TENNIS BITS & PIECES – Troicki is on his way back. Ivanovic and Kyrgios split with their coaches. Djokovic gets married. Petra Kvitova receives threats. Serena pulls out of Bastad and who is playing where this week. Joshua Bosco
Threats to Kvitova
Czech police announced on Friday they had arrested an unidentified man who allegedly made threats to 2014 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
According to Police spokeswoman Gabriela Holcakova the man made threats against “a publicly known person” who the media reports to be the famous tennis player and the Police considered the threat to be serious.
The incident happened in the wake of criticism against Kvitova for moving from her home country to Monte Carlo to avoid higher taxation.
Former World No.12 Viktor Troicki, who missed the last twelve months on the tour while serving a suspension for doping, is eligible to play from tomorrow 15th July 2014.
Troicki was banned from playing tennis for 18 months after failing to provide a blood sample at the Monte Carlo Masters in 2013; he then appealed the ban and the suspension was reduced to 12 months.
With a statement on his official website the Serb announced he will make his comeback in Umag at the Vegeta Croatia Open which starts on 21st July 2014. Troicki has applied for a wildcard but stated that he is ready to play the qualification event, if necessary.
Ivanovic & Kyrgios split with coaches
Just when it looked like things were going the right way for Ana Ivanovic, the former World No.1 released a statement on her website announcing that she and coach Nemanja Kontic had split on mutual agreement.
The two started working together last year after Wimbledon and the new partnership helped Ivanovic to get back to No.11 in the WTA rankings. She now has the next few weeks to appoint a new coach before the start of the summer hard court season.
In another shock split Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios split from coach Simon Rea, two weeks after stunning Rafael Nadal in the 4th round at Wimbledon.
Kyrgios announced on his website that he has switched to two new Australian coaches, Todd Larkham and Josh Eagle, in order to spend more time at his home in Canberra.
Money money money
The ATP has announced Lacoste will continue to sponsor the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals until 2015, after a two-year renewal of their partnership. This means that the ATP staff will wear Lacoste at all ATP events during the season and Lacoste will continue to receive advertising space on the ATP official website.
The USTA announced a 11.7% increase for the 2014 US Open prize money, bringing the grand total to $38.3 million. The raise is part of a five-year agreement made in 2012, which will bring the total grand prize to an astounding $50 million by 2017. This year singles winners will take home an incredible $3 million.
Djokovic ties the knot
Four days after winning his second Wimbledon title, Novak Djokovic married his long-time girlfriend Jelena Ristic in a private ceremony in Montenegro.
The wedding took place in a luxurious resort on the Adriatic Coast, away from the public eye, and the local media report it was attended by family and close friends.
Congratulations Novak & Jelena!
Serena still under the weather
World No.1 Serena Williams, who was forced to pull out of her doubles match at Wimbledon last week after serving four double faults in a game and clearly struggling on court, has withdrawn from this week’s Swedish Open in Bastad.
“This is of course a hard blow to the tournament” said Nina Wennerstrom, the tournament director. Serena was the defending champion at the event and she is now scheduled to play at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, which starts on 28th July.
Who’s playing where
Both the ATP and the WTA have two tournaments in schedule for this week.
Many top men will keep playing on clay and travel to Hamburg for the 2014 International German Open. Fabio Fognini, who failed to defend his 2013 title at the Mercedes Cup last week, is the defending champion here in Hamburg too but he will have to battle against some great players like David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Alexander Dolgopolov, Roberto Bautista Agut, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Fernando Verdasco to try and retain his title. Jeremy Chardy and Jurgen Melzer are among the players who have withdrawn before the start.
Some other players will make their transition to hard courts in Bogotá for the 2014 Claro Open Colombia, where big server Ivo Karlovic is the defending champion. He will try to retain a title for the second time in his career, but he’s going to face some tough competition from top seed Richard Gasquet, Vasek Pospisil, Radek Stepanek and wildcard Bernard Tomic. Dmitry Tursunov has withdrawn before the start of the tournament.
It’s the women’s turn in Bastad this week and with defending champion Serena Williams out of the picture, everyone will have a shot at the title, starting with top seed Alize Cornet and continuing with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Camila Giorgi, Yaroslava Shvedova, Annika Beck and Maria Teresa Torro-Flor. Vania King, Flavia Pennetta and Carla Suarez Navarro are among the players who withdrew before the start.
After a three-year hiatus because of the WTA Tour Championships, the Istanbul Cup makes its return in the WTA calendar and the field is very competitive right from the start. With 2010 champion Pavlyuchenkova in Bastad, the tournament will have a new champion and it will probably be one of the top seeds; Caroline Wozniacki, Roberta Vinci, Klara Koukalova, Elina Svitolina, Magdalena Rybarikova, Kurumi Nara, Bojana Jovanovski and Karolina Pliskova.
Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals
Friday evening will host the women’s singles semifinals. The first features two Major champions: Jelena Ostapenko and Victoria Azarenka. The second includes two good friends who are both looking to achieve their first WTA 1000 final: Ons Jabeur and Paula Badosa.
Also on Friday, the last two men’s singles quarterfinals will be decided. Will Stefanos Tsitsipas and Sascha Zverev prevail against two players making their Masters 1000 quarterfinal debuts, setting up a blockbuster semifinal on Saturday?
Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule. Friday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.
Jelena Ostapenko (24) vs. Victoria Azarenka (27) – Not Before 6:00pm on Stadium 1
Azarenka is a two-time champion of this event, though prior to this fortnight, she was only 2-2 in the desert since her last title run in 2016. Injuries have derailed her progress throughout this season, but she has been in fine form this tournament, not dropping a set through four rounds. Ostapenko was just 4-3 lifetime at Indian Wells before this year, and was a modest 23-15 on the season when she was withdrawn from the US Open due to undisclosed medical reasons. But this past month, she’s gone 9-2, and is a win away from her third WTA 1000 final. Their only previous encounter came two years ago at Roland Garros, when Azarenka prevailed in straight sets. Like most Ostapenko matches, this will mostly be decided by her winner-to-error ratio. When she starts making errors, she can become awfully negative real fast. But based on her current form, I expect Jelena to remain confident, and dictate her way to Sunday’s championship match.
Ons Jabeur (12) vs. Paula Badosa (21) – Last on Stadium 1
With Thursday’s quarterfinal win, Jabeur will officially become the first Arab player (male or female) to debut inside the top 10 on Monday. It’s been an incredible season for Ons, who has accumulated 48 wins, and is 8-1 over the last three weeks. Badosa is now into her second WTA 1000 semifinal of the year, equalling the feat she first accomplished in Madrid, her country’s biggest tournament. Paula has consecutively defeated three of 2021’s best players without dropping a set: Coco Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova, and Angelique Kerber. These two friends played earlier this year at another American WTA 1000 event, when Jabeur outlasted Badosa in Miami 7-5 in the third. Infused with the excitement of making her top 10 debut, I expect the more experienced and eclectic Ons to find a way to overcome Badosa, and to play in the biggest final of her career come Sunday.
Other Notable Matches on Friday:
Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili (29) – Tsitsipas leads their head-to-head 2-0. Both matches occurred on hard courts in 2019, and both were quite tight. Basilashvili ousted Karen Khachanov in the last round.
Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Taylor Fritz (31) – Zverev is 3-1 against Fritz, though they are 1-1 on hard courts. Their most recent meeting on this surface went to the American, two years ago in Basel. This week Taylor upset the two top-ranked Italians: Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner.
Friday’s full Order of Play is here.
Grigor Dimitrov Praises ‘Surreal’ Achievement Ahead Of Indian Wells Semis
Grigor Dimitrov hailed his recent career milestone as he moved into the Indian Wells semi-finals.
Grigor Dimitrov has praised his recent career milestone after reaching the Indian Wells semi-finals.
The Bulgarian overcame Miami Open champion Hubert Hurkacz in three sets to reach the semi-finals at Indian Wells.
Dimitrov backed his win over US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in style to reach his first masters 1000 semi-final of the season.
However reaching the semi-finals wasn’t the only achievement as he sealed his 100th masters 1000 win of his career.
Speaking after the match Dimitrov described it as ‘surreal’, “I didn’t know until everyone started mentioning it now,” Dimitrov said in his post-match press conference.
“Really I’m very humbled. It’s such an amazing thing. I’m so thankful to everyone, to everybody that is in the team, that has worked in the team. Last but not least my family.
“It feels like I want to say surreal because I never thought turning pro that I’m going to have let’s say a hundred matches at such a level. I’m very fortunate to be able to put myself in that position over and over, especially throughout the tough years, injuries and so on.
“It clearly means a lot to me. I really appreciate it. I’m very, very humbled on it. Like I’m smiling inside. I’m smiling inside. I think it’s a beautiful thing. I’ll keep on going hopefully another decade.”
Dimitrov’s first masters 1000 win came against Marsel Ilhan in 2011 at Cincinnati and the Bulgarian’s only trophy at this level came in 2017 when he beat Nick Kyrgios in the final of the same tournament.
Now Dimitrov will look to win his second masters 1000 title of his career as he takes on Cameron Norrie in the last four on Saturday.
Norrie currently leads the head-to-head 1-0.
Indian Wells Daily Preview: Two Women’s Quarterfinals Feature Four of 2021’s Best Players
Angelique Kerber has won 20 of her last 24 matches. Anett Kontaveit has claimed 16 of her last 17, which includes two titles. Paula Badosa is 38-15 on the year, and 8-3 against the top 20. Ons Jabeur is on the cusp of becoming the first Arab player to reach the top 10. Which two of these four impressive performers will reach Friday’s semifinals?
Also on Wednesday, the first two men’s singles quarterfinals will be contested, with significant implications as to who will qualify for next month’s ATP Finals. And in the doubles, the final two men’s quarterfinals will be played, alongside the women’s semifinals.
Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule. Thursday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.
Ons Jabeur (12) vs. Anett Kontaveit (18) – Not Before 3:00pm on Stadium 1
A win today would guarantee Jabeur’s top 10 debut next week. But that will be a tough ask against the WTA’s hottest player of the last two months. Since adding Dmitry Tursonov as her coach, who previously guided Aryna Sabalenka during her rise to the top of the sport, Kontaveit has been on fire. She was the champion in both Cleveland and Ostrava, with her only loss coming at the US Open against another of 2021’s best players, Iga Swiatek. Anett has not dropped a set through three rounds, though Jabeur has been dominant as well, allowing her last two opponents only eight games across four sets. Ons has taken both of their previous tour-level encounters, and she’s the last person not named Iga to defeat Kontaveit. Two months ago in Cincinnati, she outlasted Anett 7-5 in the third. But based on Kontaveit’s current level of confidence, I give her the slight edge to advance after what I expect to be a tenacious battle with some grueling rallies on these slow-playing courts.
Angelique Kerber (10) vs. Paula Badosa (21) – Not Before 6:00pm on Stadium 1
This will be the first career meeting between the three-time Major champ and the 23-year-old Spaniard, who has had a tremendous year despite a terrible start. Upon arriving in Melbourne, Badosa tested positive for COVID, which forced her to spend three weeks in full quarantine. But she’s now vying for her fifth semifinal of the season, and her first since May. Kerber had a pretty miserable season until June, and even pondered retiring from the sport. However, she has been an entirely different player since the grass court season. Her only losses since mid-June have come against world No.1 Ash Barty, or fellow lefties (Leylah Fernandez, Jil Teichmann). But these court speeds are not conducive to Angie’s game. They are playing more at the speed of a clay court, and that’s never been her best surface. By contrast, Badosa thrives on clay, compiling a record of 17-3 this year. In the last round, Paula defeated Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets, and Krejickova has been one of 2021’s toughest outs. I like Badosa’s chance of achieving her fifth semifinal of the season.
Other Notable Matches on Thursday:
Diego Schwartzman (11) vs. Cameron Norrie (21) – Schwartzman easily dispatched of Casper Ruud on Wednesday. Norrie has won three consecutive three-setters this fortnight. Cam leads their head-to-head 2-1, which includes a four-hour, five-set victory at last year’s US Open.
Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (23) – Hurkacz was a semifinalist here in 2019. Dimitrov pulled off an incredible comeback on Wednesday, after falling behind a set and two breaks against top-seeded Daniil Medvedev.
Su-Wei Hsieh and Elise Mertens (2) vs. Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara (3) – When these two teams met in the Wimbledon semifinals, Hsieh and Mertens prevailed 6-3 in the third.
Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov vs. Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev – This quarterfinal features three players in the top 15 of the Race to Turin singles rankings. The last time Karatsev and Rublev teamed up, this past March in Qatar, they won the title.
Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.
Nikoloz Basilashvili upsets Stefanos Tsitsipas in Indian Wells to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal
Carlos Moya, Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic are among the candidates for the 2022 International Tennis Hall of Fame
Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals
Grigor Dimitrov Praises ‘Surreal’ Achievement Ahead Of Indian Wells Semis
Paula Badosa reaches her first WTA 1000 semifinal at Indian Wells
REPORT: Unvaccinated Players Set To Be Banned From Playing Australian Open
ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval
Boris Becker Hits Out At ‘Unacceptable’ Treatment Of Novak Djokovic
WTA Luxembourg Open Axed Over Disagreements Between Tour And Organisers
Injured Roger Federer Says The ‘Worst Is Behind Him’ As He Targets Comeback In 2022
US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic’s loss had more to do with fatigue than pressure”
US Open, Steve Flink on the Murray-Tsitsipas Controversy
(VIDEO) Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin Del Potro Gathering Momentum In Comeback Bids
Steve Flink On Wimbledon: “Bautista Agut would be a tough semifinal test for Djokovic”
Wimbledon, Flink: “Djokovic Will Beat Zverev in the Final”
Grand Slam3 days ago
Grand Slam Matches Among 38 Suspicious Betting Alerts Over Past Three Months
Hot Topics2 days ago
Rafael Nadal: ‘I Don’t Know When I Will Play Again’
Hot Topics3 days ago
Andy Murray Back Restrictions On Unvaccinated Players At Australian Open, Announces Davis Cup Withdrawal
Hot Topics2 days ago
‘Exhausted’ Daniil Medvedev In Doubt For Kremlin Cup After Indian Wells Loss
Focus3 days ago
Ons Jabeur Set To Make History Following Latest Win In Indian Wells
Latest news2 days ago
Angelique Kerber reaches the quarter final in Indian Wells
Focus2 days ago
Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Men Take Center Stage on Wednesday
Latest news2 days ago
Taylor Fritz upsets Jannik Sinner to reach his first Masters 1000 quarter final at Indian Wells