Day 3 Wimbledon 2015: Williams Sisters and Sharapova through as Ivanovic bids adieu - UBITENNIS
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Day 3 Wimbledon 2015: Williams Sisters and Sharapova through as Ivanovic bids adieu

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TENNIS – Serena and Venus Williams Sisters remain on course to meet each other in the Round of 16 as they both won their 2nd round matches in straight sets. They join Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka in the 3rd round. However, Ana Ivanovic was been dismissed in straight sets by Betthanie Mattek-Sands Cordell Hackshaw

 

USUAL SUSPECTS
Serena Williams (1) needed only 59 minutes to get past Timea Babos 6-4 6-1. Serena had 12 aces included her her 23 winners to 9 errors. However, it was hard to tell whether these were impressive numbers for Serena as she looked often to be uptight and far too tensed. Nonetheless, it was solid performance and will play Heather Watson in the 3rd round. Serena is on course to meet her big sister, Venus Williams (16) in the 4th round as Venus also got through her 2nd round match 7-6(5) 6-4 over Yulia Putintseva. It was a tough match but Venus played all the important points better relying on her big serve to get her out of trouble.

Maria Sharapova (4) had another easy day at the office. Richel Hogenkamp never looked to challenge the Russian at all. Sharapova broke for 4-2 in the opening set but soon allowed Hogenkamp back into the set with 3 consecutive double faults. However, Hogenkamp could not withstand the pressure on her own service game as Sharapova broke back and quickly closed out the set 6-3. In the 2nd set, it was all Sharapova as she got out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back; 6-3 6-1 in 65 minutes.

Victoria Azarenka (23) got by the tricky opponent Kirsten Flipkens. Flipkens fought hard but in the end, she could not withstand the massive groundstrokes from Azarenka who dictated play from the opening point. Azarenka always took the early lead but Flipkens always found a way to get back into the set. It was at this point that Azarenka would put her head down and just quickly assert herself into the match, taking it 6-3 6-3. Azarenka had 21 winners and 13 errors compared to 14 winners and 11 errors from Flipkens. Also through in straight sets is French Open finalist Lucie Safarova (6) who got through Su-Wei Hsieh 6-2 6-3.

UPSETS
Bethanie Mattek-Sands upset Ana Ivanovic (7) in straight sets 6-3 6-4. Mattek-Sands took this match from the very start. She broke Ivanovic for a 3-0 lead and maintained this advantage for the set. Ivanovic just never looked comfortable on the day as she broke back for 2-3 but got broken immediately thereafter to be down 2-4. Mattek-Sands was not about to relinquish lead as she took it 6-3. In the 2nd set, the sudden charge that one expected from Ivanovic to level the match never came as she made unforced error after unforced error. One of the more difficult task for the Serbian was to deal with the superior net game from the American. Mattek-Sands won 29/38 points up at net compared to 6/9 for Ivanovic. The American had twice the number of errors of her opponent, 32 to 15. Particularly more glaring for Ivanovic was the fact that she only broke Mattek-Sands once, 1/8 in break point conversion. Mattek-Sands will take on Bencic for a spot in the 2nd week of Wimbledon.

Karolina Pliskova (11) has been dismissed by American Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets. Pliskova just never looked comfortable throughout the match. Having had a wonderful 2015 with so many solid results at tournaments, the Czech player is having difficulties managing matches. Both big servers, it was no surprise that the opening set was decided in a tiebreaker. However, Vandeweghe had 4 chances to close out the set up 6-5. They were all on the Pliskova serve and the Czech hammered down some big serves to force the breaker. In the breaker, Pliskova got out to a 3-0 lead but again, she lost her way as the American surged ahead to take it 7-5 points. In the 2nd set, Pliskova again took the early lead 3-0 but could not maintain it. Vandeweghe won 5 straight games and then closed out the match 7-6 6-4 for the 3rd round.

SURPRISES
Local favourite, Heather Watson had a very easy time against veteran Daniela Hantuchova. One expected a stronger showing from the Slovakian but Hantuchova was unable to sustain any lead she achieved in the match. Up 3-1 in the opening set, Watson reeled off 4 straight games for 5-3 and then closed out the set 6-4. In the 2nd set, it was all Watson. She broken to open the set and though she was broken immediately, Watson again went on a 4-game streak for 5-1. Watson then served it out 6-4 6-2.

Sloane Stephens got through unscathed against fellow American Lauren Davis 6-4 6-4 in 68 minutes. It was a nervy match for both players but it was Stephens who was able to steady the ship when things got to rocky. She moves into the 3rd round to Safarova for a place in the 4th Round. Belinda Bencic (30) had a tough fight on her hands v. Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany. Friedsam who recently caused Serena Williams some trouble at the French Open, showed once again that she is no pushover. However as in the French Open, she cannot sustain the high level of play. After splitting the first two sets, she ran out of steam in the 3rd as Bencic took it 7-5 4-6 6-0. Bencic will take on Mattek-Sands for a place in the 2nd week of Wimbledon.

Kristina Mladenovic finds herself in the 3rd round of Wimbledon after getting by Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets 6-4 7-5. Ostapenko took out 9th seed, Carla Suarez-Navarro in quick fashion in the opening round but Mladenovic provided a much bigger challenge that the Spaniard.

OTHER WINNERS
Sam Stosur (22) got through the unpredictable opponent Urszula Radwanska 6-3 6-4. She will play Vandeweghe in the 3rd round. Zarina Diyas got by Aliaksandra Sasonovich 7-5 6-1. Sasonovich was in the ascendency in the opening set but could not maintain the lead as Diyas wrest control of the match for the win and a place in the 3rd round. Irina Begu (29) is also through to the 3rd round when she defeated Lesia Tsurenko. Both Madison Keys (21) and Elizaveta Kulichkova both completed their 1st round matches were were suspended late on Day 2 because of poor lighting.

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Elina Svitolina Not Giving Up On Grand Slam Dreams

The 25-year-old tennis star speaks out about her chances of winning a major title in the future.

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Elina Svitolina (@usopen on Twitter)

Ukraine’s top player Elina Svitolina is hoping that she can one day emulate the likes of Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep by using her experience on the WTA Tour to guide her to Grand Slam success.

 

The world No.5 says the openness of the women’s tour makes her believe that she can still win a major title. Since 2018 seven different women have won Grand Slam titles with Halep and Naomi Osaka being the one players to have won multiple trophies within that period. As for 25-year-old Svitolina, she is yet to contest a major final. Although she did reach the semifinals of Wimbledon and the US Open last year.

Speaking to tennis website BTU, Svitolina says the diverse range of major winners is a confidence boost for her. Saying the key aspect for her to potentially succeed is maintaining a high level of physical and mental health throughout a two-week period at a Grand Slam.

“In recent years, we see that tennis players had different paths to victory. Someone won right away as soon as they announced themselves on the tour. Others patiently gained experience to finally win the major, for example, Simone Halep and Caroline Wozniacki. Different paths are also due to different styles of play,” she explained.
“It gives me hope and energy to work hard so that one day I can take this chance. The key point for me is to keep my best level for two weeks. This requires a lot of effort, both psychological and physical. Everything should work at the same time. And you need to add a little luck.”

Svitolina is yet to fully commit to playing at the next major event, which will be the US Open in August. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament will be taking place behind closed doors for the first time in history and strict measures are in place with players being kept in what is described as a ‘bubble.’ Although some have reservations about playing in New York amid a rising number of Coronavirus cases in the country. On Friday health officials reported 66,528 new cases.

Prior to the US Open, the women’s Tour will officially restart on August 3rd at the Palermo Open in Italy. Although Svitolina says there are many ‘unanswered questions’ about returning to competitive tennis and the potential travel restrictions she may encounter.

“They (the WTA) organize video conferences every week, sometimes they invite ITF or USTA representatives, since the US Open is now in the centre of discussions,” she said.
“So, they inform us. But, I think, it all depends on local authorities. As we can see, the rules vary from country to country, changes occur every week. There are still many unanswered questions.”

Svitolina started 2020 by winning 11 out of 17 matches played before the sport was suspended due to the pandemic. At her most recent tournament in Monterrey, she won her 14th title by dropping only one set in five matches played.

Svitolina’s Grand Slams record

Year Australian Open Roland Garros Wimbledon US Open
2020 R32
2019 QF R32 SF SF
2018 QF R32 R128 R16
2017 R32 QF R16 R16
2016 R64 R16 R64 R32
2015 R32 QF R64 R32
2014 R32 R64 R128 R128
2013 R128 R64 R128 R64
2012 R128

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Dayana Yastremska Labels Controversial Twitter Photo A ‘Misunderstanding’

The world No.25 has been forced to delete photos from her social media accounts after a gesture to support anti-racism backfired.

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Ukrainian Tennis star Dayana Yastremska has been forced to remove a photo from social media and issue a statement after she was accused of being racially insensitive.

 

The 20-year-old tennis star attracted criticism on Thursday after uploading a photo of herself in different poses with the phrase ‘equality’ assigned to it. However, the images were controversial as they show Yastremska as half white and half back. Black facing, which is where a non-black person darker their skins to represent the race, has recently been under the spotlight in the wake of the Black Live Matter movement. Some episodes from TV shows such as The Mighty Boosh, Little Britain and The League of Gentlemen have been removed from online platforms due to the black facing of characters.

Screen shot of Yastremska’s now deleted Twitter photo

In the aftermath of posting the photo, two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka commented on Instagram ‘Girl I know you didn’t just do blackface,’ with a skull emoji. Osaka, who has a Japanese mother and Haitian father, has spoken publicly about her support for the Black Live Matter movement. Yastremska responded to the comment with a prayer emoji.

Yastremska removed her photos from Twitter and Instagram soon after she received backlash online, however, she insists that she never meant to cause any offence. Posting a statement on Twitter, the world No.25 apologize to those who she offended. Although she insists that her photo has been ‘misunderstood’ and she doesn’t consider it to be a ‘black face.’

“Earlier today I posted pictures that I thought would spread a message of equality. It clearly did not and has been misunderstood,” she wrote on Twitter yesterday.
“I have been warned about the negative impact but I did not — and still don’t — consider it a ‘black face’.
“I did not intend to caricature but to share my feelings about the current situation: we should all be treated as equal.
“I am so disappointed my message has been corrupted. I sincerely apologise to all the people I have offended.”

Former Wimbledon junior finalist Yastremska has won three WTA titles so far in her career and has earned more than $1.8 million in prize money. In January she reached a ranking high of 21st.

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WTA’s Restart Efforts Overshadowed By Likely Cancellation Of All Chinese Tournaments

Big blow dealt to the WTA calendar as Chinese Authorities cancel all international events in China for 2020, including the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.

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Group selfie at the WTA Championships in Shenzhen 2019 (photo Twitter @WTAFinals)

After many weeks of relative silence, the WTA had a very eventful day on Thursday releasing its revised mechanism for the calculation of the WTA Ranking and confirming some changes to its calendar. However, the organization managing the women’s pro tour had to face some terrible news coming from Asia, where the General Administration of Sport of China in an unexpected move decided to wipe away all international sports events in China, casting an ominous shadow over some of the most lucrative tournaments in the WTA calendar.

 

After the ATP announced on Monday a new ranking system based on results obtained in the last 22 months (from March 2019 to December 2020), the WTA unveiled a substantially similar system that allows players to maintain the points obtained in 2019 if they are unable or unwilling to participate to the corresponding tournament in 2020 or if they achieve a worse result in this year’s event. The only significant difference with the ATP’s new ranking system consists of allowing players to count only the best 16 results achieved in the considered 22-month window, while the men’s tour allows to count up to 18 results.

“In order to balance fairness and flexibility for all players, the WTA Rankings will generally follow the ‘Better of 2019 and 2020’ point model, in alignment with the ATP Tour,” the WTA said in a statement. “In reaching this decision, various elements were considered including the provisional 2020 revised calendar, various travel restrictions, varying levels of player comfort of traveling to compete, as well as the elimination of player commitment requirements for the remainder of 2020.”

Furthermore, the WTA announced two addition to its provisional 2020 calendar that sees professional tournaments resume on 3rd August with the Palermo Ladies Open in Palermo, Italy. In fact, on the week of 10th August there will be one new event on clay in Europe and one on hard courts in the USA: they will be the Prague Open in Prague, Czech Republic and the Bluegrass Orthopaedics in Lexington, Kentucky.

The former event was originally planned to take place in the spring and was tentatively included in an earlier draft of the new calendar, but then almost immediately dropped. The latter tournament replaces the WTA International Citi Open, due to take place in Washington, D.C. at the same time as the ATP 500 event.

“After an exhaustive effort collaborating with all of our stakeholders over many months, we committed to hosting the WTA tournament as part of our event in August so that we could provide playing opportunities for WTA players and continue to showdown women’s tennis to our community – said the Citi Open in a statement posted on their social media accounts – However, given the unique circumstances and requirements this year, we understand and support Octagon [that owns the rights to the event] and the WTA’s decision to hold the tournament as a completely separate event in 2020. We wish them and the local organizers in Lexington, Kentucky all the best for a safe and successful tournament. We still plan to present women’s tennis during this year’s Citi Open and look forward to hosting the women’s tournament in Washington, D. C. next year and long into the future”.

But the mood at the WTA Offices in St. Petersburg, Florida changed quickly when a press release coming from the Chinese press agency Xinhua announced a decision by the General Administration of Sport of China to cancel all international events due to be held in China in 2020, with the only exception of test events for the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games. This seems to include all tennis tournaments planned for the months of September and October, in particular the WTA Premier 5 in Wuhan, the WTA Premier Mandatory in Beijing and above all the WTA Championships in Shenzhen, as well as the ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai Rolex Masters.

The WTA relies on the year-end WTA Championships for more than 60 percent of its annual turnover, and overall is extremely dependent on the revenues generated by its Chinese swing during the Fall. The lack of official comments from the WTA Headquarters seems to suggest the announcement came out of the blue and no contingency plan is presently in place to limit the effect of a complete cancellation of the Chinese tournaments.

At this late stage, it appears problematic to replace those big events with other tournaments in other locations around the world, not only for the difficulty to source a sufficient number of high-paying sponsors, but also due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that has led many countries to place heavy restrictions to international travel.

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