TENNIS WTA BEIJING – Roberta Vinci continues her good period of form. After beating Agnieszka Radwanska, the 31-year-old Italian player battled past Ekaterina Makarova in three sets with 6-1 0-6 7-5. The Italian will face Kvitova next who took advantage of a walkover after Venus Williams withdrew before the match with a viral illness. Diego Sampaolo
Roberta Vinci continues her good period of form. After beating Agnieszka Radwanska, the 31-year-old Italian player battled past Ekaterina Makarova in three sets with 6-1 0-6 7-5.
Vinci dropped her serve when she was leading 2-0 in the first set but she cruised to a 5-1 lead. Makarova broke serve three times to win the second set with 6-0. Vinci broke in the first game of the decider but Makarova broke back to love in the eighth game after failing to convert on four break point chances. In a final part of the match where both players traded breaks many times, Vinci saved two break-back point chances before serving out on the first match point.
Vinci set up a quarter final match against this year’s Wimbledon and Wuhan champion Petra Kvitova who took advantage of a walkover after Venus Williams withdrew before the match with a viral illness.
Vinci and Kvitova are tied 2-2 in their previous four head-to-head matches. Kvitova beat Vinci this year in the Fed Cup quarter final match in Ostrava.
Svetlana Kuznetsova fought back from a set down to battle past Angelique Kerber with 2-6 6-4 6-3 to set up a quarter final match against her compatriot Maria Sharapova who beat Carla Suarez Navarro.
Following the defeats of Kerber and Makarova four more players Eugenie Bouchard, Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and and Ana Ivanovic have secured their spots for the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Simona Halep had to dig deep to overcome Andrea Petkovic in three sets with 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 7-6 (7-1) in a match featuring 17 breaks of serve. Halep built up a 4-0 lead in the third set and looked to be cruising to a win but Petkovic broke serve with a couple of good serves. Halep dropped her serve nine times during the match, including when she was serving for the match at 5-3 but took the win at the tie-break.
However, Halep, who is already qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore, withdrew from the tournament after the match because of a hip injury, a precautionary measure to avoid any injury risks ahead of the WTA Final in Singapore.
This year’s Tokyo champion Ana Ivanovic beat Sabine Lisicki with 6-3 7-5. Ivanovic saved two break points in the first game before getting a break to take a 5-3 lead. After saving five break point chances, Ivanovic served out to take the first set with 6-3. overcame a late recovery from the German who was more aggressive in the second set but was unable to capitalize on her chances. Ivanovic saved a break-back point chance before serving for the second set to prevail with 6-3 7-5.
Samantha Stosur beat Alizé Cornet 6-4 6-2 in a tougher match than what the score suggests. Stosur broke back in the third game before getting the crucial break at 4-4. The Australian player got a double break in the third and the fifth games of the second set to qualify for the quarter finals in a Premier Mandatory Tournament for the first time since Indian Wells in March 2013.
Stosur will face Serena Williams who overcame Lucie Safarova in three sets with 6-1 1-6 6-2 in one hour and 29 minutes. The World Number 1 and China Open defending champion dropped serve when she was serving for the match at 5-1 in the decider. Serena hit 11 aces and converted on five of her 15 break point chances.
Why Peng Shuai’s Video Call With The IOC Has Failed To Ease The Concerns Of The WTA
The WTA said the video hasn’t changed their stance on the matter.
The governing body of women’s tennis says they still have concerns about the welfare of former world No.1 doubles player Peng Shuai despite her appearing in a video call with the International Olympic Committee on Sunday.
Shuai attended a video call with IOC president Thomas Bach in what was her first public interaction with an international official since making allegations of sexual assault against China’s former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli. On November 2nd Shuai published a post on her Weibo account detailing the alleged assault and revealed she had an on-and-off affair with the former influential political figure for a decade. The post was removed less than an hour after it went live and her Weibo account is still restricted.
In a statement issued by the IOC, Shuai was quoted as saying that she is ‘safe and well’ and would like some privacy. It is understood that the video call lasted roughly 30 minutes, which also included IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Emma Terho and IOC Member in China Li Lingwei. However, in the statement there was no mention of the sexual assault allegations which was made by Shuai.
“This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern.” The WTA told Reuters in response to the video.
There are fears by the WTA that Shuai is under the control of the state and is restricted as to what she can and can’t say. Lingwei, who participated in the video call, is a former athlete who has since worked with the Chinese government and is a member of the people’s congress.
Recently China’s media, which is controlled by the Communist party, has posted a series of photos and videos of Shuai. However, the WTA confirmed at the weekend they will have been prevented from getting in contact with her despite making numerous efforts.
“It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don’t alleviate or address the WTA’s concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” a WTA spokeswoman said.
China’s Global Television network, which is owned by state media, hasn’t posted a single article about Shuai in recent weeks following her allegations. However, for the first time on Monday they published a story about her meeting with the IOC but made no mention of the allegations.
Hu Xijin is the editor of the Global Times newspaper. He claims that the world wouldn’t believe what Shuai is saying unless they are in line with the Western media who he accuses of trying to damage the reputation of his country. Hu is an influential political figure in his country, whose publications have been used to send messages to the outside world. He has also been accused by some of being a political propagandist for the community party.
“As long as what Peng Shuai said doesn’t accord with the expectation of the Western media, they won’t believe it. They only believe the story about China that they imagine. I’m surprised that they didn’t say the lady who showed up these two days is a fake Peng Shuai, a double,” Hu wrote on Twitter.
“For those who truly care about the safety of Peng Shuai, her appearances of these days are enough to relieve them or eliminate most of their worries. But for those aiming to attack China’s system and boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics, facts, no matter how many, don’t work for them.” He later added.
Like all of the Chinese state-run media and their journalists, Hu has made no mention of the allegations concerning Mr Gaoli.
The WTA have said they are willing to withdraw tournaments from China if their concerns of Shuai’s welfare are not properly addressed.
REPORT: China Censors Naomi Osaka’s Weibo Account Over Peng Shuai Support
It has emerged that followers are being prevented from commenting on her posts as the WTA warns China they are prepared to stop doing business with them if they can’t guarantee Shuai’s safety.
Restrictions have been placed on the official Weibo account of former world No.1 Naomi Osaka after she posted a statement expressing concern about the whereabouts of Peng Shuai, according to a leading financial newspaper.
Nikkei Asia confirmed on Thursday that they have found ‘censoring activity’ on Osaka’s account less than 24 hours after she spoke out about her fellow tennis player. It is understood that comments have been disabled on her latest post even though it is unrelated to Shuai. Weibo is the main social media service in China which is used by millions every day but it is regulated by the country’s strict laws. Other sites such as Twitter is officially banned in the country.
In her post, Osaka wrote on Twitter that ‘censorship is never OK at any cost’ and that she hopes Shuai is safe. It has since been retweeted more than 19,000 times.
On November 2nd a post was uploaded on Shuai’s Weibo account in which she said she was pressured into sex by the former vice-premier of China, Zhang Gaoli, and she had an on-and-off affair with him over a intermittent period of 10 years. The post was removed less than an hour after it was uploaded but observers took screenshots of it which was then reposted online. Since then, Shuai hasn’t been heard of or seen in public.
There are now mounting concerns over Shuai’s current whereabouts after the international branch China’s state-broadcaster published a letter which they claimed the tennis star wrote to the WTA. The letter says that the tennis star denies making the accusations and she is not missing. However, Steve Simon, who is the head of the WTA, has expressed serious concerns about the authenticity of the letter.
“The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts,” Simon said in a statement. “I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believe what is being attributed to her.”
In recent years China has been a crucial location for the WTA Tour and has generated millions in revenue for the sport. No tournaments have taken place in the country this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but 10 are expected to resume next year, including the prestigious WTA Finals. Nevertheless, the WTA has stated that they are prepared to cut ties with China if they can’t guarantee Shuai’s safety.
“If at the end of the day we don’t see the appropriate results from this, we would be prepared to take that step and not operate our business in China, if that’s what it came to,” Simon told The New York Times.
In 2014 Shuai became the first Chinese player in history to top the world rankings in doubles. During her career, she has won two major titles with Hsieh Su-wei and has been ranked as high as 14th in singles.
Garbine Muguruza Beats Kontaveit To Win Season-Ending WTA Finals
Muguruza caps off what she describes as her ‘best year’ on the Tour by becoming the first Spanish woman to win the season-ending title.
Garbine Muguruza is the 2021 WTA Finals champion after beating the world’s number eight Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 38 minutes in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The Spaniard hit 16 winners while the Estonian hit 38 unforced errors in a match that went back and forth during both sets before the Caracas native was able to secure the win.
” I want to congratulate Anett (Kontaveit) on her amazing year and managing to qualify for the finals in the last event of the year,” Muguruza said during the trophy ceremony. ”I want to thank everyone who made this possible to play in Latin America and it was a dream come true to play”.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza got off to an aggressive start by looking for the early break in the first game of the match but the world number eight held her ground and managed to hold serve.
At 1-1, the Spaniard had three more chances to take the lead and she was able to break serve at the third time of asking but failed to consolidate it as Kontaveit broke right back the following game.
Once again at 3-3, it was the world number five who got another break and this was able to hold serve the following game. She then broke serve for a second time to take the first set.
The 28-year-old was put under pressure early in the second set and faced two early breakpoints at 1-1 but dug deep and saved both. At 3-3, it was Kontaveit’s turn to apply pressure, and this time she was able to get the break. The 25-year-old had a chance to serve out the second and force a deciding third set but cracked under the pressure as Muguruza broke right back to even the set at 5-5.
At 6-5, Muguruza found herself with three match points on her opponent’s serve and broke one last time to seal the victory and the title.
“I’m just very happy I proved to myself once again I can be the best, I can be the ‘maestra,’ like how we say in Spanish,” Muguruza said in press. “That puts me in a very good position for next year, a good ranking.”
Muguruza ends her season with three WTA titles to her name after triumphing in Dubai and Chicago earlier this year. Making it the first time in her career she has won a trio of WTA events within the same year. Overall, she has won 42 out of 69 matches played during 2021.
“Overall I think it’s the best year for me. I might not have won a Grand Slam, but I deeply feel like I’ve been happier and more stable, less dramatic, and in general very happy about it.” She concludes.
The former world No.1 takes home a whopping 1.6 million dollars for winning the tournament and her ranking will go up to number three when the new world rankings come out on Monday.
Novak Djokovic secures win for Serbia in Davis Cup Finals in Innsbruck
Italy takes a 2-1 win over the USA in the Davis Cup in Turin
Man Claiming To Be ‘Long-Time Friend’ Of Peng Shuai Accuses The WTA Of Ignoring Her
Lleyton Hewitt Blasts Davis Cup Officials Over ‘Ridiculous’ Move To Middle East
Nicholas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert take decisive doubles match win in the Davis Cup
Novak Djokovic Says ‘Media Propaganda’ Won’t Stop Him From Speaking Out
‘Leader Of The Next Generation’ – Novak Djokovic Hails Medvedev After Paris Clash
Roger Federer Hopes To End Career On His Own Terms But Wimbledon 2022 In Serious Doubt
Rafael Nadal To Play Australian Open Warm-Up Event In Abu Dhabi
REPORT: China Censors Naomi Osaka’s Weibo Account Over Peng Shuai Support
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”
Hot Topics2 days ago
Boris Becker, Mats Wilander Disagree Over Chances Of Djokovic Playing Australian Open
Focus2 days ago
Craig Tiley Confident Of Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Appearance Despite Vaccination Uncertainty
Davis Cup3 days ago
PREVIEW: Vasek Pospisil Looking To Lead Canada At Davis Cup Finals
Latest news2 days ago
Sweden Thump 2019 Runners-Up Canada At Davis Cup Finals
Hot Topics3 days ago
Davis Cup Captains Are Hopeful For Its Future But Talk Of A Move To The Middle East Proves Nothing Is For Certain
Latest news3 days ago
Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut lead the French team in Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals in Innsbruck
Latest news3 days ago
Spain is set to clash against Russia in the Davis Cup by Rakuten in Madrid
Hot Topics2 days ago
IOC Chief Claims Peng Shuai Is Safe Due To Her ‘Relaxed Impression’ During Video Call