Angelique Kerber wins in straight sets against Petra Kvitova in Singapore - UBITENNIS
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Angelique Kerber wins in straight sets against Petra Kvitova in Singapore

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Angelique Kerber beat 2011 WTA champion Petra Kvitova 6-2 7-6 (7-3) in the second round-robin match to move 1-0 in the white group of the WTA Finals in Singapore. Kerber cruised to 6-2 in the first set. Kvitova got an early break in the second set but wasted a 3-0 lead. She earned two set points but failed to convert two set points at 6-5.

 

Kvitova came into today’s match with  a 4-2 lead in her previous head-to-head matches against Kerber. Kvitova won all their last three matches in the third set on hard-court. In their last head-to-head match Kvitova won an epic Fed Cup Final match with 7-6 4-6 6-4.

Kerber had a successful season winning four tournaments in Charleston, Stuttgart, Birmingham and Stanford and reached the semifinals in Wuhan and the quarter finals in Beijing. Kvitova won in Sydney, Madrid and New Haven and lost the quarter final at the US Open against Flavia Pennetta.

Kerber returned to the WTA Finals for the first time since 2012 when she lost all her three round robin matches.

Kerber broke serve in the third game to 30 to take a 2-1 lead and held her service game in the next game. The German got the double break in the seventh game to 15 to pull away to 5-2. Kvitova was unable to earn any break points in the opening set. Kerber served out for the first set to love to cruise to 6-2 in just 26 minutes.

Kvitova fought back from losing the first set by converting her fourth break point at deuce in the second game of the second set with two great forehand winners. She held her serve to pull away to 3-0. In the fifth game the Czech player went down 15-40 before making a double fault on the second break point allowing Kerber to break back for 2-3.

Kvitova broke with a drop shot to lead 4-2. The Czech star got a game point at 40-30 but could not hold her serve. Kerber broke back for 3-4. The German player fended off a break point and managed to hold her service game after a long service game to draw level to 4-all.

In the ninth game Kerber earned a break point after Kvitova made a double fault. Kvitova saved a break point with an ace but Kerber earned another chance. The German broke serve at deuce with a down the line forehand winner to take the 5-4 lead.

Kerber fired a great ace to fend off a break point as she was serving for the match but Kvitova broke to draw the set level to 5-all. Kvitova held her serve to 30 to take the 6-5 edge.

Kerber served to force the second set to the tie-break. She saved two set points with an ace and a forehand winner to force the second set to deuce. Kerber held her serve to draw level to 6-6.

Kerber got the mini-break to take a 4-2 lead. She earned two match points with another mini-break to love The German closed out on her second match point with 7-3 after a solid tie-break. Kerber won her third match in seven head-to-head matches against Kvitova. It was a bad day for Czech tennis players who lost their first matches in this tournament.

Kerber hit 4 aces to Kvitova’s 5 but made just a double fault. She converted five of her seven break point chances and fended off seven of the ten break points she faced.

“I am so happy to win. Petra is an unbelievable player and had a great year. I was trying to move well. I was actually a break down in the first few games and I was Just trying to be aggressive. In the end it was very close so I just decided yo go for it and I am very happy to get the win. I am just enjoying playing here and the fans are amazing”, said Kerber. 

 

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ATP Announces 22-Month Ranking System To Support Players Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Parts of the changes have been done to help support those who prefer not to or can not travel to tournaments due to safety concerns.

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The ATP Tour has revised their calculations for this year’s ranking system with the governing body admitting that the new changes could also be applied in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Players on the men’s Tour have been given a wider period where they can select their best tournaments to determine their ranking. Prior to the suspension of competitive tennis, male players were allowed to select their 18 best performances in tournaments within a 52-week period. This has now been expanded to 22 months (March 2019-December 2020). Although they are not allowed to use the same tournament twice.

In a press release the ATP says their new measures allows ‘flexibility and fairness’ with players on the tour. Furthermore, it has been designed with the possibility of the rules continuing into 2021 should the ongoing pandemic continue to disrupt the Tour in some degree. Outlining their objectives, the ATP says one of their goals is to protect those who ‘cannot or prefer not to compete in 2020 due to health & safety.’ A point recently raised by Australian player Alexei Popyrin who has voiced concerns about playing at the US Open.

“There are talks regarding the US Open but I really don’t want to go with the situation in America right now,” Popyrin said at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown over the weekend.
“But we have to see if we would be forced to go because of ranking points.
“If the ranking points won’t be frozen, then most of us would be forced to go play cause our ranking will drop and we wouldn’t have any say in it.
“But if the rankings are frozen, then I am staying here.
“I will stay in Europe where it’s safe with my family.”

As a result of the changes, it remains to be seen if this will have any effect on other players concerning their decision to play at the New York major which will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history. Some parts of America have reported a surge in COVID-19 cases with 52,228 New Cases being reported on July 5th.

Under the new calculations, no player will have less ranking points than what they currently have at present. The ATP rankings have been frozen since March 16th but will resume on the Monday after the first tournament in the revised calendar concludes.

There are exceptions to the new 22-month ruling. Qualification for the ATP Finals will still be based on 52 weeks because the event is classed as an ‘additional tournament.’ Therefore it doesn’t count as one of the 18 key events to determine a player’s ranking. Points from last year’s tournament will drop off on November 9th after the Paris Masters. The reason for doing so is to make the chances of qualifying more fair. Furthermore Challenger and ITF events will also be based on the 52-week rule because ‘events are scheduled on a one-year basis and do not have consistent spots in the calendar.’

The ATP Tour is set to resume at the Citi Open in Washington during the second week of August.

A full FAQ of the new ranking system can be read here.

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‘I Googled How To Kill Myself’ – Robin Soderling Open Up About Mental Health Battle

The ex-world No.4 speaks out about his struggles with anxiety as a player for the first time.

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Former Swedish Tennis star Robin Soderling has spoken out about how he struggled with panic attacks which contributed towards his decision to step away from the sport.

 

The 35-year-old achieved a ranking high of fourth during his career and is best known as being the first player to defeat Rafael Nadal at the French Open after stunning the Spaniard back in 2009. However, he was also dealing with his own mental demons as he rose to prominence in the sport. Speaking to Radio Sweden, Soderling revealed that he struggled with his mental health prior to being diagnosed with mononucleosis, which forced him to retire at the age of 31.

“I had constant anxiety, it gnawed at me inside. I sat in the apartment and stared blankly, the smallest noise made me panic. When a letter fell on the doormat, I panicked so much that I fell to the floor. The phone rang I was shaking with fear,” he told the radio station.

Soderling said his problems with anxiety started shortly after his win over Nadal in 2009, which catapulted him to the limelight. The increased expectation made the Swede feel that he had to live up to high expectations.

“There were only three players I could lose to,” he said in reference to the Big Three. “The rest I had to beat them, if I would feel bad, a failure, a loser.”

During his career the two-time Grand Slam finalist won 10 titles on the ATP Tour with five of those titles occurring after he defeated Nadal at Roland Garros. It was in 2010 when he achieved his ranking high and won his only Masters 1000 title in Bercy, France.

Solderling’s last match on the Tour took place on home territory at the 2011 Swedish Open. In the final he roared to a 6-2, 6-2, win over David Ferrer to end his career on a high. At the time he was yet to be diagnosed with mononucleosis and hadn’t come to a decision to retire from the sport. Shortly after that final he returned back to his home in Monte Carlo where he started to struggle once again.

“I panicked, I started crying. I was crying and crying. I went back to the hotel and threw myself on the bed, every time I thought about going on the court, I panicked. For the first time I felt that regardless of how much I wanted, I couldn’t, not even if they put a gun to my temple,” he recounted.

In a frank revelation during the interview, Solderling said at his worst he even ‘googled how to commit suicide’ but never intended to. He says his thoughts at the time was ‘anything was better than this life in hell.’

Solderling hopes by opening up about his mental health battle it is a topic he believes is ‘rarely’ talked about in sport. Few players have openly talked about their own personal problems.

“It is very rare to talk about the psychic problems that great athletes have in sports and this is why I wanted to take a step forward and talk about it. To those who dedicate themselves to sport and their entire environment I tell them to train hard and take it very easy. From here I tell them to play sports because they feel comfortable doing it and not because of pressure. If you are succeeding, try to keep the perspective and try not to be affected much. If you succeed, everything will be fine,” he concludes.

Soderling is currently the captain of the Swedish Davis Cup team.

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Coach Of Roger Federer Issues Fitness Update

Details of the next stage in Federer’s recovery have been revealed.

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The longtime coach of 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has said the Swiss star is ‘doing well’ with his rehabilitation going to plan so far.

 

Severin Luthi shed some light on Federer’s current health during a TV interview with SRF on Saturday. The 38-year-old hasn’t played a competitive match since his semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open back in January. Shortly after Federer underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, which sidelined him from action. However, the problems continued for Federer and he had to undergo a second knee procedure in June which resulted in him pulling the plug on his 2020 season.

Despite the setbacks, Luthi has insisted that the former world No.1 is finally back on track and will be returning back to training soon. Luthi has worked alongside Federer for more than a decade and also currently serves as the captain of the Swiss Davis Cup term.

“Roger is doing well. Rehabilitation has gone according to plan after the 2nd surgery. No big intensity until now, he will start a physical fitness block with Pierre Paganini shortly,” he told SRF.

Federer, who will turn 39 in August, has vowed to return to the Tour in 2021 despite his age. He is currently the second oldest player in the top 200 after world No.124 Croatia Ivo Karlovic who is 41. Despite approaching the finish line in his career, Luthi insists that age isn’t an issue when it comes to training.

“First priority is that Roger gets 100% healthy again,’ he stated.
“The nice thing is that with Roger you still get the feeling you‘re on court with a junior and not with a player who‘s rather at the end of his career, those are perfect conditions we’re focused on next season.”

So far in his career, the Swiss maestro has won 103 ATP titles and spent a record 310 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings.

Work with ON

Federer has kept himself out of the spotlight in recent weeks, but has been working behind the scenes with running brand ON. A company which he bought a stake last November after investing an ‘undisclosed sum.’ On July 6th he is set to feature in a livestream with the company to make what he describes as a ‘big announcement’ without elaborating further. The date of the announcement coincidentally coincides with the 17th anniversary of his first Wimbledon win.

“July 6 there is going to be the big launch, the big announcement, something we’ve been working on for quite some time now,” Federer told sportswear blog Highsnobiety. “[Sneakerheads that don’t know On so well] are going to get to know the company in a new way. I think it’s going to be very exciting.”
For me, having an impact with a company like On is really, really exciting. To be there in the workshop room, in the meetings, and hearing about whatever shoe it is, and maybe giving my input… And then, next thing you know, my input is taken incredibly serious and it grows into something quite beautiful. That is very exciting.” He added.

The livestream featuring Federer will be broadcasted on a website called theroger.com.

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