US Open 2015 Women’s Draw: Serena to battle the US to get on top! - UBITENNIS
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US Open 2015 Women’s Draw: Serena to battle the US to get on top!

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US OPEN – If Serena Williams (1) is to win a 4th major title this year at the US Open to complete the calendar slam, her 5th in a row as she is the 3-time defending champion, it will not be an easy road. Her path to the final is laid with new and familiar foes. She is pitted in the quarter being nicknamed “The American Quarter” as it houses her sister Venus Williams (23), Sloane Stephens (29), Madison Keys (19), Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Brengle just to name a few. There are also several non-Americans, Aga Radwanska (15) and Belinda Bencic (12), also in this section and they both have a win against Serena this year. Serena will require both mental and physical strength something she has in spades to lift her 22nd major here at the US Open to equal Steffi Graf on the all-time major winners list.

 

Fortunately for Serena she does not have to play all these players to get to the semifinal but she might have to get by most of them. She could face Stephens in the 3rd round then Keys or Radwanska in the Round of 16 and either Bencic or her sister Venus in the quarters. There is also the newly minted top 10 Karolina Pliskova (8) who could very much be Serena’s opponent in the last 8.

Serena is in the top half with 2006 champion Maria Sharapova (3) who is slated as her semifinal opponent if the seeds hold true to form. Sharapova is coming into this event without playing a single match since her semifinal loss to Serena at Wimbledon earlier this summer. She opens her campaign against a former compatriot Daria Gavrilova who now plays for Australia. Gavrilova took out Sharapova in a tough 3-set match in Miami earlier this year. Sharapova avenged that loss later on in Rome but the edge might be in Gavrilova’s favour since she is coming into these championships, match tough unlike Sharapova.

Sharapova’s path has a few more Russians in the midst with Svetlana Kuznetsova (30) former champion here back in 2004 as a possible 3rd round opponent and Ekaterina Makarova (13) last year’s semifinalist in the Round of 16. However, they might not prove to be much of a challenge for her as Kuznetsova has not played any tennis since the French Open and Makarova has twice had to withdraw from tournaments this summer hardcourt series with injuries. On the other end of this half are Ana Ivanovic (7), Carla Suarez-Navarro (10), Jelena Jankovic (21) and Eugenie Bouchard (25) all of whom has the potential of really doing well here at the Open and doing just as equally bad.

It should be noted that Bouchard has been seen around the grounds of the tournament hitting with tennis legend Jimmy Connors. Bouchard who recently parted ways with Sam Sumyk is coachless at the moment. Bouchard’s management team released a statement saying that this collaboration between Bouchard and Connors has “no long-term plans” and that Connors and Bouchard “have been friends for a long time” and he is only helping her this week as he too is in New York.

JIMMY CONNORS COACHING CANADIAN

JIMMY CONNORS COACHING CANADIAN BOUCHARD

The bottom half of the draw is relatively tame compared to the top half as Simona Halep (2) should have an easy time to the semifinals. The Romanian has shown herself in the last few weeks as being a serious contender for this title. She made it to two consecutive finals at Toronto and Cincinnati in the two big warmup tournaments this summer. She is definitely peaking at the right time especially since losing first round at Wimbledon and was unable to make it to the 2nd week of the French Open. Alize Cornet (27) and Sabine Lisicki (24) should not be much of a bother for Halep though they can be formidable opponent especially Lisicki who possesses a huge game albeit a very inconsistent one.

In this both half, there is the very dangerous floater in Victoria Azarenka (20) who is a two-time finalist here (2012-2013). She has come with a few points of winning this title back in 2012 and has shown throughout this year that she is ready for the big time. She is not in the same half as Serena who knocked her out of both the French Open and Wimbledon so she should be in good position to make some noise here once again. She would have to get by Angelique Kerber (11) in the 3rd round and Lucie Safarova (6) in the Round of 16. Safarova has not been consistent since her run at the French Open but she is capable of playing inspired tennis and might just play her way again to another major final.

There is always a question mark next to the name of Petra Kvitova (5) at any tournament particularly if it is not the grass courts of Wimbledon. The fact that she has now be been diagnosed with mononycleosis (mono) and lost a significant amount of weight, even more doubts is cast upon her at these championships. She lost in the 2nd round last year and the brutal hot and humid conditions in New York do not suit her. Nonetheless, she too is capable of getting her act together to play inspired tennis especially since there are no real danger in her section other than Julia Georges or Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (32) in the 3rd round. Andrea Petkovic (18) or Garbine Muguruza (9) could be her opponent in the 4th round and Caroline Wozniacki (4) in the quarterfinals.

Wozniacki too is facing some doubt at these championships. She is coming off injuries and some poor results at both Toronto and Cincinnati. She has elected to play the final tune-up tournament this week before the Open in Connecticut despite claims that she is being forced to play events by the WTA to avoid penalties. This is her fourth tournament in as many weeks this summer before coming into the Open. She would have to get past American Christina McHale in the 2nd round and possibly Flavia Pennetta (26) in the next. It would be a battle if both Wozniacki and Pennetta were to get that stage with the odds being in the favour of the Italian.

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Alexander Bublik Praises Mentality Change Ahead Of Newport Semi-Finals

Alexander Bublik is on the rise after changing his mentality as he looks to win his first ATP title in Newport this weekend.

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Alexander Bublik (@TennisHalloFame - Twitter)

Alexander Bublik praises his change in his mental approach to tennis after reaching the semi-finals in Newport. 

 

The 22 year-old from Kazakhstan is arguably having one of the best seasons of his career, having reached a career high ranking of 82 in 2019.

Having won three challenger events in Budapest, Pau and Monterrey, Bublik is full of confidence and is currently trying to transition that form on the ATP tour.

In an interview with the ATP website, Bublik has praised a change in mentality for the improvement in form, “When I was a kid I got in mental troubles a lot because I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to win this match. I want to win this tournament’,” Bublik said to atptour.com.

“Then last year when I broke my ankle is when I realised it’s fine… I’ve got to work hard to make it here, to make more and more, so that’s why I’m working hard every day trying to succeed.”

There is no doubting that Bublik has the talent as he has a unique style, which includes tweeners and during his quarter-final match with Tennys Sandgren in Newport, hit four aces in a game which concluded with an underarm ace.

However the world number 83 has said that he entertains himself first and aims to stand out from the crowd, “I entertain myself first. That’s the most important thing for me,” Bublik explained.

“Always be a leader, not a follower, You just have to be your own leader, make your own decisions,” Bublik said when speaking about one of his tattoos.

Well Bublik’s fate is certainly in his own hands when he faces Marcel Granollers for a spot in his first ever ATP final on Saturday.

The other semi-final will see top seed John Isner take on 4th seed Ugo Humbert as the Frenchman looks to take advantage of an under-par American.

In both of his matches, Isner has needed a third set to overcome both Kamil Majchrzak and Matthew Ebden as he looks to win a 3rd title at the Hall Of Fame Open.

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Bernard Tomic Sent Warning About Behaviour As Wimbledon Appeal Rejected

Bernard Tomic’s appeal was rejected after being fined all of his prize money for his first round defeat to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at Wimbledon.

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Bernard Tomic (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

Bernard Tomic has been sent a stinging warning about his behaviour after his Wimbledon appeal was rejected. 

 

The Australian lost his first round match at Wimbledon to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in 58 minutes a couple of weeks ago in another lacklustre effort.

Although in previous years he may have escaped punishment, this time the grand slam board decided to deduct all his prize money as a result of his straight sets defeat.

This sent a clear message to the tennis world as they want to cut out lack of effort and give places in grand slams to competitors that will try their best.

Of course, Tomic wasn’t exactly pleased with the ruling and decided to appeal against the ruling which stated that he did not play to “required professional standards.”

However the appeal didn’t only get rejected, it got slammed down by board director Bill Babcock in a stinging letter to the controversial Australian.

In the letter Babcock referred to Tomic’s past history in lack of effort during matches, “A review of your historical record of misconduct at grand slams, never mind elsewhere, provides little justification for an adjustment,” Babcock said.

“In your case, Bernard, I am sure you would agree there is no historical evidence to give comfort to the theory that you can reform your behaviour.

“Admittedly, I am sceptical that you can achieve this reform of grand slam on-court behaviour, Many others, no doubt, would be even more than just sceptical. Good luck and I hope to be pleasantly surprised in the future by your successful reform.”

In the letter, Babcock added that if Tomic escapes a sanction in his next eight grand slam events, then he will be refunded 25 percent of his prize money.

Despite this outcome, Tomic plans on appealing this latest inquest further as he currently prepares for the ATP 250 event in Atlanta next week, “I don’t care about this 25 per cent, I care about the right thing for players in the future,” Tomic told the New York Times.

In a separate case, Anna Tatishvili was refunded all of her prize money after appealing successfully after her fine for not meeting professional standards at Roland Garros.

The American lost 6-0 6-1 in her first round match to Maria Sakkari in only her third tournament back since 2017.

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Angelique Kerber Splits With Rainer Schuettler After Eight Month Partnership

Angelique Kerber has parted ways with Rainer Schuettler after an eight month partnership which ended in Wimbledon disappointment.

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Angelique Kerber (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

Three time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber has split with her coach Rainer Schuettler after an eight month partnership. 

 

It’s been a topsy-turvy year for the German so far after reaching the finals in Indian Wells and Eastbourne as well as being 11th in the Race To Shenzhen rankings.

However after losing in the first week of all three of her grand slams so far, last year’s Wimbledon champion has decider to end her partnership with Rainer Scheuttler.

The 31 year-old made the announcement on Twitter as she admitted it was a tough decision to make but a necessary one to make, “Moving forward, it’s never easy to change – especially when you work with great people like Rainer,” Kerber said.

“But for now, we’ve decided that it’s the right time for a fresh start. He has become a friend and I‘m thankful for his hard work & dedication in the last months.”

A couple of days ago, Kerber also said it was time to embrace the challenges moving forward as she looks to improve her sluggish form ,“This time of year feels very different compared to last year, but it’s still part of the same journey,” Kerber explained on Twitter.

“Whether you‘ve won or lost the last match- it‘s done, it‘s over and it can‘t be changed. It‘s about the lessons you learn from both outcomes that will determine your path. 

“There have always been ups and downs, twists and turns in my career that I accept as part of my story as an athlete. Even more, I‘ve learned to deal with it and embrace the challenge moving forward.”

Although Kerber and Schuettler have become good friends, the results never really translated when it really mattered most as Kerber couldn’t keep her focus on the big occasions.

A very brave decision to do it more than half way through the season though as Kerber looks to finish the season strong in a frustrating year.

Next for the former world number one is the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which starts on the 5th August.

 

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