Konta upset Petkovic as the Ladies Round of 16 is set - UBITENNIS
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Konta upset Petkovic as the Ladies Round of 16 is set

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US OPEN – Johanna Konta’s win streak continues to 16 matches as she knocked out Andrea Petkovic (18) in straight sets 7-6 6-3 for her first ever appearance in the 2nd week of any major. Konta will take on Petra Kvitova (5) who has equaled her best performance at the US Open when she made the 4th round by defeating Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova (32) in straights sets as well 6-2 6-1. The women’s draw Round of 16 have been set and despite the many upsets along the way, there are some cracking and scintillating matches set to take place.

 

Konta’s take down of yet another seed is by far one of the most impressive things at these championships. After losing in the opening round of Wimbledon, Konta has yet to drop a match, winning 2 ITF events and coming through qualifications to get into the main draw here at the Open. Her tennis is impressive and her mental fortitude in her matches thus far is even more noteworthy. Petkovic is not an easy player to get by but the British player is displaying a level of maturity beyond what her experience on the tour should denote. After failing to close out the opening set up 6-5, Konta dominated the breaker taking it 7-2 points. In the 2nd set she again seized early control of it racing to a 5-1 lead. She failed to serve out the match in the first go around but battled hard in the 9th game to take it 7-6(2) 6-3. Her matchup against Kvitova will not be easy. The Czech player usually struggles in the NYC heat and humidity but this year, both the scheduling and the weather have been favourable to her and she is looking every bit the 2-time major champion.

2011 champion Sam Stosur (22) took out 2012 semifinalist Sara Errani (16) in 3 sets. Errani is always a dangerous opponent to face at any event as she is as determined and resilient as the best of them. However, on this day, Stosur brought her A-game and showed why she won this event 4 years ago beating none other than Serena Williams (1) in the finals. Stosur won 7-5 2-6 6-1 and will face another Italian Flavia Pennetta (26) who also made the semifinals here back in 2013 and the quarterfinals last year. Pennetta took on Czech Petra Cetkovska who earlier beat Caroline Wozniacki (4). Pennetta won 1-6 6-1 6-4.

Varvara Lepchenko became the 4th American to get into the Round of 16. She took Germany’s Mona Barthel in 3 sets 1-6 6-3 6-4. Lepchenko will face 2-time finalist here Victoria Azarenka (20) for a place in the quarterfinals. Azarenka is looking like her former self again, showing that trademark resilience and fight in tough matches. She face Angelique Kerber (11) who recently won Stanford. Kerber served for the opening set 5-3 but was unable to close it out as Azarenka reeled off 4 straight games to take it 7-5. This would turn out to be crucial because had Kerber taken this set, she could have had the match in straight sets when she won the 2nd set 6-2. However, it was not to be for Azarenka was determined not to lose out at these championships. Azarenka took it 7-5 2-6 6-4.

Simona Halep (2) is looking impressive again. She is an underdog at these championships but she is playing the type of tennis that made her dangerous at majors last year. She took out American qualifier Shelby Rogers 6-2 6-3. Halep will take on Sabine Lisicki (24) who by right should not be in these championships. Barbora Strycova had Lisicki against the ropes having secured the double break in the decisive set and served for the match twice. The Czech player came within 2 points from winning the match but those 2 points were too far. Lisicki after taking a medical time out, found the better part of her game, winning 5 straight games. She barely dropped points in this effort as she made few errors and took up aggressive court positions. Strycova who only minutes before was in the ascendancy soon was flailing on court. She could not find her game. Lisicki took it 6-4 4-6 7-5.

This is how the Round of 16 is shaped up on the ladies side:
TOP HALF
– Serena Williams (1) v Madison Keys (19)
– Venus Williams (23) v Annett Kontaveit
– Kristina Mladenovic v Ekaterina Makarova (13)
– Roberta Vinci v Eugenie Bouchard* (25) 
* Bouchard’s fate at these championships are in question as she sustained a head injury Friday night in the ladies locker room. She slipped and hit her head forcing her to withdraw from both the women and mixed doubles events. The USTA released a statement saying that her condition is being monitored and a determination about her participation for the rest of the event would be made at some point on Sunday when she slated to play Vinci in the round of 16.

BOTTOM HALF
– Petra Kvitova (5) v Johanna Konta
– Sam Stosur (22) v Flavia Pennetta (26)
– Varvara Lepchenko v Victoria Azarenka (20)
– Sabine Lisicki (24) v Simona Halep (2) 

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Multiple Players Removed From French Open Qualifying After Positive COVID-19 tests

One player has already confirmed their removal from the tournament with a source suggesting that there could be up to 15 positive tests at the event.

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It is understood that a series of male players have been removed from the French Open qualifying draw after either them or a member of their coaching staff tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Spanish newspaper Marca broke the news on Sunday following information obtained by their sources. It has been reported that Denis Istomin, Ernesto Escobedo, Pedka Kristin and Bernabé Zapata have all been removed from the entry list. There has been no confirmation from the French Tennis Federation (FFT) concerning the positive tests. It is understood that Zapata and Kristin have been removed after their coach tested positive for the virus. It is unclear as to if the same scenario applies to Istomin and Escobedo.

Furthermore, Bosnia’s top player Damir Dzumhur has confirmed that he has been removed from the draw after his coach also tested positive. Although the world No.114 has questioned the test before suggesting that it could be a false positive. Dzumhur said his mentor was not given the option of a second test to double check.

“Unfortunately, my coach Petar Popović tested positive this morning. That’s why I can’t play at Roland Garros and I don’t have a chance to compete,” he wrote on Instagram
“He didn’t get a chance to do a second test and we’re sure he was false positive because my coach has antibodies. I’m disappointed, but I can’t change my mind and I have to move on. More information tomorrow.”

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Dzumhur’s criticism of the testing process appears to be a view that is also shared by others. Sport Klub has quoted another player, who wishes to remain anonymous, saying that there is poor communication going on in the French capital.

“The procedure is slow, communication is poor, there is a lot of waiting. Also, in the hotel, the maids do not wear masks, the tables are not cleaned regularly,” they told Sport Klub.rs.

Marca has claimed that there could be up to 15 positive cases at Roland Garros that also includes the women’s draw. Although there is no information about which WTA players may also be involved.

UPDATE

Since the publication of this article the French Tennis Federation has released a statement confirming two players have tested positive for COVID-19 and a further three have been in close contact with a coach who have also tested positive.

“The Roland-Garros tournament directors can confirm that 2 players competing in the qualifying tournament have tested positive for Covid 19 and three others have confirmed close contact with a coach who has tested positive for Covid 19. In line with tournament health protocols, the 5 players will not compete in the qualifying tournament which begins tomorrow and will self isolate for a period of 7 days. In total, some 900 tests have been carried out since Thursday 17 September.” The statement reads.

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Maturing Simona Halep Closing In On Rome Milestone

The Romanian is hoping that it will be third time lucky at the Foro Italico this year.

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Simona Halep 2 (@InteBNLdItalia on Twitter)

Top seed Simona Halep survived a roller-coaster encounter against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza to progress to the final of the Italian Open on Sunday.

 

The world No.2 required more than two hours to disposed of Muguruza 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, in what was the seventh meeting between the two Grand Slam champions on the WTA Tour. It was a far from straightforward win for the Romanian who lost her serve three consecutive times during the second set. However, she managed to bounce back in the decider with the help of a four-game winning streak as she edged towards victory despite facing some late resistance.

Against Muguruza she’s a very, very difficult player and a good player. It’s always good vibe and a good feeling when I win against her,” Halep told reporters after.
“I know I had so many chances to maybe finish the match a little bit faster and easier, but she doesn’t give up.’
“Credit to her that she fought till the end. I am happy that I was a little bit stronger in the end and I could be more aggressive when I needed to.”

There is still room for improvement for Halep who won only 48% of her service points and converted nine out of her 18 break point opportunities. She also hit 21 winners alongside 22 unforced errors.

The latest victory was the first singles match at this year’s Italian Open to take place in front of fans. Due to a recent decision by the local government, a maximum of 1000 spectators has been allowed to attend the Foro Italico on its last two days. A move that has been hailed by Halep even though she admits that it was her opponent who was getting more cheers.

“It’s been nice to see people in the crowd, even if they were all not supporting me today. They were with Muguruza, but I understand,” she said.
“But I was happy to see them and I felt the energy.”

Halep now moves into her third Rome final where she will have a shot of achieving a unique milestone of winning three major clay events on the WTA Tour along with the French Open and Madrid Open. Something only Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have achieved.

Standing in her way of the title will be the winner of the all-Czech clash between Karolina Pliskova or Markéta Vondroušová. Somewhat of a relief for Halep who lost her two previous finals in Rome to Elina Svitolina.

“I’m not playing her so I have a plus,” she joked.
“It’s a final, so I have to manage it a little bit better than previous years. It’s gonna be a tough match.’
“Now I’m more mature. So let’s hope that I can be better tomorrow and to win it.”

Halep will be playing in her 18th WTA final on the clay and is currently on a 13-match winning streak.

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Novak Djokovic Under Scrutiny Over Racket Smashing Incident At Italian Open

The tennis star admits that such actions do not set a good example for younger players.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic says he is ‘not perfect’ after losing his cool during one stage of his semi-final match at the Italian Open.

 

The Serbian tennis star was frustrated with parts of his game throughout his roller-coaster 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. At one stage of the match Djokovic was issued a warning from the umpire after smashing his racket out of anger. The action came during the sixth game of the second set where he was unexpectedly broken to love.

“Well, let me tell you that it’s not the first nor the last racquet that I’ll break in my career. I have done it before. I’ll probably do it again,” Djokovic said during his press conference.
“I don’t want to do it, but when it comes, it happens. That’s how I, I guess, release sometimes my anger. And it’s definitely not the best message out there, especially for the young tennis players looking at me. I don’t encourage that, definitely.”
“We’re all people. We all do our best. There were times and periods when I don’t do that, and there are sometimes periods when I do. It’s unpredictable really in life what can happen.”

Djokovic’s on-court actions are being closely scrutinised following his shock removal from the US Open less than two weeks ago. In the fourth round of the New York major the 17-time Grand Slam champion accidentally hit a ball behind him that struck a lineswoman and resulted in the tournament referee disqualifying him. Something that had never previously happened in Djokovic’s career, who apologised afterwards for the incident.

I am working on my mental and emotional health as much as I’m working on my physical health,” he stated.
“It’s always been part of my, I guess, training and recovery, as well, developing strong character and understanding myself on different levels, the holistic approach to life.”

In Rome Djokovic’s next test will be Norwegian rising star Casper Ruud, who is through to his first Masters semi-final after disposing of Matteo Berrettini in three sets. Ruud won his first ATP title back in February at the Argentina Open and a couple weeks later reached the final of the Chile Open. Both of those events took place on the clay.

“He’s making his way up the ranking scale. It’s really impressive to see him in semis, but at the same time, it’s kind of expected, knowing how well he can play on this surface,” Djokovic said of his next opponent.

Should Djokovic go in to win the Italian Open he would overtake Rafael Nadal to become the most decorated player in Masters history with 36 titles. He is already a four-time champion in Rome and last won the tournament back in 2015.

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