Ubaldo Scanagatta Discusses US Open All-Williams Day With Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times - UBITENNIS
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Ubaldo Scanagatta Discusses US Open All-Williams Day With Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times

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Anett Kontaveit Lifts Ostrava Title After Rediscovering Passion For Playing

The 25-year-old is closing in on a place in the world’s top 20 for the first time in more than two years.

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image via https://twitter.com/JTBankaOpen

The recent resurgence of Anett Kontaveit shows no signs of slowing down after she cruised to the Ostrava Open title on Sunday without dropping a set in the entire tournament.

 

Kontaveit, who is currently ranked 30th in the world, battled her way to a 6-2, 7-5, win over Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari. Throughout the clash the Estonian didn’t drop her serve as she fired a total of 26 winners past her opponent who is the third consecutive top 20 player she has defeated on the Tour. Earlier in the tournament she also dismissed Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and home favourite Petra Kvitova.

Impressively Kontaveit has won 12 out of her past 13 matches played with her only loss being to Iga Switek at the US Open. Her rise started in August at the Cleveland Championships where she lifted only the second WTA title of her entire career. Prior to the tournament, she was on a four-match losing streak.

“I think I really started enjoying playing again, and I think that’s been the main key,” the 25-year-old commented on her recent results on the Tour. “I’m having a really good time on court and I’m having fun through the battles and the tough matches as well. I sort of started finding my way in Cleveland.”

Helping her find footing once again is Dmitry Tursunov, who previously worked with Aryna Sabalenka. The two started collaboration on a trial basis during the summer. Tursunov reached a high of No.20 on the men’s Tour during his professional career and won seven ATP 250 titles.

“My new coach also has given me some new energy and new perspectives as well. I’m just feeling a little more comfortable and enjoying myself more.” She said.

After her success in the Czerch Republic, Kontaveit will climb up the rankings on Monday as she nears an entry back into the world’s top 20 for the first time since September 2019. She is projected to rise to 23rd spot.

“When you are winning matches it definitely gives you confidence,” she explains. “I feel like I am definitely playing better than I was in the middle of the season and I think good things can come of it. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, I’ve really had a good time on court, and I’ve enjoyed it. That’s the thing I’m really most happy about.’
“One of my friends, who is here this week in Ostrava, she played doubles, she told me ‘While we’re here we might as well enjoy it’ – that really sort of stuck with me this week.”

Kontaveit has won 31 matches so far this season.

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Hubert Hurkacz Reigns Supreme In Metz, Kwon Breaks New Ground In Nur-Sultan

The two players achieved personal career milestones on the ATP Tour but for different reasons.

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Top seed Hubert Hurkacz has ended his title drought on European soil after defeating Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets to win the Moselle Open in France.

 

The world No.13, who claimed his first Masters title in Miami earlier this year, rallied his way to a 7-6(2), 6-3, win over Carreno Busta in less than 90 minutes. Throughout the tournament Hurkacz didn’t drop a set against players such as former world No.1 Andy Murray and Lucas Pouille. In the final, the Pole broke Carreno Busta four times and won 73% of his service points to seal the victory.

“Pablo is an amazing player, so playing against him in the final here is something special,” Hurkacz said in his on-court interview. “I needed to raise my level to play my best to be able to compete with him and today I came out on top and I am super, super happy about this.”

Metz was the first Tour-level event that Hurkacz has played as the top seed. His latest triumph continues what has been a successful season for the 24-year-old who also won the Delray Beach Open earlier this year, as well as Miami. He is the fifth player this year to have won a third title on the ATP Tour after Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Casper Ruud and Alexander Zverev who have all won four trophies.

Speaking during the trophy presentation, Hurkacz paid tribute to the support he has received during the tournament and the atmosphere he has been playing in. Giving a special mention to the band who was playing in the arena.

“The atmosphere here is very special here with all of you guys,” he added. “You guys [the band] make it an amazing atmosphere, so that is so nice that you guys are here.”

Hurkacz’s win-loss for the season has now been improved to 29-16. Besides his successes on the Tour in recent months, he has also experienced disappointment. At one stage of the year he was on a six-match losing streak before reaching the semi-finals of the Wimbledon in what was his best-ever performance at a Grand Slam tournament.

As a result of his win in Metz, Hurkacz will climb one spot in the ATP rankings to 12th on Monday. He is yet to break into the world’s top 10.

Kwon ends South Korea’s 18-year wait

Elsewhere on the ATP Tour, Soon-woo Kwon has become only the second man from his country to ever win a title and the first since 2003. The 23-year-old underdog defeated James Duckworth 7-6(6), 6-3, to complete what has been a memorable performance at the Astana Open. Earlier in the week he knocked out second seed Alexander Bublik and third seed Dusan Lajovic.

“I was thinking before the match this could be my last chance to win an ATP trophy, you never know what is going to happen,” The KTF Press-Service quoted Kwon as saying.
“I did what I can. Thanks to this tournament, I now have a lot of confidence and hopefully I can lift more trophies in the future.’
“After today, I can reach for something like the Top 20, after this week I have more belief that I can do this.”

One of the most impressive aspects of Kwon’s milestone win is the tight turnaround he has made in recent days. Last weekend he was playing a Davis Cup tie on the Grass in America where he scored two crucial wins for his country in their tie against New Zealand.

“Last week I played Davis Cup in Newport. I flew all the way from there to here. it’s a 10-hour difference,” he said.
“I just came with an open mind, an open heart. I knew it would take time to adjust to the courts, so I wasn’t tight. From the first round I was relaxed and hit the ground running. Each match I was getting better and better, I stayed calm and played freely.”

Kwon, who reached the third round of the French Open earlier this year, is now set to break into the world’s top 60 for the first time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev Shines At Laver Cup But Domestic Abuse Allegations Still Cast A Shadow

The team event has done their best to stay clear of the claims but that is easier said than done.

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Cheers and joys erupted around the TD Garden Arena on Saturday after Alexander Zverev prevailed in what was a marathon clash at the Laver Cup which lasted more than two hours.

 

The world No.4 edged out John Isner to strengthen Team Europe’s lead in the tie as they seek to win the competition for a fourth time in a row. Immediately afterwards he was congratulated by his team mates which included the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini. On the court there is nothing troublesome about Zverev and his game. However, some would say the German is the most controversial figure in the entire competition.

Despite the matches he plays or number of wins he achieves on the Tour, the allegations made by Zverev’s former partner continue to haunt him – whether he wants them to or not. It started more than a year ago when Olga Sharypova alleged she was physically and emotionally abused by the tennis star. Then just days before the 2021 US Open, a second interview was published by slate.com where she made further claims.

“When I got out of the shower, I was starting to take a towel and he came and said, ‘Pack your stuff right now and leave “I’m just like, ‘OK, can you wait a few minutes please? I’m naked here.’ Sharypova commented on one incident she said happened during the 2019 Shanghai Masters.
“He started to punch me, and this time I understand that I can’t be dough for punching.”

Although it is during the 2019 Laver Cup in Geneva that the most shocking statement was made. Sharypova says the abuse drove her to make a suicide attempt at that time. It was alleged that an official was called to help with the situation but there has never been any public confirmation or comment concerning this. The Laver Cup has done their best to avoid the situation but when they posted a quote on social media from Zverev, it prompted some backlash.

It is important to note that Zverev has never been convicted of domestic abuse and his former partner says she has no intention to take it to court. Sharypova said her goal was to bring awareness about the issue. On multiple occasions Zverev has said the comments are untrue and he ‘categorically denies’ them. It is understood that his legal team in Germany tried to prevent the publication of the Slate interview but details of that case are not publicly known.

Whilst there has been no conviction, Zverev continues to face awkward and tough situations. During the first day of this year’s Laver Cup, Denis Shapovalov said he heard Zverev saying that Team World’s win in the doubles will be the last point they win in the tie. Prompting a fierce response from John McEnroe and his team who were heard speaking about the comment.

McEnroe: “Fuck this guy.”
Isner: “He said that? Fuck him…”
Schwartzman: “What did he say?”
McEnroe: “He said that’s the last point we’re gonna win.”
Opelka: “He also said he’s innocent.”
McEnroe: “Yeah, good point.”

Opelka’s remark was in reference to the allegations made against Zverev.

Meanwhile, prestigious TV presenter and former player Mary Carillo reportedly quit her broadcasting role during the Laver Cup due to Zverev due to what she describes as ‘whitewashing.’ Carillo’s comment was first reported by Ben Rothenberg who is the journalist that spoke with Sharypova.

“In the end, I just felt like I’d be complicit in the whitewashing of very serious allegations. I couldn’t be part of it.” She said.

As for the Laver Cup, they find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Zverev is one of the best players in the world so to exclude him from the event without having evidence proving that he has committed domestic abuse could be a legal nightmare. However, brushing such allegations under the carpet is also damaging to their reputation. Some social media users said they have been blocked by the tournament when mentioning Sharypova’s comments on their posts.

Clearly there is no easy way out when something as serious as this arises. The only hope is that whatever happens in the future the truth will prevail.

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