up a break at 1-0 and 4-2 but Tomova pulled back both breaks. Mertens broke to love to take a 5-4 lead, but she had to save two break points, as she was serving for the match. The Belgian player broke serve in the 11th game to close out the match.

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Naomi Osaka Brands Appointment Of Female Olympic Chief As Inspiration For The World

The world No.2 sees the development as one that let young girls know ‘anything is possible.’

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Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has hailed the recent appointment of a woman to oversee this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

 

Seiko Hashimoto was named as the head of the Tokyo Olympic Committee last month following the resignation of Yoshiro Mori. Mori was accused of being sexist after saying women should be limited to how much they speak during meetings because they talk too much. He said that if more female members were appointed to the board they will have to ‘make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying.’

Controversy aside, Osaka believes Hashimoto’s appointment could have a significant impact on gender equality. A former professional speed skater and cyclist, Hashimoto have participated in seven Olympic Games which is more than any other Japanese athlete in history.

This is such an important moment for Japanese women, and women around the world; and I hope it’s an inspiration to a young girl with big dreams to know that anything is possible,” the world No.2 told the International Olympic Committee.

Osaka’s comments coincide with International Women’s Day which celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Tennis is considered as one of the top sports in the world when it comes to gender equality with equal prize money being awarded at every Grand Slam since the 2007 Wimbledon Championships. Last year Forbes magazine concluded that nine out of the 10 highest paid female athletes in the world are tennis players.

“I love seeing women in leadership roles like Kamala Harris and Michelle Obama,” Osaka commented. “In sport I’ve seen progress too, with women involved in various positions even in men’s sport, like Kim Ng, who is now the General Manager of the Miami Marlins. Then you have myself and Serena [Williams] as owners of NWSL [National Women’s Soccer League] teams – so I hope these kinds of leadership positions inspire the next generation of women and reflect some level of progress and change.”

The 23-year-old is a part-owner of North American women’s football team North Carolina Courage. Whilst her direct involvement in the club will not be substantial she will be acting as a ‘strategic advisor.’

Osaka is currently on a 21-match winning streak on the WTA Tour. Last month she defeated Jennifer Brady to win the Australian Open for the second time in her career.

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Elina Svitolina Admits Cut In Prize money Due To COVID-19 Affecting Motivation

The 26-year-old says it is not easy adjusting to the changes after being ‘spoiled’ by the WTA.

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Elina Svitolina says that a decline in financial incentives at tournaments could alter her schedule over the coming weeks.

 

The world No.5 says less money available at smaller events compared to previous years are having an influence on her decision to play them. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic tournaments across the world have been forced to slash or adjust their prize money pool’s. For example at this year’s Miami Open the singles winner will take home $300,110 which is a massive 80% reduction on what was awarded in 2019 ($1.354 million).

Svitolina will be the top seed in the upcoming Dubai Tennis Championships, which has also been forced to cut their payouts. This year’s winner will walk away with 68% less than what the previous champion won ($221,500 compared to $696,860).

“I had to adjust, like for example with my team, with my daily life,” AFP news quoted Svitolina as saying during her Dubai press conference on Sunday. “Maybe be a little bit smarter and I think for everyone it’s important to readjust because right now there is definitely a significant change in the prize money,”
“I think it’s really not easy for some players to adjust and for me, personally, it’s maybe also a little bit [tough] right now, because we’re a bit spoiled from the years that the prize money was really high.”

As of the week commencing March 1st, 2020, 26-year-old Svitolina is the 18th highest earning WTA player of all time in terms of prize money won. Her earnings currently stand at $20,112,704. This is more than what Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Li Na and Jelena Jankovic won during their entire careers. So far the Ukrainian has won 15 titles but is yet to reach the final of a Grand Slam.

Speaking about the current situation on the Tour, Svitolina admits she now feels more inclined chose to skip lower level events.

“Now for sure it gets into your head that you know you have less motivation at some tournaments to play because the prize money is much lower and you’re playing for example a smaller tournament and you’re tired afterwards to play a big one, so you would skip it,” she explained.
“So that, for sure, plays a little role in the motivation, in my opinion. Hopefully we can step by step improve and get back to where we were before.”

Recently the ATP confirmed revealed a series of new initiatives to support players during the pandemic including the use of a ‘covid-19 protected ranking.’ Although the women’s Tour hasn’t revelled any similar measures yet and it is unclear as to if they will. The WTA has already adjusted their ranking calculations.

Svitolina will start her campaign in Dubai against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova who she leads 4-1 in their head-to-head. It will be the fifth tournament of her 2021 season but she is yet to progress beyond the quarter-final stage.

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