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US Open: Women's Preview

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TENNIS US OPEN – World number one and US Open Series winner Serena Williams is surely the name everyone expects to see on this year’s winner’s trophy. Giulio Gasparin

 

The Women’s singles draw

The Men’s singles draw

World number one and US Open Series winner Serena Williams is surely the name everyone expects to see on this year’s winner’s trophy, but the American is yet to reach a slam quarter final in this 2014 and this will be her last chance.

Surely other players will take a chance to lift the last slam of the season and surprises are not to be excluded.

Top Quarter:

Serena Williams opens her run against one of the most discussed youngsters, Taylor Townsend, which potentially could be her hardest match until the fourth round.

Carla Suarez Navarro is the seeding favourite, but Sam Stosur has won here in the past and Cali girl Coco Vandeweghe has showed great skills over the summer.

Two potentially difficult opponents in the fourth round could be Ana Ivanovic, who beat Williams at the Australian Open this year, and Flavia Pennetta, last year’s semifinalist. But both will need to survive a difficult opener: Ivanovic will need to tame crowd’s favourite Alison Riske, while Pennetta will need to reverse a nightmarish summer against Julia Goerges.

QF prediction:

Serena Williams vs Ana Ivanovic

Interesting R1:

Ana Ivanovic vs Alison Riske

Earlier this year the Serb won in two tight sets, but the American is capable of beating big names in New York and her serve and volley can be tricky to handle, especially as a first round match.

Second Quarter:

Before New Haven the two finalists of Wimbledon and highest seeds of this session had won one match between the two, with Eugenie Bouchard winning her first match of the American summer only last week, while Petra Kvitova conquered her second title in New Haven.

Both players have never reached the quarter finals in New York and will need to watch out from some dangerous floaters like Madison Keys, Elina Svitolina, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ekaterina Makarova.

Each of these players and some others have big chances of advancing to the quarter finals. Quite in danger despite their seeding are the two time finalist Victoria Azarenka, still recovering from injury, and Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova, who seems unable to pick up her form after a stunning early season.

QF prediction:

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Elina Svitolina

Interesting R1:

Heather Watson vs Sorana Cirstea

Both players could be quite hot and cold, but, when they find their best days, they can easily make you forget about big names. Their tennis is rich of variations and though the Romanian has the most power, Watson is capable of great defence.

3rd quarter:

Angelique Kerber and Agnieszka Radwanska dominate this session of the draw and it seems very hard to look past these two. Both have showed a good form over the summer, but the Pole, despite the fourth seed, looks to be a little less of a favourite, especially given the fact that she has never reached the second week in New York.

Lucie Safarova could be the dangerous outsiders in the session, while Alize Cornet, Jelena Jankovic and Sloane Stephens will need to improve their recent level of game to pose a threat.

QF prediction:

Angelique Kerber vs Agnieszka Radwanska

Interesting R1:

Sloane Stephens vs Annika Beck

The clash of styles will be evident from the early points, but the solid game of the German could force the American to play her best tennis if she wants to advance.

Belinda Bencic vs Yanina Wickmayer

Bencic is the youngest player in the top 100 and Wickmayer, despite her recent bad form, is always a great fighter, this match could provide great entertainment.

Bottom quarter:

The most packed quarter of the draw this year comes at the very bottom, with two big favourites for the title and another dark horse: Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep seem to be set for the fourth meeting of the year, with the world number two still looking for the first win over the French Open champion.

A new chapter of this rivalry could be belated by Caroline Wozniacki, who seems back to a good level after the breakup with golfer Rory McIlroy and has twice challenge closely Serena Williams in the past weeks. The Dane looks fit and focused and her special relationship with New York could motivate even more.

Venus Williams, Andrea Petkovic and Sabine Lisicki are also looking tough ahead of this event, making this the strongest session of the draw.

QF prediction

Caroline Wozniacki vs Simona Halep

Interesting R1:

Caroline Wozniacki vs Magdalena Rybarikova

The Dane’s form as a potential outsider is immediately tested by New Haven’s finalist.

Kimiko Date-Krumm vs Venus Williams

Over 30 one, over 40 the other and yet both are still capable of some of the finest tennis on the tour, it could be a classic.

Sabine Lisicki vs Francoise Abanda

The young Canadian is having a breakthrough summer and lost only six games in three qualification matches, the WTA fastest server will need many of her big serves to win this one.

 

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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Why Ash Barty Isn’t Staying At The Olympic Village In Tokyo

The two-time Grand Slam champion has opted to stay at an alternate venue heading into the Games.

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Ashleigh Barty (AUS) playing against Angelique Kerber (GER) in the semi-final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 10 Thursday 08/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

Ash Barty will prepare for her debut at the Olympic Games by staying at a base located outside of the athletes village as part of her ‘performance plan.’

 

The world No.1 heads into Tokyo as one of the favourites for gold following her triumph at Wimbledon where she defeated Karolina Pliskova in the final. She is one of six top 10 players set to play in the women’s singles tournament which will start on Saturday.

Leading up to the Games, the head of the Australian Olympic delegation has told reporters that Barty’s decision not to stay in the village will enhance her gold medal chances. In previous Games athletes have stayed outside of the villages but this year it is more challenging to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo is currently in a state of emergency and fans are banned from attending the event amid fears of the virus spreading if they do so.

“Ash is staying elsewhere,” chef de mission Ian Chesterman told the Australian Associated Press.
“We have a number of athletes staying outside the village. We allow that, it’s just what works best for them.
“Something I’ve always been very big on is driving performance takes a whole lot of flexible decisions, flexible options.
“In terms of her performance plan, it’s best served by her being able to control her environment and we respect that.”

The exact location of Barty’s base has not been disclosed but it is near to the village where she was said to have visited and had a cup of coffee on Tuesday morning.

She is staying in an Australian environment where she can still easily access the village,” Chesterman stated.

The 25-year-old is bidding to become only the second Australian in history to win a medal in the women’s singles at the Olympics. The first was Alicia Molik who claimed a bronze medal back in 2004.

During a recent interview with The ITF, Barty said playing at the event is a dream come true for her as she describes representing her country as the ‘highest honour.’

“Being an Olympian has always been a dream of mine as a kid, I think representing your country is the highest honour,” Barty told the ITF.
“For an Aussie it’s the best thing you can do and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to wear the green and gold.
“You’re playing for something bigger than yourself. You’re playing to represent your nation. You’re playing to make people proud and that’s not just with results it’s with your attitude.”

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Bianca Andreescu pulls out of Tokyo Olympics

The world number five has officially pulled out of the Olympics in Tokyo stating reasons due to the ongoing pandemic situation.

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Bianca Andreescu will not be making the trip to Tokyo to play in the Olympics after withdrawing due to the current pandemic situation.

 

The former US Open champion issued a statement concerning what she describes as a ‘difficult decision.’ Andreescu is the latest top name to pull out of the Olympics. Last week Nick Kyrgios also said he wouldn’t be playing for similar reasons. Due to a a surge of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, the city has gone into a state of emergency which prompted organisers to ban spectators from attending Olympic events in the city. Athletes will be subjected to tough restrictions during their time at the event, as well as regular testing.

” I would like to inform you that I have made the very difficult decision to not play in the Tokyo Olympics later this month,” Andreescu wrote on Instagram. “I have been dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympics since I was a little girl but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself. I look forward to representing Canada in future Fed Cup ties, and competing at the 2024 Olympics in Paris! “

The Canadian hasn’t played since losing in the first round of Wimbledon to Alize Cornet of France and most recently split with her coach Sylvain Brunneau after a four-year partnership.

Her 2021 season has been up and down starting in Australia where she lost in the second round before making the semifinals at the Phillips Island Trophy event. She then made the final at the Miami Open before taking a fall in the final against Ash Barty and was forced to retire due to injury.

Then the clay-court season came and Andreescu tested positive for Covid. She was forced to miss events in Madrid and Rome, so she headed to Strasbourg for some preparation before the French Open. The world No.5 won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out due to an ab injury. She then lost in the first round of the French Open.

The Canadian moved on to the grass-court season heading to Berlin but again would get upset in the first round by Alize Cornet before winning one round in Eastbourne and losing to Anett Kontaveit.

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