Day 4 Wimbledon 2015: Kvitova storming through the draw - UBITENNIS
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Day 4 Wimbledon 2015: Kvitova storming through the draw

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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

 

USUAL SUSPECTS
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.

UPSETS
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.

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Bianca Andreescu Reunites With Former Coach Ahead Of New Season 

How will the Grand Slam champion fair on the Tour with her latest mentor?

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has brought a familiar face back into her team as she bids to return to her best form in 2023. 

 

Andreescu, who is currently ranked 45th in the WTA rankings, has appointed Christophe Lambert as her latest coach. Lambert had been working as the performance director at Tennis New Zealand and resigned from that position to work with the former US Open champion. He had also previously worked for Tennis Canada and during that time he was a private coach for Andreescu in 2016. 

“Bianca asked me to coach her and I accepted the job. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Lambert told sport.co.nz. 

Lambert, who has also spent time working with the Chinese Davis Cup team and for the British LTA, has stayed in contact with Andreescu ever since coaching her six years ago. 

“It wasn’t like every week or every month. It’s always good to have people calling you when you are up, but when she was down I was checking on her and giving her my opinion.” He said. 

Andreescu had been working with Dutch coach Sven Groeneveld for over a year before they decided to end their collaboration in October. Groeneveld has a wealth of experience in the sport after working with a series of top names, including Maria Sharapova. 

This season the former world No.4 has won 20 out of 33 matches played with her best performance being a run to the final of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. However, her record against top 10 opposition was 2-5.

“I’m just taking it day by day, and it’s a great way to end off the year as well, just bringing back all the emotions that fire a lot in me,” Andreescu recently told reporters in Glasgow at the Billie Jean King Cup. “I think I’m going to have a great preseason. Next year I really think I can crack the top 10 again.”

Andreescu, who has been hampered by injury issues in recent years, hasn’t won a singles title of any sort since 2019. 

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Four-Time Grand Slam Winner Naomi Osaka Named In FTX Lawsuit 

The former world No.1 took an equity stake in the failed business earlier this year. 

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NAOMI OSAKA OF JAPAN - PHOTO: ALVARO DIAZ / MMO

Naomi Osaka is among a series of high-profile individuals who have been accused of using their celebrity status to promote FTX’s failed business model in a lawsuit filed against the cryptocurrency exchange. 

 

The BBC has reported that over one million people and businesses could be owed money following the collapse of FTX, according to bankruptcy filings. A week ago FTX collapsed into bankruptcy with its former boss Sam Bankman-Fried stepping down as CEO. A massive development in the financial for what was one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world that had the naming rights to a Formula One racing team as well as a sports arena in Miami.

According to the Associated Press, the company is being investigated by state and federal prosecutors over allegations it ‘invested depositors’ funds in ventures without their approval.’ In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, it argues that celebrity backers of FTX such as Osaka should be held just as accountable as Bankman-Fried as they brought ‘instant credibility’ to the company. 

“Part of the scheme employed by the FTX Entities involved utilizing some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment — like these Defendants — to raise funds and drive American consumers to invest … pouring billions of dollars into the deceptive FTX platform to keep the whole scheme afloat,” the lawsuit said.

Osaka took an equity stake in FTX in March where she would be receiving compensation in Crypto. Signing what was described as a ‘long-term partnership’ to become a global ambassador, the tennis star aimed to draw attention to women joining the platform and she played a role in directing its content.

“We have seen the statistics about how few women are part of crypto by comparison, which kind of mirrors the inequality we see in other financial markets,” Osaka said earlier this year.

Osaka, who has won 14 out of 23 matches played this season, has not made any public statement regarding the lawsuit. NFL quarterback Tom Brady, comedian Larry David and basketball team the Golden State Warriors are also defendants in the lawsuit.

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WTA Targets New Multi-Year Deal For Its Premier Event If Agreement With China Fails

Will the WTA Finals return to Shenzhen in 2023?

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WTA CEO Steve Simon

The WTA say they are not willing to compromise their principles concerning the possibility of hosting tournaments in China next year amid uncertainty over the future of their season-ending event. 

 

Steve Simon, who is the CEO of the women’s Tour, says he is hopeful that a resolution can be found with the country but has vowed now to back down on its stance. Last year the WTA suspended tournaments in China over concerns about the safety of former player Peng Shuai who accused a former government official of sexually assaulting her. 

Shuai disappeared shortly after posting her statement on social media before returning a few weeks later with photos and videos of her being posted online by journalists linked to the government-controlled media. There are concerns that the former doubles Grand Slam champion, who has not left her country since making those allegations, is being censored by the government. The WTA wants an investigation to be conducted into the matter. 

“We’ve made a strong stand, and we stand behind that stance, and we’re not going to compromise our principles,” Simon said during an interview with The New York Times. “Clearly when we did it, we understood eyes wide open what it could mean.”
“We’re still in the same place. If they come forward with something else we should look at, of course we are open to it. But we haven’t seen it so far. I’m hopeful we do find a resolution. That’s the goal, to find the right resolution. What’s the truth? Then we can move forward.” He added. 

Simon said he is confident that Shuai is safe in Beijing but he has not been able to make any direct contact with her, despite trying to on multiple occasions. A letter reportedly written by Shuai to the WTA was posted online in 2021 saying that she wishes to be left alone. However, many have doubted the authenticity of that letter with some fearing that she wrote it under duress. 

One of the biggest impacts of the fallout has involved the prestigious WTA Finals, which is a round-robin tournament featuring the eight best-performing players over the past 12 months. In 2018 a lucrative deal was agreed that paved the way for the event to be held in Shenzhen for 10 years. However, the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before the next two additions were moved elsewhere.

Whilst the WTA is optimistic about a return to Shenzhen in 2023, there are also backup plans in the works. Simon confirmed that it is no longer feasible for the WTA Finals to be held in a location for just one year. So it is likely that the tournament would be held in a city for two or more years in a row if it doesn’t return to China next season. 

“We’re not going to continue to do these one-year decisions,” he said. “It’s not sustainable. If it looks like we can’t go back to China or aren’t ready to go back, then I do think we will carve out a multiyear situation, because we need to for the business.”

The case involving Shuai isn’t the only barrier for the WTA. China’s zero-covid policy has made hosting international events in the region unfeasible and the ATP cancelled all of their events in the tournament this year due to the situation. 

This year’s WTA Finals has a prize money offering of $5M which is more than half of what was on offer at the 2019 tournament in Shenzhen ($14M). 

Simon didn’t provide any deadline for when an agreement must be reached with China must be reached before the WTA considers moving their event elsewhere once again. 

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