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Great expectations for Li Na in Indian Wells

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TENNIS – As Billie Jean King, once said, pressure is a privilege. But for Li Na, the great expectations of being a top seed is tough. She has been in unchartered territory in Indian Wells. It is the first time in her career she has been seeded No 1. And she feels the pressure. From Indian Wells, Lucia Hoffman for Tennisvista

 

Love her, love her, love her! Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
As Billie Jean King, once said, pressure is a privilege. But for Li Na, the great expectations of being a top seed is tough. She has been in unchartered territory in Indian Wells. It is the first time in her career she has been seeded No 1. And she feels the pressure.

“Always tough” she says. “Because first time to be top seed in a big tournament and never have, how do you say, experience before.”

“I try feeling the same, but it is different, you know.”
She tries to describe the types of pressure she feels as the top seed and the expectations attached to it.”

“I think it is everything. Before if I come to tournament, maybe I was like No 6 or No 7 seed, you know, now is high attention, everyone is focused.”

Overall, Li Na is happy with her progress in the tournament.

“Yes, at least I can win the last point, and still, stay in the tournament.” She says.

It took Li Na 10 match points opportunities  and 21 minutes to finish the last game but eventually, she did. Na won 6-1, 6-4 3 deficit  to reach the quarterfinals for the third time in Indian Wells.
She was asked if 11 is a lucky number in Chinese numerology, since she needed  11 match points to win the match. Apparently not until today, as Li Na replies:

“Oh, I have 11?  Wow.  Yeah, she’s pretty good.  She save a lot of match points.  Only I can say.”

“The funny thing is beginning of the game I was feeling tight, nervous, and then I was feeling like what’s going on?  Why can’t I finish the match? “

Li Na also had a controversial bad call during the match.

“The coach was like, Calm down, calm down.  I was like, How can I calm down? “ she says.

Li Na is often reminded of a match at Wimbledon which she didn’t challenge a bad call and lost the match. So now, very often, she will challenge calls she thinks its wrong. So, no surprise that happened yesterday in Indian Wells.

“But at least I have good eye or I still keep it for challenging.  If I didn’t have challenging anymore I cannot have a chance.” Li Na explains.

In her press conference she mentioned that: “I even didn’t shower.  I come to the press conference. Yeah (smiling).”

Li Na also answered a few more questions:

BEING FROM WORLD’ BIGGEST COUNTRY:
“I cannot make every single person understand how the sport is. If you are doing the sport, for sure you know, you cannot win all the times.”

TENNIS IN CHINA:
“Still have to improve a lot.”

ON BEING LUCKY:
“I’m already have two in my pocket. Nobody takes it.”

AS LONG AS YOU LOVE IT:
“I still continue my love to tennis life, so I just continue to do that. I don’t care how the other people say.”

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS, WUHAN IN CHINA:
“It is a huge city. It is a very special city for me. i was born there, grow up in there.”

COACH:
“Yes, of course, I will talk to Carlos after, because until now we still haven’t seen each other. We will talk about the serve later.”

Being a two time Grand Slam Champion and one of the best players in the world ads to the pressure Li Na feels on the tour. But for the fans, all they have to do is: love her, love her, love her!
From Indian Wells, Lucia Hoffman

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Dayana Yastremska Cleared Of Wrongdoing Over Failed Drugs Tests

The tennis has star had been provisionally suspended from the Tour since 7 January 2021.

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Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska said she looks forward to ‘returning to her passion’ after getting her doping ban lifted with immediate effect following a hearing.

 

The former world No.21 has been sidelined from the sport with a provisional suspension after testing positive for the banned substance mesterolone which is prohibited under category S1 of the 2020 WADA Prohibited List (Anabolic Agents). The positive test came from a sample which was taken on November 24th that Yastremska argued was linked to cross-contamination. She had appealed for her provisional ban to be lifted earlier this year but was denied.

Following her official hearing on May 21st, the Independent Tribunal under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has concluded that the tennis star didn’t deliberately take performance enhancing drugs. In their ruling, the panel says they ‘accept’ how the substance managed to get into Yasstremska’s body. She has previously claimed to have ‘scientific evidence’ of cross contamination.

Ms. Yastremska’s provisional suspension is lifted with immediate effect, and she will not serve any period of Ineligibility for her violation. For the avoidance of doubt, Ms. Yastremska is eligible to resume competition immediately.” The ITF stated.

In a statement, Yastremska says she has struggled over the past six months with the negative comments related to her suspension from the sport. Earlier this year she flew to the Australian Open hoping to compete, but wasn’t allowed to under anti-doping rules.

“I’ve been through a lot in the last 6 months and found it difficult to deal with all the negative comments,” she wrote.
“I want to thank my family, my lawyers, my agent and the entire Top Five Management team for their continued and unwavering support. I would also like to thank my fans for the love and messages that I received during this difficult period.’
“Now I look forward to returning to my passion – tennis. It was taken away from me for too long, I can’t wait to get back on tour.”

The 21-year-old has won three WTA Premier titles so far in her career with her most recent triumph occurring at the 2019 Strasbourg Open. Her best run in a Grand Slam was two years ago at Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round before losing to Zhang Shuai of China.

Yastremska is currently ranked 37th in the world. She has not given any details about when or where she plans to return to competitive tennis yet.

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Victoria Azarenka And Amanda Anisimova Advance In Bad Homburg

Victoria Azarenka continued her momentum towards Wimbledon.

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Victoria Azarenka (@24NewsHD - Twitter)

Victoria Azarenka and Amanda Anisimova both cruised into the second round as they prepare for Wimbledon.

 

Starting with two time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka who enters this week after winning the doubles title with Aryna Sabalenka in Berlin.

Azarenka continued her momentum with a 7-5 6-0 win over compatriot Yuliya Hatouka.

The world number 14 struggled in rainy conditions in Germany in the first set as she was broken three times in the first set.

It was a tough start from Azarenka who couldn’t consistently blast past the world number 271.

In the end Azarenka saved some break points and broke in her following two return games to seal the opening set in 53 minutes.

However the second set was much easier as she didn’t concede a single break point and won all six games.

Azarenka will now play Alize Cornet in the second round.

Meanwhile 19 year-old Amanda Anisimova is looking for a good grass court season after crashing down to 81st in the world.

The American sealed a 6-1 7-5 win over German veteran Andrea Petkovic as she moved into the last eight.

Anisimova produced a high-quality first set as she stormed into a 4-0 lead in the opening set.

After sealing the opening set in 24 minutes, Anisimova continued the momentum by breaking in the opening game of the second set.

However Petkovic has shown good performances on a grass court in the past and she remained resilient to break back for 4-4.

Despite that setback, the American broke in the eleventh game and closed out the match to love.

Anisimova will play Angelique Kerber or Anna Blinkova next.

In other results Katerina Siniakova edged past Jessica Pegula 6-3 5-7 6-4 and will meet Laura Siegemund in the quarter-finals.

Siegemund booked her place in the last eight with a 6-2 6-2 win over Tamara Korpatsch.

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Bianca Andreescu Battles Past McHale In Eastbourne

Bianca Andreescu had to work hard to earn her opening round win in Eastbourne.

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Bianca Andreescu (@WTA_insider - Twitter)

The Canadian needed three sets and over two hours to win her first match on grass in over three years.

 

Bianca Andreescu booked her spot in the second round of the Viking International in Eastbourne beating the American qualifier Christina Mchale in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in two hours and four minutes.

“I think for me it was super important that I held serve and used my serve to my advantage and taking control of the points from the start and then in the second set she (Mchale) started taking control of the points my serve wasn’t that good and it showed and in the third set I stepped on the break and continued to move forward as much as I can and continued to put pressure”.

A match scheduled for 10:30am local time the match was delayed by rain by four hours, starting at 1:30pm local time and it was the Canadian who started the match the more aggressive player and at 2-1 earned the first two breakpoints of the match with a forehand return winner.

She broke to take a 3-1 lead but the American pushed back and at 4-2 she had a chance to go back on serve but the world number seven hung in and saved it.

At 5-3 with the number three seed serving for the first set it was the world number 96 with three chances to break but the Toronto native would save all three before facing a fourth and succumbing to it. However Andreescu would break once more the following game to seal the first set.

The American was determined to level the match in the second set and broke in the opening game to take a 1-0 lead with a stunning forehand winner and it stayed on serve until 4-1 when the Canadian would get a break back but the New Jersey native would break again the following game and serve out the second set to level the match.

The Canadian pushed hard in the beginning of the third set earning three chances to break at 1-0 and got the crucial break when Mchale would serve a double fault.

Andreescu would serve for the match at 5-2 and it took three match points to get the job done and seal the win for her first win on grass of the 2021 season.

After the match in her post match press conference Andreescu spoke about needing a match like that to get herself going.

“Yes for sure, It felt really good to get that under my belt and I felt really good out there as well so that’s a bonus, my serve keeps improving and my shots, in general, keep penetrating the court more than my last two matches so for me it’s a win”.

Andreescu will now either face Anett Kontaveit or Svetlana Kuznetsova in the next round.

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