Top women's seeds being dispersed out of the tournament - UBITENNIS
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Top women’s seeds being dispersed out of the tournament

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US Open – August 31, 2015 marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which dissipated off the American Gulf Coast back in 2005.  In this time a lot of Americans and folks around the world are remembering the devastation and destruction of that natural disaster. Yet it seems eerily striking that looking at the 2015 US Open women’s draw today, that  one can say that a near similar type of disaster has occurred as so many top seeds are gone from the draw. Of the 32 seeded players in the women’s draw, 10 have not made it out of the first round and all matches have not been completed.

 

Perhaps it was a sign of things to come when Maria Sharapova (3) pulled out just before the start of the event. She cited a plaguing leg injury as the reason why she could not compete at this year’s event. When actual play began, things only got worse. Ana Ivanovic (7) was dismissed by Dominika Cibulkova in 3 sets 3-6 6-3 3-6. Next came Karolina Pliskova (8) who was just crowned the winner of the 2015 US Open Series winner on the women’s side. She was vying for a chance at $1 million dollar bonus money had she been able to lift the winner’s trophy. However, she was summarily dismissed by American Anna Tatishvili 2-6 1-6 and with it that lucrative opportunity gone.

It might have been no real surprise when Svetlana Kuznetsova (30) was knocked out of the tournament by Kristina Mladenovic 3-6 5-7 as the Kuznetsova has not played a competitive match since the French Open in the spring. However, it was bit of a shock when both Carla Suarez-Navarro (10) and Jelena Jankovic (21) went out of the tournament. Considering all things, Suarez-Navarro losing to Denisa Allertova 1-6 (5)6-7 may not be such a huge upset. The Spaniard came into these championships on a 6-match losing streak, having not won a match at any of the three summer hardcourt tournaments she played. In fact, the last time she won a match was mid-June when she beat Kuznetsova at Birmingham. Therefore this result was not in and of itself surprising. However, Jankovic came into these championships looking good as she made it to the semifinals of Cincinnati before losing to Simona Halep. She went out to French wild card Oceane Dodin 6-2 5-7 3-6. Jankovic was not the only player who came into this tournament with some steam behind their name. Sloane Stephens (29) who just collected her first WTA title at CitiOpen in Washington DC, was looking to make a name for herself. However, she lost in straight sets to fellow American Coco Vandeweghe, 4-6 3-6.

One might have expected that things would have calm down on Day 2 but within 2 hours of he start of play, two more women’s seeds were ousted. Lucie Safarova (6) who recently made it to her first major final at the French Open was knocked out by Lesia Tsurenko. Safavora lost 4-6 1-6 in 65 minutes. She would later state that she was suffering from an abdominal tear which occurred in the New Haven final last Saturday. This affected her ability to serve on the day. Semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky (14) also lost to Barbora Styrcova 5-7 0-6 extending her match losing streak to 4. Olga Govortsova just upset Irina-Carmila Begu (28) 6-1 0-6 7-6.

Interestingly enough, on the men’s side, despite the huge upset of Kei Nishikori (4) going out to Benoit Paire early on the opening day, there has been no major blows to the men’s top seed.  Gael Monfils (16) had to retire from his match due to injury.

The men’s draw just lost another big seed as American Donald Young just knocked out the 11th seed  Gilles Simon (11) 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-4.

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Serena Williams Confident In Bid For Grand Slam History Claims Patrick Mouratoglou

Patrick Mouratoglou says that Serena Williams is confident of another grand slam victory despite recent setbacks.

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Serena Williams and Patrick Mouratoglou (@BBCSport - Twitter)

Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has claimed that the American is confident in her bid for more grand slam history. 

 

Despite the American not winning a set in her last four grand slam finals, Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou has claimed that she is still confident in winning another grand slam again.

Serena’s last grand slam win was at the Australian Open in 2017 before taking a break from the sport to become a mother.

Although it has been a struggle, Mouratoglou believes time is on the 37 year old’s side, “I think time is working for her,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports.

“I think she was much better at the US Open than she was at Wimbledon and Wimbledon better than Roland Garros. 

“She is getting back in shape and the more in shape she will be the more dangerous she will be. I think she has started to play really good tennis.”

Losses to Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu have exposed Serena’s lack of confidence and how nervous she is in the grand slam finals.

However Mouratoglou believes that Serena’s historic moment will come sooner rather than later, “It is one match for history and the pressure is quite high,” he said.

“I am not in her mind but I can figure she is playing one match for history. This is the highest pressure anyone can have in life and on the other side of the court she plays girls who have zero pressure because it is their first final.

“They are going to play many [Grand Slams], they are young, they are excited, enthusiastic so they play without pressure and that makes a big difference. But at some point she will figure out how to deal with that.”

Serena’s next tournament is scheduled to be the WTA Finals in Shenzhen in late October, should she qualify although there is a good possibility that we won’t be seeing on a tennis court until next year.

Will 2020 be the year that Serena finally figures out how to deal with the pressure of creating more history for herself? Only time will tell.

 

 

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Mikhail Kukushkin beat Italian Next Gen star Jannick Sinner in St. Petersburg

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Mikhail Kukushkin beat 18-year-old Italian Next Gen rising star Jannick Sinner 6-3 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 40 minutes. Kukushkin fended off nine of the eleven break points he faced.

 

Sinner, who turned 18 last month and received a wild-card to take part at the next November’s ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan, did not convert three break points in the first game, but Kukushkin saved them to hold his first game.

Kukushkin, who won his only title in St.Petersburg in 2010, was the first to break serve in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Sinner earned three break points but Kukushkin fended them off. Sinner saved a break point in the eighth game but Kukushkin served out the opening set on his first set point.

Kukushkin went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead, Sinner converted his second break-back point to draw level to 2-2. Kukushkin got a break lead for the second time but Sinner rallied from the break down for the second time to draw level to 4-4. Sinner earned set point at 5-4 to force a decider, but Kukushkin saved it to draw level to 5-5. Kukushkin got a mini-break in the tie-break to win the tie-break 7-4.

Adrian Mannarino, who won his first ATP Tour title in s’Hertogenbosch, beat Stefano Travaglia 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 19 minutes. Travaglia held his first two service games at love and broke serve to open up a 4-1 lead. Mannarino converted his first break-back point for 3-4. Both players held their serve to draw level to 5-5. Travaglia saved a break point, but he made two double faults to drop his serve in the 11th game for 5-6. Mannarino served out the first set on his first point.

Travaglia saved a break point at the start of the second set, but Mannarino converted his second chance.

Travaglia earned two break-back points in the second game but did Mannarino saved them to open up a 2-0 lead. Mannarino went up a 3-0 lead. The Frenchman saved a break point in the sixth game to race out to a 5-1 lead and sealed the win on his first match point.

 

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Despite New WTA Guidelines, Could Kim Clijsters’ Return Be Marred By Aberration?

Kim Clijsters will not have any restriction in the number of wildcards she receives. But she also deserves more in her upcoming third stint on the Tour

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Kim Clijsters, 2010 US Open, US Open
Photo Credit: WTA Tennis/Getty

By the time, Kim Clijsters makes her return to professional tennis in 2020, around eight years will have passed since her second retirement from the WTA Tour. In this near-about octet of years, there have been several changes on the Tour, especially for those women attempting a return post maternity. But where does the 36-year-old stand amid these alterations?

 

The Belgian was one of the earlier trendsetters – of this decade – to resume her professional activity after becoming a mother for the first time. In 2009, when she returned during the American hard-court summer, the subject never gained as much traction as it did when Williams returned to the game, in 2018 after her pregnancy hiatus in 2017.

Clijsters’ win at the US Open that year – the first for an unseeded player – stifled the mushrooming of any possible avenues of such ranking tweaks back then. Over the next couple of years, as Clijsters ascended in the rankings boosted by her performances, including re-attaining her career-high of no. 1, the topic became moot.

Now, after all these years, in spite of the WTA bringing in modifications to its rules – by way of provision of special ranking to women re-joining the Tour after motherhood, among other factors – Clijsters’ continues to remain an outlying scenario. The obvious reason for this is the lapsing of time of the four-time Major champion’s returning to pro tennis. According to the new rules, a player who is out of the Tour on account of pregnancy must make a comeback within three years after her child’s birth, at most.

Her previous successes and titles ensure Clijsters will never lack for wildcards from tournaments, as per the WTA regulations. However, the question stemming here is should an exception be made for the former world no. 1 vis-à-vis the special ranking while overlooking the passing of years?

When announcing her imminent return to the Pro Tour on the WTA Insider podcast, Clijsters mentioned about challenging herself. “I don’t feel like I want to prove something. I think for me it’s the challenge…,” she said.

“The love for the sport is obviously still there. But the question still is, am I capable of bringing it to a level where I would like it to be at and where I want it to be at before I want to play at a high level of one of the best women’s sports in the world. I don’t feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again. This is my marathon. This is where I’m saying, ‘OK, let’s try this’.”

Clijsters’ path to trying this while taking it on as a challenge need not come at a cost of her being immediately pushed off the deep end in terms of encountering a higher-seeded opponent. The present state of the WTA would make it for an interesting match-up – whenever it happens – but it would also be akin to defeating the purpose underlining her return, regardless of how confident the 2011 Australian Open champion is with her timing.

The norms, too, could be nudged into further relooking easing them towards a player’s preference in ascertaining her post-childbirth return instead of clubbing them, at large. After all, as significant as Williams’ laurels were to usher in changes, Clijsters’ stunner yet again proves the variety that exists in women’s decision-making.

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