TENNIS US OPEN – Our Giulio Gasparin has selected the best quotes from Day 5 at Flushing Meadows. Federer, Sharapova, Wozniacki, Venus Williams, Errani, Halep, Lucic-Baroni and Belinda Bencic
Roger Federer won in straight sets against the holder of the fastest serve in the men’s tour (263km/h!), Sam Groth.
The Australian was more than serve though, and volleying gave a great show on Arthur Ashe stadium.
“Whenever somebody is at the net or you’re at the net, there’s always something of the unknown that’s going to happen a little bit more,” said Federer. “Whereas at the baseline you’re so far away from your opponent that you see it happening.
You have time to react to it. That can become sometimes a bit boring, I must say, as well. Like the big serving can be boring, as well.
“I like the mix of playing these kind of opponents and then totally different in the next match. But got to appreciate, you know, those kind of matchups, because we don’t have them very often anymore, unfortunately.”
In regards of the big weapon of his opponent, he said: “The difference between 142mph and 147, there’s none really in the racquet. I think once you pass the 135mph range everything is just really fast. It’s true, though (smiling).”
He is on a mission in New York, going for the 18th slam, likewise in the women’s draw Serena Williams is doing the same, but for the Swiss champion there is little in common between them two: “Probably serve about the same speed. That’s about it.”
Maria Sharapova had a tough night match against the women’s holder of world’s fastest serve, Sabine Lisicki, but managed to close in straight sets, proving to be one of the few big names surviving the last couple of days, when Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber all fell.
“Quite honestly, I have to follow my own path,” she said. “Of course, you know, I’m not someone that doesn’t look at the draw. I usually follow the draw. I enjoy watching matches occasionally when I have some time, some free time.
“I did see some of the results. Of course, that’s why we always play the matches. You always have favorites going into the tournament. The reason there’s so many players is because we have to go out and win those matches and compete.
“There’s a reason everybody puts the net up in the morning. It’s for us to go out and challenge ourselves. There have been a few upsets, and certainly happy that I got through today.”
The French Open champion will now play against Danish Caroline Wozniacki, who upset her in New York a couple of years ago.
“I’m happy I finished the match in two sets,” she admitted. “I had a very tough, physical, two and a half hour match a couple days ago, so I was glad I was able to finish this one a bit quicker and give myself more time to recover for the next one.”
A lot of tension, but also great quality were featured in the three sets match between Venus Williams and Sara Errani. The match finished with the bizarre score of 6-0 0-6 7-6 for the Italian, who found two of the best points of the tournament to finish the match.
“I think she played really well,” said Williams. “I think she just played one of the best matches of her life. You know, that’s pretty much what I can say.
“Everybody’s playing well these days. You have to be ready. I mean, the last two points in the tiebreaker she played really flawless tennis.”
Sara Errani was over the moon after this win, though in the tiebreak she was involved in a small incident as she pulled her finger to the lips silencing a very noisy crowd.
“In the 5-4 to go 5-All in the tiebreak I heard the crowd,” she said. “Never hear the crowd like that strong. I was shaking for the crowd. Was unbelievable good.
“I think I will remember forever that moment. Of course in the point after I was nervous. I was, ‘Now you don’t scream’, like if they didn’t scream. But of course the crowd was for her, totally for her. I don’t know why I did like that.”
It was not the day for Simona Halep, instead. The second seed got upset in straight set by Croatian veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who had to qualify to the main draw and now will compete in her first round 4 after 15 years.
“Everything was in for her,” said the Romanian. “It wasn’t my best day, but still I did everything I could on court. She was better than me today.
“I can say I’m happy for her, because she played and she deserves to win. I wish her good luck for the next rounds.
“She plays really well, and, you know, when you play well you deserve to win. So was her chance today, and she took it.”
The Croat showed up a while later in the press room being still shocked but what she had done, after all the injuries she suffered over and over in her career.
“I mean, it’s amazing. I finally been able to play the tennis that I love the way I love to play,” said the 32 year old. “You know, being really aggressive and consistent at the same time.
“I keep playing better and better each round. Today was against one of the best players in the world.”
She hardly kept the tears from coming when she finally let her emotions out.
“Well, I mean, I’m a little bit emotional now. Sorry. (Crying.)
“It’s been really hard. Sorry. After so many years to be here again, it’s incredible. I wanted this so bad.
“I feel goofy right now. I feel like I’m 15 now. I feel so excited. It’s crazy. I’m 32, but I don’t feel like that. My body is really great. That’s really important. I feel fit. I feel strong in my mind. I feel very excited, even after so many years on tour.”
From a former junior promise, to the current teenage-sensation. Belinda Bencic caused the second biggest upset of the day by beating German Angelique Kerber in straight sets.
The win felt nowhere as good as for the Croat for the young Swiss, who saw this as one more step in her promising career.
“Yeah, it motivates me even more to work harder,” she admitted. “And now not just to be satisfied with it, but I want more. I will do my best that I can reach in all the Grand Slams a good result.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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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