Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 28th of July 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 28th of July 2014

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TENNIS BITS & PIECES – The Times chief tennis correspondent admits plagiarism. The IPTL is in trouble. Tomljanovic to represent Australia and who is playing where this week. Joshua Bosco

 

Neil Harman exposed

“The Times” chief tennis correspondent Neil Harman has been suspended by the newspaper after the journalist admitted to plagiarism earlier last week.

Harman, who has worked at The Times for 12 years and started his career 40 years ago, confessed he had used rival journalists’ articles to compile three different issues of the Official Wimbledon Annual. The plagiarism is widespread, as noted by Slate journalist Ben Rothenberg: he reports 52 large passages copied without attribution in the last three Annuals alone.

Harman has now resigned from the International Tennis Writers’ Association (ITWA) and was fired from the All England Club.

IPTL in doubt

The future of the IPTL is now more than ever in doubt after PVP Ventures, the financial backers of the Mumbai franchise, pulled out of the tournament citing a lack of clarity over the financial side of the league.

In addition to PVP Ventures bowing out the league is still missing an official broadcaster and an owner for the Bangkok team. And on top of all, a $3 million pool which was promised to each franchise trough sponsors is yet to be guaranteed.

Tomljanovic becomes Australian

World No.55 Ajla Tomljanovic is planning to become an Australian citizen and will represent her new country at the upcoming US Open, starting on 25th August in Flushing Meadows.

Croatian-born Tomljanovic has been training in the US since she was a teenager and her decision to switch nationality comes just eight months after she started a collaboration with Australian coach David Taylor, who used to work with Sam Stosur.

She will now be able to represent Australia in Grand Slams and other ITF competitions, but she’ll have to wait until she becomes a full Aussie citizen to play for Australia in WTA tournaments.

Who’s playing where

Tennis players begin their shift to the US for the summer hard-court season as three of the four main tournaments this week are played on American soil. Both men and women will be flying to Washington, with some WTA players also heading to Stanford for the Bank of the West Classic while many clay-court specialists will remain in Europe for one more week and will play the ATP 250 in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

The ATP World Tour 500 in Washington will see some of the big names on the tour battle it out for the trophy. The tournament, which will see a different winner from last year as defending champion Juan Martin del Potro is still recovering from his most recent wrist injury, features top names like Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Kei Nishikori, John Isner, Richard Gasquet, Kevin Anderson and Ivo Karlovic.

The WTA International tournament plays host to Lucie Safarova, Alize Cornet, Sloane Stephens, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Madison Keys and its two-time defending champion Magdalena Rybarikova who faces a tough first round match against No.2 seed Ekaterina Makarova.

The prestigious Bank of the West Classic in Stanford sees two-times winner Serena Williams head a stellar line-up which includes Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic, Carla Suarez Navarro, Andrea Petkovic and defending champion Dominika Cibulkova. 2000 and 2002 winner Venus Williams received a wildcard for the tournament, while Sara Errani and Petra Kvitova withdrew before the start.

Some men are staying in Europe for the last main clay-court tournament of the season in Kitzbuhel, Austria, where defending champion Marcel Granollers will face some tough competition from Philipp Kohlschreiber, Lukas Rosol, Andreas Seppi, Robin Haase and rising star Dominic Thiem in order to retain his 2013 title.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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