Sharapova survives a third 3-setter for a 3rd straight French Open Final - UBITENNIS
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Sharapova survives a third 3-setter for a 3rd straight French Open Final

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TENNIS FRENCH OPEN – No one ever discounts Maria Sharapova’s tenacity. In fact, one can say that she has taken her tenacity to the third power. For the third straight match, Sharapova came back from dropping the opening set. In doing so, she has moved into her third consecutive French Open final. This time around, her opponent was be the young Canadian starlet, Eugenie Bouchard and Sharapova won the match 4-6 7-5 6-2. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

No one ever discounts Maria Sharapova’s tenacity but one can hardly overlook the fact that this year’s French Open is showing her to be taking that doggedness to another degree. In fact, one can say that she has taken her tenacity to the third power. For the third straight match, Sharapova (7) came back from dropping the opening set to win in three sets. In doing so, she has moved into her third consecutive French Open final. This time around, her opponent was be the young Canadian starlet, Eugenie Bouchard (18) and Sharapova won the match 4-6 7-5 6-2 in about two and a half hours. Sharapova spoke of her comebacks; “You put so much effort, you and your team, to get to this position. If some things are not working out…when you lose the first set or a few games or you’re down a break, that’s not the end of the match. That’s the type of philosophy that I play with.”

As in the two previous matches, Sharapova’s opponent broke her first. Bouchard broke Maria in the 3rd game and consolidated the break with a hold to go up 3-1. Sharapova had an easy hold to keep the gap close and then gave herself chances to break Bouchard’s serve. However, Bouchard showed herself ready for the challenge as she saved two break points to stay ahead 4-2. Sharapova would break Bouchard to level it at 4-4 and served for a 5-4 lead but her serving inconsistencies continued as she soon down triple break points. She was able to save one of them but a brilliant backhand crosscourt winner saw Bouchard now with the 5-4 lead, serving for set. It was whilst serving for this set that Bouchard exhibited signs that she is something special and a future contender for major titles. She stood toe to toe with Sharapova, saving break point to hold onto her serve and take the 1st set 6-4.

Sharapova is not one to go down without a fight and rarely does she lose to young upstarts. She was firing on all cylinders at the start of the 2nd set. Bouchard on the hand came out rather panicky as though she were the one trailing in the match. Sharapova quickly held serve and broke Bouchard who was leaking errors all over the place. She was even missing simple put aways. However, she would settle down to break Sharapova in the 3rd game and led 40-0 to get even at 2-2. Bouchard fell apart once again and became inconsistent on her shots. Sharapova continued her assault to get back into this match as lead 5-2 and force Bouchard to serve to stay in the set.

Bouchard held serve and then became super offensive against Sharapova who was serving for the set at 5-3. Bouchard would deny Sharapova set points in this 9th game and broke the Russian. Bouchard held serve to get to 5-5. Sharapova calm as ever, took the 11th game with relative ease and forced Bouchard once again to serve to stay in the set. It was at this moment that Sharapova really showed her true grit. Whilst serving yet again to stay in the set, Bouchard found herself down 15-40 and though one of the set points was saved, Sharapova would not let another go by as she took the set 7-5.

As in her two previous matches, Sharapova dropped the 1st set, gave her opponents legitimate chances to take her out in straights and when they failed to do so, she took the 2nd set for herself, and became almost unplayable in the 3rd set. Sharapova virtually ran away with it against Bouchard as she led 5-2 and for good measure broke Bouchard again to take the match 4-6 7-5 6-2. Bouchard would not even see a break point on the Sharapova serve in the 3rd set. “I don’t feel that I played my best tennis today, but to be in the semifinals of a Grand Slam and winning a match where I felt my opponent played extremely well, exceptional tennis and I didn’t feel that I was playing my best, I fought, I scrambled, and I found a way to win. I’m happy and proud about that,” Sharapova said after the match.

Bouchard had this to say about her performance in the match: “[I]t was a tough battle, which is what I expected…[T]he whole match I didn’t play as well as I have played earlier in the tournament…I think I might have maybe backed off a little bit on my shots in the second and third…I just maybe wasn’t finishing well in the second and third as much.” Bouchard had looks, chances and great opportunities to take this match but failed to execute at these key moments. The Canadian committed 48 errors for the match, 35 of which were in the last two sets. Her service game was not reliable as she barely got cheap points off it. She was only winning 59% on the first serve and 41% on the second. Sharapova on the other hand despite being very inconsistent and double faulting at inopportune times, was winning 75% of her first serve points and 41% on her second. Sharapova will face Simona Halep (4) in the final on Saturday, a player she recently beat in another 3-set comeback last month in Madrid. The Russian is looking for her 2nd French title in three years as well as her 5th major title overall. With her efforts here in Paris over the past two weeks, very few doubt that she would achieve this career milestone, even if she is a set and two breaks down.

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova is ready to play in November if the season is extended

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova said that she would be ready to play in November and December, if the season is extended once the WTA circuit resumes after the long suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The season may be extended to November to make up for the events, which were called off due to Covid-19.

Pavlyuchenkova opened her 2020 season with early defeats against Petra Kvitova in the first round in Brisbane and Ashleigh Barty in the second round in Adelaide. The Russian player produced a major upset when she beat Karolina Pliskova in the third round at the Australian Open, scoring her first win in seven head-to-head matches over the former world number 1 player. She came back from a set down to beat Angelique Kerber reaching the sixth Grand Slam quarter final of her career. In the quarter final Pavlyuchenkova lost to former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza. She recently split with 53-year-old French coach Sam Sumyk.

Pavlyuchenkova is a former world number 1 player and won two junior Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and at the US Open in 2006. She lifted twelve singles titles and five doubles titles on the WTA Tour.

“If it is necessary to play in December, I will be ready. In any case it is necessary to change to change this calendar where we play without stopping from January to November. We have announced a resumption date but there is no agreement. Everything can change. It does not look like as an offseason at all as some say because the only thing that I can do is to motivate myself physically and hit the ball because I am lucky that I have a court not far from home. Some people can’t even do all that”, said Pavlyuchenkova to TennisActu Website.

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Tour Suspension A ‘Dire And Bleak’ Situation For Players, Warns Johanna Konta

The world No.14 also comments on the decision to move the French Open to September.

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British No.1 Johanna Konta admits that any system put into place to financially support players in the wake of the tour suspension will only have a ‘minimal’ effect.

 

Tennis is currently at a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic with doubts cast over when play will resume again. As a consequence, many players are looking into alternative ways to generate an income. Unlike team sports where athletes have a contract, those in the world of tennis are essentially self-employed. Meaning they will only earn money in the sport if they play at tournaments. Although the top players have the luxury of endorsements to also support them.

Weighing in on the situation, Konta has described it as ‘fire and bleak.’ She is one out of 90 female players to have made more than $100,000 in prize money this year before the tour was suspended. Her current earnings for the season stands at $105,703.

“The reality is that there is no tennis player earning any money right now; all the tennis players have taken a 100 per cent salary cut,” Konta told The Evening Standard.
“Everyone is trying to find the best way possible to stand by a team and support the people you work with and feel close to while not bankrupting yourself.
“[A support system] is being worked on right now, but the reality is that even if it is possible – and let’s hope it is – it’s going to be very minimal.
“It’s a very bleak and dire situation especially for the lower ranked players.”

In light of the financial concerns, world No.371 Sofia Shapatava recently set up an online petition on change.org calling for support from the ITF, WTA and ATP. More than 1300 people have signed the petition.

“I started the petition to help tennis players to be heard by ITF, after I talked to many of the people I know and about their plans for the next three months, I realised that some people won’t even be able to have food,” Shapatava told the AFP News Agency.
“My problem is that my sport will die as it is, it will die, because players who are ranked lower then 150th in the world will not be able to play.”

In comparison to Konta, Georgian player Shapatava has made $2,896 so far this season. That works out as 0.09% of what prize money leader Sofia Kenin has made ($3,012,043). Kenin is one of four players to earn more than a million in 2020 on the women’s tour. The other are Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Ash Barty.

The WTA have said they are looking into the possibility of extending this year’s calendar is order to provide players with more earning opportunities when the sport resumes.

French open approach disappointing

Konta has also criticised the French Tennis Federation (FFT) over their management of the French Open. Officials at the FFT recently announced that the major would be delayed until September due to the Covid-19 outbreak. A move that caught many off guard, including some governing bodies. Konta reached the semi-finals of the French Open last year after previously losing in the first round four times in a row.

“It’s a really sad situation and it’s very disappointing for them to release their decision in the way that they did,” she said.
“It’s not the act itself, but the manner which was disappointing to everybody in the tennis community. It’s left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths.”

Lionel Maltés is the economic director of the FFT. He has defended their approach to the situation by saying the organisation had no choice but to act. Arguing that their (the FFT) first priority is French tennis. The controversy surrounding the date change is that it will take place a week after the US Open ends. Leaving players with little chance to prepare for the switch of surfaces.

“The decision was not made overnight, it was far from an outburst. We had been clear for some time that it was going to be impossible to play the tournament on the established dates and we knew we had to do something.” Maltés recently told French newspaper L’Equipe.
“There was no hint of conversation collective with the other Grand Slams so we did the only thing we had to do for French tennis. Don’t doubt that Wimbledon and US Open would have made the same decision if they could. In fact, other tournaments have backed us up by saying they understood us and that if they had been in our position, they would have done the same.
“We were aware that we would be highly criticized for this, but the safeguard of French tennis is above all,” he added.

The French Open was scheduled to run from 24 May to 7 June. Officials are now hoping that the tournament will start on September 20th.

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Naomi Osaka Vows To Be ‘Stronger Than Ever’ In 2021 Following Suspension Of The Olympics

The former world No.1 has given her reaction to decision to delay the four-year sporting event due to the covid-19 pandemic.

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Two-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka has said she is ‘disappointed’ but supports the decision to delay this year’s Summer Olympic Games.

 

Earlier in the week it was confirmed that the Tokyo games will now take place during the next year with a date to be confirmed. Making it the first time the Olympics have been suspended until the following year in its 124-year history. Although the games have been cancelled three times before during the first and second world wars.

Osaka had been one of the athletes authorities have used to promote the event. Featuring in a promotional campaign that also included a video. The 22-year-old is the first Asian player in history to become world No.1 in tennis. Despite the delay, she has committed to playing in the event next year.

“Everyone knows how much the Olympics means to me and how proud I will be to participate in my home country,” Osaka wrote on Twitter.
“Of course, I am disappointed that it won’t happen this year but we’ll all be ready to stronger ever in 2021! I support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s brave decision and the IOC 100%. Sport will eventually unite us again and be there for us always, but that time not now,” she added.

The world No.10 has called for the world to unite in the fight against the coronavirus. There have been more than 660,000 cases of the virus worldwide, according to John Hopkins University. The disease is particularly dangerous to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

“This is the time for people from all countries, backgrounds and races to rally together to save as many lives as we can. To me, that is the Olympic spirit. To the people of Japan: stay strong, hang in there, and let’s the show the world our beautiful country when time is right in 2021,” said Osaka.

Osaka pledged full allegiance to Japan in 2019 after having dual citizenship in according to a national law. She was born and is currently based in America, but has a Japanese mother and Haitian father.

Prior to the suspension of the WTA Tour, Osaka has started her 2020 with a win-loss record of 5-3 (including Fed Cup). She reached the semifinals of the Brisbane International before losing to Karolina Pliskova. Then at the Australian Open, she was knocked out in the third round by Coco Gauff.

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