TENNIS – Petra Kvitova, 2-time and defending Wimbledon champion is making light work of the draw thus far dropping just 3 games through 2 round of play at these championships. Also showing signs of impressive play is Aga Radwanska who was equally impressive in her match. Cordell Hackshaw
Petra Kvitova (2) is looking very much on track to defend her 2014 Wimbledon title. She took on the tricky opponent Kurumi Nara 6-2 6-0. Considering that Kvitova took care of her 1st round opponent in 35 minutes, the 68 minutes that it took to take care of Nara, seemed a marathon. However, Kvitova’s numbers were just as impressive. She had 10 aces, 23 winners and 14 errors. The Nara’s game never made an impression on Kvitova. The Japanese was only limited to 3 winners for the entire match.
“I’m just glad that I won. That’s important, you know, counting is the last point. I still have a lot of space where I can improve for the next match. That’s a good sign, as well. Of course, the next match will be tough again, and tougher and tougher, if I’m going to stay in the tournament. I have to be prepared for everything,” Kvitova said after the match.
Also looking in great form is the 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska (13). Radwanska has struggled mightily this year after making the Round of 16 at the Australian Open this year and her much publicized brief spell under the tutelage of Martina Navratilova. However, last week, it seems as though the Polish player is back to good form with a run to the final in Eastbourne. In the 2nd round here at Wimbledon, Radwanska dismantled Ajla Tomljanovic 6-0 6-2 in 46 minutes. Radwanska broke Tomljanovic 6 times whereas the Australian was only able to break once. Both players had 10 winners but but it was the errors that was the deciding factor. Radwanska only committed 5 compared to the 24 from Tomljanovic.
Speaking on the matter, Radwanska had this to say of her year, “Well, I think it was maybe bad timing to hire her when I really had ‑‑ I didn’t feel good. I was a little bit exhausted. I had a couple really tough months. It was the same time she was working with me. Well, now I think, first of all, I’m just feeling much better. I think also grass changed everything, as well. Helps me go to my best level I can play tennis.”
Caroline Wozniacki (5) stumbled in her match against Denisa Allertova as she raced out to a 6-1 5-1 but could not close it out. Twice the Dane served for the match and could not get the job done as Allertova broke each time. Soon it was Wozniacki serving to stay in the set as Allertova got up 6-5. However, Wozniacki was able to push the set to a tiebreaker and take it 8-6 points; Wozniacki 6-1 7-6(6).
Angelique Kerber (10) did not have a quick match today as she did in her 1st round match but she was able to get through in straight sets over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5 6-2. Both Madison Keys (21) and Elizaveta Kulichkova had to play yesterday in an effort to finish up their 1st round matches suspended on Day 2 because of poor lighting. Interestingly enough, they had to play each other for a place in the 3rd round. Keys got through the match in relative ease 6-4 7-6 and has definitely set herself up as a possible contender here at this event.
There were several minor upsets on Day 4 though they were no where as shocking as Day 2 when Simona Halep and Genie Bouchard were bounced out of the event. Most interesting of the seeded players sent home was Ekaterina Makarova (8) who has recently been playing very well at the majors. Her run of making the 2nd week of better stretching back to last year’s Wimbledon, including two consecutive semifinal appearances from the US Open last year to this year’s Australian Open, has ended abruptly. The Russian was summarily dismissed by Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2 7-5. The Slovakian had never won a match at Wimbledon in her entire career, 0-7 at the start of this tournament. Now, she is in the 3rd round and has a legitimate shot at making the 2nd week when she plays Olga Govortsova who knocked out Alizé Cornet (25) in 3 sets 7-6 2-6 6-1. Perhaps it was the pressure of getting back to the 2nd week of Wimbledon as she did last year when she knocked out Serena Williams in the 3rd round, but Cornet just never looked comfortable in this match. Elina Svitolina (17) quarterfinalist at this year’s French Open was also knocked out. She lost to Casey Dellacqua 6-7 3-6.
SURPRISES AND OTHER WINNERS
French Open semifinalist, Timea Bacsinszky (15) is riding on confidence and as she stormed her way into the 3rd round of Wimbledon over Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-2 6-1. Bacsinszky who was playing qualifications last year, is looking to make some major noise here. Camila Giorgi (31) is through to the 3rd round when she also knocked out a Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena 6-0 7-6. Giorgi will take on Wozniacki for a place in the 4th round.
Sabine Lisicki (18), finalist here back in 2013, had to dig deep against her opponent, American Christina McHale. McHale took the opening set 6-2 and was on serve through to the 11th game. However, serving to stay in the set, McHale just lost her way in the match and Lisicki took full control. Lisicki broke to take the 2nd set 7-5 and dropped just a single game in the 3rd set to take the match 2-6 7-5 6-1. Lisicki will take on Bacsinszky in the 3rd round.
Jelena Jankovic (28) and Garbine Muguruza (20) needed three sets to get through to the next round. Jankovic got by Evgeniya Rodina 6-7 6-1 6-3. Muguruza had a tougher fight against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3 4-6 6-2. Svetlana Kuznetsova (26) went off the rails against Kristyna Pliskova, identical twin sister to 11th seed Karolina Pliskova. Kuznetsova took the 1st set but then began being erratic. Kristyna took advantage of this and seized control of the match taking early breaks in the next two sets. She won 3-6 6-3 6-4.
As is often the case, players who score big upsets, fail to win their next match. Jana Cepelova and Ying-Ying Duan who knocked out Halep and Bouchard respectively were both knocked out in the 2nd round. Monica Niculescu beat Cepelova 6-3 6-3 and Tatjana Maria took out Duan 1-6 6-2 10-8.
Simona Halep Casts Doubt On Planned Resumption Of Tennis This Summer
The world No.2 sees a silver lining to what is currently a bleak situation in the world due to covid-19.
Reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep has admitted that she doesn’t believe that professional tour will resume during the early part of the summer.
There has been no tournaments since the last week of February due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The latest tennis victim of the virus was Wimbledon, who was forced to scrap their event for the first time since 1945. Shortly after Wimbledon’s announcement, the ATP and WTA issued a joint-statement in which they said no more events will be played until at least July 13th. Although Halep fears that the suspension will be extended further in the coming weeks.
“In my opinion it’s going to be longer than July.” She told Eurosport’s Tennis Legends vodcast. “We hope for US Open but it’s not sure because New York is struggling now. I don’t really know how it’s going to be after being off tournaments for so many months. We’ve never been in this situation so I think it’s going to be new to everybody. And I will struggle for sure. I will struggle to get back to the rhythm.”
At present the United States Tennis Association (USTA) has insisted that they are pressing ahead with plans to host the US Open on the schedule dates of August 24th – September 13th. Although the Billie Jean Tennis Center, which is the venue of the New York major, has been transformed into a temporary 350-bed hospital to treat those with covid-19.
“At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament.” The USTA said in a statement issued on April 1st.
“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.
“We also rely on the USTA’s Medical Advisory Group as well as governmental and security officials to ensure that we have the broadest understanding of this fluid situation.
“In all instances, all decisions made by the USTA regarding the US Open will be made with the health and well-being of our players, fans, and all others involved in the tournament.”
At the time the suspension began with the cancellation of Indian Wells, Halep was already sidelined from the tour due to injury. The two-time grand slam champion has been suffering from a foot injury, which she appears to have now recovered. Currently in lockdown in her home country of Romania, the 28-year-old is pressing ahead with her training routine as well as she can.
“Everything is closed but you are able to run outdoors. So, I am doing the running and the training outside, from the bloc. And then in the house I work on my core and my other exercises. So, every day I am working and I feel fit yes.” Halep said of her current training.
“It’s the longest period that I haven’t touched a racket. Not the ball, the racket – since Dubai. And I want to keep it that way for one more month.” She added.
Last month Halep made a donation of medical equipment to hospitals in Bucharest to help them in their fight against the virus. In Romania there have been more than 3000 cases of covid-19 with at least 116 deaths, according to government figures.
In the midst of the crises, the former world No.1 does see a silver lining. The prospect of having to wait another year to defend the Wimbledon title has added some fuel to the fire for Halep and her team.
“I am now the defending Champion for two years. So, I have to live with that for one more year so that’s a good thing again. I am excited that I will be able to play the first match on Tuesday I think on Center Court. So, I really want to make this experience. It’s going to be great for sure.” She concluded.
Before the tour was halted, Halep started 2020 by winning 10 out of 12 matches played. In February she won her 20th WTA title at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova is ready to play in November if the season is extended
Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova said that she would be ready to play in November and December, if the season is extended once the WTA circuit resumes after the long suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The season may be extended to November to make up for the events, which were called off due to Covid-19.
Pavlyuchenkova opened her 2020 season with early defeats against Petra Kvitova in the first round in Brisbane and Ashleigh Barty in the second round in Adelaide. The Russian player produced a major upset when she beat Karolina Pliskova in the third round at the Australian Open, scoring her first win in seven head-to-head matches over the former world number 1 player. She came back from a set down to beat Angelique Kerber reaching the sixth Grand Slam quarter final of her career. In the quarter final Pavlyuchenkova lost to former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza. She recently split with 53-year-old French coach Sam Sumyk.
Pavlyuchenkova is a former world number 1 player and won two junior Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and at the US Open in 2006. She lifted twelve singles titles and five doubles titles on the WTA Tour.
“If it is necessary to play in December, I will be ready. In any case it is necessary to change to change this calendar where we play without stopping from January to November. We have announced a resumption date but there is no agreement. Everything can change. It does not look like as an offseason at all as some say because the only thing that I can do is to motivate myself physically and hit the ball because I am lucky that I have a court not far from home. Some people can’t even do all that”, said Pavlyuchenkova to TennisActu Website.
Tour Suspension A ‘Dire And Bleak’ Situation For Players, Warns Johanna Konta
The world No.14 also comments on the decision to move the French Open to September.
British No.1 Johanna Konta admits that any system put into place to financially support players in the wake of the tour suspension will only have a ‘minimal’ effect.
Tennis is currently at a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic with doubts cast over when play will resume again. As a consequence, many players are looking into alternative ways to generate an income. Unlike team sports where athletes have a contract, those in the world of tennis are essentially self-employed. Meaning they will only earn money in the sport if they play at tournaments. Although the top players have the luxury of endorsements to also support them.
Weighing in on the situation, Konta has described it as ‘fire and bleak.’ She is one out of 90 female players to have made more than $100,000 in prize money this year before the tour was suspended. Her current earnings for the season stands at $105,703.
“The reality is that there is no tennis player earning any money right now; all the tennis players have taken a 100 per cent salary cut,” Konta told The Evening Standard.
“Everyone is trying to find the best way possible to stand by a team and support the people you work with and feel close to while not bankrupting yourself.
“[A support system] is being worked on right now, but the reality is that even if it is possible – and let’s hope it is – it’s going to be very minimal.
“It’s a very bleak and dire situation especially for the lower ranked players.”
In light of the financial concerns, world No.371 Sofia Shapatava recently set up an online petition on change.org calling for support from the ITF, WTA and ATP. More than 1300 people have signed the petition.
“I started the petition to help tennis players to be heard by ITF, after I talked to many of the people I know and about their plans for the next three months, I realised that some people won’t even be able to have food,” Shapatava told the AFP News Agency.
“My problem is that my sport will die as it is, it will die, because players who are ranked lower then 150th in the world will not be able to play.”
In comparison to Konta, Georgian player Shapatava has made $2,896 so far this season. That works out as 0.09% of what prize money leader Sofia Kenin has made ($3,012,043). Kenin is one of four players to earn more than a million in 2020 on the women’s tour. The other are Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Ash Barty.
The WTA have said they are looking into the possibility of extending this year’s calendar is order to provide players with more earning opportunities when the sport resumes.
French open approach disappointing
Konta has also criticised the French Tennis Federation (FFT) over their management of the French Open. Officials at the FFT recently announced that the major would be delayed until September due to the Covid-19 outbreak. A move that caught many off guard, including some governing bodies. Konta reached the semi-finals of the French Open last year after previously losing in the first round four times in a row.
“It’s a really sad situation and it’s very disappointing for them to release their decision in the way that they did,” she said.
“It’s not the act itself, but the manner which was disappointing to everybody in the tennis community. It’s left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths.”
Lionel Maltés is the economic director of the FFT. He has defended their approach to the situation by saying the organisation had no choice but to act. Arguing that their (the FFT) first priority is French tennis. The controversy surrounding the date change is that it will take place a week after the US Open ends. Leaving players with little chance to prepare for the switch of surfaces.
“The decision was not made overnight, it was far from an outburst. We had been clear for some time that it was going to be impossible to play the tournament on the established dates and we knew we had to do something.” Maltés recently told French newspaper L’Equipe.
“There was no hint of conversation collective with the other Grand Slams so we did the only thing we had to do for French tennis. Don’t doubt that Wimbledon and US Open would have made the same decision if they could. In fact, other tournaments have backed us up by saying they understood us and that if they had been in our position, they would have done the same.
“We were aware that we would be highly criticized for this, but the safeguard of French tennis is above all,” he added.
The French Open was scheduled to run from 24 May to 7 June. Officials are now hoping that the tournament will start on September 20th.
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