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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Further 23 Players In Hard Quarantine After More Positive Tests On Charter Flight

More players head into hard quarantine ahead of the first grand slam of the year.

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A further 23 players have been told that they are being placed into hard quarantine after another positive COVID-19 test on a charter flight from Abu Dhabi.

 

Players were notified this evening in Australia that there was a positive test on the Abu Dhabi charter flight. Although it looks it wasn’t a player who tested positive it now means 23 more players will now go into hard quarantine.

This follows the news of 24 players going into hard quarantine after two positive tests from a charter flight from Los Angeles.

It is understood from several journalists that among those who are now being placed into hard quarantine from the Abu Dhabi flight are Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari, Bianca Andreescu, Angelique Kerber, Marta Kostyuk, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ons Jabeur.

Although there are only 47 players in hard quarantine so far, there is a fear that this number could rise with more COVID test results still waiting to come back.

Before the charter flights, Andy Murray, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Madison Keys and Amanda Anisimova were denied entry into Australia via the chartered flights due to positive COVID results.

The first set of tournaments in Australia are set to begin on the 31st of January with the Australian Open due to begin on the 8th of February.

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24 Players In Isolation After Positive COVID-19 Tests On Australian Open Charter Flight

It is understood that Kei Nishikori and Victoria Azarenka are among those to be affected by the latest development.

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Tennis Australia has been dealt a new blow to their preparations for the Melbourne Grand Slam after it was confirmed two people tested positive for COVID-19 on one of their flights.

 

A member of the flight crew and one passenger who was on Flight QR793 from Los Angeles Airport have tested positive for the virus. It has been reported by journalist Pablo Amalfitano that the coach of Lauren Davis, Edward Elliot, is the passenger who has tested positive. Although he reportedly claims that the result is a false positive.

A total of 79 people were on the flight with 24 of those being players such as Kei Nishikori, Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Alison Riske, Vaskek Pospisil and Tennys Sandgren. Sandgren did test positive prior to the fight but was given the all clear to travel after it was deemed that he was ‘viral shedding.’

Due to their possible exposure to COVID-19 Australian health officials have instructed all players to isolate for 14 days and they will not be allowed to leave their room to train in what will be a big setback to their preparations.

“The Chief Health Officer has reviewed the flight and has determined that everyone on board needs to isolate and will be confined to their rooms for the 14-day quarantine,” a leaked email sent to players read. “We know this is not how you imagined your preparations for the AO would start but our entire team is here to support you and do everything that we can to get you through this.”

News of the positive tests was first reported online by the players themselves after they uploaded a leaked email detailing what had happened before Tennis Australia had a chance to publish a statement.

“We are communicating with everyone on this flight, and particularly the playing group whose conditions have now changed, to ensure their needs are being catered to as much as possible, and that they are fully appraised of the situation,” Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley commented.
“Our thoughts are with the two people who tested positive on the flight and we wish them well for their recovery.”


Doubles specialist Artem Sitak, who was on board the plane, commented on the situation by giving an update to his followers on Instagram. The Russian-born New Zealand player is currently ranked 78th in the world and has won five ATP titles so far in his career.

“We’re all deemed close contact. I asked for a bike, so hopefully I’ll get one and stay in shape,” Sitak said. “We’ll probably be out on the 29th of January and head straight into the ATP 250 a few days after.
“Obviously not great, but that’s the risk we were all taking. They kind of warned us this was going to be at the discretion of the Australian government, Australian health authorities if something like this happened. It’s just unlucky that two of them contracted the virus.”

In a later update the 34-year-old confirmed that he has had a bike delivered to his room. |

Meanwhile, Japanese media have confirmed that all of Nishikori’s team has tested negative for the virus but the former US Open finalist will be training alone in his room.

The first series of tournaments are set to take place in Melbourne a week before the Australian Open on January 31st.

List of affected players

  • Victoria Azarenka
  • Sloane Stephens
  • Kei Nishikori
  • Tennys Sandgren
  • Nicholas Monroe
  • Santiago Gonzalez
  • Artem Sitak
  • Guido Pella
  • Alison Riske
  • Marcos Giron
  • Vasek Pospisil

Note – list is incomplete and compiled via news agencies

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Dayana Yastremska Heads To Australia Despite Doping Violation

Did the 20-year-old break the rules with her trip?

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Tennis Australia says they are ‘investigating’ after it emerged that Dayana Yastremska boarded a plane funded by the governing body despite failing a drugs test.

 

Last week the International Tennis Federation issued a statement confirming that the Ukrainian tennis star has been issued with a provisional suspension after testing positive for the banned substance mesterolone metabolite. An anabolic agent prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency which can be used for the treatment of people with low testosterone. Yastremska was pictured boarding a plane to Australia on Thursday in a post uploaded by two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova which has since been deleted.

Yastremska has denied any wrongdoing and says she has ‘scientific evidence’ that her positive test was a result of contamination. Although she didn’t elaborate any further as to what that evidence is. The world No.29 has the right to appeal her provisional suspension but according to the latest ITF statement she hasn’t done so. One way her ban can be lifted is if the appeals board accepts her contamination argument which would allow her to play right away.

“Only a very low concentration of mesterolone metabolite was detected in my urine,” Yastremska wrote in a statement. “Given that low concentration and my negative test two weeks earlier, I have received scientific advice that the result is consistent with some form of contamination event.”

Despite Yastremska’s plea, it is unclear as to if she or Tennis Australia has broken any rules. As of January 15h the ITF still lists her as a player who is provisionally suspended from the sport. Richard Ings, who is the former chair of the Australian anti-doping agency, points out that suspended players are not allowed to participate in any activity organised by a tournament. Raising questions as to if a Tennis Australia funded plane journey counts as one of these ‘activities.’

Yastremska is currently on the Australian Open entry list and is set to be allowed to train during her 14-day quarantine like other players unless anything changes. Tennis Australia has not made a public statement but news agency AAP has confirmed that an investigation has been launched. Should it turn out that the 20-year-old is ineligible to play, it is unclear if she would be required to pay back the cost of her plane trip.

The Australian Open starts on February 8th.

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