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Wimbledon 2014: Women's preview

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – On Monday the most famous event on the grass is about to start, with Wimbledon opening its gate once again. White cloths, strawberries and cream, and long queues are all ready to be featured as every year, but who are the favourite for the women’s title? Are there any must-watch in round one? Let’s find out. Giulio Gasparin

 

Results, Order of Play, Draws and Interviews from The Championships

On Monday the most famous event on the grass is about to start, with Wimbledon opening its gate once again. White cloths, strawberries and cream, and long queues are all ready to be featured as every year, but who are the favourite for the women’s title? Are there any must-watch in round one? Let’s find out.

Top Quarter:

As everyone would expect, this section is dominated by the world number one and first seed, Serena Williams. After failing to achieve the Roland Garros-Wimbledon combination in 2013, the American is very likely to be going to fight heart and soul for her most beloved slam of the season, especially after the early upset in Paris.

For her, there is an easy couple of early rounds, with a possible third match against Alize Cornet and then Eugenie Bouchard for a place in the quarter finals. Nor the French nor the Canadian player seem to pose a major threat to Serena on the surface.

Quite more uncertain seems to be the name of the opponent she might face at that stage, as the bottom half of this quarter is packed of good players on grass.

The French Open champion, Maria Sharapova, has not showed great skills on it for a long time and after two easy rounds to start with, she is likely to face either Camila Giorgi or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and both already beat her this year.

For the Russian then there could be another big challenge coming from Angelique Kerber, former semifinalist at Wimbledon and recent runner up at Eastbourne, or less likely from grass court specialists like Tamira Paszek or Kristen Flipkens.

Must-not-be-missed round ones:

-Heather Watson vs Ajla Tomljanovic: two youngsters taking on, very likely to be on a main court after the good run of Watson in Eastbourne.

-(24) Kristen Flipkens vs (q) Tamira Paszek: Last year’s semifinalst will face a former quarterfinalist and grass specialist in a match that could be as good as a round one can get.

-(26) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Alison Riske: the Russian is coming to Wimbledon strong of a win over Agnieszka Radwanska at Eastbourne, but the American is a natural grass courter and her serve and volleys have taken down big names many times.

Second Quarter:

Simona Halep is the highest seed to dominate this section of the draw and to be honest there seems to be no real challenge for the French Open finalist until the quarterfinals, as no grass specialists were drawn in that section and the seeds in there are either out of form or not naturally good on grass.

The bottom section of this quarter is on the contrary very much open to surprises, where the highest seed is Jelena Jankovic, whose difficult relationship with the grass is well known. The Serb could find it very hard to come past a round one match against Kaia Kanepi, but even if so, names like Yaroslava Shvedova, Monica Puig and Madison Keys are all there to cause an upset.

Ana Ivanovic is in the same part too and her opening match against Francesca Schiavone could be closer than one would expect, but most of all, there is Sabine Lisicki for a possible round three.

Must-not-be-missed round ones:

-(11) Ana Ivanovic vs Francesca Schiavone: the Italian might not be the same player that won Roland Garros a couple of seasons ago, but she is a big fighter and loves the big stages.

– Madison Keys vs Monica Puig: two of the most interesting youngsters are facing each other on a surface that both clearly love. Puig won their latest match just a few weeks ago on clay, but Keys will come strong of a title run in Eastbourne.

Third Quarter:

Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka are the highest two seeds on this section, but both of them have several doubts in terms of their form heading towards the Championship.

Both players lost in their opening match at Eastbourne, but if for Azarenka that was a comeback from months outside of the tour and she was tested by a true specialist like Giorgi, for Radwanska it was a very bad display against Pavlyuchenkova.

For the Belorussian the opening match could be quite hard, as Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is a grass courter and though her form is missing lately, she is not new to causing upsets.

The most dangerous floater in this section is surely Coco Vandeweghe, who has just captured her first career title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and has served most aces than anyone else on tour in the past two weeks (more than 110!).

For Radwanska the opener should not be too difficult as she will play Romanian qualifier Andreea Mitu, but as usual it is hard to know what to expect from Svetlana Kuznetsova, the first seed she might face.

Must-not-be-missed round ones:

-(27) Garbine Muguruza vs Coco Vandeweghe: the rematch of St Hertogenbosch quarter finals.

-(22) Ekaterina Makarova vs Kimiko Date-Krumm: because both love grass and Date is always amazing to watch on the green fields of Wimbledon.

Bottom Quarter:

This is the quarter that lacks a clear favourite, but does not feature any foreseeable outsider. Li Na is the second seed and her draw seems very kind until a possible fourth round with what looked like a reinvigorated Caroline Wozniacki.

The main favourite for the semifinal could be Petra Kvitova, who has an easy draw until a possible clash with Venus Williams in the third round and then a probably easier fourth round with either Flavia Pennetta or Sloane Stephens.

Must-not-be-missed round ones:

-(18) Sloane Stephens vs Maria Kirilenko: if there is a surface where Kirilenko can find her game, it is probably grass. After her knee injury the Russian has not produced any notable tennis, but she is still one to watch.

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Maria Sakkari Pondered Temporary Sport Switch During Tour Suspension

This summer could have looked very different for the world No.20.

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Greek tennis star Maria Sakkari could have been preparing to take part in a completely different sport this week if it wasn’t for the Palermo Open taking place.

 

The world No.20 considered switching her tennis shoes for running ones amid the uncertainty surrounding when the sport would start again. All professional tennis tournaments have been cancelled since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the WTA Tour is restarting this week in Italy.

Although if it wasn’t for Palermo staging the eagerly awaited return of tennis, Sakkari reveals that she might have instead switched her focus to athletics in order to maintain her competitive thirst. Taking part in the Greek athletics championships. Her discipline of choice would have been the 100 meters which her fitness trainer believes she would have made the final in.

“If the Tour was cancelled I was going to compete in the 100m track and field event at the National Championships,” Sakkari told reporters on Sunday.
“Greece National Championships starts on Aug. 8. We were kind of joking with my fitness coach, but inside of me I really needed competition.
“There were rumours going around that the Tour would get cancelled so I thought if the Tour gets cancelled I need to find something. I’m fast, I knew I was not going to win it for sure because I’m not a professional. But yeah, I was thinking of doing that.”

Sakkari can run 100M in a time of 12.7 seconds but that is without both running spikes and starting blocks. Her idea stemmed from the type of training she was doing back in Athens during the tour shutdown. Although tennis remains her first priority.

“I started playing tennis on May 4th, but before that, I was working with my fitness coach at outdoor areas where we were allowed to work out,” she said. “I was running a lot. I think I was running more than I ever did.”

In Palermo Sakkari will be the third seed in the draw and faces Czech Republic’s Kristýna Plíšková in the first round on Monday. The world No.20 started 2020 by winning nine out of 15 matches played on the Tour with her best runs being to the fourth round of the Australian Open and semi-finals of the St Petersburg Open.

We’re back in competition so I’m blessed,” Sakkari said. “Blessed to be back.”

Sakkari is bidding to win the second WTA trophy of her career this week after triumphing last year at the Morocco Open.

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Petra Martic leads the field in the Ladies Open in Palermo

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Three top 20 players lead the field of the WTA International tournament in Palermo. World number 15 Petra Martic leads the field. 

 

The Croatian player won the Istanbul title and reached the final in Zhengzhou and the quarter final at Roland Garros in 2019. She started the 2020 season with a semifinal in Dubai. 

Martic will face Belgium’s Allison Van Uytvanck in the the opening round and could set up a match against last year’s Doha champion Elise Mertens. 

Mertens could square off against Daria Kasatkina in the second round. Donna Vekic will face either Anett Kontaveit or Irina Camelia Begu in the quarter finals. The possible semifinal clash in this section of the draw could pit Martic against either Begu or Kontaveit. 

In the bottom half of the draw last year’s Roland Garros Marketa Vondrousova is projected to meet Camila Giorgi in the second round and Dayana Yastremska in the quarter finals. Vondrousova will make her come-back with a quarter final in Adelaide last January after a wrist injury forced her to miss the second half of her 2019 season. 

Maria Sakkari will take on Krystina Pliskova. In this section of the draw France’s Kristina Mladenovic will meet Ekaterina Alexandrova. The winner of the Mladenovic vs Alexandrova clash will face either Sara Errani or Sorana Cristea. The other Italian player to receive a wild card is former Australian Open junior semifinalist Elisabetta Cocciaretto. 

Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Varvara Gracheva and Lara Arrabarruena reached the second round of qualifying at the 31st edition of the Palermo Ladies Open. The WTA season resumes this week after a five-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Aliaksandra Sasnovich battled past Anastasya Komardina 7-5 6-2 after a hard-fought match. Spain’s Lara Arrabarruena edged past number 3 seed Greet Minnen 6-0 2-6 6-1. Number 4 seed Oceane Dodin cruised past Italian wildcard Federica Bilardo 6-3 6-1. 

Number 8 seed Ysaline Bonaventure rallied from one set down and fended off three match points to beat Indy De Vroome 3-6 7-6 (11-9) 6-2 after 2 hours and 45 minutes. Liudmila Samsonova edged past Tereza Mrdeza 6-3 6-4. Kaia Juvan fought back from one set down to beat Magdalena Frech 2-6 6-2 6-2. 

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Serena Williams leads a high-quality line-up in Lexington

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Twenty-three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will be the top seed at the inaugural edition of the Lexington Open from 10th August 2020 on the same week as the Prague Open. The Lexington Open will be the first US tournament of the US hard court season, which will continue with the Western and Southern Open and the US Open, which will be held in the same venue at Flushing Meadows in New York. 

 

Serena was very close to tie Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, but lost four times in a Major final after giving birth to her daughter Olympia. 

The US legend will play her first match since she hepled the US team beat Latvia in the Fed Cup last March in Everett. There Serena beat Jelena Ostapenko but she was defeated by Anastasija Sevastova. 

Williams will lead a star-studded line-up, which features this year’s Australian Open finalist and former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, Aryna Sabalenka, Sloane Stephens, Johanna Konta, Amanda Anisimova and Yulia Putintseva, Ons Jabeur, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson and US rising star Cori Gauff. 

Sabalenka won two consecutive editions of the Wuhan tournament in 2018 and 2019, in Shenzhen in 2019, the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and the Doha final in 2020. 

Stephens won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2017 and reached the final at 2018 Roland Garros. She finished runner-up to Elina Svitolina at the 2018 WTA Finals in Singapore. The US player lost to Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in Monterrey in her last WTA Tour match before the pandemic. 

Amanda Anisimova won her maiden WTA title in Bogotà in 2019 in her first professional tour tournament on clay. Last year the young US player beat Simona Halep en route to becoming the youngest semifinalist at the French Open since 2006. This year Amanda lost to Serena Williams in the semifinal in Auckland last January. 

Johanna Konta reached the French Open semifinal and the Rome Final in 2019. The British player enjoyed her best year in 2017, when she won the Miami title and reached the Wimbledon semifinal rising to her best ranking at world number 4. 

The Top seed Open will be the first WTA tournament to be played in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the United States. The Kentucky tournament will feature a 32-player singles draw and a 16-player doubles field. 

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