TENNIS US OPEN – Caroline Wozniacki has reached the last eight of the US Open by defeating French Open champion Maria Sharapova in a thrilling, nail biting match, 6-4 2-6 6-2.
In probably one of the highest quality matches of the season, the Dane started very fast off the blocks winning the first three games, but the Siberian replied with her usual fighting spirit to level the score.
Wozniacki found another deciding break to take the set, but it seemed to cost her in the opening of the second set, when Sharapova came out full force.
The fifth seed flew to a comfortable 4-0 lead, thanks to all her skills and power, which later allowed her to take the set.
In the third set, after a 10 minute break due to heat, Sharapova started to suffer the pressure posed by the amazing defence of the Dane, who was the first to find the break and eventually closed it with a second one.
Wozniacki came into the match trailing in the head to head seven losses to two wins, but she knew she had one their only meeting in a slam and it was on these courts in 2010.
Back then the Dane was world number one, while Sharapova was coming back from her famous shoulder injury. This week, the Dane is well out of the top 10, while Sharapova won her fifth slam in Paris, but, following the break up with her long term fiancé Rory McIlroy, Wozniacki has showed great improvements.
The great physical condition and confidence in her game led the 10th seed to a brave start, in which she forced both her forehand and backhand to move the Russian around the court.
She easily found a 3-0 lead, but then the backfire of Sharapova started to pay off, including a brave fight to save three consecutive break points on 3-2.
Both players hold their serve with ease for the next couple games, until Sharapova crumbled under the pressure of serving to stay in the set on 5-4.
The moment of confusion for the Russian did not last long though, she started the second set with a renewed focus and she immediately took advantage of a slightly more passive Wozniacki, who seemed to be unable to find a steady reaction to the suddenly harder hitting of her opponent.
In a very tight opening game, Sharapova found an immediate break to lead the score, to which she added three more games of absolute domination.
Wozniacki stopped the winning streak of her opponent thanks to a very smart and powerful serving in the fifth game, which seemed to give her back the lost confidence.
The last couple of games of the second set were of incredibly high quality, as both players battled for every ball with all their power despite the massive heat that was weighing down on New York City.
Sharapova came up on top of this set, but it was clear that the Dane was ready to go out and fight her soul for every point in the decider.
The heat rule was then applied giving both players 10 minutes of rest before the third set and it was clear that the break beneficed Wozniacki the most, as she came out ready to chase every ball her opponent was hitting, no matter how hard.
The 10th seed found an important hold in the first game, to which Sharapova replied with another one.
Then Wozniacki hit on the throttle and after another solid hold, she found an amazing break with one of the most outstanding showing of athleticism, which left the Russian speechless, as she thought the point was closed twice at least before she missed the last volley to handle the break.
The Dane found in the break lead all the confidence to rely on her serve, which gave her lots of free points until the very end of the match. She did not need it close the set, as she broke once more Sharapova’s serve with one last outstanding backhand down the line.
The former world number one will play Italian Sara Errani in the quarter finals.
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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